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Archive for January, 2011

More Coal, Anyone?

Posted by feww on January 31, 2011

The following article is partially reprinted on FIRE-EARTH with the kind permission of EDRO Moderators.

The Fate of Energy Dinosaurs

In a few dozen mutations spanning five generations of computers, which started in 1939 with the ABC (Atanasoff-Berry-Computer) and extended to today’s petaflop supercomputers, the computational power of digital computers has skyrocketed from a mere (!) few hundred FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), a measure of a computer’s performance, shooting through the computational thermosphere at petaflop speeds (million billion FLOPS).

ENIAC, the grotesque energy monster.

Now a museum piece, the world’s first programmable computer, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), operated at 500 flops. The twenty-seven-ton monstrosity consisted of thirty separate subunits with 19,000 vacuum tubes, 1,500 relays, about one hundred thousand resistors, capacitors, crystal diodes and inductors and occupied 63 square meters of floor space. A 175kW power supply, which needed repairs on average every 5.6 hours, was used for feeding and forced cooling the voracious electronic dinosaur. ENIAC operated at a computational speed of 0.0029 FLOPS/Watt.

Despite what is now a laboriously slow operating speed, ENIAC was the fastest supercomputer of the time and condemned its contemporary mechanical relay computers, operating at Bell Laboratories and elsewhere, to the dustbin of history because they operated two orders of magnitude slower.

The latest supercomputers operate in the petaflop territory producing about 36giggaflops for each Watt of electricity they consume, an astounding enhancement in the computational power, rated about 13trillion times greater than ENIAC. If it were physically possible to enlarge ENIAC, enabling it to operate at petaflop speeds, it would require 348 petawatts (3.48E+17W) of electricity, or 175,000 times more electricity than is generated globally [c.f., the luminosity of Sun is 3.846E+26W.] In other words, the combined electrical output of 175,000 earthlike planets would be needed to operate the hypothetical ‘super-ENIAC’ at the current computational speeds.

The first order constraint in the evolution of artificial ‘intelligence’ is the computational power efficiency (FLOPS/Watt, or MIPS/Watt), or simply the ‘energy footprint.’ Architectures that fail to overcome the constraint are committed to extinction.

Unable to evolve, ENIAC became extinct. It could never have survived, other than as a museum piece, because of the following reasons.

1. Its computational power efficiency was outdone by faster computers.

2. If ENIAC were to be upgraded operating at improved speeds, it would have required too much power. Its energy demands on the operating environment would have been unsustainable.

Instead, the operating environment, the larger system with which ENIAC interacted, literally pulled the plug on the grotesque monster, withdrawing its life support.

This brief study may be formulated into two universal laws for evolution of artificial intelligence:

First law of evolution of artificial intelligence: To continue evolving, each successive generation of computers must improve its computational power efficiency (FLOPS/Watt, or MIPS/Watt), subject to the ultimate physical limitations.

Second law of evolution of artificial intelligence: Architectures whose growth or extensions would impose exceptional demands on energy resources become unsustainable and are committed to extinction.

The Human Comparison

What about humans? Has human intelligence evolved? Are they more intelligent now than before? Do they consume more, or less power than the previous generations? Has the human ‘computational power efficiency’ improved?

Many parallels exist between the dynamics of human intelligence and its machine ‘counterpart,’ artificial intelligence, albeit on different timelines. To survive, they both must evolve. Both humans and computers need energy to function. And therefore they both depend on their environments for life support. Artificial intelligence was designed by humans, so it could be said that humans created computers “in their own image!”

To be “targeted for selection,” humans and therefore their intelligence must continuously evolve. Human intelligence cannot evolve, unless the following conditions are satisfied.

A. The current generation must be able to perform the same or greater number of functions for less energy (operate more intelligently) compared with previous generations. In other words, each generation must achieve higher rates of computational power efficiency successively—do more with less, every time!

B. Humans energy demands including its material needs must fall within the ultimate physical boundaries imposed by nature; otherwise the environment cannot provide continued support. When their growth becomes unsustainable, humans are [unceremoniously] committed to extinction. [Historical and current evidence of regional collapses are abound.]

To test the above conditions, the current generation’s energy profile is compared with the previous generations’ consumption data. The world per capita energy consumption has risen from about 818W in 1800 to 2,435W in 2006, a 3-fold rise. The United States per capita consumption rose to 13,372W, in the same period.

Based on the evidence, the per capita human energy consumption has not decreased; therefore, the evolution of human intelligence must have stalled. In fact, it can be said that the opposite of evolution is occurring because human demands on energy is much greater now than before. Of course, it could be argued that humans now operate at higher “computational speeds.” But that is exactly the point. Like the hypothetical super-ENIAC, human technological savvy is being achieved by growing bigger, not through improved power efficiency. The rate of evolution of human intelligence, and therefore the human species, is regressing compared with the pre-industrial era. Like ENIAC, humans have degenerated into energy dinosaurs!

Let us further examine the above findings against an observation of the state of the environment, whose unintrrupted support is vital to human survival. To guarantee their survival on long-term basis, humans must exponentially decrease their energy and material demands on the environment. But is that the case? Again, the evidence suggests the opposite to be true. Human consumption is on the exponential rise and, increasingly, the environment is failing to provide support.

In 2006 global energy consumption reached a staggering total of 507EJ [one exajoule, EJ, is 10 exponential 18 joules, 10^18J] equivalent to the energy released by detonating 25,437 Hiroshima-sized A-bombs each day, 9.3 million bombs throughout the year, or one A-bomb for every 700 people on the planet.] With more than two thirds of the ecosystems driven to the verge of imminent collapse as a result of intense human activity, which demands excessive energy consumption, it would only be a matter of time before total environmental collapse occurs committing the energy dinosaurs and thousands of other species to extinction.

The key to preventing the next mass species extinction and preserving human cultures is one of creating the opportunity for humans to evolve at very low rates of energy (and material) consumption. In 2005 [an organization founded by the author] reported its findings concerning the ‘safe’ level of global energy consumption. It was determined that to minimize the environmental devastation wreaked by excessive energy consumption, humans must reduce their total energy consumption to about 60EJ/year, immediately (this level is equal to about 11.9 percent of global energy consumption in 2006).

There are a number of forced factors why instead of evolving human intelligence has regressed causing humans to degenerate into grotesque energy monsters. The main reason for the regression is the monetary gains made by the world’s overlords, whose perceived interests are served when more (NOT LESS) energy and materials are consumed. Their interests clearly fly in the face of human survival.

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Posted in evolution of intelligence, human survival, Species Extinction, supercomputers | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

YASI: If the ‘Devil’ Were a Cyclone

Posted by feww on January 31, 2011

Cyclomageddon: TC YASI Larger than Queensland

Massive Cyclone YASI Could Strike Queensland With 200+ km/hr Winds

Tropical Cyclone YASI was located about 2,000km east of Cairns, Australia at 11:00UTC on January 31, 2011. The cyclone was tracking west at speeds of about 30km/hr.

Details of Cyclone YASI (TC11P) at 11:00UTC on January 31, 2011

  • Location:  2,000km east of Cairns, Australia
  • Position:  14.0S 161.0E
  • Max Sustained Winds: 150km/hr
  • Wind Gusts: 200km/hr
  • Source: FIRE-EARTH estimates (based on data provided by JTWC and others)

If the ‘Devil’ were a cyclone, it would probably look like YASI

Tropical Cyclone YASI – IR Satellite image. Source: MTSAT-2 via Digital Typhoon. Remnants of ex-cyclone Anthony are seen moving across Queensland. Click images to enlarge.

Oceania Weather Animation for January 2011

TC YASI (Tropical Cyclone 11P). IR Satellite Image (NHC Enhancement). Source: CIMSS.  See inset for time/date. Click image to enlarge.

Australian Region Infrared Satellite Image


Source: JTWC

Australia: Current Weather Warnings

Australia Headline News

“The operators of Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam could be risking more flooding because of their refusal to immediately release unneeded water from the dam, according to engineers and hydrologists.” Said a report.

Cyclone Anthony

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Posted in AUSTRALIA CYCLONE WARNING, Queensland CYCLONE WARNING, TC YASI Satellite image, tropical cyclone, Tropical Cyclone 11P | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TC ANTHONY Prepares for Queenslanding, Followed by YASI

Posted by feww on January 30, 2011

ANTHONY Returns to Australia, Followed by YASI

  • TC ANTHONY to strengthen to at least a Cat. 2 cyclone before Queenslanding

  • YASI Could  Strengthen to a Cat. 4A Hurricane Force Before Making Landfall in Queensland

UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone ANTHONY

Issued at 10:04 pm EST Sunday 30 January 2011. Refer to Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 18.

Source: Australia BOM


Tropical Cyclone Anthony is currently moving southwest and crossing the coast near Bowen.

DESTRUCTIVE WIND GUSTS are currently occurring about coastal and island communities between Cape Upstart and Proserpine.

DAMAGING WIND GUSTS are currently occurring about coastal and island communities between Ayr and Mackay.

ABNORMALLY HIGH TIDES are expected between Ayr and Mackay. LARGE WAVES are likely along the beachfront between Ayr and Mackay.

HEAVY RAINFALL with FLOODING is occurring about the coast and adjacent inland between Ayr and Mackay.

– People in the path of the cyclone should stay calm and remain in a secure shelter while destructive winds occur.
– Do not venture outside if you find yourself in the eye of the cyclone – destructive winds from a different direction could resume at any time.
– Heed the advice and follow the instructions of Police, Emergency Services personnel and local authorities.
– For emergency assistance call the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500. [Source: Australia BOM]

Tropical Cyclone YASI

Tropical Cyclone YASI (Tropical Cyclone 11P). IR Satellite Image (NHC Enhancement). Source: CIMSS.  Click image to enlarge.

FIRE-EARTH Forecast: Massive TC YASI could  strengthen to a Cat. 4A Hurricane Force, with sustained winds of about 210km/hr and wind gusts of 270km/hr  before striking Queensland.

Australian Region Infrared Satellite Image

Oceania Weather Animation for January 2011

Details for: TC Anthony

Details for: Ex-TC Bianca

Australia: Current Warnings

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Posted in Queensland Cyclone ANTHONY, Queensland Tropical Cyclone, Tropical Cyclone 11P | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In Nature They Don’t Trust

Posted by feww on January 29, 2011

The Disaster Continent

TC Bianca Moves South along Western Australia’s Coast, as Anthony Returns for Queenslanding

NOT Smart!

Waging a war against nature and expecting to win it are two frightfully unintelligent acts.

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, wildfires, drought and deluge as well as all other natural forces work as nature’s  defense mechanisms. Australia is not immune to any of those forces (hint!)

Australia is not alone. All around us there’s a growing body of evidence that nature has begun targeting communities that are participating directly or indirectly in the vicious and destructive wars of resource depletion, poisoning and pollution against her.  In these worsening wars of aggression, there are no such things as innocent victims and, unfortunately, some collateral damage should be expected because nature’s response is often collective.

Satellite Images of Tropical Cyclone BIANCA

TC BIANCA – MTSAT-2 Satellite image – Source: Digital Typhoon – Date/Time as inset. Click images to enlarge.

Cyclone BIANCA. IR Satellite Image (NHC Enhancement). Source: CIMSS. See inset for status. Click image to enlarge.

A natural-color image of TC BIANCA, a massive cyclone, captured by
MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite at 6:30 UTC on January 28, 2011. Source: NASA-EO.

Oceania Weather Animation for January 2011

Rainfall in Tropical Storm Bianca (TRMM – NASA)

Tropical Storm Bianca’s rainfall was captured by NASA’s TRMM satellite January 26, 2011. Heavy rainfall of about 2 inches (50 mm) per hour recorded. Source: NASA

Tropical Storm Bianca Forecast Track

Click images to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone Anthony: Who would have thought Anthony will return?

Details for: TC Anthony

Details for: Severe TC Bianca

Australia: Current Warnings

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Posted in Australia cyclone, australia disasters, australian back-toback disasters, Australian Disaster, disaster continent | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mt Bromo Eruption Forces Dozens of BALI Flight Cancellations

Posted by feww on January 28, 2011

East Java’s Mt Bromo eruption forces at least 4 airlines to cancel holiday flights to the region

Cathay Pacific,  Jetstar, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Blue were forced to cancel all flights to and from Bali until further notice.

Mt Bromo ejected fountains of lava to a height of about 200m during a strombolian eruption. Several nearby villages were covered in hot ash spewed by the volcano, report say.

Bromo Erupts

The 2,330-m high volcano is located in Probolinggo, East Java province, about 750km east of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.  January 25, 2011.  Photo credit: AFP/Aman Rahman. Image may be subject to copyright.

Other Volcano News

Video Clip:

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Posted in Mt Bromo volcano, strombolian eruption, volcanic activity, volcano images, Volcano News | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Japan’s Shinmoedake volcano erupts for a 2nd day

Posted by feww on January 27, 2011

Mt Shinmoedake continued to eject tephra Thursday

Shinmoedake volcano in southern Japan, which began erupting on Wednesday, ejecting rocks, ash and smoke about 4,600m  into the air, was still erupting on Thursday.

Local highways and railroads have become impassable as a result, and at least 4 flights to the area have been canceled as a precaution, reports say.

Shinmoedake volcano continued erupting for a second day on Thursday. Freeze frame from ITN news clip.

Shinmoedake Volcano Erupts

Natural-color satellite image of Shinmoedake volcano  captured by MODIS aboard NASA’s
Terra satellite on January 26, 2011. Shinmoedake is a volcano in the Kirishima volcanic complex on Japan’s Kyushu island. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge.

Lightening is photographed using time exposure during an eruption from Mt Shinmoedake in the Kirishima volcanic complex on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, southern Japan. Photo:  Shuji Uchimura/AP. Image may be subject to copyrights.

Video Clips

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Another Nor’easter Dumps a Foot of Snow on the East Coast

Posted by feww on January 27, 2011

Nor’easters Blamed on Arctic Oscillation

AO Carves an Icy Path from Western Canada to Eastern United States

The 8th snowfall in New York since December 14 (6th this year) dumps another 19 inches of high compact snow on the city.

A bus stop in Queens, NY. An optimistic man waits for a bus as a fast moving winter storm causes a whiteout all the  way up the northeastern coast of the U-S. Photo credit: Mike Segar/Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

Once again a major snowstorm engulfed the Northeast United States, dumping as much as 10 inches of snow in some places.

“Classes were called off and commutes were snarled from Tennessee to New England as cars and buses slipped and slid on highways. The New York area’s airports, among the nation’s busiest, saw hundreds of delayed or canceled flights. Pedestrians struggled across icy patches that were on their way to becoming deep drifts.” AP reported.

New York region experience its eights snowfall since December 14, 2010,  including the “Bloomberg Blizzard” that dumped  20 inches on New York City after Christmas. When the snows arrived Wednesday, the city had already seen 36 inches of snow this season in comparison with the full-winter average of 21 inches.”

Snowfall Totals (so far this winter)

  • NYC: 60 inches (compared with the average of 21 inches for the entire winter season)*
  • Boston:  50.4 inches (about 270 percent increase over normal seasonal snowfalls for the same period)
  • Providence, RI: 31.7 inches (two-fold increase)
  • Connecticut (Bradley Int Airport):  59.1 inches ( more than double the normal)

Source: National Weather Service
* Not confirmed by NWS

Storm Highlights

  • More than 1,000 flights canceled in New York area’s three major airports
  • Thousands of airline passengers are stranded
  • At least 300,000 customers is Washington DC metro area are without power
  • Public schools remained closed for a second day Thursday

January 26, 2011

Area Covered By Snow: 45.5%
Area Covered Last Month: 52.9%
Snow Depth
Average: 16.5 cm
Minimum: 0.0 cm
Maximum: 2385.7 cm
Std. Dev.: 32.2 cm
Snow Water Equivalent
Average: 3.7 cm
Minimum: 0.0 cm
Maximum: 1138.5 cm
Std. Dev.: 8.9 cm


Arctic Oscillation Chills North America, Warms Arctic

“Technically, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) is a climate pattern caused by the ring of winds that blow around the North Pole from west to east. When they are strong, they trap the Arctic air mass north of 55°N. That’s north of Edinburgh, Moscow and Ketchikan, Alaska. When they are weak, however, the frozen polar air escapes south and can visit sunny California.” Source.

United States, Canada, eastern Siberia, and Greenland land surface temperature anomalies  for January 9 to 16, 2011, against 2003 to 2010 base averages, as observed by
MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Above-average temperatures are in red and orange, below-average temperatures in shades of blue. “Oceans, lakes, and areas with insufficient data (usually because of persistent clouds) appear in gray.” Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (3 MB, JPEG)

Related Blog Pages:

Snow Cover Animations:

Click Below for 31 Day Animations

Local News Links:

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Posted in and surface temperature anomalies 2011, Arctic Oscillation, Bloomberg Blizzard, climate pattern, northern hemisphere | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stuxnet Another Chernobyl?

Posted by feww on January 27, 2011

Stuxnet may have caused new Chernobyl: Russia

Russia says Stuxnet could have caused new Chernobyl: Report

Russia says NATO should investigate the computer virus attack on a Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran because the incident may lead to a Chernobyl-type nuclear disaster, a report said.

The virus that hit the Iranian reactor’s computer system had caused the centrifuges to “spin out of control,” said Dmitry Rogozin,  Russia’s ambassador to NATO.

“This virus, which is very toxic, very dangerous, could have very serious implications,” he said, describing the virus’s impact as being like explosive mines.

“These ‘mines’ could lead to a new Chernobyl,” he said, referring to the 1986 meltdown at the Ukraine reactors, then part of the Soviet Union. “NATO should get to investigating the matter… This is not a private topic.” More…

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Cyclone WILMA Powers Up to Cat 4 Strength

Posted by feww on January 26, 2011

WILMA Strengthens to a Dangerous Category 4 Cyclone

Cyclone WILMA has sustained wind speeds of about 215km/hr with gusts of 260km/hr

WILMA is moving WSW (255 degrees) at an average speed of about 20km/hr and is currently located about 1,000km east of Noumea, New Caledonia.

Cyclone WILMA struck Tonga’s Ha’apai Islands with category 3 force, devastating food crops and causing damage to many buildings, a report said.

WILMA is now headed for New Zealand.

Cyclone WILMA. IR Satellite Image (NHC Enhancement). Source: CIMSS. Click image to enlarge.

TS Bianca and Cyclone Wilma Up

Approximate locations of (L) Tropical Storm Bianca (10S) and (R) Cyclone Wilma (08P).  Click image to enlarge.

Oceania Weather Animation for January 2011

TS BIANCA – IR/WV Difference  Satellite Image. Source: CIMSS. Click image to enlarge.

Cyclone WILMA and its projected path. IR Satellite Image (NHC Enhancement). Source: CIMSS. Click image to enlarge.

This image of tropical cyclone Wilma was captured by the TRMM satellite shortly after attaining hurricane intensity on Jan. 24, 2011, at 21:28 UTC. The yellow and green areas indicate moderate rainfall between 0.78 to 1.57 inches (20 and 40mm) per hour. Source: NASA

Visible image of Cyclone Wilma was captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite on Jan. 25 at 00:59 UTC.

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N China Drought: Another Mega Disaster Looming

Posted by feww on January 25, 2011

Worst drought in 60 years hits northern China

2 million people and 60 million hectares of crops running out of water

Most of China’s wheat-growing areas in the north have been scorched by droughts since last October. The provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong and Jiangsu , as well as Xuchang in central China’s Henan Province haven’t seen a drop of rain for three months.

“East China’s Qingdao in Shandong Province is also being hit hard by drought.  Tap water there dried up 2 months ago, residents now have to carry water from a local river,” a report said.

The land is parched, crops are withering.

Beijing has seen no rain for 92 days, and is about to break a 60-year record for the latest first snowfall, the People’s Daily said.

“Water levels are continuing to fall and the depleted Miyun reservoir is threatening to turn the taps off for 17 million residents and access to drinking water. Experts forecast that Beijing will not see any rain until February,” the report added.

Winter wheat crops in about a fifth of northern China’s wheat-growing areas have been severely affected by drought, while forecasters see no early end to the dry spell.

Meanwhile, freezing rain and heavy snow are wreaking havoc across large parts of southern china, affecting crops.

More icy rain and heavy snow is forecast  for large areas of southwest China, as a cold snap approaches, the People’s Daily said.

Time to Exhaust the Yellow River

Beijing is experiencing its 12th year of an ongoing drought, as a result of which the water tables have dropped sharply, according to a report, citing  the Water Authority officials.

Beijing residents require 2.5 billion cubic meters of water a year; however the Capital’s two drinking water reservoirs, Guanting and Miyun, hold a combined total of 1.2 billion cubic meters, the report said.

“Starting this year, the Yellow River-to-Beijing Water Diversion Project will be launched to alleviate water shortages in the capital, and it is expected to transfer 300 million cubic meters of water annually, according to the Beijing Water Authority.”

“The annual water shortage in Beijing now stands at 515 million cubic meters. After the water diversion project is completed in 2015, 1 billion cubic meters of water will be transferred every year, but that still leaves a shortage of 190 million cubic meters of water every year in Beijing.” The report said.

Unfortunately for Beijing residents, the figures don’t add up!

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Posted in China Drought, Drought, drought and deluge, South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the Yellow River | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arctic cold hits New England

Posted by feww on January 25, 2011

Deadly Arctic blast from Canada freezes northern U.S.

Many Schools in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire close, as temperatures dip to as low as minus 35 [with wind chill of -51ºF.]

Sub-zero temperatures have been linked to at least two deaths in New England, “including a woman whose frozen body was found in a driveway,” a report said.

NE US Temperature Map – Graphical Forecasts

US Temperature Map – Graphical Forecasts – CONUS Area

“Train equipment froze, cars sputtered, schools canceled classes and cold-weather enthusiasts stayed inside Monday as a bitter blast of below-zero temperatures with potentials for minus 50 wind chills gripped the Northeast.” Source

“Vermont’s largest electric utility says about 24-hundred customers are without power in the Leicester area on the coldest winter morning in the last two years.” Source

“Some of the cold spots in northern New England in the overnight hours included minus-33 in Victory, 32 below in Whitefield, N.H. and 28 below in Fryeburg, Maine. Greenville, Maine recorded a wind chill reading of 46 below zero.” Source

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U-S Drought: Mega Disaster Unfolding

Posted by feww on January 24, 2011

Persistent Drought Plaguing Southern U.S.

Persistent drought conditions to linger in the Southern Plains and Southeast US

Persistent drought conditions are forecast to continue in the Southern Plains and Southeast US through mid to late spring, NOAA’s National Weather Service says. “La Niña has kept storms and most of their precipitation in the north, leaving the South drier than normal.”

US Drought Conditions Growing Like Cancer from the South and Southeast.

“The speed with which the drought developed across the southern United States is rather unusual considering that just last year El Niño dominated the region with abundant precipitation,” said Bill Proenza, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service southern region.“ Then it was as if a switch was flipped during the summer, changing to La Niña conditions.”

Fear of Wildfires

Fearing wildfires, Gov Rick Perry issued a disaster proclamation for 244 counties (all but 10 of Texas counties),  because of the ongoing severe drought in December, as Texas experienced its driest November to December in half a century last year.

“Drought conditions, as Texas is experiencing its driest November to December in about 50 years, can combine with low humidity and gusty winds to produce the wildfires, said Mahlon Hammetter, a fire prevention specialist with the Texas Forest Service.”

Earlier in December, lingering drought had forced USDA to declare natural disaster in 10 counties in South Carolina and 36 in Louisiana.  because of persistent drought. “Counties along the Arkansas state line in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas were declared secondary disaster areas,” a report said.

Although the drought persists in all of the Gulf Coast states, NOAA says, Texas and Florida are the worst affected. “From October through December, Texas received only five to 50 percent of normal precipitation, with portions of the lower Rio Grande averaging less than five percent of normal. During that period, for example, Brownsville received only 0.14 inches (normal is 6.55 inches) and Del Rio received 0.04 inch (normal is 3.89 inches). To the north in Austin, only 1.55 inches of rainfall was observed, compared to the normal of 8.34 inches.”

At least 42,000 fires consumed more than 775,000 acres throughout the affected southern region during 2010.

“Florida lost more than 400,000 acres to wildfires last year, with more predicted to come. Florida’s Forestry Division notes La Niña is expected to continue at least through spring and again anticipates greater than normal wildfire activity in 2011.”

Impact of  La Niña

A combination of scarce tropical precipitation and the dry conditions brought by La Niña created severe to extreme drought conditions for about a third of the South and Southeast regions by late fall and early winter 2010, NOAA said.

La Niña conditions have occurred 13 times in the past 60 years, with the current La Niña being the 6th strongest, so far. However, climate experts are unable to predict whether it will continue into 2012.

It probably will!

La Niña on Dec. 29, 2010

The La Niña is highlighted by the large pool of blue and purple (cooler than normal) water stretching from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean, reflecting lower than normal sea surface heights.  Click images to enlarge.

Original Caption: The current state of this season’s La Nina is shown in this Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 satellite image of the Pacific Ocean, based on the average of 10 days of data centered on Dec. 26, 2010. The new image depicts places where the Pacific sea-surface height is higher (warmer) than normal as yellow and red, while places where the sea surface is lower (cooler) than normal are shown in blue and purple. Green indicates near-normal conditions. Sea-surface height is an indicator of how much of the sun’s heat is stored in the upper ocean. The La Nina cool waters stretch from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean. Image credit: NASA JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team.

Sea Surface Height Anomaly (SSHA)

Sea surface height anomaly (SSHA) measurements from the Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellite altimeter missions. Note the two main areas of anomaly across the equatorial Pacific. La Nina lingers on as ENSO continues to drive pools of warm surface water to the west.

Global SST Anomaly Chart January 24, 2011

Click image to update and enlarge.

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Australia Floods: ‘Inland sea’ spreads across Victoria

Posted by feww on January 23, 2011

Mega Disasters Continue to Unfold in Australia

Massive inland sea of floodwater, 100km long, spreads across the Victoria

The floodwater is wiping out farms as it moves deeper into the north-west corner of Australian state of Victoria, reports say.

The Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, said an inland sea was  flowing into the north-west of the state:

“From the air this vast mass of water is making its way down the rivers and it’s on its way to Swan Hill, it’s on its way to the Murray and preparations continue in all these downstream towns.”

Inland Sea – Floodwaters around the town of Kerang. Landholders are trying to save what they can on their farms by moving livestock and machinery to higher ground. Image credit: ABC. Image may be subject to copyright .

“This has been a long battle and people are starting to get tired. This flood incident still has a number of weeks to go.” The State Emergency Service’s Kevin Monk said.

Australia Flood Map

Queensland Flood Map

New South Wales Flood Map

Victoria Flood Map

Source of Flood Maps: BOM

Related News:

Victorian Warnings Summary


Queensland Weather and Warnings

Australia: Current Weather and Warnings

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Mega Disasters:

Posted in Australia Flood map, Australia Flood Update, australia floods mega disaster, TC Anthony | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Latest of East Coast Snowstorms

Posted by feww on January 22, 2011

Latest in a Series of East Coast Snowstorms – GOES East Satellite Image

Original Caption: New York City woke up to 5 more inches [12.5cm] of snow this morning, adding to already record-setting accumulations this winter. As the storm moves off the eastern seaboard it is expected to leave 7-12 inches [17.5-30cm] more in coastal New England, with Maine expecting the brunt of accumulation throughout the rest of the day. This image was taken by GOES East at 16:45UTC [January 21, 2011.]  Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge. High Resolution Version

Click Image to enlarge. Update image. (24-Hr FE ED).
Click HERE to Animate Image. (Source: SSEC/Wisc-Uni)

National Snow Analysis [January 21, 2011]

Area Covered By Snow: 56.0%
Area Covered Last Month: 46.0%
Snow Depth
Average: 16.9 cm
Minimum: 0.0 cm
Maximum: 2413.4 cm
Std. Dev.: 31.5 cm
Snow Water Equivalent
Average: 3.7 cm
Minimum: 0.0 cm
Maximum: 1131.5 cm
Std. Dev.: 8.5 cm

Snow Cover Animations:

Click Below for 31 Day Animations

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Mongolia: Mega Disaster Unfolding

Posted by feww on January 22, 2011

86 counties in 14 provinces declared disaster areas

Temperatures to Fall to as Low as -45ºC in W Mongolia: Report

Temperatures are forecast to drop sharply in Mongolia, dipping to as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius in western Mongolia, as 50-km winds batter the snow-covered country, the Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology of Mongolia (IHMM) has warned.

Small Map of Mongolia. Click image to enlarge

Strong winds and the temperature plunge “will pose a big challenge to the vast pastoral area.”

More than 80 percent of the country is covered in snow, and more snow is expected. The freezing conditions poses a major threat to the livestock and livelihoods of herders, the report said.

Europe and Asia Snow and Ice Cover

Source National Ice Center

The 2010 Dzud [extremely cold winter that makes livestock grazing impossible] saw temperatures in Mongolia dipping to as  low as -50ºC, killing 360,000 horses, 475,000 cattle, 11,700 camels, 5.2 million sheep and 6.1 million goats, and severely affecting 14 of Mongolia’s 21 Aimags, or provinces.

The extreme cold also claimed substantial numbers of wildlife.

As of early December 2010, Mongolia had 1.8 million horses, 2.1 million heads of cattle, 265,000 camels, 14 million sheep and 13.5 million goats, according to the annual livestock census report by  NSOM.

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Temperatures Rising Rapidly

Posted by feww on January 21, 2011

Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed

The first 10 years of this millennium were the hottest decade since records began in the 1830s.

“The main signal is that the warming trend continues and is being strengthened year after year,” WMO Secretary-General told reporters.

“The trend, unfortunately, will continue for a number of years but the amplitude will depend on the amount of greenhouse gases released. It will depend on action taken to minimize the release of greenhouse gases.”

[What happened to the tipping point, still a taboo subject, WMO?]

Between 2001 and 2010, global temperatures averaged 0.45ºC (0.83ºF) above the 1961-1990 base and set a new record high for a 10-year period since climate records began in the 19th century, WMO said.

Top 10 Warmest Years

The 1901-2000 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9°C (56.9°F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5°C (47.3°F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1°C (60.9°F). Source: NOAA.

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Mud Volcano Surfaces in the Arabian Sea

Posted by feww on January 21, 2011

Image of the Day:

Mud Volcano Emerges from the Arabian Sea

Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (962 KB, JPEG)

A mud volcano in the Arabian Sea, first observed by Pakistani fishermen on November 26, 2010, had already begun to erode when ALI on NASA’s EO-1 satellite captured this image on January 11, 2011. Source: NASA-EO.

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Severe Storms Attack Australia

Posted by feww on January 20, 2011


Vicious Storms Attacking Queensland

Australian Region Infrared Satellite Image

Queensland Warnings Summary

Current Warnings

Victoria Farming Disaster

Floodwaters have submerged at least a third of the Australian state of Victoria, inundating at least 62 towns and killing hundreds of thousands of poultry and scores of other farm animals. Floods have damaged a reported 1,730 properties, affecting at least 4,300 people.

Click Image to enlarge. Source: Victorian Farmers Federation, ABARES, via The  Australian.

Flood Headlines

Towns isolated as floods swamp Victoria

Current Warnings

Flooding in the Australian Interior

Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (8 MB, JPEG)

Click image to enlarge.
Download large image (5 MB, JPEG)

Floods continue  to spread across the interior of southeastern Australia, namely in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. Both false-color images above use a combination of visible light and infrared to enhance the contrast between land and water. Water appears in shades of blue. The top image was captured by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite on on January 20, 2011, the bottom image on January 22, 2010. Source: NASA-EO

Victoria Floods – Satellite Images

Flooding in Victoria – January 2011

Click image to enlarge.
Download larger image (14 MB, JPEG)

Floodwaters continued to surge from Australia’s state of New South Wales to its southern neighbor Victoria on January 19, 2011 causing substantial damage to infrastructure and agricultural produce. These images use infrared and visible light to enhance contrast between land and water. Top image was captured by MODIS  on NASA’s
Terra satellite on January 19, 2011, bottom image nearly a year earlier on January 20, 2010. Water shows in shades of blue.

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HK Air Pollution = Lower Visibility + Higher Mortality

Posted by feww on January 19, 2011

Poor Air Lowers Visibility in Hong Kong, Raises Death Rates : Report

Visibility in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate due to air pollution

“Visibility in Hong Kong has deteriorated so sharply over the last 50 years because of air pollution that variations in levels can even be used to predict mortality rates, health experts warned Wednesday.” Source

Report Highlights:

  • Current Average Visibility in Hong Kong: 12.6km (7.8 miles)
  • Visibility in other polluted population centers (Paris, Berlin, Auckland and Vancouver) : 20 to 25km
  • Number of smoggy days when visibility falls below 8 km: 54 days in 2007 (up from 6.6 days in 1968)
  • HK air has 7 times more particulate than even the polluted Auckland and Vancouver (80 µgm³ —micrograms per cubic meter of  air—in HK compared to 24 in Auckland and 20 in Vancouver)
  • Each 6.5km reduction in visibility corresponds to 1.13% rise in the number of non-accidental deaths
  • An additional 1,200 deaths per year have occurred between 2007 and 2010

“Loss of visibility is a direct measure of serious harm to health. Loss of visibility kills people,” said Anthony Hedley, Honorary Professor at the School of Public Health. Source

“Air pollutants increase the stickiness of elements in the blood … With increased stickiness, blood cells stick together, they form a clot. If you form a clot, you may obstruct a vessel and if the vessel is in the heart or the head, you get a heart attack or a stroke,” Hedley said.

The true non-accidental death rates for Hong Kong may be even higher than those stated in the report, FIRE-Earth contends. According to one report:

  • Studies in Greater Vancouver have found that more than 2700 deaths and 33,000 emergency room visits could be avoided with a 25% reduction in particulate matter
  • Air pollution with particulate matter (PM) claims an average of 8.6 months from the life of every person in the European Union (EU)
  • Exposure to ground-level ozone for even short periods at relatively low concentrations has been found to significantly reduce lung function in healthy people during periods of exercise.  Source
  • Particulate air pollution causes 455,000 premature deaths in the EU each year, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) says. Source

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Pakistan: Powerful Quake Strikes SW

Posted by feww on January 19, 2011

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.2 – 7.4Mw strikes SW Pakistan

The quake, epicentered at 63.97°E   28.75°N, occurred at a depth of 84km, striking a sparsely populated area some 45 km (30 miles) west of the town of Dalbandin on Tuesday at 20:23UTC.

There were no reports of major damage or casualties, as of posting.

EQ Location Map. Source: USGS. Map enhanced by FIRE-EARTH

Earthquake Details
GFZ Potsdam – Earthquake Bulletin
Region: Southwestern Pakistan
Date/Time: 2011-01-18 20:23:25UTC
Magnitude: 7.4
Epicenter: 63.97°E 28.75°N
Depth: 82 km
Status: manually revised


  • Magnitude: 7.2
  • Date-Time: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 20:23:26 UTC
  • Location: 28.838°N, 63.947°E
  • Depth: 84 km (52.2 miles)
  • Region: SW PAKISTAN
  • Distances
    • 45 km (30 miles) W of Dalbandin, Pakistan
    • 260 km (160 miles) W of Kalat, Pakistan
    • 310 km (190 miles) ESE of Zahedan, Iran
    • 1,035 km (640 miles) WSW of ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
    • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 7.1 km (4.4 miles)
    • Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

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Australia Disasters Headlines

Posted by feww on January 18, 2011

Back-to-Back Disasters Continue to Plague Australia

The number of Victorian towns affected by floods has risen to 58.

Victoria braces for worst as water surge builds

“Victoria’s flood crisis has worsened, with hundreds more homes being swamped yesterday by a mass of water surging north towards the NSW border, cutting off entire towns and terrifying thousands of residents.” Source

Severe thunderstorm with hail batter SE Queensland

Strong winds with gusts of up to 95 km/hr uproot trees and topple  power lines in Brisbane’s west. Source

Bad weather is now moving to the north of Brisbane, Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.

“It looks like things are trying to move north of the Lockyer Valley as well,” he said.

“There’s a bit of a band of these storms pretty much from Brisbane arching up towards Samford then Esk, locally heavy rainfall and then less intense rainfall, spreading out.

“People in the Lockyer Valley now have probably seen the worst of it for today.”

Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.  Click image to enlarge.

Eastern Australia Flood Map

Source: BOM. Click Image to Enlarge.

Brisbane Devastation: Before and After Photos

High res aerial photos of the Brisbane floods captured in flyovers on January 13 and January 14. Source

Current Warnings

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Flood Mega Disasters – Sri Lanka

Posted by feww on January 18, 2011

Disease, hunger and landmines threaten flood-stricken Sri Lankans: UN

Sri Lanka Flood Facts

  • Reported death toll: 40 [The actual figure may be much higher]
  • Number of injured: 51 [The actual figure may be much higher]
  • Number of people displaced: At least 400,000
  • Number of people affected: 1.5 million
  • Floods have submerged as much as a third of the country’s rice paddies destroying at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka’s total of 570,000 hectare.
  • At least 14 of the Pacific island’s 25 districts were inundated
  • The flooded areas experienced their heaviest rainfall since 1917, according to Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department
  • Floodwaters may have dislodged tens of thousands of buried landmines, which were planted during the civil war with Tamil Tigers.
  • About 5,400 homes have been destroyed by floods and a further 22,000 damaged.

As nearly half a million Sri Lankans displaced by floods begin to return home they face risks from waterborne diseases, hunger and landmines,  a UN official said.

Widespread flooding caused by “the heaviest rains in a century,” has affected more than a million people and forced about 400,000 to flee their homes and seek refuge in hundreds of relief camps.

“Many of those hit by the flooding are farming families who have seen their crops wiped out.” Said a report.

“A lot of people affected were quite poor to start with and now they don’t have much, so there is a serious need to support them when they move back,” he United Nation’s humanitarian coordinator in Sri Lanka told AlertNet.

“We are particularly concerned about food as these communities are pretty vulnerable and their food stocks have been destroyed so their usual source of income won’t be a source of income for a while.”

Floods have destroyed at least 21 percent of Sri Lanka’s staple rice crop since Dec. 26, the Agriculture Ministry has said.

Widespread floods have inundated 14 of the Pacific  island’s 25 districts, “with the worst hit being Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee on the east coast, where the majority of people have been affected.” The report said.

At Risk from Landmines

The U.N. team in Sri Lanka is concerned that floodwaters have dislodged tens of thousands of buried landmines, which were planted during the civil war with Tamil Tigers.

“There is an issue that some of the flooding may have dislodged UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance) and mines that had been under the surface or buried in river banks and which weren’t considered a risk as they were under the surface and now they will be a risk.” The UN coordinator said.

“The government is looking at re-surveying some areas to examine the level of damage and we are hoping to step up mine risk education.”

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Victoria Flood Update: 46 Towns Affected

Posted by feww on January 17, 2011

The town of Horsham and township of Rupanyup threatened by raging floodwaters

The town of Echuca remains submerged after the Campaspe River peaked overnight at 95.75 meters AHD just after 9pm Sunday. The river has since marginally receded to 95.6m.

[Moderator’s Note: AHD is acronym for the Australian Height Datum, the mean sea level for 1966-1968, which was assigned the value of zero. ]

State Emergency Services has received about 6,000 calls for help, as 46 Victorian towns are affected by flooding, reports say.

In Horsham, western Victoria, SES is expecting the worst floods in more than 100 years.

“The Avoca River is also threatening towns including Quambatook, Culgoa, Boort and Donald, while Kerang is expected to be cut off in the coming days,” according to a report.

Status of Other Victorian Rivers:

  • “At the Rochester Syphon the Campaspe River peaked at a record flood level of 9.17 metres (Major Flood Level 9.1 metres) during Saturday evening. This is higher than the 1983 flood peak of 9.15 metres. The current level is 9.02 metres and gradually falling (Moderate Flood Level 8.8 metres). It is expected that the river will remain above the moderate flood level until Tuesday
  • “In the township of Rochester the river level peaked above the highest gauge level (114.8 metres) well above the Major Flood Level (114.5 metres). The river is now falling, but is expected to remain above the Moderate Flood Level (114 metres) until Tuesday afternoon/evening.” BOM said.
  • “The Murray River at the Echuca Wharf gauge is currently at 92.51 metres and rising slowly.”

Latest Significant River Heights:

  • Campaspe R. D/S L. Eppalock 158.03m steady 10:45 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Campaspe R. D/S L. Eppalock 158.03m steady 10:45 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Campaspe R. at Rochester Syp. 9.02m steady 10:45 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Campaspe R. at Echuca 95.6m AHD 08:30 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Murray R. at Echuca Wharf 92.51m rising 10:45 AM MON 17/01/11 (SOURCE: BOM)
  • Wimmera R. at Walmer 3.92m rising 03:44 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Wimmera R. at Quontong Br. 6.97m rising 03:45 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Wimmera R. U/S Dimboola 5.11m steady 03:39 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Glenelg R. at Sandford 5.2m steady 01:00 PM SUN 16/01/11
  • Ovens R. at Wangaratta 11.71m steady 08:30 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Broken R. at Broken Weir 177.11m steady 05:07 AM SUN 16/01/11
  • Seven Cks. at Kialla West 4.15m falling 09:36 AM MON 17/01/11
  • Goulburn R. at Goulburn Weir DS 119.96m steady 02:58 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Castle Ck. at Arcadia 1.14m steady 03:21 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Goulburn R. at Arcadia Downs 9.71m rising 03:40 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Seven Cks. at Kialla West 4.02m steady 03:06 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Broken R. at Orrvale 5.88m steady 03:27 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Goulburn R. at Shepparton 9.42m rising 03:31 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Goulburn R. at McCoys Bridge 5.96m rising 02:30 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Loddon R. at Kerang 77.13m steady 02:45 PM MON 17/01/11
  • Avoca R. at Charlton D/S 7.10m falling 05:30 PM MON 17/01/11

Victorian Warnings Summary

Flood Threat Advice

IDD20510- Australian Government Bureau of MeteorologyNorthern Territory
Darwin Regional Forecasting Centre

Issued by the BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY, DARWIN at 1100 CST Monday 17 JANUARY 2011

AREA INVOLVED: Darwin-Daly District.

In the 24 hours to 9 am today there were scattered falls 10-20 mm over the Darwin-Daly District with very isolated falls 30-60 mm.

The monsoon trough lies to the south of the Top End and is expected to slip south a little before moving back north mid week. Scattered showers and isolated
thunderstorms with overnight rain periods will continue over the Darwin-Daly District.

for the rest of today and Tuesday Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms with overnight rain periods will result in scattered falls of 20-40mm over the Darwin-Daly District. Isolated heavy falls 50-80 mm possible. These totals may cause significant stream rises and localised flooding.

OUTLOOK for Wednesday and Thursday Scattered showers and isolated storms with scattered falls of 20-40 mm over the Darwin-Daly District, with isolated heavy falls 50-80 mm possible in the west. These totals may cause significant stream rises and localised flooding.

Around 11 am Tuesday.

DARWIN Regional Forecasting Centre.



QLD Flood Update:

Queensland Premier has announced a commission of inquiry into the state’s devastating floods, as she confirmed the death toll in the disaster has climbed to 20 [total of 30 since December,] a report said.

At least 16 other people are still unaccounted for.

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14% Less Solar Energy Reflected Back to Space

Posted by feww on January 17, 2011

Dwindling Snow and Ice Cover Reflect 0.45Wm-² Less sunshine to Space: Study

Ever-shrinking snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere, which contribute to “cyrospheric cooling,” now reflect only about 3.3Wm-² Solar Energy back to space, an average of 0.45Wm-² less than they did in the late 1970s, a new study says.

Cyrospheric cooling has declined by an average of 0.45 W m-² from 1979 to 2008, according to the study, which was published in the Nature Geoscience journal Sunday.

The following is an excerpt from the report abstract:

The extent of snow cover and sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere has declined since 1979, coincident with hemispheric warming and indicative of a positive feedback of surface reflectivity on climate. This albedo feedback of snow on land has been quantified from observations at seasonal timescales and century-scale feedback has been assessed using climate models. However, the total impact of the cryosphere on radiative forcing and albedo feedback has yet to be determined from measurements. Here we assess the influence of the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere on Earth’s radiation budget at the top of the atmosphere—termed cryosphere radiative forcing—by synthesizing a variety of remote sensing and field measurements. We estimate mean Northern Hemisphere forcing at −4.6 to −2.2 Wm-², with a peak in May of −9.0±2.7 Wm-².

The planet’s shrinking snow and sea ice cover means less heat reflected back to space resulting in a positive feedback loop heating the globe. The warming is intensifying at a higher rate than climate  models have predicted, according to new research. Image Credit: Mark Flanner.

[Moderator’s Note: The cryosphere refers to those parts of our planet where water is in solid form including glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, sea ice, snow cover and the permafrost.]

Scale of Positive Feedback

For each degree Kelvin (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) increase in temperatures, which reduces the Northern Hemisphere’s snow and ice cover, the solar energy reflected back to space decreases by between 0.3 and 1.1Wm-²K-². The study conclude that the albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere decline is “substantially larger” when compared to estimates obtained from 18 other climate models. That is an average shortfall of 0.6Wm-² in Flanner’s research compared to IPCC allowance of 0.25Wm-² over the same period.

The reduction in cyrospheric cooling effect, caused by snow and ice cover losses, increases the amount of solar energy that our planet absorbs, Mark Flanner, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, told Reuters.

1979–2008 time series of cryosphere radiative forcing (CrRF) anomalies, relative to 1979–2008 means, from land-based snow, sea-ice, and the combination of both components. Each line depicts the mean anomalies of the 12 all-sky scenarios of albedo contrast and ∂F/∂α listed in Tables 1 and 2, and shading indicates the full range of anomalies for the snow+sea-ice forcing from all 12 cases. The 5-year moving average of snow+sea-ice forcing anomaly is shown in orange. Credit:  Mark Flanner et al. ‘Radiative forcing and albedo feedback from the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere between 1979 and 2008’

How does the new estimate compare with previous climate models?

“This reduction in reflected solar energy through warming is greater than simulated by the current crop of climate models,” Flanner said.

“Our analysis of snow and sea ice changes over the last 30 years indicates that this cryospheric feedback is almost twice as strong as what models have simulated. The implication is that Earth’s climate may be more sensitive to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other perturbations than models predict.”

“The cryospheric albedo feedback is a relatively small player globally, but it’s been a surprisingly strong feedback mechanism over the past 30 years,” Flanner said. “A feedback of this magnitude would translate into roughly 15 percent more warming, given current understanding of other feedback mechanisms.”

“If the Earth were just a static rock, we could calculate precisely what the level of warming would be, given a perturbation to the system. But because of these feedback mechanisms we don’t know exactly how the climate will respond to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide,” he said.

“The conclusion is that the cryosphere is both responding more sensitively to, and also driving, stronger climate change than thought.”

The Cyrospheric Impact on Our Planet

“On a global scale, the planet absorbs solar energy at a rate of about 240 watts per square meter averaged over a year. The planet would be darker and absorb an additional 3.3 watts without the Northern Hemisphere cryosphere,” Flanner said.

“The cryospheric albedo feedback is a relatively small player globally, but it’s been a surprisingly strong feedback mechanism over the past 30 years,” Flanner said. “A feedback of this magnitude would translate into roughly 15 percent more warming, given current understanding of other feedback mechanisms.”

Top 10 Warmest Years

The 1901-2000 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9°C (56.9°F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5°C (47.3°F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1°C (60.9°F). Source: NOAA.

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Posted in albedo feedback, Climate Change, climate change hazards, cryospheric albedo feedback, Radiative forcing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Australia: Back-to-Back Disasters Hit Vic

Posted by feww on January 16, 2011

Victoria’s flood crisis to continue for days

Forty-three towns and nearly a third of Victoria have been inundated

At least 1400 properties across the Australian state of Victoria have been inundated, as 3,500 people are  forced to flee their homes.

Source: Image from Japan Meteorological Agency satellite MTSAT-1R via Bureau of Meteorology.  Click image to enlarge.

Some 43 towns  have been affected by the floods,  said to be the worst flooding to hit northern and northwestern Victoria since records began 130 years ago.

A map of flooded areas in the state of Victoria. Source. Image may be subject to copyright.

The towns of Echuca, Horsham  and Kerang were expected to be hit by massive flooding as rivers in the ares peak overnight,  reports say.

”The message to Victorians is that we are not out of the woods yet as far as this flood crisis is concerned,” the State Emergency Service spokesman said. ”In some of our river systems we are seeing unprecedented stream rises.”

‘We anticipate parts of the central business district and areas to the west of the Campaspe river in Echuca to be impacted,” he said.

“Rochester, on the Campaspe, which reached a record height of 9.5m, far in excess of the previous record set in 1956, and Charlton on the Avoca, which peaked at 8.05m on Saturday, are among the towns worst hit so far,” a report said.

About 80 per cent of both towns have been inundated.

Weather and Warnings

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