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 September 3rd, 2009

Arctic Warmest in 2000 Years

Posted by feww on September 3, 2009

You Like it Hot ?

“Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling”

New research shows that the Arctic reversed a long-term cooling trend and began warming rapidly in recent decades. The blue line shows estimates of Arctic temperatures over the last 2,000 years, based on proxy records from lake sediments, ice cores and tree rings. The green line shows the long-term cooling trend. The red line shows the recent warming based on actual observations. A 2000-year transient climate simulation with NCAR’s Community Climate System Model shows the same overall temperature decrease as does the proxy temperature reconstruction, which gives scientists confidence that their estimates are accurate. (Courtesy Science, modified by UCAR.) Caption UCAR.

Human activity forced the 1990s Arctic temperatures to warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years, a new research finds. “The study, which incorporates geologic records and computer simulations, provides new evidence that the Arctic would be cooling if not for greenhouse gas emissions that are overpowering natural climate patterns.” Researches led by Northern Arizona University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The scientists reconstructed summer temperatures across the Arctic over the last 2,000 years by decade, extending a view of climate far beyond the 400 years of Arctic-wide records previously available at that level of detail. They found that thousands of years of gradual Arctic cooling, related to natural changes in Earth’s orbit, would continue today if not for emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“This result is particularly important because the Arctic, perhaps more than any other region on Earth, is facing dramatic impacts from climate change,” says NCAR scientist David Schneider, one of the co-authors. “This study provides us with a long-term record that reveals how greenhouse gases from human activities are overwhelming the Arctic’s natural climate system.”

Darrell Kaufman of Northern Arizona University, the lead author and head of the synthesis project, says the results indicate that recent warming is more anomalous than previously documented.

“Scientists have known for a while that the current period of warming was preceded by a long-term cooling trend,” says Kaufman. “But our reconstruction quantifies the cooling with greater certainty than before.”

How Greenhouse gases overtook  a natural cycle

The new study is the first to quantify a pervasive cooling across the Arctic on a decade-by-decade basis that is related to an approximately 21,000-year cyclical wobble in Earth’s tilt relative to the Sun. Over the last 7,000 years, the timing of Earth’s closest pass by the Sun has shifted from September to January. This has gradually reduced the intensity of sunlight reaching the Arctic in summertime, when Earth is farther from the Sun.

Researchers discovered that  summer temperatures in the Arctic cooled at an average rate of about 0.2 degrees Celsius (0 .36 degrees Fahrenheit) per thousand years because of the reduced energy from the Sun. “The temperatures eventually bottomed out during the “Little Ice Age,” a period of widespread cooling that lasted roughly from the 16th to the mid-19th centuries.”

Even though the orbital cycle that produced the cooling continued, it was overwhelmed in the 20th century by human-induced warming. The result was summer temperatures in the Arctic by the year 2000 that were about 1.4 degrees C (2.5 degrees F) higher than would have been expected from the continued cyclical cooling alone.

“If it hadn’t been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century,” says Bette Otto-Bliesner, an NCAR scientist who participated in the study.

Natural archives of Arctic climate

Researches reconstructed Arctic temperatures over the last 2,000 years using three types of natural evidence. Each of the three “field-based data” was indicative of the response, which ” different component of the Arctic’s climate system to changes in temperature.”

These data included temperature reconstructions published by the study team earlier this year. The reconstructions were based on evidence provided by sediments from Arctic lakes, which yielded two kinds of clues: changes in the abundance of silica remnants left behind by algae, which reflect the length of the growing season, and the thickness of annually deposited sediment layers, which increases during warmer summers as deposits from glacial meltwater increase.

Research also incorporated readings from previously published studies including glacial ice and tree rings that had been calibrated against the temperature records.

The scientists compared the temperatures inferred from the field-based data with simulations run with the Community Climate System Model, a computer model of global climate based at NCAR. The model’s estimate of the reduction of seasonal sunlight in the Arctic and the resulting cooling was consistent with the analysis of the lake sediments and other natural archives. These results give scientists more confidence in computer projections of future Arctic temperatures.

“This study provides a clear example of how increased greenhouse gases are now changing our climate, ending at least 2,000 years of Arctic cooling,” says NCAR scientist Caspar Ammann, a co-author.

The new study follows previous work showing that temperatures over the last century warmed almost three times faster in the Arctic than elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. This phenomenon, called Arctic amplification, occurs as highly reflective Arctic ice and snow melt away, allowing dark land and exposed ocean to absorb more sunlight.

“Because we know that the processes responsible for past Arctic amplification are still operating, we can anticipate that it will continue into the next century,” says Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado at Boulder, a member of the study team. “Consequently, Arctic warming will continue to exceed temperature increases in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in accelerated loss of land ice and an increased rate of sea level rise, with global consequences.”

The Study will be published in the September 4 edition of Science

Related Links:

Posted in Alaska, alaskan forests, arctic temps, big oil, Climate Change, ecosystems collapse, Global Warming, Long-Term Arctic Cooling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Magnitude 6.2 Quake Strikes Kyushu, Japan

Posted by feww on September 3, 2009

Strong 6.2 Mw quake strikes off the south-western tip of the Island of Kyushu, Japan

The earthquake, reported by various seismic monitoring centers, occurred on Thursday, September 03, 2009 at 13:26 UTC at a depth of about 160 km some 70 km SW of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan.

The 6th strong quake to strike Japan Region in the past several weeks, this event was consistent with FEWW earlier forecast. On August 17, FEWW Moderators  forecast a series of  powerful earthquakes in the region and said as many as 10 additional magnitude 6+ quakes could yet strike the region in coming weeks.

Summary of this earthquake:

GFZ Potsdam – Earthquake Bulletin
Region:     Kyushu, Japan
Time:     2009-09-03 13:26:18.4 UTC
Magnitude:     6.2
Epicenter:     130.19°E   31.18°N
Depth:     166 km

© Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum – GFZ

JMA Map shows the intensity of th equake as recorded by various stations throughout the Islands of Kyushu and Honshu, Japan.
Image may be subject to copyright.

Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported NO tsunami caused by  this quake.

There was no report of any casualties at the time of posting.

10-degree Map Centered at 30°N,130°E

Magnitude 6.2 - KYUSHU - JAPAN 3-09-09

Earthquake Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW.

Seismic Hazard Map [Source: USGS]

kyushu 3-09-09  neic_lcaq_w -
Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green

Historic Seismicity [Mag 7+ EQs since 1900] – USGS

kyushu 3-09-09 neic_lcaq_7
Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green

Related Links

Posted in Earthquakes, Fukuoka, global earthquakes, Okinawa Islands, seismic activity report, Seismic Hazard | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Major Ecological Disaster Underway in Timor Sea

Posted by feww on September 3, 2009

UPDATE: Australia Oil Well on Fire

Australian Oil Slick – Satellite Images


Australian Oil Disaster May Get a Lot Worse

A leaking offshore Australian oil well will probably spill crude  oil into the Timor Sea for the next two months before it can be plugged, according to the Rig operator PTTEP Australasia.

The Montara Well Head Platform, West Atlas oil rig,  has been leaking an estimated 400 tons  (470,000 liters) of oil each day since August 21.

Oil Slick in the Timor Sea

Images acquired August 30, 2009

An oil well in the Timor Sea northwest of Australia has been leaking for more than a week. Operators continue to wait for a new rig to be brought to the site so that they can drill a relief well and cap the leaking one. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 30, 2009, shows the Timor Sea and what are probably oil slicks about 250 kilometers northwest of Western Australia.

In this image, captured on August 30, 2009, the dark patches in the water at the eastern edge of the sunglint are likely oil slicks; they are similar in appearance to other slicks that have been detected in MODIS images, and they are in the correct location (near the leaking oil rig).

The slicks are located about 250 kilometers northwest of the Western Australia town of Truscott. The long distance from land is another indicator that these are oil slicks.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey, with input from Chuanmin Hu, Institute for Marine Remote Sensing at the University of South Florida. [Edited by FEWW]

Meanwhile, we found these images:

2009-September-Montara1 1015
1 September 2009. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) uses NASA satellite images to displays the area affected by the oil slick, which allegedly remains 180 km off shore from the WA coast. The area under observation spans about 25 nautical miles (nm) x 70 nm (46 km x 130km). Click on the image to enlarge.

oil spill australia -watoday
The West Atlas oil rig is thought to have been leaking about 470,000 litres of oil a day since an accident caused the rig’s evacuation on August 21. [Source: WAToday. August 30, 2009. Image may be subject to copyright.]

The above diagram by AMSA provides an overview of the behavior of the oil slick. Click on the image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in Australian Oil Disaster, critical migration routes, harm to wildlife, PTTEP Australasia, Timor Sea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »