Friday, August 2, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is now on Facebook - with news items posted during the day.
This Global Disaster Watch page on Blogspot will stay the same and continue to post a daily summary of the news.

**Life is not about making others happy.
Life is about sharing your happiness with others.**

Live Seismograms - Worldwide

This morning -

Yesterday, 8/1/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Yellowstone National Park's Steamboat Geyser - the world's tallest - has erupted for the FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS.
The nine-minute blast sent steaming hot water an estimated 200 to 300 feet in the air. Unlike the park's popular and famous Old Faithful geyser, which spews water like clockwork every hour-and-a-half, no one knows when Steamboat will erupt next. In the past, it's gone as long as 50 years without a major event. In 1964, it erupted a record 29 times. The last blast came in 2005.
Steamboat is one of more than 500 geysers at Yellowstone, which boasts the largest collection of hydrothermal features in the world. It erupted at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. "It was an amazing experience. This thing sounded like a locomotive. Everybody was frantic, taking pictures. People were running down there trying to get to it before it went away, and park rangers were running around trying to gather up people so they didn't get too close."
Yellowstone's geysers are fueled by cold water that feeds into a natural underground plumbing network, where heat from the park's volcano forces chemical-laden water to the surface and causes the periodic eruptions. Early accounts of Steamboats eruptions came from first-hand observations, with the first recorded in 1878. Since 2005, the park has used electronic monitors to more closely track the geyser.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Hurricane Gil is located about 1230 mi (1975 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja, California. (maps)

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Jebi is located approximately435 nm east-southeastward of Hanoi, Vietnam. (maps)

Tropical Storm Jebi Threatens Vietnam, China - The first system in line to affect the region is Tropical Storm Jebi, which is currently in the South China Sea, west of the Philippines, and is moving westward. Jebi is forecast to strike China on Friday, August 2.

Low chance of cyclone near Bahamas - There is a 20 percent chance of a new tropical cyclone forming during the next 48 hours.

Saharan dust discouraging tropical storm formation - A massive dust storm that formed over the Sahara Desert early this week has now pushed out over the tropical Atlantic, and will sharply reduce the odds of tropical storm formation during the first week of August. The peak of hurricane season is approaching later this month, but storm activity is now unlikely for the first half of August.


Floods Consume Georgia - Video. Midweek rains on saturated soils produced more major flooding in Georgia.

Canada - DRIEST JULY EVER IN VANCOUVER, RECORD RAIN in Toronto. Environment Canada has confirmed that not a drop of rain fell over Vancouver and Victoria in July, while Toronto and Fredericton experienced the highest rainfall on record.
Vancouver recorded 411 hours of sunshine for the month — the first time the city has been precipitation-free since 1937 when tracking began on rainfall statistics. July is often one of the driest months for Vancouver and Victoria, but July saw an extended period of dry weather that led to the new records being set. Several other B.C. cities set RECORDS FOR THE DRIEST JULY, including Vernon, Revelstoke and Kamloops. A ban on campfires went into effect today for much of southern B.C.
Vancouver just squeaked into the record books, because rain began falling at the measuring station at Vancouver International Airport early on Aug. 1, barely an hour after the precipitation-free record was claimed. Elsewhere in the country, Fredericton registered the WETTEST JULY ON RECORD with 226 mm of rainfall in July. Toronto and Windsor, Ont., also hit NEW HIGHS FOR RAINFALL last month.
In Toronto, a storm brought 120 mm of rain, which caused flooding and knocked out power to 300,000 residents, and broke the city's RECORD FOR RAINFALL IN A SINGLE DAY. Heavy rain in Fredericton also caused serious flooding in the area and cancelled several outdoor activities. It was the rainiest July since recordkeeping began in the 1870s.
The UNUSUAL RAINFALL PATTERNS were attributed in part to the position of the jet stream. "In general, if it moves north of where you are, you will see dry weather and above average temperatures. That was the case for B.C. during the dry and sunny streak. It's been a different story for eastern parts of the country where the jet stream has moved below the area — meaning more unsettled weather and cooler conditions at times. In some cases if the jet stream moves over a particular area it then acts as the 'storm track,' and that's been the case for Central Canada and the Maritimes at times this summer."


The summer of 2012 was the most severe wildfire season Russia had faced in a decade. 2013 might be headed in the same direction after an UNUSUAL HEAT WAVE brought a surge of fire activity in northern Siberia in July.
A persistent high-pressure weather pattern in the Russian Arctic — a blocking high — contributed to the heat wave, which saw temperatures reach 32° Celsius (90° Fahrenheit) in the northern city of Norlisk. For comparison, daily July highs in Norlisk average 16° Celsius (61° Fahrenheit). Blocking highs are so named because they block the jet stream from moving rain-bearing weather systems along their normal west-to-east path; this leads to “stuck” weather patterns with long periods of stable air and exceptional heat.
High temperatures play an important role in promoting wildfires. Warm fuels burn more readily than cooler fuels because less energy is required to raise their temperature to the point of ignition. With temperatures soaring in northern Russia, it was easier for previously active fires to continue burning and for lightning to spark new ones.
The fires are burning in an UNUSUAL AREA. Most summer wildfires in Siberia occur south of the 57° North latitude line, along the southern edge of the taiga. The July 2013 fires are significantly north of that, raging in woodlands near the 65° North line.
This summer’s heat wave, like all extreme weather events, had its direct cause in a complex set of atmospheric conditions that produce short-term weather. While temperatures are increasing globally, the warming in Russia since the mid-1970s has been more rapid than most areas - about .51°C per decade compared to about .17°C globally. Researchers expect a doubling in the number of forest fires in Russia’s taiga forests, as well as increases in the intensity of those fires.

Rise in violence 'linked to climate change' - Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests. US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.
"This is a relationship we observe across time and across all major continents around the world. The relationship we find between these climate variables and conflict outcomes are often very large." The researchers looked at 60 studies from around the world, with data spanning hundreds of years. They report a "substantial" correlation between climate and conflict.
Their examples include an increase in domestic violence in India during recent droughts, and a spike in assaults, rapes and murders during heatwaves in the US. The report also suggests rising temperatures correlated with larger conflicts, including ethnic clashes in Europe and civil wars in Africa. The researchers say they are now trying to understand why this causal relationship exists.
"One of the main mechanisms that seems to be at play is changes in economic conditions. We know that climate affects economic conditions around the world, particularly agrarian parts of the world. and there is lots of evidence that changes in economic conditions affect people's decisions about whether or not to join a rebellion, for example." But he said there could also be a physiological basis, because some studies suggest that heat causes people to be prone to aggression.
However, other researchers have questioned whether climate breeds conflict. Work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that this environmental factor was not to blame for civil war in Africa. Instead, the conflict was more highly correlated with other factors, such as high infant mortality, proximity to international borders and high local population density.