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WEATHER | NATURAL DISASTERS | EARTHQUAKES | TSUNAMIS

WEATHER & NATURAL DISASTERS


Lasting severe weather impact found in feathers of young birds

While studying a ground-nesting bird population near El Reno, Okla., a research team found that stress during a severe weather outbreak of May 31, 2013, had manifested itself into malformations in the growing feathers of the young birds. The team witnessed a phenomenon termed ‘pallid bands’ in a large proportion of fledgling Grasshopper Sparrows and found spikes in the chemical signatures of ‘pallid bands,’ which led to abnormalities in the new feathers.

Wind-powered freighters

To make ships more eco-efficient, engineers have been working with alternative fuels. A Norwegian engineer is currently pursuing a new approach: With VindskipTM, he has designed a cargo ship that is powered by wind and gas. Software will ensure an optimum use of the available wind energy at any time.

Interaction of Atlantic and Pacific oscillations caused ‘false pause’ in warming

The recent slowdown in climate warming is due, at least in part, to natural oscillations in the climate, according to a team of climate scientists, who add that these oscillations represent variability internal to the climate system. They do not signal any slowdown in human-caused global warming.

Electric-car driving range and emissions depend on where you live

Many car buyers weighing whether they should go all electric to help the planet have at least one new factor to consider before making the switch: geography. Based on a study of a commercially available electric car, scientists report that emissions and driving range can vary greatly depending on regional energy sources and climate.

NASA satellite sees a warm winter U.S. West

While people in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S have been dealing with Arctic Air, the bulge in the Jet Stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean has been keeping the western third of the U.S. in warmer than normal temperatures over the last two months. Infrared data from NASA provided a look at those surface temperature extremes from west to east.

Time when Southwest was wet and Northwest was dry aids efforts to predict future rainfall patterns

The first comprehensive map of the topsy-turvy climate in the western U.S, 21,000 years ago has been developed by researchers. They focus on when the Southwest was wet and the Northwest was dry, testing it to improve the global climate models that have been developed to predict how precipitation patterns will change in the future.

Caribbean coral findings may influence Barrier Reef studies

Research indicating Caribbean corals may be better equipped to tolerate climate change than previously believed could impact future studies on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

EARTHQUAKES


A new level of earthquake understanding: Surprise findings from San Andreas Fault rock sample

Researchers studied quartz from the San Andreas Fault at the microscopic scale, the scale at which earthquake-triggering stresses originate. The results could one day lead to a better understanding of earthquakes.

Impact of tsunami on the Columbia River

Engineers have completed one of the most precise evaluations yet done about the impact of a major tsunami event on the Columbia River, what forces are most important in controlling water flow and what areas might be inundated.

Buildings with ‘rocking’ technology would be more earthquake-resilient

Buildings that rock during an earthquake and return to plumb would withstand seismic shaking better than structural designs commonly used in vulnerable zones of California and elsewhere. A researcher’s modeling suggests optimal sizes for damping devices and steel yielding devices that dissipate the energy of a quake.

Earthquake activity linked to injection wells may vary by region

The Williston Basin in north central US produced fewer earthquakes caused by wastewater injection than in Texas, suggesting the link between seismicity and production activities may vary by region, according to a new study.

Earth’s surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet’s inner core

Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world’s deepest mystery: the planet’s inner core. Thanks to a novel application of earthquake-reading technology, researchers have found that the Earth’s inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal information about our planet.

Methane seepage from Arctic seabed occurring for millions of years

Natural seepage of methane offshore the Arctic archipelago Svalbard has been occurring periodically for at least 2.7 million years. Major events of methane emissions happened at least twice during this period, according to a new study.

Randomness of megathrust earthquakes implied by rapid stress recovery after the Japan earthquake

Stress recovery following the 2011 M9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake has been significantly faster than previously anticipated; specifically, the stress-state at the plate interface returned within just a few years to levels observed before the megathrust event. In addition, since there is no observable spatial difference in the stress state along the megathrust zone, it is difficult to predict the location and extent of future large ruptures.

TSUNAMIS


Impact of tsunami on the Columbia River

Engineers have completed one of the most precise evaluations yet done about the impact of a major tsunami event on the Columbia River, what forces are most important in controlling water flow and what areas might be inundated.

Randomness of megathrust earthquakes implied by rapid stress recovery after the Japan earthquake

Stress recovery following the 2011 M9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake has been significantly faster than previously anticipated; specifically, the stress-state at the plate interface returned within just a few years to levels observed before the megathrust event. In addition, since there is no observable spatial difference in the stress state along the megathrust zone, it is difficult to predict the location and extent of future large ruptures.

The tsunami-early warning system for the indian ocean: Ten years after

The day after Christmas this year will mark the 10 anniversary of the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. On 26 December 2004, a quarter of a million people lost their lives, five million required immediate aid and 1.8 million citizens were rendered homeless. The natural disaster, which caused extreme devastation over huge areas and the accompanying grief and anxiety, especially in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka exceeded the imaginable and reached such drastic dimensions, mainly due to the lack of a warning facility and a disaster management plan for the entire Indian Ocean region at this time.

High earthquake danger in Tianjin, China

With a population of 11 million and located about 100 km from Beijing (22 million people) and Tangshan (7 million people), Tianjin lies on top of the Tangshan-Hejian-Cixian fault that has been the site of 15 devastating earthquakes in the past 1,000 years. An example of the disastrous events is the 1976 magnitude 7.6 Tangshan Earthquake, which killed a quarter million people.

Subtle shifts in the Earth could forecast earthquakes, tsunamis

Earthquakes and tsunamis can be giant disasters no one sees coming, but now an international team of scientists has found that subtle shifts in Earth’s offshore plates can be a harbinger of the size of the disaster.

Offshore islands amplify, rather than dissipate, a tsunami’s power

A long-held belief that offshore islands protect the mainland from tsunamis turns out to be the exact opposite of the truth, according to a new study.

Study of Chile earthquake finds new rock structure that affects earthquake rupture

An unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile has been found. Researchers say that this mass influenced the rupture size of a massive earthquake that struck the region in 2010.

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