Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for May 26th, 2008

Deadly Storms Hit US Midsection

Posted by feww on May 26, 2008

A Shrinking World Series

Powerful storms kill 8 in Iowa and Minnesota

Tornadoes Wreak Havoc in Oklahoma

Severe thunderstorms accompanied by large hail and tornadoes struck the US midsection Sunday, killing eight people and destroying tens of homes, authorities said.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver issued a disaster proclamation for Black Hawk, Buchanan and Butler counties, hundreds of homes were evacuated. At least 20 people were unaccounted for in Minnesota.

The latest toll bring the total number of dead to about 113 in U.S. tornadoes so far this year. Tornado season intensifies in the spring and early summer, and again in the late fall. (Source)


Dennis Schipper looks over his flattened home after a powerful storm ripped through the town of Parkersburg, Iowa, Sunday, May 25, 2008. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!


Debris covers the site of several homes after a powerful storm swept through Hugo, Minn. on Sunday, May 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Jim Mone). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!


A tornado touches down. Supercell storms plowed across northern Oklahoma state Saturday spawning several tornadoes that crushed structures and sent debris flying miles away, US media reported. (AFP/NOAA/File)


People evacuate their homes after a severe storm hit the town of Parkersburg, Iowa on Sunday, May 25, 2008. (AP Photo/The Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney) Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Lightning strikes during a storm that produced multiple tornadoes east of Marshall, Okla., Saturday, May 24, 2008. Several tornadoes touched down Saturday in northwestern Oklahoma. A twister destroyed three barns at a hog farm near Lacey in Kingfisher County, about 75 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, said Michelann Ooten, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Emergency Management Department. (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Matt Strasen). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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Slideshow: Storms hit Iowa, Minn.

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More Disasters Hit China

Posted by feww on May 26, 2008

A Shrinking World Series

China aftershock destroys 71,000 homes, kills 6

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

CHENGDU, China – A powerful 6-magnitude aftershock destroyed tens of thousands of homes in central China on Sunday, killing six people and straining recovery efforts from the country’s worst earthquake in three decades. More than 500 others were injured. (Source)

Quake Data:

  • Magnitude: 6.0
  • Date-Time: Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 08:21:49 UTC
    Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 04:21:49 PM at epicen
  • Location: 32.587°N, 105.424°E
  • Depth: 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
  • Region: SICHUAN-GANSU BORDER REGION, CHINA
  • Distances: 40 km (25 miles) WNW of Guangyuan, Sichuan, China
    140 km (85 miles) NNE of Mianyang, Sichuan, China
    350 km (220 miles) NNW of Chongqing, Chongqing, China
    1275 km (790 miles) SW of BEIJING, Beijing, China


People walk on a collapsed bridge. A powerful aftershock on May 25, 2008 hit quake-ravaged central China damaging thousands of homes, killing 6 people and injuring dozens more. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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Colombian Town Hit by Earthquake

Posted by feww on May 26, 2008

A Shrinking World Series

Is it Safe?

At least 11 people died and 54 were injured when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck about 50 km East Southeast of Colombian capital, Bogota. About 5,000 people have been affected by damaged structures, Red Cross said.

Panicked residents in the rural town of Quetame, the most seriously hit area, spent the night in the town’s football field. The quake damaged water supplies destroying houses and the local church.

A 6.2-magnitude quake, which struck Colombia in 1999, killed about 1,500 and left more than a quarter of a million people homeless.

A man walks past the wreckages of cars damaged in a landslide near Quetame May 25, 2008. Dozens of families evacuated the middle town after a shallow earthquake measuring 5.6 magnitude hit central Colombia on Saturday. REUTERS/Carlos Duran [Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!]

Quake Data [USGS]

  • Magnitude: 5.6
  • Date-Time: Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 19:20:47 UTC
    Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 02:20:47 PM at epicenter
  • Location: 4.447°N, 73.670°W
  • Depth: 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
  • Region: COLOMBIA
  • Distances: 35 km (20 miles) N of Villavicencio, Colombia
    50 km (30 miles) ESE of BOGOTA, Colombia
    125 km (75 miles) SSW of Tunja, Colombia
    125 km (80 miles) E of Girardot, Colombia
  • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 4.8 km (3.0 miles);

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cqd

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Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part IV

Posted by feww on May 26, 2008

Wild Facts Series: Just when you thought the oceans were dying painlessly!

Carbon Emissions Make Oceans Corrosive!

‘Acidified’ Water Threatens Marine Life on the Continental Shelf from Canada to Mexico: NOAA

Researchers found evidence of corrosive water about 20 miles off the west coast of North America from Canada to Mexico last summer. The ocean water on the western North American continental shelf was previously thought not to be “acidified.”

“Ocean acidification” is caused by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, a process which makes water corrosive.


Effects of increasing carbon dioxide and temperature on coral reefs. (NOAA Coral Reef Watch)

“Acidification of the Earth’s ocean water could have far-reaching impacts on the health of our near-shore environment, and on the sustainability of ecosystems that support human populations through nourishment and jobs,” said Richard W. Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “This research is vital to understanding the processes within the ocean, as well as the consequences of a carbon-rich atmosphere.”

“Our findings represent the first evidence that a large section of the North American continental shelf is seasonally impacted by ocean acidification,” said Feely. “This means that ocean acidification may be seriously impacting marine life on our continental shelf right now.”

“While this absorption provides a great service to humans by significantly reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and decreasing the effects of global warming, the change in the ocean chemistry affects marine life, particularly organisms with calcium carbonate shells, such as corals, mussels, mollusks, and small creatures in the early stages of the food chain,” said Feely.

NOAA said: “Previous studies found ocean acidification at deeper depths farther from shore. The researchers said that the movement of the corrosive water appears to happen during the upwhelling season during the spring and summer, when winds bring CO2 -rich water up from depths of about 400-600 feet onto the continental shelf. The water that upwells off of the North American Pacific coast has been away from the surface for about 50 years.


Typical coral-reef community observed in the U.S. Virgin Islands. [Species lables: the image to view labels: Ma, boulder star coral (Montastrea annularis); Dc, knobby brain coral (Diploria clivosa); Pa, mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides); Pp, finger coral (Porites porites); D, dead coral (probably Porites astreoides); O, octocoral (soft coral); S, sponge.] Photograph by Nathan Smiley, USGS.

The field study collected samples from Queen Charlotte Sound, Canada, to San Gregorio Baja California Sur, Mexico. The closest they found corrosive water was about four miles off of the northern California coast.”

“We did not expect to see this extent of ocean acidification until the middle to the end of the century,” said Sabine. “Because of this effort, we have a baseline for future observations as we continue to study and monitor the relationship of biological and physical processes and their ability to respond to ocean acidification.”

“We did not expect to see this extent of ocean acidification until the middle to the end of the century,” said Sabine. “Because of this effort, we have a baseline for future observations as we continue to study and monitor the relationship of biological and physical processes and their ability to respond to ocean acidification.”

“When the upwelled water was last at the surface, it was exposed to an atmosphere with much less CO2 than today and future upwelled waters will probably be more acidic than today’s because of increasing atmospheric CO2,” said Hales, a professor of chemical oceanography, who is also funded by NASA.

“We don’t know how this will affect species living in the zone below the level of the lowest tides, out to the edge of the continental shelf,” said Ianson, an oceanographer. “We do know that organisms like corals or pteropods are affected by water saturated with CO2. The impacts on other species, such as shellfish and other juvenile fish that have economic significance, are not yet fully understood.”

“In Baja California, we have several Mediterranean-climate coastal lagoons where the main external physical and biogeochemical forcing is from the neighboring coastal ocean, strongly influenced by upwelling,” said Hernandez-Ayon, a coastal oceanographer. “We are concerned about these areas because they play an important role as nurseries and feeding grounds of juvenile fish populations but are also are ideal sites for shellfish aquaculture.” More …

What is Bleaching?

Corals are very sensitive to temperature change: a 1–2º C change in local temperature above their normal summer maximum can lead to a phenomenon called ‘bleaching’, whereby the corals expel their vital algal symbionts (algae which live in the cells of the coral), leaving the coral tissues translucent.


Bleached Coral (Pocillopora) NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

In 1998, a single bleaching event led to the loss of almost 20% of the world’s living coral. Corals can recover from these events but repeated episodes are likely to weaken the coral ecosystem, making them more susceptible to disease and causing a loss of biodiversity. (Source)

How will ocean acidification affect marine life?

Corals, calcareous phytoplankton, mussels, snails, sea urchins and other marine organisms use calcium (Ca) and carbonate (CO3) in seawater to construct their calcium carbonate (CaCO3) shells or skeletons. As the pH decreases, carbonate becomes less available, which makes it more difficult for organisms to secrete CaCO3 to form their skeletal material. For animals in general, including invertebrates and some fish, CO2 accumulation and lowered pH may result in acidosis, or a build up of carbonic acid in the organism’s body fluids. This can lead to lowered immune response, metabolic depression, behavioral depression affecting physical activity and reproduction, and asphyxiation. Since the oceans have never experienced such a rapid acidification, it is not clear if ecosystems have the ability to adapt to these changes (1,2). Effects of ocean acidification on organisms and ecosystems are still poorly understood. Over the last few years, research has intensified significantly to fill the many knowledge gaps. (Source)

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