Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.**
Samuel Johnson

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday, 8/19/14 -

8/18/14 -

8/17/14 -

8/16/14 -

8/15/14 -
None 5.0 or larger.

Thousands of intense earthquakes rock Iceland - Thousands of small intense earthquakes are rocking Iceland amid concerns that one of the country's volcanoes may be close to erupting.

Strong quake hits west Iran, 250 injured - The 6.3 quake struck 36 kilometers (22 miles) southeast of the city of Abdanan, near the town of Murmuri, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southwest of the capital, Tehran, at 7:02 a.m. local time (0232 GMT).

Erupting volcano off Japan could cause tsunami - An erupting volcanic island that is expanding off Japan could trigger a tsunami if its freshly-formed lava slopes collapse into the sea, scientists say.
The small, but growing, island appeared last year and quickly engulfed the already-existing island of Nishinoshima, around 1000 kilometres south of Tokyo. It now covers 1.26 square kilometres. The island's craters are currently spewing out 200,000 cubic metres of lava every day - enough to fill 80 Olympic swimming pools - which is accumulating in its east.
"If lava continues to mount on the eastern area, part of the island's slopes could collapse and cause a tsunami." A rockfall of 12 million cubic metres of lava would generate a one metre tsunami that could travel faster than a bullet train, hitting the island of Chichijima - 130kms away - in around 18 minutes. Chichijima, home to about 2000 people, is the largest island in the Ogasawara archipelago, a wild and remote chain that is administratively part of Tokyo.
"The ideal way to monitor and avoid a natural disaster is to set up a new tsunami and earthquake detection system near the island, but it's impossible for anyone to land on the island in the current situation." An official from the Japan Meteorological Agency, which monitors earthquakes and tsunamis, said the agency is watching for any signs of anything untoward.
"We studied the simulation this morning, and we are thinking of consulting with earthquake prediction experts ... about the probability of this actually happening, and what kind of measures we would be able to take." Japan's northeast was ravaged by the huge tsunami of March 2011, when a massive undersea earthquake sent a wall of water barrelling into the northeast coast, killing more than 18,000 people and wrecking whole towns.

Iceland - Bárðarbunga Volcano, located under Vatnajökull glacier, has been showing heightened signs of activity in recent days. Intense earthquake activity continues, but there is no signs of magma reaching the surface, so no new eruption of the volcano yet. The Icelandic Met Office has upgraded its aviation alert status to orange.
Two Hundred Tourists in Eruption Danger Zone - Around 200 tourists are currently in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park in the area which would need to be evacuated in case of an eruption. An eruption at the remote Bardarbunga volcano doesn't immediately threaten any Iceland communities, as the surrounding area is uninhabitated.
Video (1:13)

Italy's Mount Stromboli volcano erupts off coast of Sicily. Spectacular footage emerged online of lava pouring down the slope of Mount Stromboli, a volcanic island north of Sciliy, into the Tyrrhenian sea.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Karina moving slowly westward about 1365 mi (2195 km) E of Hilo, Hawaii.

- Tropical storm Lowell moving northwestward with no change in strength about 740 mi (1190 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California.

Low Approaching Lesser Antilles a Threat to Develop - A tropical wave located in the Central Atlantic about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, was designated Invest 96L by NHC on Tuesday afternoon, and is headed westwards to west-northwestwards at about 10 - 15 mph.
Satellite loops show the wave has a broad, elongated surface circulation and modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that is poorly organized. Thunderstorm activity was beginning to increase slightly in areal coverage early Tuesday afternoon, though, and a solid outflow channel to the north had developed on 96L's west side.
Wind shear is moderate, 10 - 20 knots, and water vapor satellite images and the Saharan Air Layer analysis show that the wave has plenty of dry air to contend with. Sea Surface Temperatures have warmed, and are now near 28°C, which favors development. NHC gave the disturbance 2-day and 5-day development odds of 30% and 40%.
A second disturbance midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, also has a small area of disorganized heavy thunderstorms with some modest rotation. NHC gave this disturbance 2-day and 5-day development odds of 10% and 20%. None of our three reliable models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis predict that this disturbance will develop over the next five days as it heads west-northwest at about 10 mph.

The Eastern Pacific heating up - In the Eastern Pacific, there is a new named storm, Tropical Storm Lowell, which formed at 03 UTC on Tuesday. Lowell's formation gives the Eastern Pacific 12 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricane so far this season. On average, the Eastern Pacific sees 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 intense hurricane by August 18, so it has been a very active year in the basin.
Tropical Storm Karina is also spinning away in the Eastern Pacific and Karina and Lowell are expected to become entangled with each other early next week and die in the cool waters well to the west of Baja Mexico. The models have been consistently predicting that a another named storm (Marie) will form late this week from a tropical wave that crossed Central America on Monday and will move parallel to the Mexican coast a few hundred miles offshore.
This storm, which NHC is giving 5-day odds of development of 70%, is something residents of the Baja Peninsula should monitor next week. Ocean temperatures in the waters just west of the Baja Peninsula are UNUSUALLY WARM - 30°C (86°F), which is about 3°C (5°F) above average - so Marie will have plenty of heat energy available to power it.

The Western Pacific remains quiet, with no new named storms expected to develop over the next five days.


Arizona flooding forces dramatic rescues in Phoenix area - Heavy monsoon season rains that swept across Arizona on Tuesday led to dramatic rescues, road closures and flight delays as a series of fast-moving storms pummeled the state.
Rescues underway as storm drops 8 inches in Phoenix area. More than 2 inches in one hour in some locations. The Weather Underground recorded 1 inch in less than 15 minutes. Flooding has brought several major interstates to a stand-still.

Finland - Month's worth of rain in two days. A low-pressure front over Northern Europe is bringing rains into Finland, with the warm sea adding to precipitation figures along the coast. Tuesday saw some 20mm of rainfall in Finland Proper and Western Lapland – and in Somero more than three times that amount has come down in less than two days.
August in Finland usually sees about 60-80 millimetres of rainfall, as summer turns to autumn. On Monday, Kemiönsaari in Finland Proper received 40.3 millimetres on water in a single day. Tuesday was also wet, with about 20 millimetres falling in central Finland and Western Lapland. Rains coming in towards the end of the week are expected to be slightly weaker than those seen so far. Fluctuations between areas are also significant.
Somero deluge complicates harvest - In Somero, Western Finland more than 70 millimetres of rain has fallen in less than two days. South-western parts of the country are experiencing difficulties in gathering the harvest due to the pouring rain, and the gusty rainfall has made threshing crops harder.
“Seventy millimetres in two days is a huge amount of water, when you consider that that is the amount generally expected in the whole month of August. The broad, slow-moving low-pressure front in the north of Europe means it will essentially rain every day this week.” If the rains continue into next week, the danger of waterlogged crops and increased mildew problems will be next.


California Water & Drought News for August 19 - 'Severe' drought covers nearly 99.8% of California.


Solar Activity Could Be Increasing Climate Change - Though human beings are major contributors, they are not the only cause of climate change. A new study shows the sun has a major influence on the global climate.
Researchers reconstructed solar activity at the end of the last ice age by analyzing trace elements in ice cores from Greenland and caves in China. “The study shows an UNEXPECTED link between solar activity and climate change. It shows both that changes in solar activity are nothing new and that solar activity influences the climate, especially on a regional level. Understanding these processes helps us to better forecast the climate in certain regions.”
The researchers found the sun’s influence remains steady whether the Earth is going through extreme climate change or not. That’s because the sun is not directly affecting the Earth’s climate, its energy is what drives air masses around the planet, creating high and low pressure zones.
“Reduced solar activity could lead to colder winters in Northern Europe. This is because the sun’s UV radiation affects the atmospheric circulation. Interestingly, the same processes lead to warmer winters in Greenland, with greater snowfall and more storms. The study also shows that the various solar processes need to be included in climate models in order to better predict future global and regional climate change.”


THE SURPRISING POTENCY OF "WEAK" FLARES - For the past month, the sun has been mostly quiet with only a smattering of C- and B-class solar flares. As flares go, these are puny. In fact, when the sun is crackling with flares no stronger than B-class, we often say that "solar activity is very low." But is it, really?
A B-class solar flare packs a bigger punch than is generally supposed. A typical B-class solar flare releases as much energy as 100 million WWII atomic bombs. Only on the sun, which is itself a 1027 ton self-contained nuclear explosion, would such a blast be considered puny. So the next time you hear that the forecast calls for "low solar activity," remember ... everything is relative.


Nut butter recall - nSpired Natural Foods, Inc. is recalling certain retail lots of Arrowhead Mills® Peanut Butters, MaraNatha® Almond Butters and Peanut Butters and specific private label nut butters (Trader Joes, Krogers, Whole Foods and Safeway) packaged in glass and plastic jars because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

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