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

Archive for August 7th, 2009

US glaciers shrinking dramatically

Posted by feww on August 7, 2009

Climate Change is Forcing Glaciers to Retreat

USGS Fact Sheet 2009–3046

Fifty-Year Record of Glacier Change Reveals Shifting Climate in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 50-year research on glacier change shows recent dramatic shrinkage of glaciers in three climatic regions of the United States. These long periods of record provide clues to the climate shifts that may be driving glacier change.

The USGS Benchmark Glacier Program which began began in 1957 , collected data annually at three glaciers that represent three climatic regions in the United States:

  • South Cascade Glacier in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State
  • Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage, Alaska
  • and Gulkana Glacier in the interior of Alaska

“These are the three glaciers in North America that have the longest record of mass change,” said Shad O’Neel, a USGS glaciologist and one of the report authors. “All three of them have a different climate from the other two, yet all three are showing a similar pattern of behavior, and that behavior is mass loss.”

glaciers map
Fig 1. USGS Benchmark Glaciers

Glaciers respond to climate changes by thickening and advancing down-valley towards warmer lower altitudes or by thinning and retreating up-valley to higher altitudes. Glaciers average changes in climate over space and time and provide a picture of climate trends in remote mountainous regions. A qualitative method for observing these changes is through repeat photography—taking photographs from the same position through time (fig. 2).

The most direct way to quantitatively observe changes in a glacier is to measure its mass balance: the difference between the amount of snowfall, or accumulation, on the glacier, and the amount of snow and ice that melts and runs off or is lost as icebergs or water vapor, collectively termed ablation (fig. 3).

Positive mass balance occurs when accumulation is greater than ablation and if maintained over long periods results in glacier growth. Conversely, sustained periods of negative mass balance, where accumulation is less than ablation, results in glacier shrinkage. A shrinking glacier thins faster near the terminus (the lowest part of the glacier) than near the head (the highest part of the glacier), which is why the terminus retreats up-valley while the glacier head remains in place (fig. 2). The net balance is the average mass balance over the entire glacier for one glaciological year, the time between the end of the summer ablation season from one year to the next.

Retreat of South Cascade Glacier
Figure 2.
Retreat of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, during the 20th Century and the beginning of the 21st Century.

“[The study] certainly says that the place where these glaciers are, the climate is not supportive of healthy glaciers anymore,” O’Neel said.

Diagram of a glacier showing components of mass balance.
Figure 3. Diagram of a glacier showing components of mass balance.

Ed Josberger, a USGS hydrologist, and the report coordinator, said the results from the Gulkana,  South Cascade and Wolverine glaciers represent global trends.

“There is no doubt that most mountain glaciers are shrinking worldwide in response to a warming climate,” He said.

Full report is available at USGS.

Map showing Gulkana Glacier and other major glaciers of the central and eastern Alaska Range . Click on Gulkana Glacier to go to map of Gulkana Glacier basin. USGS

gulkana glacier
Gulkana Glacier,  Oct. 5, 2003. Photo by Rod March. USGS

Regional Map of South Central Alaska showing location Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers. USGS

Wolverine Glacier
Wolverine Glacier,  Sept. 10, 2003. Photo by Rod March. USGS.

South Cascade Glacier
South Cascade Glacier,  Oct. 5, 2000. Photo by Bob  Krimmel. USGS

Related Links

Posted in accumulation, Glaciers retreating, Kenai Peninsula, mass balance, summer ablation season | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Premature births caused by Virgin Blue airline food

Posted by feww on August 7, 2009

Submitted by an Australian blogger

Airline Food Can Kill YOU!

Before Virgin Blue served Listeria Chicken in our skies, air passengers’ sole fear of flying was the plane crashes!

Virgin Blue Airliner. “Silence of the Lamb in Fox Red Clothing!”
Photo: GRAHAMUK, English Wikipedia

Premature births may be linked to Virgin chicken wraps

By Emma Pollard, ABC Australia

7 August 2009

Queensland [Australia] Health says the premature births of two babies could be linked to contaminated chicken wraps served on Virgin Blue flights.

Virgin Blue says it stopped serving the wraps after complaints from customers.

The airline has confirmed flights from Brisbane and Coolangatta, and to New Zealand and Bali, in May and June this year were affected.

Queensland Health spokesman Dr Aaron Groves says five listeria cases in Queensland have been linked to the airline, including the premature births of two babies.

“There are lots of reasons why people can have premature babies but it’s most likely that’s from listeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, passenger Wayne Loughnan says he became seriously ill after eating a chicken wrap on a Virgin Blue flight in June.

“I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy what I went through,” he said.

Listeria has an incubation period of up to 70 days. © 2009 ABC

Richard-Branson doing a chicken wrap?
Richard Branson has declared war on Qantas and other rival airlines with the launch of his new fleet of V Australia passenger jets to fly the Australia-US route. His chicken wrap has already caused a sensation in Australia.Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

What about compensation?

Mark O’Connor, a compensation expert with Bennett and Philp Lawyers in Brisbane says Virgin Blue may be liable for food contamination claims even if the supplier was the source of potentially deadly Listeria bacteria which infected the chicken wraps.

Mr O’Connor said whatever or not Virgin Blue was responsible for causing the contamination, they provided the meals as part of the passenger services, which makes the airline liable for damages.

“The airline in turn would have to make a claim against the supplier of the food but for passengers, it’s the airline that is liable,” he was quoted as saying by AAP.

AAP said:

Listeriosis symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pains, diarrhoea, nausea and abdominal cramps.

More severe cases may lead to meningitis or septicaemia.

According to the Victorian government website, Listeria has a fatality rate as high as 30 per cent among at-risk people, who include the elderly, pregnant woman, babies and those with weakened immune systems.

Queensland Health deputy director-general  warned pregnant women who may have been infected by the potentially deadly bacteria to see their doctor without delay because of Listeria infection’s 70-day incubation period.

His advice comes amid the discovery that two of the five Listeria cases from Virgin Blue were pregnant women who both gave premature births.

“The babies were born earlier than they should have been and we are quite confident that was because of Listeria,” he said.

Related Links:

Posted in Bennett and Philp Lawyers, Coolangatta flights, meningitis, Queensland Health, septicaemia | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Mining sets off earthquake in Poland

Posted by feww on August 7, 2009

Magnitude 4.1 Quake Strikes Near Lubin Copper Mine NW of Wroclaw, Poland

The earthquake struck at a depth of 5km close to Poland’s Lubin underground copper [and silver mine] about 85km NW of Wroclaw, Poland.

In June 2008, an earthquake measuring 4.7Mw, the largest of a swarm that has hit the mining area since 1990 [see Historic Seismicity below,] occurred at an identical depth of 5km.

10-degree Map Centered at 50°N,20°E

lubin quake
Earthquake location map. Source: USGS

Earthquake Details

  • Magnitude: 4.1
  • Date-Time:
    • Friday, August 07, 2009 at 03:33:18 UTC
    • Friday, August 07, 2009 at 05:33:18 AM at epicenter
  • Location: 51.623°N, 16.151°E
  • Depth: 5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program
  • Region: POLAND
  • Distances
    • 85 km (50 miles) NW of Wroclaw, Poland
    • 100 km (65 miles) SSW of Poznan, Poland
    • 125 km (80 miles) E of Cottbus, Germany
    • 340 km (210 miles) W of WARSAW, Poland
  • Location Uncertainty:  horizontal +/- 5.5 km (3.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
  • Parameters:  NST= 25, Nph= 25, Dmin=142.4 km, Rmss=0.84 sec, Gp= 40°, M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7
  • Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
  • Event ID:  us2009kaaf

Historic Seismicity

neic_kaaf_s lubin hist
Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS

Note: the swarm in the center of image relates to the mining activity in the Lubin area. The second swarm of quakes in the image seen on the right [SE of Wroclaw, Poland, ] relates to the coal mining activity in the coal-rich region which extends from the Ostrava coal field in the Czech Republic to the south all the way to the Wujek coal field in Poland to the NW of the region.

neic_kaaf_w - lubin
Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS

Related Links:

Posted in Earthquakes, Lubin quake, Poland, Wroclaw, Wujek coal mine | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Hundreds of Dead Animals Litter NZ Beaches

Posted by feww on August 7, 2009

NZ Mass Deaths on Auckland Beaches

“Mysterious” Death Claims Hundreds of Animals on New Zealand Beaches, including  dolphins, penguins, pilchards and local dogs

Local health officials had originally suspected foul play, however, they now say they can’t rule anything out. Among possible causes, toxic algae poisoning, death from ingesting toxic chemicals,  and ingesting rodenticides like 1080 [Sodium fluoroacetate] and Brodifacoum, have been cited.

However, due to extensive sewage contamination in New Zealand coastal waters, which spurs growth of potentially deadly algal blooms [cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, or Cyanophyta,] toxic algae poisoning may well prove to be the main cause of the animal deaths.

For more of this Breaking News see:

Related Links:

Posted in algal blooms, auckland beaches, cyanobacteria, dead dolphins on auckland beaches, dead peguins on NZ beaches, death from toxic poisoning, nz animals killed en mass, toxic algae poisoning | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »