Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hawaii - Experts say trade winds are declining, a drop that’s slowly changing life across the islands. Part of what makes living in Hawaii so pleasant is the gentle breeze. Arriving from the northeast, it’s light enough that it is barely noticeable but strong enough to chase away the humidity.
The effects of the decline in the trade windscan be seen from the relatively minor - such as residents unaccustomed to the humidity complaining about the weather and having to use their fans and air conditioning more often - to the more consequential - including winds being too weak to blow away volcanic smog. The winds also help bring the rains, and their decline means less water. It’s one reason officials are moving to restore the health of the mountainous forests that hold the state’s water supply and encourage water conservation. Scholars are studying ways for farmers to plant crops differently.
It’s not clear what’s behind the shift in the winds. “People always try to ask me: ‘Is this caused by global warming?’ But I have no idea,” said a University of Hawaii meteorologist, who began to wonder a few years ago about the winds becoming less steady and more intermittent. The resulting study showed a decades-long decline, including a 28 per cent drop in northeast trade wind days at Honolulu’s airport since the early 1970s.
These days there are fewer waves to surf because the winds are arriving less often. “You show up and THE WIND IS BLOWING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION....So instead of testing your surfing ability, it’s testing your endurance. It’s a different type of paddling.” Sometimes the winds are too weak to blow away the volcanic smog, or vog, created by sulfur dioxide erupting from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, leaving a white or brownish haze hanging over Honolulu. This aggravates asthma and other respiratory problems.
For now, the most important consequence will be declining rainfall and a drop in the water supply, particularly as Hawaii’s population grows and uses more water. Trade winds deliver rain to Hawaii when clouds carried from the northeast hit mountainous islands built by millions of years of volcanic eruptions. These rains, together with rainfall from winter storms, are the state’s primary sources of water. On Oahu, the rain feeds ground aquifers that supply water to about 950,000 people in Honolulu and surrounding towns. Residents are reporting streams near their homes are flowing lower than before. “What we don’t know is if this is truly a downward trend or just the lower leg of a long-term cycle. Is it going to go back up?”

**Life will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try.
Even if you pour your heart and soul into it,
you will never have that perfection you seek.
There will always be broken hearts,
there will always be days where nothing goes right.
But you must accept and learn
that even the most imperfect things
will always be made better with love and laughter.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/29/13 -

6/28/13 -

Quake could collapse nuke facility in New Mexico - An audit report released by the U.S. Department of Energy renews concerns about vulnerabilities from natural disasters at Los Alamos National Laboratory and calls attention to the possibility that the lab's plutonium facility could collapse in a large quake. The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the lab, dismissed earthquake concerns. “There is a rare probability of a seismic event occurring in Los Alamos of sufficient magnitude to cause a significant plutonium release."

Water flow tracks earthquake healing - Rock permeability in the fault that unleashed China's 2008 quake shows that fractures mend quicker than was thought. Instruments buried half a kilometre beneath the Chinese countryside show just how quickly a geological fault heals after a major earthquake. The work may be the best glimpse yet at how rock recovers in a fault zone.
In the years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan quake, which killed at least 70,000 people, researchers studied the rate at which groundwater seeped into a borehole at the fault as a measure of its healing process. Fracturing during a violent earthquake increases rocks' permeability to water, but this decreases again as the rock heals. The team found that the rate of water flowing into the hole slowed rapidly during an 18-month observation period starting about two years after the quake. This indicated that tiny fractures in the rock might have been shrinking, constricting the water flow and essentially healing the fault.
The work also suggests that this particular fault healed faster than expected. Every so often, the water flow in the drill hole sped up again as nearby earthquakes sent seismic waves racing through the ground, shaking the rock and interrupting the healing process. “This is a more complex interplay between damage and healing than maybe we had anticipated." Sensors showed that permeability, or water flow in the rock, dropped quickly between January 2010 and June 2011. That was faster than had been predicted in earlier modelling studies, suggesting that the models might have to be adjusted.
The observations are just one glimpse at one particular location. Healing of other fault zones might be affected by other factors - such as the presence of clays or other minerals that help to seal fractures. That could make it hard to extrapolate findings from the Chinese fault to other parts of the world. The latest study is part of a wider push to drill into earthquake zones soon after they rupture. In 2012, ocean drillers penetrated the sea floor off Japan to lower temperature sensors into the fault that unleashed the 2011 killer Tohoku quake. A second team retrieved the instruments in April this year, and they are probing the data for clues to how the frictional heat of the rupture dissipated over time, which could provide information about the behaviour of the sea floor during the quake.

Volcano Webcams

Telica volcano (Nicaragua) - New earthquake swarm started Friday morning.

Popocatépetl volcano (Mexico) - Early last week, increasing activity. Seismic activity picked up, suggesting that the volcano could be headed for more vigorous activity soon. SO2 emissions on NOAA recent satellite data have been relatively high as well. A magnitude 3.6 volcanic quake occurred on Tuesday night.

Sheveluch volcano (Kamchatka, Russia) - A phase of intense activity occurred Wednesday night starting at 19:10 UTC, and lasting for about 40 minutes. The activity was probably a major collapse of the dome accompanied by explosions. It produced a large ash plume rising to about 10-12 km altitude into the atmosphere. Due to cloud cover, no direct observations could be made.
A dust veil of reddish ash (likely originating from older, altered lava, suggesting that the event was largely characterized by partial collapse of the existing dome) engulfed the villages of Lazo and Klyuchi SW of the volcano where a layer of 1 and 2 mm of ash was deposited. The aviation color code was raised to red and then again lowered to orange.


In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Storm Rumbia was located approximately 64 nm westward of Manila, Philippines.

In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical depression Four-E was located about 305 mi (485 km) SW of Acapulco Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for a portion of the southwest coast of Mexico. The center is expected to pass close to the southwest coast of Mexico in the Tropical Storm Warning area on Monday and is likely to affect the coastline of Mexico as a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Gorio [Rumbia] makes landfall - Tropical Storm Gorio made landfall at 8 am on Saturday, June 29, in Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 85 kph, Gorio was moving northwest at 19 kph. PAGASA has placed 36 areas under storm signals. The state weather bureau warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas under signal numbers 2 and 1 to prepare for possible flashfloods and landslides. Those living in coastal areas are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by the topical storm.
Gorio is expected to bring 5-15 mm per hour (moderate - heavy) worth of rainfall within the 300 km diameter of the tropical storm.Tropical storm Gorio made its second landfall in Sorsogon at 3 pm Saturday afternoon. Gorio is expected to be 60 km northwest of Iba, Zambales this afternoon after passing Metro Manila in the morning. It is expected to move out to sea by Monday afternoon. (maps)
Philippines - Storm warnings raised as tropical depression approaches; passengers stranded. Gorio is the seventh tropical storm to enter the country this year. Storm warnings have been raised as tropical depression “Gorio” sped up its approach towards the center of the country, the weather bureau reported on Friday afternoon. As a result, more than 400 ferry passengers in Samar are stranded as authorities closed a major port in anticipation of bad weather. The sea was not very rough in Northern Samar but they had to be proactive to prevent accidents. Fishermen in three Samar provinces were also advised not to venture out to sea. Gorio is carrying moderate to heavy rainfall at 5-15 millimeters per hour. Gorio is seen to enhance the southwest monsoon, which will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Visayas and Mindanao.

Tropical Storm Rumbia could bring rain to Taiwan from Sunday - The tropical storm that formed over the Philippines late Friday could begin affecting Taiwan on Sunday and bring showers to the eastern and southern parts of the country.

Some tropical storms hit both Atlantic, Pacific oceans - About once every five years, an Atlantic tropical storm, or its remnants, becomes a Pacific system, or vice versa. That's after crossing over Central America or southern Mexico, where the land is relatively narrow.


Western US states are baking in an extended heat wave with TEMPERATURES THREATENING TO BREAK THE ALL-TIME HIGH RECORDED ON EARTH. In Phoenix, Arizona, the mercury hit 47C (116F) on Friday, and in the desert of Death Valley, California, the thermometer approached 51C. The heat wave is expected to last through the weekend. Phoenix 'only' reached 116 on Friday - 2 degrees short of the expected high - in part because a light layer of smoke from wildfires in neighboring New Mexico shielded the blazing sun.
Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel. The temperatures are about 10C higher than average for this time of year. Most large aircraft can operate in temperatures up to 52C, but even readings as low as 47C could affect liftoff conditions. A US Airways spokesman said the airline would be monitoring temperatures in Phoenix "very closely".
Some residents have taken to going to the grocery store in the middle of the night. "I've installed blackout shades on every window in my house. I'm a fourth-generation native of Phoenix so I expect it to be hot. But when it goes above 45C it hurts to breathe. The heat sucks the energy from your core." The National Weather Service has issued a heat warning for several parts of the region, including Las Vegas, until Monday morning. Parts of five states including Colorado and Utah will see temperatures higher than 37C over the weekend. "We'll be at or above record levels in the Phoenix area and throughout a lot of the south-western United States."
Temperatures in Death Valley in the California desert are forecast to reach 53C over the weekend. The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth, 57C, was marked there almost 100 years ago on 10 July 1913. Weather officials say the extreme weather is caused by a high-pressure system stuck over the area. Scientists say the North American jet stream, the path of air that influences weather patterns, has become more erratic in the past few years, making weather systems more likely to become stuck in place. But they disagree on whether global warming is the cause of the jet stream's behaviour.
At least seven migrants were found dead in Arizona's desert last week in lower temperatures. Border officials in Tucson, Arizona, rescued more than 170 people suffering from the heat during a thirty-day period in May and June. Utility officials planned to monitor electricity usage closely over the weekend but were not immediately concerned about overloads. "While it's hot, people tend to leave town and some businesses aren't open, so that has a tendency to mitigate demand and is why we typically don't set records on weekends." And zookeepers at the Phoenix Zoo were expected to keep outdoor animals chilled with water hoses and concrete slabs cooled by internal water-filled pipes.
Dozens of people across western US states have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as the region is continuing to bake in a heat wave. A man in Las Vegas is believed to have died from a heat-related illness. Air-conditioned "cooling centres" have been set up in California, Nevada and Arizona, as officials warn the heat could be life-threatening.
Temperatures in some areas are expected to be near 54C (130F) - close to the world's all-time record. Several parts of California - including the desert town of Palm Springs - saw RECORD HIGHS on Saturday. There are fears of wildfires, as the heat could last for several days and the heat wave comes after one of the driest winters on record. More than 34 people were taken to hospital after attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. In Los Angeles, California, a number of people were treated for heat stroke and dehydration.