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WEATHER | NATURAL DISASTERS | EARTHQUAKES | TSUNAMIS

WEATHER & NATURAL DISASTERS


Birds sensed severe storms and fled before tornado outbreak

Golden-winged warblers apparently knew in advance that a storm that would spawn 84 confirmed tornadoes and kill at least 35 people last spring was coming, according to a new report. The birds left the scene well before devastating supercell storms blew in.

Improving forecasts for rain-on-snow flooding

Researchers hope to better forecast the flood risk from a combination of heavy rains and melting snow, which are most of the worst West Coast floods. Many of the worst West Coast winter floods pack a double punch. Heavy rains and melting snow wash down the mountains together to breach riverbanks, wash out roads and flood buildings.

Even in restored forests, extreme weather strongly influences wildfire’s impacts

A new study examined how the Rim Fire burned through forests with restored fire regimes in Yosemite National Park to determine whether they were as resistant to high-severity fire as many scientists and land managers expected.

Glacier beds can get slipperier at higher sliding speeds

Scientists have found that as a glacier’s sliding speed increases, the bed beneath the glacier can grow slipperier. That laboratory finding could help researchers make better predictions of glacier response to climate change and the corresponding sea-level rise.

Hurricane-forecast satellites will keep close eyes on the tropics

A set of eight hurricane-forecast satellites is expected to give deep insights into how and where storms suddenly intensify — a little-understood process that’s becoming more crucial to figure out as the climate changes.

NASA’s Fermi Mission brings deeper focus to thunderstorm gamma rays

Each day, thunderstorms around the world produce about a thousand quick bursts of gamma rays, some of the highest-energy light naturally found on Earth. By merging records of events seen by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope with data from ground-based radar and lightning detectors, scientists have completed the most detailed analysis to date of the types of thunderstorms involved.

Global warming’s influence on extreme weather

Understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between global warming and record-breaking weather requires asking precisely the right questions. Extreme climate and weather events such as record high temperatures, intense downpours and severe storm surges are becoming more common in many parts of the world. But because high-quality weather records go back only about 100 years, most scientists have been reluctant to say if global warming affected particular extreme events.

EARTHQUAKES


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.

Scientists observe the Earth grow a new layer under an Icelandic volcano

New research into an Icelandic eruption has shed light on how the Earth’s crust forms, according to a new article.

2011 Japan earthquake: Fault had been relieving stress at accelerating rate for years

Scientists have found evidence that sections of the fault responsible for the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake that devastated northern Japan in 2011 were relieving seismic stress at a gradually accelerating rate for years before the quake.

Re-thinking Southern California earthquake scenarios in Coachella Valley, San Andreas Fault

New 3-D numerical modeling that captures far more geometric complexity of an active fault segment in southern California than any other, suggests that the overall earthquake hazard for towns on the west side of the Coachella Valley such as Palm Springs and Palm Desert may be slightly lower than previously believed.

Source of volcanoes may be much closer than thought: Geophysicists challenge traditional theory underlying origin of mid-plate volcanoes

Geophysicists point to a super-hot layer beneath the tectonic plates as the place of origin for volcanoes, as opposed to deep within the Earth’s core.

Exploring a large, restless volcanic field in Chile

For seven years, an area larger than the city of Madison has been rising by 10 inches per year. That rapid rise provides a major scientific opportunity: to explore a mega-volcano before it erupts. That effort, and the hazard posed by the restless magma reservoir beneath Laguna del Maule.

Erosion may trigger earthquakes

Researchers have shown that surface processes, i.e. erosion and sedimentation, may trigger shallow earthquakes (less than five kilometers deep) and favor the rupture of large deep earthquakes up to the surface. Although plate tectonics was generally thought to be the only persistent mechanism able to influence fault activity, it appears that surface processes also increase stresses on active faults, such as those in Taiwan, one of the world’s most seismic regions.

TSUNAMIS


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.

Rising above the risk: America’s first tsunami refuge

Washington’s coast is so close to the seismically active Cascadia Subduction Zone that if a megathrust earthquake were to occur, a tsunami would hit the Washington shoreline in just 25 minutes. One coastal community is preparing for such a disaster by starting construction on the nation’s first tsunami evacuation refuge, large enough to shelter more than 1,000 people who are within 20-minute walking distance.

A global surge of great earthquakes from 2004-2014 and implications for Cascadia

The last ten years have been a remarkable time for great earthquakes. Since December 2004 there have been no less than 18 quakes of Mw8.0 or greater — a rate of more than twice that seen from 1900 to mid-2004. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and massive damage has resulted from these great earthquakes.

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