Monday, March 4, 2013

**We rarely confide in those who are better than we.
Rather, we are more inclined to flee their society.
Most often, on the other hand, we confess to those who are like us
and who share our weaknesses.
Hence we don't want to improve ourselves and be bettered,
for we should first have to be judged.
We merely wish to be pitied and encouraged
in the course we have chosen.
In short, we should like, at the same time, to cease being guilty
and yet not to make the effort of cleansing ourselves.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
3/3/13 -

SW China Quake Destroys 700 Homes, Injures 30. A 5.4 moderate earthquake struck southwest China on Sunday, causing hundreds of homes to collapse and injuring at least 30 people. The earthquake bureau in Yunnan province, where the quake occurred, said three of the injured people were in serious condition. The quake struck a rural area in the southwestern province of Yunnan Sunday afternoon, destroying 700 homes and damaging a further 2,500 houses. There were no reports of fatalities.

No tropical storms.

Australia - North Queensland is braced for another deluge, but forecasters are downplaying the risk of a cyclone crossing the coast. The Bureau of Meteorology is keeping a close eye on a strengthening monsoonal trough over the Coral Sea. There's a 20 to 50 per cent chance of a cyclone forming late in the week or next week, but it's unlikely to cross the coast.
Heavy rain associated with the trough - up to 200mm over 24 hours - is expected to fall from Cairns to Mackay on Monday and Tuesday and may continue throughout the week. Up to 300mm of rain fell near Mackay over the 24 hours from 9am (AEST) Sunday. As the north braces for another deluge, the clean-up is beginning on the western downs region, after the area's second flood in five weeks. About 234 properties in the town of Dalby were inundated when Myall Creek broke its banks on Sunday. Of those, 34 homes have been significantly affected.
The mining and cotton industries have also been affected by the flooding. Further flooding is expected between Cecil Plains and Condamine, near Dalby, over the next week. More flooding is expected in Bundaberg, which is still undertaking a monumental clean-up after ex-tropical cyclone Oswald last month. The Burnett River could flood downstream of Bundaberg on Monday, but they do not expect houses to be affected. The expected peak of five metres on Monday will cause some flooding of streets and roads in low-lying areas.


Japan - Heavy snow that fell in northern Japan over the weekend has killed eight people on Hokkaido island, including a family whose car became buried. The family of 4 died at a hospital on Saturday night of carbon-monoxide poisoning after their vehicle was buried in the snow.
Separately, a woman froze to death after leaving her car, stuck in the snow. A 53-year-old man died on Sunday after getting buried in the snow, although his nine-year-old daughter found with him was recovering. Also over the weekend, a 54-year-old man and a 76-year-old man were found collapsed in the snow in another part of Hokkaido, and both were confirmed dead. The storm caused two-metre-high drifts and was blamed for derailing a bullet train in Akita prefecture, south of Hokkaido, on Saturday afternoon. The passenger train was moving slowly because of the heavy snow on the tracks, and the derailment caused no injuries.


Australian climate is on steroids - Climate scientists warn Australia can expect more record heat over the next decade as a result of a "climate on steroids". Australians are likely to experience even hotter temperatures over the next 10 years. "There is little doubt that these events will continue to become worse, the hottest temperature will become hotter, of longer duration and more frequent. This is virtually certain because of the extra heat that is in the atmosphere ... We have a climate on steroids."
The report "Angry Summer" argues the extreme weather of 2012/13 was climate change in action and more unusual events are on the way. It notes that last summer 123 RECORDS WERE BROKEN THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA IN 90 DAYS, and that it was the nation's HOTTEST SUMMER, capped by the LONGEST AND MOST EXTREME HEATWAVE ON RECORD. "I think what this is telling us is that climate change is not some hypothetical thing that will occur in the future, the climate has actually changed." While it was difficult to predict whether next summer would see more records broken, over the next two decades there will be some "really frightening" temperatures in store for the country.

Drought to flood: UK's 'weird weather' - Some river levels fluctuated between their highest and lowest levels within the space of four months. 2012 'second wettest on record'.
Britain must become more resilient to both drought and flooding, the Environment Agency chairman has said. New figures from the agency show that one in every five days saw flooding in 2012, but one in four days saw drought. Rivers such as the Tyne, Ouse and Tone fell to their LOWEST AND rose to their HIGHEST FLOWS SINCE RECORDS BEGAN, within a four-month period of the year. Meteorologists fear that extremes of weather may increase as global temperatures slowly rise.
Met Office analysis has suggested that the UK could experience a severe short-term drought, similar to the drought experienced in 1976, once a decade. With the population of the water-stressed south-east of England projected to grow by almost a quarter by 2035, the number of smaller reservoirs need to be increased immediately and new ways of transferring water from areas where it is plentiful to areas where it is scarce must be established. The reservoirs would be needed not just by farmers, but also by commercial turf growers, golf clubs, sport stadiums and race courses. There are currently about 1,700 small-scale storage reservoirs across England and Wales, supplying 30% of total irrigation needs.
More homes would need to be protected from flooding. "The extremes of weather that we saw last year highlight the urgent need to plan for a changing climate. In 2012 we saw environmental damage caused by rivers with significantly reduced flows, hosepipe bans affecting millions and farmers and businesses left unable to take water from rivers. But we also saw the wettest year on record in England, with around 8,000 homes flooded. Interestingly 2007, which saw some of the most severe flooding in recent memory, also started the year with hosepipe bans. More of this extreme weather will exacerbate many of the problems that we already deal with including flooding and water scarcity, so taking action today to prepare and adapt homes, businesses, agricultural practices and infrastructure is vital."
Modelling suggests that a changing climate could reduce some river flows by up to 80% during the summer in the next 40 years. Part of the UK’s flooding problem is due to previous policies. For decades, farmers were paid to drain boggy land in order to improve it for grazing. This caused water to rush off the fields into rivers, whereas previously it would have been held in the bogs to smooth out the flow into rivers throughout the year. In addition, many flood plains have been built on.

Maryland - Baltimore on pace for RECORD 2-YEAR SNOW DROUGHT. The Baltimore area may get one more chance at a significant snowfall next week, but if it fails to materialize, the region could be wrapping up a record two-year snow drought. No back-to-back winters have posted as little snow as last winter and this winter.