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Archive for August, 2008

Powerful Quake, Strong Aftershocks Hit China’s W. Xizang

Posted by feww on August 31, 2008

Earthquake UPDATE

USGS has reported an earthquake cluster striking Western Xizang area. The 6.7 Mainshock which struck about 225 km (140 miles) NE of Jumla, Nepal on August 25, 2008, was followed by at least five powerful aftershocks measuring magnitude 5 or higher.

A Note of Interest

The mainshock, which struck the area on August 25 at 09:21:59 PM (time at epicenter), was located at 30.893°N, 83.614°E. Those coordinates put the epicenter in the eastern section of Palung Co lake in  the western Xizang province, Tibet Autonomous Region (China).

An examination of the images of Palung Co reveals that the lake, especially its southern section formation, is a large caldera formed either by multiple caldera collapse events or by a large lateral sector collapse. See Google Earth [30° 49’N, 83° 34’E] for visual confirmation.

The discovery gives rise to a number of interesting questions including the date for last eruption in the-now-sunken calderas, and the probability of renewed volcanic eruptions occurring as a result of the powerful seismic activity in the area.

Images: USGS

Quake Magnitude: 6.7
Date & Time:

  • Monday, August 25, 2008 at 13:21:59 UTC
  • Monday, August 25, 2008 at 09:21:59 PM at epicenter

Location: 30.893°N, 83.614°E
Depth: 12 km (7.5 miles) set by location program

  • 225 km (140 miles) NE of Jumla, Nepal
  • 295 km (185 miles) N of Pokhara, Nepal
  • 370 km (230 miles) NNE of Nepalganj, Nepal
  • 390 km (245 miles) NNW of KATHMANDU, Nepal

Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 7.9 km (4.9 miles); depth fixed by location program (Source of data: USGS)

Posted in China, Human-enhanced natural catastrophes, mainshock, Tibet Autonomous Region, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Another Deadly Earthquake Cluster Hits China

Posted by feww on August 31, 2008

China quake damages more than 100,000 homes, 25 dead

Revised figures in brackets are from a more recent report by AP.

BEIJING, Aug 31 (Reuters) – An earthquake that hit southwest China’s Sichuan and Yunnan provinces has killed [32] people [another 467 people injured], damaged or destroyed more than 258,000 homes and affected at least 600,000 residents [about 152,000 were evacuated,] state media said on Sunday.

Li Fucui, 47, cries in front of the debris of her collapsed house, which buried her brother-in-law, in Huili County, Sichuan Province. (Image: Reuters). Image may be subject to copyright.

The epicenter of Saturday’s quake, which struck around 4:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), was about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panzhihua, near Sichuan’s border with Yunnan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was about 6 miles (10 km) deep.

The USGS put the magnitude of the quake at 5.7, while China’s official Xinhua news agency said it measured 6.1.

A 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit the same area 24 hours later, the USGS said on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of further damage.

Xinhua said Saturday’s quake had injured more than 250 people, and three more were missing.

It added that 656 schools had also been damaged and that heavy rain and difficult terrain were hampering rescue efforts, with mobile telephone communications patchy.

State television showed pictures of houses with large cracks in their sides, broken tiles on the road and people receiving medical attention under tents.

The government was rushing disaster relief to the affected areas, including thousands of tents and blankets and tonnes of food and water, Xinhua said.

Parts of Sichuan province were devastated by an earthquake that killed about 70,000 people in May. The province, known for its pandas and fiery cuisine, has struggled to rebuild after the disaster, which left 10 million people homeless. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson)

China should prepare for another massive earthquake in the Sichuan and Yunnan border area this winter!

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, health, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Latest From TAAL and other Philippines Volcanoes

Posted by feww on August 31, 2008

As per FEWW Forecast, Taal Volcano has begun seismic unrest significantly increasing the probability of  explosive eruptions

Taal Volcano Advisory

From: Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology

28 August 2008 –  4:00 P.M.

This is to notify the public and concerned authorities on the ongoing seismic unrest at Taal Volcano.

The Taal seismic network recorded ten (10) volcanic earthquakes from 5:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. today. Two (2) of these quakes that occurred at 12:33 and 12:46 P.M. were both felt at intensity II by residents at barangay Pira-piraso. These quakes were accompanied by rumbling sounds. The events were located northeast of the volcano island near Daang Kastila area with depths of approximately 0.6km (12:33 P.M.) and 0.8km (12:46 P.M.)

Taal Volcano Seen through Lake Taal (Photo: Jhun Taboga)

A cinder cone in an acidic lake on Taal Volcano (Credit: JG Moore of the US Geological Survey)

Surface thermal observations however, did not indicate significant change in the thermal and steam manifestations of the Main Crater Lake area.

The increase in seismicity at Taal Volcano reflects a low-level episode of unrest. Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Taal Volcano. At present, no imminent eruption is indicated although the public is advised to observe some precautions. In this regard, PHIVOLCS reminds the general public that the Main Crater area is off-limits because steam explosions may suddenly occur. Other hazards within the Main Crater may be the build up of toxic gases in case of more pronounced volcanic reactivation. The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, may also be hazardous, when reactivated with steam emission and increased thermal activity. Furthermore, the public is reminded that Taal Volcano Island is a high-risk area and permanent danger zone, hence, habitation is strictly not recommended.

Related Links:

Mayon Volcano Advisory

August 10, 2008 – 12:00 P.M.

At 9:12 A.M. today, Mayon Volcano manifested mild ash explosion that reached an approximate height of 200 m above the summit crater before drifting east-northeast. The ash-ejection was recorded as explosion-type earthquake which lasted for one minute by the seismic network deployed around the volcano.Immediately after the explosion, visual observation becomes hampered by the thick clouds. During the past weeks, seismic activity had slightly increased and crater glow had slightly intensified. Precise leveling surveys conducted at Mayon from May 10 – 22, 2008 compared to February 17 – March 2, 2008 survey also showed inflation of the volcanic edifice.

The above observations show that Mayon Volcano is undergoing an episode of increased activity probably related to magma movement and post eruptive behavior of the volcano. Although no major eruption is indicated, steam and ash explosions may occur in the following days.

In view of the above, PHIVOLCS reiterates that Mayon Volcano’s status remains at Alert Level 1. The public, however, is reminded that the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) at the southeastern flank of the volcano and the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) at other areas remain off-limits due to the continuing threat from sudden small explosions and rockfalls from the upper slopes. Active river channels and those areas perennially identified as lahar-prone around the volcano should be avoided when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. PHIVOLCS is keeping a tight watch over Mayon and shall immediately report any significant development to all concerned.

Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, natural disasters | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

As forecast by FEWW model, Gustav has now strengthened to an extremely dangerous category four hurricane

The National Hurricane Center in Miami confirmed a few minutes ago that Gustav now has maximum winds approaching 230 km/hr which makes him an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The following excerpt is from their advisory update:

Hurricane Gustav Tropical Cyclone Update
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl   Al072008
13:20 EDT Sat Aug 30 2008

… Gustav has continued to strengthen and now has maximum winds near 230 km/hr (145 mph) with higher gusts.  This makes Gustav an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.  A special advisory will be issued at about 14:00 EDT to modify the initial and forecast intensities. The special public advisory will take the place of the intermediate public advisory previously scheduled for that time. —Forecaster Knabb

Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Imagery – Floater (updated image) – IR Aviation color enhancement – Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD

Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Imagery – (still image saved for comparison Aug 30, 2008 22:15 UTC) – IR Aviation color enhancement – Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD

Gustav’s current characteristics including his rapid ability to strengthen, his temperament and projected path, suggest that he could cause substantial damage to structures, especially to the 3,900 or so offshore oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gustav could bring up to 10 meter storm surge along the northern Gulf Coast. According to the Census Bureau estimate, as many as 12 million U.S. residents may experience Gustav’s impact.

The storm has already left a trail of destruction and some 90 people dead in its wake as it swept across the Caribbeans over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. The storm’s human cost in Cayman Islands and Cuba may exceed the standing death toll.

What about Hannah?

TS Hannah (C) Chasing Hurricane Gustv (L) – GOES Caribbean Imagery – (Still Image) – August 30, 2008 Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD

According to NHC TS Hannah advisory No. 11, at 21:00UTC the center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 22.4 north, longitude 67.2 west or about 415 km east-northeast of Grand Turk Island. The center of Hanna is forecast to move near or just northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands late Sunday or Monday.

Hannah has maximum sustained winds of near 85 km/hr, with higher gusts.  Some gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hrs. Minimum central pressure:1000mb.

Hannah seems to have the potential to “pack a big punch!”

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, Florida, food, Global Warming, Gustav trajectory, health, hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, Offshore oil facilities, politics, Texas, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: Gustav Now Category Three Hurricane

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Gustav Strengthened to a Dangerous Category Three Hurricane

As of a Few minutes ago Gustav strengthened to a dangerous category three hurricane, National Hurricane Center reported.

Hurricane Gustav Tropical Cyclone Update
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl   Al072008
06:00 EDT (02:00 UTC) Sat Aug 30 2008

… Gustav continues to rapidly strengthen and now has maximum winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph) with higher gusts.  This makes Gustav a dangerous category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane
scale, the second major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.  Forecaster Blake/Avila

Hurricane Gustav – Category 3 – GOES (still satellite image printed for comparison) Rainbow Color Enhancement IR CH 4. Credit: NOAA – NHC

GEOS Floater (updated) Rainbow Color Enhancement IR CH 4. Credit: NOAA – NHC

Based on the FEWW model, Moderators believe there’s a very strong probability that Gustav, as he gets closer to the Isle of Youth, could strengthen to a category four hurricane within the next 12 hours before making landfall in the west-southwestern Cuba. There’s a medium to strong probability that Gustav could remain a category four hurricane as it leaves Cuba and strengthen to a giant category five hurricane within the next 24 to 36 hours, after it enters the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Watch this space!

For additional images see:

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, offshore gas facilities, offshore oil production, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Hurricane Gustav Strengthens to Category TWO

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Hurricane GUSTAV Update

02:10 EDT Saturday August 30, 2008

The national Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida has just reporetd that Gustav is continuing to strengthen and now has maximum winds of about 155 km/hr (100 mph) with higher gusts, which makes  Gustav a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

GOES – Still Satellite Image – Funktop enhancement- Infrared CH 4 Aug 30, 08 06:15 UTC

Hurricane Gustav – Category Two – GOES – Floater (Updated) – Funktop enhancement- Infrared CH 4 –
Credit: NOAA SSD Satellite Imagery.

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Heavy Rains Flood Central Japan

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

Heavy rains wreak havoc in central Japan

About 1.5 million people from 500,000 households in Aichi prefecture, central Japan, were ordered to evacuate as heavy rains flooded central Japan Friday, Kyodo News agency reported.

The evacuation orders were later lifted as rain abated; however, the officials warned about more rains in the area.

Cars travel down a flooded street between fields in Okazaki, 230 km (143 miles) west of Tokyo, August 29, 2008. (Credit: Reuters). Image may be subject to copyright.

“While the evacuation order was lifted, we urged residents to be cautious as we expect heavy rains tonight,” said a police official in the city of Okazaki, about 230 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

“While the evacuation order was lifted, we urged residents to be cautious as we expect heavy rains tonight,” said Naoyuki Kato, a police official in the hardest-hit city of Okazaki, 140 miles (230 kilometers) southwest of Tokyo.

Okazaki, the worst affected city in the area, experienced a recors  downpour of about 15 centimeters per hour, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

A 76 year-old woman was drowned in her home, a man was in serious condition, and three others were missing in Okazaki.

Okazaki, 230 km (143 miles) west of Tokyo August 29, 2008 - i3
Homes are seen flooded after heavy rain in Okazaki, 230 km west of Tokyo August 29, 2008. REUTERS/Kyodo. Image may be subject to copyright.

Other highlights from Asahi Shimbun report:

  • The Tokai and Kanto regions were worst affected by the downpours from Thursday through Friday.
  • Heavy rain caused floods and landslides across wide areas. A mudslide in Hachioji, western Tokyo, derailed a Keio Takao Line train late Thursday.
  • In the 24 hours to 8:50 a.m. Friday, the rainfall had reached 302.5 millimeters.
  • As of 6 p.m. Friday, a total of 829 houses in 12 prefectures, including 687 in Aichi, were flooded above floor level.
  • In addition, 2,493 houses in 17 prefectures were flooded below floor level.
  • In the Kanto region, heavy rain damaged points at Takao Station late Thursday, cancelling 195 train runs and affecting 130,000 people.
  • On Thursday night, a Keio Takao Line train was derailed by a mudslide on the tracks.
  • Thunderstorms caused power outages to 20,000 households in Tokyo as well as in Kanagawa, Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures on Friday morning.
  • Water levels were critical at six rivers in the Tokai and Kanto regions.
  • Sporadic torrential rain could fall again because continued atmospheric instability was expected.

Japanese firefighters search for a missing 80-year-old woman at the Iga river near her damaged house in Okazaki, Aichi prefecture, on August 29.  (AFP/Jiji Press). Image may be subject to copyright.

Related links:

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Tochigi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TSs Hannah and Gustav

Posted by feww on August 29, 2008

Latest: Tropical Storm Front Update 9-3

Tropical Storm [‘Big’] Hannah Chases Gustav

Tropical Storm Hanna regional imagery, 2008.08.29 at 08:45UTC.
Centerpoint Latitude: 21:17:12N Longitude: 62:25:56W.

Data Elements:
Tropical Storm Hanna is located north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. This system is moving toward the northwest near 22km/hr. Maximum sustained winds are near 85km/hr.
Observation Device: GOES-12  4-km infrared imagery.
Visualization Date: August 29, 2008 08:05:16 UTC
Credit NOAA – Environmental Visualization Service

noaa logo Gustav and Hannah – GOES Puerto Rico SECTOR IR Image – Updated Image

Puerto Rico Sector (IR Ch 4, Mercator Projection) – Credit: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Tropical storm Hanna advisory number 5

  • Hanna is poorly organized at this time.
  • At 09:00 UTC the center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 21.7 North, …longitude 62.3 West or about 400 km north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
  • Hanna is moving toward the northwest near 22 km/hr.   A motion between west-northwest and northwest away from the Leeward Islands is expected during the next  24 hrs.
  • Maximum sustained winds are near 85 km/hr with higher gusts.  Little change in strength is forecast today but Hanna could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
  • Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 km from the center.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb (29.53 inches).

Rain bands associated with Hanna could produce rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches across portions of the Leeward Island. – Forecaster Avila

Tropical Storm Hanna regional imagery, 2008.08.28 at 16:15UTC.
Centerpoint Latitude: 19:10:50N Longitude: 58:37:25W.

Data Elements:
Hanna has become the eighth tropical storm of the 2008 season.
Observation Device: GOES-12 1 km visible imagery.
Credit NOAA – Environmental Visualization Service

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TS Gustav Update 29-8

Posted by feww on August 29, 2008

Update 30-8: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Gustav is coming, and Big Hannah, too!

More on ‘Big Hannah’ later.

Gustav: The Early US Impact

  • Gustav could make landfall in the US anywhere from Texas to Florida by early next week.
  • New Orleans is planning a possible mandatory evacuation. [Hurricane Katrina struck the city August 28, 2005]
  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Gustav Death Toll as of 03:00 UTC – Aug 29, 2008

  • Haiti: 51 people died from storm-related incidents since Tuesday.
  • Dominican Republic: At least eight more deaths were reported after Gustav struck.

TS Gustav is seen moving over Jamaica [near bottom right corner] in this mildly out of focus satellite image. Meanwhile Fay, “born” August 15, is till raining on the U.S., now over the Mid-Atlantic section [top center.] In the bottom left a system may be forming (low/medium probability) over the Bay of Campeche.  Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project.

TS Hannah follows Gustav.
1. A large tropical wave accompanied by a broad low pressure system is producing limited shower activity about midway between the west coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles. 2. A well-defined tropical wave is located along the west coast of Africa. This system is showing signs of organization, and some gradual  development is possible over the next couple of days as it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph. Image and caption: NOAA/NWS

Hurricane Highlights from NHC [TS Gustav Advisory No 17]

  • Hurricane warnings remain in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. [A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.]
  • A hurricane watch remains in effect for western Cuba, for the Provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, la Habana and Ciudad de la Habana.  [A hurricane watch means that hurricane Conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.]
  • A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Cuban province of Granma.
  • A tropical storm watch remain in effect for the Cuban province of Matanzas.
  • At 3:00 am UTC the center of TS Gustav was located near latitude 17.8 north, longitude 77.3 west, about 55 km west-southwest of Kingston Jamaica and about 445 km east-southeast of Grand Cayman.
  • Gustav is moving toward the west at 11 km/hr.  A turn toward the west-northwest and northwest is forecast during the next 48 hours.  On this track, the center of Gustav will pass near or over western Jamaica in the next few hours, move near or over the Cayman Islands Friday, and approach western Cuba on Saturday.
  • Maximum sustained winds are near 110 km/hr (70 mph) with higher Gusts.  Strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and Gustav is expected to become a Hurricane Friday.
  • Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 75 km from the center.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure is 988 mb (29.18 inches).
  • Coastal storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels can be expected in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning Area.
  • Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible.  These rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible over southern Cuba.  Rainfall will be diminishing over Haiti tonight, but anadditional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is still possible.  —Forecaster Beven

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Look me straight in the eye & tell me you can’t

Posted by edro on August 28, 2008

Image of the Day: Lifestyle

Look me straight in the eye & tell me you can’t run my world on 8% of the energy!

Image: Roy Lichtenstein. Original caption:In the Car. Date: 1963. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in Climate Change, CO2, energy, Global Warming, health, politics, runaway economy | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Arctic ice cover second-lowest on record

Posted by feww on August 28, 2008

The extent of Arctic ice is now 10 percent lower than the 1997-2000 period

Arctic sea ice cover shrank to its second-lowest level ever and could set a new low by the and of this year’s melt season. The worst affected area is the Chukchi Sea, home to one of the world’s largest polar bear populations, as well as large oil and gas fields.

Daily Arctic sea ice extent for August 26, 2008, fell below the 2005 minimum, which was 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 average extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Arctic sea ice extent has declined 2.06 million sq km since the beginning of August. On August 26 sea ice extent stood at 5.26 million sq km, below the 2005 minimum of 5.32 sq km set on September 21 of that year, the second-lowest extent observed by satellite, said National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2007 the ice cover melt to its lowest recorded minimum of 4.12 million sq km opening the the Northwest Passage  for the first time on record.

“No matter where we stand at the end of the melt season it’s just reinforcing this notion that Arctic ice is in its death spiral,” said Mark Serreze, a scientist at NSIDC.

Loss of summer Arctic ice could have far-reaching implications for wildlife, especially the polar bear and walrus, which depend on ice shelves to hunt for food.

With more Arctic ice melting, the bears have to swim farther to find suitable ice shelves for hunting. The longer they swim in open waters, despite being capable swimmers, the more likely they get into trouble. A number of bears are known to have been drowned in the recent years.

A polar bear is seen in the water during an aerial survey off the Alaska coast in this photo taken August 15, 2008. Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest level ever, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday, with particular melting in the Chukchi Sea, where at least 12 polar bears were recently seen swimming far off the Alaskan coast. REUTERS/Geoff York/World Wildlife Fund/Handout.

Interestingly, the state of Alaska is suing the federal government because it says listing polar bears as a threatened species is hurting Alaskan oil and gas exploration and development, commercial fisheries, transportation and tourism. In other words, the polar bears had no right to be there!

“We believe that … decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available,” said Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Will 2008 also break the standing record low set in 2007? We will know soon—there are still a few weeks left to the end of melt season!

Related Links:


Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Amazing Images of the Day: Mountain Top Removal

Posted by feww on August 27, 2008

Coal is good for you! Don’t let a mountain or two stand in your way!

Mountaintop removal near Hazard (Perry County, KY). Image may be subject to copyright.

In West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, coal companies blast as much as 600 feet off the top of the mountains, then dump the rock and debris into mountain streams.

Over 300,000 acres of the most beautiful and productive hardwood forests in America have already been turned into barren grasslands. Mountaintop removal mining increases flooding, contaminates drinking water supplies, cracks foundations of nearby homes, and showers towns with dust and noise from blasting. (Photo and Caption:The Mountaintop Removal Road Show).

Related Links (Must Watch Videos)

Other links:

Posted in Climate Change, energy, food, Global Warming, health, politics, runaway economy, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Hurricane Gustav to Feed on Warm Waters

Posted by feww on August 27, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Warm Waters in the S and SW Coast of Cuba Await Gustav

Real Time POES Composite Imagery Atlantic/East Pacific
(Daily Sea Surface Temperatures)

Image Source: NOAA

Warm waters in the 30-35ºC temp. range (shown in firebrick red) surrounding the south and southwestern coast of Cuba await hurricane Gustave as it leaves Haiti. Gustav may strengthen into a cat. three/four hurricane.

NHC Hurricane GUSTAV Forecast Discussion (No. 7):

Center of Gustav made landfall around 17:30 UTC.  A minimum pressure of 992 mb was reported just as the center moved inland. As the center is moving over the mountainous terrain of the southwest peninsula of Haiti, Gustav is likely losing strength.  The eye is no longer evident on satellite images, and the system could weaken below hurricane intensity tonight.  However, the upper-level environment remains favorable for intensification with only a little north-northeasterly shear, and therefore Gustav is likely to regain strength as it approaches the Windward Passage and eastern Cuba tomorrow.

Gustav – GOES Infrared Image – University of Wisconsin – Madison – CIMSS Tropical Cyclones page

Latest News Update:

“Given the current track for Gustav and the expectation that it might enter the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, we are making logistical arrangements to evacuate staff who are not essential to production or drilling operations,” Shell said in a statement.

“Evacuations could begin as early as Wednesday. There is no impact on production at this time.” (Source: AFP)

An oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Source: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Hurricane Gustav slammed into flood-prone Haiti on Tuesday, killing at least two people.

The only reliable mode of transport!
Joggers run through flooded streets after torrential rains hit Havana August 26, 2008. REUTERS/Claudia Daut. Image may be subject to copyright.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) — Hurricane Gustav slammed into Haiti, killing at least five as it lashed the desperately poor Caribbean nation with powerful winds and heavy rain, just days behind deadly Tropical Storm Fay.

People, carrying belongings, crosses a street flooded by rain caused by Hurricane Gustav in Port-au-Prince,Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. Gustav barreled into Haiti on Tuesday, toppling trees, dumping rain and sending fuel prices soaring on fears the storm could become “extremely dangerous” when it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos).
Image may be subject to copyright.

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Right on Track for 2009 Cost of Calif Fires Forecast

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Forest Service Metamorphoses into Fire Service!

Forest Service is diverting hundreds of millions of dollars previously set aside for restoration, land acquisition, improvement, research even fire prevention and safety work to meet the tremendous cost of fighting fires, especially the wildfires in California this year.

Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell told regional foresters that cost of fighting fires could reach $1.6 billion, about half the agency’s 2008 budget.

“All of you are aware of the serious nature of this year’s fire season and the issues faced by the agency in paying for fire suppression costs,” Kimbell wrote in a memo. “At this time the only option for financing the shortfall is to use the agency’s transfer authority.”

Kimbell said, the foresters had to curtail spending on all non-critical items this year and “use prudent cost-saving judgment” in hiring and in approving overtime, but stopped short of mentioning layoffs.

“I recognize that this direction will have a significant effect on agency operations,” Kimbell said in the memo. “However, we must be in a position to protect life and property from wildfire, and do so within the funds available to the agency.

“The agency started transferring money in the middle of August and expects to take a total of $400 million from other areas through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Such transfers have occurred several times since 2000.” AP reported.

However, it has been predicted that the cost of fighting fires could reach $2 billion, and the transfers could top $750 million.

Q. What exactly was your forecast for the cost of California fires in 2009?

A. Err…, what exactly did you say the 2009 Forest Service budget was, and the maximum possible transfers by Kimbell?

Related Links:

Posted in Chief Abigail Kimbell, Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Hurricane Gustav [VII]

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Aug 29 – 03:00 UTC: TS Gustav Latest Update

Aug 27 Update: Hurricane Gustav to Feed on Warm Waters

Hurricane Gustav VII [the seventh storm of the Atlantic hurricane season] is Heading Toward Haiti

With powerful winds of 140 km/h (85mph), Gustav is churning through Caribbeans heading toward south-west Haiti, likely to wreak havoc and cause much devastation in the region.

Hurricane Gustav is seen in this satellite image dated August 26, 2008. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone – NOAA/NWS

This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time. NOAA-NWS

These graphics show probabilities of sustained (1-minute average) surface wind speeds equal to or exceeding 64 kt…74 mph (hurricane force). These wind speed probability graphics are based on the official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track, intensity, and wind radii forecasts, and on NHC forecast error statistics for those forecast variables during recent years. Each graphic provides cumulative probabilities that wind speeds of at least 74 mph will occur during cumulative time periods at each specific point on the map. The cumulative periods begin at the start of the forecast period and extend through the entire 5-day forecast period at cumulative 12-hour intervals (i.e., 0-12 h, 0-24 h, 0-36 h, … , 0-120 h). An individual graphic is produced for each cumulative interval, and the capability to zoom and animate through the periods is provided. To assess the overall risk of experiencing winds of at least 74 mph at any location, the 120-h graphics are recommended. NOAA-NWS

Gustav Could Become a Cat. Two Hurricane Before Landfall in Haiti

Gustav became stronger as it neared the south coast of Haiti, NHC reported.  Here’re the highlights of NHC Hurricane Advisory:

  • A hurricane warning remains in effect from Barahona in the Dominican Republic westward to Le Mole St Nicholas Haiti.
  • A hurricane watch is also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.  A hurricane watch is also in effect for Jamaica.
  • At 8:00 am EDT the center of hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 17.5 north, longitude 72.0 west or about 125 km south-southeast of Port Au Prince Haiti and about 425 km southeast of Guantanamo Cuba.
  • Gustav continues moving toward the northwest at 15 km/hr today with a turn toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed forecast on Wednesday.  On this track this hurricane should move over Southwestern Haiti later today and near or just south of  Eastern Cuba on Wednesday.
  • Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 Km/hr with higher gusts.  Gustav is a category one hurricane on The Saffir-Simpson scale.  The hurricane could become a category Two hurricane before landfall in Haiti later today.
  • Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 km from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 110 km.
  • The latest minimum central pressure is 981 mb (28.97 inches).

Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Infrared AVN Color Floater Imagery – 30 minute updates

Rainfall accumulations of 4 to 7 inches over southern Hispaniola and Jamaica with isolated maximum amounts of up to 15 inches are possible.  These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. — Forecaster Brown/Pasch

“Oil prices in Asia rose Tuesday on concerns Hurricane Gustav may disrupt oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.” AP reported.

“It’s hard to predict where Gustav will strike,” an analyst in Singapore reported. “But the market is reacting to it and edging up some.”

“Light, sweet crude for October delivery was up 58 cents at $115.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract rose 52 cents overnight to settle at $115.11 a barrel.”

On its forecast track and anticipated strength, Gustav could cause significant disruptions to offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

REM: You read it hear first! 😉

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

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Shameful EPA slammed with yet another lawsuit

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Mr Johnson, Americans Need Clean Air, Despite Your Misplaced Loyalties!

12 states, NY city and District of Columbia are suing Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, the federal environmental regulators, over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries in the US.

The suit is led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who “charges that EPA violated the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.” Reuters reported.

Anacortes Refinery (Tesoro Corp), on the north end of March Point southeast of Anacortes, Washington. Image credit:Walter Siegmund. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

“The EPA’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” Cuomo said in a release. “Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York’s environment, health, and economy.”

Stephen Johnson, the EPA head has insisted that it is the responsibility of Congress to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases that are heating the planet, despite the US Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Additionally, other coalition of states have sued the EPA demanding that it should set standards for GHG pollution from power plants, and and to uphold the right of states to regulate pollution emissions from automobiles, as well as to require stronger reporting on toxic chemicals.

According to the latest suit, filed yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, “about 15 percent of U.S. industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, come from crude refineries, which burn some oil as they make products like gasoline and jet fuel.”

The other plaintiff states and cities in the suit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and the City of New York, representing nearly one third (29%)of the entire US population.



Stars-and-Stripes-Draped Carson Refinery (owned by the patriotic British Petroleum), Carson, California. Capacity: 260,000 bbl/d (41,000 m³/d). Image Credit: USATODAY. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Should You Be Afraid, Really Afraid?

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Will your industrial food become even deadlier?

12 dead in Canada food poisoning outbreak

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Twelve people have now died out of 26 confirmed cases of food poisoning linked to deli meats produced at a plant owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc, Canadian health officials said Monday.

There are another 29 suspected cases of listeriosis, officials told reporters, and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the government expected more cases in coming days.

Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s biggest meat processors, had said it hoped to reopen the Toronto plant associated with the outbreak on Tuesday, but health officials said they will test and hold all meat produced there until they are satisfied it is not contaminated.

“The timeframe really isn’t theirs. It belongs more to the (Canadian Food Inspection Agency),” Ritz said. …

ID#: 2287 Description: Electron micrograph of a flagellated Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, Magnified 41,250X (Image size may have been changed). Listeria monocytogenes is the infectious agent responsible for the food borne illness Listeriosis. In the United States, an estimated 2,500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis each year. Of these, 500 die. Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes Provider Email: Creation Date: 2002 Photo Credit: Elizabeth White Copyright Restrictions: None – This image is in the public domain and thus free of any copyright restrictions. As a matter of courtesy we request that the content provider be credited and notified in any public or private usage of this image.

Source: (Via wikipedia)

Listeriosis, an illness that is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, infants and people with weak immune systems, was a contributing factor in seven of the deaths, the Public Health Agency of Canada said. Full report..

Colonies of typical Listeria monocytogenes as they appear when grown on Listeria selective agar


Incidence in 2004–2005 was 2.5–3 cases per million population and year in the USA, where pregnant women accounted for 30% of all cases. Of all nonperinatal infections, 70% occur in immunocompromised patients. Incidence in the USA has been falling since the 1990s, in contrast to Europe where changes in eating habits have lead to an increase during the same time. In Sweden, it has stabilized at around 5 cases per annum per million population, with pregnant women typically accounting for 1–2 of some 40 total yearly cases.


Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by a motile bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes.[1] Listeriosis is relatively rare and occurs primarily in newborn infants, elderly patients, and patients who are immunocompromised.

In veterinary medicine, however, listeriosis can be a quite common condition in some farm outbreaks. It can also be found in wild animals; see listeriosis in animals. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Country in Focus: Thailand

Posted by feww on August 24, 2008

Do No Evil [sic] Google  Has Blocked This Page!

Time to Abolish Thai Monarchy!

Thailand’s Wealthy King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand’s “revered” King Bhumibol Adulyadej waves to guests from the balcony of the Grand Palace in Bangkok on his 80th birthday December 5, 2007. (Royal Palace/Handout/Reuters)


The Wealthy King:

King Bhumibol, 80, monarch for 62 years, is the world’s richest royal. His fortune is estimated at 35 billion dollars, Forbes said.

Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of the royal family’s wealth, “granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.”


A Right Royal Tragedy

In a country were up to 20 percent of population have no sustainable access to clean water, where at least a quarter of the children under the age of five are malnourished and with a third of the people living in abject poverty, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE for anyone to accumulate so much wealth!

Thailand: Geography

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Myanmar, the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea to the west, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar to the north. Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the east, and Malaysia to the south.


  • Population without sustainable access to an improved water source (2000) : 10.5 million people (16%)
  • Children under weight for age (% under age 5) 1995-2000 : 19 percent
  • Population below $2 per day income (1990-2001) : 21 million people (32.5%) – [source: unsiap]


2008 estimates: 65,493,298
2000 census: 60,606,947

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.) – [source: CIA World Factbook]

Population in Municipal Area (%) : 31.1 percent (about 15.1 % in the capital, Bangkok, and 16 % in Thailand’s other big cities)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 21.2% (male 7,104,776/female 6,781,453)
  • 15-64 years: 70.3% (male 22,763,274/female 23,304,793)
  • 65 years and over: 8.5% (male 2,516,721/female 3,022,281) (2008 est.)
  • 15-59 labor force: 66.5%
  • Women in reproductive ages : 17,032,000

Sex ratio (Males per 100 females): 97.0

Median age:

  • total: 32.8 years
  • male: 32 years
  • female: 33.7 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.64% (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Main Religion: About 95 percent of the population are Buddhists.


[Source: peopledaily, December 14, 2001] Thailand ranks third after India and the U.S. in the number of child prostitutes, the United Nations (UN) said in its report prepared for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation which will be held in Japan Saturday, the Nation Newspaper reported Friday.

Number of women and children that are believed to be sexually exploited in

  • India: about 400,000 [population of 1,137 million]
  • United States: between 244,000 and 325,000 [305 million]
  • Thailand: 200,000 [65.5million]
  • Eastern and central Europe175,000 [about 200 0million]
  • Brazil: 100,000 [187.5 million]
  • West Africa: 35,000 [about 250 million]

However, based on the national/regional populations, a larger percentage of women and children are sexually exploited in Thailand than in any other country/region in the world.

Thai Sex Tourism and Prostitution

[Source: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women] Estimates on the number of women in prostitution range from 300,000 to 2.8 million [many NGOs conform the larger figure] of which a third are minors. Thai women are also in prostitution in many countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. About 4.6 million Thai men regularly, and at least 500,000 foreign tourists annually, use prostituted women.

Statistics from Tourism Authority of Thailand

  • Number of International arrivals (2007): 14,464,228 foreign visitors
  • Total expenditure: $15,868.53 million (USD)
  • Average length of stay: 9.19 days
  • Per capita spending: $119.38 per day

Calculated as a percentage of the visitor country, the largest per capita number of tourists visiting Thailand in 2007 were from:

  1. Singapore (17.4% of own population), Hong Kong (6.4%), Malaysia (5.7%), Brunei (3.2%)
  2. Sweden (4.1% ), Finland (2.6%), Denmark (2.5%), Norway (2.3%), Switzerland (2%), UK (1.2%), Netherlands (1.1%), Austria (0.9%), Germany ( 0.7%), Belgium ().7%), France (0.5%), Italy (0.3%), Russia (0.2%), Spain (0.2%)
  3. Australia and New Zealand (2.9%)
  4. UAE (2.3%), Israel (1.7%), Kuwait (1.2%)
  5. Korea (2.2%), Taiwan (1.9%), Japan (1%), Philippines (0.2%), China (0.1%), India ( 0.05%)
  6. Canada (0.5%), U.S. (0.2%)

About 60,000 Thai women work as prostitutes in Japan. With 150,000 non-Japanese women, Japan is the largest sex industry market for Asian women ( Filipinas account for about 80,000 of Asian female prostitutes in Japan.)

Child Prostitution in Thailand

The following excerpts are from Child Prostitution in Thailand by Sirirat Pusurinkham, from the Witness:

  • There are two parts to the Thai policy of promoting tourism: one is to sell the physical and cultural beauty of the country; the other is to promote the Thai people, which of course includes sex-related services.
  • Girls as young as 10-12 years old service men in the sex industry. Many of the girls typically have sex with ten to fifteen men every day, and sometimes as many as 20 to 30.
  • Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children.
  • The growth of prostitution in Thailand has had an almost worldwide effect. There are laws against prostitution, but they are not enforced. The police force is corrupt and often joins with the pimps in making money.
  • There are several major reasons why prostitution, including child prostitution, is a growing industry.
  • In Thailand the position of women is a traditional one, remaining from the traditional position they have been assigned in Thai Buddhism. This is found in the traditional cultural attitudes of Thai men, and in the consequences of military presence, and its resulting culture of recreational sex. The social turmoil in Thailand provoked by World War II was a seedbed for the growth of prostitution in the country. It spurred the first example of a sex entertainment center for international tourists in Thailand.
  • The Vietnam War and the resultant R&R activities of service men in Thailand led to a dramatic increase in the use of Thai prostitutes by foreigners in the country. This period was followed by an aggressive tourism campaign, which encouraged tourists to come in great numbers. Most of these tourists were single men. The rapid increase in commercialization was encouraged by the news media.
  • Tourism has brought enormous growth in the construction of hotels, golf courses, condominiums, restaurants and various kinds of entertainment in the cities, and in provincial villages as well. Tourism’s impact on the sex industry — to what is now called sex tourism — has been a major contemporary contributor to the growth of child prostitution in Thailand.
  • In Thailand there has been both migration within the country — from farm to city — and immigration from outside the country. Farming cannot provide a living anymore. Many farmers even go to work in other countries to keep their families from starving. There are no opportunities in rural areas.
  • In Thailand today, women and children are oppressed, abused, exploited, and degraded by society. Daughters of poor families are often sold into prostitution. Some parents sell their children because they need the money for food or dope. Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children. According to recent UNAIDS statistics, out of a total population of 60 million people in Thailand, 755,000 are living with HIV/AIDS. (Source: the Witness).

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation: Thailand

  • In Thailand, trafficking is a THB500 billion [$US = 34 Thai Bhat, THB] annual business, which is 50%- 60% of the government’s annual budget and more lucrative than the drug trade. (Authorites and activists, Kulachada Chaipipat, “New law targets human trafficking,” The Nation, 30 November 1997).
  • Pattaya has a multi-billion dollar multinational sex industry with links to drug trafficking, money laundering and an expanding regional cross-border traffic in women. (Mark Baker, “Sin city can’t shake vice’s grip,” Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 1997)
  • Thailand is a staging point for the international trade in prostitutes and illegal workers, with facilities for the production of false travel documents and processing of foreign nationals to third countries. (Chulalongkorn University, “There’s money everywhere for Thai police,” The Nation, 25 February 1997)
  • Children are increasingly trafficked across Southeast Asia for prostitution, with Thailand being the main destination. Government policy to repatriate some 300,000 illegal workers was criticized because the measure would push illegal migrants, especially children, “further underground”. (International Labour Organization, “Trafficking of children on the rise,” Bangkok Post, 22 July 1998 )
  • Marut, a well-known pimp in Pattaya, was introduced to Russian traffickers by a local expatriate restaurateur. The Russians needed a local link to clients, especially wealthy Thai men. Over 60% of Marut’s clients are government officials, including policemen. Some do not pay for what Marut describes as “special service,” because they are powerful men. The price for “special service” is 3,000 to 6,000 baht depending on the status of the client. (“Pattaya: Murder, prostitution and tourists,” Bangkok Post, 22 April 1998 )
  • Some trafficked women, who were detained at immigration offices, were escorted out of the office at night with permission from officers or ordered to have sex with officers. In one cases four Laotian girls were gang-raped by inmates at a Rayong police station where the women were detained on charges of illegal entry and gambling (Surita Sandosham, Sirinya Wattanasukchai, “Flesh trade shrugs off new risks,” The Nation, 1 May 1997)
  • Close to 300 million dollars is transferred yearly to rural families by women engaged in prostitution in urban areas, a sum that in many cases exceeds the budgets of government-funded development programs. Between 1993 and 1995, it is estimated that prostitution in Thailand produced an annual income of between 22.5 and 27 billion dollars. (Dario Agnote, “Sex trade key part of S.E. Asian economies, study says,” Kyodo News, 18 August 1998 )
  • In Thailand, up to 400,000 children under the age of 16 are believed to be working in brothels, clubs or bars. (Jill Serjeant, “Asia to launch joint crackdown on child sex trade,” Reuters, 1 April 1998 )
  • 40% of the two million in prostitution in Thailand are under 18, meaning that about 850,000 children are in prostitution. (Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Chris Gelken, “Row Over Call to Boycott ‘Paedophile Playground’,” Gemini News, 28 February 1997)
  • 400,000 children under the age of 16 are exploited in brothels, clubs or bars in Thailand. (Campaigners, Robin Cook, “Clampdown on child sex tourism,” BBC News, UK, 4 April 1998 )
  • 250,000 children are bought and sold for sex in Thailand alone. (UNICEF, “UK police join fight against Thai child sex tourism,” BBC, 9 December 1997)


  • Adult prevalence rate: An estimated 1.4% [0.7%–2.1%] of adults in Thailand were living with HIV in 2005 (UNAIDS, 2006b).
  • It is estimated that almost one in five (18%) new HIV infections in 2005 were in sex workers, their clients and those clients’ other partners.
  • Overall, as many as one in five (21%) new HIV infections in 2005 in Thailand were in men who have sex with men, according to one estimate (Gouws et al., 2006), and HIV prevalence in this population is on the rise.
  • HIV/AIDS – deaths: 58,000 (2003 est., CIA World Factbook)
  • Prevalence rate of HIV infection in pregnant women: 1.37 %
  • Prevalence rate of HIV in conscripts : 0.5 %
  • Rate of HIV infection in children aged less than 2 years: 9 % [Source: unescap]
  • People living with HIV/AIDS: at least 755,000 (Source)

Major infectious diseases:

Degree of risk: high

  • Food and waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
  • Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
  • Animal contact disease: rabies
  • Water contact disease: leptospirosis

Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country (2008 – CIA Factbook)


  • Average years of education attainment
    of population aged 15 years and over: 7.8 years
  • Population aged 6-24 years not attending school (%): 34.3 percent


  • Total: 514,000 sq km
  • Land: 511,770 sq km
  • Water: 2,230 sq km

Land use:

  • Arable land: 27.54%
  • permanent crops: 6.93%
  • Other: 65.53% (2005)
  • Irrigated land: 49,860 sq km (2003)

Water Use:

  • Total renewable water resources: 409.9 cu km (1999)
  • Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
  • Per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Current Environmental Issues:
Air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Continued …

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Fires in Indonesia

Posted by feww on August 23, 2008

Dry season intensifies Indonesian fires!

During the May-October dry season, fire often smolders through Indonesia’s tropical forests. Most of the fire is deliberate, set for logging or to clear land for crops or plantations, and more than plants are consumed in the flames. Rich with biomass, the peaty soil burns too, producing intensely smoky fires. On bad days, smoke billows off of the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo, blanketing major shipping lanes and neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia.  More…

NASA images created by Jesse Allen, using fire data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team, and TRMM rainfall data from the TRMM Science Data and Information System at Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

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Fay: TS with an Attitude

Posted by feww on August 22, 2008

Will she go north? Will she go west? Will she settle for west-northwest?

Fay is drifting toward the west near 2 mph (4 km/hr). Fay is forecast to move westward or west-northwestward with some increase in forward speed during the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/hr) with higher gusts are expected.

Fay is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches (25.4cm), across

  • Central to northern portion of the Florida peninsula
  • Florida Panhandle
  • Southern Georgia
  • Southeastern Alabama

Isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible!

Tropical Storm FAY QuickLook – Posted: 18:00 EDT 08/21/2008

Tropical Storm FAY beginning to make landfall on Florida’s East Coast near Flagler Beach. As of 08/21/2008 18:00 EDT, water levels from northeastern Florida to South Carolina are elevated about 1.25 to 2.40 feet above predicted. (NOAA-NOS)

  • Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are possible across the coastal areas of southern South Carolina.
  • Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible over southwest and southern Florida.
  • Isolated storm total accumulations of 20 to 30 inches have been observed with this system over the east central coastal areas of Florida.
  • Storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tides is possible along the east coast of Florida and Georgia
  • Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight over portions of northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia. (Forecaster: Brown/Knabb. NOAA-NHC)

Melbourne Florida: Roads Double as Rivers

Photograph: John Raoux/AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

See previous entries for more updated images:

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Buffet the Climate!

Posted by feww on August 22, 2008

More Serious Pollution Anyone?

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates reportedly visited the $9 billion Canadian Natural Resources Horizon oil sands project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Monday. Horizon Oil is scheduled to start operations October 2008.

The visit by two of the world’s richest persons [and biggest producers of CO2] pushed up Toronto stock market by almost 300 points as speculators snapped up energy stocks.

Horizon Oil Sands Project, Alberta, Canada

Construction site being cleared for the Horizon Oil Sands Project. (Source: hydrocarbons-technology). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Horizon Oil Sands will begin operations October 2008. (Source: hydrocarbons-technology). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!


In a news conference held in Madrid, Spain ( May 21, 2008), Warren Buffet declared:

“If the world were falling apart I’d still invest in companies.”

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Week 33 Volcano Watch

Posted by feww on August 21, 2008

13 August-19 August 2008

New Activity/Unrest:

Piton de la Fournaise. The massive Piton de la Fournaise on the island of Réunion is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is seen here in 1977 with a fresh black lava flow descending the outer NE flank of the shield volcano to the sea. An unvegetated summit lava shield (upper left) was constructed within an 8-km-wide caldera that is breached to the sea. Its sloping northern rim is marked by the diagonal vegetation line at the left. More than 150 eruptions have occurred since the 17th century, mostly from vents within the caldera. (Caption:Global Volcanism Program ). Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1977 (published in SEAN Bulletin, 1977).

Ongoing Activity:

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program. This page is updated on Wednesdays, please see the GVP Home Page for news of the latest significant activity.

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Fay drops 25 inches of rain on Melbourne

Posted by feww on August 21, 2008

Latest Update: Fay: TS with an Attitude

‘Lake’ Melbourne, Florida

The Melbourne National Weather Service Forecast Office reported rainfall totals of nearly 25 inches (63.5cm) in parts of north Melbourne.

Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Image

Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate School. SSEC

Fay is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 (25.4cm) inches over east-central and northeastern Florida with 3 to 6 inches over southeastern Georgia. Isolated storm total amounts of 30 inches (76.2cm) are possible in Florida. (NOAA – NHC)

Gilbert Creque (L) looks over Peter Luu’s flooded car in Melbourne, Florida, USA, 20 August 2008. Luu said that he turned in to what he thought was a parking lot and instead found out it was a retention pond. Over 15 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Fay fell in some parts of Florida causing streets and homes to be flooded. EPA/CHRIS LIVINGSTON. (Source: M & C)

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Climate ruining economy that ruined climate!

Posted by feww on August 21, 2008

Protect economy from climate??!

Shouldn’t the scientific message be

Protect World from Economy?

You know your problems are serious when eight scientific organizations urge the next U.S. president to “protect the country” not by way of changing the predatory economy but instead by means of “funding for research and forecasting” to dodge the climate change.

Instead of urging an immediate end to the exponential growth economy and demanding a zero-growth, low carbon, waste-free okonomia for managing the environment, welfare of humans and other living species, and a system of ‘housekeeping’ for the planet’s natural resources to sustain life on Earth, the country’s top scientists are looking for ways of serving the economic Titanic.

Original Entry: Protect economy from climate??!

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Bezymianny Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula erupts

Posted by msrb on August 20, 2008

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY. The Bezymianny Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula has erupted, Itar-Tass reported.

During the period of unrest, it emitted an ash column with a diameter of about 100 km.

The eruption was forecast prior to the unrest. The Bezymianny Volcano (2,800m high) is one of 28 active volcanoes on the peninsula. Bezymianny erupts explosively once or twice each year. The eruptions can last up to several days.

During its most powerful eruption in 1956, Bezymianny dome exploded collapsing about 280m of its summit (reduced from 3080 to 2800m). It ejected about one cubic kilometer volcanic debris in a very short time. [See VEI below.]

Bezymianny Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula. Photo: Itar-Tass. Image may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice!

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Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI)

The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Steve Self at the University of Hawaiʻi in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions.

VEI and ejecta volume correlation. Credit: USGS (Via Wikipedia)

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