Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from anthropogenic assault on Earth, and planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin by 2016

Ebola Epidemic: Guinea Declares State of Emergency

Posted by feww on March 29, 2015

Guinea declares 45-day Ebola health emergency

Guinean President has declared a 45-day “health emergency” in five regions across the west and southwest of the Ebola-stricken nation to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

The virus “has shifted [its focus] to our country’s coastal areas,” said the president. “That is why I am declaring a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia.”

WHO released the EBOLA situation summary on March 26, 2015 (latest), which includes the total number of reported cases and deaths (confirmed, probable and suspected) for the high transmission countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

  • Guinea: 3,459 cases, with 2,273 deaths [As of March 24, 2015]
  • Liberia: 9,602 cases, with 4,301 deaths  [As of March 22, 2015]
  • Sierra Leone: 11,866 cases, with 3,764 deaths [As of March 24, 2015]
    Sub total: 24,927 cases, with 10,339 fatalities

In addition to the above, 8 Ebola deaths were reported in Nigeria, 6 in Mali and 1 in the U.S., bringing the total number of reported deaths since the start of the latest epidemic to 10,354.

Related Links

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States of Emergency Declared in Indiana, Oklahoma, Chile

Posted by feww on March 28, 2015

HIV Outbreak: Indiana Declares State of Emergency

Indiana Gov. Pence has declared a public health emergency after “the worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history.”

Pence said 79 cases had been confirmed, but “we expect that number to go up,” with more testing underway.

Every single confirmed case so far has been related to intravenous use of Opana, an opioid painkiller, said Pence.

“This is a very serious situation,” he said, adding that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised for a needle-exchange program to be set up.

“I’m prepared to make an exception to my long-standing opposition to needle-exchange programs,” said Pence. “This is a public health emergency driven by intravenous drug use.”

All of the HIV-infected cases so far detected were either in or connected to Scott County, near the Kentucky border, said a state health official.

Everyone who has tested positive for HIV has admitted to intravenous drug use, although some have also had sex with other users, said a public health nurse at Scott County Health Department.

Fallin Declares State of Emergency After Deadly Tornadoes

Oklahoma governor declared a state of emergency in 25 counties affected by tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds.

The twisters destroyed a mobile home park in suburban Sand Springs. At least one person was reported dead and scores of others injured with widespread damage reported across Oklahoma and Arkansas.

An EF-1 tornado spiraled through the suburb of Moore in Oklahoma City, where 24 people were killed by a tornado in May 2013.

Chile declares a state of emergency due to unprecedented deluge

Chile has declared a state of emergency in the northern regions of Atacama and Antofagasta after extreme rain events (EREs) left dozens of people dead or missing, forced thousands of others to flee their homes and closed copper-mining operations.

The EREs triggered an unprecedented flooding in the desert region, as rivers broke banks isolating numerous villages and communities.

The deluge in the north occurs as drought stricken southern Chile struggles with massive forest fires.

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Freetown Becomes a Ghost Town

Posted by feww on March 27, 2015

Ebola Outbreak: Lockdown Enforced in Sierra Leone

Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leon, looked like a ghost town on Friday, according to reports.

Sierra Leone government is enforcing a nationwide three-day lockdown in a desperate attempt to limit the spread of Ebola.

This is the second time the West African country has enforced a countrywide lockdown, asking its population of more than six million people to stay home.

Although a previous lockdown in September 2014 was hailed as a success by the government, it was criticized by the medical aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which argued that the quarantine would force the sick victims underground, instead of helping to contain the virus.

“The Ebola outbreak has been the largest, longest, most severe, and most complex in human history. Starting from the initial detection of the outbreak, to the arrival of the first responders, to the overwhelming spread of cases in West Africa — The Ebola Diaries is a series of first-person accounts describing what it has been like working on the front lines of a global health crisis of unprecedented proportion,” said WHO.

WHO released the EBOLA situation summary on March 26, 2015 (latest), which includes the total number of reported cases and deaths (confirmed, probable and suspected) for the high transmission countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

  • Guinea: 3,459 cases, with 2,273 deaths [As of March 24, 2015]
  • Liberia: 9,602 cases, with 4,301 deaths  [As of March 22, 2015]
  • Sierra Leone: 11,866 cases, with 3,764 deaths [As of March 24, 2015]
    Sub total: 24,927 cases, with 10,339 fatalities

In addition to the above, 8 Ebola deaths were reported in Nigeria, 6 in Mali and 1 in the U.S., bringing the total number of reported deaths since the start of the latest epidemic to 10,354.

Related Links

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Multiple Crop Disasters Declared in Michigan, Wisconsin

Posted by feww on March 26, 2015

Dozens of counties in MI, WI declared crop disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated dozens of additional counties in Michigan and Wisconsin as crop disaster areas due to due to damages and losses caused by multiple disasters that occurred during the 2014 crop year.

Disaster Designation #1

USDA has designated 51 counties in Michigan as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the combined effects of excessive rain with cooler than normal temperatures that occurred on April 1, 2014, and continues. Those counties, both primary and contiguous disaster areas, are:

Mich crop disaster

Wisconsin. Florence, Forest, Marinette and Vilas counties in Wisconsin have also been designated as crop disaster areas  because they counties are contiguous.

Disaster Designation #2

USDA has designated 19 counties in Michigan as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, a drought, and cooler than normal temperatures that occurred on April 1, 2014, and continues. Those counties, both primary and contiguous disaster areas, are:

mich crop disaster 2

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 1,014 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on March 25, 2015.

Related Links

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Drought Crop Disaster Declared in Oklahoma

Posted by feww on March 26, 2015

6 Oklahoma counties declared crop disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated six additional counties in Oklahoma as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought.

The crop disaster areas in Oklahoma are Creek, Lincoln, Logan, Noble, Pawnee and Payne counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 940 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on March 25, 2015.

Related Links

 

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Major Disaster Declared for New Hampshire

Posted by feww on March 26, 2015

New Hampshire Declared Federal Disaster Area

New Hampshire Severe Winter Storm and Snowstorm (DR-4209)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of New Hampshire and  in the areas affected by the severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of January 26-28, 2015.

Most of the damage caused by the severe winter storm and snowstorm in the “Granite State” occurred  in the counties of Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford.

The Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Related Links

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Global Disasters / Significant Events – March 26, 2015

Posted by feww on March 26, 2015

Deadly tornadoes strike Arkansas and Oklahoma

A powerful storm system generated eight tornadoes (SPC confirmed 7 twisters) striking Arkansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday, killing at least one person, injuring several others and causing EXTENSIVE DAMAGE IN MOBILE HOME PARK NEAR HIGHWAY 51 AND 145 WEST AVENUE, according to reports received by Storm Prediction Center (SPC).

Another tornado swept through Sand Springs, Tulsa, damaging up to 100 buildings, while another twister in Moore, Oklahoma, damaged scores of buildings, tossing and overturning many cars and trucks, according to local reports.

Other tornadoes were reported in Cleveland and Cherokee counties, OK, while Arkansas reported at least 3 twisters in Benton, Madison and Carroll counties.

  • GOLF BALL TO TENNIS BALL SIZE HAIL STRUCK ROCKY BRANCH, ROGERS, BENTON, AR.
  • TENNIS BALL SIZED HAIL  AT INTERSTATE 40 AND MORGAN ROAD, CANADIAN COUNTY, OK.
  • SOFTBALL HAIL AT CAHNDLER PARK, TULSA, TULSA, OK.

Flash floods plague Chile’s Atacama desert region

Flash floods Chile’s Atacama desert have cut off dozens of communities, leaving tens of  thousands of people without electricity or drinking water and forcing authorities to begin mass evacuations.

Torrential rains  in the Andes have unleashed destructive walls of water and mud down in the valleys below inundating communities.

The mining city of Copiapo (po. 160,000) is inundated, after the river running through it burst its banks, while the state of desert commune of Chañaral (pop. 14,000) has been described as “grave.”

Several people have reportedly lost their lives and dozens of others are missing throughout the region.

Authorities have declared a state of disaster and deployed the military to co-ordinate rescue operations, and reinstate civil order.

The deluge in the north occurs as drought stricken southern Chile struggles with massive forest fires.

Saudi Arabia launches major military operation in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has launched a major military operation, backed by air strikes,  in Yemen against Houthi rebels, according to the Saudi ambassador in the US.

The envoy said Saudi Arabia had acted to “defend the legitimate government” of President Hadi, who fled his palace in Aden on Wednesday.

Explosions were reported in the capital Sanaa and its airport, while officials quoted by AFP news agency said at least 13 had been killed in one neighborhood.

Meantime, a senior Houthi rebel has warned that the Saudi aggression against Yemen  could set off a regional war, media reported.

Other parties that directly benefit from the Saudi aggression in Yemen are a Yemeni affiliate of Islamic State (formerly ISIL), and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), analysts say.

Continued…

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‘Red Alert’ in Chile as Wildfires Destroy 1,000-Year-Old Trees

Posted by feww on March 25, 2015

Drought, High Winds Fan Destructive Chilean Forest Fires

Abnormally hot weather and high winds in southern Chile are fueling out-of-control wildfires that have been consuming large national forests and reserves parched by a lingering drought.

The fires have destroyed more than 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres) in three protected areas: Conguillio National Park, China Muerta National Reserve and Nalca Lolco National Reserve.

[Conguillio National Park, known for its forests of thousand-year-old Araucarias [Chilean pine, or monkey puzzle trees,] was declared a national park in 1950. In 1983, the park, together with Alto Bío Bío National Reserve, was designated as a Biosphere Reserve, known as Araucarias Biosphere Reserve, by UNESCO.]

“Faced with this critical situation, there is no choice but to assume that the lack of water resources is a reality that is here to stay and that puts at risk the development of important regions of our country” said Chilean President Bachelet, blaming the fires on the country’s prolonged drought.

Forest fires have charred more than 91,327 hectares (225,670 acres) so far this season, some 59,300 hectares (65%) above the annual average over previous five years, said the country’s national forestry agency CONAF.

Authorities have declared a ‘red alert’ nationwide.

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California Water Update

Posted by feww on March 24, 2015

California Snow Water Content Shrinks, Reservoir Levels Fall

Three consecutive years of drought have left millions of acre-feet of empty space in reservoirs across California.

Statewide Summary of SWEQ
Data as of March 23, 2015
Number of Stations Reporting: 101
Average snow water equivalent: 2.6 Inches
Percent of April 1 Average: 9%
Percent of normal for this date: 9%

Daily Reservoir Storage Summary

Total Storage – March 24: 11,848,749 AF
Total Average Storage: 18,288,143 AF
Total % Group Average: 64.79%

Worst Hit Reservoirs
Exchequer Reservoir on the Merced River can hold more than one million AF, but its storage currently stands at about 90,800 AF feet—9 percent of total capacity and 16 percent of its historical average for this date. The reservoir’s storage continues to decline.

New Melones
Current Storage: 582,488 AF; 24% of Total Capacity; -1406 TAF Encroached For This Date
Total Capacity: 2,400,000 AF
Avg. Storage for Mar 23: 1,498,932 AF
TOC Storage: 1,988,750 AF
Daily Inflow: 320 CFS
Daily Outflow: 1,512 CFS

Lake Isabella
Data as of Midnight: March 23, 2015
Current Storage: 46,690 AF; 8% of Total Capacity; -303 TAF Encroached For This Date
Total Capacity: 568,000 AF
Avg. Storage for Mar 23: 196,555 AF
TOC Storage: 349,337 AF

Pine Flat
Current Storage: 177,387 AF; 18% of Total Capacity; -710 TAF Encroached For This Date
Total Capacity: 1,000,000 AF
Avg. Storage for Mar 23: 555,315 AF
TOC Storage: 887,727 AF

 Related Links

Source: Department of Water Resources
California Data Exchange Center

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Elevated Seismicity Continues in Oklahoma

Posted by feww on March 24, 2015

Shallow quakes plague Oklahoma

At least 174 earthquakes measuring ≥ magnitude 2.5Mw have struck the state of Oklahoma and the Kansas border area over the past 30 days, as of posting.

Two of the largest quakes measuring 4.0Mw occurred in the past 12 houyrs:

M 4.0 – 12km ENE of Perry, Oklahoma
Time: 2015-03-24 at 00:27:28 UTC
Location: 36.344°N, 97.168°W
Depth: 4.0 km

M 4.0 – 22km SSE of Medford, Oklahoma
Time: 2015-03-23 at 23:29:54 UTC
Location: 36.621°N, 97.642°W
Depth: 1.4 km

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Global Disasters/ Significant Events – March 23, 2015

Posted by feww on March 23, 2015

Iraqi Kurdistan nears breaking point

More than 1 million people internally displaced by the terrorist group ISIL, recently calling itself Islamic State (IS), in Addition to 225,000 refugees from Syria are taking a devastating economic and social toll on Iraqi Kurdistan, says IRIN.

“The population of the semi-autonomous region has grown by 28 percent in the space of 12 months, piling pressure on education and health services. With further military offensives planned against IS, there are fears that yet more people will seek safety in the region.”

“The scale of the influx has created significant competition for jobs, pushing down wages and household incomes across the board, while demand for water, electricity and waste management is outstripping supply.”

Displaced women and girls trapped in Afghanistan’s cities

Seven out of 10 displaced Afghan female say they have never attended a school. They also face “significant constraints” to health and employment opportunities, according to a new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

  • “We are imprisoned in our tents and we don’t have permission to go out. What is this sort of life worth?” says a 24 year-old woman from the Helmand province, internally displaced in Kabul and one of the respondents in the report.
  • “We are being sold in exchange for money like animals. Our rights are ignored; we are often sold to widowers, blind men, disabled or old men and we have no choice to refuse marrying them”, says a 23 year-old woman from the Muhammad Aghai district in the Logar province, now living in a camp for internally displaced in Kabul.
  • Displaced women and girls across Afghanistan cities are suffering unacceptable levels of hunger and high levels of psychological trauma, without any mental health assistance support to turn to, says the report.

Iraqi Kurdistan nears breaking point

More than 1 million people internally displaced by the terrorist group ISIL, recently calling itself Islamic State (IS), in Addition to 225,000 refugees from Syria are taking a devastating economic and social toll on Iraqi Kurdistan, says IRIN.

“The population of the semi-autonomous region has grown by 28 percent in the space of 12 months, piling pressure on education and health services. With further military offensives planned against IS, there are fears that yet more people will seek safety in the region.”

“The scale of the influx has created significant competition for jobs, pushing down wages and household incomes across the board, while demand for water, electricity and waste management is outstripping supply.”

Critical Food Insecurity in Central African Republic (CAR)

Farmers in the CAR urgently need seeds and tools for the planting season in April to prevent further deterioration of their livelihoods in the conflict-stricken country, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.

Some 1.5 million people are currently food insecure across the country and this figure is likely to rise in the absence of immediate support. Additionally, the significant food shortages across the country could worsen, population movements could result in increased tension, the return of displaced persons and refugees to their villages could be delayed.

Refugee Crisis in Cameroon

The number of internally displaced people in the north has nearly doubled since 10 February, to 117,000,  bringing the total number of displaced in Cameroon to an estimated 412,700, including 66,000 who are fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria and the remainder from the Central African Republic.

More than 120,000 displaced amid fighting in southern Philippines

More than 120,000 people have fled their homes since late January after fighting broke out between government forces and armed groups in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, reported UNHCR.

The number of displaced is expected to rise as the fighting spreads to local communities hosting the displaced, said the UN refugee agency.

An estimated 13 municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato have been affected in eight weeks of clashes between the state security forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, said the report.

Some of the IDPs are sheltering in schools and public buildings, with unknown numbers staying with friends or relatives, according to UNHCR.

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Strong Quake Strikes Taiwan Region

Posted by feww on March 23, 2015

Magnitude 6.0ML Quake rattles Taiwan Region

Centered at 23.70N, 121.76E, the quake occurred at a depth of 26.3km, reported Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

EQ Details

The quake occurred about 36km SE of Hualian, Taiwan (pop: 350,468) and 122km E of Taichung (pop: 1,040,725).

FIRE-EARTH Earthquake Forecasts for California and Japan

FIRE-EARTH Science Team has suspended its research on California seismicity to protest Internet censorship, Google’s manipulation of information, theft of FIRE-EARTH intellectual property and other reasons, as stated earlier on the blog.

The Team has suspended its research also on Japan seismicity due to the resurgence of militarism in that country and other reasons that have also been stated previously.

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Strong Quake Hits Tarapaca, N. Chile

Posted by feww on March 23, 2015

UPDATED

Magnitude 6.4 quake strikes northern Chile

Centered at 18.40°S, 69.11°W, the quake struck at a depth of about 99 km, according to the GEOFON detection system.

Earthquake Details
Magnitude: 6.4Mw
Region: TARAPACA, CHILE
Date and time: 2015-03-23 at 04:51:35.8UTC
Location: 18.40°S, 69.11°W
Depth: 118 km
Source parameters provided by: GeoForschungsZentrum (GEOFON) Potsdam, Germany (GFZ)

EMSC earthquake monitoring center (EU)
Magnitude: 6.4Mw
Region: TARAPACA, Northern CHILE
Date & time: 2015-03-23 at 04:51:38.2 UTC
Location: 18.46 S ; 69.17 W
Depth 132: km
Distances:

  • 242 km SW of La Paz, Bolivia (pop: 812,799)
  • 120 km E of Arica, Chile (pop: 185,999)Source parameters reviewed by a seismologist

Source: http://www.emsc-csem.org/

OTHER SIGNIFICANT QUAKE(S)

Significant Quake Strikes Caspian Sea

Magnitude: 5.4
Region: Turkmenbasy, Turkmenistan
Depth: 42km
Coordinates: 40.03N, 51.89E
Date: 22 March 2015
Time: 22:45:25 UTC
Distances: ~ 190km E of Baku, Azerbaijan

Source: http://www.seismology.az/en/

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Arctic sea ice maximum extent shrinks to new record low

Posted by feww on March 22, 2015

Record low Arctic sea ice maximum extent also occurs early this year

Arctic sea ice extent appeared to have reached its annual maximum extent at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), on February 25, 2015, marking an early start of the melt season, said National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). 

The 2015 maximum extent occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12, however, a late season surge in ice growth could still occur, said NSIDC, adding that it will post a detailed analysis of the winter sea ice conditions in April.

Measured at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), the lowest in the satellite record that began in 1979. the ice probably reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25.  The maximum extent was 1.10 million square kilometers (425,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 130,000 square kilometers (50,200 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred in 2011, said NSIDC.

Below-average ice conditions were observed everywhere except in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait.  This year’s maximum occurred 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12. The date of the maximum has varied considerably over the years, occurring as early as February 24 in 1996 and as late as April 2 in 2010.

“Over the next two to three weeks, periods of increase are still possible. However, it now appears unlikely that there could be sufficient growth to surpass the extent reached on February 25.”

arctic sea max ice 25feb2015
Arctic sea ice extent for February 25, 2015 was 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center. High-resolution image

Temperatures throughout the eastern Arctic were several degrees Celsius above average at the 925 hPa level (approximately 1,000m, or 3,000 feet altitude) during the first half of March, and climbed as much as 8 to 10 degrees Celsius (14 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in the Barents Sea between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, reported NSIDC.

Minimum Ice Extent

The Arctic sea ice will reach its annual minimum extent in September (assuming that there would still be some ice left this year!)

The ice reached its lowest minimum cover in 2012 with 2.11 million square kilometers (1.31 million square miles), which was about 483,000 square kilometers (300,000 square miles), or 18.6 percent, lower than the previous record low of 2.59 million square kilometers set in 2007.

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Forests Can No Longer Be Considered Wilderness: Study

Posted by feww on March 21, 2015

Deforestation: 70 percent of remaining forests less than 800m deep

Seventy percent of forests left on the planet are within 800 meters (0.5 mile) of a forest edge due to land use changes, especially encroaching urban, suburban developments and agriculture, which are causing global declines in biodiversity, according to a new study lead by North Carolina University.

The researchers discovered that very few forest lands are unaffected by some kind of human development.

“The loss of area, increase in isolation, and greater exposure to human land uses along fragment edges initiate long-term changes to the structure and function of the remaining fragments.”

They also conducted major experiments across five continents examining the effects of habitat fragmentation. They found that fragmented habitats reduce the diversity of plants and animals by up to 75 percent, with the smallest, most isolated patches causing the most impact.

“The initial negative effects were unsurprising,” said the corresponding author of the paper, a professor at NC State University. “But I was blown away by the fact that these negative effects became even more negative with time. Some results showed a 50 percent or higher decline in plant and animals species over an average of just 20 years, for example. And the trajectory is still spiraling downward.”

“Data from 76 different studies across the five longest-running experiments were drawn from published and unpublished sources (table S1). We synthesized results according to three fragmentation treatments: reduced fragment area [the focus of Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (BDFFP), Wog Wog, and Kansas; see Fig. 2 for identifiers of experiments], increased fragment isolation [Savannah River Site (SRS) and Moss], and increased proportion of edge (all experiments). Fragmented treatments were compared directly to non- or less-fragmented habitats that were either larger or connected via structural corridors (table S1).”

“The results were astounding,” said the author. “Nearly 20 percent of the world’s remaining forest is the distance of a football field—or about 100 meters—away from a forest edge. Seventy percent of forest lands are within a half-mile of a forest edge. That means almost no forest can really be considered wilderness.”

Research Article: Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/2/e1500052
Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/1/2/e1500052/DC1

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December–February Warmest on Record

Posted by feww on March 21, 2015

February 2015 second warmest February on record: NOAA

  • December–February warmest on record
  • February 2015 second warmest February on record
  • February Arctic sea ice extent third smallest on record

Globally averaged temperatures were the highest on record for both the year-to-date (January–February) and seasonal (December–February) periods, said NOAA in its State of the Climate report.

Meantime, February’s average global temperature, land and ocean surfaces combined, was the second highest in the 1880-2015 record, according to the report.

Global highlights: February 2015

  • February’s  average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was  0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 20th century average.
  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.68°C (3.02°F) above the 20th century average. This was also the second highest for February in the 1880–2015 record. The highest temperature occurred in 2002, at 1.70°C (3.06°F) above average.
  • February’s globally-averaged sea surface temperature (SST) was 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 20th century average of 15.9°C (60.6°F). This was the third highest for February in the 136-year record period.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent was 600,000 square kilometers  (370,000 square miles), or 6.2 percent below the 1981–2010 average, or the third smallest February extent since records began in 1979.
  • Antarctic sea ice during February was 400,000 square kilometers (250,000 square miles), or  21.4 percent above the 1981–2010 average. This was the sixth largest February Antarctic sea ice extent on record but smallest since 2012.

Global highlights: December–February 2015

  • Average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.79°C (1.42°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F) during December–February, the highest for that period in the 1880–2015 record ( previous record set in 2007, ).
  • Globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.46°C (2.63°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.4°F), tying with 2007 as the highest for the period.
  • Globally-averaged SST was 0.54°C (0.97°F ) above the 20th century average, or third highest for the period.

Global highlights: Year-to-date (January–February 2015)

  • Average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was the highest for the first two months of 2015 at 0.79°C  (1.42°F) above the 20th century average,  surpassing the previous records of 2002 and 2007 by 0.04°C  (0.07°F).
  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.53°C  (2.75°F) above the 20th century average, or the second highest for the period. The highest temperature occurred in 2002 (1.55°C or 2.79°F above average).
  • SST global average was 0.52°C (0.94°F) above the 20th century average, or the third highest for the two-month period in the 1880–2015 record.

Source: NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for February 2015, published online March 2015, retrieved on March 21, 2015 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2015/02

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Crop Disasters Declared in Six U.S. States

Posted by feww on March 20, 2015

71 Counties in 6 States designated as disaster areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 71 additional counties in six states—California, Minnesota,  Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and South Dakota—as crop disaster areas due to extreme weather conditions, in two separate designations.

Designation #1: Damages and losses caused by drought

A total of 14 counties in Oregon and California have been designated as disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought.

Oregon crop disaster areas: Baker, Crook, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler counties.

California: Siskiyou County

Designation #2: Damages and losses caused by the combined effects of frost, colder than averages winter, cooler than normal spring temperatures, excessive rainfall, ground saturation, frost, freeze, severe thunderstorms, hail, high winds, drought, weather-related insects, diseases and sprout damage that occurred from Jan. 1, 2014, and continues.

North Dakota crop disaster areas:  Adams, Benson, Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, Burleigh, Cass, Cavalier, Divide, Dunn, Eddy, Emmons, Golden Valley, Grand Forks, Grant, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, Logan, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Nelson, Oliver, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Renville, Rolette, Sheridan, Sioux, Slope, Stark, Steele, Towner, Traill, Walsh, Ward and Williams counties.

Minnesota: Kittson, Marshall, Norman and Polk counties.

Montana: Fallon, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Wibaux counties.

South Dakota: Campbell, Corson, Harding, and Perkins counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 934 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on March 18, 2015.

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Ebola Mass Quarantine: 2.5 Million People in Sierra Leone Lockdown

Posted by feww on March 20, 2015

Updated

Sierra Leone enforcing lockdown to contain Ebola epidemic

Sierra Leone authorities will enforce a three-day lockdown of key parts of the country to try to contain the Ebola epidemic.

Some 3,702 deaths from the epidemic have been reported across the West African country, said World Health Organization (WHO).

The lockdown is expected to affect about 2.5 million people, and will come into effect next week.

“The lockdown will be conducted from March 27 to March 29 and will be like the one we conducted in September last year,” said the country’s National Ebola Response Center.

It follows a three-day curfew in September 2014, which forbade people from leaving their home.

WHO released the EBOLA situation summary on March 20, 2015 (latest), which includes the total number of reported cases and deaths (confirmed, probable and suspected) for the high transmission countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone).

  • Guinea: 3,404 cases, with 2,241 deaths [As of March 18, 2015]
  • Liberia: 9,555 cases, with 4,283 deaths  [As of March 17, 2015]
  • Sierra Leone: 11,794 cases, with 3,712 deaths [As of March 18, 2015]
    Sub total: 24,753 cases, with 10,236 fatalities

In addition to the above, 8 Ebola deaths were reported in Nigeria, 6 in Mali and 1 in the U.S., bringing the total number of reported deaths since the start of the latest epidemic to 10,251.

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Who needs rice when you can grow money on water?

Posted by feww on March 19, 2015

N. California Farmers Skip Planting to Sell Water To LA at $700 Per Acre Foot

Northern California farmers are leaving their fields fallow this year to cash in on their water rights at  $700 per acre foot, said a report.

[An acre-foot is about 1,233.5 cubic meters. —Editor.]

They’re selling their rights to Los Angeles County at a new price that is twice what southern California authorities paid for their water in 2010.

In 2014, rice farmers received $500 per acre foot of water. This year the stakes are even higher because water replaces rice as their cash crop.

“We’re going to make a lot more selling the water than planting the rice,” a farmer north of Sacramento told NBC News. “This is a huge deal.”

Some farmers are concerned that the water may simply be taken away from them.

“In the long term, if we don’t make it available we’re afraid they’ll just take it,” said a fourth generation rice farmer with senior rights to Yuba River water, said the report.

“It’s much more than we ever expected to get. But at the same time, that just shows the desperation of the people that need it,” he said.

He and his fellow farmers are selling 20 percent of their allotment to Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Water District, which provides water from Los Angeles to San Diego County.

California experienced its driest January in recorded history (record-keeping began in 1895), as groundwater and snowpack levels fell to record lows.

A state of emergency proclaimed by Gov. Brown in January remains in effect, as Califonia enters its fourth year of severe drought.

Meantime, the Governor and other senior state officials were expected to announce Emergency Drought Legislation later Thursday, March 19, 2015.

“Taking action to further strengthen water conservation in the state, the State Water Resources Control Board yesterday voted to expand and extend an emergency regulation to prohibit certain water use, such as washing down sidewalks, and create a minimum standard for outdoor irrigation restrictions by urban water suppliers,” said the governor’s office.

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Earthquake Hits Offshore Chile as Villarrica Volcano Erupts

Posted by feww on March 19, 2015

Strong quake hits Chile Trench as Villarrica volcano erupts

M6.2 quake strikes coastal Chile

Centered at 36.097°S, 73.626°W the quake struck at a depth of 10.0 km, said USGS/EHP. The main event was followed by at least 5 aftershocks measuring up to 5.3Mw.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.2Mw
Event Time: 2015-03-18 18:27:28 (UTC)
Nearby Cities:

  • 82km (51mi) NNW of Talcahuano, Chile
  • 83km (52mi) NW of Tome, Chile
  • 91km (57mi) NW of Penco, Chile
  • 96km (60mi) NNW of Concepcion, Chile
  • 400km (249mi) SW of Santiago, Chile

Villarrica erupts again

Villarrica erupted again ejecting volcanic matters into the air, reported Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN). The latest eruption follows March 3 Activity, which forced thousands of evacuations.


Villarrica volcano, aka “House of the spirit,” is one of Chile’s most active volcanoes.Image source: SERNAGEOMIN

Current Warning Level

The National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN) and its National Network for Volcanic Monitoring, at the Volcano Observatory of the Southern Andes (OVDAS),  has raised the volcanic alert level for Villarrica volcano  to “ORANGE” effective 22:25 local time (UTC -3:00  hrs.) on March 17, 2015.

Volcano Details

REGION: Araucanía, Chile
Summit Elevation: 2,846m
Location: 39.42°S, 71.93°W
Base Area: 490 km² (corrects earlier entries)
Volume: 321 km³ (corrects earlier entries)
Last Major Activity: 2000
Last major eruption 1984-85
FEWW Ranking: Regional 3

Eruptive History

During a 1964 eruption, a lahar flow from Villarrica destroyed the town of Coñaripe, then located on the northwestern shores of Calafquén Lake. The town (population: ~1,500) was later rebuilt further east.

After the 1971 eruption, a series of lahar flows and toxic gas emissions from the volcano affected several communities in the Trancura River’s basin, leaving up to 30 people dead.

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Drought Emergency Declared in Oregon

Posted by feww on March 18, 2015

Oregon counties facing dry conditions and low snowpack

Gov. Brown has declared a drought emergency in Malheur and Lake counties due to dry conditions, low snowpack, and lack of precipitation, said her office in a statement.

“Projected forecasts for Malheur and Lake counties look bleak, meaning these rural communities will continue to experience severe drought conditions,”said Brown. “In addition to creating an increased wildfire risk, this drought presents hardships to crops, agriculture, communities, recreation, and wildlife, all of which rely on Oregon’s water resources. I will continue working with federal, state, and local partners to help Oregonians in this part of the state through this challenging situation.”

“Projected forecasts for Malheur and Lake counties look bleak, meaning these rural communities will continue to experience severe drought conditions,” she said.

“In addition to creating an increased wildfire risk, this drought presents hardships to crops, agriculture, communities, recreation, and wildlife, all of which rely on Oregon’s water resources. I will continue working with federal, state, and local partners to help Oregonians in this part of the state through this challenging situation.”

Executive Order on Drought Emergency: http://www.oregon.gov/gov/Documents/executive_orders/eo_15-02.pdf

Drought Emergency in Washington State

Brown’s Executive Order on Drought Emergency follows Washington state Governor Inslee’s drought emergency declaration for three key regions across the state last week.

Inslee declared a drought emergency for the Olympic Peninsula, and the east side of the central Cascade Mountains including Yakima and Wenatchee, as well as the Walla Walla region.

“We can’t wait any longer, we have to prepare now for drought conditions that are in store for much of the state. Snowpack is at record lows, and we have farms, vital agricultural regions, communities and fish that are going to need our support.”

Snowpack is only 7 percent of normal in the Olympic Mountains. It ranges from 8 to 45 percent of normal across the Cascades, and 67 percent of normal in the Walla Walla region.

With snowpack statewide averaging only 27 percent of normal, 34 of the state’s 62 watersheds are expected to receive less than normal water supplies.

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Major Disaster Declared for Maine

Posted by feww on March 18, 2015

‘Vacationland’ Declared a Federal Disaster Area

Maine Severe Winter Storm, Snowstorm, and Flooding (DR-4208)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Maine in the areas affected by a severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding during the period of January 26-28, 2015.

Most of the damage caused by the severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding occurred in the counties of Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York.

The Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

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FIRE-EARTH Alert – WWKKRRHH

Posted by feww on March 18, 2015

CORRECTION

CJ Members:

Fire-Earth Alert: WWKKRRHH

Details of the Alert ‘WWKKRRHH’ will be broadcast on FIRE-EARTH Channels on March 18, 2015 at the following times:

  • 07:32, 08:32, 09:32UTC

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China Spring Madness Passenger Numbers Don’t Add Up!

Posted by feww on March 17, 2015

“China’s chunyun passengers up 3.5 pct ” —Xinhua

According to our back-of-the-envelope calculation, more than 3.7 billion passenger trips were made during China’s 2015 Spring Festival, “Chunyun,” which began on February 4 and concluded on Sunday, March 16.

Our figure reflects a reported rise of 3.5% over previous year, a total of 3.6 billion passenger trips in 2014.

However, our figure apparently doesn’t tally with the official statistics provided by China’s Ministry of Transport (MOT), as reported by Xinhua.

“China’s chunyun passengers up 3.5 pct to 2.81 bln” —Xinhua

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/16/c_134071300.htm
English.news.cn 2015-03-16 18:35:35

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese railways, roads, airlines and waterways carried a total of 2.81 billion passengers during the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, known as “chunyun,” which concluded on Sunday.

The figure represented a 3.5-percent rise over the corresponding period last year, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Monday.

Chunyun has been called the world’s largest human migration.

A total of 2.42 billion passengers traveled on roads, while 295 million chose to travel by rail, according to the MOT, adding that passengers on waterways reached 42.84 million.

Airlines carried nearly 49.2 million passengers, up 11.7 percent, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Monday. Airlines operated 360,000 flights during the period, up 9.3 percent. With a combined average of 1.91 million seats available each day, the airlines comfortably met demand. On both Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, the airlines carried more than 1.35 million passengers, an all-time daily high, according to the CAAC.

“Bittersweet travel period comes to an end” —Xinhua

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-02/24/c_133139890.htm
English.news.cn 2014-02-24 21:09:54

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — The world’s largest human migration came to an end on Monday, the last day of China’s 40-day bittersweet travel period.

As many as 3.6 billion trips were made during “chunyun” this year, the travel period around the Spring Festival, which started on Jan. 16.

About 266 million train trips were made, up 12 percent from a year ago. Journeys by road, air and water stood at 3.26 billion, 44.07 million and 42 million respectively, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

This year’s 3.6 billion trips set a new record.

Since the reform and opening up, migrant workers have shaped chunyun. There were 500 million trips in 1984, 1 billion in 1994, over 2 billion in 2006, and more than 3 billion in 2012. [Emphases are added. Editor]

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Thousands of Snow Geese Fall Out of Sky in Idaho

Posted by feww on March 17, 2015

Suspected avian cholera outbreak kills  thousands  of migrating snow geese

About 2,000 migrating snow geese appeared to have succumbed to avian cholera and died at Mud Lake and Market Lake Wildlife Management Areas, on their way back north to their nesting grounds in Northern Alaska, reported the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG).

“The carcasses of a small number of snow geese were first reported at Camas National Wildlife Refuge near Dubois, Idaho. Closer inspection on Friday found higher numbers of dead birds at the Mud Lake WMA Area near Terreton, Idaho and a lesser amount at Market Lake WMA near Roberts, Idaho. The migratory birds were on the return leg of their migration from the southwestern United States and Mexico to their breeding grounds on the northern coast of Alaska. It is unknown at this time where the geese may have picked up the suspected bacteria. ‘Outbreaks of avian cholera have occurred sporadically in the region over the past few decades,’ said Upper Snake Regional Supervisor Steve Schmidt.”

“Basically, they just fell out of the sky,” media reported an IDFG spokesperson as saying.

“More than 10,000 migrating birds died of avian cholera in southern Oregon and northern California in the first three months of 2012 because of low water levels in wetlands at a popular bird rest area,” said a report.

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