Tuesday, July 9, 2013

PLANETARY TREMORS: Taiwan Interior Minister Warns - 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Could Devastate Taipei, WOULD BRING DOWN 4,000 BUILDINGS?!

July 09, 2013 - TAIWAN - Taipei would be devastated if a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which struck central Taiwan's Nantou in June, hit the capital, Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan said Monday.

The quake could bring down 4,000 buildings in Taipei, Lee said during a speech -- on coping with and adjusting to climate change -- at the Taichung City Hall.

On June 2, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitude struck Nantou's Jhushan Township, causing the death of four people.

In his speech, the minister also cautioned the public to be prepared to deal with the effects of climate change. Lee, a former civil engineering professor, said Taiwan's average temperature increases by around 1.5% a year, which is double the annual global rate. - Focus Taiwan.

GREAT DELUGE: "Like Nothing We've Ever Seen" - Epic Rainfall Devastates Toronto, Canada; More Than A Month's Rain Falls In LESS THAN 2 HOURS!

July 09, 2013 - CANADA - It is official: the epic rainfall in Toronto on Monday afternoon that drenched highways, had cars bobbing up and down in rainwater and overwhelmed 911 was an extreme weather event. No, experts say, it wasn’t because of climate change.

More than 90 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in just two hours. Toronto usually gets 75 millimetres of rain in the entire month of July. MARK BLINCH / REUTERS

But yes, we will likely see more storms like it. “This is likely the wettest moment in Toronto’s history,” David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said on Monday evening while rain was still falling. “By the end, we may have a new all-time one-day record.” More than 90 millimeters of rainfall was recorded at Pearson International Airport in just two hours, starting at about 4:30 p.m. To put it in perspective, the wettest day in Toronto was Oct. 15, 1954, when Hurricane Hazel slammed the city and 121.4 millimeters of rainfall was recorded over the entire day.

The wettest July day in the city was July 28, 1980, when 118.5 millimeters of rain fell — again, over the entire day. July usually gets about 75 millimeters of rain in the entire month. That’s why Monday’s rainfall was epic. “All of that rain, it fell in less than two hours,” Phillips said. “It’s just incredible.” Brian Edwards, a meteorologist with forecasting service Accuweather.com, said a cluster of extremely slow-moving thunderstorms was responsible for the deluge.

“It was almost as if the system refused to move . . . it stood there and rained and rained,” he said. “Nobody could have guessed at the amount of rain it would unleash.” Flooding was inevitable, Edwards said, adding that no infrastructure can possibly handle that kind of rain. But Phillips points out that Toronto, like other cities, is becoming more vulnerable to flooding as more of it is covered with asphalt. Building materials are impervious to rain and so “we end up with flash floods,” he said.

A man rides his bicycle during a flood on the Don Valley Parkway during Monday's rainstorm. Toronto got more rain in two hours Monday afternoon than it usually gets in all of July.  MARK BLINCH / REUTERS

Making things worse, the ground had still not absorbed all the water from earlier storms by the time the big downpour hit, so there was nowhere for the rainwater to escape. Phillips says we are not finished yet — there is “another line of thunderstorms coming our way.” Are there similar extreme weather events in Toronto’s future? Phillips says Monday’s rainfall wasn’t due to climate change, “but it is consistent with what we may see in the future: heavy rains in short periods.

Nature is giving us a preview of what we may soon see.” As temperatures rise globally, so do the chances of extreme weather. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its 2012 report that short, powerful rains, hurricanes, heat waves and droughts will intensify. By the end of this century, the average global temperature could rise anywhere between 1.6 and 4.4 degrees C, it said.

WATCH: Epic rainfall in Toronto.

Closer to home, a report from the Toronto Environment Office released late last year predicts dramatic changes in weather between 2040 and 2050. That includes fewer but more extreme rainstorms. The number of winter storms is expected to drop and the number of summer storms to remain the same. The amount of rainfall expected in any single day or hour, however, will more than double. - The Star.   

PLANETARY TREMORS: Minor Earthquakes Ripple Through Central And Southern Italy!

July 09, 2013 - ITALY - Minor earthquakes shook several areas of central and southern Italy overnight, but there were no reports of casualties or damage to buildings.

A magnitude 3.5 earthquake rocked the provinces of Massa Carrara and Lucca in Tuscany at 1.31 am, Italy’s national geophysics and vulcanology institute reported. Its epicentre was between the towns of Minucciano, Giuncugnano and Casola in Luniggiana.

Around the same time, a magnitude 2.5 quake struck the provinces of Caserta and Isernia in the southern Campania region. Earthquakes occur frequently in Italy, which is criss-crossed by seismic fault lines.

A powerful earthquake in the northern Italian Emilia-Romagna region in May last year killed 26 people, left 20,000 homeless, damaged many buildings including historic monuments and cost its economy billions of euros. - Adnkronos.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Massive Algae Overload Swamps Chinese Beaches - The Largest Algae Bloom EVER SEEN; Covers 11,500 Square Miles; Larger Than The State Of Massachusetts?!

July 09, 2013 - CHINA - More than 20,000 tons of bright green algae has washed ashore on China's beaches in recent weeks, but there's disagreement as to what caused the massive bloom.

A boy lies on the algae beach. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex Features

A man buries himself with the algae that has covered beaches in the Qingdao area.
Photo: Jian Feng/Associated Press

The algae began washing ashore about a month ago in the city of Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province, as it does every year. But this year's bloom is estimated to be twice the size of 2008's, when the Beijing Olympic sailing event was threatened by a similar bloom.

The Los Angeles Times reports that so far this year the algae has covered an area of about 11,500 square miles, which is larger than the state of Massachusetts.

A man swims in seawater covered by a thick layer of green algae on July 3, 2013, in Qingdao, China.
Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

 A group swim at an algae. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 A woman wearing mask plays at a beach. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

 Two young tourists take photos on a beach. Photograph: Imaginechina /Rex Features

Some researchers believe the algae is from seaweed farms south of Qingdao, which grow nori on coastal rafts that attract algae. Others say it may be naturally occurring, or from fertilizer washed into the ocean from gardens, farms and golf courses.

Generally, the plant poses no danger to humans, but it can produce a toxic gas if left to rot, the LA Times notes. - Huffington Post.

WATCH: Chinese beaches overwhelmed by algae.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Japan’s Suwanose-Jima Volcano Erupts In 1.5km Ash Plume!

July 09, 2013 - JAPAN - VAAC Tokyo reported a small ash plume from the volcano at 5,000 ft (1.5 km) elevation today. Likely, some stronger strombolian-type explosion has occurred at the volcano, whose activity is similar to Stromboli in Italy.

Suwanose-jima volcano is Japan's and one of the world's most active volcanoes. It has been in a state of near-continuous strombolian-type eruption since 1949.

The volcano forms the 8 km long spindle-shaped island of the same name in northern Ryuku Islands, Japan. The remote island is home to about 50 residents only.

Suwanose-jima consists of an andesitic stratovolcano with 2 historically active summit craters. Intermittent to continuous strombolian activity began from On-take (Otake), the NE summit crater, in 1949 and has been going on since. After 1996, occasional periods of inactivity have become more frequent.

The summit of Suwanose-jima volcano is truncated by a large breached crater extending to the sea on the east flank that was formed by edifice collapse.

The largest historical eruption took place in 1813-14, when thick scoria deposits blanketed residential areas, and the SW crater produced 2 lava flows that reached the western coast. At the end of the eruption the summit of On-take collapsed forming a large debris avalanche and creating the horseshoe-shaped Sakuchi caldera, which extends to the eastern coast. The island remained uninhabited for about 70 years after the 1813-1814 eruption. Lava flows reached the eastern coast of the island in 1884. - Volcano Discovery.