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WEATHER | NATURAL DISASTERS | EARTHQUAKES | TSUNAMIS

WEATHER & NATURAL DISASTERS


Climate change report identifies ‘the most vulnerable’ sections of the population

A report has looked at which sections of the population are left most exposed to food shortages after extreme weather events. Extreme weather events leave populations with not enough food both in the short- and the long-term.

Tornadoes occurring earlier in ‘Tornado Alley’

Peak tornado activity in the central and southern Great Plains is occurring up to two weeks earlier than it did half a century ago.

New way to predict hurricane strength, destruction

A new study demonstrates a different way of projecting a hurricane’s strength and intensity that could give the public a better idea of a storm’s potential for destruction.

Climate: More heat, rain in Vermont, Quebec

A fundamental challenge of climate change forecasting is how to bridge the gap between global-scale models and local impacts. A new study — the first-of-its kind for the Lake Champlain region — bridges this gap and forecasts that northern Vermont and southern Quebec by 2100 will get eight degrees Fahrenheit hotter; Burlington, Vt., will experience 10 more days in July above 90; and ski resorts will see 50 percent less snowfall.

Iberian Peninsula endured tropical storms in the 18th century and severe droughts in Islamic times

The first meteorological measurements were taken in the Iberian Peninsula in 1724, which coincides with the year in which Portugal suffered one of the worst storms ever. Later, in 1816, Spain felt the effects of the eruption of the Mount Tambora volcano and almost one thousand years before, in 898, a drought in Al-Andalus was so severe that communities even resorted to cannibalism. These are facts recovered from old documents.

Winter is coming: British weather set to become more unsettled

Winter is coming, and British weather is set to become more unsettled, scientists say. Three all-time high and two all-time low NAO values have been recorded in the last decade, they say, showing huge contrast in conditions. Based on past information, the month of December shows biggest variation in weather.

Migrating birds sprint in spring, but take things easy in autumn

Passerine birds, also known as perching birds, that migrate by night tend to fly faster in spring than they do in autumn to reach their destinations. This seasonal difference in flight speed is especially noticeable among birds that only make short migratory flights, research shows. As short-distance migratory birds, they have the luxury to wait until winds are just right.

EARTHQUAKES


New explanation for origin of plate tectonics: What set Earth’s plates in motion?

Geologists have a new explanation for the origin of plate tectonics. Researchers suggest it was triggered by the spreading of early continents then it eventually became a self-sustaining process.

Wastewater injection is culprit for most earthquakes in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, study finds

The deep injection of wastewater underground is responsible for the dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001, according to a new study. The Raton Basin, which stretches from southern Colorado into northern New Mexico, was seismically quiet until shortly after major fluid injection began in 1999.

Mega-quake possible for subduction zones along ‘Ring of Fire,’ new study suggests

The magnitude of the 2011 Tohoku quake (M 9.0) caught many seismologists by surprise, prompting some to revisit the question of calculating the maximum magnitude earthquake possible for a particular fault. New research offers an alternate view that uses the concept of probable maximum magnitude events over a given period, providing the magnitude and the recurrence rate of extreme events in subduction zones for that period. Most circum Pacific subduction zones can produce earthquakes of magnitude greater than 9.0, suggests the study.

Major earthquake may occur off coast of Istanbul, seismic shifts suggest

When a segment of a major fault line goes quiet, it can mean one of two things: The “seismic gap” may simply be inactive — the result of two tectonic plates placidly gliding past each other — or the segment may be a source of potential earthquakes, quietly building tension over decades until an inevitable seismic release. After tracking seismic shifts, researchers say a major quake may occur off the coast of Istanbul.

New study reconstructs mega-earthquakes timeline in Indian Ocean

A new study on the frequency of past giant earthquakes in the Indian Ocean region shows that Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian Ocean, is affected by large tsunamis at highly variable intervals, from a few hundred to more than 1,000 years. The findings suggest that the accumulation of stress in the region could generate as large, or even larger tsunamis than the one that resulted from the 2004 magnitude-9.2 Sumatra earthquake.

Textbook theory behind volcanoes may be wrong

In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study from researchers who conclude that seismology data are now confirming that such narrow jets don’t actually exist.

New, inexpensive method for understanding earthquake topography

Using high-resolution topography models not available in the past, geologists can greatly enrich their research. However, current methods of acquisition are costly and require trained personnel with high-tech, cumbersome equipment. In light of this, scientists have developed a new system that takes advantage of affordable, user-friendly equipment and software to produce topography data over small, sparsely vegetated sites at comparable (or better) resolution and accuracy to standard methods.

TSUNAMIS


New study reconstructs mega-earthquakes timeline in Indian Ocean

A new study on the frequency of past giant earthquakes in the Indian Ocean region shows that Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian Ocean, is affected by large tsunamis at highly variable intervals, from a few hundred to more than 1,000 years. The findings suggest that the accumulation of stress in the region could generate as large, or even larger tsunamis than the one that resulted from the 2004 magnitude-9.2 Sumatra earthquake.

Seismic hazards reassessed in the Andes

Although being able to predict the date on which the next big earthquake will occur is still some way off becoming a reality, it is now possible to identify the areas where they will occur. Researchers have just measured the current deformation in the northern part of the Andes for the first time using GPS, where the tectonics of the Pacific and South American plates govern the high seismic activity in the region. The scientists then identified the areas where the fault, located at the interface of these two plates, is capable of generating large earthquakes or not.

Foreshock series controls earthquake rupture

A long lasting foreshock series controlled the rupture process of this year’s great earthquake near Iquique in northern Chile. The earthquake was heralded by a three quarter year long foreshock series of ever increasing magnitudes culminating in a magnitude 6.7 event two weeks before the mainshock. The mainshock, which had a magnitude of 8.1. finally broke on April 1st a central piece out of the most important seismic gap along the South American subduction zone.

Giant earthquakes help predict volcanic eruptions

Researchers have for the first time observed the response of Japanese volcanoes to seismic waves produced by the giant Tohoku-oki earthquake of 2011. Their conclusions reveal how earthquakes can impact volcanoes and should help to assess the risk of massive volcanic eruptions worldwide.

Extinct undersea volcanoes squashed under Earth’s crust cause tsunami earthquakes

New research has revealed the causes and warning signs of rare tsunami earthquakes, which may lead to improved detection measures. The new study reveals that tsunami earthquakes may be caused by extinct undersea volcanoes causing a “sticking point” between two sections of Earth’s crust called tectonic plates, where one plate slides under another.

Personal resiliency paramount for future disasters

Individuals need to build disaster readiness and resiliency in order to better recover from the effects of earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters, experts say. Those who prepare well for disasters are more likely to have a sense of spiritual and emotional well-being and be satisfied with their life.

Three years since Japan’s disaster: Communities remain scattered and suffering

While western eyes are focused on the ongoing problems of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor site, thousands of people are still evacuated from their homes in north-eastern Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency. Many are in temporary accommodation and frustrated by a lack of central government foresight and responsiveness to their concerns.

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