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 April, 2009

Weekly Volcano Watch: 30 April 2009

Posted by feww on April 30, 2009

Volcanic Activity Report: 22 April – 28 April 2009

Source: Global Volcanism program (GVP) – SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

New activity/unrest:

VoW: Bazman

Bazman Volcano Satellite Image – ASTER Volcano Archive – dated 2007/07/12- Image ID: SC:AST_L1A.003:2044912154

Country:  Iran
Region: SE Iran
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
Last Known Eruption: Unknown
Summit Elevation: 3,490 m  (11,450 feet)
Latitude: 28.07°N    (28°4’0″N)
Longitude: 60.00°E    (60°0’0″E)

Bazman (Kuh-e Bazman) is a 3490-m-high stratovolcano in a remote and arid region in SE Iran. A well-preserved, 500-m-wide crater caps the summit of the volcano. Its satellitic lava domes have been the source of fresh-looking viscous lava flows, including the prominent one with dramatic flow levees at the lower left. No historical eruptions are known from Bazman, but minor fumarolic activity has been reported. Image:
NASA Space Shuttle image ISS006-E-5209, 2002 ( Caption: GVP.

Map of Volcanoes of the ME and the Indian Ocean

Source: GVP.

FEWW Forecast: FEWW believes there is 0.7 probability Bazman volcano could erupt in 2009.

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.

Latest U.S. Volcano Alerts and Updates for Thursday, Apr 30, 2009 at 03:58:49 PDT

Related Links:

Posted in Bagana, Java, Pagan, Shiveluch, Slamet | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Swine Flu Spin: WHO is Looking?

Posted by feww on April 30, 2009

WHO warns flu pandemic imminent, raises alert level to phase 5

The World Health Organization (WHO) said a few hours ago that the world was at the brink of a swine flu pandemic, raising its official threat level to phase 5, the last step before a pandemic.

[Remember all those Homeland Security Code Yellow and Code Orange alerts?]

“Influenza pandemics must be taken seriously precisely because of their capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva.

“The biggest question is this: how severe will the pandemic be, especially now at the start,” Chan said, adding that the world “is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history.”

[How reassuring, Director General! What would the world do without Tamiflu, Relenza and those vaccines that are still being experimented on in the multinationals’ laboratories.]

Then, to make it look as if the world was begging, Ms. Chan “urged companies who make the drugs to ramp up production.” Reuters reported.

Relenza, produced by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKlin, and Tamiflu, produced by Switzerland’s Roche AG (and its original designer, Gilead Sciences Inc.) have allegedly been shown to work against the new A (H1N1) swine flu viral mutation.

The alert level was raised after the first confirmed U.S. swine flu death was reported. A 23-month-old boy died of pneumonia reportedly caused by the flu virus in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. He was on a family visit from Mexico.

Before the identity of the boy was known, FEWW had suspected that the victim would be Hispanic, working on the premise that the viral mutation was in all probability “laboratory-engineered,” most possibly at the ESR laboratories in New Zealand.

Earlier in Swine Flu: A Deadly $100 billion Scam? MSRB wrote: “Is this the “perfect” viral mutation engineered to kill only a small number of  ‘brown’ people? [So as to warrant WHO raising its alert level to phase 5, possibly beyond, justifying governments to spend billions of dollars on flu drugs!]

President Barack Obama said the Texas death proves the time had come to exercise “utmost precautions.”

Kathleen Sebelius, the newly confirmed health secretary, said: “We know that the cases will continue to rise.”

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary said: “We are preparing for the worst; hoping for the best … All of us should be dusting off our business contingency plans, looking at things like telecommuting and the like so that things keep operating.”

Customs and Border Patrol officials  had checked 49 people with flu-like symptoms. She said, clearing 41 of H1N1 infection, with eight being held as tests were carried out.

This news came amid WHO advice that: “Containment is not a feasible operation”

“Seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people in a normal year, including healthy children in rich countries.” Reuters reported.

[Note: The total volume of Tamiflu and Relenza allegedly donated by the two major pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKlin and Roche AG is less than 1 percent of their quarterly sales in 2007. ]

The Big Question: How fast are they prepared to spin the swine flu epidemic [and how far will they go?]

Related Links:

Posted in H1N1, phase 5 threat level, Swine flu deaths, swine flu virus, who | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Swine Flu Death in Texas

Posted by feww on April 29, 2009

First Swine Flu Death in the US Was a Baby in Texas

FEWW suspects that the young Texas victim was Hispanic. No further details have been released.

See also

Swine Flu: A Deadly $100 billion Scam?

The following news item was released by Reuters moments ago:

Texas baby first flu death reported outside Mexico

By Jason Lange

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A baby in Texas became the first confirmed death outside Mexico on Wednesday from the new H1N1 flu strain.

A U.S. government official said a 23-month-old child in the southern state had died from the virus, which Germany said it had found in three cases — the eighth country to do so.

There were no further details about the death in the United States, most of whose 65 confirmed cases of swine flu have proved mild.

Nearly a week after the threat of a pandemic emerged in Mexico, that country remained the hardest hit, with up to 159 people killed.

France said it would seek on Thursday a European Union ban on all flights to Mexico because of the flu. The EU, like the United States and Canada, has already advised against nonessential travel to the popular tourist destination.

Cases have now been confirmed in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Britain, Spain and, on Wednesday, Germany.

Germany’s infectious diseases agency found swine flu in a man and a woman in their late 30s in Bavaria, and a 22-year-old woman in Hamburg at the other end of the country, all of whom had recently returned from Mexico.

The World Health Organisation said it may raise its pandemic alert level to phase five — the second highest — if it was confirmed that infected people in at least two countries were spreading the new disease to other people in a sustained way.

Before the U.S. death was reported, Keiji Fukuda, acting WHO assistant director for health security and environment, said it could be a “very mild pandemic,” adding, however, that influenza “moves in ways we cannot predict.”

Stock markets in Asia and Europe rose on Wednesday, partly on optimism the world could be spared a major deadly pandemic.

(Reporting by Jason Lange, Catherine Bremer Alistair Bell and Helen Popper in Mexico City, Andrew Quinn in Washington and Eric Burroughs in Hong Kong; Writing by Andrew Marshall, edited by Richard Meares). Copyright Reuters

Related Links:

Posted in EU ban Mexico, EU flu cases, flu deaths, Mexico City, Tamiflu | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Show Must Go On!

Posted by feww on April 28, 2009

Image of the day: The Masked Mariachi

A Mariachi wears a mask as he plays the violin at Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City April 25, 2009. REUTERS/Jorge Dan. Image may be subject to copyright.

Posted in flu outbreak, H1N1, Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Swine Flu Update 28-04-09

Posted by feww on April 28, 2009

World Health Organization (WHO) flu expert, Dr Keiji Fukuda:

“Containment is not a feasible operation”

WHO has raised its swine flu alert level from three to four – two levels short of a full pandemic.

There has been  a “significant step towards pandemic influenza”, but “we are not there yet,” Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director General said.

“What this can really be interpreted as is a significant step towards pandemic influenza. But also, it is a phase that says we are not there yet,” Fukuda said.

“In other words, at this time we think we have taken a step in that direction, but a pandemic is not considered inevitable.”

Because  the virus has become too widespread, containment is no longer a feasible option, he said, adding that the countries must focus measures that mitigate circumstances.

Alert level four means the virus is showing a sustained ability to pass from human to human, and is capable of causing community-level outbreaks.

In nature, influenza viruses circulate continuously among animals, especially birds. Even though such viruses might theoretically develop into pandemic viruses, in Phase 1 no viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.

In Phase 2 an animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.

In Phase 3, an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic.

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

During the post-peak period, pandemic disease levels in most countries with adequate surveillance will have dropped below peak observed levels. The post-peak period signifies that pandemic activity appears to be decreasing; however, it is uncertain if additional waves will occur and countries will need to be prepared for a second wave.

Previous pandemics have been characterized by waves of activity spread over months. Once the level of disease activity drops, a critical communications task will be to balance this information with the possibility of another wave. Pandemic waves can be separated by months and an immediate “at-ease” signal may be premature.

In the post-pandemic period, influenza disease activity will have returned to levels normally seen for seasonal influenza. It is expected that the pandemic virus will behave as a seasonal influenza A virus. At this stage, it is important to maintain surveillance and update pandemic preparedness and response plans accordingly. An intensive phase of recovery and evaluation may be required. —WHO

Confirmed and suspected cases

  • In Mexico the death toll from swine flu outbreak rose to 149 , but the authorities have only confirmed 20 cases.
  • The victims are all aged between 20 and 50.
  • A total of about 2,000 people had been hospitalized since April 13, when the first case of swine flu was reported, but a half had been released.
  • Cases are confirmed in the US, Canada, Spain and Britain.
  • In New Zealand a total of about 80 suspected cases were reported.
  • The first batches of a swine flu vaccine could be ready in about four to six months, but it would take several more months to produce it in large quantities, Fukuda said. [But is it guaranteed to work? And more importantly, is it safe?]
  • The newly-detected virus contains genetic material from previous versions of swine flu and avian flu viruses, experts say.
  • Schools nationwide will remain closed until  May 6, as a precautionary measure to mitigate the outbreak.

The U.S. Cases

  • A further 20 cases of swine flu were confirmed in New York, with other cases reported in  California,  Kansas, Ohio, Texas reaching a total of about 40 nationwide.
  • Patients with swine flu outside Mexico are said to be making a full recovery, so far.
  • It is thought that only person in the US had been hospitalised as a result of contracting the virus, and all had recovered.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising that  “non-essential travel to Mexico be avoided”.

New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Scotland  South Korea, Spain

  • At least six cases have been recorded in British Columbia and in Nova Scotia.
  • Two people in Scotland and a young man in Spain who returned from Mexico were tested positive for the virus.
  • Suspected cases of swine flu infection are being reported in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Israel and South Korea among visitors who returned from Mexico.
  • Many countries have banned imports of raw pork and pork products from Mexico and the US.
  • Shares in airlines have nosedived amid fears of the economic impact of the virus outbreak.
  • Oil futures fell 5% in early trading Monday because of concerns over global economic recovery.

Related Links:

Posted in economic impact of virus outbreak, New Zealand Swine flu, pork imports, public health, swine flu latest | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Swine Flu Mystery Deepens

Posted by feww on April 27, 2009

Is New Zealand’s Biowarfare Industry the Missing Link in Swine Flu Outbreak?

Latest Update –

  • President Obama said the swine flu cases in the US were a cause for concern but not alarm.
  • World Health Organization experts are meeting to discuss the virus outbreak.
  • The UN warns that the virus has the potential to become a pandemic.
  • EU Health Commissioner has advised people to avoid traveling to Mexico and the US, except in an emergency.
  • Mexican Health Secretary said suspected swine flu cases in his country had risen to 1,614 on Sunday.
  • A senior US health official warned about the possibility of  “more severe cases” to follow.
  • Airlines shares fell sharply on fears concerning the economic fallout of the outbreak.
  • Oil futures fell 5% in early trading Monday because of concerns over global economic recovery.
  • Most countries are introducing measures to prevent the spread the virus.
  • In New Zealand the authorities are preparing for the worst as swine flu toll rises. Dozens of people have been quarantined, or asked to stay at home for seven days.

In Mexico City:

  • Schools and public buildings remained closed, and people were advised to stay indoors.
  • Soldiers handed out six million masks throughout the capital.

Swine flu outbreak map. Source WHO via BBC

  • Mexico: 103 dead; 20 confirmed deaths from swine flu; 18 confirmed infected with swine flu
  • United States: 20 confirmed cases
  • Canada: 6 confirmed cases
  • Spain: 1 confirmed case
  • New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Spain and UK :  Dozens of suspected cases being tested

NewZeelend Blog Moderator, TEAA, is advising her readers who are flying Air New Zealand to demand their plane be fumigated immediately before takeoff!

TEAA asks

1. Why are so many New Zealanders sickened by swine flu virus, compared with only a few cases in the United States?

2. Did the virus really originate from Mexico?

TEAA wrote:

  • Total number of New Zealanders visiting Mexico City since March 2009:  Not very many, possibly a few hundred.
  • Reported number of New Zealanders sickened by Swine flu virus: More than 20 percent of the visitors [FEWW estimate is about 5% of the visitors]
  • Total number of US citizens visiting Mexico City or coming into contact with people traveling from MC since March: Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of citizens [FEWW estimates the number at 1,000,000]
  • Total number of US citizens hit by Swine flu: Less than two dozens

Based on the figures provided by TEAA, the Moderators  estimate that the ratio of the rate of New Zealanders with suspected infection to those in the United States is  about 250,000 : 1

In other words, New Zealanders have shown to be 250,000 more likely to catch the suspected swine flu virus than the US citizen.

FEWW also estimate that

  • The ratio of the rate of New Zealanders who traveled to Mexico City and are now suspected to have swine flu to the infected people in Mexico is about 275,000 : 1


  • Rate ratio of New Zealanders to the infected people in Mexico City is about 45,000 : 1

All of the data available are of course preliminary and subject to speculation. However, the readers would agree that the numbers are too significant to disregard as statistical anomaly.

Where did the swine flu virus originate from? Mexico, New Zealand or some place else?

FEWW is informed that ESR (a Crown Research Institute wholly owned by the New Zealand Government) is heavily involved in germ warfare experiments.  For additional information see: Dr Adu-Bobie, 31, an expert on meningococcal vaccines, contracted meningococcal septicaemia within days of working at New Zealand’s ESR labs.

Is it possible that the new strain of swine flu was developed in New Zealand and flown to Mexico for experiments?

Has New Zealand ever committed any major crimes such as  genocide, mass murder, crimes against humanity and nature, large-scale environmental destruction, eco-terrorism … to warrant any such insinuation?

Genocide of Maori. Maori owned 66,400,000 acres of land in 1840. Maori population stood at about 250,000. Two generations later, by 1891, the Maori Land was reduced to one sixth of the original holding (11,079,486 Acres) and so was Maori population, decimated by Pakeha (white Europeans) to 42,000.

Ecocide in Vietnam and genocide of North Vietnamese. New Zealand has been producing chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction since at least the end of WWII. One of the well-documented cases is the manufacture of substantial quantities of the deadly defoliant Agent Orange between 1960 and 1987, which was subsequently used for the destruction of Vietnamese forests and mass murder of the North Vietnamese.

The Case of Dr Adu-Bobie. Dr Adu-Bobie, 31, an expert on meningococcal vaccines, contracted meningococcal septicaemia within days of working at New Zealand’s ESR labs. The virus didn’t affect her white colleagues.

[Note: Patients with swine flu outside Mexico are said to be making a full recovery, so far.]

Ecocide in New Zealand and Antarctica

The Secret Dumping of Agent Orange. Indiscriminate dumping of Agent Orange in secret sites.

Intensive Agriculture. The pressure in New Zealand to produce food for export has turned the country into a giant sewage dump. “Hundreds of millions of tons of agricultural waste and farm runoffs are discharged into the lakes and coastal waters, and millions of tons of methane gas are released to the environment each year.” Extensive dead zones regularly appear off the coasts of New Zealand. Both  NZ and Australia are major sources of industrial agriculture as well as sheep and cattle factory farming. “New Zealand cattle and sheep also produce methane emissions equivalent to 33 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.”

Large-scale environmental pollution. New Zealand is the size of Colorado yet it hosts up to 94 million farm animals (livestock excluding poultry), which discharge an estimated 300 million tons of effluent to the environment each year. New Zealand’s intensive animal industries produce about 4 times more manure than they could safely use as fertilizer. [The leftover is discharged or washed off into NZ coastal waters.]

New Zealand Tourism Industry. New Zealand government is committing eco-terrorism by luring 2.5 million uninformed persons to New Zealand each year. On a return flight from the United States to New Zealand, each visitor produces about 7.4 metric tons of CO2e pollution [11.1 metric tons of CO2e if flying from the US Atlantic coast]; a UK visitor produces about 17.64 metric tons of CO2.

World’s largest 1080 user. NZ government agencies are increasingly using large scale indiscriminate aerial applications to cut costs. New Zealand releases about two and a half tons of compound 1080 into its environment each year, about 90% of the global use. [Enough poison to kill the entire population of New Zealand 15 times over, if administered orally!]

Negligent homicide of at least 1,522 foreigners, with another 450 visitors permanently missing. Between January 1, 2000 and January 30, 2009 at least 1,475 foreigners were killed in New Zealand. That is as many as 35 percent of all US troops killed in Iraq during a comparable period. [Between March 2003 and January 30, 2009 at least 4,237 US military personnel were killed in Iraq —officially acknowledged.] Number of foreigners who are permanently missing in New Zealand is estimated at more than 450.

Mass murder of dozens of Chinese babies and sickening of another half of a million. Chinese Sanlu chairwoman Tian Wenhau last week said she allowed melamine to be added to its infant milk formula on the advice of its New Zealand shareholder. Fonterra has confirmed it gave her a document about Europe’s safe limits of melamine in food, but said it made it clear zero was the only acceptable melamine level.

Conspiracy to topple foreign governments.

  • A key government official in Fiji claims she has email written by Michael green, a senior New Zealand “diplomat,” showing secret interference in Fiji’s internal affairs. A report by Fiji Human Rights Commission head and Ombudsman Shaista Shameem states New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy secretary, Michael Green, is involved in a “conspiracy to cripple the administration of justice in Fiji”.  Michael Green was New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Fiji until he was declared persona non grata and kicked out of the country in June 2007. Dr Shameem says he “was still interfering in Fiji’s internal affairs”. (Source:
  • A suspected New Zealand SIS agent arrested in the Philippines in connection with  a 2003 mutiny. Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials say they are doing what they can to help the suspect, NZPA said. … “The man, identified only by his surname Newman, and six retired Philippine Navy soldiers have been detained by the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration and Organised Crime Task Force, The Dominion Post reported.”… “The man had appointed a lawyer and did not want any other information released.”

Advance knowledge of virus manipulation. ESR’s influenza experts have been heavily experimenting with the flu virus for nearly two decades. “ESR undertakes New Zealand’s ‘flu surveillance and operates the WHO National Influenza Centre. A national surveillance system was set up in 1991 as part of the WHO global programme for influenza surveillance.” … “ESR’s influenza team move[d] into new purpose-built laboratories at the National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Disease – Wallaceville, early in 2008.” [Update added May 8, 2009 ]

New Zealand government debts are UNMANAGEABLE. They would take any measure to avoid bankruptcy and stay in control. The flu vaccine business is an extremely lucrative market, and NZ govt as the owners of ESR labs. would stop short of nothing to exploit that market. They currently have in place various arrangements with vaccine manufacturers, including a contract with Australia’s CSL Ltd— a flu vaccine manufacturer. The following are excerpts from Will NZ become Iceland?

Quote [from

  • The [New Zealand] economy is in its worst recession on record, and the government faces a sea of red ink – will New Zealand end up like Iceland?
  • [T]he economy  is shrinking as the once-hot housing market has stalled, skyrocketing fuel and food prices have turned consumers cautious and the credit crunch has hit.
  • New Zealand “is one of the most heavily indebted developed economies, as measured by the net international investment position as a percentage of GDP,” Trinh [a currency analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Sydney] said in a note to investors.
  • New Zealand “is one of the most heavily indebted developed economies, as measured by the net international investment position as a percentage of GDP,” Trinh said in a note to investors.[Sue Trinh is a currency analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Sydney]
  • At the end of March last year, New Zealand’s national debt, as measured by a negative net international investment position, was 86 percent of GDP, second to Iceland in the group of countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

End Quote

See also NZ government’s own debt forecast: New Zealand Parliament – 2. Government Debt—Forecasts

Moderators have demonstrated New Zealand government’s ability to commit the crime (means), the reason why they committed the crime (motive), and the opportunity to commit the crime (opportunity). The readers can make up their own mind.

[Updated May 8, 2009 ]

See also:

Related Links:

Posted in Biowarfare, ESR lab, germ warfare, new zealand, public health | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

Chernobyl: A Night to Remember!

Posted by feww on April 27, 2009

Image of the Day: Memorial for firefighters who died from the Chernobyl meltdown

A man holds a candle at a memorial dedicated to firefighters who died from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, during a night service in the city of Slavutych, Ukraine April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich. Image may be subject to copyright.

Related Links:

Posted in animal deformity, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Chernobyl reactor, core meltdown, nuclear power | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tornado Headlines

Posted by feww on April 27, 2009

NWS Warnings and Forecasts

Source: National Weather Service/NOAA

1 Dead After Severe Storms Rake Midwest

Severe thunderstorms raked parts of the Midwest on Saturday, killing a motorcyclist, spawning tornadoes that damaged several homes and sent race fans fleeing, snarling air traffic and knocking out power.

Tornadoes touched down in southern Leavenworth County, Mo., northwest of Linwood, and in Butler County, Kan. No injuries were immediately reported. Source Your Fox. Image may be subject to copyright.

NWS issued a tornado watch for all of western Oklahoma

On Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for all of western Oklahoma until 10 p.m. as pockets of storms moved across the state.

Strong front brings possibility of tornadoes, severe storms

A moderate risk covers most of the rest of central and northern Kansas, including Wichita.

Tornado damages some rural areas, halts races

KANSAS CITY — Severe thunderstorms spawned at least one tornado that damaged rural homes and structures, and sent race fans fleeing from the Kansas Speedway.

The tornado touched down in southern Leavenworth County, northwest of Linwood. Leavenworth County emergency management reported barns were destroyed and some homes were severely damaged, with some cars flipped over.

Over 23,000 Hydro One customers without power after storm

Thunderstorms  started in Michigan before making it’s way to  Southwestern Ontario causing power outages for thousands of residents.

The region reached highs of 27.5 degrees yesterday. In the early evening that was joined by damaging thunderstorms and unstable air.

Severe storms possible across Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Tomorrow could be a day of volatile weather across much of Oklahoma.

Posted in midwest tornadoes, northern Kansas, severe storms, Southwestern Ontario, Wichita | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Galeras Volcano Erupts Again

Posted by feww on April 26, 2009

Colombia’s Galeras Erupts Again!

The Galeras volcano located south of Colombia’s Nariño department (state) erupted again Friday. Photo: Colombia Reports. Image may be subject to copyright.

The Galeras volcano located south of Colombia’s Nariño department (state) erupted again Friday night (local time), prompting the local authorities to raise the alert level to red. Seismic activities were detected at the the volcano shortly after the volcano erupted, Colombia Reports said.

An evacuation order was issued for the people people living near the volcano, however, only about  200 heeded the order.

No casualties have been reported.

More details would follow, if the activity continues.

Related Links:

    Other Environmental News from Colombia:

    Posted in ashfall, evacuation order, Friday eruption, Galeras, volcanic eruption | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    More on Swine Flu

    Posted by feww on April 25, 2009

    UPDATE: Mexican govt says new flu virus probably killed 81

    Flu virus particles, or “virions”

    This colorized negative-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts the ultrastructural details of a number of influenza virus particles, or “virions”. A member of the taxonomic family Orthomyxoviridae, the influenza virus is a single-stranded RNA organism. CDC/ Courtesy of Dr. F. A. Murphy (1973).

    The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination each fall.

    Every year in the United States, on average:

    • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
    • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and
    • about 36,000 people die from flu. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

    What you should know:

    Influenza A and B are the two types of influenza viruses that cause epidemic human disease. Influenza A viruses are further categorized into subtypes on the basis of two surface antigens: hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Influenza B viruses are not categorized into subtypes. Since 1977, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses have been in global circulation. In 2001, influenza A (H1N2) viruses that probably emerged after genetic reassortment between human A (H3N2) and A (H1N1) viruses began circulating widely. Both influenza A and B viruses are further separated into groups on the basis of antigenic characteristics. New influenza virus variants result from frequent antigenic change (i.e., antigenic drift) resulting from point mutations that occur during viral replication. Influenza B viruses undergo antigenic drift less rapidly than influenza A viruses.

    CDC – Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu)

    Under a plate magnification of 37,800X, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicted the A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1) virus, while in the virus’ first developmental passage through a chicken egg. CDC/ Dr. E. Palmer; R.E. Bates (1976).

    What is Swine Influenza?

    Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates among pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate in swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks among swine herds occur during the late fall and winter months similar to humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

    Can humans catch swine flu? [YES THEY CAN! They already have! Moderator.]

    Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. In the past several years, on average CDC has received about one influenza virus isolate from a human that tests positive for swine flu each year. Most commonly, these cases occur in persons with direct exposure to pigs (workers in the swine industry, for example). In addition, there have been rare documented cases of one person spreading swine flu to others. For example, an outbreak of apparent swine flu infection in pigs in Wisconsin in 1988 resulted in multiple human infections, and, although no community outbreak resulted, there was antibody evidence of virus transmission from the patient to health care workers who had close contact with the patient.

    This negative-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts the ultrastructural details of an influenza virus particle, or “virion”. A member of the taxonomic family Orthomyxoviridae, the influenza virus is a single-stranded RNA organism.  Dated: 1981.  CDC/ Dr. Erskine. L. Palmer; Dr. M. L. Martin

    This negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) shows recreated 1918 influenza virions that were collected from supernatants of 1918-infected Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells cultures 18 hours after infection. CDC/ Dr. Terrence Tumpey (2005)

    To separate these virions, the MDCK cells are spun down (centrifugation), and the 1918 virus in the fluid is immediately fixed for negative staining. The solid mass in lower center contains MDCK cell debris that did not spin down during the procedure. See PHIL 8160 for a black and white version of this micrograph.

    Dr. Terrence Tumpey, one of the organization’s staff microbiologists and a member of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), recreated the 1918 influenza virus in order to identify the characteristics that made this organism such a deadly pathogen. Research efforts such as this, enables researchers to develop new vaccines and treatments for future pandemic influenza viruses.

    The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus, killing more than 500,000 people in the United States, and up to 50 million worldwide. The possible source was a newly emerged virus from a swine or an avian host of a mutated H1N1 virus. Many people died within the first few days after infection, and others died of complications later. Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults. Influenza A (H1N1) viruses still circulate today after being introduced again into the human population in the 1970s.

    The information on his page was provided by CDC.

    Related Links:

    • http:/
    • http:/

    Posted in A (H1N1) virus, A (H3N2), antigenic drift, genetic reassortment, Influenza B | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

    Swine flu kills dozens in Mexico

    Posted by feww on April 24, 2009

    Swine flu kills 60 people and sickens 1,000  others in Mexico

    60 people have died and hundreds more have been infected by a viral outbreak in Mexico believed to be a new strain of swine flu.

    The cases are centered around Mexico City since mid-March, World Health Organization (WHO) said, prompting the authorities to close schools and launching a vaccination campaign in affected areas.

    57  people died in Mexico City and another three in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico, with nearly a 1,000 suspected cases reported.

    The infections follow seven non-fatal cases of a new form of swine flu confirmed in California and Texas, where tests are being carried out to establish if the two strains are linked.

    Mexico’s Health Minister said the virus seems to have  “mutated from pigs and then at some point was transmitted to humans.”

    “This is the first time that we’ve seen an avian strain, two swine strains and a human strain,” a spokesperson for the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the media.

    The seven victims in the United States had NOT been in contact with pigs, which is how the swine flu virus would normally have been transmitted.

    Related Links:

    Posted in A (H1N1) virus, health news, Human Swine flue, public health, San Luis Potosi | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

    New type of swine flu hits California and Texas

    Posted by feww on April 24, 2009

    UPDATE: Mexican govt says new flu virus probably killed 81

    Report from CDC Website

    Swine Influenza (Flu)

    Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses has been documented. General information about swine flu can be found on the General Information about Swine Flu page.

    From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported from 10 states in the U.S. Beginning in March 2009, a total of 5 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza virus infection have been identified in California. An investigation into the human swine flu cases in California is ongoing. More information is available on the Human Swine Flu Investigation page.

    General Information about Swine Flu
    Questions and answers and guidance for treatment and infection control

    Human Swine Influenza Investigation

    Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in San Diego County and Imperial County, California as well as in San Antonio, Texas.

    Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
    State # of laboratory
    confirmed cases
    California 5 cases
    Texas 2 cases
    Cases will be updated daily at 3 p.m. EST

    Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with similar swine influenza viruses.

    CDC is working closely with state and local officials in California and Texas and other health and animal officials on investigations into these cases.

    CDC has provided the following interim guidance for this investigation.

    Residents of California and Texas
    State Public Health Laboratories
    Public Health/Animal Health

    Related Links

    Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Infection in Two Children – Southern California, March—April 2009
    Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) April 21, 2009 / Vol. 58 / Dispatch

    Interim Guidance on Infection Control and Antiviral Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A Virus Infection, April 20, 2009
    Guidance for health care workers and public health personnel…

    Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu)
    Questions and Answers about swine flu, what it is and how it spreads…


    Residents of California and Texas

    CDC has identified human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in people in these areas. CDC is working with local and state health agencies to investigate these cases. We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, we have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people. As with any infectious disease, we are recommending precautionary measures for people residing in these areas.

    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

    There is no vaccine available at this time, so it is important for people living in these areas to take steps to prevent spreading the virus to others. If people are ill, they should attempt to stay at home and limit contact with others. Healthy residents living in these areas should take everyday preventive actions.

    People who live in these areas who develop an illness with fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose, and possibly other symptoms, such as body aches, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, should contact their health care provider. Their health care provider will determine whether influenza testing is needed.


    Clinicians should consider the possibility of swine influenza virus infections in patients presenting with febrile respiratory illness who:

    1. Live in San Diego County or Imperial County, California or San Antonio, Texas or
    2. Have traveled to San Diego and/or Imperial County, California or San Antonio, Texas or
    3. Have been in contact with ill persons from these areas in the 7 days prior to their illness onset.

    If swine flu is suspected, clinicians should obtain a respiratory swab for swine influenza testing and place it in a refrigerator (not a freezer). Once collected, the clinician should contact their state or local health department to facilitate transport and timely diagnosis at a state public health laboratory.

    State Public Health Laboratories

    Laboratories should send all unsubtypable influenza A specimens as soon as possible to the Viral Surveillance and Diagnostic Branch of the CDC’s Influenza Division for further diagnostic testing.

    Public Health /Animal Health Officials

    Officials should conduct thorough case and contact investigations to determine the source of the swine influenza virus, extent of community illness and the need for timely control measures.

    More information about swine flu can be found on the CDC website at

    Posted in animal health, Imperial County, public health, San Antonio, San Diego county | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

    Wildfires Worsen Climate Change Positive Pull

    Posted by feww on April 24, 2009

    National Science Foundation: Press Release 09-081

    Fire Is an Important and Under-Appreciated Part of Global Climate Change

    Study identifies significant contributions of fire to climate change and identifies feedbacks between fire and climate change

    April 23, 2009

    Fire must be accounted for as an integral part of climate change, according to 22 authors of an article published in the April 24 issue of the journal Science. The authors determined that intentional deforestation fires alone contribute up to one-fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that increases global temperature.

    California Fires (June 2008)

    A heat wave and windy weather plagued firefighters in California in mid-June 2008 as they worked to contain hundreds of fires across the state. Many of the fires were triggered by lightning on Friday, June 20. This natural-color image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on Monday, June 23, shows places where the sensor detected actively burning fires (red outlines). Fires appear most numerous in Northern California. The Northern region of California has experienced record low levels of rainfall this spring, leaving dry vegetation in the area. This in conjunction with windy weather has made firefighting efforts difficult. Image and Caption: MODIS Web.

    Fires in Texas and Oklahoma (April 2009)

    Severe weather in the second week of April 2009 fanned wildfires in northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. This image of the area was captured on April 9, 2009, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where the sensor detected active fires are outlined in red. A line of fires stretched across the plains west of Dallas-Forth Worth, and strong winds were driving smoke plumes from the fires toward the cities. Several people died, and hundreds of homes were destroyed according to the Texas Forest Service. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response [sic] Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

    The work is the culmination of a meeting supported by the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), both based at the University of California, Santa Barbara and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    The authors call on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to fully integrate fire into their assessments of global climate change, and consider fire-climate feedbacks, which have been largely absent in global models.

    The article ties together various threads of knowledge about fire, which have, until now, remained isolated in disparate fields including ecology, global modeling, physics, anthropology and climatology.

    Increasing numbers of wildfires are influencing climate as well, the authors report. “The tragic fires in Victoria, Australia, emphasize the ubiquity of recent large wildfires and potentially changing fire regimes that are concomitant with anthropogenic climate change,” said David Bowman of the University of Tasmania. “Our review is both timely and of great relevance globally.”

    Carbon dioxide is the most important and well-studied greenhouse gas that is emitted by burning plants. However, methane, aerosol particulates in smoke, and the changing reflectance of a charred landscape each contribute to changes in the atmosphere caused by fire. Consequences of large fires have huge economic, environmental, and health costs, report the authors.

    The authors state, “Earth is intrinsically a flammable planet due to its cover of carbon-rich vegetation, seasonally dry climates, atmospheric oxygen, widespread lightning and volcano ignitions. Yet, despite the human species’ long-held appreciation of this flammability, the global scope of fire has been revealed only recently by satellite observations available beginning in the 1980s.”

    They note, however, that satellites cannot adequately capture fire activity in ecosystems with very long fire intervals, or those with highly variable fire activity.

    Jennifer Balch, a member of the research team and a postdoctoral fellow at NCEAS, explains that there are bigger and more frequent fires from the western U.S. to the tropics. There are “fires where we don’t normally see fires,” she said, noting that it is in the humid tropics that a lot of deforestation fires are occurring, usually to expand agriculture or cattle ranching. “Wet rainforests have not historically experienced fires at the frequency that they are today. During extreme droughts, such as in 97-98, Amazon wildfires burned through 39,000 square kilometers of forest.”

    Balch explains the importance of the article: “This synthesis is a prerequisite for adaptation to the apparent recent intensification of fire feedbacks, which have been exacerbated by climate change, rapid land cover transformation, and exotic species introductions–that collectively challenge the integrity of entire biomes.”

    The authors acknowledge that their estimate of fire’s influence on climate is just a start, and they highlight major research gaps that must be addressed in order to understand the complete contribution of fire to the climate system.

    Balch notes that a holistic fire science is necessary, and points out fire’s true importance. “We don’t think about fires correctly,” she said. “Fire is as elemental as air or water. We live on a fire planet. We are a fire species. Yet, the study of fire has been very fragmented. We know lots about the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, but we know very little about the fire cycle, or how fire cycles through the biosphere.”

    “The large and diverse group of authors on this paper typifies an increasing trend across many sciences,” said Henry Gholz, an NSF program director. “NSF explicitly supports this by funding “synthesis centers,” such as NCEAS and KITP. Instead of focusing on generating new data, these centers synthesize the results of literally thousands of completed research projects into new results, theories and insights. The conclusions of this paper–that fire is important to the global carbon cycle and global climate, and that our ignorance about fire at this scale is vast–and could not have otherwise been obtained.”


    NOTE:  Wildfires are a part of Mother Nature’s defense mechanism to ensure the cycle of life.  Our lifestyles, however, have transformed this natural mechanism into a full-scale anthropogenic catastrophe.

    Related Links:

    Posted in aerosol particulates in smoke, ecosystems, global carbon cycle, holistic fire science, western U.S. fires | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Volcano Watch Weekly: 23 April 2009

    Posted by feww on April 23, 2009

    Volcanic Activity Report: 15 April – 21 April 2009

    Source: Global Volcanism program (GVP) – SI/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

    New activity/unrest:

    • Ebeko, Paramushir Island  (Russia)
    • Fernandina, Galápagos Islands  (Ecuador)
    • Kliuchevskoi, Central Kamchatka (Russia)
    • NW Rota-1, Mariana Islands (Central Pacific)
    • Pagan, Mariana Islands (Central Pacific)
    • Paluweh, Lesser Sunda Islands (Indonesia)

    VoW: Shasta

    Volcano: Mount Shasta
    Location: Siskiyou County, California
    Latitude: 41.40 N
    Longitude: 122.18 W
    Height: 4,317 Meters  (14,161 Feet)
    Type: Stratovolcano
    Composition: Silicic andesite to dacite
    Source: USGS (Cascades Volcano Observatory)

    Mount Shasta and Shastina, California. USGS Photograph taken by Lyn Topinka, 1984 .

    From: Miller, 1980, Potential Hazards from Future Eruptions in the Vicinity of Mount Shasta Volcano, Northern California: USGS Bulletin 1503

    Mount Shasta is located in the Cascade Range in northern California about 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of the Oregon-California border and about midway between the Pacific Coast and the Nevada border. One of the largest and highest of the Cascade volcanoes, snowclad Mount Shasta is near the southern end of the range that terminates near Lassen Peak. Mount Shasta is a massive compound stratovolcano composed of overlapping cones centered at four or more main vents; it was constructed during a period of more than 100,000 years. … Two of the main eruptive centers at Mount Shasta, the Shastina and Hotlum cones were constructed during Holocene time, which includes about the last 10,000 years.

    For more information including eruptive history and probable future potential hazard see: Mount Shasta and Vicinity, California

    The most voluminous of the Cascade volcanoes, northern California’s Mount Shasta is a massive compound stratovolcano composed of at least four main edifices constructed over a period of at least 590,000 years.
    Roughly 46 cu km of an ancestral Shasta volcano was destroyed by one of Earth’s largest known Quaternary subaerial hummocky debris avalanches, which filled the Shasta River valley NW of the volcano about 350,000 year ago.  The Hotlum cone, forming the present summit, and the Shastina lava dome complex were constructed during the early Holocene, as was the SW flank Black Butte lava dome. Eruptions from these vents have produced pyroclastic flows and mudflows that affected areas as far as 20 km from the summit. Eruptions from Hotlum cone continued throughout the Holocene. Shasta’s only historical eruption was observed from the ship of the explorer La Perouse off the California coast in 1786.  Photo by Dave Wieprecht, 1995 (U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP

    The deposits of an exceptionally large debris avalanche extend from the base of Mount Shasta volcano northward across the floor of Shasta Valley in northern California. The debris-avalanche deposits underlie an area of about 675 square kilometers, and their estimated volume is at least 45 cubic kilometers. Radiometric limiting dates suggest that the debris avalanche occurred between about 300,000 and 380,000 years ago. Hundreds of mounds, hills, and ridges formed by the avalanche deposits are separated by flat areas that slope generally northward at about 5 meters per kilometer. The hills and ridges are formed by the block facies of the deposits, which includes masses of andesite lava tens to hundreds of meters across as well as stratigraphic successions of unconsolidated deposits of pyroclastic flows, lahars, air-fall tephra, and alluvium, which were carried intact within the debris avalanche. The northern terminus of the block facies is near Montague, at a distance of about 49 kilometers from the present summit of the volcano. The flat areas between hills and ridges are underlain by the matrix facies, which is an unsorted and unstratified mudflowlike deposit of sand, silt, clay, and rock fragments derived chiefly from the volcano. Boulders of volcanic rock from Mount Shasta are scattered along the west side of Shasta Valley and in the part of Shasta Valley that lies north of Montague, at heights of as much as 100 meters above the adjacent surface of the debris-avalanche deposits. The boulders represent a lag that was formed after the main body of the avalanche came to rest, when much of the still-fluid matrix facies drained away and flowed out of Shasta Valley down the Shasta River valley and into the Klamath River. About 300 years ago, three rockfall-debris avalanches occurred from domes at the Chaos Crags eruptive center near Lassen Peak. The Chaos Crags avalanches traveled as far as 4.3 kilometers from their source areas. USGS Photograph taken September 22, 1982, by Harry Glicken. Caption: CVO

    Mount Shasta, California Debris Avalanche Deposit. Source: USGS – CVO

    Ongoing Activity:

    FEWW Volcanic Forecast:

    (see: Sumatra’s Mt Kerinci Erupts )

    1. The Loyalty – New Hebrides  Arc Collision. Intense volcanic activity should be expected throughout 2009 and beyond along the New Hebrides arc, the Vanatu region (also to the north to include Solomon Island and Santa Cruz Island), possibly continued along the New Hebrides Trench (to include Matthew and Hunter Island). Volcanoes that are located in the above-described area include:

    • Savo (Solomon Island)
    • Tinakula (Santa Cruz Island – SW Pacific)
    • Suretamatai
    • Motlav
    • Gaua
    • Mere Lava
    • Aoba
    • Ambrym
    • Lopevi
    • Kuwae
    • North Vate
    • Traitor’s Head
    • Yasur
    • Eastern Gemini Seamount
    • Matthew Island
    • Hunter Island

    2. Pacific Plate subduction beneath the Okhotsk Plate. Subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Okhotsk Plate continues to create Intense volcanism. Starting 2009, however, a much greater than the average number of volcanoes located on the Kuril Islands island arc, Kamchatka volcanic arc and Japan trench to the south may erupt with renewed intensity.

    Related Link and FEWW previous forecasts:

    Posted in Chaiten, Galapagos Islands, Koryaksky, volcanic activity, volcanism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    “It’s the economy stupid!”

    Posted by feww on April 22, 2009

    Image of the day: “Paying lip service to environmentalism – Earth Day 2009

    President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden plant trees with members of the Student Conservation Association in a marsh on the bank of the Anacostia River, Kenilworth Park, located on the Washington, DC border with Maryland, April 21, 2009.

    Related Links:

    Posted in carbon footprint, carrying capacity, Failing Ecosystems, mechanisms of collapse, Regulating GHG | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    The Ghost of L’Aquila Quake

    Posted by feww on April 22, 2009

    Satellite image of Earth movement during Italy quake

    An Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) interferogram interpretation by Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). The large green square represents the Mw 6.3 main shock, the smaller green squares represent the Mw > 5 aftershocks and the black triangles represent GPS stations used for SAR validation. The yellow line east of L’Aquila shows the location of a ~4 km–long alignment of co-seismic surface breaks observed in the field by INGV researchers. This alignment corresponds to a northwest – southeast strip where the spatial fringe rate seems to exceed the limit for interferometric correlation. This may indicate that the fault dislocation reached, or was very close to, the surface along this line. The observed pattern of ground displacement is in very good agreement with the earthquake source mechanism (the ‘beach ball’), confirming that the earthquake source is a normal fault striking 144 degrees (clockwise from north), and dipping to the southwest.

    The technique is a sophisticated version of  ‘spot the difference’. InSAR involves combining two or more radar images of the same ground location in such a way that very precise measurements – down to a scale of a few millimeters – can be made of any ground motion taking place between image acquisitions.

    Each rainbow band represents about 28 millimeters of ground movements. Credits: INGV. Caption: ESA.

    Posted in earthquake, interferogram, seismic activity, seismic event forecast, Seismic Hazard | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Surprise! World’s largest rivers drying UP!

    Posted by feww on April 22, 2009

    Climate change drying up world’s 925 largest ocean-reaching rivers

    About 72 percent of the world’s 925 largest ocean-reaching rivers are drying up, most of them because of the climate change, according to a report by National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

    The Horseshoe Bend of the ‘sewage-green’ Colorado River located near the city of Page, Arizona (
    dated April 13, 2008). Photo:  Christian Mehlführer, User:Chmehl. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

    The largest rivers affected include the Colorado in the United States, the Yellow River in China, the Ganges in India and the Niger in West Africa.

    Lower water levels combined with the impact of exponentially growing demands on water for damming, irrigation and other uses could pose a threat to future supplies water and food globally, the researchers said in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.

    Highlights of the report:

    Rivers in some of the world’s most populated regions are losing water, many because of climate change, researchers reported on Tuesday.

    • Some 925 largest ocean-reaching rivers are drying up,mostly because of climate change
    • The largest affected rivers include the Colorado in the southwestern United States, the Yellow River in northern China, the Ganges in India and the Niger in West Africa.
    • “About one-third of the top 200 rivers (including the Congo, Mississippi, Yenisey, Paraná, Ganges, Columbia, Uruguay, and Niger) show statistically significant trends during 1948–2004, with the rivers having downward trends (45) out-numbering those with upward trends (19).”
    • Reduced water levels due to climate change combined with the impact of exponentially growing demands on water for damming, irrigation and other uses could pose a threat to future supplies of water and food globally, the researchers said in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.
    • “Reduced runoff is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially with more demand for water as population increases … Freshwater being a vital resource, the downward trends are a great concern.” Said the report’s lead author.
    • About one-third of the top 200 rivers  show significant changes during 1948–2004, some 45 rivers showing downward trends, while only 19 show upward trends.
    • Annual freshwater discharge into the world’s oceans decreased during the 1948–2004 research period as follows
    • Pacific Ocean: down by about 6 percent, or 526 km3
    • Indian Ocean: down by about 3 percent, or 140 km3
    • In the case of Arctic Ocean annual discharge (from melting ice) rose about 10 percent, or 460 km3
    • The Columbia River in the northwestern U.S. lost about 14 percent of its streamflow during the 54-year period because of reduced precipitation and higher water demands, while the Mississippi River flow rose by 22 percent because of increased precipitation in the U.S. Midwest.
    • “[T]here is evidence that the rapid warming since the 1970s has caused an earlier onset of spring that induces earlier snowmelt and associated peak streamflow in the western United States and New England and earlier breakup of river-ice in Russian Arctic rivers and many Canadian rivers.”

    The following is a free abstract. Full report is sold online at the American Meteorological Society website.

    Changes in Continental Freshwater Discharge from 1948–2004

    A new data set of historical monthly streamflow at the farthest downstream stations for world’s 925 largest ocean-reaching rivers has been created for community use. Available new gauge records are added to a network of gauges that covers ~80 × 106 km2 or ~80% of global ocean-draining land areas and accounts for about 73% of global total runoff. For most of the large rivers, the record for 1948–2004 is fairly complete. Data gaps in the records are filled through linear regression using streamflow simulated by a land surface model (CLM3) forced with observed precipitation and other atmospheric forcings that is significantly (and often strongly) correlated with the observed streamflow for most rivers. Compared with previous studies, the new data set has improved homogeneity and enables more reliable assessments of decadal and long-term changes in continental freshwater discharge into the oceans. The model-simulated runoff ratio over drainage areas with and without gauge records is used to estimate the contribution from the areas not monitored by the gauges in deriving the total discharge into the global oceans.

    Results reveal large variations in yearly streamflow for most of world’s large rivers and for continental discharge, but only about one-third of the top 200 rivers (including the Congo, Mississippi, Yenisey, Paraná, Ganges, Columbia, Uruguay, and Niger) show statistically significant trends during 1948–2004, with the rivers having downward trends (45) out-numbering those with upward trends (19). The interannual variations are correlated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events for discharge into the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and global ocean as a whole. For ocean basins other than the Arctic, and for the global ocean as a whole, the discharge data show small or downward trends, which are statistically significant for the Pacific (−10.1 km3 yr−1) and Indian Ocean (−5.4 km3 yr−1). Precipitation is a major driver for the discharge trends and large interannual to decadal variations. Comparisons with the CLM3 simulation suggest that direct human influence on annual streamflow is likely small compared with climatic forcing during 1948–2004 for most of world’s major rivers. For the Arctic drainage areas, upward trends in streamflow are not accompanied by increasing precipitation, especially over Siberia, based on available data, although recent surface warming and associated downward trends in snow cover and soil-ice content over the northern high-latitudes contribute to increased runoff in these regions. Our results are qualitatively consistent with climate model projections, but contradict an earlier report of increasing continental runoff during the recent decades based on limited records. ( Copyrighted material.)

    Posted in Climate Change, Continental Freshwater Discharge, Ganges river, niger river, precipitation | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Sumatra’s Mt Kerinci Erupts

    Posted by feww on April 21, 2009

    Sumatra’s Mt Kerinci volcano erupts at least 3 times

    Mount Kerinci, the highest mountain in Sumatra, is undergoing a period of unrest, punctuated by at least three explosive eruption, spewing smoke and ash into the air.

    The local volcano observation monitor also reported  repeated tremors at the base of the volcano.

    Two explosive eruptions were reported Sunday and Monday, spewing smoke and ash to a height of about 400m with ash covering the tea plantations on the mountain slope and posing a threat to the populated areas below.

    Another, less powerful, explosion reportedly occurred earlier today.

    The head of Mount Kerinci Observation Post was reported as saying that Kerinci volcano has been showing signs of unrest in the past week.

    “We have warned local people to remain cautious. We told them it’s better to wear mask when going outdoor,” he said.

    One of the most active volcanoes  in Indonesia, the 3,800-meter high Mt. Kerinci, a stratovolcano,  sits on the border of Jambi and West Sumatra .

    Related Links:


    Country: Indonesia
    Region: Sumatra
    Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
    Last Known Eruption: 2008
    Summit Elevation: 3,800m  (12,467 feet)
    Latitude: 1.697°S    (1°41’50″S)
    Longitude: 101.264°E  (101°15’52″E)

    Mount Kerinci, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Tom Casadevall/USGS (1987).

    The unvegetated summit of 3800-m-high Gunung Kerinci in central Sumatra, Indonesia’s highest volcano, is seen from Pengamatan on its southern flank. Kerinci is one of the most active volcanoes in Sumatra and has been the source of numerous moderate explosive eruptions since its first recorded eruption in 1838. The massive 13 x 25 km wide volcano towers 2400-3300 m above surrounding plains and is elongated in a N-S direction. Photo by Umar Rosadi, 2005 (Centre of Volcanology & Geological Hazard Mitigation, Volcanological Survey of Indonesia). Caption: GVP

    FEWW Volcanic Forecast:

    1. The Loyalty – New Hebrides  Arc Collision. Intense volcanic activity should be expected throughout 2009 and beyond along the New Hebrides arc, the Vanatu region (also to the north to include Solomon Island and Santa Cruz Island), possibly continued along the New Hebrides Trench (to include Matthew and Hunter Island). Volcanoes that are located in the above-described area include:

    • Savo (Solomon Island)
    • Tinakula (Santa Cruz Island – SW Pacific)
    • Suretamatai
    • Motlav
    • Gaua
    • Mere Lava
    • Aoba
    • Ambrym
    • Lopevi
    • Kuwae
    • North Vate
    • Traitor’s Head
    • Yasur
    • Eastern Gemini Seamount
    • Matthew Island
    • Hunter Island

    2. Pacific Plate subduction beneath the Okhotsk Plate. Subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Okhotsk Plate continues to create Intense volcanism. Starting 2009, however, a much greaterthan the average number of volcanoes located on the Kuril Islands island arc, Kamchatka volcanic arc and Japan trench to the south may erupt with renewed intensity.

    Related Link and FEWW previous forecasts:

    Posted in Indonesia, Jambi | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Tropical Cyclone Bijli

    Posted by feww on April 21, 2009

    TC Bijli dumped as much as 50 mm of rain per hour in parts of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar

    Tropical Cyclone Bijli came ashore over eastern Bangladesh on April 17, 2009. The storm caused little damage, according to news reports, but did dump as much as 50 millimeters of rain per hour in the regions where rainfall was heaviest, shown in red, on Bangladesh and neighboring Myanmar. This image, made with data captured by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite on April 17, shows the rainfall associated with the storm. Image produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC). Caption by Holli Riebeek [Edited for brevity by Moderator.]

    Tropical Storm Bijli draped the east coast of India in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on April 16, 2009. Bijli became a tropical storm in the northwest Bay of Bengal on April 15.  NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid [sic] Response team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey. [Edited for brevity by Moderator.]

    Posted in Bay of Bengal, Terra satellite, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, Tropical storm | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    NW Rota-1 Volcano Erupts

    Posted by feww on April 20, 2009

    NW Rota-1 Submarine Volcano Located Near Guam Erupts

    NW Rota-1, a submarine volcano located about 100km north of Guam in the Marianas Volcanic Arc is erupting.

    Scientists and engineers have reportedly been collecting data on NW Rota-1 since early April,  Guam Pacific Daily News reported.

    “They were aboard the R/V Thompson research vessel, which was docked briefly at Apra Harbor on Friday. They found the volcano erupting when they visited the area several days ago. The Marianas arc expedition is one of several scientific investigations put together by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.” GuamPDN said.

    NW Rota-1

    Region:  Mariana Islands
    Volcano Type:  Submarine volcano
    Last Known Eruption: 2008
    Summit Elevation:  -517 m    (-1,696 feet)
    Latitude:  14.601°N  (14°36’4″N)
    Longitude: 144.775°E  (144°46’31″E)
    Source: GVP

    A map showing part of the Northern Mariana Islands and vicinity (an area roughly midway between the main island of New Guinea on the S, and Tokyo, Japan on the N). The islands shown include Guam, Rota, Saipan, and others. The map emphasizes the location of the active submarine volcano NW Rota 1 and the currently quiet submarine caldera West Rota. After Embley and others, 2004; courtesy of the American Geophysical Union. Caption: GVP

    A submarine volcano detected during a 2003 NOAA bathymetric survey of the Mariana Island arc was found to be hydrothermally active and named NW Rota-1. The basaltic to basaltic-andesite seamount rises to within 517 m of the sea surface SW of Esmeralda Bank and lies 64 km NW of Rota Island and about 100 km north of Guam. When Northwest Rota-1 was revisited in 2004, a minor submarine eruption from a vent named Brimstone Pit on the upper south flank about 40 m below the summit intermittently ejected a plume several hundred meters high containing ash, rock particles, and molten sulfur droplets that adhered to the surface of the remotely operated submersible vehicle. The active vent was funnel-shaped, about 20 m wide and 12 m deep. NW Rota-1 is large submarine volcano with prominent structural lineaments about a kilometer apart cutting across the summit of the edifice and down the NE and SW flanks. Courtesy of Bill Chadwick, 2006 (Oregon State University/NOAA). Caption: GVP.

    Bathymetry of NW Rota 1 showing the location of Brimstone Pit, [March 2004]. Credit: Bob Embley, NOAA.

    Glowing red lava jetting out of the vent at Northwest Rota-1 Brimstone Pit at depth of 560 m. Photo taken from the submersible Jason II, 29 April 2006. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program. Caption: GVP

    Eruption at Brimstone Pit in Northwest Rota-1 at a depth of 560 m. Photo taken by the submersible Jason II, 29 April 2006. Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program. Caption: GVP

    “Our observations here are some of the first direct observations of an erupting submarine volcano ever,” wrote NOAA oceanographer Sharon Walker in an e-mail to the Pacific Daily News. “We have made several visits to this volcano since 2003, with the first confirmation of an active eruption during our 2004 visit.”

    “The scientists analyzed samples of seawater around the volcano, measured the rock and deposits, and studied the microbe, shrimp, and limpet populations living atop NW Rota-1.” GPDN said.

    “Studying the chemistry of these volcanoes can help provide a better understanding of how excessive amounts of carbon dioxide affect marine environments,” Walker added.

    The NW Rota-1 summit is about 517 meters below the sea level.

    “There have been no reports that I am aware of that this eruption has had any effect on Rota, Guam or any of the surrounding islands,” wrote Walker.

    Walker and her colleagues observed “billowing clouds of yellow and white smoke” made of sulfur, carbon dioxide bubbles streaming out of the vent, and “ash and pebble-sized rocks raining out of the plume.”

    More …

    See also:  Visit on 24 February 2008 found eruption plume and acoustic signals

    Posted in Bathymetry, Brimstone Pit, Rota island, Submarine Ring of Fire, submersible Jason II | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Pagan Volcano Erupts

    Posted by feww on April 18, 2009

    Pagan Volcano on Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands, Erupts

    Pagan Volcano on Pagan, Northern Mariana Islands, about 500 km north of Guam, erupted on Friday sending smoke and steam into the atmosphere.

    The US national weather service issued a haze alert for the Mariana Islands after Pagan  erupted on Friday. NWS said residents in Guam have nothing to worry about [for now] as winds are driving the smoke away from Guam.

    If the wind direction changes, however, ash and haze may be redirected toward populated islands of Saipan and Guam SSW of the Marianas.

    The Pagan volcano is believed to have erupted seven times since 1985. [See: Pagan Eruptive History]


    Country: United States
    Region: Mariana Islands, Pacific Ocean (East of Philippine Sea)
    Volcano Type: Stratovolcanoes
    Last Known Eruption: 2006
    Summit Elevation: 570 m (1,870 feet)
    Latitude: 18.13°N (18°8’0″N)
    Longitude: 145.80°E (145°48’0″E)

    Pagan Island, the largest and one of the most active of the Mariana Islands volcanoes, consists of two stratovolcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus. Both North and South Pagan stratovolcanoes were constructed within calderas, 7 and 4 km in diameter, respectively. The 570-m-high Mount Pagan at the NE end of the island rises above the flat floor of the northern caldera, which probably formed during the early Holocene. South Pagan is a 548-m-high stratovolcano with an elongated summit containing four distinct craters. Almost all of the historical eruptions of Pagan, which date back to the 17th century, have originated from North Pagan volcano. The largest eruption of Pagan during historical time took place in 1981 and prompted the evacuation of the sparsely populated island. Photo by Norm Banks, 1983 (U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP.

    Northern Mariana Islands

    Made up of fifteen islands, the Northern Mariana Islands are located east of the  Philippine Sea about 500 km north of Guam, with a population of about 82,000 (most recent estimate).  Only three of the islands, Rota, Saipan (the largest island and capital of Northern Mariana islands with a population of about 65,000) and Tinian have a significant population, compared with the islands of Agrihan and Alamagan, which have just a few residents. The  remaining ten islands are unpopulated.

    Map of the Northern Mariana Islands by the US Department of Interior.

    Pagan Erupted in 2006 – GVP Archives (6-12 December 2006)

    During 4-5 December, residents 3 km SW of Pagan reported ashfall that accumulated in their camp at a rate of about 6.4 mm per day. They also described a plume from the summit that rose to an altitude of 640 m (2,100 ft) a.s.l. and a sulfur smell that occasionally wafted through their camp. Based on satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported a gas-and-ash plume that drifted mainly W on 5, 6, and 8 December. Satellite imagery showed no further activity through 11 December.

    Pagan Erupted in 1981

    A fissure that formed during an eruption of Pagan volcano in the Mariana Islands in 1981 cuts across the summit of the volcano. Three principal vents were active along the fissure. A cinder cone (foreground) was constructed on the north flank, and vents on the north and south rims of the summit crater fed lava flows that traveled down the flanks of North Pagan volcano. This June 16, 1981 photo shows South Pagan volcano at the upper right. Photo by U.S. Navy, 1981. Caption: GVP.

    Posted in Agrihan, Alamagan, Guam, Tinian, volcanism | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Regulating GHG: Too Little, Too Late!

    Posted by feww on April 18, 2009

    It’s too bad the planet couldn’t wait

    Cap and Trade All You Want, Nature Isn’t Interested!

    We’ve had our chances and have blown every single one of them. Our masters won’t allow us to change  our lifestyles. Dealing with greenhouse gasses as if we’re doing Earth a favor won’t change a thing.

    Every step of the way, we are reinforcing a discourse which is destroying the planet’s ability to protect us. Nature isn’t “market based,” and doesn’t recognize “market-based solutions.” It  has finite limits. You don’t “combat climate change;” you remove the causes for the climate change catastrophe.

    The main stream human culture have proven unequivocally that it does not have what it takes to enter the next phase—it lacks the intelligence and is void of the will to live.

    A mock grave stone declaring ‘Climate change-a matter of life or death’ outside the ruins of Coventry Cathedral on March 19, 2009 in Coventry, England. The symbolic head stone was the first stage of a climate change campaign action day. Organizers Christian Aid, CAFOD and others later took part in a New Orleans style funeral through the streets of Coventry. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe). Image may be subject to copyright.

    The following news is meant to be not only celebratory, but conciliatory:

    U.S. clears way to regulate greenhouse gases

    By Deborah Zabarenko and Tom Doggett

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration opened the way to regulating U.S. greenhouse gas emissions on Friday by declaring climate-warming pollution a danger to human health and welfare, in a sharp policy shift from the Bush administration.

    Environmental activists and their supporters in Congress were jubilant and industry groups were wary at the news of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s move. The White House said President Barack Obama would prefer legislation over administrative action to curb greenhouse emissions.

    Congress is already considering a bill to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, which is emitted by cars, coal-fired power plants and oil refineries, among other sources.

    EPA’s declaration was seen as a strong signal to the international community that the United States intends to seriously combat climate change.

    In its announcement, the EPA said, “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations” and human activities spur global warming.

    “This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Fortunately, it follows President Obama’s call for a low carbon economy and strong leadership in Congress on clean energy and climate legislation,”

    “The president has made clear his strong preference that Congress act to pass comprehensive legislation rather than address the climate challenge through administrative action,” a White House official said, noting that Obama has repeatedly called for “a bill to provide for market-based solutions to reduce carbon pollution.”

    The EPA’s endangerment finding said high atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases “are the unambiguous result of human emissions, and are very likely the cause of the observed increase in average temperatures and other climatic changes.” The document is available online at

    The EPA’s finding is essential for the U.S. government to regulate climate-warming emissions like carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. Regulation is not automatically triggered by the finding — there will be a 60-day comment period.

    But as that period proceeds, legislation is moving through Congress aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions with a cap-and-trade system, which would let those companies that emit more than the limit buy credits from those that emit less.


    EPA scientists last year offered evidence of the health hazards of greenhouse emissions, but the Bush administration took no action. It opposed across-the-board mandatory regulation of climate-warming pollution, saying this would hurt the U.S. economy.

    Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who shepherded climate legislation to the Senate floor last year, called the EPA’s finding “long overdue.”

    “We have lost eight years in this fight,” Boxer said in a statement. “… The best and most flexible way to deal with this serious problem is to enact a market-based cap-and-trade system which will help us make the transition to clean energy and will bring us innovation and strong economic growth.”

    “At long last, EPA is officially recognizing that carbon pollution is leading to killer heat waves, stronger hurricanes, higher smog levels and many other threats to human health,” said David Doniger at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    But the National Association of Manufacturers said trying to regulate greenhouse emissions with the Clean Air Act would “further burden an ailing economy while doing little or nothing to improve the environment.”

    “This proposal will cost jobs. It is the worst possible time to be proposing rules that will drive up the cost of energy to no valid purpose,” NAM President John Engler said.

    Steve Seidel of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change said the EPA announcement is an important message to the international community, which is set to meet in Copenhagen in December to craft a follow-up agreement to the carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol.

    “This decision sends a strong signal to the international community that the United States is moving forward to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” Seidel said by telephone.

    However, he said this move alone is no guarantee of success in Copenhagen. Participants in that meeting will also look for progress in the U.S. Congress, and for movement from other developed and developing countries.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the EPA has the authority to make these regulations if human health is threatened by global warming pollution, but no regulations went forward during the Bush administration.

    Carbon dioxide, one of several greenhouse gases that spur global warming, is emitted by natural and industrial sources, including fossil-fueled vehicles, coal-fired power plants and oil refineries.

    (Additional reporting by Tim Gardner and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Eric Walsh)

    Related Links:

    Posted in carbon-capping, Clean Air Act, climate legislation, Kyoto Protocol, Obama administration | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Who is afraid of melting ice sheets?

    Posted by feww on April 18, 2009

    Based on its outdated “one-dimensional” model, the U.N. Climate Panel has reported that seas could rise by 18-59 cm  (7-24 inches) by 2100. The model also excludes the threat from highly probable scenarios in which ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could melt at exponential rates.

    Ian Allison, head of  the Australian Antarctic Division’s Ice, Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate program was asked by Reuters the following question: How great is the threat from melting ice sheets?

    Allison who is a researcher within the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center, and who has been involved in Antarctic science for more than 4 decades, responded as follows.


    I think it is now unequivocal that warming of the world is occurring and I think the last IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) conclusively showed that a major cause of warming is greenhouse gas emissions from mankind.

    We now know that the ice sheets are contributing to sea level rise and for the Arctic, at least, this is because the warming of this region is much greater than in other places on Earth.

    We also know that glaciers in mountain areas are undergoing a very rapid retreat and they’re a major contributor of sea level rise, too.


    Greenland is of more concern because of the warming of the Arctic. Greenland is at lower latitude than much of Antarctica and we’ve seen the direct effect of the melting.

    We still don’t understand many things about the dynamic response of the ice sheets but we do see direct melt exceeding snowfall in Greenland.

    This might not mean a runaway effect but it does mean Greenland is contributing to sea level rise and will continue to add to sea levels at the present temperatures for many hundreds of years.”


    Ice shelves and floating ice tongues can buttress the flow of grounded ice from the interior of the ice sheets. We’ve seen examples in both Greenland and Antarctica of floating ice disappearing, and the ice that sits on the land then flowing more quickly into the ocean.

    “In addition, the West Antarctic may be inherently unstable. The West Antarctic forms what is called the marine ice shelf. The ice is resting on bedrock but that bedrock is below sea level. It’s like if you load too many ice cubes in your gin and tonic, the bottom one touches the bottom of the glass even though it’s well below the water level.

    Where the bedrock under a marine ice sheet slopes down toward the interior, such as under parts of West Antarctica, the ice sheet may be unstable. If it thins, it will start to float at the edges, becoming an ice shelf.

    For a bedrock that slopes backwards and becomes deeper further in, continued retreat of the grounded ice sheet may proceed very rapidly. A small retreat could in theory destabilize the entire West Antarctica ice sheet, leading to rapid disintegration.


    There two areas. One, we need to improve our mathematical models of ice streams, ice sheets and ice shelves to be able to better project future changes. We also need more detailed measurements of how deep the bedrock is under the ice sheets to use in the models.

    The other major gap in our understanding is what is happening at the bed of the ice sheets; how they react with liquid water at the base, what role water may have in sliding processes and the role of gravels and slurry at the base.

    We now know there is a lot of liquid water under the ice sheets. But we don’t really know how changes in this may affect the ice flow. Knowing what’s under the ice sheets we really need to measure that with radar systems.


    The main thing is monitoring what’s actually happening with sea level rise and the ice sheets. We’ve now got tools that can do that, we can improve those and make sure they keep going, particularly satellite-based systems.

    We need better predictive tools to know just what is likely in the next 100 years. I don’t think we should be rushing into building up coastal defenses until we know what we could be defending against. So our biggest requirement is to be able to refine our projections for what may happen in the future. (Edited by David fox).

    Related Links:

    Posted in CO2 Emissions, greenland, IPCC, mathematical models of ice melt, West Antarctica | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Ethanol Dries You Out

    Posted by feww on April 18, 2009

    US: One drought away from food crisis

    Alcohol Dries You Out and Eats Through Your Food Security

    Disturbing facts about ethanol production in the US:

    • In 2008, the United States was responsible for 52 percent of ethanol production in the world production, fermenting mostly corn to 9 billion gallons (~34.1 billion liters)  of fuel ethanol.
    • Ethanol production rose by 38.5 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year (from 6.5 billion gallons, or 24.6 billion liters in 2007).
    • United States imported an addition 557 million gallons of ethanol in 2008, from Brazil, Jamaica,  El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica.
    • Federal mandates encourage more ethanol production [not less overall consumption.]
    • The U.S. target for  for 2015 is 15 billion gallons, though it’s difficult to see where the industry is planning to get the water from.  [Data from the Renewable Fuels Association.]
    • As of January 2009, at least 170 ethanol biorefineries were operating in the United States with 24 additional ones (new location or expanding plants) being planned.
    • Corn is a thirsty crop requiring about 109 gallons of water for each pound (910 liters of water for each kg) of corn (shelled maize).  [Other estimates include 20 inches of soil moisture per acre of maize planted, producing about 150 bushels of corn per acre). Most of the water usually comes from the rain.
    • Research performed at Cornell University showed that 26.1 pounds of corn is needed to produce a gallon of ethanol (3.13kg of corn per liter).
    • Based on various sources, fresh water consumption is increasing globally by at least 1.2 percent per year, and the rate is rising.
    • Typical ethanol plants use about 4.2 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol, says the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. However, the ethanol  industry insists the water requirement is ‘only’ a ratio of 3 to 1.
    • Annual harvest of corn in the US (2008) was 12,101 million bushels (307.37 MMT). [Source: USDA]
    • Total amount of corn used to produce ethanol in 2008 was a staggering 3,600 million bushels (91.44MMT),  or 29.75 percent of the annual US corn harvest.[Source: USDA]
    • Total amount of water needed to produce 15 billion gallons of ethanol, the US production target for 2015, is about 22 million-million gallons (83.5 trillion liters). That is about a fifth of the estimated volume of water in Lake Erie.


    1. A bushel of shelled maize (corn) weighs 56 pounds ( 25.40 kg).
    2. MMT = Million Metric Tons.
    3. FEWW calculations show that about 14.28 percent of the ethanol produced in the US in 2008 came from milo, other feedstocks, biomass, cheese whey and beverage waste.

    Posted in 2009 crop harvest, corn to ethanol, drought an deluge, US ethanol production, water security | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Greenhouse Gas Emissions – 2009 Report

    Posted by feww on April 18, 2009

    U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2007, the EPA reported.

    The bulk of the increase in 2007 was due to a rise in CO2 emissions from additional fuel and energy consumption, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.

    A cooler winter and warmer summer in 2007, compared to the previous year, resulted in higher demand for heating fuel and electricity, the report said.

    Additionally, the demand for fossil fuels to generate electricity rose  significantly compensating for a  sharp drop of about 14.2  percent in hydropower generation due to low water levels.

    In 2007 the US emitted the equivalent of  7,150 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in six main GHGs: carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, methane, nitrous oxide,  perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

    The EPA report components are available at:

    EU says its GHG fell because it was warmer

    EU says its greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.2 percent in 2007 compared to the previous year because the winter was warmer.

    “For the EU, there was a significant decline in the use of oil and gas, particularly in households [in 2007,]” said a report prepared for the EU Commission by the European Environment Agency.

    While the energy prices rose steeply in 2007, the report cited a warmer winter as the main reason for a fall in demand for fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal).

    Emission in the manufacturing sector fell, especially in  Britain, Italy and Spain, while the emissions for the power generators consuming fossil fuels rose, namely in  Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain.

    The 27-nation block  generated 5.56 billion tons carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO2e) in 2007, a fall of  about 59 million tons, or 1.2 percent, compared to 2006 to emissions.   Germany and Britain, the top two EU emitters, saw a fall of 2.4 and 1.7 percent respectively, the report said.

    According to the report, Latvia’s emissions in 2007 fell 54.7 percent below the 1990 level, while Spain saw a rise of 53.5 percent above their 1990 emission level.

    Related Links:

    Posted in Climate Change, CO2e, EPA 2009 report, hydropower, US emissions | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »