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 December 21st, 2009

You Don’t Bring A Gun To A Snowball Fight!

Posted by feww on December 21, 2009

More on the snow in the US and Europe, and a snowball fight

Deranged police detective draws his gun during a mass snowball fight in downtown Washington DC.

The following video is a weather news bulletin, but shows a few seconds of the incident:

This video captured the entire incident:

Related Links:

Posted in police brutality, snow in Europe, snow in the US, snow news, Washington DC | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mayon Update [21 December 2009]

Posted by feww on December 21, 2009

Mayon Volcano on Fire

The Final Countdown May Have Begun

Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano Sunday Dec. 20, 2009 in Legazpi city, Albay province, about 500 kilometers southeast of Manila, Philippines. Tens of thousands residents living around the slopes of Mayon are now housed in evacuation centers and most likely will spend Christmas away from their homes as the country’s most active volcano became restive a week ago. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez). Image may be subject to copyright.


Mayon Volcano Bulletin 8 Issued by Phivolcs

Date: 21 December 2009  at 7:00AM Local Time [20-12-09 at 23:00UTC]

Mayon Volcano’s (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) activity escalated during the past 24-hour observation period. Seismic activity dramatically increased in number and size. A total of 1,942 volcanic earthquakes was detected by the seismic network. Many of these volcanic earthquakes were recorded at maximum deflection and continually occurred beginning at 1221H yesterday. Harmonic tremors were also continuously recorded.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission rate remained very high at 6,089 tonnes per day (t/d). Audible booming and rumbling sounds were first reported in the eastern flank of the volcano at about 1455H then occasionally occurred beginning 2200H last night. Intensified crater glow and rolling down of incandescent lava fragments from the crater was also persistent. Red hot lava also continuously flowed down along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies. Lava fountains rising approximately 200 meters above the crater were observed at 2007H, 2008H and 2018H. The lava front has now reached about 5 kilometers downslope from the summit along the Bonga-Buyuan gullies.

Alert Level 4 is hoisted over Mayon Volcano, meaning a hazardous eruption is possible within days. Thus, PHIVOLCS-DOST reiterates that the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) from the summit of 8 km on the southern sector of the volcano and 7 km on the northern sector be strictly observed. Areas just outside of this EDZ should prepare for evacuation in the event hazardous explosive eruptions intensify. Active river channels and those perennially identified as lahar prone in the southern sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. PHIVOLCS–DOST is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano’s activity and any new significant development will be immediately posted to all concerned.


Mayon Alert Raised to Level 4

Posted by feww on December 20, 2009

Mayon Major Eruption Expected Within Days

Fire Earth Forecast: 76% chance Mayon explodes before 2010

State volcanologist in the Philippines raised the Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E) alert status  to level on Sunday at 14:30 local time, which means they expect a major eruption within days.

PHIVOLCS reported Sunday that the advancing lava flow had traveled about 4.5 kilometers from the crater along Bonga-Buyuan Gully. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission had increased from 2,034 MT per day (t/d) to 7,024 t/d.

Their seismic network had recorded a total of two hundred twenty two (222) volcanic quakes and tremors in the previous 24 hours, they said.

According to other reports rumbling sounds were heard in Santa Misericordia village near Santo Domingo town, about 8.5 km to the east of Mt Mayon.


76% chance Mayon explodes before 2010

Posted by feww on December 19, 2009


More than 250 tremors recorded at Mt Mayon, a sign that the volcano may be about to explode.

About 4 dozen minor explosions have occurred at the volcano, accompanied by off-white columns of smoke, gasses and ash that were ejected to a height of about 1,000 meters  above the summit,  according to the Phivolcs’ latest bulletin.

Below are some of the highlights of latest reports on Mayon:

  • Mayon’s activity has intensified since Friday.
  • Emissions of sulfur dioxide have exceeded 2,000 tons per day.
  • The lava flow has reached about 4 km from the summit crater along the Bonga Gully, generating secondary pyroclastic flows.
  • As the buildup of new lava on the cone continues to increase, the additional weight would cause the edifice to collapse, while the buildup of pressure inside the volcano would most probably result in a major  explosion.
  • Based on the the available evidence, Fire Earth Moderators believe there’s a 76 percent  chance  that Mt Mayon could explode before the year’s end.
  • If the volcano explodes, more lava would flow out of the crater.
  • Phivolcs officials are contemplating on raising the alert level at Mayon Volcano to  Level 4, which would indicate “hazardous volcanic eruption” is imminent.
  • Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management officials said more than 40,000 people or about 8,500 families from 30 villages had already been evacuated to 24 temporary shelters by noon Saturday.

The regional govt in Albay may evacuate an additional 70,000 villagers, in case heavy rains in the area threaten a repeat  2006 nightmare  in which more than 1,000 perished after typhoon Durian triggered mudslides of volcanic ash on November 30, which buried  several villages near the foot of the mountain.

Many of the villagers who have been evacuated reportedly sneak back into their villages to look after their animals and ready-to-harvest seasonal crops.


Volcano UPDATE: Mt Mayon Could Explode

Posted by feww on December 17, 2009

Mayon: What might happen next

After an explosive eruption, the “perfect cone” could disappear partially or altogether

A major hazardous eruption could lead to large explosions destroying Mt Mayon. The erupting volcano could empty its magma chamber causing the much-admired “perfect cone” edifice to collapse into its depleted reservoir, and forming a caldera.

BEFORE: Mayon volcano,  located in a coconut-growing region of the central Philippines, is famed for its near-perfect cone shape. Mt Mayon. Credit: Lozaphilippines. Image may be subject to copyright.

AFTER: If Mt Mayon edifice collapses into the magma chamber, the after image may look like the above. [The snow cover is less likely right now.] Photo shows Aniakchak Caldera in the Aleutian Range, Alaska. This 10 km diameter caldera formed about 3,450 years ago. Many smaller cinder cones have formed within the caldera. Credit: USGS


As Mayon Volcano continued to eject 500-m plumes of ash into air, spewing lava down its slopes for a third day, and burning rocks, mud and everything else in its path, PHIVOLCS vulcanologists said they expected a major explosive eruption soon.

Up to 50,000 people have been or are about to be evacuated from Mayon’s danger zones and neighboring areas, Philippines Defense Secretary said in a news conference.

Many villagers are reluctant to live because its seasonal harvest time for their crops. They are staying put despite th eregional government threat of martial law.

PHIVOLCS, whose computer network is off the internet when there’s a crisis, as is the case right now,  was reported ass saying it had recorded at least five minor explosions at the volcano on Wednesday, and 80 “high frequency quakes” in the last 24 hours.


Mayon Lava in Interesting Times!

Posted by feww on December 16, 2009

Mayon Lava Flow Grows

Mayon at a ‘high level of unrest’ may experience  more dangerous explosions

Mt Mayon Spews Lava.
Photo: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

Mayon 5-level hazard alert raised to level 3 Tuesday after Mayon ejected ash and spewed lava.

According to Phivolcs, “Alert level 3 condition signifies magma is near the top of the crater and incandescent materials are now detaching. Mayon volcano is now at a ‘high level of unrest’ and may have more dangerous explosions.”

Quick fact about the latest episode of activity at Mt Mayon:

  • Phivolcs Level 3 alert means an eruption is expected within days to weeks [Level 4 means an eruption is imminent, while level 5 means eruption is in progress.]
  • Albay Governor Jose Salceda has declared “a state of imminent disaster” throughout the province, to allow the provincial government to access disaster funds needed to evacuate residents in Mayon’s danger zones.
  • Phivolcs scientist, Alex Baloloy,  said, “a full blown eruption is expected to take place within weeks to days.”
  • Baloloy said lava had cascaded down about 3 km from the crater summit of the volcano.
  • By Monday Mayon had emitted about 800 tons of Sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas.
  • The air in the region has been described as “hot and irritable” and “smelly.”
  • After 23 volcanic quakes on Monday, 5 ash explosions occurred at the volcano generating a mix of brownish and grayish ash cloud.
  • Phivolcs said it had recorded 78 volcanic earthquakes in the last 24 hours
  • Philippines disaster management officials have now evacuated about 50,000 people from Tabaco City and the towns of Malipot, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan and Ligao near Mt Mayon, aiming for a “zero-casualty situation.”
  • Schoolrooms within an 8-km radius of Mt Mayon have been suspended and used as evacuation shelters. [Let’s hope the schools are better built in the Philippines than they are in China.]
  • Mayon has experienced more than 50 eruption in 400 years.
  • The first recorded major eruption occurred in 1616.
  • The most voluminous lava flow occurred in the 1766 eruption.
  • Mayon’s most destructive eruption occurred on February 1, 1814. The volcano bombarded the town of Cagsa with tephra, burying all but the bell tower of the town’s church in about 9 m of ash. As many as 2,300 of Albay residents may have perished in the volcano’s deadliest eruption to date.
  • Mayon erupted continuously for 7 days starting June 23, 1897. The village of Bacacay was buried in 15 m of lava. About 500 villagers were killed in the aftermath.

Fire Earth Moderators believe more volcanic activities at other Philippines volcanoes are highly probable in the near future. The volcanoes located on the island on Mindanao are particularly liable to erupt in the next 12 to 36 months.

The moderators also believe a large eruption may occur at Taal volcano. For other related forecast, see links below and search blog contents.


Mayon Volcano Oozes Lava

Posted by feww on December 15, 2009

Mayon, Philippines most active volcano, oozes lava and ejects plumes of ash into the air

The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS, raised the five-step alert to 3 after increased activity at Mayon volcano.

The authorities have evacuated thousands of residents from the 6-km (4 miles) permanent danger zone, which is now declared a prohibited area.

About 50,000 people live in an 8km (5 mile) radius of the mountain.

Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano in Legazpi city, Albay province, Monday Dec. 14, 2009.  (AP Photo/Nelson Salting). Image may be subject to copyright.

About 30,000 people were evacuated from the foot of Mt Mayon after the volcano spewed ash and lava in Albay province, the Philippines.  Photo:AFP. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

Magma had been steadily rising at Mayon since late November and finally oozed out of the crater late Monday, and the activity at the volcano is expected to intensify, said PHILVOC.

If magma continues to push up the crater at a steady rate there would be lava flows, and “the possibility of an explosion.” PHILVOC reported.

Major Volcanoes of the Philippines Location Map. Click image to enlarge.

The 2467-meter Mayon Volcano is a stratovolcano [it is renowned for its almost perfectly conical shape] islocated about 15 kilometres northwest of Legazpi City [about 500 kilometers south of the capital, Manila,] in the province of Albay, Bicol Region, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

Mayon is one of the 22 or so active volcanoes in the Philippines, and has caused the deaths of thousands of people and devastated several towns and villages in three major eruptions since its 1814. In 2006, after several eruptions, typhoon Durian triggered mudslides of volcanic ash on November 30, which buried  several villages near the foot of the mountain, killing about 1,000 people.

Fire Earth Moderators believe more volcanic activities at other Philippines volcanoes are highly probable in the near future. The volcanoes located on the island on Mindanao are particularly liable to erupt in the next 12 to 36 months.

The moderators also believe a large eruption may occur at Taal volcano. For other related forecast, see links below and search blog contents.

Related Links:

Posted in Mayon, Philippines volcanoes, volcano | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Dementia Dozen: Foods to Avoid

Posted by feww on December 21, 2009

Should You Worry About Pesticides in Your Food?

That depends on whether you think dementia adds to your 50-something charm!

Exposure to pesticides could permanently affect the nervous system, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life, researchers say.

New findings support a probable link between toxic chemicals and Alzheimer’s disease.

Two sliced brain diagrams shown for comparison. Left: normal brain. Right: brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

“While no cause for Alzheimer’s disease has been found, [non-inherited] cases are likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors,” said Kathleen M Hayden, PhD, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Hayden’s research shows that pesticides could affect the rate of flow of acetylcholine, a chemical that’s important for memory.

PET brain Scans. Left: Normal Brain. Right: Alzheimer’s Disease Brain. Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

More than 18,000 pesticides are licensed in the U.S., and about 1 million tons (2 billion pounds) are applied to fruit and crops each year, Hayden said.

“There are 5.3 million Americans [1.7 percent of the US population] living with Alzheimer’s disease, which disrupts memory, learning, and other mental functions. By 2010, there will be nearly half a million new cases each year and by 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases annually, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.” WebMed reported.

“The World Alzheimer’s Report 2009 estimates that 35 million people will have dementia worldwide by 2010. That is less than one half of one percent (0.5%)  of the world population.” ANZ Blog reported.

In a new study that involved 4,000 participants, researchers found that the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease increased by 53% among people who worked with pesticides, having adjusted for other factors including age, gender, education and a gene known to raise Alzheimer’s risk.

Neurofibrillary Tangles.  Image shows how microtubules desintegrate with Alzheimer’s disease.  Source: The Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR). Click Image to enlarge.

ANZ Blog said:

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Disease

Two new studies provide additional evidence “pointing to a link between pesticide exposure and the risk for neurological disorders.” Medscape reported.

“One study linked high levels of an organochlorine pesticide called beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH) to an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD), while another showed an association between agricultural pesticide exposure and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

Persistent organochlorine pesticides

“[P]ersistent organochlorine pesticides (including DDT, dieldrin) were used widely in New Zealand. The main areas of use were agriculture, horticulture, timber treatment and public health (Table 1). Smaller amounts were also used for amenity purposes and in households.” New Zealand Government says.

“Organochlorine contamination: Some of the 60,000 or so synthetic organochlorines that have been formulated since about 1940 are highly persistent or long-lived (e.g. DDT, DDE, PCBs, PCP, HCBs, dioxins, chlordane, lindane, aldrin, dieldrin).” —Truth about New Zealand

Why Do Some Countries Score Much Higher on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Cases?

In short, two reasons:  First, previous applications of now banned persistent organochlorine pesticides (including DDT, dieldrin); Second, the volume of pesticides applied.

ANZ believes there’s a direct relationship between the volumes of pesticides applied in a given country and numbers of dementia cases nationwide.

Pesticide manufacture

“New Zealand has ‘about a dozen’ pesticide manufacturing sites. No information is publicly available about the scale and extent of land contamination associated with these sites with the exception of ‘a disused site in the small coastal town of Mapua , on the Waimea inlet near Nelson. Various pesticides and agricultural chemicals were manufactured and formulated there from 1945 to 1988 by the Fruitgrowers Chemical Company.’”

“DDT was mixed with fertiliser and applied to pasture in a bid to control grass grubs and porina caterpillars. It was also used on lawns and market gardens, parks and sports fields. Its use …was finally banned in 1989. DDT has a half-life of 10 years in dry soils, but its main residue, DDE, is far more persistent, showing little change in soil levels over 20 years.”—Truth about New Zealand

The US study, “1 of the largest of its kind to date and perhaps the first to link a particular pesticide with PD, found that 9 of the 16 pesticides tested were present in study subjects. The pesticide found most often was p.pDDE. It was detected in 100% of the AD patients, 72% of the PD patients, and 86% of the controls.” Medscape report said.

How does that translate into your family’s food safety?

Safe Food Campaign List of  “The Dirty Dozen” food is reproduced below:

Safe Food Campaign research

Safe Food Campaign researcher Alison White has listed the top 12 foods in New Zealand that are most likely to contain pesticide residues.

White’s list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ food is based on data complied by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and includes Bread, dairy products and fruit, both fresh and canned.

They have ranked the food according to the most pesticide residues,  number of pesticides detected in total samples and the percentage contaminated with pesticides.

What about other food that are not on the list, but are contaminated nonetheless?

The ‘dirty dozen’ crops and farm produce that are listed on the table were closely followed by cucumber, nectarines, lettuce, tomatoes, wine and pears, according to safe food Campaign research.

How could that affect your kids’ health?

In Birth to Alzheimer’s in 12 products, quoting Food Safety researcher Alison White, ANZ says:

According to  a 2006 study, “children who were exposed prenatally to the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, as measured in the umbilical cord, were significantly more likely to have poorer mental and motor development by three years of age and increased risk for behaviour problems.” New Zealand uses  Chlorpyrifos on almost all grain, fruit and vegetables.  Apples, apricots, celery, grapes,  mandarins, oranges, pears, peaches, raisins, sultanas, tomatoes, as well as bread and wine, among others, were recently found to contain the toxic chemical.

“We do not know enough about the effects of these chemicals in our food. However, there are various serious long term effects associated with particular pesticides that are found in our food, including endocrine or hormonal disruption, cancer, immune system suppression, nervous system damage, genetic damage and birth defects. We also know that various pesticides used to grow food have damaging effects on wildlife and the ecosystem.”

The highly toxic chlorothalonil, a fungicide, believed to be a human carcinogen, is found in Celery. The deadly chemical “in laboratory studies has caused DNA damage and embryo loss.”  The EPA in the US intends to study Chlorothalonil as a potential endocrine disruptor. “This pesticide has also been found in groundwater, sea water and air and is toxic to many species, including earthworms.”

Celery also contain mancozeb, yet another fungicide, which breaks down to  ethylene thiourea and causes cancer, endocrine disruption, goitre and birth defects, the report said.

[Moderator’s Note: The parties involved seem to have intentionally left out any mention of the kiwifruit, possibly the most toxic of all NZ produce.]

Related Links:

Posted in acetylcholine, Alzheimer’s risk, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, Parkinson’s | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Global temps could rise higher than expected

Posted by feww on December 21, 2009

Global temperatures could rise more than expected, new study shows

The kinds of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide taking place today could have a significantly larger effect on global temperatures than previously thought, according to a new study led by Yale University geologists. Their findings appear December 20 in the advanced online edition of Nature Geoscience.

The team demonstrated that only a relatively small rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) was associated with a period of substantial warming in the mid- and early-Pliocene era, between three to five million years ago, when temperatures were approximately 3 to 4 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today.

Climate sensitivity—the mean global temperature response to a doubling of the concentration of atmospheric CO2—is estimated to be 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius, using current models.

“These models take into account only relatively fast feedbacks, such as changes in atmospheric water vapor and the distribution of sea ice, clouds and aerosols,” said Mark Pagani, associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale and lead author of the paper. “We wanted to look at Earth-system climate sensitivity, which includes the effects of long-term feedbacks such as change in continental ice-sheets, terrestrial ecosystems and greenhouse gases other than CO2.”

To do this, the team focused on the most recent episode of sustained global warmth with geography similar to today’s. Their reconstructed CO2 concentrations for the past five million years was used to estimate Earth-system climate sensitivity for a fully equilibrated state of the planet, and found that a relatively small rise in CO2 levels was associated with substantial global warming 4.5 million years ago. They also found that the global temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than today while CO2 levels were only between about 365 and 415 parts per million (ppm)—similar to today’s concentration of about 386 ppm.

“This work and other ancient climate reconstructions reveal that Earth’s climate is more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than is discussed in policy circles,” Pagani said. “Since there is no indication that the future will behave differently than the past, we should expect a couple of degrees of continued warming even if we held CO2 concentrations at the current level.”


Other authors of the paper include Zhonghui Liu (Yale University and The University of Hong Kong), and Jonathan LaRiviere and Ana Christina Ravelo (University of California, Santa Cruz).

This study used samples provided by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.

Contact: Suzanne Taylor Muzzin
Yale University


Global warming likely to be amplified by slow changes to Earth systems

Researchers studying a period of high carbon dioxide levels and warm climate several million years ago have concluded that slow changes such as melting ice sheets amplified the initial warming caused by greenhouse gases.

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that a relatively small rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was associated with substantial global warming about 4.5 million years ago during the early Pliocene.

Coauthor Christina Ravelo, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the study indicates that the sensitivity of Earth’s temperature to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is greater than has been expected on the basis of climate models that only include rapid responses.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to increased atmospheric and sea-surface temperatures. Relatively rapid feedbacks include changes in atmospheric water vapor, clouds, and sea ice. These short-term changes probably set in motion long-term changes in other factors–such as the extent of continental ice sheets, vegetation cover on land, and deep ocean circulation–that lead to additional global warming, Ravelo said.

“The implication is that these slow components of the Earth system, once they have time to change and equilibrate, may amplify the effects of small changes in the greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere,” she said.

The researchers used sediment cores drilled from the seafloor at six different locations around the world to reconstruct carbon dioxide levels over the past five million years. They found that during the early and middle Pliocene (3 to 5 million years ago), when average global temperatures were at least 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than today, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was similar to today’s levels, about 30 percent higher than preindustrial levels.

“Since there is no indication that the future will behave differently than the past, we should expect a couple of degrees of continued warming even if we held carbon dioxide concentrations at the current level,” said lead author Mark Pagani, an associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale University.


Contact: Tim Stephens
University of California – Santa Cruz


Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, CO2, Geophysics, greenhouse gasses, Warming | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »