Friday, April 6, 2012

At least 14 people have been killed in severe storms in Argentina. Most of the victims died in the province of Buenos Aires, where winds reached speeds of more than 100km (60 miles) an hour, toppling trees and causing roofs to cave in. A teenager was electrocuted in the city of Santa Fe, in the north-east, when he stepped on a downed power cable. Many neighbourhoods in the capital, Buenos Aires, were left without power as cables snapped in the strong winds. Residents said unseasonably hot and humid weather gave way to the violent storm. Some local media reported squalls of up to 120km (75 miles) an hour. City streets were blocked by fallen trees and masonry blown off roofs. Ten people were injured when the roof of a church was lifted by the strong winds and fell onto passengers waiting for a bus some 40m (40 yards) along the road. Most of the casualties were crushed by fallen trees and masonry, while others were electrocuted by downed power cables. A Buenos Aires city official said the storm felt like a tornado and described it as "an inferno".

**A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend,
one human soul whom we can trust utterly,
who knows the best and worst of us,
and who loves us in spite of all our faults.**
Charles Kingsley

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/5/12 -
None 5.0 or higher.

Mexicans get earthquake-alert app for BlackBerrys - The local government is giving away an app for BlackBerrys that will send out an alert when a major earthquake is about to hit the capital city of 20 million people. BlackBerry users with the application will receive a warning up to 50 seconds in advance.

New USGS Report Links Fracking and Earthquakes - The paper will directly link an “unprecedented” increase in frequency and magnitude of earthquakes to drilling for oil and gas. This link is not a new one. The USGS already linked about 50 earthquakes in Oklahoma due to fracking.


Small, short explosion rocks Cleveland Volcano in Aleutians - The Alaska Volcano Observatory says a small explosion at Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands may have sent up a small ash cloud. Clouds prevented satellite observation. There is no monitoring network on the volcano itself, but distant seismic stations picked up the blast.

No current tropical storms.


Floods possible on Alaska rivers as weather warms - Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, should be spared major problems from the melting of near-record snowfall, but the potential for flooding continues along Interior rivers. The Alaska Republican organized a forum to discuss the 2012 flooding outlook. Anchorage averages 69 inches of snow but is just over 3 inches shy of the record 132.6 inches set in 1954-55. "Many Alaskans are growing concerned that record-breaking snow could lead to record-breaking floods."
Anchorage residents should not have to worry unless the temperature suddenly zooms upward. Anchorage so far has seen an orderly thaw with warm daytime temperatures and freezing at night. Also, all the snow insulated the ground and prevented deep freezing. "A lot of that soil is starting to thaw already." Much of the melt water will simply percolate into the soil if the ground is not frozen. The potential for serious damage, is higher in communities along major rivers, where six months of snow can fill channels, break up thick river ice and cause it to dam, creating high water behind it. In 2009, ice jammed below three villages on the Yukon River, causing millions of dollars in damage at Eagle, Tanana and Stevens Village. At 37 other villages, life was disrupted by high water or precautionary evacuations. The Yukon River begins in British Columbia, Canada, and flows north and west through Yukon Territory before spanning more than 1,260 miles through Alaska to the Bering Sea. Temperatures in the region fall below minus 40 degrees, making for thick river ice.
The snowpack in Canada this year was 100 to 150 percent of normal depths. In Alaska's Interior, it was about 100 to 130 percent of normal. Extreme cold led some people to suspect ice thickness on rivers would be greater than usual, but the snow acted as an insulator. "Because we've had a pretty consistent deep snowpack, the ice growth hasn't proceeded like we would normally expect for some of the temperatures Fairbanks and some of the other Interior areas we've seen." The main trigger for flooding is always temperature. At Bethel last year, when bad flooding on the Kuskokwim River hit the village of Crooked Creek, and at Fairbanks three years ago, when Yukon River communities had high water, late April and early May saw low temperatures stay above freezing and record highs during the day. "That's the pattern that can cause problems." The long-term climate outlook for April is for cooler-than-usual temperatures, leading to worries that there could be a temperature surge in early May.

A typhoon-strength storm in Japan left at least four people dead and dozens injured. - Strong winds and rain hit the country on Tuesday in what was said to be THE BIGGEST STORM IN DECADES. In the north, mobile phone networks were cut off and flights and trains disrupted. Weather officials are warning those on the central Sea of Japan coast and in the north to remain alert for gusts and high waves. The storm hit Japan's main island of Honshu and parts of Hokkaido in the north, with gales of 156 km/hour (97mph) recorded.
A powerful low-pressure system moved across the country from western to eastern Japan on Tuesday. On Wednesday more than 200,000 homes in northern Japan were still without electricity. The latest casualty was a a 28-year-old woman in Miyagi, who was found dead under an uprooted tree. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued advisories and warnings for most parts of the country Wednesday.


A vast ice shelf in the Antarctic peninsula, a hotspot for global warming, has shrunk by 85 per cent in 17 years. Images taken by satellite show that the so-called Larsen B ice shelf decreased from 11,512 square kilometres in 1995 to only 1670 sq km today. Larsen B is one of three ice shelves that run from north to south along the eastern side of the peninsula, the tongue of land that projects towards South America. From 1995 to 2002, Larsen B experienced several calving events in which parts of the shelf broke away. It had a major break-up in 2002 when half of the remainder disintegrated. Larsen A broke up in January 1995. "Larsen C so far has been stable in area, but satellite observations have shown thinning and an increasing duration of melt events in summer."
Ice shelves are thick floating mats of ice, attached to the shore, that are created by the runoff into the sea from glaciers. Scientists say they are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric temperature and can be hollowed out from below by warmer ocean currents. The northern Antarctic peninsula has been subject to atmospheric warming about 2.5C over the past 50 years, a figure that is several times greater than the global average. Ice shelves are not the same as ice sheets, the vast blankets of frozen water that cover Antarctica.
If these melted, even partially, they would drive up sea levels, threatening small island states and coastal cities. But the scientific evidence is that the ice sheets so far are stable. "These observations are very relevant for measuring the future behaviour of the much larger ice masses of West Antarctica if warming spreads further south."