Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mother Earth to be granted human rights under Bolivian law - Bolivia, a country long suffering from rising temperatures, melting glaciers, extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and mudslides, is set to pass the WORLD'S FIRST laws granting nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, when passed, is expected to usher in a radical new conservation policy against pollution and exploitation.
Agreed upon by politicians and social groups, it redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings”. Perhaps most beautifully, the law will enshrine nature’s right “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.
The proposed law underlines 11 new rights for nature. These include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structures modified or genetically altered. “It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all. It establishes a new relationship between man and nature.”
The law forms has been influenced by an indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity, known as Pachamama, at the centre of all life. Humans are considered equal to all other entities. According to the philosophy, the Pachamama is a living being. The draft of the new law states: “She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos.”
While it is unclear what protection the new law will give in court to the ecosystems, the report said the government is expected to establish a ministry of mother earth and will grant communities new legal powers to monitor and control polluting industries. The law is not expected to meet with any opposition.

**Prayer has been made to mother earth
That She blesses us with the knowledge required
to exploit the treasures of the nature
but without disturbing the environmental balance.**
Atharva Veda

This morning -

Yesterday -
4/12/11 -

Long-term climate change could be responsible for moving the Earth's tectonic plates - A team of scientists has established a link between monsoons in India over the past 10 million years and the motion of the Indian plate. The scientists have found that as monsoons in the area increased, the plate moved by almost one centimetre a year. The researchers say it's the first time climate change has been recognised as having the potential to influence the motion of tectonic plates.
"It is known that certain geologic events caused by plate motions ... have the ability to influence climate patterns over a period of a million years. Now we know that the opposite holds as well.
Long-term climate change, or the natural changes in climate patterns over millions of years, can modify the motion of plates in a feedback mechanism." The findings could help to reveal more information about the cause of earthquakes. "Ultimately, we aim at understanding what caused plate motions to change and which regions are currently more prone to large earthquakes. To that end, we may also have to consider the history of climate over the past million years."


INDONESIA - Mount Merapi has shown escalating seismic activity in the past week, but an eruption similar to the one last October will not necessarily come in the near future, according to the Volcanic Technology Research and Development Center. Multi-phase quakes were recorded 50 times on both Saturday and Sunday, marked with occasional shallow tectonic tremors. The formation of the new lava dome which marked the end of 2010 eruptions, could be followed through a CCTV (closed circuit television). A series of eruptions in October last year killed more than 300 people, most of those living on the slopes of the volcano. The escalation in seismic activity did not need enforcement of emergency status. “Tourism activities are still safe, although visitors are urged to be careful and mountain climbing is still not allowed.”

NEW ZEALAND - Radar to monitor Ruapehu's rumblings. Officials are installing an eruption detector at Mt Ruapehu, a week after the level of aviation warnings was raised. Ruapehu will be one of only a few volcanoes in the world to be watched around the clock by a radar "eye", which immediately picks up explosive jets or eruptions of ash that rise more than 200 metres.
The New Zealand and German-designed Doppler radar dish, several years in development, has been installed at the Whakapapa skifield and trained on the crater lake. The volcanic radar uses inaudible radio waves to measure movement within the crater lake. The Doppler-effect is similar to listening to an ambulance pass on the street. "As it comes towards you the siren is high-pitched, but it sounds much lower pitch when driving away. This difference in pitch or frequency can be used to calculate the ambulance's speed."
The radar will similarly measure the speed of particles thrown from the lake, which can travel at several hundred metres a second. It will also help scientists calculate the violence, shape and direction of an eruption. The radar is designed to work in any weather so it can trigger warnings even when the mountain's peak is not visible. The instruments are still in the experimental phase, and will not be used for warnings yet. Researchers had to wait until Ruapehu erupted to allow them to calibrate the radar. In the meantime, the technology is also being tested at the more restless Stromboli volcano in Italy.
The Doppler radar is the latest addition to a series of alert systems at Ruapehu which include seismic sensors, barometers, tripwires to detect collapses, and water-level sensors which warn of sudden drops in lake levels. GNS Science volcano surveillance teams last week said that the crater lake was warmer than usual, which indicated increased volcanic activity. GNS also observed changes in the lake's chemistry and increased seismic activity under the volcano. As a result, the aviation warning level for pilots was raised.

Yellowstone Supervolcano Bigger Than Thought -The gigantic underground plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano might be bigger than previously thought, a new image suggests. The study says nothing about the chances of a cataclysmic eruption at Yellowstone, but it provides scientists with a valuable new perspective on the vast and deep reservoir of fiery material that feeds such eruptions, the last of which occurred more than 600,000 years ago.
Earlier measurements of the plume were produced by using seismic waves — the waves generated by earthquakes — to create a picture of the underground region. The new picture was produced by examining the Yellowstone plume's electrical conductivity, which is generated by molten silicate rocks and hot briny water that is naturally present and mixed in with partly molten rock. "It’s a totally new and different way of imaging and looking at the volcanic roots of Yellowstone."
Almost 17 million years ago, the deep plume of partly molten rock known as the Yellowstone hot spot first breached the surface in an eruption near what is now the Oregon-Idaho-Nevada border.
As North America drifted slowly southwest over the hot spot, there were more than 140 gargantuan caldera eruptions — the largest kind of eruption on Earth — along a northeast-trending path that is now Idaho's Snake River Plain. The hot spot finally reached Yellowstone about 2 million years ago, yielding three huge caldera eruptions about 2 million, 1.3 million and 642,000 years ago. Two of the eruptions blanketed half of North America with volcanic ash, producing 2,500 times and 1,000 times more ash than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Smaller eruptions occurred at Yellowstone in between the big blasts and as recently as 70,000 years ago.
Seismic images of the plume made in 2009 showed the plume of molten rock dips downward from Yellowstone at a 60-degree angle and extends 150 miles (240 kilometers) west-northwest to a point at least 410 miles (660 km) under the Montana-Idaho border — as far as seismic imaging could "see." The new electrical conductivity images show the conductive part of the plume dipping more gently, at an angle of perhaps 40 degrees to the west, and extending perhaps 400 miles (640 km) from east to west. The geoelectric image can "see" to a depth of only 200 miles (320 km). The lesser tilt of the geoelectric plume image raises the possibility that the seismically imaged plume, shaped somewhat like a tilted tornado, may be enveloped by a broader, underground sheath of partly molten rock and liquids. "It's a bigger size" in the geoelectric picture. "We can infer there are more fluids" than shown by seismic images. Despite differences, "this body that conducts electricity is in about the same location with similar geometry as the seismically imaged Yellowstone plume." (diagram)

No current tropical storms.


Report Finds U.S. Energy System Not Ready - The U.S.'s energy infrastructure is not ready to weather the storm of more frequent extreme weather. A new National Wildlife Federation report delivers that finding and makes recommendations for improving energy reliability. Floods, intense storms, hurricanes, droughts and heat waves have been happening more frequently, and they can disrupt power and fuel supplies."Increases in power outages, the vulnerability of our oil and gas infrastructure, how we transport coal across the country, are all going to be affected by the fact that we're having more extreme weather events."
More than 40 percent of the water used in the U.S. is used in energy production, mostly to cool coal-burning and nuclear plants. Some companies have had to scale back production during times of high heat or drought, or been forced to add new cooling equipment. "Those sorts of unexpected capital costs put real financial strain on utilities. The investors are starting to take notice; they're asking companies to report how they're preparing." Recommendations for energy security include an assessment of energy industry vulnerabilities, plans for adapting in emergencies, and improved efficiency to reduce dependence on supplies that could be scarce during damaging weather.
Reducing reliance on energy production that requires large amounts of water is another recommendation in the report. To view the full report - "More Extreme Weather and the U.S. Energy Infrastructure."

CHINA - Extreme weather drives FRUIT PRICES TO HIGHEST IN A DECADE in Xiamen. Due to changing weather and other factors, prices of fruit have increased in different degrees in Xiamen. In March, the fruit prices in Xiamen Zhongpu Fruit Wholesale Market hit a record high in ten years. The overall average wholesale price of fruit stood at RMB6.14/kg, an increase of 40% over the same period last year.
The price of Zhangzhou bananas in Xiamen has increased from RMB4/kg to RMB5.5/kg since the beginning of March, with a 30% increase and even a 74% increase compared with the same period last year. Yunxiao loquat, which has appeared in the market earlier than Putian loquat this year, sells at a wholesale price of RMB 12-20/kg due to short supply, up by 52% compared with the same period last year. Extreme weather at the beginning of this year, coupled with higher cost of manufacture, circulation and marketing has resulted in the reduced output of southern fruits. The short supply has caused purchasing prices rising persistently.