Thursday, June 14, 2012

Extreme natural events may be more common and predictable than previously thought an Australian-led team of scientists has found. The group used lasers to examine how frequently events such as hurricanes, tsunamis and bushfires occurred. The scientists say that in nature, extreme does not necessarily mean rare.
"A crucial factor in the appearance of extreme events, whether in nature, or a laser in the laboratory, is the existence of energy, or a background excitation in the system." There is a greater potential of extreme events with the abundance of energy around us. "Simply speaking, explosions and fires can't happen without fuel or another source of energy. Hurricanes can't appear in the atmosphere and rogue waves can't appear in completely still seas. Instead they accumulate energy from smaller waves."
The team found that as the Earth and its cities are densely filled with energy supplies, this large source of energy is a potential field for extreme events. "Without this background excitation, the events will stay within expected limits. But a continuous supply of energy can push the event off the expected limits and into extremes." The team modelled extreme events by using laser systems. "What we've found is that recorded intensity fluctuations resulting from the ceaseless relative motion inside the laser demonstrates that extreme events happen much more often than people expect."

**A human act once set in motion
flows on forever to the great account.
Our deathlessness is in what we do,
not in what we are.**
George Meredith

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

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6/13/12 -

Quake-hit Afghan village could become mass grave - The Afghan village where more than 70 people are believed to have been buried in an earthquake-triggered landslide could be declared a mass grave, an official said Wednesday. Two shallow tremors less than half an hour apart on Monday unleashed a deluge of rock and earth that smashed into the remote village of Mullah Jan, in the mountainous Hindu Kush region.
Villagers say 71 people, all women and children, were trapped in the landslide, and a disaster management official has described the chances of anyone surviving as "slim or non-existent". Mechanical diggers were at the site trying to clear rubble to find bodies or survivors, but the scale of the task made it difficult. "Part of a mountain has collapsed on a part of Mullah Jan village and there is over 60 metres of dirt to remove."
Pictures from the scene showed earthmovers digging through mounds of brown dirt and rock with no visible signs of buried buildings. Only three bodies have been recovered from Mullah Jan, while a fourth was found in a neighbouring district. The chief of the village suggested declaring the site a mass grave and leaving the other victims' bodies to rest. The first quake on Monday, with a magnitude of 5.4, struck at 9:32 am (0502 GMT) at a depth of 15 kilometres (10 miles) with the epicentre around 160 kilometres southwest of the town of Faizabad. A more powerful tremor, measured at 5.7 magnitude, hit around 25 minutes later in almost exactly the same place.
Northern Afghanistan and Pakistan are frequently hit by earthquakes, especially around the Hindu Kush range, which lies near the collision of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. A 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005 killed 74,000 people and displaced 3.5 million.

No current tropical storms.

In the Pacific -
- Tropical Depression Three-E was located in the eastern Pacific. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph. [55 km/h] with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm today. Additional strengthening is likely Thursday night and Friday and the system could become a hurricane as it nears the Pacific coast of Mexico.
- Tropical storm 05w (Guchol) was located approximately 215 nm north of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean.

A named tropical storm 'Guchol' has taken shape to the east of the Philippines, and is on course to become a typhoon (tropical cyclone) by the weekend.
Latest forecasts call for Guchol to curve northeast toward Okinawa early next week, with winds up to 70 mph.
8 dead, 63 missing as 'Butchoy' approaches Philippines - Eight people have been reported killed and 63 more are missing as Tropical Storm Guchol moved nearer to the Philippines on Thursday. As of 5 a.m., "Guchol" was estimated 1,110 kilometers east of Northern Mindanao with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 100 kph. The storm was moving west northwest at 20 kph. Tropical storm Butsoy (international name: Guchol) entered the Philippine area of responsibility before noon Thursday, earlier than its expected forecast.
The weather bureau said that the storm may pass through Visayas and and go up to Luzon. Coupled with the southwest monsoon, the weather system will bring rains over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. PAGASA has advised disaster response units around the country of possible landslides and flashfloods. Thursday morning that a total of eight people have been confirmed killed in flashfloods and a sea mishap in El Nido, Palawan; Marilog, Davao City; Sarangani and General Santos City. Flashfloods hit at least five provinces in Mindanao due to non-stop rains since over the weekend. Three people were confirmed killed and a total of 58 people remain missing in Sarangani Province.

Forecasters eye Caribbean for next tropical storm - A patch of stormy weather lingering over Central America might move northward into the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche late this weekend.


Active sunspot AR1504 erupted on June 13th at 1319 UT, producing a long-duration M1-flare and hurling a CME into space. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will deliver a glancing blow to three planets: Venus on June 15th, Earth on June 16th, and Mars on June 19th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% - 30% chance of geomagnetic storms when the cloud reaches Earth. Sunspot 1504 poses a growing threat for Earth-directed M-class solar flares.


Internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records raise lab biosafety concerns - An investigation by USA Today detailed internal concerns about airflow problems at a CDC biosafety level 3 lab in Atlanta. The report cited e-mails among CDC employees discussing concerns about an incident in February in which air from a potentially contaminated lab blew into a "clean" corridor where visitors weren't wearing protective gear. The report said CDC engineers have aired written concerns about the air containment systems and that scientists working with poxviruses expressed at a meeting worries about working in the lab as currently designed. The CDC didn't address the newspaper's direct questions, but it issued a statement saying no pathogen releases have occurred and no one has been injured. Although the safety systems at times experience challenges, multiple systems are in place to cover worker and public safety, the agency added. The story said a CDC decision to re-engineer ventilation within the labs and animal holding areas prompted some of the internal safety concerns. BSL-3 labs are designed for work with pathogens that can spread through the air and cause potentially serious or fatal disease, whereas BSL-4 labs are designed for work on aerosol-transmitted agents for which there are no vaccines or treatments, such as the Ebola virus.