Monday, November 26, 2012

**You can't always wait for the storm to pass.
Sometimes you have to work in the rain.**
Richard Childress

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
Cluster of moderate quakes continues in DODECANESE ISLANDS, GREECE

Yesterday -
11/25/12 -
None 5.0 or larger.

In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical depression 26 was located approximately 285 nm southeast of Chuuk, Micronesia.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Boldwin was located approximately 475 nm south of Diego Garcia.


Many parts of the UK are already under water - Now Northeast England and north Wales are braced for possible flooding as the weather front which brought heavy rain to southern England moves north. There are almost 300 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts in England and Wales, and two flood alerts in Scotland.
This weekend 816 homes were flooded, mainly in south-west England. Two people have died in the storms - a woman killed by a falling tree in Exeter and a man whose car crashed into a swollen river in Cambridgeshire. Devon and Cornwall were particularly badly hit, along with Malmesbury in Wiltshire and Kempsey in Worcestershire. There had been about 60 mm (2.5 in) of rain in south-west England over the weekend.
"A weather front will slowly move across north England and north Wales on Monday, and it's here that we are likely to see some further serious flooding." County Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire and the Conwy area of north Wales are expected to be worst affected. The Met Office has issued an Amber weather warning for 50-70 mm (2-3 in) of rain by the end of the day.
Many roads have been closed due to flooding, particularly across the South West of England and the Midlands. National Rail said the lines would remain closed between Exeter St Davids, Tiverton Parkway and Yeovil Junction on Monday. Insurance companies are warning that a lack of progress in talks with the government could leave 200,000 homes without cover against flood damage. Tuesday's all-weather horse racing meeting at Southwell in Nottinghamshire has been abandoned due to rising flood waters.
In Malmesbury, four people were rescued from their homes after what the mayor called the WORST FLOODING THERE IN 70 YEARS. Residents of Kempsey, Worcestershire, criticised the village's new £1.5m flood defences which they say has made the flooding worse than in 2007. In Plymouth, Devon, about 60 people were evacuated due to safety concerns in a dozen locations and there were numerous reports of people being stuck in their cars. A number of homes have been evacuated after a large landslide caused by heavy rain in Old Sodbury near Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire.
"Our estimate is that about 20,000 homes have been protected by flood defences that have built in the past few years." But the events of the last two days "should be a wake-up call for a government that needs to grip this issue and do so quickly. "We know that flash flooding is increasing because of climate change and there's now little we can do to stop it, but the government must act to make sure people aren't left without insurance when the worst does happen." (video)


Summer drought causes hay shortage in Michigan - The long summer drought caused a severe hay shortage in Michigan, and prices for the commodity have skyrocketed. As a result, farmers, rescue groups and private owners are struggling to feed their stocks.

Sea changes harming ocean now could someday undermine marine food chain. New research by Seattle scientists shows that pteropods — tiny snail-like sea creatures crucial to marine food webs — are being damaged decades earlier than expected by ocean acidification, the souring of seas from human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions.
Scientists years ago figured out that a group of tiny snail-like sea creatures crucial to marine food webs may one day be an early victim of changing ocean chemistry. Researchers predicted that pteropods, shelled animals known as sea butterflies, could begin dissolving by 2038 as human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions begin souring the seas in a process known as ocean acidification. But new research concludes that corrosive seas are damaging pteropods right now — decades earlier than expected. And that damage was recorded in the south Atlantic Ocean, where surface pH doesn't dip as low as it has off the Washington coast or in Puget Sound.
The finding suggests that changing sea chemistry already could be harming pteropods in the Northwest, with potentially vast implications for the marine food chain. "This is really an important discovery because here in the Northwest, our pink salmon, for example, are dependent on pteropods for survival in the open ocean in their first year of life. More than 50 percent of their diets are these pteropods."
Scientists have long known that greenhouse-gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels were being taken up by the seas and slowly changing ocean chemistry, but research in recent years shows those changes are coming far faster than initially expected. As a result, scientists in laboratories around the world have been scrambling to figure out how those changes will affect marine life.
This lab work has shown that increasing carbon dioxide in the oceans eventually could kill, endanger or alter the behavior of many marine organisms, from crab and squid to clownfish and clams. The most sensitive species are those that rely on calcium carbonate to form shells or other body parts, such as the inner parts of many fish ears. Significant changes to important species are expected to ripple though the food chain. Pteropods, which are eaten by many fish, among a mere handful of marine species worldwide being impacted right now. The others are Pacific oysters along the Northwest coast and tropical corals in the South Pacific."It was a surprise to me to see that level of damage in a wild field population. I think we should take it as another warning signal."
Like corals, pteropods are central to many ocean ecosystems. They're not much bigger than pepper grains, but they eat plankton and occur in great clusters that are easily scooped up by fish. "They're a great example of some tiny not-charismatic creature that is incredibly important. They're small, but carry an enormous amount of nutrition and are eaten even by very big fish. If you're in the Antarctic and see a beautiful emperor penguin, it exists by eating fish under the sea ice. And those fish eat pteropods."
Pteropods create extremely thin shells that are highly susceptible to chemical changes in seawater. The shells are dissolving. While the damage wasn't enough to kill the animals, it weakened them, making them more vulnerable to predators and infection. The degree of dissolution worsened in creatures taken from waters containing more carbon dioxide.
Because deep frigid water normally holds more carbon dioxide, its pH is naturally lower than that of surface waters. South Atlantic waters, naturally, would dissolve pteropods if they lived at depths below 1,000 meters. But these creatures were being dissolved in some cases just 200 meters below the sea surface — up where pteropods actually live. hat deep water has always welled up from below, but the addition of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels had pushed it past the threshold that pteropods can withstand.
"The deep water coming up just keeps getting more and more acidic." The researchers only saw particularly serious damage in one spot, which left other questions unanswered. "Was that a worse-case event that happened to hit that site? Or is it common or persistent there? I'm sure someone is looking at that right now." It's too soon to fully grasp the implications of the work, especially in the Pacific Northwest. One population of pteropods off Vancouver Island appears already to have begun declining; it just isn't clear why. But another, similar species nearby actually seemed to be growing in number. "We definitely need to check this out more."