Friday, December 9, 2011

Extreme weather records broken across the United States in 2011 - Though the year isn't yet over, 2011 proved to be rough when it came to extreme weather climate change is to blame. RECORDS FOR EXTREME HEAT AND EXTREME COLD WERE BROKEN IN ALL 50 U.S. STATES. The extremes at time have been disastrous, costing Americans an estimated overall $53 billion. In a conference Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council, an international nonprofit environmental organization, planned to release a map showing exactly how areas have been hit, including state-by-state analyses on weather extremes, record breakers, rainfall and snowfall.
What's causing the changes? Perhaps climate change, according to the NRDC. A Special Report on Extreme Events from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already concluded that the effects of climate change will intensify extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and maximum wind speeds of tropical storms.

**What if a demon were to creep after you one night,
in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live
must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more;
and every pain and joy and thought and sigh
must come again to you, all in the same sequence.
The eternal hourglass will again and again
be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!'
Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth
and curse that demon? Or would you answer,
'Never have I heard anything more divine'?**
Friedrich Nietzsche

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
12/8/11 -

12/7/11 -


INDONESIA - Thousands Flee From Spice Isle Eruption - A volcano eruption in eastern Indonesia has forced thousands of residents to flee the area to avoid choking smoke. Mount Gamalama on the island of Ternate has spewed smoke and ash for days, but increased activity has forced the hurried evacuation of islanders. Witnesses described how the peak of the volcano was shrouded with an ash cloud as lava flowed down the side. Earlier, thousands of residents in Ternate, the provincial capital, flocked to a ship heading north to Bitung, North Sulawesi. Indonesian officials said more than 1,200 people from villages on the slopes of mountain are now living in shelters.
"There were no reports of casualties or injuries but people did panic for a while, screaming as they ran out of their homes." The city has been blanketed by smoke since Monday and the eruption sent an ash cloud more than 6,000ft into the air. Heavy rain has turned ash into a slurry, washing debris into inhabited areas. The volcano first erupted late on Sunday. Local authorities said Baabullah domestic airport in the city remains closed. Ternate was one of the former Spice Islands, and villagers grow cloves on Mount Gamalama's foothills. It last erupted in 2003. A 5.8-magnitude earthquake also struck off Indonesia's eastern Maluku islands on Wednesday.
INDONESIA - Spike in Illness Seen In the Ashy Wake of Gamalama Eruption. Residents in Ternate, North Maluku, are beginning to suffer from upper respiratory tract infections as a result of the ongoing eruption of Mount Gamalama. “Three of my children have been suffering from ISPA [upper respiratory tract infections] since yesterday. The doctor says it’s because they’ve breathed in too much volcanic ash from Mount Gamalama."
Gamalama, which forms the entire island of Ternate, the provincial capital, began spewing silica ash 1,700 meters into the air above the city on Sunday night. Since the eruption began, raining ash onto the city, residents had tried to secure masks to protect their children. However, the supplies available from public health authorities are very limited. Officials confirmed the shortage earlier this week, and said they had prioritized residents in the worst-affected areas in distributing their initial stock of 3,000 masks. On Wednesday, however, relief was reportedly on the way from the closest major city, Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, in the form of 50,000 more masks. The city planned to stock up with 150,000 masks to anticipate the possibility of a lengthy eruption.
Officials have been forced to bring in supplies by ship since the volcanic ash, an aviation hazard, forced the island’s airport to close. Ternate’s port saw crushes of travelers crowding around the ticket windows, most of them having just received refunds from airlines. In addition to respiratory ailments, residents were complaining of eye irritation, itchiness and diarrhea. The threat of diarrhea results from volcanic ash contaminating water supplies in area outside the main business district, where piped water is not available and supplies are collected by hand from natural springs. “We have instructed the state water company to distribute fresh water to residents on the slopes of Mount Gamalama … because springs have been polluted with ash."

Fears of Mount Paekdu eruption spreading in North Korea - North Korea's adoption of a new rule on natural disasters last month indicates that experts' warnings of volcanic eruptions of Mount Paekdu have spread widely throughout the country. Pyongyang's new law stipulates principles for observing and forecasting natural disasters, particularly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, in addition to how to minimize damage and undertake rescue activities, the Korean Central News Agency reported last month, without giving further details.
Experts outside the secretive communist country have warned since last year that North Korea's Mount Paekdu, which borders China, may still have an active core, citing topographical signs and satellite images.
Mount Paekdu, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, last erupted in 1903. Pyongyang likely intended to calm jitters among the public over widespread speculations over an eruption by devising systematic measures, and to draw international support for its disaster-prevention efforts. North Korea is presumed to have merged different regulations on disaster prevention while adding rules on volcanoes and earthquakes that have been missing so far." Experts from the two Koreas held talks on potential volcanic activity at Mount Paekdu in March and April. North Korea proposed the rare meeting soon after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan earlier this year. The two sides have held no further talks or actions since then.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano poses explosive peril - Kilauea, the sleepy Hawaiian volcano famed for its quiet lava flows, could awaken into violent explosive eruptions at any time, geologists on the Big Island warn. Researchers at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - where 5000 mainland visitors a day come come to see the lava - have uncovered detailed evidence that during three long periods over the past 2,500 years, the summit of the shaking mountain has blasted out fiery rocks, steam and carbon dioxide again and again. It's bound to happen again, but the scientists say they can't predict when.
"Our research shows that Kilauea is a dangerous explosive volcano for long periods of time, alternating with periods dominated by gentle lava flows." Continuous and often spectacularly scenic lava flows, interrupted only occasionally by modest explosive eruptions, have marked the volcano's activity for the past 200 years, but the 300 years before that saw one explosive eruption after another. Kilauea's worst eruption in history killed uncounted numbers of Hawaiian people in November 1790.
According to sketchy accounts in local folklore, and a missionary's description from 1843, the volcano's summit exploded as a local chief named Keôua led three groups of warriors and their families across the summit on their way to battle King Kamehameha, Keôua's cousin, for supremacy over the island. One of the three groups was annihilated, there were casualties in another, and the third suffered only a few injuries. Remains of the bodies found afterward suggests that a dilute mixture of hot gas and volcanic ash moving at hurricane speed engulfed the victims.
The geologic record shows that Kilauea's activity has been marked by a period dominated by frequent lava flows from about 2,500 to 2,200 years ago, followed by a long period of explosive eruptions that continued for about the next 1,200 years; then another 500 years of lava flows, followed by about 300 years of eruptions, and then by more lava flows that continue today. The lava flows are building up the volcano's summit now and each period of violent eruptions creates and deepens the volcano's circular crater, called the caldera. When even a small eruption is about to occur, the bottom of the caldera sinks slightly. So its level is recorded daily as a possible sign that an eruption is due. "The good news is that we are currently in a period of frequent lava flows, and the hazard of explosive eruptions is small. The bad news is that we don't know when the next period of deep caldera and explosive eruptions will start. We know too little to estimate recurrence intervals."

In the Indian Ocean -
Category 3 Tropical cyclone 01s (Alenga) was located approximately 700 nm west of Learmonth, Australia.

Study links tropical cyclones to earthquakes - US researchers say they have found evidence that tropical cyclones in Haiti and Taiwan were followed by earthquakes, suggesting that heavy rains and landslides may unleash temblors. "Very wet rain events are the trigger. The heavy rain induces thousands of landslides and severe erosion, which removes ground material from the Earth's surface, releasing the stress load and encouraging movement along faults."
Researchers analysed data from major earthquakes - magnitude six and higher - in Taiwan and Haiti over the past 50 years and found that large quakes tended to follow within four years of a very wet tropical cyclone season. In some recent cases, quakes happened sooner, such as in 2009 when Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan was followed the same year by a magnitude 6.2 quake and another 6.4 quake in 2010. Morakot killed 614 people and left 75 missing, burying entire villages and dumping a record three metres of rain in what is considered one of the island's worst natural disasters. Typhoon Herb hit in 1996, killing hundreds in China and Taiwan, and was followed two years later by a 6.2 earthquake and then a 7.6 earthquake in 1999. After 1969's Typhoon Flossie was followed three years later by a magnitude 6.2 quake in 1972. The team also looked at the 2010 magnitude seven earthquake in Haiti and found it came a year and a half after two hurricanes and two tropical storms drenched the island nation within 25 days. The quake hit in January last year and levelled the capital Port-au-Prince, killing more than 225,000 people and leaving one in seven homeless. An ensuing cholera epidemic left more than 5000 people dead.
The researchers says their theory is that the heavy rains and landslide shift enough weight away from the surface load above the fault that a quake is triggered. "The reduced load unclamp the faults, which can promote an earthquake." The hypothesis only fits areas where there are fault lines on an incline, such as mountainous regions where the waters would push the land significantly far away from cracks deep in the Earth's bedrock. The researchers plan further study of weather conditions in the Philippines and Japan to see if the same links can be observed.


'Weather bomb' winds scour Scotland - Winds in the Scottish Highlands were clocked at 165 mph Thursday as an UNUSUAL STORM battered much of northern Britain. The worst effects were felt in Scotland. The winds brought trees down, stripped Aberdeen of its Christmas decorations and left 60,000 people without power. The Met Office issued its FIRST-EVER "red alert" Wednesday. Such warnings are HIGHLY UNUSUAL. Meteorologists said the wind was caused by an "explosive deepening," a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure within a span of 24 hours that is also known as a "weather bomb". Police advised everyone to get off the roads in central Scotland, but many drivers ignored the advice. Overturned trucks were scattered along highways and all travel was disrupted - with ferry services canceled, Edinburgh Airport closed and train speed limits reduced. About 75 percent of the schools in Scotland were closed.
The wind also caused problems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Wind speeds were measured as high as 81 mph in Wales and Northwest England. Ferries from Northern Ireland were canceled or delayed and cross-Channel services to France were disrupted.