Monday, July 29, 2013

A young man went to the tribal elder for advice: "Grandfather, I keep having this terrible dream, where two dogs are fighting in my heart. One feels like love, and the other fear. Grandfather, can you tell me which one will win?" The old man looked at the young man for a long moment, then said: "The one you feed."

Live Seismograms - Worldwide

This morning -

Yesterday, 7/28/13 -

A widely accepted theory about earthquakes has received a major shakeup - A team of geologists studying the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles found that bigger earthquakes aren't necessarily preceded by longer periods of inactivity on the fault.
The going wisdom about earthquakes is that the longer a fault goes without a major earthquake, the bigger the quake will be when it finally strikes. The theory seems particularly apt for the San Andreas fault, which marks the boundary between two tectonic plates. As the Pacific plate moves northward relative to North America at about 4.5 cm per year, friction stops the fault from slipping. The longer that strain jacks up, the farther the plates will jolt when they finally let go and the larger the resulting earthquake will be. Or so the thinking went. But a group found that the theory doesn't hold up for the segment of the fault near the southern California town of Wrightwood.
The team's analysis provided the most complete long-term record of activity for any fault in the world. And it contradicts the conventional wisdom: Shorter quiet periods of less than a century were generally followed by larger earthquakes, and longer periods of several hundred years preceded smaller quakes. Although this appears counterintuitive, the larger pattern is more logical. It appears that strain is not released entirely with each earthquake but continues to accumulate through four or five or more earthquake cycles. Finally, the strain is released by one big quake or a cluster of smaller shocks.
The authors caution that they don't know yet if the activity at the Wrightwood fault segment is typical of the entire San Andreas fault or of faults in general. But if it is, the research could change the way scientists estimate the probability of earthquakes."My guess is this will force a lot of people to think hard about the assumptions they make about earthquake recurrence."

Volcano Webcams


In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Flossie was located about 320 mi (515 km) E of Hilo, Hawaii. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Hawaii County, Maui County -including the islands of Maui...Molokai...Lanai and Kahoolawe, and Oahu. Heavy rainfall was expected to begin as early as Monday morning over Hawaii County and Monday afternoon over Maui County, with heavy rain spreading to Oahu by Monday night. Flossie is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 10 inches overThe Big Island and Maui County, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible, mainly windward. (maps)


China landslide - Footage has emerged of a dramatic landslide in China's Shaanxi Province in which four people escaped unharmed. Earlier this month, a car was driving on a mountain pass when it was suddenly swamped by a landslide. Two men escaped from the car once the initial landslide eased and two others were rescued soon after. It has been reported that none of the car's occupants suffered major injuries. Higher than normal rainfall has caused widespread flooding and landslides across China's Shaanxi Province all month.

Arizona floodwaters sweep tour bus off road. Floodwaters in rural northern Arizona swept a Las Vegas- bound tour bus into a wash where it tipped over, but officials said all the passengers escaped safely.A ro und of heavy rains over the weekend put much of northwestern Arizona under a flash-flood watch. The Sunday afternoon incident happened at Pierce Ferry Road, in a rural area about 50 to 75 miles north of Kingman.
The bus, reportedly carrying more than 30 passengers, was returning to Las Vegas after visiting the Grand Canyon. The bus had started to float away while emergency responders were en route, but it came to a halt after rolling onto its side about 300 yards from the road. The people in the bus climbed out through the driver's window onto the side of the vehicle, then jumped onto a nearby road bank. They waited on dry land until emergency responders arrived. "The occupants were extremely lucky to have survived the ordeal and were very fortunate to have no fatalities or injuries due to the remote location.” (photo)


Wild weather in the United States in the past decade has amassed a long list of toppled records and financial disasters. Call it weird, call it extreme, maybe even call it the new normal.
A new study confirms that everywhere, except in the Atlantic Plains region, more rain and snow is falling during wet and dry seasons alike. (The Atlantic Plains are the flatlands along the central and southern Atlantic Coast that stretch from Massachusetts to Mississippi.) On average, the total precipitation in the contiguous United States has increased 5.9 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
What's more, the timing has changed too. In some parts of the United States, dry seasons are arriving earlier and wet seasons are starting later than they did 80 years ago. The time shift does not necessarily extend the length of dry or wet seasons, because most areas have transitional periods in between these precipitation extremes. In the Ohio River Valley, the fall dry season starts two to three weeks earlier today. In east New York, the wet season now kicks off on Jan. 8 instead of Feb. 1. And in the Southwest, the summer monsoon is starting later than it did during the middle of the 20th century.
Altering the timing of dry and wet season starts can significantly affect agriculture and cities. In the Southwest, water contracts rely on the timing of spring snowmelt and summer monsoons to generate hydroelectric power and water for farming and millions of residents. Since 1930, the researchers found an overall drop in dry spells (the number of days without precipitation) between 1930 and 2009 in most regions of the country. For instance, there were 15 more precipitation days (rain or snow) during the dry season in the Central and Great Plains, and 20 more precipitation days during the wet season in the Midwest and intermountain regions today than 80 years ago. However, the length of dry spells during the wet season, a drought indicator, increased by 50 percent in the Atlantic Plains.
The study cannot answer whether climate change is causing the seasonal shifts in precipitations. "This opens many other research doors. We would like to find what is actually affecting this shift. It's probably a mixture of natural variability and climate change."

The Climate Change Real Estate Boom Is Coming - A British futurist predicted a massive real estate boom in fortified "Climate Change Cities," where the global elite go to escape the ravages of rising sea levels and unstable weather patterns.
The fabulously wealthy British futurist donated more than $150 million to Oxford University and lived on his own private Bermudan island, believed one of the biggest land booms in history is on its way - and it will happen in less than 100 years. He said that events like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina will hit major American cities harder and more frequently because of climate change.
Scientists and politicians have come to the conclusion that whole countries such as Mauritius and Tuvalu will need to evacuate due to rising sea levels. But while coastlines in much of the world may suffer, climate change will be a positive development in some areas. Specifically, Canada; northern Europe; Russia; Alaska; Patagonia, Argentina; and southern Africa may all experience real estate booms. These booms, he claimed, will be in “Climate Change Cities” with military fortifications catering to an increasingly displaced global elite.
The idea of climate change-triggered mass migration has been around for a long time. Politicians, charities, and bureaucrats worldwide have quietly (and not so quietly) been gearing up for a torrent of refugees fleeing newly inhabitable lands. As any player of Civilization knows, most major cities anchor trade routes. This means cities are more often than not built seaside or on a riverbank, which puts them at severe risk from rising sea levels. In the United States alone, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and many other cities face the risk of whole neighborhoods becoming uninhabitable because of climate change.
Research shows that climate change is shrinking the Great Lakes, though the phenomenon is expected to worsen Chicago’s floods. In New York, the mayor recently proposed a $20 billion climate change plan for the city. The plan is designed to mitigate damage from another Sandy-sized storm and would drastically change everyday life for New Yorkers, with sharply increased taxes and large construction projects in most seaside neighborhoods. But what happens at that unspecified future date when the climate change mitigation plans fail?
As existing cities and rural regions slowly become uninhabitable due to increasingly inhospitable weather, rising food prices, and skyrocketing utility prices causing a decline in air conditioning, more mass migration is expected. Alongside conventional worries of security, political autonomy, and economy, the proposed climate change cities would also make use of newer technologies. Self-driving cars, for example, will transform living patterns due to convoy features that sharply reduce both commute times and greenhouse gas consumption. Then there are increasingly energy-efficient methods of producing electricity and growing food - but it’s still unclear if these cities, if they ever come to pass, would be more like Singapore or more of a giant suburban gated community.
Will it happen? It’s certainly possible. There is little modern historic precedent for the worst case climate change scenario, where major global cities such as New York and London lose their commercial centers and many residential neighborhoods to rising sea levels. If that indeed comes to pass, frenzied community-building in previously underinhabited regions may occur. But there’s also a more optimistic scenario, where major cities engage in shock construction to mitigate the worst parts of climate change. And the two prospects aren’t mutually exclusive.

Scientist tells senators: Global warming not causing extreme weather - In a Senate hearing Thursday, an environmental scientist said it’s “incorrect” to claim that global warming is spurring more extreme weather disasters.
“It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases. Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900. The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970.”
U.S. floods have not increased in “frequency or intensity” since 1950 and economic losses from floods have dropped by 75 percent as a percentage of GDP since 1940. Tornado frequency, intensity, and normalized damages have also not increased since 1950, and there is some evidence that this has declined. Droughts have been shorter, less frequent, and have covered a smaller portion of the U.S over the last century. Globally, there has been very little change in the last 60 years.
“The absolute costs of disasters will increase significantly in coming years due to greater wealth and populations in locations exposed to extremes. Consequently, disasters will continue to be an important focus of policy, irrespective of the exact future course of climate change.”
Senators sparred over predictions and claims made about man-made global warming. Democrats argued that the effects of global warming can be felt today and Republicans argued that evidence of human-induced warming is thin. Prior to the hearing, Republicans on the committee released a report that called into question many past global warming claims made by Democrats, as well as Obama administration policy proposals. This didn’t deter Senate Democrats who continued to argue that global warming could be seen today.


Rivers in the air - Winter floods could intensify in Britain, according to new research into powerful weather systems called "atmospheric rivers". Only identified about 20 years ago, atmospheric rivers are intense bands of moisture that flow through the air. Known to be responsible for heavy rainfall, they have been blamed for severe flooding in California and the UK. A new study suggests that warmer conditions could create more rivers - and make them more severe.
Atmospheric rivers are up to 300km wide and can stretch in length for over 1,000-2,000km. They flow invisibly between 1-2.5km above the surface of the ocean. One atmospheric river is believed to have been behind the violent flooding that hit Cockermouth in Cumbria on 19 November 2009. The flooding claimed the life of a policeman who died after a bridge collapsed.
The researchers have estimated the staggering volume of moisture carried by this particular atmospheric river. They calculate that at its peak it was transporting almost 300,000 tonnes of moisture every second. By comparison, the River Thames carries about 65 tonnes of water through London over the same period.
If the rivers make landfall and encounter a steep rise in terrain, the air is forced upwards where it cools and releases the moisture in the form of rain. On top of that, if the river remains on the same course for 24 hours - as it did over Cumbria in 2009 - it will deliver a continuous flow of heavy rain over the same area. The most closely-studied atmospheric river, which flows towards the California coast, has been dubbed the "Pineapple Express" because it usually originates from the region of Hawaii.It ha s been linked to a number of extremely damaging storms along the US West Coast.
Over the last 30 years, there has been an average of 9-11 of the strongest atmospheric river events hitting Britain every year. A warming climate - which allows the atmosphere to hold more moisture - made the rivers more likely. "Five models suggest that there could be a doubling of atmospheric river events in the period 2074-99 and most of those could be expected to make landfall in the UK. One of the big things is that these are the most relevant feature of winter flooding in Britain and the work is certainly suggesting an increase in strength and frequency."
Among the uncertainties about the research are the reliability of the models used to generate the future scenarios and possible shifts in the patterns of the winds - a change of course away from the UK would reduce the risk.