Thursday, November 22, 2012


No update on Friday.

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/21/12 -

A strong 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook central Chile on Wednesday, causing office buildings in the capital to sway for almost a minute but authorities said no damage was reported and ruled out the possibility of tsunami.

New Zealand - Christchurch quake sequences settling down. The probability of a large earthquake hitting Canterbury continues to decline as the earthquake sequence settles down.
Latest aftershock probabilities show the chance of a magnitude 5.0 to 5.4 aftershock happening in the next year is now at 69 per cent - compared to 71 per cent last month and 82 per cent in January. There is now a 29 per cent chance of a magnitude 5.5 to 5.9 hitting before November 9, 2013, a 9 per cent possibility of a magnitude 6.0 to 6.4, and a 2 per cent chance of 6.5 to 6.9 aftershock. There is just a 1 in 100 chance of another magnitude 7.0 or higher like the 7.1 which struck Darfield on September 4, 2010, sparking the Canterbury earthquake sequence.

Volcano Webcams

Vulcanologists in New Zealand say more eruptions are likely from Mount Tongariro, which sent a large plume of ash at least two kilometres into the air. Residents are reporting the sulphur is making it harder to breathe. After a century of quiet, it swas the second eruption from Tongariro in four months.
Tongariro eruptions could go on for nine months, a GNS volcanologist says. Based on the mountain's last cycle of eruptions in the 1890s, it could keep blowing its top intermittently for weeks, or months.

No tropical storms.


Wind, rain pummel U.S. Pacific Northwest - The Pacific Northwest is getting a taste of extreme weather - and are bracing for more - after a fierce storm swamped streets, toppled trees and large trucks, cut power to nearly 50,000 residents.


Climate change evident across Europe, says report - The effects of climate change are already evident in Europe and the situation is set to get worse, the European Environment Agency has warned. In a report, the agency says the past decade in Europe has been the warmest on record. It adds that the cost of damage caused by extreme weather events is rising, and the continent is set to become more vulnerable in the future.
A UN Environment Programme report also released on Wednesday shows a dangerous growth in the "emissions gap" - the difference between current carbon emission levels and those needed to avert climate change. "Every indicator we have in terms of giving us an early warning of climate change and increasing vulnerability is giving us a very strong signal. It is across the board, it is not just global temperatures. It is in human health aspects, in forests, sea levels, agriculture, biodiversity - the signals are coming in from right across the environment."
Climate change can increase existing vulnerabilities and deepen socio-economic imbalances in Europe. The combined impacts of projected climate change and socio-economic development is set to see the damage costs of extreme weather events continue to increase. As it currently stands, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has set a target of limiting the rise in global mean temperature to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels.
But the report's authors warn that even if this target to mitigate warming is met, "substantial impacts on society, human health and ecosystems are projected to occur". To limit the impacts, experts say effective adaptation strategies need to be developed in order to minimise the risk to nations' infrastructure, homes and businesses. Examples of adaptation measures include using water resources more efficiently, adapting building codes to be able to withstand extreme weather events and building flood defences.
The report said the cost of damage caused by extreme weather events had increased from 9bn euros (£7bn) in the 1980s to 13bn euros in the 2000s. "We know that the main increase in damage costs from natural disasters has not been from climate change, as such, but more as a result of an increase in wealth, people and infrastructure in risk areas. But one of the key messages from the report is that in the future, with projected increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme events, we know that climate change will contribute to the increase in the cost of damage from extreme events."
On Monday, the World Bank published a report that warned that the world was "on track to a 4C [increase by the end of the century] marked by extreme heatwaves and life-threatening sea-level rise". It added that the world's poorest regions would be hardest hit by the warming, which was "likely to undermine efforts and goals". "A 4C warmer world can, and must be, avoided - we need to hold warming below 2C. Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today." However, the UN Environment Programme warned that it was still possible to achieve the 2C target but time was running out. Data in the Emissions Gap Report showed that annual greenhouse gas emissions were now "14% above where they need to be in 2020".
"While governments work to negotiate a new international climate agreement to come into effect in 2020, they urgently need to put their foot firmly on the action pedal by fulfilling financial, technology transfer and other commitments under the UN climate convention treaties."

CIA Closes Its Climate Change Office - The Central Intelligence Agency has disbanded its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a unit formed in 2009 to monitor the interplay between a warming planet and intelligence and security challenges.
The creation of the office drew fire at the time from some Republicans, who said it was an unnecessary expense and a distraction from the agency’s focus on terrorism and other more immediate threats. The agency did not say whether the closing was related to budget constraints or other political pressures. The agency will continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.
“The C.I.A. for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change. As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged.” The C.I.A. did not conduct its own scientific studies on climate change, instead relying on other government agencies and academic researchers. The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies of Science, released an extensive report to the intelligence community last week on how it can better assess and respond to the impacts of climate change on vulnerable states.
A Senator from Wyoming has been the most vocal critic of the C.I.A.’s climate change work. He welcomed the closing of its office. “Closing the Climate Change Center at the C.I.A. was the right decision. I offered an amendment on the Senate floor to eliminate the center because it was unnecessary, wasteful and totally out of place. It’s critically important for the C.I.A. to focus its resources on preventing terrorism and keeping Americans safe.”

US food banks raise alarm as drought dents government supplies - The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has weakened the safety net for the 50 million Americans who struggle to get enough to eat, and the nation's food banks are raising the alarm as the holiday season gets into gear.


CDC reports increase in non-meningitis infections tied to outbreak - There have been 478 cases of fungal meningitis or related infections as of Nov. 19, plus 12 peripheral joint infections in areas such as the knees, hips, shoulders and elbows where people may have gotten the shots. Thirty-four people have died.
The CDC announced Tuesday that it is still receiving reports of infections more than seven weeks after the September recall of more than 17,000 vials of injections of the steroid made by the NECC; however, the pattern now reflects an uptick infections at the site where patients received the injection. Those infections include epidural abscesses, phlegmon (soft tissue infection), discitis (infection of disc space between vertebrae), vertebral osteomyelitis (a bone infection) or arachnoiditis (swelling of one of the spinal cord membranes).
The infections are being found in both people who have already been diagnosed with fungal meningitis and people who haven't been. The CDC said Wednesday that there may not be new infections in those people, but because the fungus tied to the outbreak -- Exserohilum rostratum -- is slow-growing, the infections may have been building up. "This isn't something new happening, but something that's coming to light after a much longer incubation period."
The most common of these non-meningitis infections, an epidural abscess, is a collection of puss near the site of the injection. The main symptom of this infection is back pain, but many of the patients who received these injections were treated for back pain, and may not realize another infection is present. While some people may experience swelling or redness, many won't, so the only way to determine the presence of an infection is through magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI).
Last week House lawmakers questioned the chief of the Food and Drug Administration along with one of the owners of the New England Compounding Center about the current outbreak. They asked about the company's history of repeat violations and earlier FDA inspections of the firm that found non-sterile practices. the chief called for more oversight of compounding pharmacies, which are regulated by state health departments, while the owner plead the Fifth Amendment and did not answer the committee's questions.