Friday, May 27, 2011

Extreme Weather Will Upset Global Food Output During Next Decade, UN Says. Global food output may be hurt as climate change brings more extreme weather over the next decade, with China likely set for harsher droughts and North America getting heavier rain, said the World Meteorological Organization. “Extreme events will become more intense in the future, especially the heat waves and extreme precipitations. That, combined with less rainfall in some regions like the Mediterranean region and China, will affect crop production and agriculture.”
The more extreme weather - including in the U.S., the world’s largest agricultural exporter - may disrupt harvests, possibly cutting production of grains, livestock and cooking oils and boosting prices. Global food costs reached a record in February, stoking inflation and pushing millions into poverty. “We foresee with high confidence in climate projections that intense precipitation in some parts of the world will be more intense, and drought will be more intense." Extreme heat waves “will also be more intense and more frequent.”
The chief executive officer at one of the world’s three biggest suppliers of rice forecast in February that FOOD SUPPLY CHAINS FACE "MASSIVE DISRUPTIONS" from climate change. The drought in China may cut early-season rice output if there’s no adequate rain over the next two weeks. “If the drought doesn’t end in two weeks, the impact on the region’s rice will no doubt be significant." In the U.S., floods along the Mississippi River and its tributaries have affected almost 3.6 million acres of cropland, causing the most damage in Arkansas. Floods in Canada’s Frenchman River Basin may be THE LARGEST SINCE 1952, and the waters slowed the nation’s sowing of wheat.
“Climate change, high-and-volatile food and energy prices, population and income growth” will put intense pressure on land and water and challenge global food security AS NEVER BEFORE. Corn traded at $7.4625 per bushel at 7:29 p.m. in Singapore today, more than double the price a year ago. Food costs are at “dangerous levels” after pushing 44 million people into poverty since June. That adds to the more than 900 million people around the world who go hungry each day. Agricultural research is needed to adapt farming to climate change. “The improvement of plants is absolutely important given the challenges we are facing, particularly the threat posed by climate change."

**May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.**
George Carlin

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/26/11 -
47 moderate quakes in Turkey
26 moderate quakes in Greece
12 moderate quakes in Puerto Rico

Italian scientists arrested over deadly 2009 L'Aquila quake - Seven scientists and other experts have been indicted on manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to warn residents sufficiently before an earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009. Defence lawyers condemned the charges, saying it was impossible to predict earthquakes. Seismologists have long concurred, saying no big earthquake has been foretold.
The judge reportedly said the defendants ''gave inexact, incomplete and contradictory information'' about whether smaller tremors felt in L'Aquila in the six months before the April quake should have constituted grounds for a warning. Prosecutors focused on a memo issued after a meeting of the commission in March 2009, called because of mounting concerns about seismic activity. The memo - issued a week before the big quake - said experts had concluded a big quake was ''improbable'' but could not be excluded. Commission members later stressed to the media that six months of low-magnitude quakes was not unusual in the highly seismic region and did not mean a big one was coming. A commission member had responded to a question about whether residents should just relax with a glass of wine. ''Absolutely, absolutely." Such a reassuring opinion ''persuaded the victims to stay at home'', the indictment reportedly said.
The 6.3-magnitude quake killed 308 people in and around the mediaeval town, which was largely reduced to rubble. Thousands of survivors lived in tent camps or temporary housing for months. Defence lawyers contend that since earthquakes cannot be predicted, accusations that the commission should have sounded an alarm make no sense. Although earthquakes cannot be predicted, after Japan's recent devastating quake experts said an early warning system in place there to detect the Earth's rumblings before they could be felt helped save countless lives. But as recently as this month Italy's national geophysics institute insisted earthquakes could not be predicted in a bid to dispel a widely reported prediction of a huge quake that was due to strike Rome on May 11.

Japan Should Stop Building Skyscrapers After Quake - Japan's
third-richest person said the government should consider setting a standard height for new buildings at about 100 meters (328 feet), a level for base-isolation systems, that shift and reduce the energy of quakes, to work best.


Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano is producing mostly steam rather than ash and should calm down within a few days, encouraging hopes there will be no further disruption to flights in northern Europe.


Songda reaches super typhoon strength, sets its sights on Taiwan and Okinawa. Having only given the Philippines a glancing blow of rain, Super Typhoon Songda strengthened into a Category 5 tropical cyclone. The powerful storm is forecast to now harass Taiwan and then set its sights on Okinawa, Japan. Songda is now packing winds of over 161mph. Known as Chedeng in the Philippines, the storm was 275 miles east-northeast of Manila and moving to the northwest at 9mph.
While staying well offshore of the Philippines, Songda dumped more than 4 inches of rain on the northeastern coast of Luzon. Anticipating flooding and mudslides the government had ordered the evacuation of 50,000 people from the Albay province. As the path of the storm became clearer, The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration dropped some of the warnings it had issued previously.
The current forecast calls for the storm to gradually make a turn toward the north where the ‘cone of uncertainty’ puts it within striking distance of Taiwan. The Central Weather Bureau has issued a Typhoon Warning and is closely monitoring the storm. Within the next 36 hours the storm is forecast to turn toward the northeast and toward the Japanese island of Okinawa. If the forecast holds true, the eye of the storm would hit the island at 1200UTC on Saturday. The somewhat good news is that the storm is expected to weaken as it makes it moves into cooler waters to the north. The JTWC estimates wind speeds of 110mph when it reaches Okinawa, a high Category 2 storm.
For Japan the biggest concern is the possibility that the storm cause problems on the main island of Honshu. Recovery efforts are still struggling following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and wind and rain would certainly hamper progress. (satellite photo)


MISSOURI - 232 people are still missing four days after a tornado tore through the southwest city of Joplin, and they've only managed to identify one of the 125 bodies found in the storm's wake.
Some of the missing from Sunday's disaster in Joplin may be among the unidentified remains being stored in a hastily constructed mass morgue. Officials have pleaded with anxious family members for patience while they undertake a lengthy identification process involving DNA testing and fingerprinting. "The 232, we can't presume that all of those are deceased." Some may simply have failed to contact anxious friends and family. There may also still be people trapped in the rubble who have not been officially reported missing. Asked why families were not being allowed into the morgue to visually identify their loved ones - "it is not 100 per cent accurate, and 100 per cent accurate is our goal."
In what is one of the worst tornado seasons on record after a series of twisters killed hundreds in southern US states last month, Sunday's was the deadliest single tornado to strike America in six decades. The monster funnel cloud tore apart everything it touched along a path six kilometres long and more than a kilometre wide.
Crews continue to search through the tangled piles of debris in hope of finding survivors, but hopes were fading after rescuers found no one in the rubble Wednesday - dead or alive. Anguished families have kept up a desperate hunt for their missing loved ones. But poor and patchy communications plus the complete devastation of some areas have hampered the search. Officials said they hoped that by publishing the list of 232 names they could locate the missing and ease the frayed nerves of their families. The heartbreaking pleas for help and information have been replayed constantly on the local radio and on social networking sites.
Some whole families were listed as missing, along with at least 15 people from area nursing homes. More than 8000 structures were damaged or destroyed when the twister packing winds over 320 kilometres an hour came roaring through Joplin with just a 24-minute warning.


Study boosts evidence that flu raises heart-attack risk.