Monday, February 4, 2013

**You will never be happy if you continue to search
for what happiness consists of.
You will never live if
you are looking for the meaning of life.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
2/3/13 -

Montana - 1/23/13 - "Booms" baffling Great Falls residents. The booms were heard across town, from east to west and north to south, for several days.
As for the cause of the booms prior to Wednesday, the 23rd, several people have suggested possibilities, including: the "Artillery of the Rockies" - On July 4, 1805, the Lewis & Clark Expedition was around the Great Falls of the Missouri. Lewis recorded in his journal: "Since our arrival at the falls we have repeatedly witnessed a noise which proceeds from a direction a little to the N. of West as loud and resembling precisely the discharge of a piece of ordinance of 6 pounds at the distance of three miles. I was informed of it by the men several times before I paid any attention to it, thinking it was thunder most probably which they had mistaken. At length walking in the plains the other day I heard this noise very distictly, it was perfectly calm clear and not a cloud to be seen, I halted and listened attentively about an hour during which time I heard two other discharges and tok the direction of the sound with my pocket compass.
At first Lewis thought the noise might be caused by water under pressure - an “Old Faithful” type phenomenon. “I have thought it probable that it might be caused by runing water in some of the caverns of those immence mountains, on the principal of the blowing caverns. But in such case the sounds would be periodical & regular, which is not the case with this, being sometimes heard once only and at other times, six or seven discharges in quick succession. It is heard also at different seasons of the day and night. I am at a loss to account for this phenomenon.”
Weather was an obvious culprit, as the area around the Great Falls seemed to be a magnet for volatile storms. However, Lewis found that the strange noises were heard at odd intervals, including when the weather was perfectly calm. Clark, the expedition’s weatherman, also noted with puzzlement that on clear, cloudless days, “a rumbling like Cannon at a great distance is heard to the west if us. The Cause we Can’t account.”
On July 11, Lewis recorded that he had heard the noise again: "This evening a little before the sun set I heared two other discharges of this unaccounable artillery of the Rocky Mountains proceeding from the same quarter that I had before heard it. I now recollected the Minnetares making mention of the nois which they had frequently heard in the Rocky Mountains like thunder; and which they said the mountains made; but I paid no attention to the information supposing it either false or the fantom of a supersticious immagination. I have also been informed by the engages that the Panis and Ricaras give the same account of the Black mountains which lie West of them. This phenomenon the philosophy of the engages readily accounts for; they state it to be the bursting of the rich mines of silver which these mountains contain."
Though he had initially pooh-poohed the accounts given by the Minnetare Indians, personal experience had convinced Lewis that the noise was real, even if his scientific mind could not immediately discern the cause. He wrote confidently, “I have no doubt but if I had leasure I could find from whence it issued.”
Lewis and Clark moved on and never did account for source of the noise. Later, other travelers corroborated the Corps of Discovery’s account of mysterious booming noises in the area of the Great Falls and the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Rocky Mountains are not unique in inspiring reports of unaccountable noises; it is not uncommon in mountain regions throughout the world. The rumbling, thunder-like noises heard in mountain regions are sometimes attributed to sudden avalanches, though it seems likely that Lewis would have readily identified this if it had been a plausible cause. Another possible explanation for sudden mountain booms is the natural creaking, groaning, and settling of the mountains themselves, as geographic forces converge and tons of rock presses in upon itself.
This is, however, as much a theory as Captain Lewis’s speculation. No definitive explanation for the cannon-like booms Lewis and Clark described has ever been found. The “artillery of the Rocky Mountains” remains a mystery to this day.

Volcano Webcams

Volcano activity on February 2

Volcano activity on February 3

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Felleng was located approximately 745 nm south of La Reunion. The final advisory has been issued on this system. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

Australia - A temporary village is being built in Bundaberg to house people whose homes have been ravaged by destructive floods. The 300-bed village is being built at the city's showgrounds and it's hoped to be opened within the next couple of days. The village will provide a more comfortable existence for hundreds of residents who remain in evacuation centres in the wake of the disaster.
Authorities have so far assessed 3670 flood-damaged houses in Bundaberg, with 38 houses rated as unliveable. Another 356 have been rated as severely damaged with 784 listed as having medium damage with floodwaters rising above power points. Residents were finally allowed to return to their homes at the weekend. Entire homes were swept from their stumps and truck-sized sinkholes have opened up in some roads.
As Bundaberg begins the long road to recovery, the same process is playing out at other flood-ravaged communities across the state. The army is on its way to help isolated communities between Bundaberg and Gladstone, including Baffle Creek, Lowmead and Rosedale. In Baffle Creek, "The tavern has water over the roof. Homes that have never seen floodwaters through the floor have had floodwaters above the window sills."
Roads linking towns with Bundaberg have also suffered severe damage. On the western Darling Downs, inland from Brisbane, floodwaters are tormenting locals, rising and falling ahead of an expected peak sometime on Tuesday. The Condamine River, in Condamine, is currently at 10.3 metres and slowly dropping but it's expected to reach 11.7 metres on Tuesday. And floodwaters are expected to remain high until late this week, leaving many residents isolated.

An Atlantic Tropical Storm in February? It Happened Once. On Groundhog Day in 1952, the earliest tropical storm on record to strike the United States formed and quickly raced from the Caribbean into southern Florida before racing out into the Atlantic Ocean. The 1952 Groundhog Day tropical storm formed formed very early on Feb. 2 in the far-western Caribbean Sea and was declared a tropical cyclone with initial winds around 35 mph.
The system quickly raced northeastward, brushing the northwest coast of Cuba before making landfall near Cape Sable, Florida, early on Feb. 3. The system then crossed Florida, passing near Miami along the way. They recorded a wind gust of 68 mph as well as sustained tropical storm-force winds for four hours. After passing through Florida, the tropical storm emerged over the western Atlantic and accelerated northeastward, transitioning into an extratropical storm.
With a storm with such unusual timing, residents were reportedly caught off guard. There were many reports of wind damage and power outages along with upward of 4 inches of rainfall. Such heavy rains during a very dry time of year caused significant damage to vegetable crops of south Miami-Date County. To this date, the Groundhog Day storm remains the only tropical cyclone in the month of February and the earliest one on record to strike the United States.


Cyclone did not cause 2012 record low for Arctic sea ice - It came out of Siberia, swirling winds over an area that covered almost the entire Arctic basin in the normally calm late summer. It came to be known as “The Great Arctic Cyclone of August 2012,” and for some observers it suggested that the historic sea ice minimum may have been caused by a freak summer storm, rather than warming temperatures.
But new results show that the August cyclone was not responsible for last year’s record low for Arctic sea ice. “The effect is huge in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, but after about two weeks the effect gets smaller. By September, most of the ice that melted would have melted with or without the cyclone.” Recent research showed that the Arctic cyclone was THE MOST POWERFUL EVER SEEN DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST, and the 13th most powerful of all Arctic storms in more than three decades of satellite records.
“The storm was enormous. The impact on the ice was immediately obvious, but the question was whether the ice that went away during the storm would have melted anyway because it was thin to begin with.” Results of a computer simulation showed the storm caused the sea ice to pass the previous record 10 days earlier in August than it would have otherwise, but only reduced the final September ice extent by 150,000 square kilometers (almost 60,000 square miles), less than a 5 percent difference. By comparison, the actual minimum ice extent was 18 percent less than the previous record set in 2007.
The study also revealed a surprising mechanism for the cyclone-related melting. Earlier discussions about the cyclone’s effect had focused on winds breaking up the ice or driving ice floes into areas of warmer water. The results suggest that neither process led to much increase in melting. Relatively recent research shows that in the summertime, thin ice and areas of open water allow sunlight to filter down to the water below. As a result, while a layer of ice-cold fresh water sits just beneath the sea ice, about 20 meters (65 feet) down there is a layer of denser, saltier water that has been gradually warmed by the sun’s rays.
Blowing on polar water is like blowing on a layered cocktail. When the cyclone swept over the drifting ice floes, underside ridges churned up the water to bring sun-warmed seawater to the ice’s bottom edge. The model suggests that during the cyclone there was a quadrupling of melting from below, and that this was the biggest cause for doubling ice loss during the three-day storm. “We only looked at one big storm. If we want to understand how storms will affect the ice cover in the future we need understand the effect of storms in different conditions."
More sunlight reaches the water in a year with unusually thin summer ice, such as 2012, so this process is a potential multiplier effect for sea-ice melting. The results are of interest beyond understanding climate change. As sea ice thins and melts, economic and political concerns require better sea-ice forecasts to protect ships and instruments that might travel in those waters. “One thing we are working on, and that needs to be included in future computer simulations, is how bigger waves created by wind blowing over more extensive open water help break up the sea ice into floes, and how these smaller floes respond to warm water."


Sunspot of interest - A break in the quiet could be in the offing. Sunspot AR1667 is crackling with C-class solar flares and appears capable of producing an even stronger M-class eruption. The sunspot is turning toward Earth, so future blasts would likely be geoeffective.
Feb. 2nd, the solar activity forecast called for "quiet." Instead, "it was really loud. There were several strong solar radio emissions including one super-strong Type III burst at 1954 UT." The source of the burst was sunspot AR1667, which unleashed a C2.9-class solar flare just before the roar emerged.
Type III solar radio bursts are produced by electrons accelerated to high energies (1 to 100 keV) by solar flares. As the electrons stream outward from the sun, they excite plasma oscillations and radio waves in the sun's atmosphere. When these radio waves head in the direction of Earth, they make themselves heard in the loudspeakers of shortwave radios around the dayside of the planet. More radio bursts could be in the offing.