Fire Earth

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

41.8 Billion Kg of ‘E-Waste’ Discarded in 2014

Posted by feww on April 19, 2015

U-S, China and Japan top world’s e-waste generators —UNU

The United States was the top generator of electronic waste with 7.07 billion kilograms (kg)  in 2014, followed by China (6.03 billion kg) Japan (2.20 billion kg), Germany and India, according to a research conducted by the UN University (UNU).

The highest per capita e-waste was generated in Norway (28.4 kg, or 62.6 lbs), followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and the UK.

White goods, including TVs, microwaves, fridges, washers, dryers, toasters, rice cookers, laptops…, made up 60% of the e-waste dumped globally last year. Only 16% of the waste was collected for recycling.

The global dump includes 16 billion kg of iron, 1.9 billion kg of copper and 300 tons of gold, in addition to other precious metals such as palladium. The total worth of the “urban mine” is estimated at $52 billion, said the report.

The waste also contains considerable amounts of hazardous materials such as lead and mercury, which “constitute a ‘toxic mine,'” said David Malone, the U.N. under-secretary-general and dean of UNU.

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‘Mystery Disease’ Kills Victims within 24 Hrs

Posted by feww on April 19, 2015

Mysterious disease kills at least 18 in Nigeria

Eighteen people have died after contracting a mysterious disease since it broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town, in southeastern Nigeria, said the Ondo state government spokesperson.

Symptoms of disease include headache, blurred vision and loss of consciousness followed by death, occurring within 24 hours, he said.

Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola and other known viruses, added the official.

Health experts both from Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and aid agencies, as well as WHO epidemiologists, have arrived in Ode-Irele to investigate the outbreak.

WHO spokesperson told reporters that the victims began showing symptoms between April 13 and 15.

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California Snowpack Shrinks to 4% of Normal

Posted by feww on April 18, 2015

Average snow water equivalent in Calif. drops to 1.1 inch

Current Regional Snowpack from Automated Snow Sensors – Data as of April 17, 2015

NORTHERN SIERRA/ TRINITY
Number of Stations Reporting: 30
Average snow water equivalent: 1.0 inch (2.54cm)
Percent of April 1 Average: 3%
Percent of normal for this date: 3%

CENTRAL SIERRA
Number of Stations Reporting: 43
Average snow water equivalent: 1.4in
Percent of April 1 Average: 5%
Percent of normal for this date: 5%

SOUTHERN SIERRA
Number of Stations Reporting: 27
Average snow water equivalent 0.8in
Percent of April 1 Average: 3%
Percent of normal for this date: 3%

STATEWIDE
Number of Stations Reporting: 100
Average snow water equivalent 1.1in
Percent of April 1 Average: 4%
Percent of normal for this date: 4%

Source: The Department of Water Resources – California Data Exchange Center

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Warmest Ever: March and Q1, 2015

Posted by feww on April 18, 2015

Record low Arctic sea ice extent for March

Globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces (SST) for March 2015 was the highest for the month since record keeping began 135 years ago. The average temperature was also record high for the first quarter of the year, said the State of the Climate report.

Global Highlights: March 2015

  • Globally averaged temperature for land and SST was 1.53°F (0.85°C) above the 20th century average, the highest for March in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
    • Globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.97°F (1.65°C) above  average, tied  with 1990 as the second highest for the month on record.
    • SST was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above average, third highest ever recorded for March (1880–2015).
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for March was 430,000 square miles (7.2 percent) below the 1981–2010 average—the smallest March extent since records began in 1979 (NSIDC).
  • Antarctic sea ice during March was 420,000 square miles (24.3 percent) above the 1981–2010 average— second largest March Antarctic sea ice extent on record.
    • The record largest March Antarctic sea ice extent occurred in 2008 and was 100,000 square miles larger than the March 2015 extent. [1 square mile ~ 2.6km²]

March 2015 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map (NOAA)

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

  • Globally averaged temperature for land and SST was 1.48°F (0.82°C) above the 20th century average, the highest for the first quarter in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2002 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
  • Globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.86°F (1.59°C) above the 20th century average, the highest for January–March on record, surpassing the previous record of 2002 by 0.09°F (0.05°C)
  • SST for Q1 was 0.95°F (0.53°C) above the 20th century average, the third highest for January–March in the 1880–2015 record.

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2015, published online April 2015, retrieved on April 18, 2015 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2015/03.

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M6.5 Quake Strikes ENE of FIJI

Posted by feww on April 17, 2015

HEIGHTENED SEISMICITY in the Pacific Ring of Fire (Forecast)

Centered at 15.907°S, 178.585°W the quake struck at a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 mi), USGS/EHP reported.

The event followed a magnitude 4.7Mw foreshock, that occurred about 5 hours earlier.

Tsunami Evaluation
NO threat of Pacific-wide, destructive tsunami by this event.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.5Mw
Location: 15.907°S, 178.585°W depth=10.0 km (6.2 mi)
Time: 2015-04-17 @ 15:52:51 (UTC)
Distances:

  • 183km SSW of Sigave, Wallis and Futuna
  • 224km (139mi) ENE of Lambasa, Fiji
  • 401km (249mi) NE of Suva, Fiji
  • 474km (295mi) ENE of Nadi, Fiji
  • 679km (422mi) NNW of Nuku`alofa, Tonga

Related Links

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Planet Oklahoma: Avg 6.7 Quakes Strike Each Day!

Posted by feww on April 17, 2015

2,459 Earthquakes Strike Oklahoma in 365 Days!

Oklahoma [and Kansas border area] was rattled by a daily average of 6.7 earthquakes  measuring ≥2.5Mw over the last 365 days.

The events included 782 earthquakes measuring 3.0Mw or greater, according to the USGS/EHP archives.

Some 21 events registered 4.0Mw or greater, with the largest quake measuring 4.9Mw, which occurred 13km S of Conway Springs, Kansas (200km N of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), on November 12, 2014 at 21:40:00 (UTC).

oklahoma2-5
EQ location map. 2,459 Events measuring 2.5Mw or greater struck Oklahoma [and Kansas border area] over the last 365 days. [Source: USGS/EHP]

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Aftershocks Continue to Rattle Crete, Greece

Posted by feww on April 17, 2015

Magnitude 6.1 quake strikes near Crete, followed by dozens of aftershocks

Centered at 35.03 N, 26.81 E, the quake occurred 54 km E of Palaíkastron at a depth of 30km, reported the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center. The event was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including four significant shocks measuring Magnitudes 4.9, 5.0, 4.5 and 5.3Mw, as of posting.

Main Shock

Magnitude: 6.1Mw
Region: CRETE, GREECE
Date time 2015-04-16 @ 18:07:44.3 UTC
Location: 35.03N, 26.81E
Depth: 30 km
Distances

  • 54 km E of Palaíkastron, Greece / pop: 1,094
  • 102 km E of Ágios Nikólaos, Greece / pop: 10,799
  • 155 km E of Irákleion, Greece / pop: 137,154
  • 377 km S of İzmir, Turkey / pop: 2,500,603

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Crop Drought Disaster Continues to Spread in U.S. South, Midwest

Posted by feww on April 16, 2015

UPDATED

Drought destroys more crops in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared additional counties across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the ongoing drought.

The drought disaster designations are for the following areas:

  • Kansas.Barber, Butler, Chautauqua,Cowley, Elk, Harper, Kingman, Pratt, Reno, Sedgwick and Sumner counties.
  • Oklahoma. Kay and Osage counties.
  • Texas. 23 counties including  Brown, Callahan, McCulloch, Menard, Mills and Taylor counties.
    Also: Coleman, Comanche, Concho, Eastland, Fisher, Hamilton, Jone, Kimble, Lampasas, Mason, Nolan, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Shackelford, Sutton and Tom Green counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least an 1,061 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 April 15, 2015 and posted on USDA website on April 11, 2015 in a  separate declarations.

California Drought Update (U.S. Drought Monitor)

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-04-14 0.14 99.86 98.11 93.44 66.6 44.32
2015-04-07 0.15 99.85 98.11 93.44 66.6 44.32

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 – Moderate Drought || D2 – Severe Drought|| D3 – Extreme Drought || D4 – Exceptional Drought

Related Links

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“Apocalyptic” Haboob Sweeps through Belarus

Posted by feww on April 16, 2015

Haboob strikes Ukraine/Belarus border turning daylight into night in Soligorsk, Belarus 

A haboob laced with high winds and torrential rains swept through portions of Belarus, including the capital, Minsk, cutting-off electricity, felling trees and damaging buildings this week, the local media reported.

A haboob (Arabic:”blast/ draft”) is an intense dust storm propelled by an atmospheric gravity current.

The following video from YouTube was available only in the original language.

 

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Major Disaster Declared for Massachusetts

Posted by feww on April 15, 2015

Massachusetts Declared Federal Disaster Area

Massachusetts Severe Winter Storm, Snowstorm, and Flooding (DR-4214)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts due to the damage and losses caused by a severe winter storm, snowstorm and flooding during the period of January 26-28, 2015.

Areas worst affected by the  severe winter storm, snowstorm and flooding are Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties.

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

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Deadly New Wildfires Flare in Eastern Siberia, “Triassic Weather” in U.S.

Posted by feww on April 14, 2015

State of Emergency Declared in Siberia

Deadly new wildfires are raging in eastern Siberia claiming at least three lives in Zabaikal region, while many others have been killed in similar blazes further west, said local officials.

In Khakassia (southern Siberia), at least 23 people lost their lives and about 500 others were injured, many of them severely. The blazes have also destroyed more than 1,300 homes, killed thousands of farm animal.

Up to a 100 blazes in Zabaikal have incinerated tens of thousands of hectares of grassland and continue to burn uncontrollably.

See also:  Deadly Wildfires Devastate 30 Towns and Villages in Siberia

Critical fire weather conditions: Northern Plains, Rockies and Great Basin

The NWS Storm Prediction Center expects critical fire weather conditions to persist on Tuesday for portions of the Northern Plains into the Rockies and Great Basin. This critical fire weather threat is due to a combination of above normal temperatures, very gusty winds, and low relative humidity. Any fires that start in these areas will quickly spread and become hard to control.

Red Flag Warnings, Extreme Fire Danger, Fire Weather Watch, High Wind Warning, Gale Warning and Hazardous Weather Outlook and are in effect across portions of at least 20 states.

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Fighting Continues in Ukraine…

Posted by feww on April 14, 2015

Ukraine crises: 1,213,011 registered IDPs; 6,108 killed; 15,450 wounded  —MoSP

As of early April, at least 1,213,011 people in Ukraine have registered as IDPs across the country. Some 6,108 have been killed and 15,450 others wounded, according to the Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP).

Total number of Ukrainians who have sought asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in neighboring countries currently stand at 777,355 including 636,544 in Russia and 80,994 in Belarus, reported UNHCR.

Meantime, rapidly increasing food prices has led to lower food consumption, severely affecting the lives of millions in the eastern oblasts of the country, said the report.

Access to social services, especially pension and salaries, remains suspended in the conflict-affected zone.

[The above figures do not include victims from renewed fighting in January and February, said the UN.]

Other highlights of the UN report

  • At least 1,522 social facilities in need of restoration.
  • An estimated472 schools have been damaged including at least 10 that have been fully destroyed in non-government controlled areas of Donetsk Oblast. A further eight schools have been closed.
  • About 2,000 kilometers of water pipelines have been damaged/destroyed, according to Donbas Water Company. [Donbas region in eastern Ukraine comprises of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.]

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Deadly Wildfires Devastate 30 Towns and Villages in Siberia

Posted by feww on April 13, 2015

UPDATED

Ferocious fires kill 17, injure 500, destroy 1,000 homes in Siberia’s Khakassia region

Deadly grassland fires in the Siberian region of Khakassia have destroyed about 1,000 homes in more than 30 communities, killing at least 17 people, injuring about 500 others, with 77 victims hospitalized, a dozen of them in serious condition, according to officials.

The raging fires, fanned by strong winds and abnormally high temperatures, have also killed scores of farm animals, including at least 700 cattle and some 3,000 sheep, said the reports.

Authorities have declared a state of emergency, as more than 5,000 rescuers attempt to bring the fire under control.

Wildfires are also raging out of control in the region of Chita in eastern Siberia, said reports, where at least two of the fatalities have occurred.

The following video was posted on Youtube, available only in the original language.

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Earthquakes Strike Greater Los Angeles Area, California

Posted by feww on April 13, 2015

M3.5 Strikes WSW of View Park-Windsor Hills, California

Earthquake Details [USGS/EHP]

Magnitude: 3.5Mw
Location: 33.993°N 118.360°W depth=9.7 km (6.0 mi)
Time: 2015-04-13 04:17:41 (UTC)
Nearby Cities

  • 1km (1mi) WSW of View Park-Windsor Hills, California
  • 2km (1mi) SE of Baldwin Hills, California
  • 4km (2mi) NNW of Inglewood, California
  • 13km (8mi) WSW of Los Angeles, California

M2.5 quake strikes beneath The Home Depot, WNW of Ladera Heights

Earthquake Details [USGS/EHP]

Magnitude: 32.5Mw
Location: 33.989°N 118.365°W depth=6.6 km (4.1 mi)
Time: 2015-04-12 23:35:47 (UTC)

Nearby Cities

  • 2km (1mi) SSE of Baldwin Hills, California
  • 4km (2mi) NNW of Inglewood, California
  • 5km (3mi) SE of Culver City, California
  • 3km (8mi) WSW of Los Angeles, California

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Disastrous: Western U.S. Snowpack

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

 Western U.S. Snowpack Shrinks to Record Low

Well-below-average precipitation and abnormally warm temperatures over most of the Intermountain West including nearly all mountain areas have left Western US snowpack at record lows. “Most mountain areas received 25–75% of average precipitation, with the Wasatch Range seeing yet another very dry month with 25–50% of average,” according to Intermountain West Climate Dashboard.


30-day Precip as % Avg  (HPRCC)


Current Snowpack as % Median
(NRCS)

Highlights [from Intermountain West Climate Dashboard]

  • March was disastrous for the region’s snowpack and the expected spring–summer runoff. Snow conditions and forecast runoff are now similar to 1977, 2002, and 2012 in many parts of the region, particularly in Utah.
  • Since early March, the snowpack has significantly declined relative to normal conditions across the region. Most basins are now reporting less than 70% of median snow water equivalent (SWE), and the majority of individual SNOTEL sites are below the 5th percentile for SWE.
  • The April 1 spring-summer runoff forecasts are lower or much lower than the March 1 forecasts across the region. Most forecast points are now expected to see much-below-average (50–69%), far-below-average (25–49%) or extremely low (<25%) runoff, with Utah seeing generally lower forecasts than Colorado and Wyoming.


Mountain Snowpack as of April 1, 2015. (WCC/NRCS/USDA)

Related Links

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Drought Crop Disaster Declared in Texas

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

Drought destroys crops in 30 Texas counties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared 30 additional counties across Texas as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the worsening drought.

The drought disaster designations are for the following areas:

  • Atascosa, Burnet, Lampasas, San Saba and Van Zandt counties, as well as
    Bell, Henderson, McCulloch, Travis, Bexar, Hunt, McMullen, Williamson, Blanco, Karnes, Mason, Wilson, Brown, Kaufman, Medina, Wood, Coryell, La Salle, Mills, Frio, Live Oak, Rains, Hamilton, Llano and Smith counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 1,025 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 April 8, 2015 and posted on USDA website on April 11, 2015 in a  separate declarations.

U.S. Drought Continues Spreading

drought population  impact
U.S. Drought Population Data. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 – Moderate Drought || D2 – Severe Drought|| D3 – Extreme Drought || D4 – Exceptional Drought

California plagued by fourth consecutive year of drought

With temperatures averaging more than 10°F above normal for the week, snowpacks continued to dwindle; as of April 1, the state’s total snowpack stood at a meager 5 percent of average. Indicative of the virtually non-existent snowpack, stream flows have dropped into the 5th percentile or lower over much of California. In addition, the 2014-15 Water Year has ended on an abysmal note, with precipitation over the past 30 days totaling a mere 10 percent of normal or less from Redding southward.  Continued dryness resulted in an expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4) in northwest California. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

National Drought Summary – issued April 7, 2015

This week saw warmer than normal temperatures impacting roughly two-thirds of the nation. A significant storm brought abundant rain to the Ohio Valley and severe weather through that region and the Central Plains. The storm brought tornados, hail, and strong winds to over 15 states. Most of the rest of the country experienced continued dryness. Strong winds and warmer than average temperatures added short-term insult to the long-term drought impacting the Southern Plains. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

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“Largest Extinction Event” Caused by “Acid Oceans”

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

Earth’s “worst die-off” caused by “drop in ocean pH” —Report

Massive amounts of carbon dioxide released during colossal volcanic eruptions in Siberia may have turned the world’s oceans dangerously acidic 252 million years ago, causing a global environmental catastrophe that killed more than 90 percent of all species, according to a new study published Thursday.

“The largest mass extinction in Earth’s history occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary 252 million years ago. Several ideas have been proposed for what devastated marine life, but scant direct evidence exists,” says the study.

“Now, locked in limestone that was formed in shallow seawater offshore of the supercontinent Pangaea, scientists [say they have] have found an isotopic signal to support a sharp drop in pH,” according to a report summary.

The volcanoes spewed trillions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, some of which was dissolved in the oceans, lowering the pH and dangerously acidifying the water and weakening marine creatures’ ability to form calciferous shells.

“It appears that, although the oceans buffered the acidifying effects of carbon release from contemporary pulses of volcanism, buffering failed when volcanism increased during the formation of the Siberian Traps. The result was a widespread drop in ocean pH and the elimination of shell-forming organisms.”

The eruptions, thought to be the most powerful explosions occurred over the past 500 million years, lasted for a million years, spanning the boundary between the Permian and and Triassic Period, and resulting in the extinction event that occurred over a period of 60,000 years, said the researchers.

Permian-Triassic extinction event supposedly exceeded even the K-T extinction [officially, Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event] that occurred 66 million years ago and that allegedly erased the dinosaurs and many other animals, i.e, 75% of all species.

‘Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction’

Abstract

Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.

M. O. Clarkson, S. A. Kasemann, R. Wood, T. M. Lenton, S. J. Daines, S. Richoz, F. Ohnemueller, A. Meixner, S. W. Poulton, E. T. Tipper
Science 10 April 2015:
vol. 348 no. 6231 pp. 229-232
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0193

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Special Broadcast on FIRE-EARTH Channel Tonight

Posted by feww on April 11, 2015

CORRECTION

CJ Members

Tune into FIRE-EARTH Channel tonight (UTC)

A special program will be broadcast tonight (April 11, 2015) at the following times (UTC):

  • 20:02, 22:02 and 23:58UTC.

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ISIS and Saudi Royal Family Both Killing Muslims

Posted by feww on April 10, 2015

Yemen Casualty Toll: 1,042 Dead, 3,700 Wounded

Yemen’s ministry of health reported Thursday that the death toll in the country’s ongoing conflict has reached 1,042, with more than 3,700 others wounded. The latest figures include fatalities in Aden from ground fighting that left 185 dead, and 1,700 wounded.

Muslim Massacres

Last year, ISIL “carried out attacks deliberately and systematically targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, with the intention of killing and wounding civilians,” as a result of which thousands of people were killed or wounded, said the UN in a report published October 2014.

This year, air raids led by Saudi Arabia, which have failed to achieve the goal of bringing  the corrupt Yemeni President Hadi back to office, have killed more than a thousand people and wounded thousands more.

Saudi Royal Family, the so-called “guardians of Islam’s holiest shrine,” and their allies, four of the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, in addition to Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Morocco, have carried out air raids killing civilians, and deliberately destroying much of the public infrastructure.

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Deadly Tornado Levels Illinois Town

Posted by feww on April 10, 2015

Dozens of Tornadoes Attack U.S. Midwest

At least 35 tornadoes have whipped through the Midwest since Tuesday, April 7, causing devastation to multiple areas in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

At least one person was reported dead and a dozen others injured after a massive storm system spawned several tornadoes in Illinois for a second day, devastating the town of Fairdale in central Illinois, authorities said.

Tornadoes have destroyed or severely damaged scores of homes and businesses across the region.

There are also reports of extensive damage to buildings and vehicles caused by large hail on Wednesday night in several areas across Missouri including Farmington, Sullivan, Potosi…, according to reports.

“A monster storm peppered a 1,500-mile arc with 10 reported tornadoes, grapefruit-sized hail and winds of up to 80 mph,” NBC reported.

The “risk” region, as forecast by National Weather Service (NWS) for Friday, covers an area of about 1.7 million km (660,000 square miles) with a population of about 100 million, including the larges population centers in Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee and St Louis.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has received a total of about 760 severe weather reports since Tuesday, including about 50 of large hail and 15 of high winds from across the affected region.

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Drought Destroys Crops in CA, OR, ID, UT, AZ and NV

Posted by feww on April 9, 2015

Drought Crop Disasters Declared in Six States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued 47 additional county-level drought disaster designations across six states—California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada—due to damages and losses caused by the worsening drought.

The drought disaster destinations are for the following areas:

California. Del Norte, Humboldt, Modoc and Siskiyou [multiple crop disaster designations, “MCDD”] counties.
Oregon. Baker [MCDD], Curry , Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane and Malheur [MCDD] counties.
Idaho. Canyon, Cassia, Owyhee, Payetteand, and Washington counties.
Utah. Adams, Box Elder, Gem, Payette, Tooele and Washington counties.
Arizona.  Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties.
Nevada. Elko, Eureka, Humboldt [MCDD,] Lander, Nye, White Pine and Washoe counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 995 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 April 8, 2015 in five separate declarations.

U.S. Drought Continues Spreading

drought population  impact
U.S. Drought Population Data. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 Drought – Moderate || D2 Drought – Severe || D3 Drought – Extreme || D4 Drought – Exceptional

California plagued by fourth consecutive year of drought

With temperatures averaging more than 10°F above normal for the week, snowpacks continued to dwindle; as of April 1, the state’s total snowpack stood at a meager 5 percent of average. Indicative of the virtually non-existent snowpack, streamflows have dropped into the 5th percentile or lower over much of California. In addition, the 2014-15 Water Year has ended on an abysmal note, with precipitation over the past 30 days totaling a mere 10 percent of normal or less from Redding southward.  Continued dryness resulted in an expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4) in northwest California. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

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Major Disaster Declared for Connecticut

Posted by feww on April 9, 2015

Connecticut Declared Federal Disaster Area

Connecticut Severe Winter Storm and Snowstorm (DR-4213)

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Connecticut due to the damage and losses caused by a a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of January 26-28, 2015.

Areas in the Constitution State [“Corrupticut”] that have been worst affected by the severe winter storm and snowstorm are New London, Tolland, and Windham counties.

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

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Drought Paralyzes Taiwan

Posted by feww on April 8, 2015

Taiwan rations water to 1.2 million households amid worsening drought

One of the driest years on record has depleted Tai­wan’s reservoirs aggravating the water quality problem, forcing cutbacks in irrigation and prompting the authorities to begin water rationing to about 1.2 million households across northern Taiwan, said a government website.

Authorities have begun cutting off water supplies for two days each week in several cities north of the country.

“The water supply situation is urgent as Taiwan had the lowest rainfall last autumn and winter since 1947,” said the authorities.

“We may have delayed or no monsoon rains at all [this year.] We urge the public to co-operate during this difficult time.”

The island nation’s reservoirs have fallen to below 24  percent of capacity, “and lit­tle water will be available for ir­rigation until next June, according to estimates of the Water Resource Planning Commission under the Economics Ministry.”

“The use of water for irrigation was suspended Dec. 1 by the Pro­vincial Reconstruction Depart­ment. It directed farmers to let land lie fallow this spring rather than endanger the supply of water for household use. Farmers will be compensated for letting more than 75,000 hectares of farmland stay idle,” said the report.

Although Taiwan [pop. 24 million] “enjoys an oceanic and subtropical monsoon climate and receives an average annual rainfall of 90 billion cubic meters,” or 2.6 times the global average [total land area: 36,190 km²,] its annual rain per capita is only one-sixth of the world’s average due to its high population density.

[“About 50 bil­lion cubic meters of rain goes directly to the ocean, 20 billion evap­orates and 4 billion soaks into the ground. Only about 20 billion cu­bic meters is available for use, from reservoirs, rivers, and ac­cessible ground water supplies.”]

Taiwan consumed about 17.6 billion cubic meters of water in 1991: About 13.6 billion for  farming, 2.5 billion for households and 1.5 billion for industry.

However, only 20 percent of Taiwan’s water meets the regulatory standard, said the government.

“A third of its 50 rivers and tributaries are seriously polluted, according to a report by the 1,322 water quality observation centers across the island. Every day nearly 2,800 tons of wastewater from farms, factories and households follows its course to the rivers.”

Southern Taiwan, which is plagued by “heavy-metal and chemical industries,” is also facing acute water shortages, as a result of which both the “aquacultural and industrial sec­tors” are pumping underground wa­ter excessively, “causing the ground to sink,” said the report.

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Yemen Violence Taking Intolerable Toll on Kids: UNICEF

Posted by feww on April 7, 2015

74 children killed, 44 others maimed amid escalating conflict in Yemen

The escalating conflict in Yemen is taking an intolerable toll on children, as they continue to be killed, injured, displaced and put at increasing risk from disease, UNICEF said in a statement.

At least 74 children are among the 600 killed in Yemen since the fighting began on March 26. Some 44 other children, who have been maimed, are among the 1,700 victims who have been wounded in the past 12 days.

However, these are conservative figures, said UNICEF, adding that it believes the total number of children killed is much higher because the conflict has intensified over the past week.

“Children are paying an intolerable price for this conflict.” said UNICEF Yemen Representative Julien Harneis speaking from the Jordanian capital Amman. “They are being killed, maimed and forced to flee their homes, their health threatened and their education interrupted. These children should be immediately afforded special respect and protection by all parties to the conflict, in line with international humanitarian law.”

An estimated 150,000 people across the war-torn country have fled their homes in search of safety.

Saudi Arabia together with four other Gulf states and Egypt have been conducting airstrikes against the Houthi rebels, who are fighting the “corrupt government” in Yemen.

Meantime, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan (!), have also expressed their willingness to participate in the military operation.

[It’s not yet clear IF/WHEN Burma and Thailand would also join the military operation!!]

What Experts Say: Yemen is on the verge of “total collapse”

“The Sunni versus Shi’a sectarian narrative misrepresents Yemenis’ multiple proclivities for partisan, regional and class-based leadership. If anything, the escalating war pits the billionaire royal elites of the Gulf against the downtrodden of the Peninsula. Bombardments are both terrifying and deadly. Attacks on al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons in Hajjah governorate, a dairy factory near Hodeida and other locations have left dozens of non-combatants dead, according to human rights groups. The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, says ‘the country seems to be on the verge of total collapse,'” said Prof. Sheila Carapico, Dept of Political Science and International Studies, University of Richmond in Virginia.

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Significant Severe Weather Event Forecast for Central U.S.

Posted by feww on April 7, 2015

Dangerous fire weather remains across Southwest, as significant severe weather event brews in central US: NWS

Critical fire weather conditions have been forecast for portions of southern Nevada, southern and eastern Utah, far western and south-central Colorado, northern and eastern Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas, said National Weather Service (NWS).

“A very dry airmass is in place across this region and another day of elevated to critical fire weather conditions is expected.”

Abnormally warm temperatures, dry fuels, strong winds and very low humidity will keep dangerous fire weather conditions in the Southwest through Thursday, said the forecast.

“In addition, conditions continue to look favorable for a significant severe weather event for the central U.S. starting Wednesday. Locally damaging winds, very large hail and tornadoes will be possible.”

Red Flag Warnings

Red Flag Warnings are in effect throughout New Mexico. Red Flag Warnings and fire weather watches have also been issued for large portions of Arizona, Colorado and Texas, as well as parts of Utah, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma.

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