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 February 16th, 2010

El Niño Weekly Update [15 February 2010]

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  15 February 2010

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.0ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.2ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ (-0.1ºC)


El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (ºC) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
Equatorial SSTs were more than 1.0°C above average between 175°E and 125°W.


Click image to enlarge.


Weekly SST Departures
(ºC) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have weakened across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies have decreased across much of the central and eastern Pacific.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures (ºC) in the Equatorial Pacific


Click image to enlarge.

  • In early January 2010, positive subsurface temperature anomalies increased in the central equatorial Pacific in association with the downwelling phase of an oceanic Kelvin wave.
  • The most recent period (below) indicates a broad area of above-average subsurface temperatures across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.


Click image to enlarge.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days

Click image to enlarge. From mid-December to mid-January, strong mid-latitude westerlies (East Asian and Atlantic jets) were accompanied by troughs over the North Pacific and North America. The troughs contributed to below-average temperatures across portions of the U.S. and Canada. At higher latitudes, strong ridging led to above-average temperatures across Alaska and northern Canada. During late January, the East Asian jet extended farther east and a trough became established over the eastern Pacific. Over much of N. America, strong ridging over Canada contributed to above-average temperatures across Canada and portions of the U.S. During early February, troughing and below-average temperatures became reestablished over the United States.


Click image to enlarge.

Intraseasonal Variability

  • Intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere (wind and pressure), which is often related to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), can significantly impact surface and subsurface conditions across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Related to this activity
    • significant weakening of the low-level easterly winds usually initiates an eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin wave.
    • Several Kelvin waves have occurred during the last year (see next slide).


Click image to enlarge.


Click image to enlarge.


Click image to enlarge.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • A majority of the models indicate that the current El Niño episode is near or at its peak (e.g. December-January-February).
  • After peaking, nearly all models indicate Niño-3.4 temperature departures will gradually decrease, with about half of the models indicating that El Niño will continue into April-May-June 2010.

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 31 January 2010
The NCEP CFS predicts El Niño will last through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2010.

Summary

  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are more than 1.0ºCabove-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Unless otherwise stated, information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates – Last 4 Weeks:

  • El Niño [Main Page, Links to Weekly Updates Archive]

Posted in Climate Prediction, El Niño, El Niño 2010, El Niño report, El Niño update | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Satellite Images of Recent Volcanic Activities

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Recent Activity at Shiveluch Volcano


Shiveluch Volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula ejected a plume of ash, volcanic gases and steam, while dark rivulets flowed down the volcano’s snowy slopes. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image on February 13, 2010. Dark flows on the snowy slopes could result from lava and/or lahars—avalanches of water and mud likely prompted by heat from the summit.

Shiveluch is among Kamchatka’s most active volcanoes. In mid-February 2010, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported that activity at Shiveluch had been elevated above background levels for days, including a lava flow as well as ash plumes reaching an altitude of 5.2 kilometers (17,060 feet). NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW.

Partial Dome Collapse at Soufriere Hills


Soufrière Hills Volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat experienced a partial dome collapse on February 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm local time. Lasting nearly an hour, the event sent a plume 15 km (50,000 feet) skyward, and sent pyroclastic flows—avalanches of hot gas and debris—some 300 to 400 meters (980 to 1,200 feet) out to sea. The pyroclastic flows destroyed many buildings in the village of Harris north of Sourfrière Hills, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory described the dome collapse as the most severe incident since May 2006.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on February 11, 2010, the same afternoon that the dome collapsed. An east-west volcanic plume completely obscures the island of Montserrat, casting a shadow toward the northeast. Two smaller, fainter plumes also extend from the island, one to the north and the other to the south. The northern plume lies in the shadow of the east-west plume and consequently must occur at a lower altitude. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team  at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW.


View E across ash-covered Plymouth, the former capital city and major port of Montserrat, toward Soufriere Hills volcano.
Before the volcano became active in July 1995, about 5,000 people lived in Plymouth, located 4 km west of English’s Crater. During the first two years of the eruption, ash and noxious gas from explosions and pyroclastic flows frequently settled on Plymouth. On August 3, about 3 weeks after this image was taken, the first significant pyroclastic flow swept through the evacuated town. The flow triggered many fires and caused extensive damage to buildings and community facilities by direct impact and burial. Date: 12 July 1997. Credit: R.P. Hoblitt/ USGS

In Uncertain Future for Montserrat Island, Fire-Earth Moderators estimated that the island could become completely uninhabitable by 2013 or earlier

Fire Earth’s EarthModel forecasts the probability of Montserrat island becoming completely uninhabitable as follows:

Probability of Montserrat Becoming Uninhabitable in the Near Future

  • 2009 ≥ 50%
  • 2010 ≥ 56%
  • 2011 ≥ 60%
  • 2012 ≥ 70%
  • 2013 ≥ 80%

Montserrat Island Details:

  • Capital:
    • Plymouth (destroyed in 1997- see photo below)
    • Brades (de facto)
  • Location: Montserrat Island
  • Coordinates: (16.72 N, 62.18 W)
  • Height: 915 meters (3,010 feet)
  • Official languages:     English
  • Ethnic groups:     West African, Mulatto, British, Irish
  • Government:     British Overseas Territory
  • Area:   102 km²  (39 sq mi )

Related Links:


Posted in Montserrat, Soufrière Hills, volcanism, volcano | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Winter Olympics: With Glowing Hearts Burning to CO2 and Soot

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Olympics: Recurring Environmental Holocaust!

What part of sustainability do people find difficult to understand?

XXI Olympic Winter Games, or the 21st Winter Olympics, is an commercial global media event held on February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The operating budget for the Vancouver Organizing Committee is about $1.6 billion.

How Many and How Much?

  • About 2,630 “athletes” have attended the games
  • So did another 5,000 officials, coaches, trainers, referees, doctors, performance enhancing drugs experts…
  • Also 10,000 reporters, photographers and other media representatives
  • Up to 2 million people from 80 countries could visit Vancouver during the games
  • Worldwide TV audience to exceed 3 billion

Carbon Footprint for the 21st Winter Olympics: ~ 1.8MMT of CO2

[Note the Carbon FT is based on (i) about 1 million attendances from US  and Canada, (ii) 1/2 million attendances from other countries, and (iii) operating budget and venue development of about $2billion.]


A 2010 Winter Olympics Logo. Image may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice.

There’s nothing to stop true athletes from competing locally and using existing technology to compare results.

Related Links:

Posted in 21st Winter Olympics, Environmental Holocaust, performance enhancing drugs, vancouver 2010, XXI Olympic Winter Games | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

FREE TRADE: Disaster Recipe for Africa

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Free trade, loss of support systems crippling food production in Africa

Oregon State University Report: Public Release

Despite good intentions, the push to privatize government functions and insistence upon “free trade” that is too often unfair has caused declining food production, increased poverty and a hunger crisis for millions of people in many African nations, researchers conclude in a new study.

Local production by Oregon State University.
A worker in Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa harvests locally grown rice. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

Market reforms that began in the mid-1980s and were supposed to aid economic growth have actually backfired in some of the poorest nations in the world, and just in recent years led to multiple food riots, scientists report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal.

“Many of these reforms were designed to make countries more efficient, and seen as a solution to failing schools, hospitals and other infrastructure,” said Laurence Becker, an associate professor of geosciences at Oregon State University. “But they sometimes eliminated critical support systems for poor farmers who had no car, no land security, made $1 a day and had their life savings of $600 hidden under a mattress.

Hoping for a job by Oregon State University.
A small rice mill in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, offers possible job opportunities for local residents, waiting here in hope of getting work operating pushcarts. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

“These people were then asked to compete with some of the most efficient agricultural systems in the world, and they simply couldn’t do it,” Becker said. “With tariff barriers removed, less expensive imported food flooded into countries, some of which at one point were nearly self-sufficient in agriculture. Many people quit farming and abandoned systems that had worked in their cultures for centuries.”

These forces have undercut food production for 25 years, the researchers concluded. They came to a head in early 2008 when the price of rice – a staple in several African nations – doubled in one year for consumers who spent much of their income solely on food. Food riots, political and economic disruption ensued.

The study was done by researchers from OSU, the University of California at Los Angeles and Macalester College. It was based on household and market surveys and national production data.

There are no simple or obvious solutions, Becker said, but developed nations and organizations such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund need to better recognize that approaches which can be effective in more advanced economies don’t readily translate to less developed nations.

“We don’t suggest that all local producers, such as small farmers, live in some false economy that’s cut off from the rest of the world,” Becker said.

“But at the same time, we have to understand these are often people with little formal education, no extension systems or bank accounts, often no cars or roads,” he said. “They can farm land and provide both food and jobs in their countries, but sometimes they need a little help, in forms that will work for them. Some good seeds, good advice, a little fertilizer, a local market for their products.”

Not fancy but functional by Oregon State University.
A worker in Cote d’voire finds work removing the husk from locally produced rice using old-fashioned, but functional mortar and pestle techniques. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

Many people in African nations, Becker said, farm local land communally, as they have been doing for generations, without title to it or expensive equipment – and have developed systems that may not be advanced, but are functional. They are often not prepared to compete with multinational corporations or sophisticated trade systems. The loss of local agricultural production puts them at the mercy of sudden spikes in food costs around the world. And some of the farmers they compete with in the U.S., East Asia and other nations receive crop supports or subsidies of various types, while they are told they must embrace completely free trade with no assistance.

“A truly free market does not exist in this world,” Becker said. “We don’t have one, but we tell hungry people in Africa that they are supposed to.”

This research examined problems in Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire in Western Africa, where problems of this nature have been severe in recent years. It also looked at conditions in Mali, which by contrast has been better able to sustain local food production – because of better roads, a location that makes imported rice more expensive, a cultural commitment to local products and other factors.

Historically corrupt governments continue to be a problem, the researchers said.

“In many African nations people think of the government as looters, not as helpers or protectors of rights,” Becker said. “But despite that, we have to achieve a better balance in governments providing some minimal supports to help local agriculture survive.”

An emphasis that began in the 1980s on wider responsibilities for the private sector, the report said, worked to an extent so long as prices for food imports, especially rice, remained cheap. But it steadily caused higher unemployment and an erosion in local food production, which in 2007-08 exploded in a global food crisis, street riots and violence. The sophisticated techniques and cash-crop emphasis of the “Green Revolution” may have caused more harm than help in many locations, the study concluded.

Another issue, they said, was an “urban bias” in government assistance programs, where the few support systems in place were far more oriented to the needs of city dwellers than their rural counterparts.

Potential solutions, the researchers concluded, include more diversity of local crops, appropriate tariff barriers to give local producers a reasonable chance, subsidies where appropriate, and the credit systems, road networks, and local mills necessary to process local crops and get them to local markets.

Contact: Laurence Becker
beckerla@science.oregonstate.edu
541-737-9504
Oregon State University

Posted in agriculture, communal farming, economy, food production, small farmers | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

TC RENE (TC 15P) Update 6 (16 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

Cyclone RENE still strong, but won’t last long!

Unfavorable environmental conditions, especially cooler sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content, will bring an end to RENE as a tropical cyclone over open water in the next 24 to 36 hours.


Tropical Cyclone RENE – GOES  IR Satellite image (JSL2 enhancement) – Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

Background:

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 16 February 2010 –  01:00 UTC
  • Position:  Near 24ºS, 177ºW
  • Sustained Movement: 225  degrees
  • Forward speed: 24 km/hr (~ 13 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone RENE has been tracking  SOUTHWEST over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 120km (~ 60 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 150 km/hr (~ 110 kt)
  • RENE is now a Cat. 1 Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale.
  • Unfavorable environmental conditions, especially cooler sea surface temperatures and ocean heat content will bring an end to RENE as a tropical cyclone over open water in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 8m (24 ft)
  • Location: TC RENE was located about 780 km (~ 420 NM) Southeast of  NADI, FIJI.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

Related Links:

Posted in cyclone, Pacific Ocean, storm, storm rene, Tropical Cyclone RENE | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »