Friday, June 14, 2013

Residents flee as historic Colorado wildfire burns out of control - Two people are dead due to the Black Forest fire, which continues to rage virtually unchecked about five miles northeast of Colorado's second largest city (population 400,000.) The fire had burned through 15,700 acres by late Thursday afternoon, and was 5% contained. Over 38,000 people in 13,000 homes had been evacuated.
The weather was no help on Thursday, as afternoon temperatures spiked to 90°, winds were sustained at 33 mph, gusting to 40 mph, and the humidity dropped as low as 14%. The fire began on Tuesday, June 11, during a RECORD HEAT WAVE. Colorado Springs hit 98° on June 10 -- the city's HOTTEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED SO EARLY IN THE YEAR.
The temperature topped out at 97° on June 11. The extreme heat, combined with the extreme drought gripping the region, made for ideal fire conditions. Fire conditions will not be as dangerous in the Colorado Springs area toiday, as a weak cold front is expected to pass through the region during the afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures and increased humidity. Strong winds may still be a problem, though.
The three most expensive fires in Colorado history have all occurred in the past year. The 360 homes burned by this week's Black Canyon fire are THE MOST EVER DESTROYED IN COLORADO BY A FIRE, and will likely make it the most expensive fire in Colorado history.
The previous record was the $353 million Waldo Canyon fire of June 23 - July 10, 2012. That fire killed two people, destroyed 347 homes, forced the evacuation of over 32,000 people, and burned 18,247 acres of land.
The High Park fire of June, 2012, which destroyed 259 buildings near Fort Collins, now ranks as the third most expensive Colorado fire (it was the most expensive one at the time.) T
he Black Forest fire has a long ways to go if it wants to challenge the 2002 Hayman Fire as the largest fire in Colorado history. The Hayman fire burned 138,000 acres, an area about nine times as large as this week's Black Forest fire.
According to a federal report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012, Colorado can expect to see a sharp increase in wildfires during the coming decades, if the climate warms as expected. The report cited research predicting that a 1.8°F increase in Colorado's average temperature - the level of warming expected by 2050 under a moderate global warming scenario - would cause a factor of 2.8 - 6.6 increase in fire area burned in the state. (photos)

Move on.
Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.**
Steve Maraboli


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/13/13 -

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's main island of Java Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake struck at 11:47 pm (1647 GMT). The quake was 11 kilometers (7 miles) deep and the epicenter was located 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of Flying Fish Cove, on Australia's Christmas Island, and more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) south of Jakarta.

Volcano Webcams

New Eruption at Alaska's Veniaminof Caldera - The Alaska Volcano Observatory has raised the aviation alert status at Veniaminof to Orange after indications that a new eruption may have started inside the caldera. There are currently no direct observations of the eruption. Veniaminof has erupted at least 12 times in the past 200 years. The most significant eruptions occurred between 1993 and 1995 when the volcano produced steam and ash and a small lava flow.

New Zealand Volcano still restless as rain fills crater lake - White Island's famous crater lake is back - but the giant volcano is still showing no signs of settling down. The lake, noted for its hot temperatures, brilliant green colouring and acid levels 50 times more potent than battery acid, had dried up amid heightened activity that elevated the Bay of Plenty island volcano's alert level last year.
When a GNS Science volcanologist visited the island on Tuesday, much of the crater was again drowned by a lake more than 150m long. He suspected run-off into the crater from winter rains had helped restore the lake. "The heat flow from the volcano is maybe also not as high as it was last year. The place has possibly cooled down slightly, which maybe means it's not evaporating as quickly, but there is still a lot of hydrothermal activity occurring from the active vent."
A lava dome, which appeared last November and is believed to be plugging magma below the surface of the volcano, was still visible this week. And high maximum temperatures - measuring nearly 170C within volcanic fumaroles and 49C around them - also showed the volcano's unsettled behaviour had not changed.
Last year, scientists monitoring the island were surprised by a series of twists, with activity swinging from relatively settled states to sudden ash eruptions. The 2km-wide, 321m-high circular rock - the visible tip of a submarine volcano rising 1.6km from the ocean floor - sprang back into life last July and August, ending more than a decade of peace and raising aviation alert levels.
Meanwhile, activity at Mt Ruapehu, where the ski season is about to open, and at Mt Tongariro, where the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing recently fully reopened, has returned to normal levels. Water and gas samples taken from Mt Ruapehu's crater lake have again been producing routine results, after unusually unchanged levels left scientists worried that rising pressure was being trapped below. New vents formed at Tongariro's Te Maari Crater by a surprise eruption last year were also typically active, indicating the mountain was "breathing".

Mauna Loa may be stirring in Hawaii - The large volcanic system last erupted in 1984. The latest update of the USGS mentions that minor inflation of a shallow magma reservoir beneath Mauna Loa may be occurring. Seismicity rates were slightly elevated. However, the level of observed seismicity is far from alarming and the alert level remains at green. No eruption is expected in the near future.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan) - After 10 days of almost no activity, the volcano has woken up violently with 3 powerful explosions Wednesday night (at 22:05 and 23:58 UTC, ash plumes to 10-13,000 ft) and Thursday morning at 04:26. The morning eruption appears to be one of the largest explosions for a long time, producing an ash plume rising to 16-20,000 ft (5-6 km) altitude. An SO2 plume is also visible on satellite data. Tokyo VAAC issued a warning of an ash plume drifting SE at flight level 200 (20,000 ft altitude)
Sakurajima Eruption - YouTube video.

Philippines – Restive Taal Volcano in Batangas province showed heightened activity after at least nine volcanic quakes were recorded around it in 24 hours. These quakes were monitored from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday. Phivolcs recorded seven volcanic quakes in a previous 24-hour observation period.
Despite the increased activity, “there is nothing to worry about” since tremors below 10 are still within the “normal parameters” of a volcano under Alert Level 1. Alert Level 1, which means that hazardous eruption is not imminent, remains in effect over Taal. Taal has about 40 craters, above water and under water, which have so far been discovered. The entire volcano island is off limits since it is a permanent danger zone.
In Albay, Mayon Volcano was relatively “quiet” in the past 24 hours. Although moderate emission of white steam plumes was observed, no volcanic earthquake was recorded in the area. No rockfall was detected and that sulfur dioxide levels remained low. No crater glow was observed Tuesday night due to thick clouds that covered the volcano’s summit.
376 aftershocks have been recorded in North Cotabato since a 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit the province last June 1. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, 17 of the aftershocks were “significant.” Aftershocks will continue to occur in North Cotabato and nearby areas for more than a month.


No current tropical storms.

Tropical Storm Yagi - Some remote Japanese islands were drenched by the spiraling bands of Tropical Storm Yagi as the disturbance passed about 200 miles to the south of Tokyo. Yagi brought locally heavy rain to a long stretch of coastline of Japan's Honshu Island.

RARE CLOUDS sighted ahead of Andrea - Tropical Storm Andrea has come and gone. All eyes were on the skies on Saturday as the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season barreled through. Some people happened to look up on Friday, the day before the storm, and what they saw both scared and impressed them.
A broad band of Undulatus Asperatus clouds covered the skies about 24 hours ahead of Post Tropical storm Andrea. They look scary, but these clouds generally lead or follow a storm rather than become one. The wave affect comes from turbulent differing air masses pushing cloud into shapes like rough waves on the sea.
The species of this cloud is "undulatus" which means "wave" In Latin. The variety of the cloud is "asperatus" which means "roughened" so the name literally descibes how this cloud looks, like rough waves. This is a low cloud and is seen at about 2000 meters above the ground.
Despite their stormy end-of-the-world-is-nigh appearance, these clouds do not produce rain or a storm. They are most likely to be seen following convective thunderstorm activity. Asperatus clouds are formed by warm and cold air meeting, this causes a turbulant effect.
This surreal looking cloud is A NEW DISCOVERY, THE FIRST SINCE 1951. The cloud formation was proposed in 2009 as a separate cloud classification by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. If successful it will be the first cloud formation added since cirrus intortus in 1951 to the International Cloud Atlas of the World Meteorological Organization. (photo)

Philippines - Possible cyclone might enter west Luzon and other areas. While a low-pressure area strengthens just outside the Philippine area of responsibility, floods and landslides intimidates the western parts of Luzon and Visayas Thursday. If the LPA intensifies into a cyclone and enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be codenamed Emong.
The Philippines has felt the brunt of the world's deadliest storms for two straight years.

Struggling Farmers in India Find Promise for the Future in Ancient Seeds - Farmers Pick Heartier Seeds Over Those With High Yields. When a cyclone hits India, the sea-drenched soil can remain salty for years. Farmers are finding new high-yield rice seeds are not withstanding the salty onslaught as well as seeds developed more than a century ago.


After years of drought and a dry winter, communities across the U.S. West have been bracing for a brutal summer wildfire season. Thousands of acres are burning in California, and several wildfires erupted in Colorado and New Mexico, burning through a national park, sage and juniper hills and the once-idyllic community of Black Forest, north of Colorado Springs.
Over and over, the refrain is: We lost everything. In Black Forest many residents said they knew they had taken a risk by moving to the rural community. But many said they were zealous about trying to reduce fire risk by trimming branches, sweeping away pine needles and clearing dead trees. “It made no difference whatsoever. They’d said that for a long time we were a disaster waiting to happen. I guess it finally caught up with us.”

Oceans melt Antarctica's ice from below - More than half of melting occurs at just ten small ice shelves. The Antarctic ice sheet is losing more ice from oceanic currents eating at it from below than from the breaking off of large bloks of ice.They may be less dramatic than the events in which icebergs break off, but everyday interactions with warm ocean currents could cause more than half of the ice melt along Antarctica’s coastline.
Ice shelves are portions of the larger ice sheet that extend over the ocean, floating on seawater. Conventional wisdom once held that calving, the break off of large chunks of ice, was the main factor driving ice-shelf dynamics, but recent research has underscored the role of melting from below, or 'basal' melting, for the entire continent.
The results suggest that warm ocean currents are melting ice shelves predominantly at certain locations around the continent, to an extent that accounts for 55% of the annual meltwater. The findings will help scientists to tackle larger questions about how the Antarctic ice sheet might change in future and its contribution to global sea-level rise. It suggests that the ice shelves act like stoppers, stemming the slow flow of continental ice. “If they thin and disappear, then the continental ice will accelerate its movement to the sea.”
Despite being relatively small, Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf produces more meltwater than ice shelves around the continent that are ten times its size. Analysis suggests that roughly half of the meltwater comes from ten small ice shelves along the southeastern part of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica, such as the Getz Ice Shelf; the analysis also identifies significant melting at six ice shelves in East Antarctica. The three largest ice shelves, which account for two-thirds of the ice shelf area around Antarctica, are responsible for just 15% of the total basal melting.
But although these latest data highlight the overall ice-shelf dynamics, they do not necessarily imply that the continent's cumulative ice loss is greater than previously thought: Nearly half of the ice shelves are thinning, but others are thickening or in a state of equilibrium. Nonetheless, the authors argue, the results do point towards ocean–ice interactions that are not being captured in current computer models.


The Hartz Mountain Corporation is recalling one specific lot of Wardley Betta Fish Food 1.2 oz. size due to concerns that one or more containers within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella.