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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 October 8th, 2008

Hurricane Norbert Now a Cat 2 off Pacific Mexico

Posted by feww on October 8, 2008

Update No.3: Norbert Makes Landfall in Mainland Mexico

Update No.2: Norbert Strengthens to a Cat 4 Hurricane

Update: Oct 8, 2008 – 09:00UTC Norbert is a major hurricane with sustained winds of 185km/hr with higher gusts, additional strengthening forecast.

Norbert, the 7th hurricane of the East Pacific season, strengthened off Mexico’s Pacific coast and is forecast to become a major hurricane before landfall at Baja California peninsula

Hurricane Details

  • Source: NHC
  • Forecaster: Beven
  • Date and Time: October 8, 2008 at 03:00UTC
  • Current Location: The center of hurricane Norbert was located near latitude 15.7 north, longitude 109.0 west or about 805 km south of the southern tip of Baja California.
  • Category and Wind Speed: Maximum sustained winds have increased to 165 km/hr with higher gusts.  Norbert is a Category 2A on FEWW Hurricane Scale (cat. two on the Saffir-Simpson scale) and is expected to become a major hurricane on Wednesday.
  • Direction: Norbert is moving toward the west-northwest at 17 km/hr. This general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday with a turn toward the northwest expected on Thursday.
  • Wind Force Extent: Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 165 km.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure: 970 mb (28.64 inches).

Hurricane NORBERT

Image frozen – date and time as indicated. Source: NOAA.

Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probabilities – 120 Hours

Image Source: NOAA/NHC

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Posted in norbert projected path, Norbert satellite image, norbert trajectory, Pacific coast, STORM INFORMATION | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Climate Change Spreads “Deadly Dozen” Diseases

Posted by feww on October 8, 2008

12 deadly pathogens could spread into new regions aided by climate change

A report by Wildlife Conservation Society released on October 7 lists 12 deadly pathogens that could spread globally as a result of climate change. “All have potential impacts to both human and wildlife health as well as global economies.” Report said.

Titled ‘The Deadly Dozen: Wildlife Diseases in the Age of Climate Change,’ the report illustrates examples of diseases that could spread due to temperatures changes and variations in regional precipitation levels.

Gram-positive Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Bacteria

Under a high magnification of 15549x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted some of the ultrastructural details seen in the cell wall configuration of a number of Gram-positive Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. As an obligate aerobic organism M. tuberculosis can only survive in an environment containing oxygen.

TB bacteria become active, and begin to multiply, if the immune system can’t stop them from growing. The bacteria attack the body and destroy tissue. If in the lungs, the bacteria can actually create a hole in the lung tissue. Some people develop active TB disease soon after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight off the bacteria. Other people may get sick later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.

Babies and young children often have weak immune systems. People infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have very weak immune systems. Other people can have weak immune systems, too, especially people with any of these conditions: substance abuse; diabetes mellitus; silicosis; cancer of the head or neck; leukemia or Hodgkin’s disease; severe kidney disease; low body weight; certain medical treatments (such as corticosteroid treatment or organ transplants); specialized treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s disease. [Source: CDC – Caption: CDC/ Dr. Ray Butler; Janice Carr. Photo Credit: Janice Carr]

“The term ‘climate change’ conjures images of melting ice caps and rising sea levels that threaten coastal cities and nations, but just as important is how increasing temperatures and fluctuating precipitation levels will change the distribution of dangerous pathogens,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, WCS President and CEO. “The health of wild animals is tightly linked to the ecosystems in which they live and influenced by the environment surrounding them, and even minor disturbances can have far-reaching consequences on what diseases they might encounter and transmit as climate changes. Monitoring wildlife health will help us predict where those trouble spots will occur and plan how to prepare.”

The “Deadly Dozen” list [ABC order]:

  1. Avian influenza
  2. Babesia
  3. Cholera
  4. Ebola
  5. Intestinal and external parasites
  6. Lyme disease
  7. Plague
  8. Red tides
  9. Rift Valley fever
  10. Sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis)
  11. Tuberculosis
  12. Yellow fever

    This micrograph of human liver tissue infected with the Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF), depicts the hepatic histopathologic changes that occur due to this illness.

    The Ebola pathogen is a member of the Filoviridae family of RNA viruses. The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the “natural reservoir”) of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic i.e., animal-borne, and is normally maintained in an animal host that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably associated with Ebola-Reston which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.

    Source: CDC. Caption and photo credit: CDC/ Dr. Lyle Conrad]

    The report “builds upon the recommendations included in a recently published paper titled ‘Wildlife Health as an Indicator of Climate Change,'” which is featured in a new book, Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence, which was published by the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine. The study examines the the impacts of climate change on wild animals and its implications for human health.

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    Posted in deadly pathogens, Drought, precipitation, tuberculosis, Wildlife | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

    Antarctic Ozone Depth Down to 100 DU

    Posted by feww on October 8, 2008

    Having broken the previous size record [up by 1million km², or 3.9 %, to 27,000 km²,] the Antarctic ozone depth fell to a low of 100 DU

    The George W. Bush Antarctic Ozone Hole – October 04, 2008

    Source: NASA Ozone Hole Watch

    From a previous entry:

    A Deserving Dedication

    The Moderators would like to dedicate this year’s Antarctic ozone hole to the outgoing [hopefully] US president [sic] Mr GW Bush. Furthermore we invite all parties concerned to consider renaming the Antarctic Ozone Hole after GW Bush for his contribution to the worsening state of the world. During his 8-year occupation of White House, Mr Bush caused more damage to the world (environment, climate, humanity, security … ) than anyone else before him.

    [It’s hoped that NASA employees responsible for Ozone Hole Watch retain the integrity of all data, and blow the whistle if they find any anomaly in the data sets, this year.]

    Ozone Facts

    What is Ozone?

    Ozone is a colorless gas. Chemically, ozone is very active; it reacts readily with a great many other substances. Near the Earth’s surface, those reactions cause rubber to crack, hurt plant life, and damage people’s lung tissues. But ozone also absorbs harmful components of sunlight, known as “ultraviolet B”, or “UV-B”. High above the surface, above even the weather systems, a tenuous layer of ozone gas absorbs UV-B, protecting living things below. (Source: NASA Ozone Watch)

    What is a Dobson Unit?

    The Dobson Unit (DU) is the unit of measure for total ozone. If you were to take all the ozone in a column of air stretching from the surface of the earth to space, and bring all that ozone to standard temperature (0 °Celsius) and pressure (1013.25 millibars, or one atmosphere, or “atm”), the column would be about 0.3 centimeters thick. Thus, the total ozone would be 0.3 atm-cm. To make the units easier to work with, the “Dobson Unit” is defined to be 0.001 atm-cm. Our 0.3 atm-cm would be 300 DU. (Source: NASA Ozone Watch)

    Exposure to Excessive UV Radiation

    Without Ozone life on Earth is not possible. Ozone depletion allows higher levels of UV radiation (UVA and UVB) reaching the Earth’s surface and poses the biggest threat to life and the ecosystems. The amount of UV radiation reaching the Antarctica can double during the annual “ozone hole”- a severe depletion of ozone layer.

    At usual times, when the ozone hole disappears, New Zealand still receives at least 42 percent more ultraviolet rays than Northern Hemisphere.

    NASA and NOAA Declare 2006 Ozone Hole a Double Record Breaker

    “The ozone hole of 2006 is the most severe ozone hole (least amount of ozone) observed to date. NASA’s Aura satellite observed a low value of 85 Dobson Units (DU) on Oct. 8 in a region over the East Antarctic ice sheet.”[3]

    With a few exceptions, the depth and size of the Antarctic Ozone Hole is increasing each year, while the concentration of ozone, measured in Dobson Unit (DU), is decreasing. The large and persistent ozone hole will “allow much more ultraviolet light than usual to reach Earth’s surface in the southern latitudes.”[3]

    Major Health Problems Linked to Overexposure to UV Radiation

    Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to the potentially fatal melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, as well as skin disorders like actinic keratoses and premature aging of skin. UV radiation impairs human immune system (including reaction to certain medications, poor response to immunization, and sensitivity to sunlight) and readily damages DNA in all cells causing genetic mutations. [4]

    UV radiation increases the incidents of cataracts, chronic eye disease and other eye damage, and several types of blood disease.

    The Skin Cancer ‘Hot Spot.’ New Zealand (and Australia) is the worst hotspot for skin cancer in the world. Each year 1 in 29 New Zealanders is diagnosed with skin cancer.[5]

    Melanoma Skin Cancers. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Many dermatologists believe that exposure to sunburns in children and young adults can lead to melanoma later in life. Reported melanoma cases in New Zealand have almost doubled since 1993 and the rising trend is expected to continue. New Zealand [and Australia] has the highest age-adjusted melanoma incidence rates in the world.[6]

    New research commissioned by MoleMap New Zealand, a melanoma surveillance program, reveals about one in four New Zealand farmers have suffered skin cancer.[7]

    “Almost 300 people die from melanoma each year and New Zealand has the highest melanoma death rate in the world.” Generally, skin cancer incidents occur in older age groups, however, “life-threatening melanoma is most common in people aged between 20 and 39 years.”[8]

    In the United States, an estimated 7,910 people will die of melanoma in 2006. [9] The melanoma death rate in New Zealand is about three times higher than the United States.

    Non-melanoma Skin Cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancers are less deadly than melanoma cases. However, they can spread, causing disfigurement and more serious health problems, if not treated early. At least 160,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in New Zealand each year. [10]

    Other types of UV-related skin cancer tumors include Basal Cell Carcinomas, and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. Although Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly, it can penetrate to the bone and cause considerable damage. Squamous Cell Carcinomas tumors, which usually appear as nodules or as red, flaky swelling, develop into large patches and spread all over the body. [11]

    Cataracts and Other Eye Damage. Cataracts, a type of eye damage, causes the loss of transparency in the lens of the eye, clouds vision and can lead to blindness, if left untreated. The UV radiation increases the likelihood of developing cataracts. UV radiation also causes other kinds of eye damage including “pterygium (i.e., tissue growth that can block vision), skin cancer around the eyes, and degeneration of the macula (i.e., the part of the retina where visual perception is most acute).” [12]

    Immune Suppression. Overexposure to UV radiation may suppress the body’s immune system. “Increased exposure to UV rays in animals and humans has been linked to elevated risk from the following diseases: the herpes viruses, the human immunodeficiency virus HIV- 1, a variety of papilloma viruses, leishmaniasis, malaria, forms of tuberculosis, leprosy, lupus erthematodes, dermatitis, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. Since UV rays readily damage DNA in all cells, it is not unrealistic to hypothesize that this will play an additional role in the mutation of existing disease bacteria and viruses and may produce totally new strains of pathogens.” [13]

    Note: The above passage is from Truth About ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ Advertising Campaign. For a list of references, see original article at above link.

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    Posted in Immune Suppression, immunodeficiency virus HIV- 1, melanoma, nasa, UV-B | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »