Monday, October 11, 2011

**Be different. Think different.
Better to be a pirate than to join the navy.**
Steve Jobs

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/9/11 -

The massive March Japanese earthquake altered Earth's gravity - The devastating earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year was powerful enough to slightly alter the pull of gravity under the affected area, scientists have found. Anything that has mass has a gravity field that attracts objects toward it. The strength of this field depends on a body's mass. Since the Earth's mass is not spread out evenly, its gravity field is stronger in some places and weaker in others.
The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor in March was the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan and the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded. To see how the temblor might have deformed the Earth there, scientists used the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to analyze the area's gravity field before and after the quake. The researchers found the Tohoku-Oki quake reduced the gravity field there by an average of two-millionths of a gal by slightly thinning the Earth's crust. In comparison, the strength of the gravitational pull at the Earth's surface is, on average, 980 gals. (The gal, short for Galileo, is a unit of acceleration; one gal is defined as one centimeter per second squared.)
"The most important implication of our findings is that the massive Tohoku-Oki earthquake brings significant changes to not only the ground but also the underground structure of Japan." The GRACE satellites had previously detected gravity changes caused by the magnitude 9.1 to 9.3 2004 Sumatra-Andaman quake, the third-most powerful earthquake ever recorded, and the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile in 2010, the eighth-most powerful on record. These reduced the gravity fields in the areas struck in much the same way as the Tohoku-Oki quake, since they were all similar types of earthquakes. The researchers are now interested in seeing if they can detect post-quake gravity field changes as the crust settles back into place. (image)

Japan Quake May Have Struck Atmosphere First - The magnitude 9.0 quake that struck off the coast of Tohoku in Japan in March ushered in what might be the WORLD'S FIRST COMPLEX MEGADISASTER as it unleashed a catastrophic tsunami and set off microquakes and tremors around the globe. The devastating earthquake may have rattled the highest layer of the atmosphere even before it shook the Earth, a discovery that one day could be used to provide warnings of giant quakes, scientists find.
Scientists recently found the surface motions and tsunamis this earthquake generated also triggered waves in the sky. These waves reached all the way to the ionosphere, one of the highest layers of the Earth's atmosphere. The Tohoku quake also may have generated ripples in the ionosphere BEFORE the quake struck. Disruptions of the electrically charged particles in the ionosphere lead to anomalies in radio signals between global positioning system satellites and ground receivers, data that scientists can measure. They discovered a rise of approximately 8 percent in the total electron content in the ionosphere above the area hit by the arthquake about 40 minutes before the temblor. This increase was greatest about the epicenter and diminished with distance away from it. "Before finding this phenomenon, I did not think earthquakes could be predicted at all. Now I think large earthquakes are predictable."
Analysis of GPS records from the magnitude 8.8 Chile earthquake in 2010 revealed a similar pattern. These anomalies also may have occurred with the Sumatra magnitude 9.2 earthquake in 2004 and the magnitude 8.3 Hokkaido earthquake in 1994. If true, further research could lead to a new type of early-warning system for giant earthquakes. The anomaly is currently seen before earthquakes only with magnitudes of about 8.5 or larger. Still, if researchers can detect what specifically causes this ionospheric phenomenon, it also might be possible to detect precursory phenomena for smaller earthquakes. The ionosphere is highly variable — for instance, solar storms can trigger large changes in total electron content there. Before researchers could develop an early-warning system for earthquakes based on ionospheric anomalies, they would have to rule out non-earthquake causes.

A 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck El Hierro, the smallest of The Canary Islands, late on Saturday night. It was the strongest earthquake to be recorded on the Spanish island since an unprecedented earthquake swarm commenced during the summer. The Instituto Geografico Nacional (IGN) has reported an increase in the intensity of earthquakes recorded on El Hierro during the previous 48 hours. The number of earthquakes recorded since July 17 , 2011 on El Hierros has now reached 10,000.
The IGN also confirmed surface deformations exceeding 35mm on the 280-sqkm island, where residents have been put on alert for a possible volcanic eruption. However, seismologists have moved to reassure the local population that a volcanic eruption is not imminent. The agency confirmed on Friday that 886 earthquakes, most of them located in the sea to the SW of the island, have been recorded in the 7 days since 02 October, 2011. During this period, 71 earthquakes were felt by the island’s estimated 10,000 residents.
Since Friday morning, there have been more than two dozen earthquakes exceeding 3.0 on the Richter Scale with epicentres both North and South of the NW Ridge and depths between 10 and 15 km have been recorded. The strongest of the tremors measured 4.3 magnitude on the Richter Scale, many times stronger than other earthquakes recorded on the island since mid-July. It was recorded on Saturday night at a depth of 12 km. The quake produced small rockslides but no injuries were reported. (maps and charts)

Big 5.5 quake rocks Christchurch, New Zealand - The tremor struck at 8.34pm and was centred 10km northeast of Diamond Harbour and was 12km below the surface. There were no reports of injury or damage although residents said the jolt was "big and noisy". Aftershocks have been keeping Christchurch on edge since the 6.3 magnitude quake on February 22 that killed 181 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. That quake was an aftershock of an even bigger 7.1 quake in September last year, which caused extensive damage but no deaths. Last night's jolt was the eighth largest to strike the area since September 4 last year.


PENNSYLVANIA - October 2, 5, & 7, 2011 - Mysterious 'booms' continue in Swatara Township. People in one Dauphin County community say they're scared. Their houses have been shaking and they don't think its an earthquake. They want answers, but haven't had any luck. Residents who live on and near Norton Road in Swatara Township reported what they've been feeling were not rumbles, like earthquakes. Instead, they said it's felt more like a series of explosions.
This first happened back in June, then the mysterious booms stopped. It's happened again at least three time this week. Township commissioners felt one at their board meeting. "I was in the kitchen, there was an enormous boom, and the whole house shook." The fear of the unknown has people on edge. "Nobody seems to have any idea of what's causing this, is a concern." There's a report one blast caused minor damage to someone's basement. "The police came here, the fire company came here, UGI here. They don't know what's going on." There are natural gas lines underground. If the booms continue, residents are worried about everyone's safety. "It could shake a line up, next thing you know, we're going to have an explosion and somebody's really going to get hurt."
Swatara Township said in a news release Friday that residents and employees have been experiencing "some type of seismic event," most recently at around noon on Tuesday, again just after 6 p.m. Wednesday, and again at 12:25 on Friday. The township said it has requested the help of the U.S. Geological Survey and state experts to investigate the occurrences and determine what is happening. "We've got to get some big shot official here to get to the bottom of this before somebody gets killed."


In the Atlantic -
No current tropical storms.

In the Pacific -
-Category 1 Hurricane Jova was located about 280 mi. (455 km) SW of Manzanillo, Mexico. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for parts of Mexico. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Jova could become a major hurricane by tonight or Tuesday.

-Tropical storm Irwin was located about 810 mi. (1305 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja California.


Recent cold winters that brought chaos to the UK and other places in northern Europe may have their roots in the Sun's varying ultraviolet emissions. The latest satellite data shows the UV output is far more changeable than scientists had previously thought.
The Sun's ultraviolet output varies more with overall activity than had been suspected. These changes lead to warmer winters in some places and colder winters in others. Researchers emphasise there is no impact on global warming.
The Sun has recently been in a quiet phase of its regular 11-year cycle, which co-incided with three years in which the UK, along with other places in northern Europe and parts of the US, experienced cold conditions unusual in the recent record. But unusually warm weather was felt both further south, around the editerranean Sea, and further north in Canada and Greenland. "The key point is that this effect is a change in the circulation, moving air from one place to another, which is why some places get cold and others get warm. It's a jigsaw puzzle, and when you average it up over the globe, there is no effect on global temperatures."
The recent revelations on the Sun's ultraviolet variability come from a Nasa satellite called the SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), launched in 2003. Among its instruments is the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM), which analyses the Sun's output at frequencies in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum. SIM is giving scientists a detailed picture of how the Sun's ultraviolet emissions vary over its regular 11-year cycle of waxing and waning energy; and it suggests the UV variation is about FIVE TIMES LARGER than had been inferred from previous observations. Meanwhile, scientists including the Met Office team have been publishing papers demonstrating that winter temperatures over Europe and North America do vary with the solar cycle - but without being able to show the mechanism. The results of the modelling re-inforce the idea that the UV variations affect winter weather across the region; and they indicate how it may happen.
UV is absorbed in the stratosphere, the upper atmosphere, by ozone. So in the quiet bit of the solar cycle, when there is less UV to absorb, the stratosphere is relatively cooler. The Hadley Centre model shows that the effects of this percolate down through the atmosphere, changing wind speeds, including the jet stream that circles the globe above Europe, North America and Russia. The net change is a reduced air flow from west to east, which brings colder air to the UK and northern Europe and re-distributes temperatures across the region.
Ultraviolet emissions are not the sole reason why winter temperatures vary. But understanding the UV link may improve meteorologists' capacity to predict winter weather accurately. "Assuming these new satellite data are correct... then as the 11-year solar cycle is predictable, it's going to contribute some predictability for European and indeed UK weather. You'll never be able to predict the precise temperature of the third week in January or whatever, but you might be able to say 'this winter is more likely to be warm' or 'more likely to be cold' with more accuracy."
The one big caveat is whether SIM's data is accurate. Scientists in the field appear to believe it is - but as the UV changes it sees are so large compared with previous methods, they would prefer confirmation. "The trends seen in the SIM observations are still under discussion and remain to be confirmed." SIM measures only a proportion of the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. If the ultraviolet theory is correct, the UK is less likely to see cold winters in the next few years as the 11-year solar cycle gains strength.
As well as the 11-year cycle, the Sun's output also varies on longer timescales. Its intensity has increased since the 1600s when the period known as the Maunder Minimum began, with astronomers documenting a dearth of sunspots over many decades. The Maunder Minimum co-incided with part of a period that has come to be known as the Little Ice Age, when winter weather overall grew colder in parts of Europe. If the Sun's ultraviolet output varies as much on long timescales as its does across the solar cycle, that could provide the connection between the Maunder Minimum and the temperature changes. The Little Ice Age wasn't really an ice age of any kind - the idea that Europe had a relentless sequence of cold winters is frankly barking, but there was a larger proportion of cold winters. We now have a viable explanation of why that happened - nothing to do with global warming, but in terms of temperature re-distribution around the north Atlantic."


Extreme drought persists in Oklahoma and Texas.


-Thumb Oilseed is recalling Soy Flour (Utilized To Manufacture Human and Animal Food) Due To Salmonella Contamination.
-Kraft Foods Global, Inc. is voluntarily recalling three varieties of Velveeta Shells & Cheese Single Serve Microwaveable Cups with limited “best when used by” dates as a precaution due to the possible presence of small, thin wire bristle pieces.