Wednesday, October 2, 2013

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**Better bread with water than cake with trouble.**
Russian Proverb

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 10/1/13 -

New Zealand - Quake and false tsunami alarm rattle Bay of Plenty residents. A tsunami warning siren system which went off in the Bay of Plenty Tuesday morning was a false alarm, the regional council has confirmed. Residents had earlier been shaken awake by a 4.2 magnitude quake at 3.45am which struck close to White Island. The tsunami siren was heard before 8am in the Opotiki region.
The false alarm was frustrating, particularly given the timing, and the cause will be investigated. "There is well-defined system for activating the sirens, which requires more than simply pushing a button, so we're not sure at this stage how it has occurred. We have asked Kordia, the contractors responsible for the siren network, to investigate if there was an issue with the pager network, and explain what has happened and how."
The quake was centred 20km from the island at a depth of just 5km. The quake was part of "normal" activity in the area, and was not something to be concerned about. "We monitor closely every time there's seismic activity in the region, but I don't think any volcanic activity was received. It's part of the normal seismic activity in the region. If it had been closer to White Island I would be more concerned."
Because the quake was shallow in depth, it was felt "quite widely" along the coast. "And it was quite a strong one as well so it woke up quite a few people with it." White Island's volcanic activity remains at low alert level one, with aviation colour code green meaning no risk to aircraft.

Russia - Ash from Shiveluch volcano poses danger to aircraft. The Shiveluch volcano in Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula is spewing ash to an altitude of four to 5.5 kilometers above sea level, posing danger to aircraft, the Russian Academy of Sciences' Geophysical Service said on Monday.
The volcano has been awarded the orange aviation code, which is the second highest, warning about possible danger for aircraft flying over Kamchatka. The volcano is demonstrating increased seismic activity. Ash emissions could be seen from the settlement of Klyuchi, located 50 kilometers away from the volcano. An avalanche was also fixed. Thermal anomaly is fixed in the active part of the volcano.
Catastrophic eruptions took place in 1864 and 1964, when a large part of the lava dome collapsed and created a devastating debris avalanche. Young Shiveluch has been active since September 1980. Specialists have been continuously monitoring the volcano for more than 30 years. So far the volcano poses no threat to neighboring populated localities.
Klyuchevskoy volcano is also demonstrating activity. The volcano spouts four lava streams. The length of the longest of them has already reached two kilometers. Glow is seen over the crater at night. The volcano poses no danger to local settlements. No volcanic ash fallouts have been reported in the nearby settlements.


+ New Zealand - Giant waves pose huge risks. The potential for large tsunamis pounding their shores is greater than scientists had expected since the 2011 Japan disaster and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami rewrote much of the science of tsunamis and the faults that trigger them. A large earthquake could trigger a wall of water more than 12m high, giving people just minutes to get to higher ground. A tsunami could reach land so quickly there might not be time for sirens to be sounded or a warning to be broadcast.
Civil Defence is now urging people not to wait for a warning but to evacuate immediately after feeling an earthquake so strong they can't stand or that lasts more than two minutes. People should stay in safety until officials give the all-clear. The report found that because of uncertainty about the maximum size of earthquakes on nearby plate boundaries, tsunamis could be bigger than previously thought.
Considering the biggest tsunami that could be expected in a 2500-year period, the most hazardous places were found to be Northland, Great Barrier Island, parts of East Cape and Wairarapa where waves of up to 15m above the normal sea level at the shoreline could be expected. However, there were some spots on the west coast of the North Island where the maximum tsunami height was not expected to exceed 5m - it all depended on geography.
The findings reinforced the need for people to evacuate as quickly as possible because tsunamis have the potential to hit land before a warning could be sounded. "The single most important message is that if you feel an earthquake longer than a minute or it's hard to stand up, it doesn't need to be both, you need to evacuate straight away and not wait for any official warning. The earthquake itself is the warning." And people should stay put until an official all-clear is given because often the first wave isn't the largest.
The report found the causes of injuries and deaths from tsunamis were varied but the most common was drowning, people being swept away by fast-moving water and impact from debris. Survivable injuries often included aspiration pneumonia and fractures, sprains and strains. A large proportion of tsunami victims were women, the elderly and children who lacked the strength to escape the water or swim against it.
The series of major and destructive tsunamis over the past decade has helped raise both public and political awareness of how deadly they could be. Those three major tsunamis - Japan, Samoa in 2009 and the Boxing Day tsunami - were produced by earthquakes substantially larger than had been considered likely in those locations. The movement between the tectonic plates in Japan's 2011 Tohoku tsunami was non-uniform and in some areas the plates moved more than 50m, whereas movement was typically 5m to 10m. It was also now known there was a similar tsunami in Japan in 869AD, indicating that the interval between the largest earthquakes there was more than 1000 years.
However, Japan's tectonic plates are moving twice as fast as those around New Zealand, suggesting that the interval between the largest earthquakes here could be more than 2000 years. But because our known earthquake history is so short - just 200 years since the first settlers started recording movements - it can't give scientists much guidance in estimating the magnitude of the largest earthquakes New Zealand may experience. That means they are "in a period of greater uncertainty than we thought we were".
The Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management said it would be emphasising the existing public messages about tsunamis. It would also encourage councils and the 16 regional Civil Defence groups to reinforce the national public messages with more specific local and regional information and hold regional seminars during the next two months. Community response plans would need to be updated. Expected tsunami heights for northeast and northwest parts of the Auckland region and Great Barrier Island had been raised, as well as those on the coasts of Northland, the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty. "Together with our local communities, we will agree what type of signage, markings on the road and information for residents is best for each local area."
Tsunamis in NZ -
* Wairarapa tsunami, 1855 - On January 23, 1855, a magnitude 8.1-8.2 earthquake, the most powerful to strike New Zealand since European settlement, shook the lower North Island and generated a wave with a height of 10m at Te Kopi and 4-5m in several Wellington locations. The first waves struck within minutes. Lambton Quay was hit by a 2.25m wall of water that flooded shops.
* Peru-Chile tsunami, 1868 - In August 1868, a magnitude 9 quake off the Peru-Chile border caused a tsunami that killed thousands along the South American coast. It spread across the Pacific and became the largest recorded distant tsunami to strike New Zealand. It hit about 15 hours after the quake, affecting ports and causing substantial damage.
* Chile tsunami, 1960 - A magnitude 9.5 quake struck off Chile on May 22, 1960, resulting in a tsunami that killed thousands in Chile and across the Pacific, including 61 people in Hawaii and 199 in Japan. Thirteen hours after the quake, the first of many tsunami waves arrived on New Zealand's east coast, continuing for three days. In Napier, waves reached 4.5m above high-tide level and damaged a footbridge, wrecked many boats and swept others out to sea.


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Jerry is located about 1300 mi (2095 km) E of Bermuda.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Sepat is located about 178 nm south-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan.

- Tropical storm Fitow is located approximately 540 nm south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

+ Atlantic Tropical disturbance - Landfall in Florida or Louisiana likely on Friday. In the Caribbean, a tropical disturbance (Invest 97L) A tropical disturbance (Invest 97L) over the Western Caribbean is generating heavy rains over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Kingston, Jamaica picked up 2.60" of rain on Monday. By tonight, 97L will cross the northeastern tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, bringing 4 - 8" of rain to the peninsula and to Western Cuba.
Passage over the Yucatan will act to disrupt the storm. The atmosphere will grow drier and wind shear will increase as 97L moves northwards over the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday and Friday, and these combined effects will likely retard development. The GFS model predicts landfall will occur along the Florida Panhandle, while the European model is farther west, taking the storm over Eastern Louisiana. Neither model shows 97L developing tropical storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Jerry formed on Monday in the Central Atlantic, far from land. Jerry is the tenth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, and arrived twenty days BEFORE the usual appearance of the season's tenth named storm, which is October 19. Jerry is not a threat to any land areas.

Tropical storm Wutip lashed Vietnam's coast - Tropical storm Wutip lashed central Vietnam on Monday after sinking at least two Chinese fishing boats near the Paracel Islands, leaving 75 fishermen missing. The storm uprooted trees, cut power lines and damaged more than 1,000 houses.
Wutip had weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm by the time it made landfall. It was packing sustained winds of 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour. Officials evacuated tens of thousands of people from the storm's path over the previous day. By nightfall, Wutip had blown the roofs off of more than 1,000 houses in one district alone. TV footage showed uprooted trees and deserted city streets in central towns close to the storm's center.
Wutip was the strongest typhoon to gather off Vietnam this season. The most powerful Asian storm this year was Typhoon Usagi, which caused at least 33 deaths in the Philippines and China earlier in September. Vietnam is prone to floods and storms which kill hundreds of people and cause millions of dollars in damage each year.


Australia - Drought-hit Queensland swelters through HOTTEST 12 MONTHS ON RECORD. Queensland has recorded its hottest year since records began more than 100 years ago. Springtime temperatures have topped 40 degrees in some areas. Records have been kept since 1910.
"The state as a whole has been over four degrees above average for the whole month of September. That beats the previous record by almost two degrees. Around about 35 locations broke their mean, monthly maximum temperature record." Much of Queensland is drought-declared following an extended period of dry weather over the west of the state. The weather bureau expects above average temperatures to continue into summer.


India - The changing climate is inspiring farmers in the Sundarbans to go back in history to a time when their forefathers grew indigenous varieties of rice using green manure. Giving the modern high-yield varieties of rice a miss, farmers are going back to the pre-Green Revolution days and opting for traditional seeds which have unique properties such as ability to tolerate salinity and floods.
“The switch over was difficult but slowly we realised that our traditional rice varieties like ‘Dudheswari’ has low input costs and tolerates salinity more easily than the modern ones." Rising sea levels, increasing instances of floods and salinity of water due to various factors including climate change is threatening to convert fertile agricultural land into barren wasteland in the Sundarbans.
Introduction of high-yield varieties of paddy during the Green Revolution had gradually pushed the traditional saline-tolerant varieties to extinction as islanders were lured away by higher yields. With the help of NGOs, farming communities in various parts are preparing seed banks storing such lost varieties of seeds. “Many such varieties are already lost and it’s difficult to find them now. We are sourcing the seeds from various parts of West Bengal and even outside and preparing a bank.”
In Gosaba block, they plan to launch a campaign soon to promote traditional varieties of paddy among farming communities. “Agriculture is getting tougher in the Sundarbans so farmers need to experiment and adopt themselves to the changing climate patterns. Otherwise there food security is at grave risk.”
“Farmers in the Sundarbans also have to contend with climate change. A majority of the crops they cultivate are highly sensitive to changes in temperature or unseasonal rainfall." An archipelago of more than a hundred islands, Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for the world’s largest mangrove forest and the Royal Bengal Tigers.


Fed shutdown affects disease detection, food safety - Response to seasonal flu, H7N9, MERS, and other threats could be markedly diminished.


+ ANOTHER FIREBALL - 9/29/13 - Meteor reported over Delaware on Sunday. A large fireball was seen streaking through the night sky by at least 21 people – three of them from Delaware – about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. One described the meteor as a “perfectly round ball of fire.” "I’ve never seen anything that big. I didn’t know if there was a plane going down. It lasted for about six seconds and went down behind the trees. I didn’t hear a sound, but I was waiting to hear a loud boom.”
The American Meteor Society is investigating 21 reports from witnesses who saw this fireball over Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia and West Virginia between 7 p.m. and 8:13 p.m. The ball of fire was reported by a witness in Wilmington about 7:08 p.m., one in Ellendale at 7:14 p.m. and a witness in Lewes at 7:15 p.m. About that same time, an observer in Salisbury, Maryland also reported a sighting.
Another massive fireball was sighted about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in the Atlanta area and was reported to the scientific organization by 250 witnesses in Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina.
On Friday a massive fireball passed almost directly over Columbus, Ohio. The fireball was visible from at least 14 US states.