Thursday, September 22, 2011

RE-ENTRY UPDATE: NASA has issued an update on the condition of the decaying UARS satellite: "As of 1:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 21, the orbit of UARS was 120 mi by 130 mi (190 km by 205 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time. The satellite will NOT be passing over North America during that time period. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 48 hours."
UARS is making its final orbits around Earth, tumbling and flashing brightly as it descends. The disintegration of UARS is expected to produce a fireball that could be visible even in broad daylight. As many as 26 potentially hazardous pieces of debris could be scattered along a ground track some 500 miles long.

**Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.**
Robert Louis Stevenson

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/21/11 -

INDIA - Sikkim quake may have been induced by dams across Teesta River. The presence of multiple dams on the river Teesta and its tributaries could either induce or accelerate earthquakes. “In early 1970 a major earthquake in Maharashtra had been triggered by the Koyna dam located on the Sahyadri Hills. Though the role of the dams on the River Teesta in the recent quake is yet to be studied, the earthquake could have been induced or accelerated by the dams (dam induced seismicity)".
A committee on landslides, which also studied the tectonic plate movement, handed over recommendations to the government of West Bengal in 2000. The committee recommended that no constructions should be allowed on the rivers. The Central government’s “master vision” identifies the North-Eastern region as “India’s future powerhouse” by building about 168 dams in the region. To do this, the Teesta river in Sikkim is being extensively dammed. Around 35 hydel power projects have been identified in this region. The Teesta river originates in Sikkim and flows through North Bengall. “It is very unfortunate that the Government does not pay heed to recommendations of its own committee for which the public have to suffer. Something more devastating can happen any day. It is time the public woke up and pressurized the Government to act more reasonably. Electricity in lieu of lives is not a very human option."
The Himalayas are a young chain of mountains formed by the Indian tectonic plate colliding with the Eurasian plate. While the river Teesta flows in a north-south direction, the Himalayan fault lines lie in the east west direction. “A major fault line is located at Kalijhora (considered the best location to study Himalayan fault lines) and Teesta Low Dam Stage 4 is located at Kalijhora.. Owing to the dams checking the flow of the river, the water becomes heavy and starts going down, usually seeping into crevasses. “Water being a new element in the faults and crevasses in the mountain, the mountain starts adjusting which causes the seismic movements." The very flow of Teesta is an indicator of the fault line. While in Sikkim the Teesta flows in curves (zig zag) after Teesta, it flows in a straight line which suggests that it could be flowing along a fault line in West Bengal. “Very few earthquake movements are in a North-South direction but the 6.8 magnitude quake which hit Sikkim and this region was in a North-South movement. The epicenter was at the base of Mount Kanchenjunga. The mountain moved. It took a mere two seconds for the earthquake to reach North Bengal University near Siliguri in the plains from Gangtok which is VERY UNUSUAL".
“A full scale inspection and study should be conducted by geologists and earth scientists into the recent quake and on the dam induced seismicity. It should be an independent probe not influenced by the Government. We should not be accelerating or bringing in such natural events otherwise we will definitely have to pay a dear price."

Nepal quake stirs concerns for capital - Seismic experts have renewed fears that Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, would suffer an extraordinary human casualty toll if struck by an earthquake, due to poor urban planning and design. The concerns resurfaced after the powerful 6.9 earthquake struck northeastern Nepal, India and Tibet on Sunday, killing 81 people and wreaking havoc in the region. If a quake hit the capital of Nepal, ranked by the United Nations as the11th most earthquake-prone country, experts say 100,000 people could be killed in the city and most of its buildings could be destroyed beyond repair. (link goes to youtube interview)


In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Ophelia was located about 1065 mi (1715 km) E of the Leeward Islands.

In the Pacific -
-Tropical storm Hilary was located about 95 mi. (55 km) S of Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Hilary is expected to become a hurricane today as it moves south of the coast of Mexico.

-Tropical Storm 18w (Roke) was located approximately 90 nm north-northeast of Tokyo, Japan.

The powerful typhoon Roke that hit Japan on Wednesday has been making its way across the country, bringing floods, damage and deaths. At least six people have been killed by the storm, with many others missing or injured. The storm, which caused winds of 162km/h (100mph), passed near the capital Tokyo and the damaged nuclear power plant at Fukushima. However, it now looks as if the storm is losing strength.
Roke, the second typhoon to hit Japan this month, made landfall on Wednesday afternoon (0500GMT) in Hamamatsu. It then moved up the main island of Honshu before passing near Tokyo, where thousands of commuters were stranded with trains suspended. More than 200 domestic flights were also cancelled, while at least 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity late on Wednesday. Typhoon Roke's fierce winds battered Tokyo before the storm passed Roke later headed up Japan's north-east coast past Fukushima. One of the main worries was that the heavy rain could force radioactive water from the crippled nuclear plant into the sea. The storm damaged security cameras set up to monitor the plant but it did not appear to have caused any water to overflow.


Researchers to study dangerous, deadly weather phenomenon - atmospheric blocking.
Atmospheric blocking is a relatively unknown weather phenomenon responsible for prolonged bouts of extreme conditions, such as the summer 2011 Midwest heat wave that led to destructive wildfires in Texas. "Atmospheric blocking occurs when a high pressure system gets stuck in one place. If hot, dry weather doesn't move, it can lead to extreme heat and drought conditions. If a rainy pattern becomes stuck, it can lead to flooding."
Atmospheric blocking occurs between 20-40 times each year throughout the world and usually lasts between 8-11 days. Although atmospheric blocking is ONE OF THE RAREST WEATHER EVENTS, it can trigger dangerous conditions, such as the 2003 European heat wave that caused 40,000 deaths. Blocking usually results when a powerful, high-pressure area gets stuck in one place. Because they cover a large area, fronts behind them are blocked. Researchers will develop new methods for spotting and predicting atmospheric blocking. They also will analyze the social and economic impacts that blocking events caused during the 20th century. By better understanding the effects of blocking and how to identify the weather phenomenon, forecasters and government officials will be able to better prepare communities for extreme weather. "Blocking events are important because of the effects on people living in affected areas. Heat waves caused by blocking killed 15,000 people in Russia last year."
Atmospheric blocking has a major effect on the environment and commerce. In 2004, a blocking event over Alaska decreased precipitation and increased temperatures. The heat melted glaciers and, when coupled with decreased precipitation, it caused fierce forest fires in the interior of the state. Blocking can also have positive effects. In 2004, blocking caused prolonged pleasant temperatures and sunny skies leading to excellent crop yields in Missouri. However, a cold snap in spring 2007 caused by blocking killed budding plants.


100 fires burning throughout New South Wales, Australia, as firefighters continue to battle a four-day bush blaze in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. 18 are uncontained.
Fire officials say the blaze behind Olympian Parade at the Blue Mountains is the worst to have hit the state this week, with firefighters battling to save six homes. It's believed to have been deliberately lit on Monday and has been difficult to control due to the dense bushland nearby.
Bushfires continue to cause havoc - Firefighters say bushfires burning out of control south-east of Alice Springs appear likely to link up.