Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Fame itself … doesn’t really afford you anything more than a good seat in a restaurant.**
David Bowie

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 1/11/16 -

A massive quake has hit near Indonesia's Talaud Islands, but its impact is not immediately known. The undersea quake, measuring 6.8 magnitude, hit on Tuesday at 5.38am (NZ time). There was no tsunami threat to Australia from the quake.

Six years after devastating Haiti quake, risks still high - The chief seismologist at the Bureau of Mines says the risk of a major earthquake remains as high today as it was on January 12, 2010, when more than 200,000 people died in a catastrophic event that leveled much of Port-au-Prince.
Six years after Haiti was devastated by the magnitude-seven earthquake, the government seismologist who predicted it, warns little has been done to protect people in the likely event of a repeat disaster. While this poorest country in the Americas has since been studied and carefully mapped by seismologists, authorities have done little to translate what's been learned into practical measures to limit the effects of another quake, he said. "This is where the problem lies. There has been a construction code in Haiti since 2012, but who is in charge of enforcing it?"

Thousands of landslides after Nepal quake raise NW U.S. parallels - Most striking find: Huge number, severity of slides. Research teams have evaluated the major 7.8 magnitude subduction zone earthquake in Gorkha, Nepal last April and identified characteristics that may be of special relevance to the future of the Pacific Northwest.
Following the Nepal earthquake – even during the dry season when soils were the most stable – there were tens of thousands of landslides in the region. Experts said that these landslides caused pervasive damage as they buried towns and people, blocked rivers and closed roads. Other estimates, based on the broader relationship between landslides and earthquake magnitude, suggest the Nepal earthquake might have caused between 25,000 and 60,000 landslides.
The subduction zone earthquake expected in the future of the Pacific Northwest is expected to be larger than the event in Nepal. “In the Coast Range and other hilly areas of Oregon and Washington, we should expect a huge number of landslides associated with the earthquake we face. And in this region our soils are wet almost all year long, sometimes more than others. Each situation is different, but soils that are heavily saturated can have their strength cut in half.”

Quake fault straining underneath Kathmandu - A massive underground fault line which ruptured last year, causing a killer earthquake in Nepal, is still under tremendous strain underneath Kathmandu, a study said Monday. This means another major tremor could happen in an area home to more than a million people within years or decades rather than the centuries that typically elapse between quakes.
The rupture, shooting upward through the fault line from deep below, stopped abruptly 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) beneath the Nepalese capital, leaving an unbroken, upper portion nearer the surface. High-resolution satellite images revealed that "only a small amount of the earthquake reached the surface. The unbroken upper part of the fault, is continuously building up more pressure over time. As this part of the fault is nearer the surface, the future rupture of this upper portion has the potential for a much greater impact on Kathmandu if it were to break in one go in a similar-sized event to that of April 2015."


* In the Southern Pacific -
Tropical cyclone Ula is located approximately 356 nm southeast of Noumea, New Caledonia.

* In the Central Pacific -
Hurricane Pali becomes the earliest hurricane on record in the central Pacific basin far to the southwest of Hawaii, about 1305 mi (2100 km) SW of Honolulu.


Mosul Dam in Iraq faces the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, which would overwhelm major communities downstream with floodwaters. In the worst-case scenario, an estimated 500,000 people could be killed while more than a million could be rendered homeless if the dam, Iraq’s largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow. The casualty toll and damage would be much less if Iraqi citizens received adequate warning, if the dam collapsed only partially or if it were breached in the summer or fall, when the water level is lower.

Records fall as N.J.'s wacky weather continues - In a season of wacky weather, Sunday was another bizarre day in New Jersey, with drenching rain and balmy temperatures that broke daily records in several towns, followed by strong winds and colorful rainbows. Capping it off, the mercury plummeted as much as 20 degrees at night and was expected to drop another 5 to 10 degrees by Monday morning.
Among the places that broke high temperature records Sunday were Newark and Trenton, both of which hit 65 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Newark's old record for Jan. 10 was 59 degrees, set in 2000, and Trenton's old record was 62 degrees, set in 1960. The normal high on Jan. 10 in both cities is 39 degrees. Atlantic City reached 65 degrees on Sunday, tying the city's old record from 1930. The city's normal high on Jan. 10 is 42 degrees.


Frigid Storm Transforms Car Parked Along Lake Erie Into Ice Sculpture - A photographer captured amazing pictures of a car that was left too close to Lake Erie in New York on Monday.

Snow and cold weather grip war-torn Syria - Millions of Syrians are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, aid workers say. Buildings have collapsed under the weight of snow. (photos at link)


Georgia Crops Threatened by Warm Winter Weather - Georgia farmers have endured a winter that wouldn’t start and rains that wouldn’t quit. The state’s pecan, peach and blueberry crops have been threatened by too many warm days and too much water, growers across Georgia said recently. The final month of 2015 was the second-rainiest December on record, with consistently warm days and nights.


Japan weather bureau says El Nino peaked between November-December and there is a strong possibility that the weather will return to normal only by summer. The El Nino, or warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, led to scorching heat not only across Asia and east Africa, but also caused heavy rains and floods in South America. Last week, Australia's weather bureau said the 2015-16 El Nino weather event, one of the three strongest in the past 50 years, has peaked in the recent weeks and is likely return to ENSO Neutral by Quarter 2 of 2016.

What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic - One day last month, at a meeting of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, a prominent climatologist explained how the warming of the Arctic, which was greatly affecting the animals the mammalogists study, could be driving the weird weather occurring around the world.
Several blocks away at almost the same time, at the American Geophysical Union meeting, another prominent climate scientist told geologists and geophysicists that the science really isn’t so sure what's causing the recent spate of weird weather.
They weren’t really disagreeing but simply reflecting what every climate scientist knows: It’s complicated. To some scientists the weird weather is just part of natural fluctuation. They believe if the climate gets warmer in the Arctic, it gets warm all over.
Others disagree. “When it gets warm in the Arctic, more often than not, it cools the continents.” When the computer was invented in the 1940s, the inventors believed one of the first uses would be predicting weather and climate. They underestimated how complex that problem was. Now scientists trying to develop climate models that mimic the Earth's weather use supercomputers and still have difficulties.
One thing has been sure: Things have been weird in the Arctic. The maximum extent of sea ice in 2015 occurred on Feb. 25, earlier than average, and the minimum ice extent in September was the fourth lowest on record. The ice continues to get younger and thinner. All that has profound effects on the marine ecosystem.


Tropical mosquito could carry a new threat to California - the Zika virus. Aedes aegypti, a non- native, tropical mosquito, was discovered in Orange County for the first time in 2015. It's an aggressive, day-time biting insect capable of spreading such diseases as dengue, chikungunya and zika.

Heartburn Pills Linked To Increased Risk Of Kidney Disease - People who take popular heartburn pills known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than individuals who don't use these drugs, a study suggests.

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