Monday, December 31, 2012

Jakarta sinking as water supplies dry up - Experts in Indonesia are preparing to build a huge wall to stop the ocean from swamping parts of Jakarta. Some suburbs in the capital already go underwater when there is a big tide but the problem is expected to get even worse.
Jakarta is sinking by up to 10 centimetres a year and Indonesia's national disaster centre says with oceans rising, large parts of the city, including the airport, will be inundated by 2030. Flooding and high tides are already causing problems for some residents in the city of 10 million people.
In 2009 the council built a small sea wall, but the ocean still pushes its way up through the drains and into homes. But while some suburbs still go under and the roads are rivers, residents across town have the opposite problem.The water supply to some suburbs has disappeared. As developers suck up the watertable it dries out and the city slumps into the empty cavity.
"From our observations, since the 1960s the ground water has declined around 30 metres. The decline of ground water causes pressure in the groundwater lining and that's why Jakarta is sinking." An expert hydrologist with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency says if the problem is not remedied, it could have massive consequences.
"If this continues, the area will have permanent flooding will increase especially with the additional increase of sea level in Jakarta Bay or the Java Sea, which is around seven millimetres per year. If our efforts aren't fast enough compared to the causes, more than five million people could be affected." The city's given itself less than 20 years to sort it out.
To curb the twin problems of the city sinking and the ground water drying up, the government's attempting to restrict the amount industries can take. "And in the next 30 years the government of Jakarta plans to build a giant dam around Jakarta Bay to anticipate the increased sea levels, tidal waves and land subsidence. If the land sinking isn't resolved, then there will be widespread tidal waves that would cause more extensive flooding in Jakarta."

No update on Tuesday.
Have a very Happy New Year!

**Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession;
it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.**
Vida Scudder

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12/30/12 -

Red Cross forgot Sichuan earthquake donations for 4 years, money grows mold. Hundreds of donation boxes set up in Chengdu to aid victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were left untouched for four years, to the extent that the money actually began to grow mold.
Over 700 boxes were placed around the city by China’s Red Cross, but were apparently forgotten about until June 2012, when China’s most reputable charity announced that a total of 6,116 yuan (US $980) had been collected. Gathering those donations was likely not a pleasant task. Photos spread online show mold growing among the piles of forgotten paper money, along with advertising leaflets and other trash.
In the wake of the May 2008 earthquake, the Red Cross signed a contract with the Maisheng Investment and Management Co. to set up 3,000 donation boxes throughout Chengdu. However only 726 boxes were put in place before the project was abandoned after a dispute between the Red Cross and Maisheng. An additional 500 boxes were abandoned in a warehouse. (photo)

Scientists predict serious earthquake in the Himalayas in 8 to 8.5 range - In what can have huge implications for countries like India, scientists have warned of massive earthquakes of the magnitude 8 to 8.5 in the Himalayas, especially in areas with their surface yet to be broken by a temblor.

Volcano Webcams

Nicaraguan volcano possibly on verge of eruption - Activity has risen again at the volcano. Clouds of ash and gas are still visible in the skies over Nicaragua, after the latest eruption from the San Cristobal volcano, considered to be the most active in the world. The first wave of the latest eruption came on Tuesday. More than 15 separate smaller blasts have been reported since then. Government officials told hundreds of people in the immediate vicinity of the volcano to leave the area. (video)

Climate change affects frequency of volcanic eruptions - A study that was carried out in the Central American Pacific revealed that the increase in temperatures caused by climate change has an influence on volcanic activity.
Geologists have studied the effects of eruptions on the Earth’s temperatures for years; however, this team decided to study the contrary effect. In order to do so, they analyzed various volcanoes in Central America over the course of 10 years, and were able to reconstruct the volcanic history of the past 460,000 years. The result was that there are significantly longer periods of volcanic activity that coincide with the increase of global temperatures and melting glacial ice.
In times of global heating, the weight of the continents decreases because the glacial ice melts, whilst the weight on the oceans’ tectonic plates increases. This causes the magma to be under increased pressure under the tectonic plates, and is therefore more capable of finding its way through routes that raise it to the surface. The cooling process after this phenomenon is much slower than the heating, according to the researchers.
According to the researchers, the Earth is approaching the peak of a hot climate cycle, however, the researchers did not say whether the peak of this cycle has been accelerated due to human activity.

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone 06s (Mitchell) was located approximately 225 nm west of Learmonth, Australia. The last warning has been issued on this system. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

Tropical Cyclone 05p (Freda) was located approximately 465 nm northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.


A landslide in Colombia has left at least two people dead, seven injured and vehicles buried in mud. The disaster happened on Saturday in southwest Colombia along a road between the cities of Neiva and Florencia as part of a mountain came tumbling down. Army troops, police and Red Cross teams with heavy machinery and sniffer dogs are examining the site in search of bodies or survivors. The stability of the slope itself is also being assessed to determine if it is safe for the rescue teams to work.

'Powerful cyclone' bears down on Gulf of Alaska - The National Weather Service issued a warning for warm, strong winds on Saturday night through Sunday afternoon as a strong storm system made its way into the Gulf of Alaska.
"Along with UNUSUALLY WARM AIR, this system will support powerful Chinook winds through Turnagain Arm, Portage Valley, Anchorage, and the higher elevations near Anchorage." Accompanying the winds will be unseasonably warm temperatures. "This powerful storm is originating well to the south over the subtropics and is expected to bring unseasonably warm air with it. This should allow temperatures to rise near 50 degrees. This will allow the lion's share of precipitation to fall as rain."
Much of the Southcentral region had already seen warmer temperatures since Friday night, as high winds whipped through the Mat-Su Valley, eastern Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, making a mess of streets previously frozen solid and topped with recent snows. According to the NWS, winds could reach as high as 100 mph along Turnagain Arm, the Anchorage Hillside and Portage Valley. In Anchorage, gusts could hit up to 70 mph on Sunday afternoon. Portions of the Interior were also expected to see high winds.

Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012 really was impressive - The storm helped break up sea ice, causing a new record low. This summer saw a new record low in the ice covering the Arctic Ocean, with levels bottoming out well below those seen in 2007, the previous low year. A major contributor to that drop was an UNUSUAL SUMMER CYCLONE, which parked over the pole for several days in the course of its nearly two-week long existence.
Researchers from Australia have now run the numbers on the storm, and found that it really does deserve the moniker "great Arctic cyclone." But they also conclude that the storm wasn't fueled by the UNUSUALLY OPEN OCEAN beneath it. The storm was hard to miss in satellite imagery, but its full history wasn't necessarily obvious. So, the authors of the new study downloaded atmospheric data and plugged it into an atmospheric model that specializes in identifying cyclonic systems.
They were able to detect the first indication of the storm over Siberia on the 2nd of August. But it really got going once it entered the Arctic basin on the 4th; by the 6th, the eye of the storm had reached its lowest pressure. The very next day, it took a slight detour and hovered over the Pole for several days before heading south over Canada and finally dissipating on the 14th.
A notable thing about the storm is that it did not seem to involve a large redistribution of atmospheric heat content. Storms like hurricanes famously take the energy from warm surface waters and redistribute it to the atmosphere. But readings from the Arctic Cyclone showed that the heat flux was small for most of its history. This suggests that the storm wasn't powered by the ocean below it, which in turn indicates that the loss of ice wasn't a factor in driving the storm's UNUSUAL STRENGTH.
"This leads to the view that it was the enhanced influence of the cyclone which contributed to the reduction in ice area, rather than low sea ice area being responsible for releasing energy to maintain the system." One potential influence on the storm that came out of the analysis was a link to a vortex at the lower boundary of the stratosphere. A tropopause polar vortex had developed a few weeks earlier and had spent time north of Europe before heading east. By the 6th of August, the vortex was near the center of the storm. The two remained associated from that point onward.
How UNUSUAL was the 2012 storm? The authors pulled up records of 1,618 Arctic cyclones that struck during August, dating back to 1979. By one measure, the 2012 storm is the STRONGEST ON RECORD: it reached the lowest pressure at the center of the storm. But, when you include other cyclonic properties such as size and duration, the storm dropped to third on the overall list.
Arctic cyclones tend to be more common and severe in winter months, so the authors expanded their analysis to include over 19,500 storms that have struck at any time of the year. In this list, the 2012 storm ranked 13th. As far as they're concerned, the storm earned the title Great Arctic Cyclone of 2012.
Climate change is thought to strengthen storms that move over the ocean because it warms the ocean waters, providing the storms with more heat and moisture. Since that doesn't appear to have been the case here, the existence of an extreme storm appears to have been a fluke weather event. Its impact on the ice, however, was shaped by climate, which had left the August ice very thin. “Decades ago, a storm of the same magnitude would have been less likely to have as large an impact on the sea ice, because at that time the ice cover was thicker and more expansive.”


Newly Found Comet Could Outshine the Moon - Skywatchers may be in for a rare treat in 2013 - a newly discovered comet (Comet ISON) is expected to pass very close to the sun, putting on what COULD BE THE CELESTIAL SHOW OF A CENTURY.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center predicts Comet ISON could be visible without binoculars or telescopes to skywatchers on Earth from early November through the first few weeks of January 2014. NASA's Mars Curiosity rover also may get a look when the comet sails past the red planet in early October. Comet ISON The comet's journey likely started in the Oort Cloud, a cluster of icy rocks that circle the sun about 50,000 times farther away than Earth's orbit. Comet ISON is expected to pass as close as 700,000 miles, or 1.1 million kilometers, from the sun on Nov. 28. If it survives, the comet could be the brightest to appear in Earth's skies since 1965 and could even be visible in daylight.