No updates on Thursday & Friday this week.
**HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.
Yesterday, 7/1/14 -
5.1 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.2 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.1 OFFSHORE O'HIGGINS, CHILE
5.0 CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.1 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
Big earthquakes double in 2014, but scientists say they're not linked - If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you're right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.
"We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded," said a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). But even though the global earthquake rate is on the rise, the number of quakes can still be explained by random chance.
With so many earthquakes rattling the planet in 2014, he actually hoped he might find the opposite -- that the increase in big earthquakes comes from one large quake setting off another huge shaker. Earlier research has shown that seismic waves from one earthquake can travel around the world and trigger tiny temblors elsewhere.
"As our group has been interested in the ability of an earthquake to affect others at a global scale, we wondered if we were seeing it happening. I really expected we would see evidence of something we couldn't explain by randomness."
The new study isn't the first time researchers have tried and failed to link one earthquake to another in time and across distance. Earlier studies found that the biggest earthquakes on the planet -- the magnitude-8 and magnitude-9 quakes -- typically trigger much smaller jolts, tiny magnitude-2 and magnitude-3 rumblers. Yet, no one has ever proven that large quakes unleash other large quakes. Finding a statistical connection between big earthquakes is a step toward proving such connections takes place.
But despite the recent earthquake storm, the world's great earthquakes still seem to strike at random, the new study found. The average rate of big earthquakes -- those larger than magnitude 7 -- has been 10 per year since 1979. That rate rose to 12.5 per year starting in 1992, and then jumped to 16.7 per year starting in 2010 -- a 65 percent increase compared to the rate since 1979. This increase accelerated in the first three months of 2014 to more than double the average since 1979.
The rise in earthquakes is statistically similar to the results of flipping a coin. Sometimes heads or tails will repeat several times in a row, even though the process is random. "Basically, we can't prove that what we saw during the first part of 2014, as well as since 2010, isn't simply a similar thing to getting six tails in a row."
But said the statistical findings don't rule out the possibility that the largest earthquakes may trigger one another across great distances. Researchers may simply lack the data to understand such global "communication". "It's possible that global-level communications happen so infrequently that we haven't seen enough to find it among the larger, rarer events."
However, earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5.6 do cluster on a global scale, the researchers found. This suggests these less-powerful quakes are more likely to be influenced by others -- a finding borne out by previous research. For example, the number of magnitude-5 earthquakes surged after the catastrophic magnitude-9 earthquakes in Japan and Sumatra, even at distances greater than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers), earlier studies found.
Damage reports continue after 5.2 earthquake rattles Arizona - Several aftershocks were felt Sunday after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck Arizona on Saturday evening.
Sabancaya volcano (Peru) - continued signs of volcanic unrest. Signs continue to show up that the volcano might be awakening.
Indonesia - Sinabung residents placed on high alert over increased Mt. Sinabung activity.
Growing Japanese island and volcano Nishino-shima erupts ash plume 3 km into the air. Tokyo VAAC reported a relatively large explosive event at the growing Japanese island and volcano, Nishino-shima (Pacific Ocean), on June 29. The ash plume rose up to 3 km (10 000 ft) altitude and drifted northeast. Volcanic ash plume was not detected on satellite imagery.
The small island of Nishino-shima is a volcanic isalnd and part of the Volcano Islands arc. The island was enlarged in 1974 after fresh eruptions created a new section of the island. Another eruption that began in November 2013 created a new island, named Niijima, which connected with Nishino-shima on December 25, 2013, and further enlarged the island.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the Eastern Pacific Ocean -
- Tropical storm Elida is located about 125 mi (205 km) SSE of Manzanillo, Mexico. No warnings in effect.
- Tropical storm Douglas is located about 465 mi (745 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California.
* In the North Atlantic -
-Tropical storm Arthur is located about 90 mi (145 km) ESE of Cape Canaveral Florida. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the East Coast of Florida.
Tropical Storm Arthur - The Atlantic's first storm of 2014 is here, as Tropical Storm Arthur was named at 11 am EDT Tuesday by NHC. Arthur's formation date of July 1 comes a week before the typical July 8 appearance of the Atlantic's first named storm, but is the latest the first named storm of the season has appeared since 2009, when Tropical Storm Ana formed on August 12.
Arthur was drifting northwest at 5 mph towards the east coast of Central Florida early Tuesday afternoon. Long-range radar out of Melbourne, Florida on Tuesday afternoon showed that bands of heavy rain from Arthur were affecting the Northwest Bahamas, and the top sustained winds observed in the Bahamas as of 2 pm EDT Tuesday were 36 mph, gusting to 41 mph at Settlement Point in the Northwest Bahama Islands at 8 am EDT. Top winds Tuesday morning and early afternoon at the buoy 23 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida were 22 mph, gusting to 26 mph, with a significant wave height of 4.3'.
Satellite loops showed heavy thunderstorms were limited to the south side of Arthur's center of circulation early Tuesday afternoon, and were slowly increasing in intensity and areal coverage, with new spiral bands forming. The clockwise circulation of an upper level high pressure over Florida was bringing northerly winds over Arthur at high altitude, and these winds were creating moderate wind shear of 10 - 15 knots.
Water vapor satellite loops showed dry air to the north of Arthur, and the northerly winds were driving this dry air into the storm, interfering with development. However, Arthur has moistened its environment considerably since Monday, and the storm is beginning to wall off the dry air to the north.
Forecast for Arthur - The models are in good agreement that a trough of low pressure passing to the north of Arthur will turn the storm northwards by Tuesday night and northeastwards by Wednesday. On this track, the Outer Banks of North Carolina will be the land areas at greatest risk of a direct hit, though the cone of uncertainty encompasses the entire coast of North Carolina. The latest 12Z Tuesday runs of our top two track models, the GFS and European (ECMWF) models, both show Arthur passing very close to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina between 8 am - 2 pm EDT Friday, July 4.
The official NHC 72-hour intensity forecast issued at 11 am EDT Tuesday makes Arthur a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds on Friday morning at 8 am EDT, when the storm is expected to make its closest pass to the North Carolina coast. The two best models we have for making 72-hour intensity forecasts, the LGEM and DSHP models, predicted in their 8 am EDT runs that at 8 am EDT Friday Arthur would be a tropical storm with 70 mph winds or a Category 1 hurricane with 95 mph winds, respectively.
Hurricane possible for Fourth of July - The National Hurricane Center says that a hurricane is possible off the coast of North Carolina by late Thursday and early Friday.
What happened to last year's Atlantic hurricane season? - The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane season produced the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -
India Gets LOWEST JUNE RAIN IN 5 YEARS as El Nino looms. - The country got 92.4 millimeters (3.6 inches) of rain last month, or 43 percent less than the average between 1951 and 2000.
California - RECORD-BREAKING DRY WATER YEAR for San Diego. The 2013-2014 water year is going down in the record books as a dry one. San Diego received 5.06 inches total rainfall which is 49% of normal.
'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -
Climate change altering rhododendron bloom time, says report - The blooming of rhododendrons heralds the onset of spring in the Himalayas, but thanks to climate change they are now flowering early in the winter.
Swedish farmers skeptical about human caused climate change - Researchers the world over almost unanimously agree that our climate is changing. But many farmers – at least Swedish ones – have experienced mild winters and shifting weather before and are hesitant about trusting the scientists.
The researcher who discovered the degree of scepticism among farmers was surprised by her findings. After studying ten years of issues of two agricultural sector periodicals, she found that they present climate change as scientifically confirmed, as a real problem. But her research took an unexpected direction when she started interviewing farmers in focus groups about climate issues.
She had prepared a long list of questions about how the farmers live with the threat of climate change and what they plan to do to cope with the subsequent climate challenges. The conversations took a different course: “They explained that they didn’t quite believe in climate changes. Or at least that these are not triggered by human activities.”
The analysis demonstrates that while Swedish farm magazines frame climate change in terms of conflict, scientific uncertainty,and economic burden, farmers in the focus groups tended to concentrate on whether climate change was a natural or human-induced phenomenon, and viewed climate change communication as an issue of credibility. It was found that farm magazines use metaphorical representations of war and games to form the overall frames of climate change.
In contrast, the farmers’ frames of natural versus human-induced climate change were formed primarily using experience-based and non-experience based arguments, both supported with analogies, distinctions, keywords, metaphors, and prototypical examples.
At least 88 percent of the surface of the world’s open oceans is polluted by plastic debris, says a new scientific report.
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS
West Africa Ebola toll rises to 467.
Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.