Wednesday, August 14, 2013

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: "Big Sonic Boom" - Two Dead In Fiery UPS Plane Crash In Birmingham, Alabama!

August 14, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A UPS cargo plane slammed into a field and burst into flames near an Alabama airport Wednesday, killing the pilot and co-pilot and strewing debris for hundreds of yards, authorities said.

A postal officer inspects the debris at the scene of a United Parcel Service cargo plane crash near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Aug. 14 in Birmingham, Ala. Two crew members were killed
when the aircraft crashed on a hill at 5 a.m. near the airport.  Hal Yeager, AP

The plane, an Airbus A300-600F, was en route from Louisville when it crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said the plane's data-recording "black boxes" have not yet been recovered because they are located in a portion of the aircraft wreckage, the tail section, that was still smoldering. He said he was optimistic they would be recovered when the wreckage cools.

"The board has a very good success rate at being able to recover the recorders," Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt said the plane, carrying tail number N155UP, crashed while on approach to Runway 18.

"We will be looking at everything that may be relevant to the causation of this accident,'' he said.

An investigator looks through the wreckage.  Hal Yeager, AP

The wing of a UPS cargo plane lies on a hill.  NTSB via AFP/Getty Images.

Birmingham Fire Chief Ivor Brooks said both crewmembers were pronounced dead at the scene. The pilot and co-pilot were the only people aboard the plane, company spokesman Jeff Wafford said.

UPS said in a statement that it "cannot disclose their names pending confirmation from the local coroner's office.''

Birmingham Mayor William Bell told USA TODAY that the pilots sent no distress signal before the crash. No one on the ground was injured, he said, although debris was found on roofs and lawns of homes a half-mile from the crash site.

"Debris is everywhere,'' Bell said. "It took tremendous effort by the men and women of the police and fire departments to put the fire out and take control of the scene."

The crash happened at about 5 a.m. local time on an overcast morning with occasional light rain. The plane apparently struck a massive tree north of the runway and clipped some power lines, knocking out power to much of the surrounding neighborhood.

Airport Hills resident Chris Evans, 60, told the Birmingham News that he heard the crash.

"At first I thought it was thunder," he said. "The power went off, and I looked out the window and saw nothing but fire."

Evans said that he was grateful that the plane had not hit any homes. "We've been trying to get the airport to buy up the rest of these houses for years," he said.

Barbara Benson, 72, said she was awakened from sleep at the time of the crash by "this big sonic boom."

Investigators inspect the wreckage of a UPS A300 cargo plane.  Hal Yeager, AP

Debris burns as investigators work at the scene of a UPS cargo plane crash. The pilot and co-pilot were killed. 
Hal Yeager, AP

"I saw a big red flash through my bedroom window," she said. She said the tops of trees around her house were knocked down and a piece of their deck was missing.

"This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved," UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols said in a statement. "We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public. We will immediately engage with the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation, and we will work exhaustively on response efforts."

Flight tracking site shows the cargo plane, identified by the site and the FAA as Flight UPS1354, dropped more than 9,000 feet over the course of two minutes about four minutes before the crash.

The plane is listed by the FAA as an Airbus A300 F4-622R manufactured in 2004. The FAA lists six "service difficulty" incidents for the plane since then. The most recent was in May 2012 when the aircraft's air data computer failed during a flight and an emergency was declared.

A UPS cargo plane lies on a hill near Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport after crashing on
approach on Aug. 14.
(Photo: Hal Yeager, AP)

The computer, which was listed as inoperative, was replaced and the plane was put back into service, FAA data shows.

The other incidents, which date to 2006, involved a faulty brake pressure indicator, a damaged floor panel, a malfunction of the plane's trailing edge flap system, a malfunctioning crew entrance door, and damaged fuselage skin.

Birmingham Airport Authority spokeswoman Toni Herrera-Bast said the crash hadn't affected airport operations.

UPS is the world's largest package delivery company and owns 235 jets, according to UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin. The company operates 949 flights in the USA and 982 international flights daily, serving 381 airports in the U.S. and 346 internationally.

In 2012, UPS delivered 4.1 billion packages and documents worldwide, Godwin said. The company daily delivers an average of 16.3 million packages and documents, including 2.3 million that go by air.

WATCH: UPS Plane Crashes Outside Birmingham.

Godwin said the last UPS plane crash was in Sept. 3, 2010, when a UPS Boeing 747-400 crashed near the Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates. Both crewmembers — Capt. Doug Lampe, 48, of Kentucky, and First Officer Matthew Bell, 38, of Florida — were killed. It was the first fatal plane crash for UPS.

An investigation of the Dubai crash found that the plane's cargo, which included lithium batteries, caught fire, forcing the pilots to try and return to the Dubai airport shortly after takeoff. Investigators cited the lithium batteries as a possible cause of the fire.

A report in July on the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority's accident investigation of the crash said "the investigation concludes with reasonable certainty that the location of the fire was in an element of the cargo that contained, among other items, lithium batteries."Before the Dubai crash, UPS had had four other aircraft accidents or incidents since 1985, according to the Aviation Safety Network. The most recent was in February 2006 when a DC-8 with a fire onboard burned after landing in Philadelphia. - USA Today.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Unusual Weather" - Man Shoots Video Of Waterspout With Rainbow Over Baltic Sea?!

August 14, 2013 - BALTIC SEA - A Swedish man's video of a liquid tornado, known as a waterspout, in front of a rainbow over the Baltic Sea has gained him international attention.

Lars Lundqvist, 54, said he woke early Wednesday at his home on the island of Gotland and decided to photograph the unusual weather, The reported Wednesday.

"It was very dramatic out there and I thought I'd take a few stills, but then after 15 minutes I saw a weird, grey pillar and I thought: 'What the hell is that?'" Lundqvist said.

He soon realized the pillar was a liquid tornado.

"I was surprised. I've never seen one over the sea before. It was impressive, particularly so with that rainbow there. It was great scenery, magnificent really," he said.

WATCH: Man shoots video of waterspout with rainbow over Baltic Sea.

Lundqvist said the waterspout was not filled with sharks, as in the recently released cult film "Sharknado."

"I was looking for sharks," he joked. "But I didn't see any. I didn't see any flounders or cod either actually. Nothing. I felt very safe." - UPI.

ICE AGE NOW: The Early Chill In The Arctic Continues - Sea Surface Temperatures Show Much Of The Area Is Below Freezing!

August 14, 2013 - ARCTIC - Temperature above 80 degrees north drops below freezing early, and continues to drop.  Many people have been watching the remarkable early drop in air temperature at the DMI plot here:

This drop looks to be about two weeks early. As this next analysis of sea surface temperature shows, much of the area is below freezing. Of course in seawater, ice doesn't form until temperatures get below 28.4°F (-2°C), so it is close, but not quite there yet.

The DMI sea ice plot looks to be slowing significantly, but has not made a turn yet.

With this slowdown becoming evident, and temperature dropping early, the possibility exists that a turn in ice melt may start earlier than usual. If it does, we might see a turn begin in about two to three weeks if there's any linkage between 80N temperature and sea ice extent. Typically, we see a turn in Arctic sea ice melt around September 15th to the 25th.

Of interest is this plot done by the blog "sunshine hours" which shows the difference between Arctic sea ice in 2012 and 2013.

He writes:
The difference is quite dramatic if you graph the anomaly % from the 30 year mean.

Until day 175 or so, the anomaly was only around -5% or so (note that the anomaly actually went positive for a few days in 2012).

While 2013 was later, both started drifting down. 2013 has stabilized at -15%. At this time last year 2012 was -30%.

Check out all of the data at the WUWT Sea Ice reference page


Some commenters have noticed a large drop in today's most recent plot.

First, regarding this graph:

That's the old DMI plot, which DMI says we should now use this one on this page:

They write:
The plot above replaces an earlier sea ice extent plot, that was based on data with the coastal zones masked out. This coastal mask implied that the previous sea ice extent estimates were underestimated. The new plot displays absolute sea ice extent estimates. The old plot can still be viewed here for a while
And, that could be either an instrument failure or a processing failure. We've seen spikes like that before. It might also be real data, we won't know until the next update.

I tend to favor loss of data, as reader "DJ" points out in comments, see this image:

But yes, this post was edited last night at about 11PM PDT, and DMI updated the graph a few hours later.


INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Indian Submarine Catches Fire, Sinks In Mumbai Port - 18 Sailors Feared Dead!

August 14, 2013 - INDIA - Indian navy divers have entered a crippled submarine hit by twin explosions but have yet to reach any of the 18 sailors who are feared dead inside the vessel, a naval official said Thursday. The Russian-built submarine had also been damaged in a deadly explosion in 2010 and had only recently returned to service.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh honored those killed in Wednesday's explosion and fire. "We pay homage to these martyrs," he said in brief comments during a speech to mark the anniversary of India's 1947 independence from Britain.

The navy official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said water was being pumped from the flooded, diesel-powered submarine so it could be raised completely to the surface. It is currently partially submerged at a dock in a Mumbai navy base, with a portion visible above the waterline.

He said there had been no contact with the sailors since the explosions, which lit up the sky above the base. The official said there appeared to be no way the sailors could have survived the intensity of the blasts and fire.

"We hope for the best but we have to prepare for the worst," Admiral D.K. Joshi, the navy chief, told reporters Wednesday earlier in Mumbai.

The explosions in the submarine's torpedo compartment sent a huge fireball into the air and sent nearby sailors jumping into the sea in panic. It is shaping up to be another embarrassment for India's military, which has been hit with a corruption scandal as it races to modernize its forces.

Because the submarine was docked, navy watchmen were on the submarine rather than the normal crew, Joshi said. At least some weaponry exploded in the near-simultaneous blasts, he added.

A video of the explosions filmed by bystanders showed an enormous ball of red and yellow fire rising hundreds of feet into the air. About a dozen fire engines rushed to the dockyard and extinguished the fire in about two hours, officials said.

Navy spokesman Narendra Vispute said the cause of the explosions was being investigated.

The 16-year-old Russian-made submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, was hit by an explosion in 2010 that killed one sailor and injured two others. The navy said that accident was caused by a faulty battery valve that leaked hydrogen, causing an explosion in the vessel's battery compartment.

The sub recently returned from Russia after a 2 1/2 year refit, overhaul and upgrade, said Rahul Bedi, an analyst for the independent Jane's Information Group. Joshi, the navy chief, said it returned to India in April, and had been certified for use by the Indian navy.

Russian ship repair company Zvyozdochka said the blasts were unrelated to its repair work.

"According to the members of our warranty group, the vessel was functioning properly and had no technical faults at the time of the incident," the Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified company representative as saying.
Zvyozdochka said the submarine had been "in active use" and had logged 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) on three missions.

Wednesday's accident came at a time when India is facing a shortage of submarines because of obsolescence, Bedi said.

The government has authorized the navy to have up to 24 conventional submarines, but it has just 14, including eight Russian Kilo-class and four German Type HDW209 boats. Bedi said five of those will be retired by 2014-15.

WATCH: Indian submarine explodes, sinks at naval dockyard.

Last year, India acquired a Russian Nerpa nuclear submarine on a 10-year lease at a cost of nearly $1 billion. India also has designed and built its own nuclear submarine. The navy activated the atomic reactor on that vessel on Saturday and could deploy it in the next two years.

India has steadily built its naval capabilities in recent years, spurred by its rivalry with neighboring China. But the country's military has encountered scandal as it attempts to bulk up.

In February, India put on hold a $750 million deal to buy helicopters from Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica and its British subsidiary, AgustaWestland, following charges of kickbacks and bribes.

Three of the 12 helicopters were delivered in December and the rest have been put on hold.

Giuseppe Orsihe, the former head of Finmeccanica, is facing trial in Italy for his alleged role in the payment of bribes to secure the helicopter contract. - Huffington Post.

MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: "Unusual Mortality Event" - The Mysterious Dolphin Death Rate On United States Mid-Atlantic Beaches Is 7 Times Higher Than Normal?!

August 14, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Bottlenose dolphins are washing up on mid-Atlantic beaches in staggering numbers this summer. In response, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared an "unusual mortality event," and researchers say the death rate is seven times higher than normal for the East Coast in July.

© Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

"This is the highest number that we have had for this time of year since 1987," Susan Barco, research coordinator for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center told USA Today. And what happened in '87? Morbillivirus, a virus related to measles, killed over 740 dolphins along the East Coast in a three month span. According to the Press of Atlantic City, four of the 28 dolphins that washed up in New Jersey last month had the morbillivirus, with lab tests pending for the rest of the carcasses.

"The minute (the dolphins) started coming in, there were similarities (to the 1987 outbreak)," Bob Schoelkopf, founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, told the Press of Atlantic City. The huge number of strandings has put an enormous financial strain on groups like his that lack institutional backing, but the NOAA's declaration of an "unusual mortality event" will direct some federal funding to the Center.


An "unusual mortality event" is rare; the Press of Atlantic City reports that only 59 have been declared nationwide since 1991. This month's declaration comes after a particularly deadly month for bottlenose dolphins, with at least 124 strandings reported from Virginia to New York since July. Last month, 13 bottlenose strandings were reported on Long Island from Long Beach to Montauk, along with one in Coney Island and one in the Rockaway, Newsday reports.

So far this year, 201 dolphins have been reported stranded. Locally, the year started on a grim note with a poor dolphin dying in the Gowanus Canal.

NOAA says it's too early to attribute the death toll to Morbillvirus, and cautions that "there are no unifying gross necropsy findings, although several dolphins have presented with pulmonary lesions... Based on the rapid increase in strandings over the last two weeks and the geographic extent of these mortalities, an infectious pathogen is at the top of the list of potential causes for this UME, but all potential causes of these mortalities will be evaluated."

To report a live or dead stranded dolphin in the Northeast U.S., call the local marine mammal stranding network (1-866-755-6622). - Gothamist.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF IN CHINA: Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating In A Lake In Xiamen; And Massive Fish Die-Off In Ponds In Fuzhou?!

August 14, 2013 - CHINA - Here are two of the latest incidents of mass fish die-off in China.

Massive Fish Die-Off In Ponds In Fuzhou.
Fish ponds in massive fish deaths, blast, due to water contaminated by the upstream prune workshop.

Fuzhou, people's daily online, August 15 (Xinhua Zhang Zhibin) on 15th, netizens Chen Hailing micro-blog, Wing Tai Su County town of Fuzhou village farmers, after water was processed dried plum (dried) workshop of sewage contamination caused the death of a large number of fish. Yongtai County on the county town responded that, excluding sewage pollution, preliminary judgment of hypoxia Pan Tong led to dead fish in fish ponds.

Fish worth a hundred thousand of mass deaths, blast allegedly caused by water contaminated by the upstream prune workshop.

"Bleached a year income, lost more than a hundred thousand of dollars. "Chen Hailing said in Twitter, had reported to the local authorities," but I don't know for what reason, just more aloof manner. ”

Chen Hailing reflecting pond reservoir in Yongtai County of Pont Lotus, it is understood that the rainwater in the reservoir area of 0.46 square kilometers, total storage capacity of 113,900 cubic metres, is a set of comprehensive utilization of flood control, irrigation, small (2) reservoirs. Introduction when Chen Hailing's sister, in an interview with the network, their long-term contract for aquaculture in the reservoir, but in the upper reaches of the reservoir of a prune workshop, from sewage reservoirs damaged in recent days, leading to sewage flow into the reservoir, farmed fish large-area death occurred.

"Last year, also similar to the phenomenon of dead fish, only thousands of dollars due to losses, prune workshop leader recognized for its discharge had caused and compensation. This year, the loss of a hundred thousand of prune workshop-holders to this denial of compensation. "Chen Hailing's sister told reporters that as of 14th, all dead fish in the pond.

It was also sister of Chen Hailing introduced, as at the 15th, before and after, "upstream of the reservoir that dried plum workshop is busy put a large number of preserved fruits in large trucks for transfer, this preserves factory is operating without a permit. ”

Initial judgement is a fish pond hypoxia Pan Tong led to dead fish.

Kon Tum town people's Governments respond to this call, on August 13, Kon Tum town on East slope of village cadres are visiting libraries and finding fish have strange, immediately inform Chen Chuanqin to protect farming households. The morning of 14th, in receive Chen Chuanqin reflect the cupule in the reservoir after the mass deaths of fish, town and village officials rushed to the site to see the first time, and fishing experts from the enforcement agency investigation in Yongtai County animal husbandry Bureau. 15th, Yongtai County Public Security Bureau, security brigades sampling investigation by its staff, may have ruled out poisoning.

Blast at 14th, all the dead fish in the ponds, loss of a hundred thousand of Yuan.

According to investigation of County town, the recent phenomenon because of the large areas of dead fish a fish pond, initial judgement is a fish pond hypoxia Pan Tong led to dead fish, specific reasons to wait for test results.

Kon Tum mouth town in response in the said, a is recent Fuzhou continued high temperature, long-term no rainfall, caused reservoir water temperature high, no living waters entered, reservoir hypoxia; II is silt long-term is not cleanup, farming households Chen Chuanqin farming about 7 years, is not regularly on reservoir silt for cleanup, farming households also will without fermentation of pig manure pour pool in the, led to water quality had fertilizer, silt more, caused multiple microbial fermentation, produced water quality changes. - SOHU. [Translated]

Thousands Of Dead Fish Found Floating In A Lake In Xiamen.

The afternoon of August 15, 2013, Xiamen when numerous dead fish floating on the Lake. Especially in the Lake next to the embankment, dead fish is more extruded film, smell bad, it is not close. Xiamen City Lakes Management Office was informed that caused the death of fish a lot, first days of rain in the Lake salinity caused by plunging.

Lake lake water, storm before the onset of salinity in the Lake is 27, and yesterday's test salinity became 2. Unable to adapt to sudden changes in water quality of fish in the Lake, resulting in death. Second, fish mass mortality caused by hypoxia.

Amount of oxygen in the water in the Lake after the storm only 0.5 mg/l, fish survival of normal standard is 4 mg/l and less than 1 mg/l, fish of oxygen will not survive. So, these two days a large number of fish floating in the Lake breathing. - Kaixian. [Translated]

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For August 14, 2013 - Updates On El Hierro, Shiveluch, Sakurajima, Gaua, Marapi, Ambrym, Yasur, Popocatépetl And Tungurahua!

August 14, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): Earthquake activity has been calmer today. So far, only 9 tiny quakes (all below magnitude 2) have been recorded under the island.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Explosions continue to occur frequently. Several eruptions during the past 48 hours produced ash plume rising to about 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Explosions have been averaging to about 2-3 per day over the past week. Many of them have been moderately large with plume heights reaching 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

SO2 plume from Sakurajima volcano (NOAA).

An SO2 anomaly from this activity is visible hovering above the Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima volcano.

Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): The volcano continues to produce small explosions every now and then. Local press reported two small eruptions this morning.

The first one occurred at 7:49 am (local time WIB), producing an ash plume of 300 meters height, and the second at 8:32 am with an ash plume rising 600 meters... [read more]

Ambrym (Vanuatu): The lava lakes inside the Benbow and Marum craters continue to be active, a recent NASA satellite image shows.

Satellite image of the craters Benbow and Marum of Ambrym volcano from 9 Aug 2013
(NASA Earth Observatory, annotations by Robert Simmons)

Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): Strombolian activity has been decreasing according to GeoHazard, and the volcano could soon be placed back to alert level 1. However, bombs are still often being ejected outside the crater during larger strombolian eruptions, as the attached webcam image shows.

Glowing bombs on the northern flank of Yasur after an explosion on 13 Aug
(image GeoHazard, annotated by Culture Volcan)

Gaua (Vanuatu): A tendency of increasing seismic activity has been observed since June and GeoHazards keep a close eye on the volcano, which still remains at alert level 1 (on a scale of 4) for the moment. Areas within 3 km from the crater and the summit area should not be approached, today's new volcanic activity bulletin reads.

Satellite images show what is most likely a weak degassing plume from the volcano's main vent, Mt Garet on the shore of the caldera lake. The presence of the lake increases the risk of (usually sudden) phreatic explosions... [read more]

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): At 19:02 h (local time) yesterday, an phase of strong ash emissions occurred accompanied by strong volcanic tremor.

Current seismic recording from Popocatépetl.

Due to cloud cover, the eruption was not observed directly, but fine ash fell in areas west of the volcano, including the towns of Ozumba and Tepetlixpa in the State of Mexico.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Since 2 August, surface activity has decreased significantly, but seismic and deformation monitoring suggest the arrival of a new batch of magma from depth in the near future.

Current seismic signal from Tungurahua (RETU station, IGPEN).

Visually, no more explosions have been observed since 31 July and no ash emissions since 3 August. Gas emissions have been declining as well... [read more]

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for August 14, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Caught On Film - Blinding Lightning Bolt Strikes Commuter Train In Japan!

August 14, 2013 - JAPAN - A commuter train in Tokyo is struck by lightning illuminating the evening sky and sending sparks across the railway tracks.

A Tokyo resident filmed the moment an Odakyu Electric Railway train travelling from the Izumi-Tamagawa Station to Noborito Station took a direct hit of lightning on Monday evening.

The train was travelling over a railway bridge when it was struck sending sparks flying at the front of the train as it slowed to a stop.

WATCH: Blinding lightning bolt strikes commuter train in Japan.

The passengers onboard reported carriages suddenly went dark as the train temporarily lost power.

There were no reported injuries and the train regained power and was able to move again after 10 minutes. - Telegraph.