Sunday, June 10, 2012

**The name of our proper connection to the earth
is “good work,”
for good work involves much giving of honor.
It honors the source of its materials;
it honors the place where it is done;
it honors the art by which it is done;
it honors the thing that it makes
and the user of the made thing...
There is much good work to be done by every one of us
and we must begin to do it.**
Wendell Berry

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/9/12 -

6/8/12 -

Volcano Webcams

Iceland - More Grímsvötn Eruptions Expected in Near Future. Eruptions in the sub-glacial volcano Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull, which last burst in 2011, can be expected every five to ten years in the coming decades, according to a geophysicist.
The crater that formed at Grímsvötn during the eruption last year measures 1.5 kilometers in diameter. It used to be covered in water but most of it has now evaporated. The water is hot and steam emanates from it. Grímsvötn eruptions come in series, each of which lasts 60 to 80 years. The last series began in 1996 with eruptions following in 1998, 2004 and 2011, which was the largest by far, causing extensive ash fall. “One can expect the development to continue in the next few decades that regular eruptions will occur in Grímsvötn with approximately five to ten year intervals. However, Grímsvötn lie far away from human settlements and if they are on a small scale they don’t have much of an impact."

24 families ordered to evacuate from Colombian volcano last Thursday - Local authorities ordered the evacuation of 24 families residing near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano. They are being evacuated due to concerns that there could be an eruption in the coming days or weeks. The order will be in place for one month. A further 39 families have been notified of a potential evacuation. Some of the people who would suffer the greatest risk in the event of an eruption have failed to respond to the evacuation order. The evacuated families will each be given a compensation of 150,000 pesos from the Municipal Office for the Prevention of Natural Disasters.
According to the most recent report from the Seismological and Volcanic Observatory of Manizales, the volcanic instability is likely to continue over the next few weeks. The alert level for Nevado del Ruiz sits at orange, meaning an eruption is probable but not imminent. The volcano is located between the Caldas and Tolima Departments in central Colombia.

Hawaii - What will it take to grow another ice cap on Mauna Kea? In the past half-million years, Mauna Kea has supported an ice cap at least four times. These glaciations occur when the climate is cold and wet, when more snow falls each year than melts.
Since it is always cold at the summit of Mauna Kea, why is there no ice cap today? East Hawai`i has no shortage of moisture, and Mauna Kea receives much more snow each winter than do many of the ice caps in the polar regions. The warm summer temperatures on modern Mauna Kea prohibit glaciation, however, since nearly all of the snow and ice melts away.
What might depress summer temperatures enough to grow an ice cap? Elevation is one factor. The atmosphere gets roughly 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit) colder for 300 m (1,000 ft) of elevation gain. At over 4,000 m (14,000 ft) above sea level, it is reasonable to expect the summit of Mauna Kea to be about 20 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than Hilo.
Rapid growth of the island through volcanic processes has increased its mass enough that the island has sunk under its own weight. During the most recent Mauna Kea glaciation 14,000 years ago, the summit was only about 40 m (150 ft) higher than it is today. Elevation alone is not enough, however, to explain why ice caps persisted on Mauna Kea, because we see evidence that they reached as low as 3,350 m (11,000 ft) elevation.
Glaciations are also controlled by the amount of solar radiation (heat) that reaches Earth’s surface. Changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun and in the orientation of Earth’s rotational axis affect the amount and distribution of the radiation. The color and roughness of Earth’s surface determine whether the radiation is reflected or absorbed and re-emitted as heat. The composition of the atmosphere controls whether the reflected radiation is directed away from Earth or back toward it.
A large polar ice cap helps cool the planet. A large ice cap at the North or South Pole changes the color of part of the planet from green, blue, or brown, to white. The snow reflects most of the radiation that hits Earth. Cooling at the poles is enough to impact the surrounding area significantly and likely depresses temperatures globally.
Low levels of greenhouse gases — mainly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane — decrease the amount of radiation that is absorbed and reemitted back toward Earth, ultimately causing temperatures to decrease. Analyses of gases trapped in ice cores reveal that three of the four glaciations on Mauna Kea indeed correspond to low levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Mauna Kea glaciations also correspond to glaciations elsewhere in the world, indicating that the planet was cooler than it is today. Furthermore, computer models estimating solar radiation using Earth’s orbital configuration show that three Mauna Kea glaciations occurred at times of predicted low radiation.
Today, measurements taken on Mauna Loa show increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Solar radiation may be decreasing, though not quickly enough to offset the warming effects of the elevated levels of greenhouse gases. Can we expect another ice cap anytime soon? Elevated greenhouse gasses plus the ongoing subsidence of the island make conditions unfavorable for another glaciation for at least the next couple of thousand years.

No current tropical storms.

Invest 93E a threat to become a tropical cyclone in the Pacific - In the eastern Pacific, there is a tropical disturbance that would possibly become the next tropical cyclone in the East Pacific basin.

Tropical Cyclone Kuena (20S) - A short-lived but beautiful storm, Tropical Storm Kuena formed off of the northern tip of Madagascar on June 6.


BRITAIN - Dozens of residents and holidaymakers in flood-hit mid Wales hope to return to their homes and caravans later after staying in emergency centres overnight. About 1,000 people were moved to safety on Saturday, with an estimated 150 rescued and evacuated to the centres, many from caravan parks. Villages in Ceredigion were flooded by up to 5ft (1.5m) of water.
Two flood warnings remain on the River Teifi, at Lampeter and Llanybyther, and the River Rheidol at Aberystwyth. On Sunday morning, there were 12 crews out in the Aberystwyth area. They were pumping out, as well as visiting and searching properties looking for people who may have been cut off - although everyone had been accounted for. The flood warnings have been put in place by the Environment Agency Wales. They come after caravan parks and villages near Aberystwyth were inundated by floodwaters when TWICE AS MUCH RAIN FELL IN 24 HOURS THAN NORMALLY FALLS IN THE WHOLE OF JUNE in the area.
The areas worst affected in the early hours of Saturday were Talybont, Dol-y-bont, Llandre, and Penrhyncoch - all in Ceredigion. Machynlleth, in Powys, was also flooded and roads in surrounding areas were closed. 1,000 people have been evacuated in total from Ceredigion and parts of Powys. Three people received treatment after sustaining minor injuries. Residents in 25 properties were evacuated in Talybont, and 10 houses flooded in the town of Penrhyncoch. A bridge in Talybont and another in the village of Goginan have been damaged - but although inspections were planned, neither were thought to be in immediate danger of collapsing. At one point, a helicopter winched to safety several members of a lifeboat crew who had got into difficulties after helping to rescue a disabled man from a flooded caravan.
The Environment Agency Wales said the flooding had been an "UNPRECEDENTED EVENT". It issued a number of flood alerts and warnings with updates via its website. Water levels have been receding, however people have been urged to stay away from rivers and flooded areas. It has been a "very impressive" rescue operation "in horrific weather conditions and with UNPRECEDENTED flood levels". (map & photos)


Colorado - Crews on Saturday battled a fast-moving wildfire in northern Colorado that has scorched about 8,000 acres and prompted several dozen evacuation orders. The fire was reported just before 6 a.m. Saturday in the mountainous Paradise Park area about 25 miles northwest of Fort Collins. At least 46 structures have been evacuated and residents of another 30 were warned that they might have to flee. Ten structures have been damaged, although authorities were unsure if they were homes or some other kind of buildings. No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.
Aerial footage showed flames coming dangerously close to what appeared to be several outbuildings and at least one home in the area, as well as consuming trees and sending a large plume of smoke into the air. "Right now we're just trying to get these evacuations done and get people safe. Given the extreme heat in the area, it makes it a difficult time for (the firefighters)." Temperatures near Fort Collins reached the mid-80s Saturday afternoon with a humidity level of between 5 percent and 10 percent.
Two heavy air tankers, five single-engine air tankers and four helicopters were on the scene to help fight the blaze, which appeared to be burning on private and U.S. Forest Service land and was being fueled by sustained winds of between 20 and 25 mph. "It was just good conditions to grow. The conditions today were really favorable for it to take off." Also Saturday, a grass fire destroyed at least four outbuildings near Interstate 25 and Colorado 7 in Erie. Images from the station's helicopter showed at least one car engulfed in flames.

Report warns Nova Scotia is facing rough seas - Coastal communities in Nova Scotia should brace for rising sea levels and increasingly destructive storm surges or retreat to higher ground, weather experts say. And as insurers worldwide scramble to confront climate change, a new report commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada and released earlier this week also warns that the Atlantic region will see more frequent and severe weather events in the coming years.
Rising premiums, more stringent building codes and an overhaul to zoning rules — especially in coastal areas — all seem to be in the cards and homeowners will need to fortify their homes against harsh hurricanes and storms or risk massive losses. “UNUSUAL weather is becoming the norm in Canada. Our motivation is to ring the alarm and say this is the new reality and we all need to wake up to it.”
The insurance industry is quickly awakening to the risks of warming temperatures in the face of increasing claims. In 2011, insurers paid out $1.7 billion largely due to extreme weather and catastrophic events, according to the insurance bureau. It paid $1 billion in each of the two previous years. “Climate change is one of the most significant issues facing the insurance industry in Canada. Historically, a homeowner’s insurance policy has been a fire insurance policy. But recently water has become a greater source of claims for Canadian households.”
While climate change is an issue across the country, Atlantic Canada faces some unique challenges. The Atlantic region can expect an increase in hurricane and storm activity. Add rising sea levels to the mix and you “create a much more hazardous risk of creating storm surges." More rain is also likely to contribute to flash flooding of small rivers and lakes. “Historical and projected trends shown in the research point to the need for Canada to adapt now in order to minimize social and economic costs in the future."
The risk of increasing catastrophic weather events is being monitored closely by big insurers in Atlantic Canada. The climate change report paints an alarming picture. “It’s a concern to the entire industry." Heavier rainfalls and longer dry spells could lead to dire consequences. “We’ve seen more hurricane activity over the last several years and this report tells us we can expect that to continue.”
Three major hurricanes have slammed the region in the last several years. In 2003, hurricane Juan caused widespread damage across Nova Scotia. Hurricane Igor destroyed swaths of Newfoundland in 2010, causing one death and $200 million in damages. In 2011, hurricane Irene ripped up many trees across New Brunswick and knocked down power lines. “We know these hurricanes are becoming more severe so we need to start focusing on consumer education and preventative measures." Otherwise, as claims increase and payouts rise, consumers can expect to see higher premiums.
However, there are things homeowners can do to fortify their homes. Among them are: proper grading to take water away from a house, maintenance of eavesdrops, keeping storm water out of the sewer system by using rain barrels and using backflow valves and sump pumps in basements. Although these measures will mitigate damage, changing climate conditions will still likely cause claims to increase. Water-related claims for insurance firms have skyrocketed. The average cost of a water damage claim rose 160% from $5,423 in 2000 to over $14,000 in 2010. “Weather patterns are changing and although there are a number of things consumers can do, we expect major weather events like hurricane Juan to become the norm.”