Sunday, June 5, 2011

EARTH CHANGES: Arizona Wildfires Burns More Than 250,000 Acres!

Wildfires continue to rage in Arizona as the firefighting army grows to 1,000 to combat one of the largest wildfires in the state's history threatened mountain retreats and spread ash and smoke as far away as Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than 200 miles away. Across the state, blazes have burned more than 250,000 acres.

More than 1,000 personnel were battling a large wildfire near Alpine in the east-central part of the state. The fire, of undetermined origin, had burned 140,000 acres by Saturday and prompted the evacuation of nearly 2,500 people. It was completely uncontained Saturday afternoon. "The fire is burning pretty fast and it's pretty large," said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who visited the area Saturday.

"It's a big fire and we hope that we get more encouraging news in the morning." She said officials have so far spent some $3 million on efforts to put out the blaze and that she would consider asking the state or federal governments for help if the situation gets worse. The fire, which began last weekend, has destroyed several log outbuildings and remained a large threat to vacation homes and other properties in Alpine and Nutrioso, said Sgt. Richard Guinn of the Apache County Sheriff's Office. Residents in those communities and a subdivision were evacuated.
 - CNN.
WATCH: Arizona Governor comments on the wildfires.

WATCH: Hazy conditions linger from wildfires.

THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: UNITED NATIONS - Extreme Weather Will Significantly Upset The Global Food Output During The Next Decade!

Global food output may be hurt as climate change brings more extreme weather over the next decade, with China likely set for harsher droughts and North America getting heavier rain, said the World Meteorological Organization. “Extreme events will become more intense in the future, especially the heat waves and extreme precipitations,” Omar Baddour, a division chief at the United Nations’ agency, said in a phone interview from Geneva. “That, combined with less rainfall in some regions like the Mediterranean region and China, will affect crop production and agriculture.” The more extreme weather -- including in the U.S., the world’s largest agricultural exporter -- may disrupt harvests, possibly cutting production of grains, livestock and cooking oils and boosting prices. Global food costs reached a record in February, stoking inflation and pushing millions into poverty. “We foresee with high confidence in climate projections that intense precipitation in some parts of the world will be more intense, and drought will be more intense,” said Baddour, who’s tracked the subject for more than two decades. Extreme heat waves “will also be more intense and more frequent.”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s World Food Price Index, which tracks 55 food-commodity items, rose nine times in the past 10 months, with the gauge peaking at 237.24 in February. The index climbed to 232.07 last month. Baddour’s comments add to projections that more extreme weather may affect farm production. Sunny Verghese, chief executive officer at Olam International Ltd. (OLAM), among the world’s three biggest suppliers of rice, forecast in February that food- supply chains face “massive disruptions” from climate change. Drought in China has affected 6.5 million hectares of farmland, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website on May 20. China has ordered the operator of the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s biggest, to release water to replenish the Yangtze River and counter the local region’s lowest rainfall in half a century. The drought in China may cut early-season rice output if there’s no adequate rain over the next two weeks, according to industry researcher

“If the drought doesn’t end in two weeks, the impact on the region’s rice will no doubt be significant,” Zhang Lu, an analyst at the group, said yesterday. In the U.S., floods along the Mississippi River and its tributaries have affected almost 3.6 million acres of cropland, causing the most damage in Arkansas, the American Farm Bureau Federation said on May 23. Floods in Canada’s Frenchman River Basin may be the largest since 1952, and the waters slowed the nation’s sowing, the Canadian Wheat Board said on April 20. “Climate change, high-and-volatile food and energy prices, population and income growth” will put intense pressure on land and water and challenge global food security as never before, according to Mark Rosegrant, director of environment and production technology at the International Food Policy Research Institute.”
- Bloomberg.

EARTH CHANGES: Heavy Rain Causes Flash Floods in Singapore!

Singapore's national water agency PUB said heavy and intense rain fell over the central and eastern parts of Singapore early Sunday morning, resulting in flash floods in various locations.

PUB said the rainfall on Sunday was more intense than that of June last year, with about 65mm recorded within 30 minutes on Sunday morning, compared to the 100mm within two hours on June 16, 2010. PUB said the rainfall in the eastern area started early Sunday morning and caused flash floods at MacPherson areas including Wan Tho Avenue, Sian Kwang Avenue, Jalan Kemboja and Puay Hee Road. The MacPherson area is a flood-prone area. The rain moved over to the central area and intensified later in the morning. Callers to the MediaCorp hotline reported flooding in areas such as Cuscaden Road, Hillcrest Road, Eng Neo Avenue, Sennett Estate near Potong Pasir, MacPherson, Toa Payoh, and Balestier. They also reported fallen trees caused by the downpour and gusty wind. PUB said Orchard Road did not experience similar floods this time. PUB said it has substantially completed raising the stretch of Orchard Road (from Orange Grove Road to Cairnhill Road).

However, flash floods occurred at Cuscaden Road, Tanglin/Tomlinson Road junction, and Napier Road/Tanglin Road junction. The basement carpark of Delfi Orchard was flooded. The basement level 1 of Tanglin Mall was also affected for the first time. Forum Shopping Mall was also affected, and many stores had to close temporarily. MediaCorp understands that water levels were about ankle-deep. When MediaCorp visited Tanglin and Forum Shopping malls, store owners and employees there said that they had been cleaning up for more than two hours. Spinelli Coffee Company retail store manager at Forum The Shopping Mall Chen Jiahui said: "The rain is too heavy; the water comes too fast so subsequently, the area is all flooded. "The water just keeps on gushing in because (the) door is an auto door, so there's no way we can stop the water from coming in". PUB said it deployed tankers to both Delfi Orchard and Tanglin Mall to pump out the water from their basement carparks. Meanwhile, at Bukit Timah Road, flash floods occurred at the stretch from Blackmore to Maplewood Road and two out of three lanes were affected. The road was closed temporarily for one hour. PUB said drainage improvement works are in progress at the stretch from Jalan Kampong Chantek to Maple Avenue and this will improve the drainage capacity along this stretch by end-2011. PUB mobilised staff and contractors to the sites once it received alerts of heavy rain. PUB, Traffic Police and SCDF officers were on site to render assistance. In a statement issued at 12.15pm, PUB said the flash floods reported earlier along Bukit Timah Road (the stretch from Blackmore road to Maplewood Road) and Dunearn Road (from Rifle Range Road to Yarwood Road) as well as at Orchard Road (Cuscaden Road - at the Tanglin/Tomlinson Road junction; Tanglin/Napir Road junction) have subsided. These roads are now passable to traffic.
- Channel News Asia.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Dieng Volcano in Indonesia Spews Out Poisonous Gas At Three Times Higher Than Normal Safety Levels?!

Several days ago, authorities in Indonesia raised the alert to Level 3 for Mount Dieng in Central Java and ordered the evacuation of residents living near the area after the volcano began spewing poisonous gas. The alert meant that the volcano was showing active signs of erupting. Today, the volcano is spewing poisonous gas, surpassing the levels deemed safe for humans.

Dieng volcano.
Poisonous gases from Mount Dieng Indonesie three times higher than safe level. The level of carbon dioxide concentration measured in the air at Timbang, one of Mount Dieng's six craters, is two times higher than what is considered safe, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said.

On Sunday morning, the crater released thick clouds that spread approximately 100 meters towards the south and the main road connecting Wonosobo and Banjarnegara districts.

Five new earthquake detectors had been installed around Mount Dieng to monitor activities of three of its craters- Kepakisan, Karangetah and Pasorenan. The detectors are vital in not only detecting ground movement, but also toxic gases released from below. Locals have been instructed to remain in evacuation shelters and no one is permitted within a 1 kilometer radius of the crater. There are over 1000 evacuees currently living in shelters in Batur, Pejawaran, Wanayasa and Karangkobar.
- The Jakarta Globe.

KILLER GERM: E. COLI Superbug - Outbreak linked to Bean Sprouts?!

As the death toll rises to 21 and the number of cases increases to 2,200, German health authorities, who have been struggling cope with the surge in patients, say bean sprouts grown in the north of the country are likely to be the cause of the E. coli outbreak.

Bean Sprouts.
The number of suspected U.S. cases involving a deadly E.coli bacteria that has sickened thousands in Europe remained at four on Sunday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman said. "Right now there have been no reports of any additional suspected cases" in the United States, CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell told Reuters. All four U.S. patients recently visited Hamburg, Germany, officials said. The rare strain of E.coli has infected people in 12 countries. It has killed 22 people and made more than 2,000 ill.

German-grown beansprouts and other sprouts could be the source of the deadly outbreak, German officials said. There are no indications the U.S. food supply has been tainted by E.coli, U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesman Siobhan DeLancey told Reuters on Sunday. However, as a safety precaution, the FDA said it was conducting increased surveillance of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and raw salads imported from areas of concern. But officials said countries in the European Union are not a significant source of fresh produce for the United States. The CDC said three suspected cases of a type of kidney failure associated with E.coli infections - hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) - had been identified in Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin.

A fourth suspected case of diarrhea caused by the E.coli is under investigation, the CDC said. Symptoms of E.coli infections include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms of the HUS kidney failure, which usually develop a week after diarrhea begins, include decreased frequency of urination, fatigue and losing pink color to skin and membranes due to anemia, the CDC said.
- Reuters
WATCH: Sprouts likely cause of Germany's E. coli outbreak.

Earth Changes: Storms Pound Indiana, 1 Dead & 42,000 Blacked Out!

Severe weather moving across central Indiana has left one person dead, more than 40,000 utility customers without power and much of the state under a thunderstorm watch. Storms packing heavy rain, lightning, high winds and hail were reported throughout the state.

A line of strong thunderstorms pushed through around 8:00 p.m. Saturday night causing widespread minor damage. One of the hardest hit areas was near Anderson. One person was killed and three injured when a tree fell on a van. In the northern part of Madison County, numerous locations are without power and trees are blocking roadways. According to the local Emergency Management Agency, at the peak of the storm 8,000 customers were in the dark. Across all of Central Indiana, more than 42,000 people were without power at 10:00 p.m. Saturday. North of Anderson, a business lost its roof. Electro Communications located on State Road 9 suffered minor damage. No one was inside at the time of the storm. In Clinton County, the damage was typical for a strong summer storm. Trees were knocked down onto cars and homes in Frankfort. In the county, a barn lost its roof. No specific locations were given for the damage. - Fox59.

WATCH: Thunderstorm comes through Dyer and Schererville Indiana.

WATCH: Eyewitness capture of damaged areas in Indiana.

EARTH CHANGES: 26 Forest Fires in 24 Hours in Russia?!

Russia is currently engaged in the latest round of battle with forest fires, as 26 of them was recorded in just the past 24 hours, raising the prospects that the year 2011 could turn out to be just like last year when several hundred wildfires broke out across the country killing over 50,000 people and leaving behind damages of over $15 billion USD.

Firefighters and forestry workers in Russia's Far East extinguished 14 wildfires and continue putting out another 12 in the past 24 hours, the regional emergencies ministry said on Sunday. "Satellite monitoring and aircraft surveillance registered a total of 26 forest fires in the last 24 hours; fourteen of those were quickly extinguished," the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the remaining 12 wildfires had spread over the total area of about 55 hectares.

More than 660 personnel and 84 vehicles are involved in the firefighting effort in the affected regions, including Yakutia, the Khabarovsky Territory, the Matitime Territory and the Amur Region. Wildfires in forested regions of Russia are common during the dry and hot summer season. Most of the time, the fires start because of the careless behavior of local residents in the woods. Wildfires devastated a number of regions in central Russia last summer, killing 62 people and leaving thousands homeless.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.3 Quake Hits West of Macquarie Island!

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck west of Macquarie Island at a depth of 10 kilometres (km) or 6.2 miles. The quake hit at 11:51:12 UTC today, Sunday 5th June and was located at 55.944°S, 146.588°E. The epicentre was 794 km or 493 miles southwest of Macquarie Island, Australia; 1244 km or 772 miles northeast of Dumont d'Urville, Antarctica; 1449 km or 900 miles south of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; and 2018 km or 1253 miles south of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. According to the latest news reports no tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect and there are no reports of damage as yet.

PLANETARY TREMORS: PACIFIC "RING ON FIRE" - Chile's Puyehue Volcano's Violent Eruptions, Mass Evacuations, Dense Ash Cloud Covers Sections of Argentina as Tremors Escalates in Neuguen?!

“I’ve never seen anything like this in 44 years!”

Smoke and ash shot miles into the sky out of southern Chile's Puyehue volcano, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people. The column of volcanic material has now reached some 1,100 kilometers south of Santiago, as winds spreads it quickly towards parts of neighboring Argentina, which has been experiencing increase seismic activity in the Neuquen area. Chile and Argentina are located on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The eruption of one of the volcanos in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile, forced more than 3,500 people living nearby to evacuate. Authorities initially said the Puyehue volcano was involved, but later said the eruption was occurring about 2½ miles from that peak. A rift more than six miles long and three miles across was torn in the earth's crust, officials said Saturday night. Authorities had put the area on alert Saturday morning after a flurry of earthquakes, and the eruption began in the afternoon. The National Emergency Office said it recorded an average of 230 tremors an hour. About 600 people were evacuated when the first alert went up and hundreds more left their homes after the eruption began. Rodrigo Ubilla, Chile's undersecretary of labor, said some people near the volcano had decided not to leave their homes because they didn't want to abandon their animals. Wind carried ash across the Andes to the Argentine tourist town of San Carlos de Bariloche, which had to close its airport. Officials warned residents of the Bariloche area to take precautions against a possible prolonged ashfall. They urged people to stock up on food and water and to stay home. The eruption is nearly 620 miles south of Chile's national capital, Santiago. - The Telegraph.

WATCH: First videos of the volcanic eruptions.

WATCH: Chilean volcano prompts mass evacuations.

In Argentina, the Bariloche authorities are telling the population that they expect the ash to come down for at least 24 hours. San Carlos de Bariloche is the biggest city in the area (Argentine side of the border) and other parts of northern Patagonia are covered by a lot of ash. People report that the ash is coming down like rain. The administration of Bariloche has called the state of emergency because of the fallout of the volcano.
The city of Bariloche was covered by a dense ash cloud that originated after the Puyehue volcano suddenly erupted in Chile. The city’s fire department issued a red alert for the area, as Mayor Marcelo Gascón called an emergency meeting with the armed forces and Civil Defence authorities. Authorities also decided to shut down the Cardenal Samoré crossing at the Chile – Argentina border, and the local airport due to the poor visibility. “I’ve never seen anything like this in 44 years,” a local area resident stated. “The city is covered in ashes and I keep hearing thunders,” he added, scared. City Hall urged the population to remain calm, to keep their water supply at hand and remain inside their homes since they are not certain of how long the volcano could remain active. “We ask the population not to swarm to the supermarkets and gas stations. Public transportation services will continue to operate normally,” Gascón concluded. - Buenos Aires Herald.
WATCH: Ash from Chilean volcano reaches Bariloche in Argentina.

In addition to all of this, there was a series of moderate earthquakes in the lake district (Andes border area Argentina/Chile) with some epicentres located in Chile and of a volcanic nature.

NEUQUEN Earthquakes.
M 4.9    2011/06/04    17:54    Depth 20.3 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.7    2011/06/04    17:00    Depth 23.5 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.8    2011/06/04    16:28    Depth 19.6 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.6    2011/06/04    15:19    Depth 35.6 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.6    2011/06/04    15:05    Depth 46.2 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.7    2011/06/04    13:48    Depth 46.8 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.7    2011/06/04    13:20    Depth 35.8 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA
M 4.8    2011/06/04    12:24    Depth 58.9 km    NEUQUEN,    ARGENTINA

Authorities put the area around the volcano on alert after a flurry of earthquakes. The National Emergency Office says it has recorded an average of 230 tremors an hour. “The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometre-high gas column,” state emergency office ONEMI said. The chain of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanos – of which there are four – last saw a major eruption in 1960. - The Guardian.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: More Incidents of Fish Kill in the Philippines!

Fish kill incidents widened this weekend with reports of dead fish floating in some parts of Angat Dam in Bulacan, Batangas and Mestizo River in Ilocos Sur in the Philippines, authorities said Saturday.

The Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society Inc. (SSMSI) reported that dozens of dead freshwater fish surfaced in some parts of the giant reservoir of Angat. SSMI officials said their group began monitoring the fish kill parts of Angat Dam in Sitio Maputi, Barangay Kabayunan, Doña Remedios Trinidad. Dumagat tribesmen living near the area were the first to report a variety of freshwater fish like “tilapia”, “kanduli,” “dalag” (mudfish) and “hito”(catfish) turning up dead. Bro. Martin Franscisco of SSMSI quoted experts as saying that this might have been caused by a lack in oxygen and rise in ammonia levels in the water. Francisco explained that this happens when rotten logs and other organic materials such as falling leaves, fruits, twigs and branches crowd the river. SSMSI personnel have already been deployed to remove rotting logs, driftwoods and other organic materials from the river. Meanwhile, a large volume of milkfish began to surface along the Mestizo River in Barangays Callaguip and Don Lorenzo, in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur. “We are still in the process of consolidating the total value of killed fish species in the fish kill incident,” said Caoayan Mayor Germelina Singson Goulart, as she clarified that only 13 fish cages have been affected so far. Local agriculturist Marilou Factor said either an abrupt change in climate or an overcrowding of fish might have caused the incident. “These two factors had caused the suffocation of fishes along the river leading to their death,” Factor said. “Although the effect of fish kill in our river was not severe, I advised our fish cage owners to limit the fish content of their fish cages floating along the water in Mestizo River,” she added. - Manila Bulletin.

A new fish kill has hit Taal Lake in two towns and a city in Batangas, just hours after authorities had cleared one side of Taal Lake of rotting fish. The new fishkill hit on Sunday the lake’s water along the towns of Mataas na Kahoy and Cuenca and the city of Lipa. At least 20 metric tons of “bangus” (milkfish) and tilapia, which were grown in fish cages, and a ton of fish varieties endemic to the lake were lost in the latest fishkill, provincial information officer Ginette Segismundo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone on Sunday. Officials said barangay (village) Tagbakin, Lipa, lost 10 MT of tilapia in fish cages while Mataas na Kahoy lost 10 MT of bangus and tilapia. Aton of endemic fish were lost in the waters of the villages of Kalamayin and San Juan in the town of Cuenca, officials said. The fish varieties that died in Cuenca included biya, pauto, apta, katang, siliw and muang, Segismundo said. He, however, said that the two fish cages with bangus and tilapia in Cuenca were not affected. The dead fish from the three towns had been buried, he said. Cuenca, Lipa and Mataas na Kahoy are in the section of the lake located southeast of Talisay town, the worst hit of the seven towns originally affected by the fishkill, Segismundo said. The fishkill that hit Mataas na Kahoy town affected seven out of 30 fish cages in the lake, village chairman Sioli Manalo told the Inquirer by phone Sunday. The newly affected area is located about five kilometers southeast of the Talisay town side of the lake. She said the caretakers of the affected fish pens immediately hauled the dead fish from the pens. Manalo said the barangay government rented backhoes to bury the fish in Sitio (settlement) Tagbakin, located 100 meters away from the shoreline. She said she was told by the caretakers that the lake’s water became very hot shortly before the fish started dying at dawn Sunday. Manalo said they were still waiting for members of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to arrive and inspect the area to determine what caused the fishkill. She said the caretakers of the pens not affected by the fishkill have been harvesting the fish from the remaining fish cages for fear that their stocks might end up dead, too. All 30 fish pens in the village are owned and operated by Filipino workers and caretakers, according to Manalo. Meanwhile, Segismundo said that the Talisay part of the lake had been cleared of rotting fish. The cleanup, which was conducted from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, was spearheaded by the provincial government. As of Saturday, almost 2,000 metric tons of fish along Taal Lake have been lost to the fishkill, with losses estimated at P142 million. - Inquirer News.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Thousands of Dead Worms Plague Ohio!

A earthworm plague seems to be sweeping across the state of Ohio, as thousands of dead worms have been found blanketing the streets of cities and towns.

People across the Tri-State awoke to an unusual sight Thursday — thousands of earthworms lying dead on sidewalks and porches. WLWT was first alerted to the issue by Rick in West Chester. "This appears to have started sometime yesterday afternoon, as I do not remember seeing them yesterday morning," Rick wrote. Shortly after Rick's email, WLWT reporter Brian Hamrick began taking photos from his home in Florence, where thousands of worms coated the sidewalks of his neighborhood.

After one post on Facebook, more than 90 people said they had seen the same thing, from Fairfield, to Mount Airy, Pleasant Ridge, Independence and Sardinia. We even got confirmation from our sister TV station in Louisville that they had a few hundred dead worms on their sidewalk. WLWT went in search of an answer as to why so many worms died all at once. Lee Townsend, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky, said there could be three reasons: the recent heavy rains, mating season or acidic soils. Townsend said the rain and mating season were the most probably culprits. During mating season, the worms climb out of the ground and can get stuck on surfaces like the sidewalk, where they are left to die.

MAJOR ALERT: Solar Activity - The Chance of Geomagnetic Storms! UPDATE: Magnetic Storm Warnings Issued As Solar Winds Hit Earth!

Although the Sun's solar activity is temporarily low, despite a large number of spots on the solar disk, a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole could reach Earth on or about June 4th.

CHANCE OF MAGNETIC STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of geomagnetic activity on June 4th when an incoming solar wind stream and a CME might deliver a double blow to Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm:

Have a look at the discordant twists on the Magnetosphere Simulation. First, the image:

and WATCH: Simulation over the last few hours in time-lapse video.

UPDATE: MAGNETIC STORM WARNING! has just updated their alerts with the following:
MAGNETIC STORM WARNING: A sharp gust of solar wind hit Earth's magnetic field at approximately 20:30 UT on June 4th. High latitude sky watchers in both hemispheres should be alert for auroras.