Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
11/8/11 -
5.2 SAVU SEA [N of Australia]


CANARY ISLANDS - Undersea Volcano Now Just 70 Meters from Surface. In the Atlantic Ocean, off the Canary Island of El Hierro, 20-meter high jets of water are being spat into the air as the sea boils amid the stench of sulfur. The undersea volcano, which is set to create new land, is growing ever-nearer to the surface -- but is the existing island at risk from the explosive eruptions?
"The monster rises out of the water", screamed the Spanish newspaper La Provincia. Scientists, meanwhile, are being a bit more level-headed about the undersea volcano south of El Hierro in the Canary Islands; they now believe it is in the third phase of its eruption -- fountains of water have been shooting out of the Atlantic up to 20 meters in the air over the last few days. On Tuesday, some local residents even saw stones being catapulted out of the sea. A seething maelstrom, dozens of meters across, is bubbling away in the ocean. Measurements show that the vortices are significantly warmer than the surrounding water.
So far, the volcano has only shown its explosive power beneath the water. But now the outbursts to the south of El Hierro are frothing up the surface, as if the ocean had hiccups. The lava is piling up on an underwater mountain. That the eruption is capable of firing jets of water into the air shows that this mountain is growing -- the center of the eruption is approaching the surface. Geologists believe that new land could soon emerge from the sea, and islanders are already looking for a name for the new territory. There are only 70 meters to go until the mountain reaches the surface.
But how big is the risk to nearby residents? Last weekend, hundreds of people had to leave their homes in the southern part of El Hierro as streets were closed. And locals can quite literally smell the danger -- stinking sulfur fumes are drifting across the ocean. The Volcanology Institute of the Canaries, Involcan, has reported a three-fold increase in carbon dioxide levels -- a warning signal that further volcanic activity can be expected.
Seismic disturbances on the seabed have also been spreading. Since July, more than 10,000 minor earthquakes have shaken El Hierro, but since Oct. 22, the tremors have become increasingly stronger with some even surpassing four on the Richter scale. The quakes are showing a pattern typical of flowing magma, the so-called harmonic volcanic tremor -- a clear sign of impending eruptions. And scientists have been warning since September that if and when those eruptions do occur, they could well happen on land. In recent days, the tremors have shifted from the south to the north of El Hierro. Because most of the quakes there had occurred at a depth of ten kilometers or greater, there was probably no immediate risk of an eruption in the area, the local authorities had said. The magma had been confined to the deep. But it has now started moving upwards -- the most recent earthquakes have been shallower.
There could soon be eruptions in or near the El Golfo valley on the northern coast, the IGN has warned. And an outpouring of lava could prove dangerous not only if it happens on land, but also in shallow water, where it could result in large steam explosions. Off the southern coast, meanwhile, pumice stones and a massive sea of ash are drifting across the water. An initial analysis of the material produced by the volcano so far has surprised experts: It provided "clear evidence of the explosive potential" of the volcano. Most so-called hot spot volcanoes, like those in the Canaries, produce basaltic magma with a relatively small proportion of silicon dioxide (SiO2). SiO2 acts like a glue, producing very viscous magma, leading to a buildup of gases which results in an explosive mixture. El Hierro volcano, however, is feeding off two supplies of lava; a less volatile basalt magma and a much more explosive, SiO2-rich magma. The risk of large, explosive eruptions in the Canary Islands "should not be neglected," warned a geoscientist. How often such events happen is unknown. But even the most momentous explosions of the past few centuries remained localized. And there are no fears of large eruptions on land, according to the IGN. The only risk is in the immediate vicinity of the eruption site, where there may be lava flows and rocks flung into the air.

WASHINGTON - The Corps of Engineers plans to raise the sediment dam on the Toutle River near Mount St. Helens to prevent volcanic runoff from filling the Cowlitz River bed downstream and increasing the flood danger. The corps plans to add 10 feet on top of the 125-foot-tall dam that was built 25 years ago. The work next summer depends on congressional approval of $6.5 million requested by the Obama administration for Mount St. Helens response and monitoring. The long-term plan calls for a combination of raising the spillway as much as 30 feet, periodically dredging the Cowlitz and building weirs along the Toutle to trap silt. A channel would be left through the dam spillway for salmon.

In the Atlantic -
Tropical storm Sean was located about 440 mi (705 km) SW of Bermuda. Tropical storm conditions are possible on Bermuda by Thursday afternoon or Thursday night. Swells generated by Sean are expected to affect portions of the southeastern coast of the United States during the next couple of days, causing life-threatening surf and rip currents.

In the Pacific -
Tropical cyclone 04a was located approximately 500 nm east-northeast of Cape Guardafu, Somalia.


PAKISTAN - Relief efforts for five million people affected by flooding in Sindh province of Pakistan are threatened because of a lack of funds, aid agencies say. Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and the French agency, Acted, have warned that more than NINE MILLION PEOPLE ARE AT RISK of disease and malnutrition. The groups warn they may have to curtail their relief operations unless donors provide more money soon. Less than a third of the UN's relief target of $357m has been reached.
Correspondents say that while the press statement released by the agencies does not apportion blame, the Pakistani government's overall response to the flooding has in recent months come in for heavy criticism. Neither foreign donors nor the government in Islamabad have commented on the statement, but orrespondents say the perception is that for a second year running, the government in particular has failed flood victims.
The four aid agencies say that three million Pakistanis still require emergency food assistance and 800,000 remain displaced. Officials in Sindh say that at least four of the province's 22 districts still remain under water. The four agencies say that the lack of funding for flood relief programmes will have serious consequences if money is not found soon to help those in need.
This year's floods in the southern province of Sindh are thought to be worse than last year's deluge and have killed about 250 people. Caused by heavy monsoon rains, the floods have damaged or destroyed some 1.5 million houses in Sindh alone since they began in August. Officials have repeatedly expressed fears about the rapid spread of disease, warning that the problems affecting Sindh are getting more acute. Oxfam will be forced to cut back its work after December, meaning the 3.9 million people it planned to reach will now go without help. Save the Children has so far raised only 35% of its global appeal for the Sindh floods. Care faces a shortfall of 91% and is struggling to continue its relief programme. "Due to a funding shortfall, we've only reached roughly 10% of the targeted 150,000 in need of emergency health care in the areas where we and our local partners operate." About 70% of Sindh's crops in 13 districts have been destroyed.
"The 2011 floods flash appeal remains distressingly under-funded, with a 73% shortfall, and if more funding is not received relief supplies will run out within weeks." This hampers UN agencies striving to provide clean water, sanitation, food, shelter and health care. The Pakistani government also faces a funding crisis and might be forced to scale down its relief efforts. "Over two months into the crisis millions of people are still without basics. If relief operations stop, it could lead to an UNIMAGINABLE CATASTROPHE. Health care, clean water and sanitation are needed to stem a looming public health crisis. There's an acute food shortage and many farmers will miss the winter cropping season. Diseases are on the rise, food stocks are running low and the lives of at least two million adults and three million children are at risk. "We had expected the situation to stabilise by now but conditions are going from bad to worse. Each day that passes puts more children at risk of contracting diseases. Malnutrition levels among children under-fives are among SOME OF OUR WORST RECORDED CASES. Children's immunity is very weak, and we fear winter will make the situation worse if aid is not immediately stepped up."

Toll from VIETNAM FLOODS climbs to 100 -The flooding has left two others missing - mostly in southern Vietnam, which is suffering its worst floods in a decade. In Quang Nam province recent floods have killed 17 people, left one missing and forced 25,000 people from their homes. Many villages in the province are isolated by floods and landslides. Five other people drowned in central Vietnam and one more is missing. Meanwhile, the death toll from seasonal floods in the southern Mekong Delta has hit 78. That area has been hit by floods since late August, but the waters have started to recede in central Vietnam.


ALASKA - SNOWSTORM - Kenyan runner missing after snowstorm in Alaska. A star student cross-country runner from the University of Alaska Anchorage was missing today, with officials fearing he may have succumbed to the elements after a snowstorm hit the area. He was part of an elite group of Kenyan runners at UAA and has not been seen since Sunday night, when he was sighted near the campus library. He did not return to his apartment and his roommates, who are fellow athletes, informed his coach that he was missing yesterday morning. Friess and his teammates conducted a search of his home and locker and found his winter coat, car keys and mobile phone. Anchorage police and members of Alaska Search and Rescue Dogs performed a search yesterday.
A strong snowstorm approached the west coast of Alaska Tuesday and it was expected to be ONE OF THE WORST EVER IN THE REGION. The beachfront city of Nome was expected to be hit late Tuesday with winds up to 85 mph. Dozens of coastal communities are making emergency preparations. "It is very dangerous. Everybody is spreading the word to let them know this is a major storm."
This storm is expected to impact the entire west coast of the state. Coastal flooding and beach erosion are expected along parts of the Bering Sea coast, the eastern and northern shore of Norton Sound, the Bering Strait coast and Little Diomede Island, among other areas. It will have moved across the Chukotsk Peninsula by Tuesday evening. The storm is then expected to head toward the Chukchi Sea by Wednesday. Nome was at the receiving end of a similar storm in Nov. 1974.