Monday, February 13, 2012

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Super-Breack" - Scientists Warn Super-Volcano Will Destroy the United States; "Bubbling" Activity Seen at La Restinga Underwater Volcano in El Hierro, Canary Islands!

Although there is evidence that supervulcanii erupted several times over the 4.5 billion years of Earth, NASA claims that 2012 will have held such an event.

The terms “super-vulcano” and “super-breack” are relatively new and refers to a volcano whose explosive eruption would release 10 thousand times more lava than catastrophic eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980, one of the largest recent eruptions. Throughout its history, Earth has undergone several supererupţii, evidenced by layers of ash that covered large areas of continents and huge craters up to 100 kilometers remaining after eruptions in Indonesia, New Zealand, the United States and Chile. Most supererupţie in history seems to have place in Sumatra. 74,000 years ago, Mount Toba erupted and lava covered an area of more than 28,000 square kilometers. By contrast, magma that surfaced in 1883 in Mount Krakatau were scattered over just 12 square kilometers. Although vulcanology still doing research to find out what causes supererupţie, they say their data indicate that such an event will take place soon. Trying to determine the frequency with which they place these super-breacks, scientists have concluded that once in a million years occur supererupţii 1.4. Despite these calculations, scientists say it is not necessarily required that every million years to occur supererupţie. Many millions of years may pass until a supervulcan erupt. - Scienceray.

Some of the world’s smartest geophysicists aren’t sleeping well anymore. Perhaps their dreams are filled with nightmares—if so, it wouldn’t be surprising since what they thought they knew about volcanoes wasn’t quite right. But now they know the truth—the terrifying reality—supervolcanoes are activating and can destroy America at any time. Maybe in 100 years... or maybe as early as next week...

Forget about tumbling asteroids the size of mountains bombarding Earth…Stop worrying about nuclear war…Shrug off any concerns about the coming Ice Age…Doomsday is probably closer than you think and no matter where you live you probably aren’t safe from the effects of the aftermath. That’s the terrible reality facing scientists around the world as they scramble to revise monitoring systems to better predict the imminent destructive fury of the supervolcanoes when they blow. For many years volcanologists thought tomorrow was a long way off. But two scientific papers published recently reassessed the danger of several ominous U.S. volcanoes: one in Death Valley, the Ubehebe Crater, is half a mile wide and more than 700 feet deep. Believed to have last erupted thousands of years ago, it’s now known to have blasted away during the 14th Century. The other volcano, the famous Crater Lake cauldera in Oregon, can recharge itself in a few short decades and then explode with super-massive destructive force. Until lately, scientists believed that volcanoes also required thousands of years to become dangerously active again. They were wrong.


The U.S. Geological Survey scientist in charge of keeping a wary eye on volcanoes located in California for the U.S. Geological Survey is Margaret Mangan. Recently she told USA Today that “The understanding of the timing of eruptions and the timing of the building up to eruptions is changing.” And changing it is—at an alarming rate. The changes in knowledge that have come rapidly the past few years now have some scientists biting their nails over the Doomsday supervolcano in Yellowstone Park. That volcano has shown all the signs of becoming active: parts of the ground have heated to just under 1,000⁰ F while the earth is bulging from a building lava dome and a lake has completely boiled away. Just two years ago many geophysicists assured everyone, including the federal government, that there really wasn’t anything to worry about. Really. Now those same scientists have shut up. If they talk at all to curious reporters they respond only in clipped monotones and then hurry away. What are they worried about? Approaching Doomsday.


Doomsday comes with many names, 22 to be exact. The seven largest among the megacaldera (the technical name for supervolcanoes) are Yellowstone, Long Valley, and Valles Calderas in the United States; Lake Toba on North Sumatra island in Indonesia; the Taupo Volcano located on the North Island in New Zealand; Aira Caldera within the Kagoshima Prefecture of Kyūshū, Japan; and the Siberian Traps in Russia. A relatively smaller supervolcano, Cumbre Vieja, on La Palma in the Canary Islands just northwest of Africa could wipe out much of southern England and most of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. According to an article by Steve Connor, the Science Editor of the UK’s The Independent:  “A wave higher than Nelson’s Column and travelling faster than a jet aircraft will devastate the eastern seaboard of America and inundate much of southern Britain, say scientists who have analyzed the effects of a future volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands. “A massive slab of rock twice the volume of the Isle of Man would break away from the island of La Palma and smash into the Atlantic Ocean to cause a tsunami–a monster wave–bigger than any recorded, the scientists warned... Most of the wave’s energy, equivalent to the combined output of America’s power stations for six months, would travel westwards to the American coast but enough would be flicked north towards the English Channel to cause catastrophic coastal damage. A computer model has been designed to show the way the tsunami will build after the volcano, called Cumbre Vieja, erupts…It describes the almost unimaginable scale of an event that the scientists say could happen at any time within the foreseeable future."


When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, up to 100 million Americans will perish. Millions will be instantly incinerated by the blast. More millions will die quickly from tons of superheated ash—as much as 20 feet deep—that will blanket the Death Zone from the Pacific Northwest to northern Texas and as far east as western Iowa. More will succumb to extended famines and plagues. For all intents and purposes what was once the United States of America will be gone—buried in gray ash, slag, and superheated mud. A survey in 2009 conducted by scientists gathered past seismic wave data from earthquakes in the region to create a 3D image of the subterranean hotspot. The actual ancient caldera, now mostly a shallow impression in the ground, spans across three states: Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. All experts agree that if another massive eruption occurs the concussion, lava, superheated gas and ash fall would effectively destroy almost half of the US and be the greatest single catastrophe in recorded world history. The Apocalyptic destruction of the supervolcanoes would be followed swiftly by an Ice Age. If it’s a major Ice Age, the ice will remain for up to 100,000 years. The last major eruption at Yellowstone occurred about 70,000 years ago. Some experts are warning a supervolcano catastrophe is long overdue. When asked when he thinks Yellowstone might erupt, one worried volcanologist sighed and replied, “At any time. Look, I’m just a scientist. Only God can answer that question with certainty... but it’s going to happen.” - Before It's News.

Speaking of the Canary Islands, the following video features an aerial view via  the Involcan Scientific Team over the submarine volcano area of La Restinga, taking area thermal imaging high-resolution video and measuring dissolved gases in the air after eruption was detected.

WATCH: "Bubbling" phenomenon near La Restinga.



PLANETARY TREMORS: The San Andreas Disaster Precursor - 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Northern California!

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck northern California on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 21:07:02 UTC, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported. The quake was locates at 41.153°N, 123.817°W with a depth of 32.9 km (20.4 miles).


The tremor was centered between Crescent City and Eureka and near the coast, according to the USGS, with an epicentre of 10 km (6 miles) southwest (247°) from Weitchpec; 28 km (17 miles) northeast (63°) from Westhaven-Moonstone; 29 km (18 miles) northeast (70°) from Trinidad; 50 km (31 miles) northeast (36°) from Eureka; and 352 km (218 miles) NW (326°) from Sacramento.

This is the third earthquake to strike the region since this morning, following a 4.3 magnitude at 04:47:12 UTC and a 2.6 at 04:55:25 UTC.


According to NOAA's National Weather Service, no tsunami watch, warning or advisory is in effect.

On January 9, 2010, a 6.5 earthquake 25 miles southwest of Eureka ‘snapped power lines’. The last major earthquake, a magnitude 7.2 on April 25, 1992, which triggered a small tsunami. Eureka is located near the Mendocino Triple Junction Region, “one of the most seismically active regions of the San Andreas transform system”.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Disaster Declaration for Hawaii Vog Damage Renewed - Agricultural Damage Caused by Emissions From the Kilauea Volcano!

Continuing vog has caused extensive damage to Hawaii’s vegetable crops, like leafy greens, orchards, flowers and ranch grasses.

In response, U.S. Department of Agriculture has renewed a disaster declaration for Hawaii Island due to agricultural damage caused by Kilauea Volcano emissions.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie requested a renewal on Dec. 27, citing continuing vog-related agricultural production losses.

The declaration gives Big Island farmers and ranchers access to apply for emergency loans to cover the cumulative effects of vog on crops and livestock, Abercrombie said. This disaster assistance has been available since 2008.

In addition to plant damage, ranchers have reported premature corrosion of fencing, gates and other metal infrastructure from volcanic emissions. - Claims Journal.


WEATHER ANOMALIES: Fears of a British Super-Drought After Record Low Rainfall in Winter - Underground Water Supplies Are Being Used to Keep Rivers Flowing in the Seasons When They Are Supposed to be Replenished?!

The pond at St Peter's Church in Snailwell, Cambridgeshire, is surrounded by clumps of bulrushes and thick oak trees that give it a timeless English appeal. Coated in a dusting of snow, this small body of water looked the epitome of rural charm. Only one odd feature upset its picture-postcard appearance. Around noon every day, automated pumps just above the pond are switched on and for the next few hours 400,000 gallons (1.8m litres) of water are sent cascading down a brick-lined gully into the lake.

The reason for this daily influx is straightforward. If engineers from the Environment Agency had not started pumping water into Snailwell's pond every day this winter, it would have disappeared weeks ago, the victim of a drought that now threatens much of England with a summer of parched landscapes, rivers reduced to trickles and possible hosepipe bans ahead. When you use the word drought you become a hostage to fortune. Events can occur at the last minute to make you look silly," said Andrew Chapman, a senior environment planning officer with the agency. "But the position is becoming very serious. In simple terms, unless we get a downpour that lasts for several weeks in the very near future, we are in trouble. There could be severe water shortages in many parts of the country." Worst affected areas would include the Midlands, East Anglia and the south-east of England, say agency officials. The impending crisis – which could have widespread consequences for farmers, food production, tourism, industry and domestic life – has been building for the past 18 months. Reservoirs were already low this time last year. Then came 2011, the driest year in England and Wales for 90 years.

In addition, we are now experiencing the driest winter on record, though this could change over the next few weeks, meteorologists have said. The crucial point is that boreholes and reservoirs are now at "notably low" or "exceptionally low" levels. At the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh in Norfolk, springs have dried up and many of the birds, including populations of bearded tits, marsh harriers and reed warblers, are now struggling to find food. Fresh water plants and animals such as water voles are also suffering. "This is a very worrying situation to have at this time of year," said Grahame Madge, an RSPB official. "This is an incredibly important wildlife site that we cannot afford to have damaged. We are going to have to look very carefully at how we manage water supplies there in coming years." In addition, rivers have dried up in several areas. These include tributaries of the Welland in Lincolnshire and the Chess in Buckinghamshire. Fish have become stranded in pools and had to be rescued by agency workers and moved to areas where water is flowing. - Guardian.



SOLAR WATCH: Sunspot of Interest as Solar Activity Increases - Sunspot AR1416 Doubles in Size, Develops "Beta-Gamma" Magnetic Field, Harboring Energy for M-Class Solar Flares, With Possible Earth-Directed Eruptions! UPDATE: Volcano / Earthquake Watch Feb 9-13, 2012! UPDATE: NOAA Forecasters Estimate 30% Chance of Minor Geomagnetic Storms!

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), sunspot AR1416 is developing into a major event on the sun.

SUNSPOT OF INTEREST: For the second day in a row, sunspot AR1416 has doubled in size: movie. Moreover, it has developed a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Any such eruptions this weekend would be Earth directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet. - Space Weather.

FAST GROWING SUNSPOT: New Sunspot 1416 continues to expand in the southern hemisphere. This region now has a Beta-Gamma magnetic configuration and may soon be capable of producing an M-Class flare. RETURNING ACTIVE REGION: Solar activity is increasing. Numerous C-Class flares, including a C7.9 were detected this morning. The source of all this activity is a returning region (1402) on the northeast limb. - Solar Ham.

WATCH: Returning Sunspot 1402.


ANOTHER LIFTOFF AND EARTH-DIRECTED CME: Yet another Coronal Mass Ejection is seen in the latest images. The movie below captured by SDO and STEREO Ahead COR2 shows that there is potential for an Earth bound plasma cloud. More images will be needed to determine if this is so, or if it will again be directed to the east. This latest eruption was the result of a filament lifting off in the northern hemisphere.  The latest WSA-Enlil Solar Wind Prediction model shows a possible impact on February 14th. - Solar Ham.

WATCH: Prominence Liftoff and CME.


Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 10/2100Z to 11/2100Z: Solar activity was low due to a trio of C7 x-ray events. Regions 1416 (S19W02) and 1417 (N16E44) each produced C7 events at 10/2352Z and 11/1854Z respectively. The third C7 event was observed at 11/1004Z from behind the east limb near N25. The activity behind the NE limb portends the return of old Region 1402 (N26, L=218). Region 1416 continued its growth phase, both in area and spot count, and maintained a beta-gamma magnetic configuration. At about 10/1900Z, a 27 degree long segmented filament erupted in the NE quadrant of the disk. The ENE to WSW oriented filament was centered at N29E14. An associated CME was observed lifting of the NE limb, first visible in SOHO LASCO C2 imagery at 10/2012Z.

WATCH: SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE - Trio of C-Class Flares.



UPDATE: Volcano / Earthquake Watch Feb 9-13, 2012!

Targeting Coronal Hole (CH499). With associated solar disturbances and significant Pc3 spikes indicate a strong seismic event in the coming days. After analysis I have isolated (26-30°S Latitude). Solar symmetry to earth indicates best fit regions for a possible 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake are:

Kermadec Islands Region, La Rioja Argentina, Atacama Chile, San Juan Argentina or the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Time frame Feb 9-10. Targeting Coronal Hole (CH500) indicates a strong seismic event for the end of this watch period Feb 11-13. After analysis I have isolated (10-16°N Latitude). Solar symmetry to earth indicates best fit regions for a possible 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake are: Nicaragua, Andaman Islands India Region, Samar-Mindoro Philippines, Gulf Of Aden or the Owen Fracture Zone. *Possible volcanic activation (Bulusan Volcano). Realtime Ionospheric Anomalies this week are: Fiji, Tonga, Samoa in the Pacific Islands, South West Indonesia and the Ryukyu Islands Japan. - Solar Watch.
WATCH: Volcano / Earthquake Watch Feb 9-13, 2012.


UPDATE: NOAA Forecasters Estimate 30% Chance of Minor Geomagnetic Storms!
CHANCE OF AURORAS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% of minor geomagnetic storms on February 13-14 in response to the possible arrrival of a CME that left the sun on February 10th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. 

OLD SUNSPOT RETURNS: Sunspot AR1402, which unleashed an X2-class solar flare on January 27th, has returned after a two-week transit around the far side of the sun. Two weeks of decay have greatly reduced the old active region. The sunspot group, re-numbered AR1419 for its second apparition, is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. These flares are minor compared to the eruptions of January. The return of AR1402 is mainly significant for nostalgic reasons. - Space Weather.



Keep up-to-date on the latest information at the following links:

QUAKE FORECASTING
http://youtube.com/thebarcaroller

QUAKE CHANNEL
http://www.youtube.com/user/EQReporter

SOLAR WATCHER
http://solarwatcher.net

SOHO
http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/

SOLEN
http://www.solen.info/solar/

SOLAR MONITOR
http://www.solarmonitor.org/

SDO
http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/

SOLAR SOFT
http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/latest_events/

SOLAR WIND PREDICTION
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/wsa-enlil/cme-based/

HELIOVIEWER
http://www.helioviewer.org/

SOLAR HAM
http://www.solarham.com


PLANETARY K INDEX INFO
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

GOES XRAY FLUX DATA
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_5mBL.html

WESTERN PACIFIC WEATHER
http://www.westernpacificweather.com

SPACE WEATHER
http://www.spaceweather.com/


ICE AGE NOW: The Big Freeze and Cold Snap in Europe - Snow Blocks in Tens of Thousands as Death Toll Rises to 550! UPDATE: Frozen Continent - Europe's Rivers, Lakes and Seas Are Ice Over as Temperatures Drop to -40C!

Snow drifts reaching up to rooftops kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes Saturday as the death toll from Europe's big freeze rose past 550.

People walk in the snow-covered street in downtown Cetinje, Montenegro.
More heavy snow fell on the Balkans and in Italy, while the Danube river, already closed to shipping for hundreds of kilometres (miles) because of thick ice, froze over in Bulgaria for the first time in 27 years. Montenegro's capital of Podgorica was brought to a standstill by snow 50 centimetres (20 inches) deep, a 50-year record, closing the city's airport and halting rail services to Serbia because of an avalanche. Eight more people were reported to have died in Romania, taking the toll for the country to 65, three in Serbia, one in the Czech Republic and one in Austria. Polish fire brigade spokesman Pawel Fratcak said Saturday that defective heating had triggered a spate of deadly blazes in houses and apartments, with eight people killed on Friday night and three the night before. New Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and his defence and interior ministers, who were sworn in only on Thursday, flew by helicopter to the eastern Buzau region, one of the worst hit, on Saturday.

He called on the authorities to work hard to beat the challenges facing them, as food threatened to run out in some villages in spite of air drops. At Carligul Mic firemen and volunteers helped people dig tunnels and trenches in the snow reaching to the house roofs in some places. "I've never seen as much snow in my whole life," resident Aneta Dumitrache, 78, told an AFP photographer. Authorities said an estimated 30,000 people were still cut off in Romania, and more than 110,000 in the Balkan countries, including 60,000 in Montenegro, nearly 10 percent of the population. Belgrade has taken steps to limit electricity consumption in the face of threatened shortages, calling on companies to reduce their activities to a minimum. With Wednesday and Thursday already public holidays for Serbia's national day, the government has also declared Friday a non-working day to extend into next weekend.

In neighbouring Kosovo, an avalanche killed at least people in a southern mountain village and left nine others trapped in several houses under 10 metres of snow. A helicopter from the NATO-led peacekeeping force was dispatched to help with the rescue effort but could not land due to thick fog. Forecasters expect the cold snap, which started two weeks ago, to continue until mid-February. In Italy Rome was again blanketed by snow for the second time in a week, but authorities seemed to have learned from their previous experience, when the capital was brought to a halt. Public transport functioned almost normally, thanks to 700 snowploughs and gritters mobilised, but other parts of the country, especially the south where snow is extremely rare, were having difficulties. In the Calabria region, Campana's mayor Pasquale Manfredi, where many villages were cut off, likened the weather to "an earthquake without the shaking." Meteorologists in Belgium said the country had recorded its longest cold snap in 70 years, with temperatures in Brussels' suburbs remaining below zero for 13 consecutive days.

On the French Mediterranean island of Corsica snow was up to one metre thick in the higher villages and all flights were cancelled from Bastia airport. Many people are determined to enjoy the icy conditions to their utmost, however. Thousands have taken to frozen lakes and rivers, including the Aussenalster lake at Hamburg in northern Germany, iced over for the first time in 15 years, which is mounting a huge festival expected to attract one million people over the weekend. In Poland ice yachting or ice-surfing, on a surfboard equipped with skates, are the rage, while in the Czech Republic tourists have flocked to the village of Kvilda, reckoned to be one of the coldest in the country, for the experience of camping out in temperatures of up to minus 39 Celsius (minus 38 Fahrenheit). As some Swiss regions recorded temperatures of minus 23 Celsius (minus 10 Fahrenheit), the tourism board said the ice cover on Fribourg's Black Lake was thick enough to plan for aircrafts to land on it in the coming days. - Yahoo.
WATCH: Italy  the Balkans shiver in the big freeze.


WATCH: Images of the Frozen Danube.



UPDATE: Frozen Continent - Europe's Rivers, Lakes and Seas Are Ice Over as Temperatures Drop to -40C!

Rock solid: The surface of the Black Sea is seen covered with ice at the port of
Yevpatoria in the Ukraine earlier this month.
You would be forgiven for thinking these stunning vistas lay deep in the heart of Antarctica. But they are, in fact, what has become of the European landscape as temperatures plummet to nearly -40C - the coldest snap in decades. Rivers, lakes, beaches and even seas have been iced over by a Siberian freeze, creating some incredible sights, but also more tales of tragedy. Thousands enjoyed a day out on the frozen Lake Pfaeffikersee, near Zurich, Switzerland, today, while ice anglers looked more like Eskimos as they braved the conditions on a Polish reservoir. But in southern Kosovo, nine people were killed when an avalanche hit the village of Restelica, officials said on Sunday, adding to more than 500 killed in snow and bitter cold across the Continent in the past two weeks. In Poland, the interior ministry said 20 people had died in the past 24 hours because of the freezing weather, bringing the toll there so far this year to at least 100. - Daily Mail.

See more pictures HERE.



GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Athens Burns; War Zone and Widespread Rioting in Greece as Harsh New Austerity Measures Are Approved; Jittery Investors Fear Europe's Unraveling Could Spread Across the Globe!

Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after rioters in central Athens torched buildings, looted shops and clashed with riot police.

The historic vote paves the way for Greece's European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion (€130 billion) in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its mountain of debt next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets. Lawmakers voted 199-74 in favor of the cutbacks, despite strong dissent among the two main coalition members. A total of 37 lawmakers from the majority Socialists and conservative New Democracy party either voted against the party line, abstained or voted present.

Sunday's clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth. At least 45 businesses were damaged by fire, including several historic buildings, movie theaters, banks and a cafeteria, in the worst riot damage in Athens in years. Fifty police officers were injured and at least 55 protesters were hospitalized. Forty-five suspected rioters were arrested and a further 40 detained. - USA Today.
WATCH: Thousands riot against in Athens.



For the past six weeks, Wall Street traders have optimistically pushed the Dow Jones industrial average up nearly 4.8 percent on a belief that the U.S. economic recovery is finally gaining momentum. On Monday, that cheerfulness will be put to the test as investors balance good news at home with lingering fears over the stability of Europe.
After three days of rioting, the Greek parliament early Monday morning approved a new set of austerity measures that are likely to cause much pain for its already-struggling citizens. The measures clear the way for the nation to reduce its debt and are a crucial step needed for the country to gain another bailout from the other European nations and the International Monetary Fund. As a new week of trading starts, investors are worried that things in Europe can still unravel given the Greek’s history of reneging on promises of fiscal responsibility. And the recent optimism over the U.S. recovery is still fragile enough to be undone by just a few bad economic indicators.

Traders’ jitters were evident Friday after Greeks took to the streets in protest of the then proposed cuts including a 22-percent drop in the minimum wage and the elimination of one in five civil service jobs. This comes with the unemployment rate over 20 percent and the economy in the fifth year of a recession. Riots and fires continued all throughout the weekend. The unrest and calls from some European officials for even stricter austerity measures caused widespread selling by investors Friday. The Dow closed down 89 points, or 0.7 percent. It was the worst day of the year for the market. Even as the measures pass, Wall Street must still ask itself if the worst of Europe’s troubles are over or if the crisis has just been temporarily delayed. Attention now shifts to a meeting Wednesday of European finance ministers, who will discuss additional bailout funds for Greece. “Fear is going to be back this week,’’ said Jeffrey Sica, president of Sica Wealth Management. “It’s going to be a very, very volatile choppy week primarily because no matter how this turns out, there’s going to be this aspect of skepticism that’s going to keep investors very quick to sell.’’ - Boston.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Japan's Nuclear Dead Zone Spreads Far and Wide - Fukushima's North Pacific Radioactive Seawater Plume Approaches Alaska!

ASR Limited is a small team of environmental scientists, engineers and consultants, working out of New Zealand, Jakarta and Venice, California. One of their recent projects has been to hypothetically model the expanding plume of radioactive seawater that has resulted from the escape of water used to mitigate the meltdowns at the four Fukushima power plants:


 We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton...) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION.

Since we do not know how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCO and modeling by the Sirrocco group in University of Toulouse, France both show high concentration in the surrounding water (highest rate at 80 Bq/L and 24 Bq/L for respectively I-131 and C-137) . Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain.

The dispersal model is ASR's Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from the HYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. Particles in the model are continuously released near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant since March 11th.

 The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.
WATCH: Visualization of the model, from the entry of radioactive elements into the water in March 2011, up through November 11, 2011:


It isn't clear from ASR's published material whether or not this model is influenced by the continuing entry of radioactive water into the ocean. It is fairly certain that Tepco and other monitoring agencies do not have anything that could be described as a clear idea as to how much radioactive water has gotten into circulation in the North Pacific, or how much water is continuing to make its way there: It isn't clear from ASR's published material whether or not this model is influenced by the continuing entry of radioactive water into the ocean. It is fairly certain that Tepco and other monitoring agencies do not have anything that could be described as a clear idea as to how much radioactive water has gotten into circulation in the North Pacific, or how much water is continuing to make its way there:

On 21 April, TEPCO estimated that 520 tons radioactive water leaked into the sea before leaks in a pit in unit 2 were plugged, releasing 4,700 TBq of total water release (calculated by simple sum, which is inconsistent with the IAEA methodology for mixed nuclide releases) (20,000 times facility's annual limit). TEPCO's detailed estimates were 2,800 TBq of I-131, 940 TBq of Cs-134, 940 TBq of Cs-137.


    Another 300,000 tons of relatively less radioactive water had already been reported to have leaked or purposefully pumped into the sea to free room for storage of highly radioactively contaminated water. TEPCO had attempted to contain contaminated water in the harbor near the plant by installing "curtains" to prevent outflow, but now believes this effort was unsuccessful.


    According to a report published in October 2011 by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, between 21 March and mid-July around 2.7 × 1016 Bq of caesium-137 (about 8.4 kg) entered the ocean, about 82 percent having flowed into the sea before 8 April. This emission of radioactivity into the sea represents the most important individual emission of artificial radioactivity into the sea ever observed. However, the Fukushima coast has one of the world's strongest currents and these transported the contaminated waters far into the Pacific Ocean, thus causing a high dispersion of the radioactive elements. The results of measurements of both the seawater and the coastal sediments lead to suppose that the consequences of the accident, for what concerns radioactivity, will be minor for marine life as of autumn 2011 (weak concentration of radioactivity in the water and limited accumulation in sediments).


    On the other hand, significant pollution of sea water along the coast near the nuclear plan might persist, because of the continuing arrival of radioactive material transported towards the sea by surface water running over contaminated soil. Further, some coastal areas might have less favorable dilution or sedimentation characteristics than those observed so far. Finally, the possible presence of other persistent radioactive substances, such as strontium-90 or plutonium, has not been sufficiently studied. Recent measurements show persistent contamination of some marine species (mostly fish) caught along the coast of Fukushima district. Organisms that filter water and fish at the top of the food chain are, over time, the most sensitive to caesium pollution. It is thus justified to maintain surveillance of marine life that is fished in the coastal waters off Fukushima.
The last sentence is quite an understatement.

- Fire Dog Lake.


EXTREME WEATHER: Huge Avalanche Wrecks Havoc in Kosovo - 9 Deaths, Several Homes Destroyed on the Albania and Macedonia Border as Europe's Cold Snap Continues!

Rescuers have pulled a 5-year-old girl alive from the rubble of a house flattened by a massive avalanche that killed her parents and at least seven of her relatives in a remote mountain village in southern Kosovo.

Kosovo Security Forces members and firefighters clear snow from houses
that were buried by an avalanche in the village of Restelica on Sunday.
Col. Shemsi Syla, a spokesman for the Kosovo Security Force, said Sunday that officers discovered the girl when they heard her voice and cellphone. Her home was buried under 33 feet of snow. Rescuers cheered and pumped their fists in the air late Saturday as the girl was pulled out alive. A video aired on Klan Kosova TV showed the rescuers covering the girl with blankets, before she was rushed to hospital. Osman Qerreti, an emergency official at the site, said at least nine members of her family died when the avalanche destroyed seven houses, of which two were inhabited, in the village of Restelica near Kosovo's border with Macedonia and Albania. Amid the subfreezing temperatures Sunday, local villagers facing fierce snowstorms used shovels to dig deep into the snow-covered rubble — all that remained of the one-story brick houses. One more person is believed missing.

"No bigger tragedy has ever struck this region," said local district official Behar Ramadani. "Two brothers with their wives and children have been killed." The girl, identified as Asmira Reka, was recovering in a hospital in the nearby town of Prizren. Doctors said that her life was not in danger, but her parents had perished in the avalanche. She had been buried for more than 10 hours. NATO peacekeepers, deployed in Kosovo to end the armed conflict between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in 1999, had been called in to help local authorities in the rescue. However, they were unable to land their helicopter because of a fierce blizzard. Rescuers initially dug out the bodies of a married couple and their 17-year-old son. Six more bodies were discovered during the excavation.  The cold snap in Europe, which began in late January, has killed hundreds of people — most of them homeless. Heavy snow has been blanketing the Balkans for more than two weeks, with Restelica and roads in the region blocked for several days. In neighboring Montenegro, where the government introduced a state of emergency because of the deep freeze, special police forces on Sunday managed to reach about 50 train passengers who were stranded for two days after tracks were blocked by avalanches. Police said a 55-year-old passenger had died from a heart attack Saturday night, while the others were sheltering in a nearby tunnel. - The Associated Press.



WEATHER ANOMALIES: Climatic Fluctuations - Global Phenomena Bring Local Chill to Mumbai!

The extremely low temperatures in the city are the latest indicator of climatic fluctuations in Mumbai. While Mumbai had a minimum of 14.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, this dipped to 8.8 degrees on Thursday. A cold wave in Europe, which has killed many people there, may be leading to extreme winter conditions in India, say experts.

People sit around a fire during heavy fog on a chilly morning in Mumbai on Monday.
In addition, experts have also said that larger weather patterns, like La Nina and global warming, may be responsible for the extreme winter conditions in the country. Ajit Tyagi, director general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi, said the weather fluctuations may have no particular reason, but the cold in India can be broadly at tributed to the exceptional cold in Europe. "The land masses in the middle and upper latitudes across the globe are being af fected because of the cold in Europe. Each region, however, fol lows its own patterns and thus cannot be directly related to a phenomenon," he said. Contrary to common belief that global warming causes tem peratures to only rise, experts said it can also create extreme cold conditions. K Krishna Ku mar, scientist at the Indian In stitute of Tropical Meteorology said that weather fluctuations can happen either way.

"Under the influence of global warming, there is also an increase in the variability of extreme events," he said. Explaining this phenomenon, he said that global warming causes temperatures to go higher during summers and lower during winters. Some experts also hold La Nina responsible. La Nina can cause western disturbances, and one of these recently caused snow and rain in north India. La Nina causes the sea surface temperature in parts of the Pacific Ocean to be lower than normal. An IMD report recently showed a likely link between La Nina and the exceptionally low temperatures in northern India, even as experts said the northern regions have been affected by western disturbances more frequently this year.

Temperatures across India plummeted rapidly in the second week of January. Since then, the western Himalayas have witnessed heavy snow and the northern plains have remained chilly. Central India and parts of south India have had record-breaking cold spells. "The La Nina effect may have caused a situation for global temperatures to plummet ," said Kumar. But, Tyagi opposed the idea. "La Nina brings down oceanic temperatures. It has not been directly linked to low land temperatures . But, the phenomenon, along with cold winds from Europe and global warming, may be responsible for the extreme chilly," he said, adding that IMD had predicted that winter would be colder than normal this year. - The Times of India.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Rare Spectacle - Whales and Dolphins Play in Hawaiian Waters!

Images produced by the National Center for science Literacy, Education and Technology (NCSLET) showed a rare from of interaction in the wild between two species. Bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales were captured playing in Hawaiian waters.

According to a paper published in the Aquatic Mammals Journal, based on what is known about the behaviour of both species, play was the most plausible explanation of the observed interaction. The paper observed that humpback whales are known to engage in "object play," and "social play" is a common occurrence among dolphins, but never has the behaviour been observed in the wild to extend across species boundaries. According to the paper, given the "apparent initiation and cooperation of each dolphin being lifted, object (i.e., the dolphin) play by the whale and social play by the dolphin seem to be the most plausible explanations for the interaction."


Science Bulletins reports the images were taken from two locations in Hawaii. The dolphins were seen "riding" playfully on the heads of whales. The whale lifts the dolphin up and out of the water and when the dolphin slips back, tail first, into the water, the whale picks the dolphin up and the motion is repeated with the obvious cooperation of the dolphin.Science Bulletins observes: "The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress." The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) share a common habitat. Observation of what appears playful frolicking between the two species is considered significant because most interspecies interactions in the wild are aggressive predator and prey interactions. Science Bulletin comments further: "Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species." Bulletins says these are the "first recorded examples of this type of behavior [in the wild]." - Digital Journal
WATCH: Whales give dolphins a lift.