Monday, March 26, 2012

No update on Tuesday this week.

2001-2010 was THE WARMEST DECADE ON RECORD - Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, "numerous weather and climate extremes affected almost every part of the globe with flooding, droughts, cyclones, heat waves and cold waves."

**A powerful idea communicates
some of its strength to him who challenges it.**
Marcel Proust

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/25/12 -

A major 7.0 quake hit central Chile on Sunday, rattling buildings and temporarily triggering a coastal evacuation on fears of a tsunami, but there was no serious damage. The quake struck about 250 kilometres southwest of Santiago. Its epicenter was located near the city of Talca, about 215km south-southwest of Santiago, at a depth of nearly 30 kilometres. Chilean authorities initially ordered people living in coastal areas between Concon and Lebu to evacuate after the quake, but later canceled the order.
Local authorities said one person was injured when they had a traffic accident during the earthquake in the Bio Bio region. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no widespread tsunami threat from the earthquake, but warned that earthquakes measuring more than 7.0 magnitude could cause local tsunamis and that local authorities should be prepared. The Maule coastal region in central Chile where the quake occurred has been periodically shaken by powerful aftershocks since an 8.8 magnitude quake February 27, 2010 that claimed more than 500 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage.

'Widely felt' earthquake rattles Hawaiian Islands - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 rattled a wide area of Hawaii on Saturday but caused no significant damage or injuries. The quake was "widely felt" throughout the islands.

No current tropical storms.


Louisiana - Storms cause flooding but end drought. After enduring wildfires and drought conditions last year, rainfall in March has put north Louisiana on the path toward one of the wettest on record for the month. This March is the 12th wettest on record so far.


Drought spreads to Brazil, crop yields hit - Drought has spread from Argentina and Paraguay to Brazil and is hitting soy yields at a time of growing concerns that regional growth may suffer as pressures mount on commodity prices.
Early-planted Argentine corn hit by Dec-Jan drought - Rains have relieved the Pampas after the December - January drought but early-planted corn was pummeled. Last week the exchange cut its estimate for Argentina's 2011/12 corn harvest to 20.8 million tonnes, from a previous 21.3 million tonnes, due to the drought. Argentina is the No. 2 global exporter of corn.

European Crops Hurt by Freeze Face Drought - European wheat and rapeseed crops are at risk of drought that may further hurt yields after freezing weather last month destroyed some fields, analysts and forecasters said. France, Spain, England and northern Italy got less rain than normal since the start of January. They will probably stay drier and warmer than usual in the next 30 days.
The 27-nation EU typically grows about 20 percent of the world’s soft wheat. A cold wave in February may have lopped 5 million metric tons off this year’s harvest, and a lack of rain might further harm EU output. “THE SITUATION IN EUROPE IS ALARMING." Rainfall in northern France, England and the north of Italy this year was 23 percent to 47 percent below the long-term average. In Spain and France’s Mediterranean region, amounts were 59 percent to 78 percent lower. An area of high atmospheric pressure is causing a so-called blocking effect that prevents Atlantic Ocean frontal systems from moving into Europe. “The rest of March will be dry, with high pressure more or less in control. In April and May, there will be some rain. Will it be significant enough to make up for the loss we’ve had? If spring doesn’t deliver, summer’s too late.”
Spain was “extremely dry” in the December-February period, with the LOWEST RAINFALL SINCE AT LEAST 1947. Average rain was 62 millimeters (2.4 inches), 30 percent of typical levels. Winter kill cut French output by about 2.5 million tons, Germany’s crop took a 2 million-ton hit, and frost destroyed 1 million tons of the grain in Poland. Farmers in Germany, the EU’s second-largest wheat grower after France, may have to plow under some winter crops after some areas suffered “extensive” frost damage, particularly for barley and early-planted winter wheat. Rapeseed may be more affected by the cold spell than wheat. “Rapeseed is more sensitive to colder temperatures than wheat." France and the U.K. may still avoid drought damage with timely rains. "If it rains in coming weeks, we could still have very good yields, but the risk is great.”
The lack of rain won’t necessarily mean lower EU grain production, as evidenced by last year’s February-May drought. EU wheat output rose 1.7 percent in 2011. “At the time, common talk suggested that our wheat crop would be down 25 percent to 33 percent. As we now know, somehow we managed to end up with a slightly larger crop than in 2010. So it’s very early days to be writing things off just yet.”
Portugal Seeks Accelerated EU Drought-Aid Payments - Portugal will ask the European Union to accelerate the payment of more than 100 million euros ($132 million) in aid to help alleviate the impact of drought in farms across the country.
Drought-hit Balkans struggle to keep lights on - THE WORST DROUGHT IN AT LEAST 40 YEARS in the Balkans has left countries that rely on hydro power struggling.
Drought risks killing off British wildlife - The drought gripping parts of England risks killing off numerous species of wildlife from dragonflies to water voles, the Environment Agency has warned. It was THE DRIEST 18 MONTHS ON RECORD for some parts of the country.
First desalination opens in mainland Britain as water bosses warn of drought - More than one million people will be supplied with water from Britain's first large-scale desalination plant this summer to help cope with what is expected to be a widespread drought. Drought conditions are producing smaller potatoes and lower yields.
Tough water restrictions have been issued for 20 million UK residents in light of worsening drought in England. The restrictions, including a "hosepipe ban" on a range of outdoor water usage, follow two years of unusually low rainfall left reservoirs, aquifers and rivers below normal levels.
Britain - Soaring fruit and vegetable prices are set to pile more misery on hard-pressed shoppers this summer as London's WORST DROUGHT SINCE 1976 spreads to much of the rest of the country. The warning comes ahead of the publication of a major “call for action”.

U.S. -
Minnesota - Drought, high temps have fire crews on alert. Drought, lack of snow, record high temps, wind and a whole lot of dried out ground cover, which firefighters call fuel, are making conditions ripe for wildfires. "The fuel is extremely dry bone dry." Combined with drought conditions across most of the state, the record warm weather has land managers scrambling to make early preparations for what could be a severe fire season.
Storm doesn't ease Arizona drought - The moisture was a welcome coda to an otherwise drier-than-average winter, but it won't do much to ease drought conditions that have deepened over the state in recent months. “We're calling it a drop in the bucket at this point in the season."
Historic Texas drought $2.4 billion worse than expected - The impact of Texas' WORST DROUGHT IN HISTORY just got worse, with new estimates putting the agricultural toll at $7.6 billion for 2011 - $2.4 billion above the original loss estimate, which already was a record. "It's hard to imagine the damage it's caused across the state. IT'S NOTHING ANYBODY ALIVE HAS SEEN BEFORE."
Texas - Though most of Travis County and the Hill Country remain in moderate to severe drought, recent rainfall has lifted extreme and exceptional drought conditions across Central Texas. The economic impact of a historic drought that has parched Texas and other parts of the Southwest will be felt for years, with ripple effects spreading nationwide as agriculture damage adds to increases in food prices.
Is the drought over for Houston, Texas? - There was little hope for change as just about all the weather experts were predicting the drought to continue for some time. Well we now know they were wrong, as rain totals for this year are blowing last year's out of the water.

Stubborn drought expected to tax Mexico for years - A severe drought in Mexico that has cost farmers more than a billion dollars in crop losses alone and set back the national cattle herd for years, is just a foretaste of the drier future ahead.
Mexican Drought Fuels Despair - Part of the reason for the Mexican drought was a rather quiet tropical season this past fall. Only three tropical systems made their way inland from the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Arlene, Tropical Storm Harvey and Hurricane Nate.

Niger - millions of dollars are needed urgently to stop a hunger crisis in Niger turning into a catastrophe. Some 1.9 million people are at severe risk and that number could rise to 3.5 million next month. More than six million of the population of 17 million need immediate help. "All signs point to an impending catastrophe" and "the world cannot allow this to happen.
Oxfam blamed a lethal mix of drought, erratic rains, high food prices, entrenched poverty and regional conflict that has brought tens of thousands of refugees to Niger. “Young children are at greatest risk of acute malnutrition, which can lead to developmental delays, stunt growth and make them more vulnerable to infections and disease. Failure to act now will have devastating consequences for a whole generation of children in West Africa.” .Instability in neighbouring countries has added to the strain on Niger as refgugees pour into the country from neighbouring Mali, putting additional strain on families already facing food shortages.
“People are arriving exhausted, hungry and in need of the very basics but Niger is struggling to cope with the influx of refugees. Poor villages have been overwhelmed with people, some expanding seven-fold in just a few months, with refugees forced to live in overcrowded homes and makeshift shacks. The extra strain is pushing families to the brink of survival."

Australia likely to be a land of increasingly severe droughts and floods - Australia has long been a land of droughts and flooding rains, and the past two years have been a good example of that well-known climatic pattern.

Plants remember and adapt to drought - Plants subjected to a previous period of drought learn to deal with the stress thanks to their memories of the previous experience, University of Nebraska-Lincoln research has found. The findings could lead to development of crops better able to withstand warmer condtions and drought.

GMO drought-tolerant corn over-promises - Utilizing biotech "drought-tolerant"ccorn to boost global food production would be a less-effective tactic than planting conventional corn and improving agronomic practices, a veteran plant scientist said.

Monsanto tests drought-tolerant corn - Seed giant Monsanto Co. plans large-scale tests this year of the first government-approved biotech crop developed to deal with drought. The new corn is being introduced as much of the US remains abnormally dry.