Friday, July 26, 2013

**We shall succeed in ending injustice and abuse
when those who are not the victims
are as outraged about the injustice and harm
as those who are the victims.**
Solon - Greek lawmaker, 2500 years ago

Live Seismograms - Worldwide

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 7/26/13 -

Central New Zealand has been rattled by more than 1500 aftershocks in the past week as a previously unknown section of faultline under Cook Strait shakes out the last of its stress. Three aftershock sequences caused by large quakes on Friday morning, Sunday morning and Sunday evening are still rumbling under Wellington and Marlborough, producing more than 200 quakes a day.
The sequence was highly energetic at first, and while there were still some strong shakes - the largest yesterday was a magnitude 4.2 - the sequence was decaying quickly. The aftershocks were expected to die off "quite rapidly". The chance of another magnitude 6 in the next week was lowered yesterday to 9 per cent. Around 10 magnitude 5 quakes and 100 magnitude 4 quakes could be expected to follow a magnitude 6 quake.
Scientists now have a clearer picture of the faultline which generated the biggest quake on Sunday evening. It was believed to be an extension of the London Hills Fault at the north-east edge of the South Island. The aftershock sequence indicated that the fault was roughly 24km long, and 16km of it ruptured to produce the magnitude 6.5 quake at 5.30pm on Sunday. It cut through the earth's crust between 10km and 20km below the seafloor. The fault "unzipped" in a mostly southern direction with most energy released towards the South Island.
The strongest ground acceleration in Wellington was measured in Karori, and reached 14 per cent of the force of gravity. This meant buildings in Karori were shoved with 14 per cent of the acceleration of a stone being dropped from someone's hand. This was far lower than the deadly Christchurch quake in February 2011, where the ground accelerated at twice the force of gravity.
Sunday's quake was a strike-slip event in which the ground was shoved sideways. The other two large quakes on Friday and Sunday mornings were "thrusting events" which pushed the ground upwards. The earth was displaced by around 5cm in parts of Nelson. During the two major quakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, the earth moved 5m. Scientists will now try to measure whether the quakes have relieved or increased the stress on the Wellington Fault, which runs under the CBD and is capable of quakes greater than magnitude 8.
Cars still 'trapped' in quake-hit parking buildings - Cordons continue along Wellington's Featherston St while some central city parking buildings have turned into car prisons, following Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake. The central city came back to life Monday but there were still some visual reminders of the earthquake.
A dozen buildings in Featherston St remained cordoned off because of the dangers of loose masonry and glass, forcing pedestrians to zigzag across the road to navigate it. Three parking buildings were shut down after the quake, leaving about 1500 parking spaces out of action. "I can certainly understand the frustration of those car owners, but our No 1 priority is safety."
In central Wellington, returning workers admitted to a few nerves but were positive about the city's recovery. Police, fire and urban search and rescue had been stood down to return to normal duties. Out of the 2500 buildings in the Central Business District, 35 were found to have external damage. The BNZ building, on Harbour Quays, remains shut, having suffered internal damage. It is not known when it could reopen.

Deadly China Earthquake Chaos Captured on Surveillance Video - The 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the northwest province of Gansu, China on Monday, 22 July, killing 95 people. People in some areas affected by the quake are still facing a shortage of relief supplies.

Volcano Webcams


In the Atlantic Ocean -
Tropical storm Dorian is located about 1550 mi (2500 km) E of the northern Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast through late Saturday. Dorian is moving in the direction of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cuba and Florida. (maps)

In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical Storm Flossie is located about 1355 mi (2185 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja, California. Moving westward towards Hawaii - 1940 mi (3125 km) E of Honolulu. (maps)


Aftermath of strong storms in southern Kansas on Tuesday night - Hail as large as baseballs was reported in east Hutchinson. Winds estimated as high as 100 miles an hour were reported in southern Reno County near Pretty Prairie. The town itself was hit hard by hail and strong winds, knocking down trees and blocking streets.
A hail stone measuring 4.75 inches in diameter fell near Yoder in eastern Reno County and hail as large as tennis balls was also reported. More heavy rain and strong winds struck Argonia in Sumner County Tuesday night, which was still picking up the pieces from Monday night’s microburst storm that ripped portions of the roof off the high school and elementary school. Officially, Wichita recorded 1.02 inches of rain. But heavier amounts were reported elsewhere in the city – including an inch of rain falling in just a half-hour at Central and Ridge Road in west Wichita.
Substantial rain over each of the past two days in the Cheney Lake watershed area is likely to boost water levels at the lake. With the ground already saturated, runoff into the lake – which until recently was Wichita’s primary water source – should be considerable.

European flooding and an earthquake in China are among catastrophes that contributed to about $85 billion of economic losses worldwide in the first half of this year. The figure is $10 billion higher than the same period of 2012 and 15 percent below the 10-year average. Insured losses for the six months through June totaled at least $20 billion, about 20 percent less than last year.
“The costliest natural disaster during the first half of 2013 was, by far, the massive flooding event across Central Europe in May and June.” The storms, which killed at least 23 people, caused about $22 billion of economic losses and as much as $5.3 billion in insured losses on the Continent.
The April 20 China earthquake, 6.6-magnitude, which claimed about 200 lives, was the second-most expensive, with about $14 billion in economic losses. Droughts in Brazil and China and an outbreak of severe weather that spawned tornadoes in the U.S. also fueled losses.


After drought, Illinois' peach crop recovers - The peaches are bigger and the crop is more abundant than last year, when the region was contending with a drought.

New Zealand - The DROUGHT IS THE WORST IN NEARLY 70 YEARS. The 2012-13 drought has been confirmed as the worst in nearly 70 years for large parts of the country.

England - A large amount of fish found dead in the lower Lea river and surrounding waterways were starved of oxygen. The fish were spotted at various locations along the river, including Springfield Marina and Lea Bridge Weir pool in Walthamstow. Recent hot weather reduced oxygen levels in the river.
Storms on Monday night, which swept toxins from nearby roads into the river, meant oxygen levels were further depeleted. Fisheries officers from the agency worked through the night carrying out work to return levels to normal by running water through locks and pumping oxygen into the water at Three Mills Boatyard. The agency reported that oxygen levels have risen around 25 per cent in the area, creating a refuge for fish including bream, perch, pike and roach.

The North Pole is now a lake – An Arctic cyclone, which can rival a hurricane in strength, is forecast for this week, which will further fracture the ice and churn up warm ocean water, hastening the summer melt. Instead of snow and ice whirling on the wind, a foot-deep aquamarine lake now sloshes around a webcam stationed at the North Pole. The meltwater lake started forming July 13, following two weeks of warm weather in the high Arctic. In early July, temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) higher than average over much of the Arctic Ocean, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
Meltwater ponds sprout more easily on young, thin ice, which now accounts for more than half of the Arctic's sea ice. The ponds link up across the smooth surface of the ice, creating a network that traps heat from the sun. Thick and wrinkly multi-year ice, which has survived more than one freeze-thaw season, is less likely sport a polka-dot network of ponds because of its rough, uneven surface.
July is the melting month in the Arctic, when sea ice shrinks fastest. The Arctic hit a record low summer ice melt last year on 16 September 2012, the smallest recorded since satellites began tracking the Arctic ice in the 1970s.
Scientists watch Arctic cyclone chew up sea ice - Arctic scientists are watching in awe this week as a raging summer cyclone tears up what could become a record amount of rotting northern sea ice. "We're really watching this year with a lot of fascination."
Arctic cyclones are driven by low-pressure systems in which winds of up to 100 km/h blow counter-clockwise in a spiral more than 1,000 kilometres across. They occur in both winter and summer, but are usually stronger in winter. Cyclones are not unusual in the Arctic, but seem to be changing in recent years. "These cyclones are not getting more frequent, but they are getting deeper -- which means stronger."
And they're getting harder on sea ice, which they break up through wave action associated with high winds and through rainfall, which darkens the ice and makes it absorb more solar energy. The storms also bring up water from the depths, which is actually warmer than surface water.
Cyclones can destroy large amounts of ice very quickly. "In 2009, we actually documented one of these events in which large, multi-year ice floes - Manhattan-sized - broke up in a matter of minutes." Last year, a particularly powerful cyclone is thought to have wiped out 800,000 square kilometres of ice. That contributed to record low sea-ice levels at the end of the 2012 melt year.
This year's storm over the Beaufort Sea formed about mid-week and is expected to die out on the weekend. It isn't as strong as last year's, but the ice is thinner and weaker. As well, the ice has already been pummelled by earlier storms. "The effects of (the storm) are nowhere near what we saw last August. But because the ice is thinner and it's already been pre-conditioned, and because there's less volume, it's much more vulnerable to impacts from this sort of thing."
The ice is getting so weak that new categories have had to be created for it. "We have a whole new class of sea ice in the Arctic, which we're calling 'decayed ice. We started seeing it in 2009. It's extremely weak." Changing sea-ice cover is increasingly being linked to southern weather patterns. The jet stream, which strongly influences weather at mid-latitudes, is driven by temperature differences between the Arctic and the equator, a difference that shrinks with the sea ice. Ice coverage is slightly about last year's record low but still well below the 30-year average.
Much remains unknown about the role of Arctic cyclones in the annual freeze-thaw cycle. Back when the sea was thick and lasted for years, cyclones tended to spread the ice out and actually increase its extent. Now, when ice gets spread out, it simply breaks up and disappears. "As our ice cover has thinned, some of our old rules are changing...This year has been very stormy. The month of August is definitely one to watch in the Arctic."


Solar Cycle 24 is shaping up to be THE WEAKEST SOLAR CYCLE IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS. In 2009, a panel of forecasters led by NOAA and NASA predicted a below-average peak. Now that Solar Max has arrived, however, it is even weaker than they expected.


Ohio, Minnesota report Cyclospora cases - total grows to 285. This raises the number of affected states to 11 and the nation's total to 285 cases. It's not clear if all of the infectious are part of the outbreak first reported by Iowa and Nebraska earlier this month. Those two states and Texas have reported the vast majority of cases.
So far no specific food has been implicated in the outbreak, though Iowa officials suspect a fresh vegetable source. Past outbreaks have been linked to imported fruits or vegetables. Some of the states reporting just a few cases have said their cases were likely acquired in other states linked to the outbreak or from overseas travel. So far Iowa is the hardest hit state, reporting 138 of the cases.

Hepatitis outbreak - A total of 153 people have now been sickened in a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A tied to a frozen berry mix containing pomegranate seeds from Turkey. The total is 4 more cases than a week ago.Sixty-six patients have been hospitalized, but none have died. The affected states, with case numbers, are California, 75; Colorado, 27; Arizona, 22; New Mexico, 9; Hawaii, 8; Nevada, 6; Utah, 3; and Wisconsin, 2. All patients in the outbreak reported eating Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend bought at Costco stores, though the same product was sold at Harris Teeter stores. Investigators said the most likely source of contamination was pomegranate seeds from Goknur Foodstuffs of Turkey.