Thursday, January 14, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**The tongue hits where the tooth hurts.**
**(La lingua batte dove il dente duole).**
Italian proverb

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 1/13/16 -

1/12/15 -


Aleutian Quake Zone Could Shoot Big Tsunamis To Hawaii, California - Tension is building along a major fault in the seabed off Alaska's coast, research shows. Two teams of geologists say portions of the seafloor along the Aleutian Islands in southwestern Alaska could produce tsunamis more devastating than anything seen in the past century. They say California and Hawaii are directly in the line of fire.
Tsunamis — the giant waves generated by undersea earthquakes or landslides — have hit U.S. shorelines before. Often they start along the Aleutian island chain that curves in an arc across the North Pacific. Right underneath, there's a trench where two pieces of the Earth's crust are colliding. The edge of the Pacific Plate is shoving itself under the edge of the North American Plate.


* In the North Atlantic Ocean -
Subtropical storm Alex strengthens a little. Forecast to move toward the Azores, located about 665 mi (1070 km) SSW of the Azores.

* In the Central Pacific -
Tropical storm Pali weakening rapidly as it approaches the Equator far southwest of Hawaii, about 985 mi (1585 km) S of Johnston Island.
Unprecedented: Simultaneous January Named Storms in the Atlantic and Central Pacific - As we ring in the New Year with record to near-record warm temperatures over much of Earth's oceans, we are confronted with something that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago: simultaneous January named storms in both the Atlantic and Central Pacific.
The earliest named storm on record in the Central Pacific, Hurricane Pali, formed on January 7, and now the Atlantic has joined the early-season hurricane party, with Subtropical Storm Alex spinning up into history with 50 mph winds in the waters about 785 miles south-southwest of the Azores Islands. The average date of the first named storm in the Atlantic is July 9; the Central Pacific also typically sees its first named storm in July. Alex could retain its subtropical characteristics till as late as Friday, when it will be shooting northward toward Greenland en route to being absorbed in a high-latitude storm.
Meanwhile, Pali is predicted to remain a tropical cyclone for at least the next five days, perhaps coming within 2° latitude of the equator - something only two other tropical cyclones in world history have been observed to do - as the storm arcs toward the southwest and eventually back northwest, potentially becoming a typhoon when it crosses the Date Line.
A January named storm in the Atlantic - how rare? Alex is just the fourth Atlantic named storm to form in January since record keeping began in 1851. Alex can trace its genesis to an area of low pressure that formed off the Southeast U.S. coast on January 7. Between January 8 and 12, pre-Alex tracked generally eastwards over ocean waters that were 22 - 25°C (72 - 77°F); these temperatures were near- record warm for this time of year (about 2 - 4°F above average).
These temperatures were just high enough so that Alex was able to gradually gain a warm core and become a subtropical storm. It is unlikely that Alex would have formed if these waters had been close to normal temperatures for this time of year. The unusually warm waters for Alex were due, in part, to the high levels of global warming that brought Earth its warmest year on record in 2015.
Global warming made Alex's formation much more likely to occur, and the same can be said for the formation of Hurricane Pali in the Central Pacific. To get both of these storms simultaneously in January is something that would have had a vanishingly small probability more than 30 years ago, before global warming really began to ramp up.

Subtropical Storm Alex in the Atlantic - "A subtropical storm has both tropical and non-tropical characteristics and has a large wind field," Alex is located well in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and doesn't pose a threat to the United States; however, it will affect the Azores. Alex will bring gale- force winds and several inches of heavy rain to the Azores.
Alex is the first tropical system to form over the Atlantic Ocean in January since Subtropical Storm One in 1978. The earliest tropical storm to form in January was Storm One on Jan. 3, 1939. There has only ever been one hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin during the month of January, and that was Hurricane Alice in 1955.


Russia - A blizzard survivor has addressed an angry video message to Russian President Vladimir Putin after about 80 people waited 15 hours for rescuers in the Orenburg region of Russia. A driver froze to death and many others suffered frostbite when their vehicles were trapped on a main road in the region, in the southern Ural mountains. Russia sends aid abroad but "we cannot save our own people".
Some calls for help got the reply from rescue service staff: "You should have stayed at home, you had no business going out." On the night of 3 January, when cars were buried in snow on the Orenburg-Orsk road, survivors say the blizzard was so bad there was virtually no visibility. A policeman who gave his workman's jacket to a freezing woman and his gloves to a man during the rescue will get a medal from the regional interior ministry. Danil Maskudov's assistance is seen as a heroic gesture - he is now in hospital too, with severely frostbitten fingers.

People in parts of Wisconsin may have felt what's known as a "Frost quake" Tuesday night. Twitter was abuzz with people who thought they may have felt one. And the National Weather Service says they got several reports of "Frost quakes". Cryoseisms, as they're officially known, happen when water in the soil expands as it freezes which can cause a large boom and the ground can shake. They're pretty rare.
The conditions have to be precise for them to happen and a meteorologist at the weather service says conditions were right. But they're not sure if what everyone felt was a "Frost quake" or something else. It's possible the noise and shaking were caused a sonic boom because of possible Air Force exercises near central Wisconsin. They point out that the area that felt the boom is really big from northwestern Dodge County all the way to southwestern Waukesha County. Usually "Frost quakes" are not that massive.

Fatal French Alps skiing tragedy raises questions - As France comes to terms with another fatal avalanche in the French Alps, questions are being asked as to why a group of 19 school children were skiing on a closed piste. others were saved after a mammoth rescue effort involving helicopters and sniffer dogs.
The avalanche on Wednesday claimed the lives of two teenage pupils and a Ukrainian man, who is understood to have been skiing separate from the school group. "How can you think of taking children, following periods of heavy snowfall, onto a piste which was closed?"
"What is surprising is the number of people involved, even though we keep on saying that they must take it one at a time when the snow cover is unstable. There is a good change that it was the skiers themselves that triggered the avalanche". The avalanche risk on the black slope - the highest difficulty rating in France - was three on a scale of five.
The avalanche occurred after several groups of skiers dislodged a large snow slab. The area had been closed off prior to the accident amid high avalanche warnings and it's unclear why the group ventured onto the ski trail. There had been little snow in the Alps until just after the New Year, so January's steady snow was fresh and possibly less stable.
The dangers of off-piste skiing have made headlines twice this year already, after four skiers died in separate avalanches in the French Alps.


Greenland’s vast ice sheet continues to melt, and thanks to two recently-launched satellites we’re beginning to understand why it’s happening so quickly. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe increased cloud cover over the ice sheet itself may be to blame for up to a third of the ice melt that is occurring, a new study indicates.
One issue with present-day climate models is their inability to properly resolve cloud cover. Most models have far underestimated the amount of ice-sheet loss, in something meteorologists and climatologists studying climate change attribute to “cloud-climate feedback.” Resolve that issue, and climate models may become a lot more accurate in the future. “This is something we have to get right if we want to predict the future.”

The world's largest canyon may lie under the Antarctic ice sheet - The canyon system is thought to be over 1,000km long and in places as much as 1km deep, comparable in depth to the Grand Canyon in USA, but many times longer. Researchers believe that the landscape beneath the ice sheet has probably been carved out by water and is either so ancient that it was there before the ice sheet grew or it was created by water flowing and eroding beneath the ice.
"Our analysis provides the first evidence that a huge canyon and a possible lake are present beneath the ice in Princess Elizabeth Land. It's astonishing to think that such large features could have avoided detection for so long."


As diseases proliferate, mosquitoes becoming Public Enemy No. 1 - Countries need to be prepared to fight simultaneous epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases, from dengue to chikungunya and Zika virus, experts say.

Preparing for pandemics could cost less than $1 each a year - Investing less than $0.72 a year for each person would make the world far more resilient to potentially devastating pandemics, according to a global health expert group convened in the wake of the Ebola crisis.
A report by the Commission on Creating a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future said infectious diseases are as potentially dangerous to human life, health and society as match wars and natural disasters. Pandemics cost the world more than 40 billion pounds ($58 billion) each year, the report estimated, yet preparations are chronically underfunded compared with other threats.
"Few global events match epidemics and pandemics in potential to disrupt human security and inflict loss of life and economic and social damage. Yet for many decades, the world has invested far less in preventing, preparing for and responding to these threats than in comparable risks to international and financial security."
Experts estimate that at least one new disease pandemic will emerge in the next 100 years, with a 20 percent chance of four or more in that time.

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