Thursday, July 25, 2013

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "TIME BOMB" - The Arctic Methane Release Could Cost Global Economy $60 TRILLION, The Size Of The Global Economy In 2012!

"That's an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognised on the world stage" - Prof Gaile Whiteman Erasmus University.

July 25, 2013 - ARCTIC
- Scientists say that the release of large amounts of methane from thawing permafrost in the Arctic could have huge economic impacts for the world.

Increasing temperatures in the Arctic region are reducing sea ice cover and increasing the
possibility of methane leaching from the sea bed

The researchers estimate that the climate effects of the release of this gas could cost $60 trillion (£39 trillion), roughly the size of the global economy in 2012.

The impacts are most likely to be felt in developing countries they say.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

Scientists have had concerns about the impact of rising temperatures on permafrost for many years. Large amounts of methane are concentrated in the frozen Arctic tundra but are also found as semi-solid gas hydrates under the sea.

Price of gas

Previous work has shown that the diminishing ice cover in the East Siberian sea is allowing the waters to warm and the methane to leach out. Scientists have found plumes of the gas up to a kilometre in diameter rising from these waters.

In this study, the researchers have attempted to put an economic price on the climate damage that these emissions of methane could cause. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, even though it lasts less than a decade in the atmosphere.

When Russia planted a flag on the seabed at the North Pole in 2007 it signalled that exploitation
of the Arctic was in full swing

Using an economic model very similar to the one used by Lord Stern in his 2006 review of the economics of climate change, the researchers examined the impact of the release of 50-gigatonnes of methane over a decade.

They worked out that this would increase climate impacts such as flooding, sea level rise, damage to agriculture and human health to the tune of $60 trillion.

"That's an economic time bomb that at this stage has not been recognised on the world stage," said Prof Gail Whiteman at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and one of authors.

"We think it's incredibly important for world leaders to really discuss what are the implications of this methane release and what could we indeed do about it to hopefully prevent the whole burst from happening."

The researchers say their study is in marked contrast to other, more upbeat assessments of the economic benefits of warming in the Arctic region.

It is thought that up to 30% of the world's undiscovered gas and 13% of undiscovered oil lie in the waters. Transport companies are looking to send increasing numbers of ships through these fast melting seas.

According to Lloyds of London, investment in the Arctic could reach $100bn within ten years.

Methane belch

But according to the new work, these benefits would be a fraction of the likely costs of a large scale methane emission. The authors say a release of methane on this scale could bring forward the date when global temperatures increase by 2C by between 15 and 35 years.

"We are looking at a big effect," said Prof Peter Wadhams from the University of Cambridge, "a possibly catastrophic effect on global climate that's a consequence of this extremely fast sea ice retreat that's been happening in recent years."

Some scientists have cautioned that not enough is known about the likelihood of such a rapid release of methane. Even though it has been detected for a number of years, it has as yet not been found in the atmosphere in large amounts.

Prof Wadhams says the evidence is growing.

"We are seeing increasing methane in the atmosphere. When you look at satellite imagery, for instance the Metop satellite, that's gone up significantly in the last three years and the place where the increase is happening most is over the Arctic," he said.

The authors say that the impacts of the extra methane would be felt most in developing countries which are more vulnerable to rising waters, flooding and the agricultural and health impacts of rising temperatures.

Methane hydrate - 'Fire ice'

  • Hydrates, or clathrates, are a frozen mixture of water and gas, primarily methane
  • The methane molecules reside inside a water molecule lattice
  • The methane will ignite in ice form - hence the "fire ice" moniker

Faster Antarctic melt

New research suggests that permafrost is also melting in Antarctica. Scientists have found that ground ice in the McMurdo Dry Valley Regions has accelerated consistently between 2001 and 2012, rising to about ten times the historical average. The researchers say that rising temperatures do not account for this increased melting but to an increase in sunlight caused by changes in weather patterns.

- BBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Storm Risk From Oklahoma City To Minneapolis And Rain To Cool, Will Hug Coast From Norfolk To Boston - Regional Damaging Thunderstorms, Blinding Downpours And Flash Flooding Will Cause Travel Disruptions In The Great Plains To The Upper Midwest!

July 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - There is a risk of regional damaging thunderstorms and flash flooding Thursday into Friday over the Great Plains to part of the Upper Midwest.

Severe Storm Risk From Oklahoma City To Minneapolis.

During Thursday into Thursday night, thunderstorms will organize into two or three complexes that can bring adverse impact to outdoor plans and travel from Oklahoma City to Omaha, Neb., and Minneapolis.

The storms will encompass an area over 250,000 square miles and can affect approximately 10 million people over the Central states.

One group of storms will affect parts of Kansas to Oklahoma and northern Texas Thursday into Thursday night. These storms bring an elevated risk of flash and urban flooding, as well is isolated damaging wind gusts.

Since the middle of May, Oklahoma City has received 2 feet of rain, which is more than double the city's average rainfall.

Farther north, one or two groups of storms will push out of the Dakotas and move across Minnesota and into Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska Thursday into Thursday night. These storms bring an elevated risk of damaging wind gusts and hail but can also bring isolated flash and urban flooding.

During Friday, the threat of strong to locally severe thunderstorms and the potential for flash and urban flooding will reach from northern Texas to Michigan. Cities that could be affected Friday include Dallas and Chicago.

A very small number of the storms throughout the Plains and Upper Midwest can also produce a short-lived tornado.

People should remain alert for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Remember never to drive through flooded roads, and seek shelter indoors at the first sign of a storm's approach. If you can hear thunder, you are at risk for being struck by lightning.

The storms are preceding a push of cooler air for the weekend taking aim over the northern and central Plains to the Midwest. Seasonable temperatures are in store for the southern Plains.

Rain To Cool, Hug Coast From Norfolk To Boston.

An area of rain will erupt along the East coast from southeastern Virginia to southeastern New England Thursday into Friday.

Some beach communities right could be thoroughly drenched. A few spots could be hit with flash and urban flooding. Rain will brush some of the I-95 cities in the Northeast as well.

While cooler, less humid air continued to expand over the Northeast Thursday, it will not be enough to prevent a new swath of rain from affecting many coastal areas.

The cool pattern, with and without rain, in the Northeast will represent a big change from the heat and high humidity from last week. RealFeel® temperatures in some areas with the rain may be more than 30 degrees lower, when compared to the heat, sunshine and high humidity recently.

Around Norfolk, Va., an inch of rain fell in about an hour early Thursday morning. Similar rainfall rates could occur around Boston late Thursday into early Friday.

Dry air is forecast to chase the rain away over much of eastern Virginia, the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey during Friday. However, rain may continue farther to the northeast along the coast.

There is a chance of heavy rain, lasting several hours from southeastern Delaware, to southern New Jersey and the Long Island beaches to Cape Cod.

Farther west, the rain is more likely to be very spotty and light spotty from Philadelphia to New York City, Hartford, Conn., Worcester, Mass., and Portland, Maine.

The rain is likely to stay away from much of the area from central Virginia and West Virginia to northwest New England Thursday and Friday, before returning later in the weekend.

According to Mark Mancuso, "There is a slight chance a very weak tropical system forms in the pattern along the Atlantic coast before the end of the week."

A series of systems originating from the central Plains will take a left turn along the East coast into the end of the week.

"The systems will tap into tropical moisture as they reach Atlantic waters and can bring very heavy rainfall in a narrow zone right along the coast," Mancuso added.

While the pattern favors a quick rebound in humidity levels, it does not favor extreme heat at the same time. High temperatures will tend to average below normal through the weekend.

- AccuWeather.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For July 25, 2013 - Updates On Stromboli, Tolbachik, Chirinkotan, Galeras, Sakurajima, Lokon-Empung, Popocatépetl, Santiaguito, Santa María, Pacaya, Fuego, Telica, Reventador, Tungurahua, Sabancaya And Heard!

July 25, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity has been at relatively low to moderate levels recently. Explosions of small to medium size occur regularly from the "usual" (mainly the eastern and western) vents.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no changes in the ongoing mainly effusive eruption; tremor has remained stable (3.3 mcm/s).

No significant changes were reported for either of the other currently erupting / restless Kamchatkan volcanoes... [read more]

Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): A thermal hot spot and steam plume remain visible on satellite images (when there is no cloud cover), indicating that some activity continues at the remote volcano.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The IAVECI 2013 conference over, activity has dropped a bit, it seems. The volcano still has a few vulcanian explosions per day, but smaller in size, and phases of near-continuous ash emissions have become a bit weaker and shorter when observed last night.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): An explosion occurred Monday (22 July) morning at 05:06 local time, producing an ash plume of about 1200 m height.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Emissions have been up to 2 per hour on average, but remained very small. A volcano-tectonic magnitude 2.3 quake occurred at 00:47 (local time) yesterday.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The lava dome has been very calm during the past day. No explosions and no movement at the previously active lava flow (on the southern slope) were observed.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Seismic and surface activity have increased during the past days, characterized by the appearance of continuous tremor and more frequent strombolian explosions, the latest special bulletin of INSIVUMEH notes.

This morning's seismic signal from Pacaya (PCG station, INSIVUMEH).

This suggests a batch of fresh magma is currently rising. The Guatemalan scientists think that it is likely that strombolian activity will increase and perhaps a lava flow will appear on the flanks of the volcano in the coming days... [read more]

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has remained low. INSIVUMEH reports only few and weak explosions (producing ash plumes up to 400 m height) and the active lava flow decreased to 50 m length.

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has decreased a bit, although small earthquakes are still frequent.

This morning's seismic recording at Telica (TELN station, INETER).

Galeras (Colombia): A magnitude 3.2 earthquake occurred under the volcano yesterday morning. The quake was felt by some nearby residents.

Reventador (Ecuador): Activity remains at high levels, characterized by small explosions and the likely effusion of lava flows. Unfortunately, near-constant cloud cover makes direct observations difficult.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): An increase in activity has occurred since yesterday. For 24 July, IGPEN reports an eruption column of steam and ash reaching 5 km above the crater drifting into westerly directions. During the past night, a further rise in activity has likely occurred, as the increasing tremor signal suggests.

This morning's seismic signal from Tungurahua (RETU station, IGPEN)

Weak to moderate explosion sounds could be heard overnight and ash fall was reported from El Manzano, Choglontus, Puela, Cahuaji, and in the sectors of Cevallos, Quero and Mocha.

Sabancaya (Peru): Seismic activity has picked up. A number of earthquakes in the magnitude 2-3 range have appeared recently.

Current seismic recording from Sabancaya volcano (BHZ station, IGP).

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): A single hot spot is again visible at the summit crater. It is not known what activity exactly occurs there, but it could be that there is a small lava lake or strombolian-type activity from the crater at Dawson Peak.

MODIS hot spot data (past 7 days) for Heard volcano (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii).

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for July 25, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Near-Earth Asteroid 2003 DZ15 To Pass Earth Monday Night - At 3.5 Million Kilometres, Poses No Threat!

July 25, 2013 - SPACE - The Earth will get another close shave Monday, when the 152 metre asteroid 2003 DZ15 makes a pass by our fair planet on the night of July 29th/30th at 3.5 million kilometres distant.

This is over 9 times the Earth-Moon distance and poses no threat to our world.

This is much smaller than 2.75 kilometre 1998 QE2, which sailed by (bad pun intended) our fair world at 5.8 million kilometres distant on May 31st, 2013. The Virtual Telescope Project will be presenting a free online event to monitor the passage of NEA 2003 DZ15 starting Monday night July 29th at 22:00 UT/6:00 PM EDT.

Radio astronomer Alessondra Springmann (@sondy on Twitter) told Universe Today that, “2003 DZ15 is a little to small and a little too far away for the Arecibo Observatory to detect during this apparition.” No other efforts are currently known of by professional observatories to monitor its passage via radar.

An Apollo asteroid, 2003 DZ15 was confirmed by the Lowell Observatory and NEAT’s Mount Palomar telescope upon discovery in February 2003. This is its closest approach to the Earth for this century, although it will make a pass nearly as close to the Earth in 2057 on February 12th.

With a perihelion (closest approach to the Sun of) 0.63 A.U.s, 2003 DZ15 can also make close passes by the planet Venus as well, which it last did in 1988 and will do again on 2056.

The current orbital position of asteroid 2003 DZ15.
(Created by the author using JPL’s Small-Body Database Browser).

Closest approach of 2003 DZ15 is set for 00:37 UT July 30th, or 8:37 PM EDT the evening of Monday, July 29th. Although it will only reach about +14th magnitude (based on an absolute magnitude of +22.2), and hence be out of range to all but the very largest Earthbound backyard telescopes, it’ll be fun to watch as it slowly drifts across the starry background live on the internet. Our own, “is worth tracking down from our own backyard” limit is an asteroid passing closer than our Moon, or is farther, but is brighter than +10th magnitude… such are the limitations of humid Florida skies!

Of course, an asteroid the size of 2003 DZ15 would spell a bad day for the Earth, were it headed our way. At an estimated 152 metres in size, 2003 DZ is over seven times the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia the day after Valentine ’s on February 15th of this year. While not in the class of an Extinction Level event, 2003 DZ15 would be in 60 to 190 metre size of range of the Tunguska impactor that struck Siberia in 1908.

All enough for us to take notice as 2003 DZ15 whizzes by, at a safe distance this time. NASA plans to launch a crewed mission sometime over the next decade to study an asteroid, and  perhaps retrieve a small NEA and place it in orbit about Earth’s Moon. Such efforts may go a long way in understanding and dealing with such potentially hazardous space rocks, when and if the “big one” is discovered heading our way. We’re the Earth’s first line of defense- and unlike the ill-fated dinosaurs, WE’VE got a space program and can do something about it! - Universe Today.

GREAT DELUGE: Monstrously Extreme Flash Flooding Hits Britain - Mass Fish Die-Off, Wildlife Wiped Out, Cars And Homes Flooded Out, By A MONTH'S RAINFALL IN JUST HOURS!

July 25, 2013 - BRITAIN - Thousands of fish have been found dead in a lake because they were suffering from a shortage of oxygen as a result of the prolonged hot weather.

Weather tragedy: Thousands of dead fish in a Nottingham lake which are thought to have died from a
lack of oxygen as a result of the recent hot weather.

Grant Mackenzie, 48, said it 'looked like Armageddon in fishing terms' when he discovered the grim scene in Bulwell Hall park Lakes, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire.

In warm weather fish use more oxygen and microbes in the water grow and take up the oxygen. After an extended period of sunshine, the fish can end up dying unless action is taken to put extra air in the water.

A YouTube user also posted a video of dying fish in the River Lea in London which had apparently also been deprived of oxygen in the hot weather

 The fish in Buwell were found dead in the water on Monday, just before the most prolonged heatwave Britain has experienced since 1976 came to a thundery end as a month's rain fell in just a few hours in some areas.

Fisherman Mr Mackenzie, 48, said: 'It was about 6.30am on Monday morning when I found them. In the past I have seen the odd fish floating in the water but nothing like this.

Freak weather: The fish were found dead at Bulwell Hall Park Lakes, near Nottingham. Fisherman Grant Mackenzie,
48, of Bulwell Hall Estate said: 'It was about 6.30am on Monday morning when I found them, It looked like
Armageddon in fishing terms'.

'It is really shocking that this has happened but I do not think anyone is to blame. The heat has caused the oxygen levels to drop in the lake which has killed the fish. In hindsight the council should have come and oxygenated the lake before it got too hot.'

After the hot weather finally ended, it was flooding that arrived with heavy rain. In Southwell, Nottinghamshire, more than 50 homes were affected as a sudden downpour caused flash floods.

WATCH: Dying fish and eel in River Lea Navigation.

Cars were left damaged and the road was left covered in thick mud after vehicles had been tossed around in the dirty water.

Mother-of-four Julie Wells, 40, described the gushing wall of water as 'like a tsunami' after the storm engulfed the village.

 Floodwater reached the village around 5pm on Tuesday night with waters rising above the roofs of local cars within an hour.

WATCH: Shock water floods a Nottingham pub forcing drinkers out.

'There was no sign of any emergency services, no police no fire, nothing. They shut a road nearby and tried to route people down our road, but it was impassable,' she said.

 'It took just an hour to go from a couple of inches of water to about six foot, it was just terrifying. I couldn't believe the water was rising so fast, you just start to think that it is never going to stop.

'Honestly, it was like a tsunami, the water just came and came and came and it came so fast. We were fortunate that we managed to get a load of towels and duvets at the doors and windows to stop anything from coming in.

'We had about an inch come in at first but managed to soak it up. We were lucky, the house across the road is trashed. My daughter's car is written off, completely, it's full of mud and ruined.

Flooded: Cars are completely submerged in water in Southwell, Nottingham, last night after a heavy downpour.

Summer soaking: A car is almost completely covered by muddy water after a downpour caused
flash flooding in Southwell, Nottingham, yesterday.

Covered in dirt: The waters subside in Southwell today - but leave a trail of dirty destruction behind
after the heatwave came to an end.

 'Mid-air tornado': A funnel cloud - which is a tornado that doesn't touch the ground - is seen near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, (left) as Britain is hit by bad weather. A rainfall radar (right) shows the extent of heavy rains from the Midlands to the North of England yesterday evening, with particularly heavy band around the Nottingham area.

'There was furniture and cars floating down the road, it just looked like a river. The road is a quagmire, there must be six inches of mud all over it, the highways agency are out today to clean that off but nothing more.'

Today, as many areas basked in more sunshine, a man died after going missing in a reservoir.

Emergency services were called to Thirlmere Reservoir in Keswick, Cumbria, just after 3pm after a member of the public reported seeing two people in distress in the water.

A woman was rescued from the reservoir and given medical attention at the water’s edge, and a search was launched for the man, in his 20s, but his body was later recovered.

The Environment Agency had two flood warnings in place in Somerset and 13 active flood alerts as Britain was braced for further downpours.

WATCH: Flash flooding in Nottingham as huge thunderstorms sweep Britain.

Up to 40mm of rain could hit the east of England and Scotland in the space of a few hours today and cause localised flooding.

A month’s rain fell in just a few hours in some areas yesterday.

Pershore in Worcestershire recorded 56mm (2.2 inches) of rain in a three-hour period yesterday, more than the area’s 50mm average total for the whole of July, the Met Office said.

Monks Wood in Cambridgeshire saw 33mm (1.3 inches) in the 12 hours to 1pm yesterday, while nearby Brampton recorded 48mm (1.9 inches) in the same period.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said pockets of standing water remain in various locations and drivers are being urged to take caution on the roads.

They are also advised to be aware that, in some areas, damage has been caused to drain covers and there is debris in the roads.

 An advice centre will be opened at Southwell Town Hall, The Burgage, Southwell, later today for those who need flood-related advice or assistance.

The force spokesman added: 'Members of the public who have been working in flood water are reminded that hand washing is essential.'

The A612 remains closed between Southwell and Thurgaton to enable urgent clean-up operations to take place.

Council staff will be working through the night to clear the road, and drivers are asked to take an alternative route.

In Cundy Hill, Southwell, a tree has fallen and diversions are in place.

In Ramsbottom, Lancashire, a Victorian church was badly damaged by lightning yesterday.

The bolt hit one of four stone turrets on a tower of St Andrew’s, showering the area with chunks of debris. One large stone landed in the playground of a primary school and another crashed through the church roof.

Clear-up: A pressure washer is used to clean the filthy street in Southwell and several cars which were
written off had to be towed away.

Wrecked car: This BMW is covered in dirt and the footwell submerged in water as flash floods hit in
Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Downpour: After the longest spell of hot weather since the summer of 1976. The wet weather has brought
about a fall in temperatures.

Violent storm: A bolt of lightning strikes Piccadilly railway station in the centre of Manchester
during heavy downpours yesterday.

Destroyed: Nearly half of the crop in this field has been destroyed. A woman living nearby said: 'I heard a
very loud noise and went outside to check the tiles on our roof in the morning, but we had no damage'.

In Durrington, Wiltshire, Rosalind Bassenger was made homeless after her £350,000 bungalow was engulfed in a fireball on being hit by lightning. The blaze took 35 firefighters nearly five hours to get under control.

The Met Office had weather alerts in place for heavy rain across much of the UK yesterday, and more serious warnings for parts of northern England and the East Midlands last night.

Tony Gray, a spokesman for the Met Office, said: 'There is a yellow warning for rain which is restricted to the east of England. It covers a swathe of Anglia, the north-east and coastal regions as well as a little bit in land.

'In these areas we are looking at rainfall of between 20 and 40mm within the space of a few hours. Most of the showers will clear fairly quickly and in the north-east later in the day.

'When we have that heavy rainfall onto very very solid ground it runs off very quickly and there is the potential for flooding.'

A police spokeswoman said this morning that a lot of the water in Southwell had flowed away, but road closures were expected to remain in place because of the silt that had been deposited as a result of the flooding.

Residents could seek help at advice centres and would be allowed back into their homes as soon as possible, and depending on damage caused by the water. - Daily Mail.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Another Train Derailment - Train Crashes In Florida, Ethanol Spill Shuts Down Port Of Tampa?!

July 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An overnight train derailment and ethanol spill shut down access to the Port for hours Thursday morning.  One of the gates at the Port of Tampa reopened by 8 a.m. to give employees and commercial vehicles limited access.

The Port of Tampa was shut down after a train derailment and ethanol spill early on July 25, 2013. WFLA TV

Tampa Fire Rescue officials said 15 of 88 cars on a train derailed around 1 a.m near the entrance to Hookers Point.  Three of the cars, which each hold more than 20,000 gallons of ethanol, began leaking. 

TFR Hazmat crews worked for hours to spray foam on the ethanol to reduce vapors and flammability.  

It's unclear what caused the derailment. CSX is investigating.  No injuries have been reported.

CSX is bringing in equipment from Atlanta to upright the derailed cars.

"Each one of those cars, and we're talking about 15 of them, have to be lifted up and set upright again and you can imagine that's going to be a lot of labor intensive for hours," said Benniefield.

Benniefield said the cleanup will take at least 24 hours.  Port Spokesman Andy Fobes said the majority of the Port is now operational again.  However, he said trains cannot access the Port until the derailed one is removed from the tracks. - WFLA.

WATCH: Train derailment in Florida causes ethanol spill.

The main portion of the Port of Tampa is closed and may stay blocked off for much of the day after a train derailed there early Thursday morning.

The train was coming into the port at 1 a.m. when it left the tracks, pulling twelve cars off of the rails -- and sending ten of those completely onto their sides, according to Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Lonnie Benniefield.

Responders found three of the cars leaking ethanol, a flammable liquid that's often mixed with gasoline to fuel cars and trucks. When it's shipped by rail, ethanol is usually stored in a form that is more flammable than gasoline.

Hazmat-trained firefighters have laid down a coating of firefighting foam on top of the spill to keep it from catching fire.

The toppled train is blocking the main entrance to the Port of Tampa on Maritime Boulevard, and that may be the case for several hours.

Benniefield said equipment to place the rail cars back on the tracks is being sent from Atlanta to Tampa by railroad company CSX; righting the entire train could take until late Thursday night or some time Friday morning.

No one was hurt in the train derailment, which was originally reported as involving 15 cars. Benniefield said it's not clear yet why the train jumped the tracks. CSX and government agencies are expected to investigate the cause.

Typically, ethanol breaks down within a few weeks in the environment, so the impact to the soil and groundwater may be limited and not serious. - WZZM.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Thousands Of Dead Fish Appear In A Lagoon In Venice, Italy!

July 25, 2013 - ITALY - Die-off of fish in the lagoon. Thousands of dead fish were seen floating Friday night and yesterday morning in some areas of the central lagoon. In the morning the dead fish has also arrived in the internal channels of the city, also spotted in the Grand Canal. Mullets, go, passerini anguele dead from lack of oxygen in the water (anoxia).

Phenomenon also happened in other summers, but that now appears more massive. «Our technicians are intervened together to ASL», explains the Councillor for the Environment Gianfranco Bettin, «according to the first data the situation is quite normal. The lack of wind and currents caused a global warming of the waters of the lagoon, with obvious difficulties to native species, especially in areas south of the lagoon and the central lagoon. "

In the next hours the City should reach an agreement with the fishing cooperatives to organize the collection of dead fish to be launched in landfills managed by Veritas. An environmental problem has already emerged in recent days with the strong smell of rotting seaweed warned in some lagoon areas, particularly in Fusina and Campalto. the high temperatures of these days and the lack of wind caused the decay of algae.

Phenomenon exploded about twenty years ago with the invasion of giant seaweed, l 'Ulva lactuca, which then was collected with special boats of the company Bread, then alerted by Coinsorzio Venezia Nuova. Mayor Antonio Casellati had first applied to the Venice directive banning the use of phosphorus in detergents. And the situation had improved.

Less polluted waters also for the reduction of the factories in Marghera, and the presence of new treatment plants. But in the lagoon remain waste and poisons of the past activities. For this reason the fishermen ask for thorough checks on the real causes of death of the fish.

"The water near Marghera was very dark," relates one of them, "Thousands of dead fish floating on the surface." A load that the tide has shifted then to Venice. Triggering the alarm in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Is not the first such phenomenon, although its extent appears to be greater than the other times. Die-off of fish was also reported last winter, then because of the low temperatures which caused the freezing of a part of the lagoon fishermen nord.Secondo assists you in any case to a change in the presence of native fish in traditional areas. The change of climate and the great works in the lagoon have resulted in the reappearance of crabs and shellfish, but the disappearance of lagoon fish dishes like bisati and passerini. - La Nuova. [Translated]

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Catastrophic Mortality - Government Declares Mass Dolphin Die-Off In Florida An Unusual Mortality Event!

July 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - At least 54 bottlenose dolphins have died mysteriously in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon since January. Today, the federal government is stepping in to help find out what’s killing them.

Dolphins are dying in the Indian River Lagoon. Today, the federal government announced that it will help
investigate the cause. (Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute)

In a normal year, that number would be closer to 22. On July 24, NOAA declared the mass die-off an “Unusual Mortality Event” — a declaration that will send federal resources and scientists to help teams already on the ground in Florida. It’s the lagoon’s worst dolphin die-off on record, and the cause is mysterious.

“This has become a national investigation, instead of a local investigation,” said Megan Stolen, a marine biologist with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, the nonprofit organization that has been investigating and keeping track of the dolphin deaths so far. ”This will definitely help us.”

Map by Greg Miller.

It’s the second time this year that NOAA has declared an Unusual Mortality Event for marine mammals in the lagoon, a 156-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida’s Atlantic coast. In April, a mass manatee die-off received the same designation. This is the third time a UME has been declared for dolphins in the lagoon. What caused the others, in 2001 and 2008, is still a mystery.

The lagoon is a treasured but troubled ecosystem, and has been besieged by a combination of nutrient run-off, pollution, and algal blooms — ingredients that have created a lethal situation for 112 manatees, roughly 300 pelicans, and 54 dolphins since last July. Scientists don’t yet know if the die-offs are linked, or if there are multiple killers on the loose in the estuary. Multiple investigations are ongoing, with teams trying to find out whether algal toxins, or pollution, or something else is to blame.

Stolen became concerned about the dolphin deaths in January. But it wasn’t until late spring that the carcasses really began to pile up; at one point, scientists were retrieving a dolphin a day from the northern and central lagoon. The die-off is affecting dolphins of all age classes and sexes. Some of the bodies are intact, others have been scavenged by sharks. Unlike the dead manatees, which appear normal except for being dead, the dolphins are emaciated — thin and bony. But whether they’re starving because of disease, or a toxin, or a lack of food is still unknown. Clues are scarce, and only one sick dolphin has been found alive.

Elevated numbers of dead dolphins, casualties of a mysterious killer, prompted the UME declaration. (NOAA)

Now, Stolen says, the die-off has slowed a bit. In July, five dolphins have been pulled from the lagoon’s brackish water.

“The last few dolphins have been calves,” she said. “Newborn babies.”

It’s not clear yet whether the calves, three of them, are casualties of the mysterious scourge. But, Stolen says, “We would expect that if moms are getting hit by the UME cause, that we would start seeing dead calves as well.”

Map by Greg Miller.

She and her colleagues will continue to monitor and respond to situation as NOAA’s team determines which direction to take the investigation in. ”We are starting to look in [the dolphins'] stomachs now,” she said. “Normally when we do a necropsy, we kind of scoop everything out of their stomachs and put it in a bag. What we’ll do now is we’ll separate the liquid from the solid.”

The liquids are good for toxin analyses, and the solids will tell researchers what, exactly, the dolphins have been eating — and if there are any clues to be found in their last meals. - WIRED.

ICE AGE NOW: Year Without Summer - Chile Experiences Its Coldest Day Of 2013 And The Largest Snowfall In Decades Hit Brazil, Closing Roads And Schools In Over 80 Cities?!

July 25, 2013 - SOUTH AMERICA - Record low temperatures hit Chile with many parts of Santiago experiencing temperatures below freezing Monday as fresh snow falls in the Andes. Santiago and other cities were affected by record low temperatures during the past few days, with some areas reaching as low as 16.8 F (-8.4 C) Monday.

Chile Experiences Coldest Day Of 2013.
Santiago recorded its coldest day of the year Monday morning.  © Ashoka Jegroo / The Santiago Times.

The south central area of Chile faced the coldest temperatures of the year on Monday with below-freezing temperatures expected to continue until Tuesday, according to the Chilean Meteorological Office (DMC).

Chilean students received a cold welcome back from their winter vacation as Santiago's lowest temperature of the year came in at 26.6 F (-3 C) in Quinta Normal at 6:56 a.m. Monday morning. Santiago saw a high of 55.4 F (13 C). Just outside of the capital, Lampa claimed the country's record low temperature of the year with shivering lows of 16.8 F (-8.4 C). Calera de Tango in the Valparaíso Region clocked in with a low of 25.5 F (-3.6 C).

Chileans also braved extremely cold weather during the past few days with Longford in the Maule Region experiencing temperatures of 20.5 F (-6.4 C) over the weekend, the lowest in the region. Temuco in the Araucanía Region went as low as 23 F (-5 C), and Coyhaique in Patagonia went down to 20.8 F (-6.2 C).

According to the DMC, lows for the capital should gradually climb above freezing later this week with an expected low of 41 F (5 C) and a high of 66.2 F (19 C) for Thursday.

In the southern Maule Region, freezing weather is expected to continue through Tuesday and Wednesday.

Traffic was restored on Sunday over Paso Los Libertadores, the mountain highway that connects Santiago to Mendoza, Argentina, after it was cleared of snow and ice, according to the Public Works Ministry's Department of Roads. The use of chains on tires is mandatory for all vehicles, and drivers are advised to take precaution.

The National Emergency Office (ONEMI) released Early Preventative Warnings for the Coquimbo Region on Thursday and for the Maule and O'Higgins regions Friday, alerting people of low temperatures and possible morning frost in valleys and foothills.

On the bright side of the bad weather, the Metropolitan Region's Valle Nevado ski resort saw over two feet of new snow over the weekend and 14 out of its 17 lifts remain open despite temperatures of 23 F (-5 C). For further information and updates, visit the ONEMI and DMC websites. - Santiago Times.

Largest Snowfall In Decades Hit Brazil, Closing Roads And Schools In Over 80 Cities.
The mass of polar air that passed through Argentina before coming to Brazil at the end of last week dropped snow in at least 87 cities of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

The cold wave, which reaches South, Southeast, Midwest, and up to two northern states of the country (Rondônia and Acre), is the longest in 13 years, according to the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet).

"Should greatly disrupt agriculture"

"There were 17 days in all. Now, there are already seven days with temperatures below zero, and certainly this will continue until Friday, which should greatly disrupt agriculture, especially citrus plantations and lettuce, and bring problems health," says meteorologist Lucia Gularte of Inmet.

Among the places hit by the snow are two capitals: Curitiba and Florianópolis. In Curitiba, the record snow made on Tuesday by Simepar Meteorological Institute is the first since 1975.

Snowflakes and freezing rain were seen in several neighborhoods of Curitiba, and in cities such as Araucaria, Campo Largo, Lapa and Pinhais, including the Afonso Pena International Airport.

In Santa Catarina, Epagri / Ciram snow recorded in the region of the Morro Cambirela in Palhoça, in Florianópolis. It is the first occurrence of the kind in 29 years, also seen in other cities in the metropolitan region, as Alfredo Wagner, Angelina and Burnt Ranch, and several parts of the state.

Altogether, at least 57 cities in Santa Catarina had snow.

Trees frozen

Until 6:30 this Tuesday, the lowest temperature was in Bom Jardim da Serra, in the mountainous region, with -7 ° C. In São Joaquim, in the same region, did -4 ° C, leaving frozen trees.

Snow in the South also closed federal highway (BR-116, BR-280 and BR-282) and state (SC-350, SC-390 and SC-280) in Santa Catarina, because of ice buildup on track.

Also, snow and extreme cold caused cancellation of classes at San Joaquin. A homeless man died in Biguaçu, in Florianópolis, due to the cold. And two cities in the state - St. Joachim and St. Joseph, in Florianópolis - are in an emergency situation to purchase blankets and supplies to the poorest families.

Largest snowfall in decades

According to weatherman Marcelo Schneider of Inmet, the snowfall in Santa Catarina and Paraná is one of the largest in decades. In some cities, such as Curitiba, the last occurrence was 38 years ago.

"The accumulation of snow in southern Paraná is also rare. So what draws attention is the duration of cold days, the permanence of the polar air and snow, not the absolute minimum temperature," explains Schneider.

Cold in the Midwest and North.

"In midwinter, São Paulo had not yet downloaded 10 ° C. And in 70 years, this only happened five times here. Reached the windchill 6 ° C," says Schneider. What draws attention is the low maximum temperatures, around 11 ° C between this Tuesday and Wednesday. - Ice Age Now.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Unusual Storm System Moving Backwards Across United States Through End Week - Storms With 100mph Winds Lash Kansas, Dumping Baseball-Sized Hail In Several Counties!

July 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - An unusual storm system is over Oklahoma and Texas at this time, causing severe thunderstorms and much needed rainfall to the dry areas of both states.

Unusual Storm System Moving Backwards Across United States Through End Week.

A low pressure system that started in the Eastern United States has retrograded under a ridge of high pressure to the north over the last couple of days. This system is moving from east to west, which is extremely unusual for this hemisphere. We’ve seen these move east to west for a short period of time, but this one will make it to Southern California by the time it weakens.

The upper level system is known as an easterly wave, however I’d like to call it a super easterly wave based on the distance it is going to travel. This particular system will have traveled from one side of the country to the other once it has stopped moving west, diving from there into Mexico, gathering up monsoonal moisture to be put into Nevada and Southern California later in the week into next week.

Rainfall estimations across parts of Central Texas could be over 2-4″ of rain, with more rain (above 6+” possible in parts of South-Central Texas. Severe storms, including tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds will be possible from Texas, New Mexico, and parts of Arizona through the next few days.

If you live in Southern California, Click Here for the news release on how this will affect you. - The Weatherspace.

Storms With 100mph Winds Lash Kansas, Dumping Baseball-Sized Hail In Several Counties.
A storm rolls through Haven, Kan., leaving baseball-sized hail in its wake. Alek Royer
As sunrise brings fresh light to the aftermath of strong storms in southern Kansas from Tuesday night, authorities are beginning to assess the toll.

Hail as large as baseballs was reported in east Hutchinson, according to Reno County Emergency Management. Winds estimated as high as 100 miles an hour were reported in southern Reno County near Pretty Prairie. The town itself was hit hard by hail and strong winds, knocking down trees and blocking streets.

“Please Please Please stay away from Pretty Prairie for now. They are not letting people into town at this time,” a post on Reno County Emergency Management’s Facebook page implored.

A hail stone measuring 4.75 inches in diameter fell near Yoder in eastern Reno County and hail as large as tennis balls was also reported.

More heavy rain strong winds struck Argonia in Sumner County Tuesday night, which was still picking up the pieces from Monday night’s microburst storm that ripped portions of the roof off the high school and elementary school.

Officially, Wichita recorded 1.02 inches of rain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Schminke. But heavier amounts were reported elsewhere in the city – including an inch of rain falling in just a half-hour at Central and Ridge Road in west Wichita.

Substantial rain over each of the past two days in the Cheney Lake watershed area is likely to boost water levels at the lake. With the ground already saturated, runoff into the lake – which until recently was Wichita’s primary water source – should be considerable. - Wichita Eagle.

Storms deliver triple digit winds, hail nearly 5 inches in diameter. Kelly Royer.

From Haven, Kan., resident Kelly Royer:

My husband, Bill, got a call from a friend (and fellow farmer) who was in Hutchinson (Kan.), and he told us they were getting pelted with huge hail, and it was coming our way.

Bill and our boys got several trucks and vehicles put in the shed just in the nick of time. We watched the storm roll in and knew the hail was coming because the huge thunderhead cloud was green. When the first large hail fell, there were only a few big pieces, and we thought we got lucky and that the worst of it had passed us by.

But then the really big hail started, and it was almost deafening.

The super-sized hail lasted for several minutes, and then we had several more minutes of quarter- and pea-sized ice. It was scary and awesome all at the same time.

The sheer size of the hail was so impressive, but at the same time, we knew it was damaging our crops. Crops that up until this point had been looking great.

It's dark now so we'll have to wait until morning to see the full extent of the damage.
- NBC News.

WATCH: Storms With 100mph Winds Lash Kansas.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Lava Glows, Steam Shoots!

July 25, 2013 - HAWAII -  A shield of white lights illuminated the night sky as Scott and Alydia Kardel, from Tucson, trekked along the coast of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The two were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary and headed toward the site of the erupting Kilauea volcano.

Lava from the Puu Oo cone of Kilauea Volcano reaches the Pacific Ocean on the southeastern coast of
Hawaii Island, Hawaii.(Photo: Marc Lester, The Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Scott Kardel, 50, recalled the vivacity of the oranges and reds of the lava tearing through the cracks on the volcano's side. Steam swirled as the lava seeped into the ocean — the vibrant colors fading into a coal black as the lava solidified upon hitting the water.

"It was one of the most amazing feats of nature that I have ever seen," said Kardel, adding that he wanted to return for the couple's 30th wedding anniversary.

The park on Hawaii island contains two active volcanoes: Mauna Loa, the most massive mountain in the world, which last erupted in 1987, and Kilauea, which has offered "pretty much non-stop action in modern history," according to park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.

The Halemaumau crater can be seen from an overlook platform about half a mile away at the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. Though it requires a long, difficult hike, visitors also can see lava from the Puu Oo vent on a coastal plain in the volcano's east rift zone. There is no way to tell how long the eruptions will last, Ferracane said, though Puu Oo has been erupting since 1983 and Halemaumau since 2008.

Hawai'i Volcanoes is home to a variety of wildlife and plants, including some species found nowhere but the Hawaiian islands or the park itself. The park contains six endangered native bird species, including the nene (Hawaiian goose) and the io (Hawaiian hawk). The park's coastline is home to nesting areas of the endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

Slightly above the coastline area, visitors can use a boardwalk to view petroglyphs carved into lava rock.

Walkers and hikers will find more than 150 miles of trails from easy to those that traverse wilderness areas, while bikers can use the park's roads and several trails. - USA Today.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Natural Gas Platform In The Gulf Of Mexico Explodes - Firefighters Battle Blaze; 44-Strong Crew Evacuated; Major Cloud Of Gas After Blowout!

July 25, 2013 - GULF OF MEXICO - A Gulf of Mexico drilling rig has partially collapsed off the coast of Louisiana after catching fire because of a ruptured natural gas well, U.S. regulators said on Wednesday.

Hercules 265 rig fire that caused a collapse of the drill floor and derrick after an explosion
on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico. US Coast Guard via Reuters

Firefighters are continuing to tackle the blaze, which broke out after a blowout on the Hercules 265 natural gas platform at around 10:45 p.m. local time Monday.

Eileen Angelico, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said no one was on board when the fire started and it was not known what sparked it.

A drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, where a fire broke out on Wednesday has partially collapsed.  AFP PHOTO / Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

She said an investigation into the cause of incident was "well underway"

The 44-strong crew who were evacuated on two lifeboats, after the gas began spewing to the surface, will be interviewed about how they lost control of the well, she added. None of them were injured, NBC station WDSU reported.

WATCH: It appears that there are few environmental dangers evident in the collapse of a natural gas platform that is burning to the waterline more than 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

The beams supporting the derrick and portable drilling rig floor have folded and have collapsed over the rig structure, operated by Hercules Offshore.

Under bureau direction, Walter Oil & Gas Corp has begun preparations to move a jack-up rig on location to drill a relief well, the BSSE said in a statement. The company was expected to submit a permit application for that relief well on Wednesday night.

WATCH: A natural gas well off the Louisiana coast caught fire, hours after a blowout that prompted the evacuation of 44 workers.

Both BSEE and Coast Guard Surveyed the fire from the air this morning to assess the situation.

A "very light sheen that dissipates quickly" was seen in the ocean near the rig, according to a BSEE/Coast Guard statement..

Experts from Wild Well Control, who specialize in tackling rig fires are also being consulted on the best way to fight the fire.

Walter Oil & Gas reported to the BSEE that the rig was completing a "sidetrack well" — a means of re-entering the original well bore, Angelico said earlier.

Sidetrack wells are sometimes drilled to remedy a problem with the existing well bore.

"It's a way to overcome an engineering problem with the original well," Ken Medlock, an energy expert at Rice University's Baker Institute told the Associated Press.

"They're not drilled all the time, but it's not new."

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and eventually spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. - NBC News.