Saturday 23 April 2016

The dying Earth - 04/22/2016

Extreme weather and earth changes round the globe

Scientists Confirm: 93% of Great Barrier Reef Now Bleached

The Great Barrier Reef is under siege from climate change and coal, with scientists confirming that 93 percent of the world heritage area is now suffering from severe coral bleaching.

A diver checking out the bleaching at Heron Island in February 2016. This area was one of the first to bleach at Heron Island which is located close to the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef.. Photo credit: XL Catlin Seaview SurveyA diver checking out the bleaching at Heron Island in February 2016. This area was one of the first to bleach at Heron Island which is located close to the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef.class="Apple-converted-space" Photo credit: XL Catlin Seaview Survey

The unprecedented event, caused by climate change warming the ocean, is being called “an environmental assault on the largest coral ecosystem on Earth.” Only around 50 percent of the impacted corals are expected to survive, and in some areas, only a mere 10 percent may recover.

Meanwhile, the current El Niño is still going strong and causing very high temperatures, making one wonder how high temperatures will be during the next El Niño, which could eventuate a decade or less from now. The image below shows high temperatures at four locations in South-East Asia on April 20, 2016

----Sam Carana

Floods in Jizan City, Saudi Arabia

The third record-breaking storm in under a year might owe its ferocity to human activity.

Winds of 170 mph can lift and hurl heavy cars, even peel the bark from trees. So it’s a good thing not many people are in the waters north of Madagascar right now, where Tropical Cyclone Fantala just made history as the strongest-known storm in the Indian Ocean.

The mighty tempest spun itself up to 150 knots (173 mph) on Monday, surpassing the 145-knot (167 mph) barrage of Super Cyclonic Storm Gonu in 2007. (Reliable records only date to 1990, for what it’s worth.) That would make it a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. It simmered down to about 85 knots on Wednesday, and is expected to wander southeast for a couple days before running out of steam.

Extraordinary Heat Wave Sweeps Southeast Asia and Points Beyond

19 April, 2016

What is most likely the most intense heat wave ever observed in Southeast Asia has been ongoing for the past several weeks. All-time national heat records have been observed in Cambodia, Laos, and (almost) in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Meanwhile extreme heat has resulted in all-time record high temperatures in the Maldives, India, China, and portions of Africa as well. Here are the details.

850 mb temperature anomaly for eastern Asia during the April 1-15 time frame in K°. Virtually the entire region has seen much above average temperatures for at least the past two weeks. NOAA/ESRL map courtesy of Stu Ostro at The Weather Channel.Southeast Asia

We all assumed that the strong El Nino this year would result in drought and high temperatures in Southeast Asia. It seems that although El Nino didn’t work out so well for California (precipitation–wise) the expected impact of the system over performed in Southeast Asia where all-time heat records have been broken and a withering drought is in progress. 
Maximiliano Herrera, the foremost climatologist investigating world temperature records, has provided the following statistics. These figures are confirmed by the respective meteorological agencies that maintain their countries climate data.Cambodia

National all-time record high of 42.6°C (108.7°F) set at Preah Vihea on April 15th. This surpassed the record set just two days previously at Bantey Ampil (42.2°C/108.0°F on April 13th). Prior to this year, the maximum measured temperature in Cambodia was 41.4°C (106.5°F) at Stoeng Treng in 1960. The capital city of Phnom Penh also measured its highest temperature on record with a 41.0°C (105.8°F) reading and about half a dozen other cities and towns saw temperatures peak above the previous 
national record of 1960!Laos 

National all-time record high of 42.3°C (108.1°F) set at Seno on April 13th. This surpassed the former record of 42.0°C (107.6°F) record at Savannakhet in March 1933. An all-time national record high minimum temperature was measured at Takhek on April 13th when the low fell to only 30.5°C (86.9°F).

Near national record achieved at Sukhothai on April 12th with a 44.3°C (111.7°F) reading just shy of the record 44.5°C (112.1°F) observed at Uttaradit on April 27, 1960. In addition to Sukhothai at least 50 Thai towns and cities broke or tied their all-time record maximum temperatures (including the normally temperate island resort of Ko Samui with a 38.0°C/100.4°F reading). The minimum of 31.4°C (88.5°F) at Sakhon Nakon on April 15th was likely the warmest low ever measured in the country outside of the Bangkok metropolitan area.

Weather data for the past month at the ancient Thai capital city of Sukhothai. Note that every day since April 2nd has exceeded 100°F (37.8°C) and nine consecutive days above 41.7°C (107.1°F) so far this month. The normal daily high for this time of the year is around 36.5°C (97.7°F). Table from OGIMET.Malaysia

Near national record of 39.2°C (102.6F) measured at Batu Embun on April 10th (the hottest temperature ever measured in central Malaysia). The all-time Malaysian record is 40.1°C (104.2°F) at Chuping on April 9, 1998. In March this year Chuping reached 39.5°C (103.1°F).

Near national record set in Singapore with a 36.6°C (97.9°F) at Pulau on April 13th. Record for the city-state is 37.0°C (98.6°F) at Tengah on April 17, 1983.

Unfortunately, recent weather data from Myanmar has been sketchy at best, although at least one city, Dawei, has broken its all-time heat record with a 39.0°C (102.2°F) reading. There have been several 46.0°C (114.8°F) reports but it is not known at this time if these were the actual daily maximums. The all-time heat record for Myanmar is 47.2°C (117.0°F) at Myinmu on May 14, 2010 (the beginning of one of Asia’s greatest heat waves).

The real story for Vietnam has been the historic drought (said to be the worst in 100 years) that has impacted the fertile Mekong Delta region (and also the rest of mainland Southeast Asia). So far the warmest temperature measured in the country has been 41.8°C (107.2°F) at Tuong Duong on April 15th. The same site holds Vietnam’s all-time heat record of 42.7°C (108.9°F) set on May 12, 1966.

A Drought Risk Index map of the Mekong River Basin. The areas in red are those that have been most impacted by the El Nino-driven drought that is occurring now in the region. Map produced by FutureWater (a research and consultancy firm specializing in drought issues).Philippines

Mindanao Island observed its highest temperature on record at General Santos with a 39.4°C (102.9°F) reading on April 16th. This is a long way from the national record of 42.2°C (108.0°F) set at Tuguegarao in April, 1912 and May 1969, but is indicative of how far east the heat progressed.

All in all, the on-going heat wave is easily the most intense such to affect Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia since at least 1960 and probably even more so.

Satellite view of smoke and fires in Nepal, 11 April 2016. As many as 1.3 million hectares (over 3.7 million acres) of forest cover in Nepal was destroyed by wild fires in the previous two weeks. Photo: NASA
Satellite view of smoke and fires in Nepal, 11 April 2016. As many as 1.3 million hectares (over 3.7 million acres) of forest cover in Nepal was destroyed by wild fires in the previous two weeks. Photo: NASA

11 April 2016

KATHMANDU ( – As many as 1.3 million hectares of forest cover in Nepal has been destroyed by wild fires within a fortnight, officials said on Monday.

The home ministry said at least two people have been killed and huge loss to private properties reported from many parts of the country.

Forest fires were more concentrated in the southern Terai districts of the Himalayan country, destroying flora and fauna on hundreds of hectares of land and posing significant threat to human settlements.

Eighty percent of the forest fires in Nepal are recorded in April and May. On Sunday, a record number of forest fires were reported in the country.

On Monday, Nepal army and police personnel were unable to control a massive fire in Rupandehi district.

The Nepalese ministry of forests and soil conservation's forests department digector General Resham Dangi told IANS that fire has played havoc in the Terai region, where dense forest covers the Chure area and some districts like Mahottari, Argakhanchi, Sindhuli, Bardiya, Dhanusha and others between Terai and Chure.

"The fire situation is out of control. If prolonged dry conditions continue in the absence of rains, we are likely to experience a state of emergency in the coming days," Dangi said.

The worst affected is Sindhuli, whose 40 percent forest cover has been reduced to ashes.

Forests in Sindhuli, Argakhanchi, Rupandehi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Bardiya and Dang have been ravaged by fires in the past week, department officials said. The satellite imagery showed that 457 forests across the country were affected by fires, they added.

Even the National Human Rights Commission has brought to the government notice the forest fires across the country, calling for increased surveillance and deployment of adequate fire-fighting equipment and other logistics to minimise damage to forests and property of the area's people.

Forest officials warned of more forest fires in coming days since April is the peak summer month in the Himalayan nation.

Every year, forest fires destroy hundreds of hectares of forests and cause huge economic loss in the country.

Nepal came up with a forest fire management strategy in 2011 but failed to formulate a suitable action plan to implement it on the ground.

At the community forestry level, only 67 of the total 19,000 community forestry user groups across the country are equipped with fire-fighting tools and the training required to mitigate the risks.

33 Crore Indians Hit By Drought, Centre Tells Supreme Court
(That's 6 million)

At least 16 dead after landslide in Arunachal Pradesh, India

At least 16 dead after landslide in Arunachal Pradesh, India
A large landslide triggered by heavy rains has killed at least 16 people in the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, officials said. One person is still missing.

Boats stranded on the dry bed of Moyúa lake in northern Nicaragua, which has lost 60 percent of its water due to the severe drought plaguing the country since 2014. Credit: Courtesy of Rezayé Álvarez
Boats stranded on the dry bed of Moyúa lake in northern Nicaragua, which has lost 60 percent of its water due to the severe drought plaguing the country since 2014. Credit: Courtesy of Rezayé Álvarez

MANAGUA, Apr 5 2016 (IPS) - A three-year drought, added to massive deforestation in the past few decades, has dried up most of Nicaragua’s water sources and has led to an increasingly severe water supply crisis.

Since January, photos and videos showing dried-up streams, rivers and lakes have been all over the social networks, local news media, blogs and online bulletins of environmental organisations.

High temperatures and a crippling shortage of rainfall in India is forcing schools to close and communities to ration drinking water. In Chennai, the oppressive heat currently gripping the southern Indian city has led to workers demanding an allowance for working in stifling factories and vets offering advice on caring for pets to avoid dehydration. “While some rains would have been a blessing in disguise, the rain gods have ditched Chennai,” writes a reporter for Skymet, which provides weather forecasts in India.

It would have been hard to imagine such a situation four-and-a-half months ago. Following the heaviest rainfall in more than a century at the end of last November, the Adyar river – which runs through the centre of Chennai – surged, causing muddy water to pour over the walls of nearby apartment blocks and into the streets. Thousands were forced to flee their homes, and hundreds died.....[ ]
There is a gap of 47 per cent between demand and supply of water in the city

The sudden decrease in the water level in reservoirs has led to a rise in dependence on groundwater (Photo credit: iStock)
Water emergency in Hyderabad is getting worse with ever increasing temperatures, deadly heat wave conditions and the state’s third consecutive drought. In the last 30 years, four major reservoirs—Singanoor, Manjira, Osmansagar and Himayatsagar—have run dry. There is a gap of 47 per cent between demand and supply of water in the city. People in many parts of Hyderabad are getting water only on alternate days.

Many fishing villages in central Vietnam are eerily quiet these days. Boats stop sailing. Seafood restaurants are empty.

After fish kept dying en mass with all signs pointing to an environmental disaster, locals in at least four provinces have avoided eating fish.

Between April 18 and 20, huge crowds of fishers flocked to a beach stretching around 20 kilometers from Vinh Thai Commune to Cua Tung Town in Quang Tri Province to pick up fish that were found dead on the shore.

April 15, 2016

Disastrous floods in the Balkans two years ago are likely linked to the temporary slowdown of giant airstreams, scientists found. These wind patterns, circling the globe in the form of huge waves between the Equator and the North Pole, normally move eastwards, but practically stopped for several days then—at the same time, a weather system got stuck over Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia that poured out record amounts of rain. The study adds evidence that so-called planetary wave resonance is a key mechanism for causing extreme weather events in summer. Further, the scientists showed that extreme rainfall events are strongly increasing in the Balkans, even more than the globally observed rise.

"We were surprised to see how long the weather system that led to the flooding stayed over the region - it's like the Vb cyclone 'Yvette' was trapped there," says Lisa Stadtherr from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), lead-author of the study to be published in Science Advances. "Day after day the rain was soaking the soil until it was saturated, which lead to the flooding that reportedly caused several dozen casualties and 3.5 billion Euro of damages."

While the mean daily rainfall in the Balkans has increased only a little since 1950, the intensity of the strongest rainfall events rose by one third, the scientists found. In May 2014, daily rainfall amounts were locally bigger than ever before in the observed period. The frequency of such potentially devastating extremes in the Balkans, though they're still rare, doubled over the past sixty years...[ ]

Smoke from the Shenandoah wildfire is wafting into the Washington region on Thursday after winds shifted overnight. Hazy skies and the smell of smoke could last into Friday before a cold front passes later in the night.

To prevent sending out firefighters on false alarms, authorities are asking people to refrain from calling 911 unless they actually see a fire burning.

'El Nino' to blame – lies and half-truths from Canadian authorities

Alberta, Saskatchewan Are 'Just Waiting To Burn' Says Wildfire

REGINA — Large swaths of red — meaning extreme risk — cover Alberta and Saskatchewan on the latest fire danger map from Natural Resources Canada.

Many other areas are considered high or very high risk in the two Prairie provinces, where there's been below average snowfall and above normal temperatures in much of Western Canada.
'El Nino' to blame

Kerry Anderson, a fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, says that's due to a weather pattern known as El Nino.
"So now here we are in April, those unusually warm temperatures have melted the snow away faster than normal and now we've got a relatively dry, tinder forest out there just waiting to burn,'' Anderson said in a phone interview from Edmonton.
Anderson says it's unusual to see the fire danger risk this high, this early.
fire danger map
Fire danger maps show an index of how easy it is for fires to ignite and how dangerous they might be. (Photo: Natural Resources Canada)

He says it's made for "a dangerous condition for grass fires.''

After a lull late this week, severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours are likely to return to parts of the central United States next week and continue into May.

The flooding experienced over parts of Texas early this week may be a sign of things to come over a larger area of the nation.

"The weather pattern is going to get wild and crazy during the last part of April and into May," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.

Multiple rounds of storms will affect the Plains states and the Mississippi Valley starting next week.

BREAKING: Sidewalks Starting to Buckle in California; Earthquake Fears Grow

Sidewalks outside of Palm Springs, CA are starting to lift up off the ground as the same force which caused the earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan is now hitting California; pressure from the Pacific Tectonic plate has now begun crushing into the US west coast.

Fusarium wilt’ is the hot topic at the International Banana Congress, where some fear it may already be too late to save the Cavendish from the fungal disease

The Big Wobble

Another Mag 6.0 - NEAR THE COAST OF ECUADOR...The latest massive aftershock to strike the area

Another Mag 6.0 - NEAR THE COAST OF ECUADOR...The latest massive aftershock to strike the area.

Another major aftershock struck Ecuador early this morning, it's the 30th large aftershock since Saturday's magnitude-7.8 quake that killed more than 500 people, with hundreds of smaller aftershocks.

Some people in Portoviejo abandoned their homes, even those with no apparent damage, and headed to a former airport where temporary shelters have been set up.

The government said the number of known dead stood at 553, but officials expected more bodies to be found.
About 7,000 were injured.

At least 11 foreigners were among the dead, including two Canadians and three Cuban doctors who had been on a medical mission to Ecuador.
This mornings aftershock brings the total of major quakes for April to 18 and the total for the year to 46...


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