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Weather News Reel

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WEATHER | NATURAL DISASTERS | EARTHQUAKES | TSUNAMIS

WEATHER & NATURAL DISASTERS


Predicting drift of floating pumice ‘islands’ can benefit shipping

A new technique will aid in predicting the dispersal and drift patterns of large floating ‘islands’ of pumice created by volcanic eruptions at sea. Known as pumice rafts, these large mobile accumulations of pumice fragments can spread to affect a considerable area of the ocean, damaging vessels and disrupting shipping routes for months or even years. The ability to predict where these rafts will end up could give enough advance warning for protective measures to be put in place on shipping routes or in harbours where the presence of pumice is hazardous.

Late freeze kills fruit buds, study shows

The recent late cold snap could mean less fruit this year. A horticulturist explains how to check if your fruit buds survived the late burst of cold weather. Fruit buds are usually damaged when it is 28 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. However, this researcher says that while the fruit may be lost, the trees will survive so there should be plenty of fruit next year.

Warm U.S. West, cold East: 4,000-year pattern; Global warming may bring more curvy jet streams during winter

Last winter’s curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A new study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, and suggests it may worsen as Earth’s climate warms.

European climate at the 2 degrees Celsius global warming threshold

A global warming of 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial climate has been considered as a threshold which society should endeavor to remain below, in order to limit the dangerous effects of anthropogenic climate change.

Fire and drought may push Amazonian forests beyond tipping point

Future simulations of climate in the Amazon suggest a longer dry season leading to more drought and fires. Scientists have published a new study on the impacts of fire and drought on Amazon tree mortality. Their article found that prolonged droughts caused more intense and widespread wildfires, which consumed more forests in Amazonia than previously understood.

Air pollution over Asia influences global weather and makes Pacific storms more intense

In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (human-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence weather over much of the world.

NASA simulation portrays ozone intrusions from aloft

Outdoor enthusiasts in Colorado’s Front Range are occasionally rewarded with remarkable visibility brought about by dry, clear air and wind. But it’s what people in the mountainous U.S. West can’t see in conditions like this — ozone plunging down to the ground from high in the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere — that has attracted the interest of scientists, university scientists and air quality managers.

EARTHQUAKES


Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis: New design for enhanced safety, easier siting and centralized construction

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future.

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.

Earthquake simulation tops one petaflop mark

Computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists have optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software on the SuperMUC high performance computer to push its performance beyond the ‘magical’ one petaflops mark — one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

Tibetan Plateau was larger than previously thought, geologists say

The Tibetan Plateau — the world’s largest, highest, and flattest plateau — had a larger initial extent than previously documented, Earth scientists have demonstrated. Known as the “Roof of the World,” the Tibetan Plateau covers more than 970,000 square miles in Asia and India and reaches heights of over 15,000 feet. The plateau also contains a host of natural resources, including large mineral deposits and tens of thousands of glaciers, and is the headwaters of many major drainage basins.

Scientists reconstruct ancient impact that dwarfs dinosaur-extinction blast

Picture this: A massive asteroid almost as wide as Rhode Island and about three to five times larger than the rock thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs slams into Earth. The collision punches a crater into the planet’s crust that’s nearly 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) across: greater than the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City, and up to two and a half times larger in diameter than the hole formed by the dinosaur-killing asteroid.

More Earthquakes for Chile? Seismic gap has not been closed

After the strong earthquake that struck Chile on April 2 (CEST), numerous aftershocks, some of them of a considerable magnitude, have struck the region around Iquique. Seismologists doubt that the strong earthquake closed the local seismic gap and decreased the risk of a large earthquake. On the contrary, initial studies of the rupture process and the aftershocks show that only about a third of the vulnerable zone broke.

Hot mantle drives elevation, volcanism along mid-ocean ridges

Using data from seismic waves, scientists have shown that temperature deep in Earth’s mantle controls the elevation and volcanic activity along mid-ocean ridges, colossal mountain ranges that line the ocean floor. The findings bolster the idea that warm mantle plumes are responsible for ‘hot spot’ volcanism, and shed new light on how temperature in the depths of the mantle influences the contours of the Earth’s crust.

TSUNAMIS


Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis: New design for enhanced safety, easier siting and centralized construction

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm. A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future.

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.

More Earthquakes for Chile? Seismic gap has not been closed

After the strong earthquake that struck Chile on April 2 (CEST), numerous aftershocks, some of them of a considerable magnitude, have struck the region around Iquique. Seismologists doubt that the strong earthquake closed the local seismic gap and decreased the risk of a large earthquake. On the contrary, initial studies of the rupture process and the aftershocks show that only about a third of the vulnerable zone broke.

Magnitude 8.2 earthquake off Chile: Thrust faulting at shallow depths near the Chilean coast

A large earthquake struck off Chile on April 1, 2014 at 23:46:46 UTC, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The magnitude 8.2 earthquake in northern Chile occurred as the result of thrust faulting at shallow depths near the Chilean coast. The location and mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with slip on the primary plate boundary interface, or megathrust, between the Nazca and South America plates.

Great earthquakes, water under pressure, high risk: Research reveals interactions between plate tectonics, fluids and quakes

The largest earthquakes occur where oceanic plates move beneath continents. Water trapped in the boundary between both plates has a dominant influence on the earthquake rupture process. Analyzing the great Chile earthquake of February, 27th, 2010, a group of scientists found that the water pressure in the pores of the rocks making up the plate boundary zone takes the key role.

Earthquakes caused by clogged magma a warning sign of volcanic eruption

New research examined earthquake swarms caused by mounting volcanic pressure which may signal an imminent eruption. The research team studied Augustine Volcano in Alaska which erupted in 2006 and found that precursory earthquakes were caused by a block in the lava flow. 36 hours before the first magmatic explosions, a swarm of 54 earthquakes was detected across the 13-station seismic network on Augustine Island. By analyzing the resulting seismic waves, the authors found that the earthquakes were being triggered from sources within the volcano’s magma conduit.

After major earthquake, silence: Dynamic stressing of a global system of faults results in rare seismic silence

In the global aftershock zone that followed the major April 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake, seismologists noticed an unusual pattern — a dynamic ‘stress shadow,’ or period of seismic silence when some faults near failure were temporarily rendered incapable of a large rupture. Why did this rare period of quiet occur?

METEOROLOGY CURRENT EVENTS


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