Fire Earth

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Archive for October 22nd, 2013

Costs of Back-to-back Disasters in Australia Continue to Mount

Posted by feww on October 22, 2013

Extreme fire danger issued for Sydney and Hunter region, as fire conditions worsen

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has issued the following fire alerts for New South Wales warning that fire conditions will significantly worsen on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.

NSW declared a state of emergency on Sunday, amid the states worst fires in living memory.

  • Extreme Fire Danger is forecast for Greater Hunter and Greater Sydney Region.
  • Severe Fire Danger is forecast for  North Coast.
  • Worsening fire conditions are forecast.

In addition to Blue Mountains National Park, all state forests in Sydney, the Hunter, the central west and the Southern Highlands will be closed due to  high fire danger.

Other parks closed to the public include Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Wollemi National Park south of the Capertee River, all Hunter and Central Coast national parks and all fire-affected Port Stephens parks, said a report.

The bureau has raised its maximum temperature forecast for Sydney to 35ºC, up from 32ºC, as the air pollution levels turn hazardous.

NSW Health has warned people against heavy outdoor exercise because many areas in the state are experiencing poor to dangerous air quality, even hundreds of kilometers away from the fires.

“The last thing you want to do is to go out for a jog when you’re breathing in such heavy pollution,” AAP quoted The Australian Medical Association’s NSW president as saying.

How Many Fires?

At least 63 fires were burning, more than 14 of them uncontained, as of posting. The blazes have so far devoured more than 160,000 hectares (4000,000 acres), destroying or damaging hundreds of homes, and forcing thousands of evacuations.

As of noon on October 21, some 855 claims had been lodged with insurers, with losses of nearly $94 million, said Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), warning insurers that more claims will be lodged later this week.

Back-to-back disasters since the start of 2010 have caused billions of dollars of damage across Australia, with the insurance losses of nearly $9 billion, according to ICA.

The Global Threat Posed by Coal Consumption – Australian Coal Statistics

Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter. Coal is Australia’s second-largest export earner behind iron ore, worth nearly A$40 billion ($38 billion), with A$16 billion from exports of thermal coal. Iron ore exports are worth about $57 billion.

Coal accounts for 18 percent and oil and gas for 9 percent of Australia’s exports.

Black coal exports accounted for 60% of total energy exports, and 87% of black coal production. Black coal exports have increased by more than 50% over the past 10 years.

In 2009-2010 Australia exported 293.4 million tons of black coal to 33 destinations–Japan (39.3% of Australia’s black coal exports); China (14.5%, almost double the previous year), South Korea (13.9%), India (10.9%), Taiwan (9%), with 28 other countries taking the remaining 12%.

Australians boast their trains transporting coal are among the longest in the world, with as many as six locomotives and 148 wagons, extending more than two kilometers back to back, and capable of . carrying about 8,500 tons of coal.

The global seaborne trade in 2013 is forecast to increase to a total of 919 million tonnes. Japan’s 2013 imports are forecast to increase to 129 million tons.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) data, world thermal coal trade is estimated to have jumped 14 percent in 2012 to 989 million tonnes, driven by demand in China and India. Growth is projected to slow to an average 2.1 percent a year between 2013 and 2018.

  • Australia’s average production costs in 2012 were about $85 a ton!

Australia’s thermal coal exports grew to a total 148 million ton in 2011.  In 2012 they increased by 10% to 162 million tons, and further growing  at an average annual rate of 11% between 2013 and 2017, to total 271 million ton by the end of the period has been forecast.

Australia’s exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 8%, reaching 218 million tonnes in 2017, said a report.

  • Total coal production forecast for 2013:  405 million tons

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It won’t get any better, before it gets a lot worse!

Posted by feww on October 22, 2013

The Elusive and the Surreal in China

Heavy smog continued to choke northeast China, forcing the closure of schools, highways, rail and bus services, airports…

harbin 8am 22oct2013
Harbin city bus terminal 8:00am Tuesday, October 22, 2013. [Original Title: “Heavy smog envelops NE China’s cities for 4th day”] Photo credit: via Xinhua. More images…

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Hurricane RAYMOND Shuts Down Mexico’s SW Coast

Posted by feww on October 22, 2013

Hurricane RAYMOND becomes quasi-stationary near Mexico’s  Pacific coast forcing hundreds of evacuations

RAYMOND, a CAT4A hurricane, has become quasi-stationary with sustained winds of about 210 km/hr gusting up to 260km/hr located about 150km offshore SW Pacific coast of Mexico. The hurricane is expected to move closer to the coast before making a u-turn and heading out to ocean.

hurricane raymond 22oct13
Hurricane RAYMOND. VISIBLE/INFRARED satellite image (FIRE-EARTH Enhancement) recorded at 00:30UTC on October 22, 2013. Original image sourced from: CIMSS/SSEC/WISC.

The hurricane continues to dump steady rain on the storm-battered resort of Acapulco, the scene of death and much devastation caused by the twin storms MANUEL and INGRID in September.

Hurricane alerts are have been issued for Guerrero and Michoacan states, prompting authorities to evacuate about 900 people.

Thousands of people are still living in shelters in Acapulco following the mid-September historic flooding that killed more than 150 people and caused widespread devastation estimated at about $6 billion.

“If [Hurricane RAYMOND] carries on moving at this speed and the cold front keeps holding it, we’ll have permanent rain for the next 72 hours,” said head of Mexico’s national emergency services.

“The flooding, mudslides and displacement of thousands of people caused by the recent storms have heightened the risk of waterborne illness in Mexico. The country has recorded its first local transmission of cholera in just over a decade,” said a report.

More details to follow…

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