Thursday, December 6, 2012

Philippines typhoon death toll rises - The death toll from typhoon Bopha in the southern Philippines has risen to at least 325, with another 379 people still missing. More bodies had been retrieved from the hardest-hit provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, as well as six other provinces. At least 184 of the victims died in Compostela Valley when Typhoon Bopha struck on Tuesday. That includes 78 villagers and soldiers who perished in a flash flood that swamped two emergency shelters and a military camp.

**The problem of power is how to achieve
its responsible use rather than
its irresponsible and indulgent use -
of how to get men of power to live
for the public rather than off the public.**
Robert F. Kennedy

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
12/5/12 -

12/4/12 -

12/3/12 -

Iran hit by deadly earthquake - At least five people have been killed by a moderately powerful earthquake in eastern Iran. The 5.5 magnitude quake struck near Zohan in South Khorasan province, close to the Afghan border, in the early evening. At least 20 people were hurt and many in the provincial capital Birjand fled their homes.
Iran is frequently hit by quakes - in 2003 tens of thousands of people were killed in a quake which flattened Bam. More than 300 people died in two quakes in north-western Iran in August this year. The latest quake hit at 20:38 local time (17:08 GMT), 25km (15 miles) from Zohan. It damaged rural buildings and cut phone and power lines. Twelve villages were affected. Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the scene. (map)

Earthquake swarms could indicate eruption near Nisyros, Greece - A seismic swarm of 2000 microearthquakes near the island of Nisyros since 24 November could indicate a start of a or coming of a volcanic eruption near Nisyros. The quakes are located between the area of Simi Island (Greece) and the Bozburun peninsula of SW Turkey.
Information is still scanty, but the seismic signals are very similar to those recorded from current volcanic eruptions. If an eruption is taking place, it would form a new submarine volcano near Nisyros. No proof has yet been found to prove that an eruption may be taking place and some sources think the swarm may be tectonic (as the Aegean sea is very seismically active). ( map and list of quakes )

After a flurry of earthquake activity in the first half of November, the planet experienced a relatively quiet week, with just 20 tremors of magnitude 5 or greater from November 28 - December 4.

Volcano Webcams

Russia - KVERT reports that seismicity associated with the ongoing flank fissure eruption at Plosky Tolbachik (Kamchatka Peninsula) remains high. Recent satellite imagery shows the eruption plume being pulled south and east of the eruption site.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Bopha was located approximately 280 nm southwest of Manila, Philippines. The system is expected to continue tracking slowly and erratically with the tracking taking on a possible looping motion prior to dissipation. All the models indicate a steady weakening trend, which leads to the looping track as the steering influence switches from a deep layer flow to getting caught within the low-level flow.

Typhoon Bopha rocks Philippines - More than 20 serious tropical storms hit the Philippines every year. Bopha, however, was UNUSUAL in that this time of year is not generally considered typhoon season and it took an UNUSUAL PATH, striking remote inland communities not accustomed to such strong storms.
The powerful typhoon has left hundreds dead and thousands more without homes in the southern Philippines. Those numbers are certain to grow given rescue teams are still trying to navigate destroyed roads, washed away bridges and downed power lines to reach many villages. Tyhoon Bopha made landfall on Tuesday with central winds of 75 mph and gusts of up to 93 mph, triggering landslides and floods along the coast and in farming and mining towns inland.
The governor of worst hit province, Compostela Valley, on the island of Mindanao, said that waves of water and mud came crashing down mountains and swept through schools, town halls, and clinics where huddled residents sought shelter. "The waters came so suddenly and unexpectedly, and the winds were so fierce."

Black swan' cyclone could hit northern Australia - There is a small but real chance, scientists say, that super cyclones with FREAK 10-metre storm surges could hit cities such as Darwin, Australia, Tampa, Florida and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Such a storm is an example of a "black swan" cyclone. "A black swan is a surprise with huge event which cannot reasonably be anticipated based on historical records alone." Something similar could hit the Persian Gulf, inundating unprepared cities like Dubai – which has never seen a cyclone – with similarly enormous storm surges.
America's recent Superstorm Sandy was not a black swan, even though it produced the highest ever recorded water level at New York City's Battery Park. That's because a prior storm in the 19th century had produced a storm surge only 75 centimetres lower – and that storm came at low tide, while Sandy hit at high tide. What's needed to figure out the magnitude of what could possibly happen, is to run thousands of computer simulations of cyclones the adjacent seas might produce.
In the U.S., one area that popped up as highly vulnerable was Tampa, Florida – mostly because the coastal topography could magnify a storm surge into something truly dramatic. In the Persian Gulf, simulations showed that even though it had never happened in recorded history, the shallow, hot waters could sustain tropical storms generating surges greater than five meters – a risk that local planners have never prepared for.
Offshore from Darwin – the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory – the waters are also shallow and hot. And, devastating as Cyclone Tracy was there, killing 65 people and destroying 70% of the city’s homes, Tracy was a "compact" storm that produced a storm surge of only 1.6 meters, a mere kitten compared to what simulations show might happen every 20,000 or 30,000 years.
In any given year, such events are unlikely. "The probability is low, but not zero”. Other scientists note that rising sea levels magnify storm effects. The horrific photos of beach communities ravaged by Superstorm Sandy were a predictable effect of the combination of cyclones and rising sea levels. "It may look shocking, but this is the natural response of barrier islands to storms." During normal storms, beaches are eroded, but the sand is deposited in sand bars off shore, from which it gradually replenishes the beaches. But in large storms during times of rising seas, the storm surge over-washes the island, carrying sand from the seaward side to the landward side. In essence, the island migrates shoreward, toward shallower water. Houses, though, stay put, forcing governments to dredge sand from offshore to replenish the beaches and dunes that once protected them.
Eventually beachfront property values will collapse, the result comparable to the bursting of an economic bubble. Models, in fact, showed as much as a 40% decline. Studies tend to show a reduced number of tropical cyclones hitting land in the future – a seemingly good thing – but they also show a rise in the intensity of those that do hit. "When we talk about black swans, we're talking about the extremes of the extreme. So even though the total number might decrease, the extremes might increase."


New Zealand - Three people have been killed and at least seven injured after severe weather - including an apparent tornado - hit Auckland. 150 homes were damaged after the tornado ripped through an Auckland suburb.


U.S. wildfires fanned by invasive grass species - New research indicates that a species of invasive grass is making wildfires in the western US larger, hotter and more frequent. Scientists say that a variety called cheatgrass dries out and burns more rapidly than other vegetation.

More than 250 RECORD WARM high temps tied or broken on Monday across the U.S. - The weather on Monday left many across the country wondering what month and season this really is as temperatures soared to record warm levels in many cities. The National Climatic Data Center on Tuesday reported at least 259 daily record warm highs.