Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from anthropogenic assault on Earth, and planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin by 2016

M6.0 Quake Strikes Kermadec Trench

Posted by feww on June 26, 2015

Strong quake strikes SE of L’Esperance Rock

Centered at 32.081°S, 178.136°W,  about 101km SE of L’Esperance Rock, the quake occurred at a depth of about 10.0 km (6.2 mi), USGS/EHP reported.

The event was followed by at least 4 significant aftershocks, as of posting.

 

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Lake Mead Falls to Record Low

Posted by feww on June 25, 2015

Lake Mead falls to 36 percent of capacity

Lake Mead water level fell to a record low of 327.65m (1,074.98 feet) above sea level, or 36 percent of the available capacity,  just before midnight Tuesday, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The level rose slightly to 327.68m (1,075.05 feet), barely above the critical level of 327.66m (1075 feet) by 7 am Wednesday, said the Bureau.

At 327.66m (1075 feet) elevation, Lake Mead has an available capacity of 11.84 km³ (9,601,000 acre feet), with the total available capacity being 32.56 km³ (26,399,000 acre feet), according to the USBR 2009 data.

In August 2010, Lake Mead level fell to 331 meters (1,087 feet) above sea level, compared with August 1985 level of 370m.

Summary of Lake Mead Stats

  • Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the U.S. in terms of water capacity.
  • It’s formed by the Hoover Dam (construction finished in 1936), fed by the Colorado River, and located in the states of Nevada and Arizona.
  • The lake is 177 km long when full, and has 1,220km of shoreline.
  • Max. Width: 12.87km
  • Max. Depth: 162m (532 feet)
  • The high-water line: 375 m of (1,229 feet) above sea level. ( At this elevation, the water would be more than 7 1/2 feet over the top of the raised spillway gates, which are at elevation 372.28m, or 1,221.4 feet —USBR).
  • Surface area: 642 km² (248 square miles) at 372.28m (1,221.4 feet)
  • Capacity: 35.7 km³ (28,945,000 acre feet) – less the accumulated sediments.
    • Available capacity: 32.56 km³ (26,399,000 acre feet)
  • Last time at full capacity: 1983 (the lake has since been plagued by drought and increased water demand.)
  • Current capacity: 36 percent of the available capacity.
  • Demand: About 42 million people including farmers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico depend on Leak mead for their water.
    • Lake Mead attracts more than 9 million visitors each year for swimming, boating, skiing, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
  • Annual Inflow: Lake Mead receives most of its water from snow melt in the Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah Rocky Mountains.
  • Annual Outflow: About 9.7 million acre feet (12.0 km³)
    • Evaporation (included in the above): About 800,000 acre feet/ year (0.987 km³).
  • Annual Deficit: 1.2 million acre feet (1.5 km³)
  • Drought: Colorado River is currently experiencing its 15th consecutive year of drought.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Reclamation has issued the following warning.

Excessive Heat Warning: Visitors to Hoover Dam should expect temperatures at least 10 degrees higher than the Las Vegas area, ranging from [49 to 52 degrees Celsius] 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. There is limited shade at Hoover Dam. Visitors must be prepared for the heat with appropriate clothing and extra water, and are encouraged to visit Hoover Dam during morning hours.

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Drought and Deluge, Hail and Severe Freezing Destroy Crops in 7 States

Posted by feww on June 25, 2015

Crop disasters declared for 70 counties across seven states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 70 counties in seven states:  Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming—as crop disaster areas due to losses caused by multiple disasters including drought, severe flooding and hail, as well as severe  freezing.

Disaster Designations due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought

  • Washington. Adams, Benton, Columbia, Douglas Franklin, Garfield, Grant, King, Klickitat, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania,Walla Walla,Whitman and  Yakima counties.
  • Oregon Gilliam, Hood River, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa and Wasco counties.

Disaster Designations due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought

  • Oregon. Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Morrow Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler counties.
  • Idaho. Adams, Idaho and Nez Perce counties.
  • Washington. Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Garfield, Klickitat and Walla Walla counties.

Disaster Designations due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought

  • Idaho. Bingham, Butte, Bonneville, Clark, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhiand, and Madison  counties.
  • Montana. Beaverhead County.

Disaster Designations due to losses caused by severe flooding and hail that occurred on June 3, 2015, and continues

  • Wyoming. Converse, Goshen, Niobrara, Platte and Weston counties.
  • Nebraska. Sioux County.
  • South Dakota. Cluster and Fall River counties.

Disaster Designations due to damages and losses caused by severe freezing that occurred from Nov. 13, 2014, through Jan. 2, 2015

  • Oregon. Clackamas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Marion, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler counties.
  • Washington. Klickitat County.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 1,329 counties across 22 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

About 99 percent of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The five disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on June 24, 2015 (posted on their website on June 25).

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M5.8 Quake Strikes near Hayes Volcano, Alaska

Posted by feww on June 25, 2015

Earthquake strikes near Mt Gerdine, Alaska

[Editor’s Note: Hayes Volcano is an ice-covered volcano located northeast of Mount Gerdine. The volcano was discovered in 1975.

Centered at 61.662°N 151.976°W, about the quake occurred at a depth of 121km (75mi) WNW of Anchorage, at a depth of 15.3 km (71.6 mi), USGS/EHP reported.

EQ Details

Magnitude: 5.8Mw
Date/ Time: 2015-06-24 at 22:32:20 (UTC)
Nearby Cities:

  • 103km (64mi) W of Willow, Alaska
  • 121km (75mi) WNW of Anchorage, Alaska
  • 127km (79mi) W of Knik-Fairview, Alaska

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Wildfires Force Hundreds to Flee Homes in Alaska

Posted by feww on June 24, 2015

Residents evacuated from Yukon River community

A lightning-sparked fire grew to more than 700 acres burning close to the Yukon River village of Nulato, prompting evacuations from the Athabascan community of 250 late Monday, said a report.

State Disaster

Gov. Walker declared a state disaster on June 19 in response to damages caused by multiple wild land fires on the Kenai Peninsula, including the Card Street Fire near Sterling.

“As of Friday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough evacuated hundreds of homes and established emergency shelters for residents displaced by the Card Street Fire. While winds have now shifted away from populated areas, the Card Street Fire has claimed more than 7,500 acres and is now burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.”

Walker also declared a state disaster in response to widespread damages caused by the Sockeye Fire in Willow and the surrounding region on June 16.

Fire Ban

Extremely dry conditions in the Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough have prompted Alaska Division of Forestry and the State Forester to prohibit the use of all open fires and activities, said Alaska DONR in a statement.

Alaska Fire Stats

  • Total no. of fires so far this year: >500
  • No. of fires in June: 310 [57 new fires ignited Monday]
  • Currently burning: 239 fires, burning on 320,000 acres
  • No. of Major fires currently active: 10
  • Total no. of structures destroyed or damaged: >100
    • The Sockeye wildfire in Willow has destroyed at least 55 homes (45 other properties have sustained major damage to outbuildings.)
    • The fire has displaced more than 800 people.
  • Largest fire: 34,000-acre Chisana River 2 fire in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve and the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildfires burning in 10 states

Wildfires also continue to burn in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, in addition to Alaska.

State of California

Some 1,922 fire crews are trying to control a 17,500-acre Lake Fire in n the Barton Flats area and in the northern portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness (San Bernardino National Forest) east of Los Angeles.

Two other fires, near San Luis Obispo, and the other outside Fresno, have destroyed more than two dozen structures.

State of Oregon

In Oregon, Gov. Brown has  declared drought emergencies for 20 out of Oregon’s 36 counties so far, said spokesman for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Large forest fire are burning in Siskiyou National Forest and Whitman National Forest.

State of Washington

Gov. Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency for Washington in May due to the snowpack being at historic lows, dwindling rivers and irrigation districts being forced to cut off water to farmers.

 

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M6.9 Quake Strikes North of Bonin Islands, Japan Region

Posted by feww on June 24, 2015

Deep earthquake occurs WNW of Chichi-shima, Japan

Centered at 27.7N, 140.3E the quake occurred at a depth of about 480km at 21:19 JST (UTC + 9:00 hours) on Tuesday, according to Japan weather agency.

The epicenter was located about 900km south of Tokyo, Japan.

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Death Toll Rises to about 800 in Karachi Heatwave

Posted by feww on June 23, 2015

Heatwave death toll in Sindh province reaches about 800

More than 100 people died Tuesday from the intense heatwave that has plagued Pakistan’s Sindh province, bringing the three-day death toll to about 800.

More than 3,000 people suffering from heatstroke have been hospitalized since Saturday, including at least 200 who were in a critical condition, according to local reports.

Temperatures reached 43ºC (109 degrees F) in Karachi on Sunday and 49ºC (120 degrees F)  in the southwestern city of Turbat, Pakistan Met Office reported.

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Japan Remembers Another Day of Mass Murder

Posted by feww on June 23, 2015

Sent by a reader

Okinawans were ordered to commit suicide (or murdered, if refused)

[Japan is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa – one of the bloodiest episodes in the Pacific during World War Two. Editor]

The order issued by the “supreme command of the Army and the Navy,” Emperor Hirohito, who was legally supreme commander of the Imperial General Headquarters, where the military decisions were made, also stipulated that those who did not commit suicide should be executed.

About 110,000 Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) soldiers, rapists and mass murderers were either killed or committed suicide, and the Allies lost just over 14,000 troops.

However, the real tragedy was the fate of an estimated 150,000 local civilians who were either killed, committed suicide, murdered for refusing to kill themselves, or starved to death.

“A significant aspect of the Battle of Okinawa was the great loss of civilian life. At more than 100,000 civilian losses far outnumbered the military death toll. Some were blown apart by shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while other fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops.” http://www.peace-museum.pref.okinawa.jp/english/index.html

[Editor’s Note: Japan lost the Battle of Okinawa, and subsequently the war, in the most dishonorable and humiliating way possible.]

The Japanese soldiers used civilians as human shields against the Americans, or simply murdered them.
http://web.archive.org/web/20060114010134/http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/06/20/news/oki.php

“There were two types of orders for ‘honorable deaths’—one for residents to kill each other and the other for the military to kill all residents.” —From the documentary Nuchigafu by the Korean-Japanese director, Pak Su-nam.

The Japanese Army used civilians as human shields against the Americans. They forced civilians out of their shelters, confiscated food from them and executed those who hid it, leading to a mass starvation among Okinawans.

Japanese soldiers also murdered more than 1,000 Okinawans for speaking their mother tongue to suppress spying.

“You have the Battle of Britain, in which your airmen protected the British people. We had the Battle of Okinawa, in which the exact opposite happened. The Japanese army not only starved the Okinawans but used them as human shields. That dark history is still present today…,” an official of the prefectural government in Okinawa told David Hearst of The Guardian.

In March 2013, Japanese textbook publisher Shimizu Shoin was permitted by MEXT to publish the statements that, “Orders from Japanese soldiers led to Okinawans committing group suicide,” and, “The [Japanese] army caused many tragedies in Okinawa, killing local civilians and forcing them to commit mass suicide.” [Link deleted by Japan’s Mainichi newspaper.]

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Heatwave Kills at least 485 in Pakistan

Posted by feww on June 23, 2015

Death toll mounts amid intense heatwave in Sindh province, Pakistan

Pakistan’s opposition parties have decided to observe black day across the country following deaths of at least 485  from the heatwave that has plagued Karachi area, said the state TV.

More than 3,000 affected people were brought to hospitals since Saturday, including at least 200 who were in a critical condition.

Most of  the deaths [at least 474 and a further 11 deaths were reported in southern parts of central Punjab province] occurred in Karachi [pop: ~ 25million,] where temperatures of up to 45ºC  (113ºF) have been recorded in recent days, according to reports.

The temperature difference between the city and its outskirts was as much as 7ºC on Saturday, according to a researcher.

Karachi is the second most populous city in the world after Shanghai.

Most of the victims died from heatstroke, said health officials.

The governor of Sindh province [pop: 45m; density=320/km²] has imposed a state of emergency,  cancelling leave for doctors and other medical staff at all hospitals, and increasing stocks of medical supplies, the report said.

Thousands died in a heatwave in neighboring India in May [official toll put at 2,000.]

Related Links

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Massive destruction in China caused by rainstorms

Posted by feww on June 22, 2015

Extreme rain events (EREs) destroy tens of thousands of homes in China

Mega disasters caused by rainstorms, flooding and landslides have affected millions of people across large swathes of southern, southwestern and central China, leaving scores of people dead, injured, or missing and about 500,000 others homeless, since early June.

“As of Wednesday [June 17, 2015,] the rainstorms that began pelting southern China on Sunday [June 13, 2015,] had left at least 42 dead and 36 missing,” causing direct economic loss of “2.04 billion yuan (298.68 million U.S. dollars).”

Extreme rain events (EREs) have affected more than 1.43 million people in the flooded provinces of Guangxi, Sichuan, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, said a report.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-06/17/c_13354477.htm

Southern China has received “14 rounds of heavy rainfall since June 13th,” which have triggered severe flooding and landslides, the Ministry of Water Resources have said.

“Over 100,000 residents have been evacuated in hardest-hit Fujian, Sichuan, and Guangdong provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Resulting floods have damaged more than 7,000 houses… The situation remains serious as rainstorms are to continue battering most regions in southern China for the next three days.”
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/video/2010-06/17/c_13355065.htm

“The death toll from rain-triggered landslides and flooding in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has climbed to 51 with two people still missing, the local government said Saturday.”

“In Rongxian County of Yulin City alone, 30 people were confirmed dead after rain-triggered landslides buried several homes in two mountainside villages on Tuesday, the county’s emergency rescue headquarters said in a press release.

“A similar disaster killed at least a dozen people in Cenxian County, where rescue work was continuing Saturday. Heavy rain and subsequent floods and landslides had hit 42 counties in nine cities including Laibin, Yulin and Wuzhou this week,” the regional flood prevention and drought control office said, Xinhua reported.

At least 11,000 houses have been destroyed, “forcing 200,000 people to evacuate,” the report said.

“As of Saturday, rain-triggered disasters have destroyed 15 reservoirs and about 4,000 irrigation facilities,” the office said.

“Guangxi’s grain output would be down by about 150,850 tonnes.”
http://english.cntv.cn/20100605/101502.shtml

“Six people were killed and two more missing after rainstorms caused 1,500 houses to collapse in central China’s Hunan Province Tuesday, local authorities said.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-06/08/c_13340296.htm

“Classes for 65,000 schoolchildren have been suspended and more than 165,000 people have been evacuated as strong rains pounded south China, local authorities said Saturday. Heavy rains since Friday have swept across 36 counties and cities in Hunan Province, destroying more than 2,000 buildings … and damaging more than 10,000 homes.”

“The new round of heavy rains starting Friday also caused havoc in east China’s Jiangxi Province. Apart from causing one death, 44,600 more people were forced to evacuate,” said the Provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

“Also in Jiangxi, 1,531 homes were damaged, and the direct economic losses were estimated at 718 million yuan (about 105.59 million U.S.dollars), the provincial headquarters said.”

“The new round of heavy rains also pounded east China’s two other regions of Shanghai and Zhejiang Province, but there were no details of damages.”
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-05/22/c_13309748.htm

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Environmental Emergency Declared in Santiago amid Hazardous Smog

Posted by feww on June 22, 2015

Suffocating smog forces Chilean govt. to declare state of emergency in Santiago

Chilean officials have declared an environmental emergency in response to PM2.5-rich smog in the capital, Santiago.

The emergency measures requires about 3,000 factories and other polluting businesses to stay closed on Monday. Additionally, 40 percent of the capital’s 1.8 million cars will stay off the roads, said Santiago regional governor Orrego Larrain.

“We’re currently facing unusual conditions, with one of the driest Junes in over 40 years as well as really bad air circulation conditions over the Santiago valley in recent days, which boosts the concentration of contamination,” said  the Environment Ministry.

The restrictions would remain in place for 24 hours, while dangerously high pollution levels persists, but can be extended if no improvement in the conditions results.

Meanwhile, the health officials have urged Santiago residents to avoid outdoor exercise, while the emergency measures last.

Santiago [metro population: ~ 7.5 million] is located in Chile’s central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706 ft) above the sea level.

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Deadly Heatwave Claims About 200 Lives in Pakistan

Posted by feww on June 22, 2015

Updated

Heatwave in Pakistan’s Sindh province kills about 200 people

Massive heatwave has killed about 200 people in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province [pop: 45m; density=320/km².]

Most of  the deaths occurred in Karachi [pop: ~ 25million,] where temperatures of up to 45ºC  (113ºF) have been recorded in recent days, according to local reports.

The temperature difference between the city and its outskirts was as much as 7ºC on Saturday, according to a researcher.

Karachi is the second most populous city in the world after Shanghai.

Thousands died in a heatwave in neighboring India in May [official toll put at 2,000.]

National High and Low Temperature

Meanwhile, the National High and Low Temperatures for the contiguous United States were as follows:

High Temperature for Sunday, June 21, 2015

  • 50ºC  (122ºF) at Death Valley, CA

Low Temperature for Sunday, June 21, 2015

  • -1ºC  (30ºF) at Charleston [a ghost town in Elko County, NV]

[Source: NWS Weather Prediction Center, College Park, MD Issued 2 am EDT Monday, June 22, 2015]

Excessive Heat Warnings or Heat Advisories are currently in effect in parts of at least 12 states, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

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Wildfires Burning Thousands of Acres in 8 States

Posted by feww on June 21, 2015

Massive blazes burning from Alaska to Florida

Dozens of fires are burning tens of thousands of acres (hectares) across eight U.S. States—Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Montana, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington .

Federal Authorities have already declared Fire Management Assistance Declaration for at least three of the most destructive fires:

  • Arizona Kearney River Fire (FM-5086)
  • Alaska Card Street Fire (FM-5085)
  • Alaska Sockeye Fire (FM-5084)

The fires have destroyed scores of buildings and forced thousands of evacuations across the affected areas.

Some 60 wildfires of all sizes are currently raging across Alaska.

Red Flag Warnings and/or Excessive Heat Warnings are currently in effect in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado and Nevada.

Alaska Gov. Walker declared a state disaster last week in response to widespread damages caused by the Sockeye Fire wildfire in Willow and the surrounding region.

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FIRE-EARTH Q&A DAY: Cobbled Void

Posted by feww on June 20, 2015

CJ Members

Cobbled Void

FIRE-EARTH Q&A TODAY will start @ 18:02 UTC.

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Suddenly, everyone and their aunts become extinction experts

Posted by feww on June 20, 2015

Was it something we said?!

[STOP FISHING FOR INFORMATION! You are regurgitating what we’ve said and throwing it back at us! We’ll tell you ONLY what we intend to, on the need to know basis, but NOT a word more. STOP trying so hard, you’re making it too obvious! Besides, we don’t care WHO claims the credit because they won’t be there to collect. Get it?]

Earth ‘entering new extinction phase’ – US study

The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three US universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties.

The report, led by the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, said vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal.

The findings echo those in a report published by Duke University last year.

One of the new study‘s authors said: “We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33209548

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M6.4 Quake Strikes Coastal Chile

Posted by feww on June 20, 2015

UPDATED

Strong earthquake strikes 88kmNW of Concepcion, Chile

Centered at 36.329°S, 73.817°W the quake occurred at a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 mi), said USGS/EHP.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.4Mw
Location: 36.329°S, 73.817°W; depth=10.0 km (6.2 mi)
Time: 2015-06-20 02:10:06 (UTC)
Nearby Cities:

  • 76km (47mi) NW of Talcahuano, Chile
  • 83km (52mi) WNW of Tome, Chile
  • 87km (54mi) WNW of Penco, Chile
  • 88km (55mi) NW of Concepcion, Chile
  • 430km (267mi) SW of Santiago, Chile

[http://www.emsc-csem.org/]

Magnitude: 6.4Mw
Region: OFFSHORE BIO-BIO, CHILE
Date time: 2015-06-20 at 02:10:05.0 UTC
Location: 36.32 S,73.74 W
Depth: 2 km [unconfirmed]
Distances:

  • 425 km SW of Santiago, Chile / pop: 4,837,295
  • 84 km NW of Concepción, Chile / pop: 215,413
  • 71 km NW of Talcahuano, Chile / pop: 252,968

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M 6.1 Quake Strikes NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN

Posted by feww on June 19, 2015

EQ Details

Magnitude: 6.1
Region: NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN
Location: 24.70N, 171.54 E
Depth: 10 km
Date time: 2015-06-19 14:51:17.1 UTC
Distances:

  • 1,949 km N of Majuro, Marshall Islands / pop: 25,400
  • 2,591 km N of Tarawa, Kiribati / pop: 40,311
  • 2,890 km NE of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands / pop: 48,220 2015-06-20

Source parameters provided by:
GeoForschungsZentrum (GEOFON) — Potsdam, Germany (GFZ)

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Crop Disasters Declared in Three States

Posted by feww on June 19, 2015

Crop disasters declared for 26 counties across three states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 26 counties in three states: The Carolinas and Idaho—as crop disaster areas due to losses caused by the worsening drought and Freezing condition.

Disaster Designation due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought

  • Idaho. Blaine, Cassia, Camas, Elmore, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties.

Disaster Designation due to damages and losses caused by freezing conditions that occurred from Jan. 8,, 2015, through March 29, 2015

  • South Carolina. Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Fairfield, Greenville, Laurens, Newberry, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union and York counties.
  • North Carolina. Cleveland, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 1,259 counties across 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington.

About 99 percent of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on June 17, 2015 (posted on their website on June 19).

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State of Emergency Declared in Missouri amid Widespread Flooding

Posted by feww on June 19, 2015

Tropical Depression BILL batters central U.S. bringing torrential rains, and causing deadly flooding

Gov. Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri as extreme rain events and flooding continued to affect large portions of the state.

“With more heavy rain in the forecast, we will continue to remain in direct contact with law enforcement and local officials as we work to protect lives and property,” Nixon said.

The storm has claimed several lives so far including those in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

BILL  hit in Texas on Tuesday, and is forecast to move northeast into West Virginia, dumping as much as 30cm (12 in) of rain in some areas, forecasters said.

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Earth’s Fever Continues: Warmest May on Record

Posted by feww on June 19, 2015

Year-to-date also record warm: Report

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for May 2015 was 15.67°C (60.17°F), the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880. Globally averaged temperature for March–May and the year-to-date (January–May) were also record highs, according to the State of the Climate Report.

  • The combined average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for May was 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F)—the highest for May in the 136-year period of record, topping the previous record set in 2014 by 0.08°C (0.14°F).
  • The globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 16.3°C (61.3°F)—the highest ever recorded for the month, topping record set in 2014 by 0.07°C (0.13°F).
  • The average global temperature across land surfaces was 1.28°C (2.30°F) above the 20th century average of 11.1°C (52.0°F), tying with 2012 as the highest May temperature on record.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for May was about 1.89 million km² (730,000 square miles), or 5.5 percent below the 1981–2010 average, making it the third smallest May extent since records began in 1979.  [The smallest sea ice extent occurred in May 2004, when the cover shrank to about 1.82million km² (703,000 square miles,) said the report
  • Antarctic sea ice during May was about 1.3 million km² (500,000 square miles), or 12.1 percent above the 1981–2010 average. The May extent was the largest Antarctic sea ice extent on record, exceeding the previous record set in 2014 by about 52,000km² (20,000 square miles).

January – May 2015

  • The first five months of 2015 were the warmest such period on record across the world’s land and ocean surfaces, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09°C (0.16°F).

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for May 2015, published online June 2015, retrieved on June 19, 2015 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201505.

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Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters – 2014 Update

Posted by feww on June 19, 2015

Eight weather and climate mega disasters in 2014 caused more than $17 billion in losses

In 2014, eight weather and climate events across the United States, each with losses exceeding $1 billion, caused  a total of more than $17 billion in losses.

In 2013, there were nine events with over $24 billion in losses (CPI-adjusted). Since 1980, the year 2011 had the most billion-dollar events (16) while 2005 was the most damaging year with more than $200 billion in losses (CPI-adjusted), according to the official Scorekeeper, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

The greatest economic impact of the weather and climate events have occurred since 1980 [and are ongoing.] The U.S. experienced 178 weather and climate mega disasters during the 1980-2014 period, with overall damages/costs of each event exceeding $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2015). The total cost of these 178 mega disasters exceeds $1 trillion, said NCEI (NOAA/NCDC).

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World at War: One in Every 122 Humans is a Refugee

Posted by feww on June 18, 2015

One in every 122 humans is a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum  —UNHCR

Record numbers of  people are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere amid wars, conflict and persecution, said a new report from the UN refugee agency.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (June 18), said that worldwide displacement in 2014 was at the highest level ever recorded.

An astounding 59.5 million people, a population the size of Canada and Australia combined, were forcibly displaced at the end of 2014, compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million ten years ago.

“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop wars and build and preserve peace.”

The numbers of refugees and internally displaced people are rising in every region of the world. Since 2010, “at least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited: eight in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, northeastern Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and this year in Burundi); three in the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, and Yemen); one in Europe (Ukraine) and three in Asia (Kyrgyzstan, and in several areas of Myanmar and Pakistan).”

“Few of these crises have been resolved and most still generate new displacement,” the report said, adding that in 2014 only 126,800 refugees were able to return to their home countries—the lowest number in 31 years.

Children comprise half of all refugees

More than half the world’s refugees and IDP are children, according to the UN report.

In 2014, about 13.9 million people became newly displaced—four times the number of the previous year, according to the Global Trends report. “Worldwide there were 19.5 million refugees (up from 16.7 million in 2013), 38.2 million were displaced inside their own countries (up from 33.3 million in 2013), and 1.8 million people were awaiting the outcome of claims for asylum (against 1.2 million in 2013).”

Worldwide Refugees and IDP

Asia

The number of refugees and internally displaced people in Asia grew by 31 per cent in 2014 to 9 million. “Continuing displacement was also seen in and from Myanmar in 2014, including of Rohingya from Rakhine state and in the Kachin and Northern Shan regions. Iran and Pakistan remained two of the world’s top four refugee hosting countries.”

Europe

Forced displacement numbers in Europe rose to 6.7 million last year, compared to 4.4 million at the end of 2013, with the largest proportion of this being Syrians in Turkey, Ukrainians in the Russian Federation, and a record 219,000 Mediterranean crossings…

Middle East and North Africa

Syria’s ongoing war, with a total of 11.5  million displaced people [7.6 million IDP and  3.88 million refugees at the end of 2014,] was the world’s largest producer and host of forced displacement last year. The regional total grew further with new displacement of least 2.6 million people in Iraq and 309,000 newly displaced in Libya. Afghanistan had 2.59 million refugees.

Sub-Saharan Africa

“Africa’s numerous conflicts, including in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia (1.1 million), Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, together produced immense forced displacement totals in 2014, on a scale only marginally lower than in the Middle East.”

Sub-Saharan Africa had 3.7 million refugees and 11.4 million IDP, 4.5 million of whom were newly displaced in 2014. The 17 per cent overall increase excludes Nigeria.

Americas

A rise in forced displacement also occurred in the Americas, said the report. Colombia had one of the world’s largest IDP at 6 million, with 137,000 Colombians being newly displaced in 2014. “With more people fleeing gang violence or other forms of persecution in Central America, the United States saw 36,800 more asylum claims than in 2013, representing growth of 44 percent.”

The Global Trends report is available at http://unhcr.org/556725e69.html.

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A Third of World’s Major Aquifers Rapidly Depleting: Report

Posted by feww on June 18, 2015

Groundwater basins likely far smaller than previously thought: Researchers

Some of the world’s largest groundwater basins are rapidly depleting due to excessive human consumption, according to two new studies led by UC Irvine.

Researchers say they they don’t know exactly how much more water remains in the basins.

The findings are significant because humans are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out, the researchers say.

“Available physical and chemical measurements are simply insufficient,” said UCI principal researcher. “Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left.”

Researchers classified eight of the planet’s 37 largest aquifers as “overstressed,” with almost “no natural replenishment to offset usage,” and five others as “extremely or highly stressed.”

Unsurprisingly, the most stressed aquifers are in the world’s driest areas, which depend greatly on underground water. “Climate change and population growth are expected to intensify the problem.”

“What happens when a highly stressed aquifer is located in a region with socioeconomic or political tensions that can’t supplement declining water supplies fast enough?” asks the lead author on both studies. “We’re trying to raise red flags now to pinpoint where active management today could protect future lives and livelihoods.”

Researchers found that the Arabian Aquifer System, on which more than 60 million people depend, is the most overstressed reserve in the world.

The second-most overstressed reserve is the Indus Basin aquifer in NW India and Pakistan, with the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa in third position. California’s Central Valley is also classified as “highly stressed.”

“As we’re seeing in California right now, we rely much more heavily on groundwater during drought,” said the principal researcher.

“We don’t actually know how much is stored in each of these aquifers.” The lead author said. “In a water-scarce society, we can no longer tolerate this level of uncertainty, especially since groundwater is disappearing so rapidly.”

[Globally, about 2.2 billion people rely on groundwater as the primary source of freshwater. Estimate is based on FIRE-EARTH Models.]

The report is posted at Water Resources Research

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West Coast Toxic Algae Bloom Probably Largest Ever

Posted by feww on June 17, 2015

Dangerous levels of potent neurotoxin domoic acid found along the West Coast

Federal scientists set out from Oregon Monday to study the massive bloom, which could be the largest ever discovered off the US West Coast, said a report.

“The effects stretch from Central California to British Columbia, and possibly as far north as Alaska. Dangerous levels of the natural toxin domoic acid have shut down recreational and commercial shellfish harvests in Washington, Oregon and California this spring.”

“Extremely high” levels of neurotoxin domoic acid found in Monterey Bay

Extremely high concentrations of the potent toxin domoic acid were detected in Monterey Bay by monitors led by UC Santa Cruz in May, and more blooms were reported elsewhere along the U.S. west coast.

“It’s a pretty massive bloom. The domoic acid levels are extremely high right now in Monterey Bay, and the event is occurring as far north as Washington state. So it appears this will be one of the most toxic and spatially largest events we’ve had in at least a decade,” said Kudela, professor of ocean sciences and at UC Santa Cruz.

Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin produced by tiny algae called Pseudo-nitzschia (a type of diatom). The toxin was first detected in early May, and within the month researchers had detected the highest concentrations of domoic acid ever observed in Monterey Bay, off the coast of California.

“We have confirmed domoic acid at very high levels in mussels and anchovy,” Kudela said. His lab also found very high levels of the toxin in samples from a dead pelican found on the beach in Moss Landing, and testing of sea lion samples is under way. “Domoic acid has clearly worked its way into the food web,” he said.

The acid has claimed several lives and sickened scores of others, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP)

Meantime, researchers have discovered two other types of toxins, said to be a rare combination, in shellfish in Puget Sound and along the Washington coast, said Vera Trainer, a senior scientist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

Read more…

 

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M7.0 Quake Strikes Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Posted by feww on June 17, 2015

UPDATE:

This quake has been upgraded to 6.8Mw event by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre

Magnitude Mw 6.8
Date time 2015-06-17 12:51:31.8 UTC
Location 35.26 S ; 17.79 W
Depth 10 km

And to a 6.9Mw event by GEOFON Global Seismic Monitor

F-E Region: Southern Mid Atlantic Ridge
Magnitude: 6.9 (Mw)
Epicenter: 17.73°W 35.38°S
Depth: 10 km
Status: M – manually revised

Powerful quake occurs north of Tristan

Centered at 35.362°S, 17.392°W the quake occurred north of Tristan da Cunha Fracture Zone, about 494km (308mi) WNW of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, Saint Helena, at a depth of about 10.0 km (6.2 mi), reported USGS/EHP.

EQ Details

Magnitude: 7.0Mw [Upgraded from 6.1Mw]
Location: 35.362°S, 17.392°W
Date/ Time of Occurrence: 2015-06-17 at 12:51:33 (UTC)
Depth: 10km

Tsunami Evaluation
A DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT DOES NOT EXIST BASED ON HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA. [NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER]

Related Links

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