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WEATHER | NATURAL DISASTERS | EARTHQUAKES | TSUNAMIS

WEATHER & NATURAL DISASTERS


Shifting precipitation patterns affect tea flavor, health compounds, study shows

Major antioxidant compounds that determine tea health properties and taste fell up to 50 percent during an extreme monsoon, a study concludes. The findings are based on samples taken from tea gardens in southwest China. The researchers collected samples from two extreme weather events — an extreme drought and an extreme monsoon — and performed a chemical analysis of the samples.

Weather history ‘time machine’ created

A software program that allows climate researchers to access historical climate data for the entire global surface (excluding the poles) has been developed. This software include the oceans, and is based statistical research into historical climates.

Researcher adds to evidence linking autism to air pollutants

Pollution’s impact on autism rates in North Carolina is similar to results of previous pollution autism studies in California, a new study reports. This report is has added to a growing body of evidence that links autism to air pollutants such as those generated by cars and trucks.

NASA study finds 1934 had worst North American drought of last thousand years

A new study using a reconstruction of North American drought history over the last 1,000 years found that the drought of 1934 was the driest and most widespread of the last millennium. Using a tree-ring-based drought record from the years 1000 to 2005 and modern records, scientists found the 1934 drought was 30 percent more severe than the runner-up drought (in 1580) and extended across 71.6 percent of western North America.

Teachable moments about climate change

Mapping first-hand experience of extreme weather conditions helps to target climate education efforts. First-hand experience of extreme weather often makes people change their minds about the realities of climate change. That’s because people are simply more aware of an extreme weather event the closer they are to its core, and the more intense the incidence is.

New forecasting method: Predicting extreme floods in the Andes mountains

Predicting floods following extreme rainfall in the central Andes is enabled by a new method. Climate change has made these events more frequent and more severe in recent decades. Now complex networks analysis of satellite weather data makes it possible to produce a robust warning system for the first time.

Extreme weather events raise awareness of adaptation needs

Adapting to climate change has reached the political agenda in most European countries, according to the most comprehensive analysis of adaptation in Europe published to date. Extreme weather events and EU policies were the most common reasons for beginning to address adaptation.

EARTHQUAKES


Hippos-Sussita excavation: Silent evidence of the earthquake of 363 CE

Silent evidence of a large earthquake in 363 CE — the skeleton of a woman with a dove-shaped pendant — was discovered under the tiles of a collapsed roof by archeologists from the University of Haifa during this excavation season at Hippos-Sussita. They also found a large muscular marble leg and artillery ammunition from some 2,000 years ago. “The data is finally beginning to form a clear historical-archaeological picture,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the international excavation team.

Should the Japanese give nuclear power another chance?

On September 9, 2014, the Japan Times reported an increasing number of suicides coming from the survivors of the March 2011 disaster. In Minami Soma Hospital, which is located 23 km away from the power plant, the number of patients experiencing stress has also increased since the disaster. What’s more, many of the survivors are now jobless and therefore facing an uncertain future.

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.

Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii’s recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.

Earthquakes in the ocean: Towards a better understanding of their precursors

New research offers the first theoretical model that, based on fluid-related processes, explains the seismic precursors of an underwater earthquake. Using quantitative measurements, this innovative model established a link between observed precursors and the mainshock of an earthquake. The results open a promising avenue of research for guiding future investigations on detecting earthquakes before they strike.

Hydraulic fracturing linked to earthquakes in Ohio

Hydraulic fracturing triggered a series of small earthquakes in 2013 on a previously unmapped fault in Harrison County, Ohio, according to a new study.

TSUNAMIS


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.

Massive debris pile reveals risk of huge tsunamis in Hawaii

A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii’s recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.

Underwater landslide doubled size of 2011 Japanese tsunami

An ocean engineer has found that a massive underwater landslide, not just the 9.0 earthquake, was responsible for triggering the deadly tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.

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.

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