Wednesday, May 14, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Southeast Of Ifalik, Micronesia - No Tsunami Threat! [MAPS+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

May 14, 2014 - MICRONESIA - A strong earthquake in the South Pacific did not generate a Pacific-wide tsunami, officials in Hawaii said Wednesday.

USGS earthquake location map.

The quake, with an estimated magnitude of 6.1, was centered about 61 miles south southeast of Ifalik in the Federated States of Micronesia and about 481 miles south of Hagatna, Guam, at a depth of about 6 miles. It struck at about 10:56 a.m. in Hawaii, or 8:56 p.m. in Micronesia.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity map.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach said the quake did not pose a tsunami threat to Hawaii.

However, an earthquake of this size could have generated a local tsunami that can be destructive along nearby coasts.

There have been no initial reports of any waves generated or damage or injuries. - Star Advertiser.

Seismotectonics of the Philippine Sea and Vicinity.
The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

South of the Mariana arc, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Yap Islands along the Yap trench. The long zone of Pacific plate subduction at the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea Plate is responsible for the generation of the deep Izu-Bonin, Mariana, and Yap trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of circum-pacific island arcs. Similarly, the northwestern margin of the Philippine Sea plate is subducting beneath the Eurasia plate along a convergent zone, extending from southern Honshu to the northeastern coast of Taiwan, manifested by the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto (Ryukyu) trench. The Ryukyu Subduction Zone is associated with a similar zone of back-arc extension, the Okinawa Trough. At Taiwan, the plate boundary is characterized by a zone of arc-continent collision, whereby the northern end of the Luzon island arc is colliding with the buoyant crust of the Eurasia continental margin offshore China.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Along its western margin, the Philippine Sea plate is associated with a zone of oblique convergence with the Sunda Plate. This highly active convergent plate boundary extends along both sides the Philippine Islands, from Luzon in the north to the Celebes Islands in the south. The tectonic setting of the Philippines is unusual in several respects: it is characterized by opposite-facing subduction systems on its east and west sides; the archipelago is cut by a major transform fault, the Philippine Fault; and the arc complex itself is marked by active volcanism, faulting, and high seismic activity. Subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate occurs at the eastern margin of the archipelago along the Philippine Trench and its northern extension, the East Luzon Trough. The East Luzon Trough is thought to be an unusual example of a subduction zone in the process of formation, as the Philippine Trench system gradually extends northward (Hamburger et al., 1983). On the west side of Luzon, the Sunda Plate subducts eastward along a series of trenches, including the Manila Trench in the north, the smaller less well-developed Negros Trench in the central Philippines, and the Sulu and Cotabato trenches in the south (Cardwell et al., 1980). At its northern and southern terminations, subduction at the Manila Trench is interrupted by arc-continent collision, between the northern Philippine arc and the Eurasian continental margin at Taiwan and between the Sulu-Borneo Block and Luzon at the island of Mindoro. The Philippine fault, which extends over 1,200 km within the Philippine arc, is seismically active. The fault has been associated with major historical earthquakes, including the destructive M7.6 Luzon earthquake of 1990 (Yoshida and Abe, 1992). A number of other active intra-arc fault systems are associated with high seismic activity, including the Cotabato Fault and the Verde Passage-Sibuyan Sea Fault (Galgana et al., 2007).

Relative plate motion vectors near the Philippines (about 80 mm/yr) is oblique to the plate boundary along the two plate margins of central Luzon, where it is partitioned into orthogonal plate convergence along the trenches and nearly pure translational motion along the Philippine Fault (Barrier et al., 1991). Profiles B and C reveal evidence of opposing inclined seismic zones at intermediate depths (roughly 70-300 km) and complex tectonics at the surface along the Philippine Fault.

Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map. The plate boundaries are most accurate along the axis of the trenches and more diffuse or speculative in the South China Sea and Lesser Sunda Islands. The active volcanic arcs (Siebert and Simkin, 2002) follow the Izu, Volcano, Mariana, and Ryukyu island chains and the main Philippine islands parallel to the Manila, Negros, Cotabato, and Philippine trenches.

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths. - USGS.

THE AGE OF PUTIN & CHILDHOOD'S END: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Collapse Of The United States Corporation - Russia Holds MONUMENTAL "DE-DOLLARIZATION MEETING;" China And Iran Are Willing To Drop USD From Bilateral Trade!

May 14, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - That Russia has been pushing for trade arrangements that minimize the participation (and influence) of the US dollar ever since the onset of the Ukraine crisis (and before) is no secret: this has been covered extensively on these pages before (see Gazprom Prepares "Symbolic" Bond Issue In Chinese Yuan; Petrodollar Alert: Putin Prepares To Announce "Holy Grail" Gas Deal With China; Russia And China About To Sign "Holy Grail" Gas Deal; 40 Central Banks Are Betting This Will Be The Next Reserve Currency; From the Petrodollar to the Gas-o-yuan and so on).

But until now much of this was in the realm of hearsay and general wishful thinking. After all, surely it is "ridiculous" that a country can seriously contemplate to exist outside the ideological and religious confines of the Petrodollar... because if one can do it, all can do it, and next thing you know the US has hyperinflation, social collapse, civil war and all those other features prominently featured in other socialist banana republics like Venezuela which alas do not have a global reserve currency to kick around.

Or so the Keynesian economists, aka tenured priests of said Petrodollar religion, would demand that the world believe.

However, as much as it may trouble the statists to read, Russia is actively pushing on with plans to put the US dollar in the rearview mirror and replace it with a dollar-free system. Or, as it is called in Russia, a "de-dollarized" world.

Voice of Russia reports
citing Russian press sources that the country's Ministry of Finance is ready to greenlight a plan to radically increase the role of the Russian ruble in export operations while reducing the share of dollar-denominated transactions. Governmental sources believe that the Russian banking sector is "ready to handle the increased number of ruble-denominated transactions".

According to the Prime news agency, on April 24th the government organized a special meeting dedicated to finding a solution for getting rid of the US dollar in Russian export operations. Top level experts from the energy sector, banks and governmental agencies were summoned and a number of measures were proposed as a response for American sanctions against Russia.

Well, if the west wanted Russia's response to ever escalating sanctions against the country, it is about to get it.
The "de-dollarization meeting” was chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Shuvalov, proving that Moscow is very serious in its intention to stop using the dollar. A subsequent meeting was chaired by Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev who later told the Rossia 24 channel that "the amount of ruble-denominated contracts will be increased”, adding that none of the polled experts and bank representatives found any problems with the government's plan to increase the share of ruble payments.

WATCH: For the benefit of our Russian-speaking readers, the interview with Moiseev is below and the transcript can be found here:

Further, if you thought that only Obama can reign supreme by executive order alone, you were wrong - the Russians can do it just as effectively. Enter the "currency switch executive order":
It is interesting that in his interview, Moiseev mentioned a legal mechanism that can be described as "currency switch executive order”, telling that the government has the legal power to force Russian companies to trade a percentage of certain goods in rubles. Referring to the case when this level may be set to 100%, the Russian official said that "it's an extreme option and it is hard for me to tell right now how the government will use these powers".
Well, as long as the options exists.

But more importantly, none of what Russia is contemplating would have any practical chance of implementation if it weren't for other nations who would engage in USD-free bilateral trade relations. Such countries, however, do exist and it should come as a surprise to nobody that the two which have already stepped up are none other than China and Iran.
Of course, the success of Moscow's campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars.
In other words, in one week's time look for not only the announcement of the Russia-China "holy grail" gas agreement described previously here, but its financial terms, which now appears virtually certain will be settled exclusively in RUB and CNY. Not USD.

And as we have explained repeatedly in the past, the further the west antagonizes Russia, and the more economic sanctions it lobs at it, the more Russia will be forced away from a USD-denominated trading system and into one which faces China and India. Which is why next week's announcement, as groundbreaking as it most certainly will be, is just the beginning. - Zero Hedge.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior - Thousands Of Fish Die Overnight In New Jersey's Shark River; Tens Of Thousands Of Fish Wash Up On The East Coast Of Tasmania; 650 Emaciated Sea Lion Pups Wash Up On The California Coast Over The Last 2 Months; Texas Woman Finds 12 FOOT African Python In Her Bathroom; Many Migratory Birds Are Close To Extinction In Britain; Tens Of Thousands Of Reindeer Die Of Extreme Weather In Russia's North; Forest Worker Killed By Elephant In Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India; And The Numbers Of Birds Dying Off Are Huge And A Warning To Humanity!

May 14, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Thousands Of Fish Die Overnight In New Jersey's Shark River
Dead fish, which surfaced and washed ashore in the Shark River, float near a boat ramp on S Concourse in
Neptune, N.J., Monday May 12, 2014. Authorities are trying to determine what’s causing a massive fish kill.
(AP/The Asbury Park Press, Tanya Breen)

Though whatever killed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of fish in a New Jersey river might be baffling locals, state officials and fishermen think a natural cause is most likely behind it.  According to WCBS-TV, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection initially thought heavy rains churned up the Shark River’s water, which could have led to an algal bloom that depleted oxygen in the water. But more recent tests of the water near Belmar, New Jersey, found that neither algae nor chemicals were present at a level that they could have been the cause. Another option some are considering is that a large school of fish recently spotted in the area could have sapped each other of oxygen.  “They were here last night. Biggest School I’ve ever seen,” fishing boat captain George Stella told WCBS Tuesday. “The blues and striped bass come by and chase them and they come here and run out of oxygen.”  Fisherman Nick Caruso told the news station that an incident like this seems to happen every 20 to 30 years. He too attributed it to the amount of fish, especially bunker fish.  There are those in the area who have heard of such events, but never witnessed them.  “I’ve never seen it in this river before, anything like this. Never,” Bob Matthews from Fisherman’s Den told WCBS 880.  Bunker fish “reproduce in large numbers, and typically they use up a lot of oxygen,” Michael Meddis, public health coordinator for Monmouth County Health Department, told the Ashbury Park Press. At this point, Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said that they’re cleaning up the mess and continuing to investigate the source. The Ashbury Park Press reported that the mass death appears to be localized issue.  Larry Hajna, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, said such mass deaths are not necessarily uncommon and it is likely a “combination of natural causes is what did it.” - The Blaze.

Tens Of Thousands Of Fish Wash Up On The East Coast Of Tasmania

Authorities are investigating how tens of thousands of fish washed up along the East Coast during the past week.  Species include leatherjackets, flathead, salmon and one broadbill swordfish.  Break O'Day councillor John McGiveron, Tasmanian Game Fishing Association president, said the fish, some still alive, had washed up along the coast from Seymour to the top end of the Bay of Fires.  But he said the issue might be more widespread because fish might be washing up in unpopulated areas.  Cr McGiveron said many of the fish were juveniles and the problem might have serious implications.  The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment is investigating. - The Examiner.

650 Emaciated Sea Lion Pups Wash Up On The California Coast Over The Last 2 Months
Sea Lions in rehab.  Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Another 650 sea lion pups have washed up on the shores of California between San Diego and Ventura County in the last two months, emaciated and dehydrated, continuing a pattern of devastation from early last year.  A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) all but eliminates disease as a cause of the problem that saw another 1,600 pups stranded on beaches between January and April last year. While it does not settle on a single culprit, the report points a long finger at the decline of sardines in the region, a primary source of nourishment for sea lions.  "Current data show changes in availability of sea lion prey in Southern California waters was likely a contributor to the UME, the exact mechanism is still under investigation," the report concluded. In other words, the NOAA doesn't know precisely why the sardines are harder to find. Could be climate change, or ocean pollution, natural selection, or disease taking advantage of sea lions' weakened state.  It's probably a bit of all of the above, but the folks at Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization, don't think the most obvious reason is hard to figure out. The sardine population is collapsing because of overfishing, they say, and the NOAA is going out of its way to avoid admitting that conclusion. Instead, the agency is emphasizing its rehab effort to save the stranded pups while continuing its studies of the cause.  "Sea lions are dying due to starvation and NOAA appears to be addressing it by spending money on rehab, but they are allowing continued overfishing," Oceana reported. "They are rehabilitating starving sea lions and then putting them back into a sardine starved ocean." 

NOAA scientists published a major study in 2012 warning that collapse of the sardine population was imminent and following the same patterns that occurred during the historic collapse of the sardine fishery in the 1950s. That debacle put an end to the famous Cannery Row era. The report noted that "exploitation rates" of sardine stocks have increased dramatically since 2006 and in 2010 hit the rate at which horrible things happen.  NOAA has declared the sea lion situation an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). The agency has declared only 57 UMEs in the U.S. since 1991. The agency's sardine stock assessment (pdf) in March 2014 found sardine populations had collapsed 74% since 2007 with no evidence of recovery in sight.  Oceana summed up the NOAA policy thusly: "In other words, NOAA's pattern is to first deny a population collapse while continuing fishing, then once it has collapsed, blame events other than fishing."  Lisa Harper Henderson at the Marine Mammal Center told NBC affiliate KSBY that the practical effect of shifting sardine populations is that they have moved farther off the coast, swim at deeper depths and are harder to find by sea lions. "So when they end up on our shores, they're weak, lethargic and sometimes injured," she said. Not to mention hungry.  California sea lions range from the Pacific coast of Central Mexico to British Columbia, Canada. The estimated population of California sea lions as of 2011 was 296,750, with an annual increase of 5.4%. The main breeding areas are on islands located in Southern California, western Baja California and the Gulf of California.  Sardines are a key food group for animals other than sea lions. Seals, elephant seals and humpback whales, many of which are also found along the Channel Islands, chow down on the fatty little fish. The numbers and locations of sardines and other pelagic fish, including anchovies, market squid, rock fish and hag, fluctuate a lot, making specific assessments difficult during any brief time period.  But the sardine decline is not some brief event and the sea lion devastation is not ecological business as usual. - ALLGOV.

Texas Woman Finds 12 FOOT African Python In Her Bathroom
Veronica Rodriguez got a shock in her Texas home earlier this month when she found
a 12ft African python slithering around her bathroom

Veronica Rodriguez, 50, came home earlier this month to find the huge African python slithering across the bathroom floor She thinks snake came in through back door while she was doing chores Ms Rodriguez told officer who turned up with a paper bag: 'You're going to need a bigger sack than that' A Texas homeowner got a shock when she walked into the bathroom of her College Station home to find a 12ft python wrapped around her toilet bowl. Veronica Rodriguez, 50, discovered the huge African python slithering across the bathroom floor earlier this month. It is believed that the python got in through the back door to Ms Rodriguez's home, which she shares her teenage daughter Kelsie.

Exactly when this happened is unknown - although she admitted the door had been left open while she was doing chores throughout the day.  Ms Rodriguez was on the phone when she heard noises coming from the bathroom.  She told The Eagle: 'When I opened her bathroom door, there was a 12-foot python. I didn't know what I was going to do with a snake that large.'  She called 911 and the responding officer showed up with a paper bag. Ms Rodriguez said that she told him: 'You're going to need a bigger sack than that.'  Responding officer Tony Gonzales said: 'When I opened her bathroom door, there was a 12-foot python. I didn't know what I was going to do with a snake that large.'  Animal control was called into help with the officer showing up with a ten-gallon bucket - but the officers finally decided that the only way to contain the snake was in a trash can.  The snake, which appeared to be around five years old and in healthy condition, was initially taken to a rescue facility but it has since been returned to its owner.  Police have refused to release the owner's identity because he did nothing wrong, they say. - Daily Mail.

Many Migratory Birds Are Close To Extinction In Britain
(Left to right) Nightingale, cuckoo and turtle dove numbers are all in decline.ALAMY

Experts issue warning on World Migratory Bird Day about decline of species such as the turtle dove, cuckoo and nightingale  Many common migratory birds face extinction in Britain unless ministers and farmers help tackle a conservation crisis, ornithologists have warned.  They said a lack of food and nesting sites was contributing to dramatically lower numbers of species including the turtle dove, cuckoo and nightingale.  A UN official warned birds were struggling to find sustenance for long migrations, particularly because of industrialisation and dry weather in Africa. Other species are being illegally shot over countries including Malta.  Experts want ministers to encourage farmers to make more provision for birds to feed and breed on their land, and to urge foreign leaders to protect species migrating through their countries.  The warnings coincide with World Migratory Bird Day, a UN scheme to raise awareness about the vulnerability of species that embark on long journeys each year between breeding and wintering grounds.  It is held on the second weekend of May at the height of the migration season, when many species have already returned to Britain, but more birds are thought to be on the move around the world than at any other time.  Data from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds show that turtle dove numbers in Britain have declined by 95 per cent in the past four decades, and those of the spotted flycatcher by 88 per cent. 

At the current rate of decline, the charity warns, the turtle dove could be extinct in the UK by the middle of the next decade. With other migratory birds, it is considered particularly vulnerable because of its long journeys.  Grahame Madge, an RSPB spokesman, said: "For millennia, the birds which visit the UK and the northern hemisphere each spring have been regarded as beacons of an advancing summer. But now these birds are representing a rapidly escalating conservation crisis, as the numbers of many species are declining dramatically."  Borja Heredia, head of the avian unit at the UN Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species, said: "We are very concerned. If we don't take any action, maybe we will not hear the call of the cuckoo or the skylark in the future. This would be very sad."  Migratory birds tend to arrive in Britain around April. After nesting and breeding, they depart around October. The turtle dove, osprey and nightingale generally travel more than 2,000 miles to West African countries such as Mali and Nigeria, while the Arctic tern has been found to fly up to 11,000 miles to Australia.  RSPB and UN officials believe that in the UK, a lack of food and a shortage of safe nesting sites due to farming practices means some struggle to breed.  Abroad, the birds face hazards on their migratory routes ranging from illegal shooting in Malta to deforestation and the degradation of land in Africa due to oil exploration and other industries.  Mr Heredia said the Sahel, a green belt spanning Africa south of the Sahara, was a key "stopover site", but "degradation and desertification is affecting [it] in a way that means birds are not finding the necessary food".  He added: "Many of them do not arrive because they cannot make it, and of the ones that arrive they don't have enough energy to build the nests and raise a family."  The condition of land in the UK was "equally important". Mr Heredia said governments such as Britain's should do more to provide safe habitats by encouraging "more respectful agriculture".  Natural England said it was addressing the decline in projects including the development of an "extensive network" of protected areas. The Government said the EU birds directive provided "robust protections", but compliance was up to member states and the European Commission.  - The Telegraph.

Tens Of Thousands Of Reindeer Die Of Extreme Weather In Russia's North

More than 60,000 reindeer died of starvation over winter and spring in the far northern Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, the regional governor's office said.The high mortality rate is likely to have been caused by extreme weather conditions in the Arctic region, such as heavy rain and snow, which made it more difficult for the deer to feed themselves, the statement said, Interfax reported Tuesday.A operation is now underway to herd the reindeers to greener pastures, though many of the animals may be too weak to travel, the statement said.The governor's office was also quoted as saying the regional government would allocate 10 million rubles ($287,000) to a fund set up to help herders in the Yamal region. The regional government has already given 31 million rubles to the fund, which helps farmers purchase necessary equipment, such as snowmobiles, as well as medicines and deer feed.In total, almost 700,000 domesticated reindeer graze in the Yamal-Nenets district - about 35 percent of the world's domesticated reindeer population. - The Moscow Times.

Forest Worker Killed By Elephant In Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India
Prime elephant habitat consists of forested areas.Moorthy Gounder/ Wikimedia Commons

A forest staff has been killed by wild elephant inside the Bandipur tiger reserve on Friday night.Lokesh (38), a resident of Mukti Colony in Gundulpet in Chamarajnagar district, was patrolling the forest area deep inside the tiger sanctuary when he was attacked. He died on the spot, Bandipur tiger reserve director H C Kantharaju said.The forest department is planning to extend Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of the deceased like for others who are killed by the wild animals.Lokesh, a guard with eight years experience, was patrolling in Kamapura area along with another ground staff. He excused himself to attend nature's call at around 7 pm when his colleagues went ahead. When he didn't join them after a lapse of some 20 minutes, they came back to search him and found him dead. The injuries on him and the movement of the wild elephants established that he was killed by the pachyderms. Kantharaju told The Sunday Times of India that Lokesh was found dead at the spot. He was a permanent employee and has three daughters, the eldest studying in SSLC.Earlier, he was serving at Gundre range in Bandipur and was shifted to Yediyala range three years back. It is suspected that the elephant attacked him as it was dark and he failed to escape from it. This is second incident of a forest staff killed while on duty in the area in recent times. In December last, B Suresh, a watcher, was mauled by the tiger in Nagarahole.Incidentally Lokesh was married to daughter of Javaraiah, who was mauled by tiger in Maddur range in Bandipur two months back. Police visited the site and conducted the mahazar. A case has been registered in H D Kote police station. - Times of India.

The Numbers Of Birds Dying Off Are Huge And A Warning To Humanity
Birds have a more intimate and enduring relationship with humans than the one that occurs around a fried chicken bucket.  As most know, the act of carrying a caged canary into a coal mine used to be a method for the carrier to save his comrades in the event of deadly gas buildup in a dark, leaky shaft. Enlightened miners took a canary's dropping dead as a strong suggestion that prolonging their own lives depended on a quick flight to fresh air.  The first requirement of such an alarm system is to pay attention. The second is to accept that the physical world is ruled by cause and effect rather than magic. The third consists of the willingness to rationally assess a situation - hastily, if need be - and only then to act.  May is generally accepted as the month when the spring migration peaks. The return of birds, their singing and their good-natured showiness contribute a fair measure of what makes May merry.  Humans have a connection with birds that works at multiple levels, including the inspiration for flight.  The loss of birds helped spur the conservation movement when more than a century ago the numbers of egrets, herons and cranes plunged, while species including heath hens, Carolina parakeets, ivory-billed woodpeckers and passenger pigeons disappeared entirely.  Later, after World War II, eagles, falcons and hawks began to vanish, spurring another flurry of environmental action. The title of one of the 20th century's iconic books, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, refers to a day when, as the result of indiscriminate use of chemicals, few birds, if any, would survive. 

Despite sporadic efforts to save emblematic species, birds continue to die unnatural deaths. Check it out:

- During the past three winters, emaciated snowy owls have been turning up in greater numbers south of their normal winter range in North America, a Canadian government avian pathologist reports. Some were hemorrhaging, and some had a breathing condition believed caused by weakened immune systems or malnutrition. What a warming Arctic is doing to predators' prey availability counts among the suspects.

- The latest estimate by a group of scientists of the number of bird deaths caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is 800,000, The New York Times reported last week.

- The federal government has acknowledged that the future of the greater sage grouse might be extinction in coming decades because of habitat loss, but so far it has done little except to form a plan that saves habitat only if individual ranchers voluntarily agree to do so. Fracking contributes to the dwindling of the habitat.

- Wind farms, recent peer-reviewed articles suggest, kill an estimated 573,000 birds and 888,000 bats annually. The number of dead birds, including threatened and endangered species, could exceed 1.4 million by 2030 without policy changes.

- The Ohio-based Black Swamp Bird Observatory is suggesting that an experimental wind farm planned for offshore on Lake Erie could have deadly consequences for migrating birds, including the endangered Kirtland's warbler and piping plover. Western Lake Erie sits on one of North America's important migratory routes.

- A solar-energy power plant in California has killed birds from at least 71 species. Light reflected from the panels and aimed at water-filled boilers generates 800-degree air temperatures, enough heat to burn feathers of birds flying overhead.

- About 20 million additional tons of plastics end up in the world's oceans each year, " increasing harm to marine wildlife," wrote a team from the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Among the victims are thousands of birds that swallow bits of indigestible plastic and, unable to eat because their stomachs remain full, starve to death.

- A warming planet is forcing some mountain-dwelling birds to seek higher elevations. If the trajectory remains unchanged, some of those species will run out of climbing space and will have to adapt or vanish, concluded a researcher form the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

- A review published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications found that as many as 365 million to 988 million birds die in the United States each year by flying into windows. Low-rise buildings account for 56 percent of the deaths, and residences about 44 percent. A study published last year found that cats kill between 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds annually. - The Columbus Dispatch.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Ukraine Economy Is In TOTAL FREE FALL, Plunges 7 PERCENT In 2014; No Growth Forecast For 2015!

May 14, 2014 - UKRAINE - ​Ukraine’s economy, heading for darker depths than previously estimated, will contract seven percent this year and may not expand at all in 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in a new report.

Municipal workers remove rubbish as they take down the barricades in central Kiev, April 23, 2014.
(Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

“Ukraine’s economy is going through a painful macroeconomic adjustment with high short-term costs for growth,” the report says.

The EBRD slashed Ukraine’s growth forecast by 8.5 percent, as their last report estimated a 1.5 percent expansion in 2014.

“Since our forecast in January 2014, events in Ukraine/Russia have significantly increased geopolitical and economic uncertainty, with direct negative effects on the economies of Ukraine and Russia and potentially wider implications for the region as a whole,” the report continues.

In the first three months of 2014, Ukraine’s economy lost 1.1 percent, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics. In 2013, GDP growth was zero.

Economic pain existed in Ukraine long before Maidan protests, the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich, the loss of Crimean territory to Russia, and unrest in southeastern provinces.

As the crisis escalated, the hryvnia dropped, and has lost 28 percent since the beginning of January. The National Bank of Ukraine tried to interfere and prop up the currency, which has all but dissolved the country’s foreign currency reserves, which currently stand at US$12 billion. In 2013, more than $4 billion in international reserves were wiped out.

Inflation in Ukraine is expected to continue to rise, and the IMF has predicted it will reach 12 percent in 2014.

Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)

The country owes at least $3.5 billion to Russia’s Gazprom, but says this obligation will not be a priority. State-owned Naftogaz is on the brink of bankruptcy, because it has been selling gas domestically for only a fraction of the import price.

Ukraine has received a $3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the first tranche of a total of $17 billion. On Tuesday, it secured an additional €1.6 billion in macrofinance loans from the European Commission.

Spillover, Russia at risk

Further escalation in the geopolitical conflict will have negative spillover effects for neighboring states, and weigh down economic growth – especially in Russia, possibly dragging it into recession.

"Under a more negative scenario, the Russian economy would enter recession and output contraction in Ukraine would deepen," the EBRD said.

Recession is a reality that Russia’s ministers have already addressed. On Tuesday, Russia’s Economic Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev said the country is headed towards a technical recession, as Q2 growth is also set to negative. A technical recession is when an economy doesn’t expand for two consecutive quarters.

Like Ukraine, Russia’s economy was already slowing well before events in Ukraine began to unfold. The EBRD expects gross domestic product to reach 0.6 percent this year. Previously, the bank projected a 2.5 percent growth.

“The negative spillovers are expected to be largely contained to the neighborhood of Russia and Ukraine under our central scenario, though several central and south-eastern European economies will also see some impact,” the report says.

"What we are worried about, really, is the potential escalation of the sanctions, particularly on the financial system," EBRD chief economist Erik Berglof told a news conference, referencing US-led sanctions against Russia, which is highly integrated into the world economy.

If the crisis de-escalates, the European region could possibly attain 1.9 percent growth, according to the report. - RT.

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: PLAN CONOP 8888 - The U.S. Pentagon Has A Plan To Stop The Zombie Apocalypse?! SERIOUSLY! The Catalog Of The Walking Dead Also Includes Zombies From OUTER SPACE?! [PDF DOCUMENT, 31 PAGES]

May 14, 2014 - PENTAGON, UNITED STATES - The U.S. military has always been the one place in government with a plan, forever in preparation mode and ready to yank a blueprint off the shelf for almost any contingency. Need a response for a Russian nuclear missile launch? Check. Have to rescue a U.S. ambassador kidnapped by drug lords? Yup, check, got that covered. How about a detailed strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? As it turns out, check.

Incredibly, the Defense Department has a response if zombies attacked and the armed forces had to eradicate flesh-eating walkers in order to "preserve the sanctity of human life" among all the "non-zombie humans."

Buried on the military's secret computer network is an unclassified document, obtained by Foreign Policy, called "CONOP 8888." It's a zombie survival plan, a how-to guide for military planners trying to isolate the threat from a menu of the undead -- from chicken zombies to vegetarian zombies and even "evil magic zombies" -- and destroy them.

"This plan fulfills fictional contingency planning guidance tasking for U.S. Strategic Command to develop a comprehensive [plan] to undertake military operations to preserve 'non-zombie' humans from the threats posed by a zombie horde," CONOP 8888's plan summary reads. "Because zombies pose a threat to all non-zombie human life, [Strategic Command] will be prepared to preserve the sanctity of human life and conduct operations in support of any human population -- including traditional adversaries."

CONOP 8888, otherwise known as "Counter-Zombie Dominance" and dated April 30, 2011, is no laughing matter, and yet of course it is. As its authors note in the document's "disclaimer section," "this plan was not actually designed as a joke."

Military planners assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska during 2009 and 2010 looked for a creative way to devise a planning document to protect citizens in the event of an attack of any kind. The officers used zombies as their muse. "Planners ... realized that training examples for plans must accommodate the political fallout that occurs if the general public mistakenly believes that a fictional training scenario is actually a real plan," the authors wrote, adding: "Rather than risk such an outcome by teaching our augmentees using the fictional 'Tunisia' or 'Nigeria' scenarios used at [Joint Combined Warfighting School], we elected to use a completely-impossible scenario that could never be mistaken for a real plan."

Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for Strategic Command, acknowledged the document exists on a "secure Internet site" but took pains to explain that the zombie survival guide is only a creative endeavor for training purposes. "The document is identified as a training tool used in an in-house training exercise where students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario," she wrote in an email. "This document is not a U.S. Strategic Command plan."

This isn't the first time zombies have been used to inspire trainers or the American public. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) built an entire public awareness campaign for emergency preparedness around zombies. "Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared," one CDC poster warns as a dead-eyed woman peeks over a blanket.

But the military appears to have come up with the idea first. And of course, should there be a zombie apocalypse, the military indeed has a plan.

CONOP 8888 is designed to "establish and maintain a vigilant defensive condition aimed at protecting humankind from zombies," according to the plan's purpose, and, "if necessary, conduct operations that will, if directed, eradicate zombie threats to human safety." Finally, the plan provides guidance to "aid civil authorities in maintaining law and order and restoring basic services during and after a zombie attack."

The "worst case threat scenario," according to the plan, suggests a rather dark situation: a zombie attack in which there would be high "transmissibility," lots of zombies eating lots of people, zombies infecting humans at a rapid rate, and little or no immunity and few effective countermeasures.

Under "Zombie Threat Summary," the plan highlights the different kinds of zombie adversaries one might find in such an attack. They include not only vegetarian zombies ("zombie life forms originating from any cause but pose no direct threat to humans because they only eat plant life"); evil magic zombies ("EMZs are zombie life forms created via some form of occult experimentation in what might otherwise be referred to as 'evil magic'"); and also chicken zombies.

"Although it sounds ridiculous, this is actually the only proven class of zombie that actually exists," the plan states. So-called "CZs" occur when old hens that can no longer lay eggs are euthanized by farmers with carbon monoxide, buried, and then claw their way back to the surface. "CZs are simply terrifying to behold and are likely only to make people become vegetarians in protest to animal cruelty," CONOP 8888 notes.

The catalog of the walking dead also includes zombies that come from outer space; those deliberately created by Frankensteinian bio-engineers; and humans that have been invaded by a pathogen that turns them into zombies.

The plan reviews, extensively, the various phases of saving the world from zombie rule and reads not unlike the phases of a counterinsurgency campaign: from "shape" to "deter" to "seize initiative" to "dominate" to "stabilize" and, finally, in the final, confidence-building phase, "restore civil authority." That final phase includes the directive to "prepare to redeploy the forces to attack surviving zombie holdouts."

Finally, "[a]s directed by POTUS and SECDEF," using military-ese for the president of the United States and the defense secretary, "provide support to federal, state and tribal agencies' efforts to restore basic services in zombie-related disaster areas."

If the military's mantra is to "be prepared," then writing a zombie survival guide -- even if it is just for an imaginative exercise -- makes sense. "I hope we've invested a similar level of intellectual rigor against dragon egg hatching contingencies," one defense official quipped.


- Foreign Policy.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Boiling Anger - Clashes, Violent Protests In Turkey After Mine Blast Kills Over 240! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

May 14, 2014 - TURKEY - Clashes have erupted across Turkey as residents rally in anger at a mining accident which killed 245 people in the western Turkish town of Soma on Tuesday. Eight hundred marched on Ankara’s energy ministry as police fired tear gas and water cannon.

Riot police run away from the flames of a fire bomb thrown by protesters as they demonstrate to blame the ruling AK
Party (AKP) government on the mining disaster in western Turkey, in Ankara May 14, 2014. (Reuters)

Violent protests have been reported in Soma itself, where relatives of the dead miners are unleashing their anger at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

PM Erdogan visited Soma, the site of the disaster, on Wednesday. There, he was confronted with a spontaneous protest with locals booing and whistling at him as he made statements regarding the disaster at a news conference.

Erdogan was forced to shelter in a local supermarket to escape the enraged crowds.

Rocks were thrown as crowd members accused Erdogan of being a murderer and a thief. Riot police used a water cannon on the demonstrators as they approached the ruling NKP party headquarters.

In Ankara, students marched on the energy ministry yelling anti-government slogans and hurling rocks. Law enforcers responded by deploying tear gas and water cannon against the protesters.

Further protests swept through Istanbul, with people gathering in the city metro and outside the headquarters of the company which owns the mine. Graffiti alleging that the company had committed murder was daubed on the walls of the Soma Holdings office, while others painted their faces black in solidarity with the miners.

The company stood accused of sacrificing safety for the sake of profit.

WATCH:Turkey - Mining company's Istanbul office hit by rage over Soma disaster .

“This mining corporation came out and talked about how successful they were. And then what happened? Together with this explosion, we've seen that no precautions were taken, the lives of the workers were not valued, and their lives were put in danger for more profit,” protester Emre Erkaslan told AP.

Soma is 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

In addition to killing some 238 people, 80 are still feared trapped, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the news conference. The toll may yet rise further.

However, nearly 450 miners have been rescued in the efforts.

Shortly after Erdogan made his comments, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz declared that the accident was likely to be the country’s deadliest ever mining disaster.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, according to an emailed statement fromSoma Komur Isletmeleri. However, "the subsequent spread of carbon monoxide is, unfortunately, the reason for the loss of life," according to the statement.

Turkey’s worst mining disaster in recent years was a gas explosion in 1992 near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak, which left some 270 workers dead. Since then, Turkey has borne witness to several mining accidents. - RT.

CLIMATE CHANGE DOOMSDAY: Major Global Alert - French Foreign Minister Says "We Have 500 DAYS to Avoid CLIMATE CHAOS"?!

May 14, 2014 - CLIMATE CHANGE -  The world has “500 days to avoid climate chaos,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said alongside Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Tuesday.

“We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos,” Fabius said. “And I know that President Obama and John Kerry himself are committed on this subject and I’m sure that with them, with a lot of other friends, we shall be able to reach success in this very important matter.”

Fabius was referring to the next big United Nations climate conference, scheduled to open in Paris, France in November 2015, or in 565 days’ time.

(There will actually be a U.N. climate conference held before Paris – in Lima, Peru at the end of this year – but the world body views that more as a stepping stone to the 2015 meeting.)

France will host a U.N. international climate conference in Nov.-Dec. 2015
(Photo: F. de la Mure/French Foreign Ministry)

The organizers have high hopes for the Paris event known in U.N. jargon as the 21st conference of the parties (COP21) – the parties being the signatories to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

“By the end of the meeting, for the first time in over 20 years of U.N. negotiations, all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be bound by a universal agreement on climate,” the French foreign ministry said around the time it offered to host the conference.

WATCH: French Foreign Minister - '500 Days to Avoid Climate Chaos.'

Invited to respond Tuesday to Fabius’ 500-day warning, White House press secretary Jay Carney pointed to the National Climate Assessment released last week which, he said, “made clear in the view of the science that climate change is upon us and the effects and impacts of climate change are being felt today.”

“We’ve laid out a comprehensive strategy aimed at helping communities around the country prepare for the effects of climate change, as well as a strategy to reduce our carbon pollution, enhance our energy independence, and address climate change in the future to try to mitigate future impacts,” Carney said.

“There’s no question that this is a global effort that has to be undertaken because of the nature of carbon emissions around the world.”

The Paris climate conference will be held from November 30 to December 11, 2015. - CNS News.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Massive Mine Explosion In Turkey - 238 People Dead, 120 Others Trapped!

May 14, 2014 - TURKEY - A mine explosion in western Turkey has killed 238 people, with 80 injured according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the toll could rise with many more still trapped.

People gather at a mine in the Soma district in the western Turkish province of Manisa on May 13, 2014.
(AFP Photo / Ihlas News Agency)

Erdogan made the announcement at a news conference during a visit to the western town of Soma – the location of the disaster – on Wednesday. He added that a further 120 workers remained trapped.

Yildiz told reporters earlier in the day that 787 workers had been in the Soma mine when the explosion hit a power unit. Most of the confirmed dead were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, Yildiz added.

Four of the injured were in a critical condition, according to Yildiz.

More than 360 workers have been evacuated thus far. However, Yidiz said that hopes for the rescue effort were "dimming". "We are worried that this death toll will rise," he told reporters.

"We fear that the numbers could rise further," he stated, adding that it was necessary to complete the rescue operation by dawn.

An injured miner came out carried by rescuers after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014.
(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Rescue workers pumped oxygen into the mine in an attempt to keep trapped miners alive, Reuters reported. A line of police held back thousands of family and fellow workers of the trapped miners who assembled outside of a Soma hospital.

"Fresh air, oxygen is being pumped into the mine. This is the most important thing for our workers down there," Yildiz said.

The mayor of Soma, a district in Manisa, also said the explosion was caused by an electrical fault, Reuters reported. The explosion, which occurred about 1.2 miles below the surface, reportedly disabled an elevator in the mine shaft. The workers are trapped some 2.5 miles from the exit.

Soma is 120 km (75 miles) northeast of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.

WATCH: Turkey mine explosion - Over 200 dead, hundreds trapped.


Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a Wednesday trip to Albania in order to visit the site of the blast, his office told Reuters.

"Rescue efforts for our brothers in the mine are ongoing ... God willing, in the coming hours, I hope to receive uplifting news," Erdogan said Tuesday.

Turkey’s worst mining disaster in recent years was a gas explosion in 1992 near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak, which left some 270 workers dead. Since then, Turkey has borne witness to several mining accidents. - RT.

GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: Water Shortages - These 11 United States Cities May Completely Run Out Of Water!

May 14, 2014 - UNITED STATES - For decades scientists have been saying that the United States' lakes, rivers and aquifers are going to have a hard time quenching the thirst of a growing population in a warming world.

A recent report from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences does not alleviate those fears. It showed that nearly one in 10 watersheds in the U.S. is "stressed," with demand for water exceeding natural supply - a trend that, researchers say, appears likely to become the new normal.

"By midcentury, we expect to see less reliable surface water supplies in several regions of the United States," said Kristen Averyt, associate director for science at CIRES and one of the authors of the study. "This is likely to create growing challenges for agriculture, electrical suppliers and municipalities, as there may be more demand for water and less to go around."

And a recent Columbia University Water Center study on water scarcity in the U.S. showed that it's not just climate change that is putting stress on water supply, it's also a surging population. Since 1950 there has been a 99 percent increase in population in the U.S. combined with a 127 percent increase in water usage.

"All cities and all businesses require water, yet in many regions, they need more water than is actually available - and that demand is growing," said Upmanu Lall, director, Columbia Water Center said to Business Insider. "The new study reveals that certain areas face exposure to drought, which will magnify existing problems of water supply and demand."

Far from a complete list of regions that may develop potential water scarcity issues across the nation (just take a look at either CIRES' or Columbia University's maps to see how widespread this issue could be in the U.S.), here are 11 major U.S. cities, listed in order of population, that could be deeply effected by water shortages in the not too distant future:

Salt Lake City, Utah 

Eric Smith/Getty Images

A new report from NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) shows that already water-strapped Western cities - like Salt Lake City - will likely face increasing challenges when it comes to water. The researchers found that for every degree Fahrenheit of warming in the SLC region, a 1.8 to 6.5 percent drop in annual water flow of local streams could occur. By midcentury, that could mean that some creeks and streams that supply water to the SLC region could dry up several weeks earlier in the summer and fall. In 2012, the University of Florida's Environmental Hydrology Lab found that Salt Lake City was at "high" risk for water shortage. Estimated population: 189,314 (124th most populous U.S. city), metro: 2,350,274 (27th most populous metro area in U.S.)

Lincoln, Nebraska

John Coletti via Getty Images

A recent report from the Columbia University Water Center listed Nebraska in the top 10 areas with the highest risk for water scarcity. Earlier in 2013, nearly the entire state of Nebraska was in the middle of a severe drought with a staggering 96 percent of the state experiencing "extreme drought" conditions, according to a report from 24/7 Wall St. Of the 225 cities that the University of Florida's 2012 water report surveyed, Lincoln was listed as the third most at-risk city for water shortage. Estimated population: 265,404 (72nd most populous U.S. city), metro: 310,342 (158th most populous in U.S.)

Cleveland, Ohio

Dashuai Photograph via Getty Images

A CIRES report from earlier in 2013 showed the Cleveland region's watershed to be moderately "stressed." Columbia University foundsimilar results with their study that much of Ohio is at risk for water scarcity, based on water use and drought patterns of the past.Estimated population: 390,928 (48th most populous U.S. city), metro: 2,068,283 (28th most populous in U.S.)

Miami, Florida

Getty Images

Miami's watersheds appeared to be a relatively good shape in CIRES study and the city didn't appear to be at great risk on the Columbia University study, however in 2012 the University of Florida listed the city as the second most at-risk for water vulnerability due to "low storage of water per capita." But a recent piece from Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone suggests Miami and much of South Florida's problems are much bigger. "By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin," Goodell writes. When describing the rains that can quickly flood the intersections and parking lots in Miami Beach, 71-year-old resident Harold Wanless told Goodell "This is what global warming looks like. If you live in South Florida and you're not building a boat, you're not facing reality." Estimated population: 413,892 (44th most populous city in U.S.), metro: 5,564,635 (8th most populous in U.S.)

Atlanta, Georgia

Photo by Scott Dunn via Getty Images

Atlanta's watershed was listed as moderately "stressed" in CIRES' report from 2013 and the Atlanta region was also included as a high risk area for water shortage in Columbia University's study. The Southeast experienced a major drought between 2007 and 2008 and Atlanta suffered greatly, according to a 24/7 Wall St. study from 2010. And although the drought eventually subsided, Atlanta is still considered to be at risk of water shortage. Estimated population: 420,003 (40th most populous city in the U.S.), metro: 5,457,831 (9th most populous in the U.S.)

Washington, D.C. 

Dennis Flaherty via Getty Images

The D.C. metro area was ranked in the top 10 of the highest risk cities for water scarcity by Business Insider's analysis of Columbia University's water report. The District was also in the top 40 of most at-risk cities in University of Florida's water vulnerability report.Estimated population: 632,323 (24th most populous city in U.S.), metro: 5,703,948 (7th most populous in U.S.).

El Paso, Texas

Mark A Paulda via Getty Images

El Paso shared much of the same water shortage concerns that Texas' northern agricultural belt faced in both Columbia University'sand CIRES' studies - with high risk for water shortage and moderate stress on area watersheds. And El Paso was listed as the 10th most at-risk city in University of Florida's water vulnerability study. Estimated population: 672,538 (19th most populous city in U.S.), metro: 830,735 (67th most populous in U.S.)

San Antonio, Texas

Don Klumpp via Getty Images

The San Antonio region's watersheds were reported as at high or moderate stress levels by CIRES and Columbia's report also showed high-risk for regional water shortage. In 2010, the NRDC ranked San Antonio's Bexar County with the highest rating it gives out for extremely high risk for water demand exceeding supply by 2050 if no major changes are made. In 2012, San Antonio was the number one most at-risk city for water vulnerability, according to the University of Florida. Estimated population: 1,382,951 (7th most populous city in U.S.), metro: 2,234,023 (25th most populous in U.S.).

San Francisco Bay Area, California 

Veronica Jones via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, much of California was shown to be at high risk for water shortage by Columbia University's recent study and the same region's watersheds were also stressed, according to CIRES. As the Bay Area continues to boom, there just may not be enough water for the future population of the region, according to a recent report from area non-profit group SPUR. SPUR reports that due to climate change, rising sea levels and earthquakes the region's water could be severely disrupted, reduced or even infiltrated by sea water. In 2010, the NRDC said that San Francisco and other regional cities in the Bay Area like San Jose and Oakland are "very likely" to experience a crisis due to water shortage within the next 50 years, according to 24/7 Wall St. San Francisco estimated population: 825,863 (San Francisco, 14th most populous city in the U.S.), Bay Area metro: 8,370,967 (5th most populous in U.S.)

Houston, Texas

Chris Salvo via Getty Images

Although Columbia University's study and CIRES' study showed high risk of water scarcity and moderate stress on regional watersheds in northern Texas' agricultural belt, the densely-populated city of Houston in the south of the state was also at risk for water issues. In 2010, 24/7 Wall St. also listed Houston on its list of cities running out of water due to concerns over its rapidly increasing population and high drought region. Estimated population: 2,160,821 (4th most populous city in the U.S.), metro: 6,177,035 (5th most populous in U.S.).

Los Angeles, California 

Sterling Davis via Getty Images

Columbia University's water scarcity study showed most of California, from San Diego all the way to Santa Barbara, at high risk for water problems. And CIRES' study showed much of the same areas with high to moderate stress on regional watersheds from the coast and all the way inland. Los Angeles relies on importing much of its water from the Colorado River system which has long provided the American West with water - seven states in all that are home to almost 40 million people. But demands on the river are often cited as unsustainable, due to predicted population increases and climate change. A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a water supply and demand gap in the Colorado River of about 3.2 million-acre feet by 2060 - roughly five times the amount of water that Los Angeles uses in a year. L.A. was listed as the top American city running out of water by 24/7 Wall St. due to increasing population and drought as the city continues to increase water demands which are believed to be unsustainable. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region of Southern California was ranked as 6th most at-risk city for water vulnerability issues, by University of Florida in 2012. Estimated population: 3,857,799 (2nd most populous city in the U.S.), metro: 16,400,000 (2nd most populous in U.S.). - Govt Slaves.