Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Posts Tagged ‘southern hemisphere’

Puyehue Volcano Ash Clouding SH Skies

Posted by feww on June 13, 2011

Continued Eruption at Puyehue Volcano Complex Wreaking Havoc in Southern Hemisphere

Eruption Details: CONTINUOUS EMISSION

Eruption Details from Darwin VAAC:
HIGH LEVEL ERUPTION, ASH MOVING EAST



C
redit: NOAA and EUMETSAT 


Ash and sulphur dioxide (SO2) from Puyehue Volcano Complex eruptions. The Ash RGB is composed from data from a combination of the SEVIRI IR8.7, IR10.8 and IR12.0 channels. Copyright Eumetsat 2011. Click image to enlarge.


Source: NILU Institute, Norway. Image may be subject to copyright.

IDD41290
VA ADVISORY
DTG: 2011/06/13/ 00:00UTC
VAAC: Darwin

VOLCANO: Cordon Caulle 1507-141
PSN: S4031 W07212
AREA: Chile C
SUMMIT ELEV: 1,798M

ADVISORY NR: 2011/24
INFO SOURCE: MTSAT, TOULOUSE VAAC, AIREP
AVIATION COLOUR CODE: RED
ERUPTION DETAILS: HIGH LEVEL ERUPTION, ASH MOVING EAST

Airline Flights

Australian airline Qantas said it was too dangerous to fly through the thick clouds of ash drifting over the Pacific Ocean from  continuous eruption at CORDON CAULLE volcano in the Puyehue Volcano Complex, Chile. Accordingly, it has cancelled all its flights to and from Melbourne. The decision follows earlier flight cancellations in and out of Tasmania and most of of New Zealand.

All other airlines, with the exception of Air New Zealand, have also grounded flights in the region.

The logic-defying Air New Zealand is risking the lives of its passengers by worming in out of the ash clouds, trying to dodge the worst of the plumes. The airline said it was adjusting flight paths to steer aircraft below the ash!!

Related Links

FIRE-EARTH Volcano Watch


Posted in environment | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UV exposure has increased over the last 30 years

Posted by feww on March 17, 2010

UV exposure has increased over the last 30 years, but stabilized since the mid-1990s

For Public Consumption: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA scientists analyzing 30 years of satellite data have found that the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth’s surface has increased markedly over the last three decades. Most of the increase has occurred in the mid-and-high latitudes, and there’s been little or no increase in tropical regions.


Ultraviolet radiation can damage [destroys] DNA by distorting [tearing apart] its structure. Source: NASA

The new analysis shows, for example, that at one line of latitude — 32.5 degrees — a line that runs through central Texas in the northern hemisphere and the country of Uruguay in the southern hemisphere, 305 nanometer UV levels have gone up by some 6 percent on average since 1979.

The primary culprit: decreasing levels of stratospheric ozone, a colorless gas that acts as Earth’s natural sunscreen by shielding the surface from damaging UV radiation.

The finding reinforces previous observations that show UV levels are stabilizing after countries began signing an international treaty that limited the emissions of ozone-depleting gases in 1987. The study also shows that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere over the 30-year period has impacted UV.

Jay Herman, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., stitched together data from several earth observing satellites — including NASA’s Aura satellite, NOAA weather satellites, and commercial satellites — to draw his conclusions. The results were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in February.

“Overall, we’re still not where we’d like to be with ozone, but we’re on the right track,” said Jay Herman. “We do still see an increase in UV on a 30-year timescale, but it’s moderate, it could have been worse, and it appears to have leveled off.”

In the tropics, the increase has been minimal, but in the mid-latitudes it has been more obvious. During the summer, for example, UV has increased by more than 20 percent in Patagonia and the southern portions of South America. It has risen by nearly 10 percent in Buenos Aires, a city that’s about the same distance from the equator as Little Rock, Ark. At Washington, D.C.’s latitude — about 35 degrees north — UV has increased by about 9 percent since 1979.

The southern hemisphere tends to have more UV exposure because of the ozone hole, a seasonal depletion of the ozone layer centered on the South Pole. There are also fewer particles of air pollution — which help block UV — due to the comparatively small numbers of people who live in the southern hemisphere.

Despite the overall increases, there are clear signs that ultraviolet radiation levels are on the verge of falling. Herman’s analysis, which is in agreement with a World Meteorological Report [surprise, surprise!]  published in recent years, shows that decreases in ozone and corresponding increases in UV irradiance leveled off in the mid-nineties.

The Many Sides of Radiation

Shorter ultraviolet wavelengths of light contain more energy than the infrared or visible portions of sunlight that reach Earth’s surface. Because of this, UV photons can break atmospheric chemical bonds and cause complex health effects.

Longer wavelengths (from 320 to 400 nanometers) — called UV-A — cause sunburn and cataracts. Yet, UV-A can also improve health by spurring the production of Vitamin D, a substance that’s critical for calcium absorption in bones and that helps stave off a variety of chronic diseases.

UV-B, which has slightly shorter wavelengths (from 320 to 290 nanometers), damages DNA by tangling and distorting its ladder-like structure, causing a range of health problems such as skin cancer and diseases affecting the immune system.

As part of his study, Herman developed a mathematical technique to quantify the biological impacts of UV exposure. He examined and calculated how changing levels of ozone and ultraviolet irradiance affect life. For Greenbelt, Md., for example, he calculated that a 7 percent increase in UV yielded a 4.4 percent increase in the damage to skin, a 4.8 percent increase in damage to DNA, a 5 percent increase in Vitamin D production, and less than a percent of increase in plant growth.

“If you go to the beach these days, you’re at slightly higher risk of getting skin cancer (without protection),” Herman said, though he noted the risk would have been even greater in the absence of regulations on ozone-depleting substances.

Last year, one of Herman’s Goddard colleagues, Paul Newman, published a study showing that the ozone hole likely would have become a year-round fixture and UV radiation would increase 650 percent by 2065 in mid-latitude cities if not for the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1987 that limited the amount of ozone-depleting gases countries could emit.

Clouds and Hemispheric Dimming

In addition to analyzing ozone and ultraviolet trends, Herman also used satellite data to study whether changes in cloudiness have affected UV trends. To his surprise, he found that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere produced a dimming effect that increased the shielding from UV compared to previous years.

In the higher latitudes especially, he detected a slight reduction — typically of 2 to 4 percent — in the amount of UV passing through the atmosphere and reaching the surface due to clouds. “It’s not a large amount, but it’s intriguing,” Herman said. “We aren’t sure what’s behind it yet.”

Vitali Fioletov, a Canadian scientist and member of the World Meteorological Organization’s advisory group on ultraviolet radiation, agreed that Herman’s findings about cloudiness warrant additional investigation. “I found the cloud effects on the global scale to be the most interesting aspect of the study,” he said. “This isn’t something you could see without satellites.”

Herman synthesized measurements from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) aboard Nimbus 7 and Earth Probe, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, NASA’s Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-view sensor (SeaWiFS) on the commercial SeaStar satellite, and the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Instrument (SBUV) on several polar orbiting NOAA weather satellites.

###

Related Links:

Global increase in UV irradiance during the past 30 years (1979�) estimated from satellite data
www.agu.org/pubs/

New Simulation Shows Consequences of a World Without Earth’s Natural Sunscreen
www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/world_avoided

Ozone Hole Watch
ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov

Ultraviolet Radiation: How it Affects Life on Earth
earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Related Links:

Posted in Aura satellite, DNA Damage, ozone hole, SBUV, stratospheric ozone | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2000-2009 Warmest Decade on Record

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

January 2000 to December 2009 the warmest decade on record

In an earlier post:

Year 2009 was the 2nd warmest year on record, NASA GISS reported. As for the overall global temperatures, the year was only marginally cooler than 2005, the warmest on record (modern records began in 1880), sharing joint 2nd position with the years 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007, GISS analysis show.


Temperature anomalies for 2009. Acquired January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009


Temperature anomalies for 2000–2009 acquired January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2009

These maps illustrate just how much warmer temperatures were in 2009 (top image) and the decade (2000-2009, lower image) compared to average temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980 (a common reference period for climate studies). In both images, the most extreme warming, shown in red, was in the Arctic. Very few areas saw cooler than average temperatures, shown in blue in both time periods. Gray areas over Africa and parts of the Southern Ocean are places where temperatures were not recorded. NASA images by Robert Simmon, based on data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Caption by Adam Voiland and Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW.


The map shows temperature changes for the last decade — January 2000 to December 2009 — relative to the 1951-1980 mean. Warmer areas are in red, cooler areas in blue. The largest temperature increases occurred in the Arctic and a portion of Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA). Click Image to enlarge.


Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth’s surface temperatures have increased since 1880. The last decade has brought the temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded. The graph shows global annual surface temperatures relative to 1951-1980 mean temperatures. As shown by the red line, long-term trends are more apparent when temperatures are averaged over a five year period. (Image credit: NASA).
Click Image to enlarge.


As seen by the blue point farthest to the right on this graph, 2009 was the warmest year on record in the Southern Hemisphere. (Image credit: NASA).  Click Image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in global temperatures, Goddard space institute, Warmest Decade | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Mick Looked Like

Posted by feww on December 15, 2009

Image of the Day:

Tropical Cyclone Mick


Click image to enlarge.

Tropical Cyclone Mick hovered over the Fiji Islands
on December 13, 2009, and intensified the following day, pounding the archipelago with strong winds and heavy rains.  The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image of Mick on December 13, 2009.  The storm had maximum sustained winds of 55 knots (100 kilometers per hour) with gusts of to 70 knots (130 kilometers per hour). Image and caption credit: NASA Earth Observatory. [edited by FEWW]

Related Links:

Posted in mick, MODIS, storm, tropical cyclone | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mother Nature 3 – NZ 0

Posted by feww on May 27, 2008

Electricity Shortages in New Zealand

New Zealand is facing electricity shortages unless sufficient rain recharges its hydro catchments, the government [sic] said.

“Unless we have some increased inflows in the South Island hydro catchments in the next three weeks, further conservation measures will have to be looked at,” the Energy Minister [sic] said.

South Island hydro power facilities provide about two thirds of New Zealand’s electricity. According to a wholesale electricity market operator, storage in hydro-electric lakes is about 40 percent below average. As a result the price of electricity jumped by 30.6 percent to $215.26 per megawatt hour.


Location map of Taupo, New Zealand

In the 2003 power crisis, the government had planned to cut residential hot water supplies, followed by rolling power cuts for residential users, and blackouts.

Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, located in New Zealand’s South Island, consumes about 15 percent of the country’s electricity.

Farm Produce

Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that the prolonged drought in New Zealand, the worst in 20 years, had cut farm production and more than doubled the power prices this year. New Zealand’s energy demand peaks June through August during the hemisphere winter months due to heating use. Hydro-power lakes have been below average since November 2007.

In April 2008, lake Taupo was 18 percent below average. Lake Pukaki was 40 percent below average. Lake Manapouri, which is used to supply Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, was 45 percent below its usual levels.

Continuing drought in New Zealand and Australia, as well as a falling production in the UK and a weak dollar, are raising the prices of milk and dairy products globally. In the past 12 months the price of milk has increased by 32 percent, eggs by 40 percent and wholewheat bread by 26 percent.

Earthquake hit south of Macquarie Island

Meanwhile, in a triple whammy, a 5.9-magnitude quake hit 2100 km (1300 miles) S of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, earlier today close to a major fault line. Recent increased seismic activities N, NW and SE of New Zealand do not bode well for the country. The earthquakes may result in a period intense volcanic activity in New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Related links:

santorini

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, new zealand, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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