Worldwide Floods Validate Forecast; Ocean Warming Will Increase Precipitation

I’ve blogged about the predicted increase in precipitation associated with global warming. But Science Daily published an article in January of this year that stated: “Precipitation tends to increase over regions with ocean warming above the tropical mean (contours of warm colors in oC), and to decrease where ocean warming is below the tropical mean (contours of cool colors).” So there will be drought in parts of the world and more precipitation in others. So much for the idea that everyone worldwide will fry from global warming. Some will just get saturated and carried away by water. And the fact is floods kill more people than any other weather event.

The study outlined on Science Daily’s website was done by “a team of scientists headed by meteorologist Shang-Ping Xie at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa’s International Pacific Research Center that analyzed global model warming projections in models used by the IPCC.” It found that “ocean temperature patterns in the tropics and subtropics will change in ways that will lead to significant changes in rainfall patterns.” According to the article, two patterns stand out:

First, the maximum temperature rise in the Pacific is along a broad band at the equator. Already today the equatorial Pacific sets the rhythm of a global climate oscillation as shown by the world-wide impact of El Niño. This broad band of peak temperature on the equator changes the atmospheric heating in the models. By anchoring a rainband similar to that during an El Nino, it influences climate around the world through atmospheric teleconnections.

A second ocean warming pattern with major impact on rainfall occurs in the Indian Ocean and would affect the lives of billions of people. Overlayed on Indian Ocean warming for part of the year is what scientists call the Indian Ocean Dipole that occasionally occurs today once every decade or so. Thus, the models show that warming in the western Indian Ocean is amplified, reaching 1.5°C, while the eastern Indian Ocean it is dampened to around 0.5°C.

Xie predicts that if this pattern occurs, rainfall will dramatically shift over eastern Africa, India, and SE Asia, while droughts could happen in Indonesia and Australia.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226093238.htm

Well, changes in rainfall patterns are certainly evident as worldwide flash floods are all over the news lately claiming lives and leaving thousands homeless. It looks like those IPCC models are more accurate than most detractors would like to admit:

In March floods in France claimed 45 lives

In the back hills of the French Riviera, flash floods recently claimed 25 lives.

Floods also occurred elsewhere in southern France

Myanmar and Bangledesh flash floods claimed 100 lives.

Flash floods in Brazil claim over 40 lives with 600 missing and 40,000 without shelter.

Poland’s floods claim 12 lives

Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia also flooded along with Poland

There are huge floods in more than one province of China displacing 2.4 million people, killing over 210

Singapore flooded

Floods in Spain claim 2

And major floods in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming and Arkansas in the U.S. recently claimed close to 30 lives.

Check out the pictures of flood victims worldwide:
http://blogs.sacbee.com/photos/2010/06/spring-floods-around-the-globe.html.

Brazil’s flood:
http://www.usatrends.info/brazil-flashfloods-leaves-death-over-40-and-hundreds-of-homeless-%E2%80%93-june-22-2010/2656.

Worldwide flood reports:
http://www.gdacs.org/#FL_2010_71.

France floods:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/18/2930230.htm.

China’s floods:
http://www.todayonline.com/BreakingNews/EDC100623-0000276/Death-toll-in-China-flooding-climbs-to-211,-more-torrential-rains-forecast-for-affected-areas.

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Big 7.7 Earthquake Hits Sumatra

A 7.7 earthquake hit Aceh, Sumatra this morning. Fortunately, there were no casualties and little damage. Tsunami warnings were issued but later canceled. When I went to search the USGS website, I found a blog report in the San Francisco Chronicle written by Zennie62. Evidently, he thinks as I do. There are more and bigger earthquakes. As he stated: “The skeptic would offer that this current trend of “‘significant earthquakes’” could be slowed by a lull, but even excluding 2010, the number of “‘significant earthquakes’” has increased from 56 in 2007 to 72 in 2009 in looking at the USGS information.”

He continued by discounting the idea that because of improved seismic technology more earthquakes are reported. The USGS concurs but also “points to improved technology between 1931 and today, not within the last decade.” So the increase in earthquakes from 07 to 09 is real.

The other thing Zennie62 realized is that more sensitive equipment will most certainly pick up more minor tremors but a big one is a big one. No one needs to be told that by a seismic monitor. And we’ve been having quite a few big boomers already this year. As he noted: “So we come back to the apparent fact that we have more earthquakes of significant (read: large) size in 2010 than over the last four years.”

Read the article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail??blogid=95&entry_id=60759.

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2010, The Year of the Tiger Approaches

I love cats, any size or shape, and I know that big cats are in danger of becoming extinct so an article from Environmental News Service I ran across was encouraging. According to the oriental calendar, 2010 is the “Year of the Tiger,” so the government of Nepal jumped on the opportunity to do something about Nepal’s tiger population in the coming year.

Nepal decided to expand Bardia National Park by 347 square miles to increase critical habitat for wild tigers. The same article reported that in the early 1900′s, 100,000 tigers roamed Asia. Now 3,500 of tigers remain in the wild. It’s Nepal’s goal to double their tiger population through various conservation strategies. Evidently, it’s working already. The article stated: “Earlier this year, the first ever nationwide estimate of Nepal’s tiger population revealed the presence of 121 breeding tigers in the wild within four protected areas of Nepal.”

As I read on, I realized there are a number of nations with tiger populations, and they have united to stem the endangerment of this species. Some of the tiger range states that will participate in a summit of the same name this coming year are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. There are technical workshops for law enforcement officials of these countries to “facilitate and coordinate law enforcement action between wildlife enforcement officers, Customs, and police,” as part of the strategy to save the tigers.

There is hope on the horizon for endangered species as countries work together and soon. The idea of sustaining and/or increasing protected habitat, as well as, coordinating strategies for enforcement of poaching laws is already paying off in Nepal.

Read the whole article: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/dec2009/2009-12-28-02.asp.

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Why So Many Earthquakes?

I’m curious as to why the earth is experiencing so many earthquakes? Does one trigger another? Is mankind having an impact on them in some way? I ran into some interesting articles beginning with blaming oil industry drilling to some pretty good evidence that the Indonesian earthquake of 2004 that triggered the tsunami actually weakened fault lines worldwide.

Telegraph.co.uk website posted an article that stated:

A recent US study found that the 2004 earthquake weakened fault lines around the world, including California’s San Andreas Fault.
The research, that was published in the journal Nature on the day the latest earthquake in Indonesia hit, suggested the tsunami could have caused an increase in earthquakes around the world since.

This seems to be the best explanation for an increase in earthquakes for now. My next question is do the earthquakes directly relate to typhoons because another typhoon in Indonesia is set to dump more water on the already flooded region. I do know that part of the world is experiencing an el nino that stirs up hurricanes but they come right in the midst of the earthquakes too so?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/indonesia/6250484/Asian-tsunami-could-have-made-earthquake-risk-in-Indonesia-worse.html.

Other articles relative to oil drilling and earthquakes:

Earthquakes Can Be Triggered by Drilling for Oil and Natural Gas as published in the Wall St. Journal.

http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/06/25/at-fault-does-drilling-cause-earthquakes/.

Exxon Mobil Drilling Could Have Tripped 2004 Earthquake/Tsunami

http://pesn.com/2005/01/25/6900062_Exxon_Tripped_Indonesian_Tsunami/.

Doubtful oil drilling can cause huge earthquake

http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/061207_oil_earthquakes.html.

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Earthquake and Tsunami Prevention 101

I’m addicted to the Science Channel. The topic of interest tonight was tsunamis. After the one in Indonesia that killed a quarter million people it should be of interest to everyone who lives on a coast somewhere. There are many shifting plates around the world known for their activity that can cause earthquakes. I had no idea how many there really are. There is a Eurasian-African plate, Indian Australian plate, the Alpine plate, Caribbean plate, a lot of plates for a lot of earthquakes.

Australia is particularly concerned. It seems the most likely place a tsunami will hit as it has before is the East Coast of Australia where sits Sydney. There is a huge public beach there with thousands of beachgoers in the summer season. A simulated video showed how a Tsunami like that in Indonesia would travel up an inlet there and really cause trouble because the coastline is lined with boulders. Imagine a wall of water coming at you full of boulders. If the water doesn’t kill you the debris does.

Australia has suffered two large tsunamis near Sydney and a bunch of small ones in the past. Earthquakes along the Alpine Fault next to New Zealand are to blame. Earthquakes there happen every 500 years and guess what’s overdue? It was stated that just because it hasn’t happened does not mean it’s not going to. It means it will really be big when it does. Sounds like giving birth doesn’t it?

Hawaii has been hit by tsunamis in the past also. But now Hawaii has the NOAA Tsunami Warning Center to give notice as soon as possible. But will it be soon enough? Right now Dr. Stephen Hickman, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Society is involved with drilling down and across the San Andreas Fault off of San Francisco in order to secure seismic meters there in an attempt to have the earliest warning possible of any and all earthquakes. I was reading more about this project on the Southern California Earthquake Center website and the author, part of a film crew, says he was standing on the drilling platform of the SAFOD or San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth project when an earthquake hit. Now that’s reporting firsthand. It was a 6.0 and the comment was that this was probably ‘the most well-recorded earthquake in history.’

It’s an interesting and humorous story, and quite a fluke that the author was actually there on top of the quake shaking violently on the drilling platform. This is quite a new and innovative project, but in the end may save millions of people if it can forecast big and small, upcoming quakes, and broadcast threats of any resulting tsunamis. I wonder how or who is placing those seismic meters in the tunnels? Considering what happened, not a good job to have. Kind of like putting the first construction cone out on the highway.

http://www.scec.org/education/041007parkfield.html

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Robusta Coffee Beans Threaten Elephants, Tigers, and Rhinos

Robusta coffee might ring a bell to coffee aficionados out there but I am not one. When I was young I never drank coffee during warm weather. It made me sweat. I would occasionally drink it in the winter but never at my own apartment. I couldn’t afford a coffee pot or the coffee, and I like it with cream or milk, sometimes sweet. That would mean that I would have to stock all of that. Living on my own in the 70′s was just shy of being a pauper. We left home before the age of 30 back then, most of the time we weren’t even 20 yet. Milk, sugar, and coffee were an extravagance to have around. I relied heavily on vitamins, a can of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of peas, and noodles and you pretty much know what I had there.

Now I’m past middle age and one would think I need coffee to start up in the morning. Wrong. Turns out I’m naturally hyper…and am sensitive to caffeine. I don’t even drink regular diet Pepsi at night. It has to be caffeine free. But I’ve started to like the taste of coffee since those flavored, fat free creamers came out. I drink decaf just for the taste of java. But recently I ran across some articles that Indonesian tigers, elephants, and rhinos are being threatened by a certain type of coffee called ROBUSTA because it is illegally grown in patches of plantation that invades the perimeter of a particular game park, Bukit Barisan Selatan (BBS) National Park in Sumatra. The park is a reserve that is supposed to protect the habitat of these endangered species. The World Wildlife Federation had a really good article on sun-grown coffee, and another on peopleandplanet.org about this growing problem.

The illegally grown Robusta coffee beans are mixed with legitimate beans and American companies like Nestle, Kraft, and others aren’t prepared to screen all imported beans, so they don’t know what they’ve got. I learned that traditionally, coffee is grown in the shade under a canopy of trees. These shade coffee plantations have a high biodiversity of birds and animals much like a rainforest. These shade coffee plantations are being transformed into industrialized sunny plantations with little shade. Without a lot of explanation we can see this will result in a loss of biodiversity for animals that thrive in shade coffee plantations and that their habitat is threatened over coffee.

And there is a problem with sun grown coffee. It may turn over faster but requires a heck of a lot of fertilizer, care, and water than is required of the slower growing shade coffee. So the Robusta brand is not an environmentally friendly coffee bean using more water than necessary, and causing more fertilizer runoff into fresh water supplies while eliminating the rich green life-sustaining canopy of forest like the traditional coffee everyone was perfectly happy with before.

Do you know what kind of bean you’re drinking? Is this going to be a problem for Starbucks? They have an awful lot of environmentally friendly customers nationwide. Sir Paul debuted his latest CD at Starbucks and we know he’s all about preservation and respect for animals. If Kraft and Nestle are hard put to figure out what they’re importing how would Starbucks know which of their 100′s of combinations of coffee contain beans that are threatening elephants, tigers, and rhinos? And what about Dunkin Donuts, and the thousands of coffee houses everywhere?

I love elephants, tigers and rhinos so when I finish the last of my instant decaf, that’s it for me, Robusta beans or not. If you’re thinking of cutting back, now is the time to do it. Here is a little anecdote about elephants: Science has long stated that the difference between animals and people is the ability to recognize themselves as an individual in a mirror, that most animals think it’s another animal or that their reflection registers nothing at all. Well just last year I watched on GMA an experiment at a sanctuary for elephants. A large mirror was put in a pen. The elephants occasionally looked at themselves but the researchers had no idea if the animal recognized its own particular reflection. That is until someone swiped a patch of paint on one of the elephant’s heads. That elephant looked in the mirror and immediately tried to rub the paint off, and kept checking. I wonder if it was a female elephant?
http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=2918

http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/asia_pacific/where/singapore/news_publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=91840

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