Methane 'escaping' from Arctic sea bed September 23, 2008. As reported on ITN - U.K.
Scientists fear the rate of global warming could accelerate due to the escape of methane from beneath the Arctic seabed.
Huge methane deposits are rising to the surface as the Arctic region heats up, according to preliminary findings.
Researchers found massive stores of sub-sea methane in several areas across thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf and observed the gas bubbling up from the sea floor through "chimneys", according to reports.
One of the expedition leaders, Orjan Gustafsson, of Stockholm University in Sweden, said researchers had found "an extensive area of intense methane release".
Mr Gustafsson said: "At earlier sites we had found elevated levels of dissolved methane. Yesterday, for the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface. These 'methane chimneys' were documented on echo sounder and with seismic [instruments]."
The researchers believe escaping sub-sea methane - which is around 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide - is connected to the recent rises in temperatures in the Arctic region.
He added: "The conventional thought has been that the permafrost 'lid' on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place.
"The growing evidence for release of methane in this inaccessible region may suggest that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leak methane. The permafrost now has small holes.
"We have found elevated levels of methane above the water surface and even more in the water just below. It is obvious that the source is the seabed."
Book: Paperback | 8.26 x 5.23in | 352 pages | ISBN 9781592578030 | 07 Oct 2008 | Alpha | 18 - AND UP
The final countdown?
On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar will complete its thirteenth cycle. According to the Mayan belief system, the world will end. And if you don’t believe the Mayans, you can check in with The Bible Code, The Nostradamus Code, or The Orion Prophecy, all of which predict planet- wide doom. Then again, maybe the year 2012 is just a new opportunity. Could 2012 bring us good things instead of bad? This book gives readers a look at what the Mayan prophecy is all about, what it means to them, and much more.
•Addresses Mayan predictions about global warming and climate change •Includes a glossary of terms and symbols, resources for a changing world, and exercises to assist the reader in their journey •The existence of almost 600,000 websites on 2012 indicates a huge fascination with this subject
THIS IS WHY 2012 IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PROPHECIES
climate: Usually defined as the ‘average weather’ or more rigorously as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years as defined by the WMO. These relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind.
climate change: Refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in it’s variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere. The UNFCC defines climate change as ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. See also climate variability.
climate variability: Variations in the mean state and other statistics (e.g. standard deviations, the occurrence of extreme events etc) of the climate on all temporal and spatial scales beyond that of individual weather events. Variability may be due to natural internal processes within the climate system or to variations in natural or anthropogenic external forcing.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency in California - Drought. February 27, 2009.
Friday afternoon after three years of below-average rain and snowfall in California, a step that urges urban water agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent. Mandatory rationing is an option if that and other measures prove insufficient.
"This is a crisis, just as severe as an earthquake or raging wildfire, and we must treat it with the same urgency by upgrading California's water infrastructure to ensure a clean and reliable water supply for our growing state," he said.
As the source of most of the major river systems in Asia from China to Pakistan, including the Yellow, the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Salween, the Brahmaputra, the Ganges and the Indus, the Tibetan Plateau has become an epicenter of crisis. With the retreating of its glaciers - what glaciologist Lonnie Thompson has called the “fresh water bank account” of Asia - rivers and lakes have started running lower, pastures have become drier, deserts larger, weather patterns more unpredictable. Indeed, the whole ecosystem of the Tibetan Plateau and its hinterland are now slipping toward a catastrophic environmental disaster which will have continental implications far beyond the plateau itself.
The British Government with the help of Google Earth have produced a map showing effects in the near future of global warming and climate change. July 2010.
It's been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century may symbolize a warming world like no other.........HERE
Check out the latest news with Climate Change HERE
The sun rises two days early in Greenland, sparking fears that climate change is accelerating By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 4:29 PM on 14th January 2011
The sun over Greenland has risen two days early, baffling scientists and sparking fears that Arctic icecaps are melting faster than previously thought.
Experts say the sun should have risen over the Arctic nation's most westerly town, Ilulissat, yesterday, ending a month-and-a-half of winter darkness.
But for the first time in history light began creeping over the horizon at around 1pm on Tuesday - 48 hours ahead of the usual date of 13 January. The mysterious sunrise has confused scientists, although it is believed the most likely explanation is that it is down to the lower height of melting icecaps allowing the sun's light to penetrate through earlier.
STORMING TOWARDS 2012: In Australia the worst cyclone ever to hit the continent, while in the United States the other side of the planet, the snowiest January EVER. By Colin Andrews - Posted February 3, 2011
Abandoned vehicles litter northbound Lake Shore Drive on Wednesday morning. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune / February 2, 2011)
Bitter cold, destruction in wake of mammoth storm By DEANNA BELLANDI and MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press Deanna Bellandi And Michael Tarm, Associated Press
CHICAGO – A mammoth winter storm left dangerously slick roads and frigid Midwestern temperatures in its frozen footprint Thursday, a day after crushing snow-laden buildings in the Northeast.
At least two people were killed when the pickup truck they were in drove off a snow-covered Oklahoma interstate and plunged 80 feet into an icy river. Wind chills dipped to nearly 30 below in parts of the nation's midsection as the region began dealing with the storm's aftermath.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley spoke publicly for the first time to defend his city's handling of the storm, which stranded hundreds of motorists in whiteout conditions on the famous Lake Shore Drive. In a city known for punishing politicians for winter weakness, the retiring Daley said when pressed that he wouldn't have handled anything differently and that workers responded well.
"Yes, they did ... They did a very, very good job," Daley said. Lake Shore reopened before dawn Thursday.
Criticism of the city's response to a 1979 blizzard played a major role in Mayor Michael Bilandic's defeat.
The sprawling system unloaded as much as 2 feet of snow across its 2,000-mile path, crippling airports and stranding drivers from Texas to South Dakota, where authorities rescued some motorists from more than 150 vehicles that had become trapped overnight after high winds sent fallen snow drifting onto an interstate in the northeast part of the state. Icy roads were blamed for a 15-vehicle chain- reaction crash in southeastern Louisiana that resulted in a few minor injuries.
Even the sunny Southwest wasn't spared: Freezing temperatures delayed Thursday's opening round of the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and led to school closures in parts of New Mexico.
A two-man crew looking for trouble spots along New Mexico's snowpacked U.S. 54 rescued a family of four who had been stranded in their upside down car for up to an hour in a 30-foot ravine.
Authorities in northeast Oklahoma said the pickup truck that drove into the Spring River on Thursday jumped a guard rail on Interstate 44 shortly before dawn while carrying five to eight people. The vehicle became partially submerged, and it was not immediately clear how many people died in the crash.
Ottawa County Sheriff Terry Durborow said three people were killed, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported only two fatalities. The discrepancy could not immediately be resolved.
Harsh weather conditions made rescue attempts difficult.
"The ground temperature was 11 degrees below zero, so it would take second to become hypothermic in this water and ice," said Lt. George Brown, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Department.
The week's storm had rendered the interstate impassable earlier in the week and the lane in which the pickup was driving had not reopened until late Wednesday. Brown declined to speculate about whether the highway was re-opened prematurely.
In the Northeast, officials had warned homeowners and businesses for days of the dangers of leaving snow piled up on rooftops. As the storm cloaked the region in ice and added inches to the piles of snow already spread across the landscape, the predictions came true. No one was seriously injured, however.
In Middletown, Connecticut., the entire third floor of a building failed, littering the street with bricks and snapping two trees. (By Colin Andrews: Roofs collapsed in our area, see photos of the area around our home in Guilford, Connecticut HERE) A gas station canopy on New York's Long Island collapsed, as did an airplane hangar near Boston, damaging aircraft. Roof cave-ins also were reported in Rhode Island.
Some places in the Northeast that have gotten more snow than they usually get all season are running out of places to put it. In Portland, Maine, the downtown snow-storage area was expected to reach capacity after this week's storm — the first time in three years that has happened.
Snow totals in the Northeast hit their peak at several inches in New England, a far cry from the foot or more the region has come to expect with each passing storm in a season full of them. Meanwhile, the Midwest was reeling from the storm's wallop as the system swept eastward.
Chicago's 20.2 inches of snow was the city's third-largest amount on record.
The system was blamed for more than a dozen deaths before Thursday, including a homeless man who burned to death on Long Island as he tried to light cans of cooking fuel and a woman in Oklahoma City who was killed while being pulled behind a truck on a sled that hit a guard rail.
Airport operations slowed to a crawl nationwide, though Chicago aviation officials said operations had resumed Thursday at both the city's major airports. Although there were no initial delays, some cancellations continued. O'Hare Airport reported about 1,000 canceled flights and Midway more than 30.
Associated Press writers Sue Major Holmes in Albuquerque, N.M.; John Christoffersen in Milford, Conn. and Michael Hill in Albany, N.Y. contributed to this report.
Cyclone Yasi, Stronger Than Katrina, Hits Australia February 02, 2011, 5:44 PM EST By Robert Fenner and Gemma Daley
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Cyclone Yasi, packing winds stronger than those from Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans, struck Australia’s northeast coast early today, lashing communities with the force of a storm described by authorities as the largest in the nation’s history. Yasi hit shore as a Category 5 storm about 165 kilometers (103 miles) south of Cairns in Mission Beach, a resort town of about 3,000 people, battering Queensland state’s coast with wind gusts of as much as 290 kilometers per hour, the Bureau of Meteorology said. The cyclone has been downgraded to Category 2 and continues to weaken, according to the bureau’s website. Though the towns of Mission Beach, Tully and Innisfail suffered the worst damage, larger population areas such as Cairns and Townsville escaped the brunt of the storm, authorities said. Yasi also ripped a path through key sugarcane growing areas in the state.
“We certainly seem to have areas like Cairns with serious damage to vegetation, trees and roofs,” Premier Anna Bligh told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio, adding she was thankful the cyclone didn’t hit land at a major population center and that no deaths or injuries had been reported. “Some of the towns worst affected are smaller and more remote places.” Sugar futures surged to a 30-year high in London. Australia’s dollar fell from almost a one-month high, trading at $1.0068 as of 11:45 a.m. in New York, down from $1.0111 the previous day when it touched $1.0149.
Threat to Life The cyclone, coming just weeks after the state capital, Brisbane, was hit by the worst flooding since 1974, was “likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations,” according to the Bureau of Meteorology. “Hills have been stripped of vegetation and I have a power line lying on the ground right outside the window,” said Rhonda Murdoch, owner of Montage Beach Apartments at Mission Beach. “The wind was roaring, whistling and we could hear crashing outside. It looks like a war zone.” More than 173,500 people have lost power, schools and airports are closed and military forces were used to airlift 200 hospital patients to Brisbane about 1,500 kilometers to the south. The cyclone will last as long as three days and may still be a category 1 storm, defined by winds of up to 125 kilometers an hour, by Feb. 4, when it may reach Mt. Isa about 900 kilometers inland, Bligh said. The core will take four hours to pass, according to the weather bureau. Bananas, Sugarcane Yasi is more severe than Category 4 Cyclone Larry, which wiped out most of Australia’s banana crop and devastated sugar cane fields almost five years ago. Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in Aug. 2005, had winds of as much as 280 kilometers per hour. “This was terrifying, much worse than Larry,” said Nicholas Pervan who has 52 people staying at his Codge Lodge Backpackers Resort in Innisfail, which has a population of about 9,000. “Everyone’ s well and accounted for, but we’re all a bit shaken. It’s not light enough yet to assess the damage.” Yasi will weaken as it moves in a west-southwesterly direction towards the Georgetown area in the state’s north, the weather bureau said on its website. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has provided help to Queensland from the nation’s military, said Yasi is the worst cyclone Australia has seen.
Military Support “The people of Australia will be there to help the people of far North Queensland through,” Gillard told reporters in Canberra yesterday. “As the cyclone passes through and the hours that follow afterwards, arrangements are already being made to make available assets from our Australian Defence Force.” Some 10,680 people are being sheltered in more than 20 evacuation centers along the coast to avoid a storm surge that is forecast to trigger flooding, Bligh said. All but one of the designated evacuation centers in Cairns were full and turning away late arrivals, the municipal government reported on its website. The city of more than 120,000 people, about 1,700 kilometers north of Brisbane, is a tourist destination and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The storm may affect more than 900 kilometers of coastline between Cape Flattery and Sarina.
Power Outages The last Category 5 cyclone to strike the Queensland coast was in 1918, Bligh said. Cyclone Larry crossed near Innisfail in 2006, causing an estimated A$500 million ($504 million) of damage to infrastructure and crops, damaging about 10,000 homes and disrupting road and rail access for several days, the weather bureau said on its website. Some 173,500 homes were left without power, Ergon Energy said in a posting on its Facebook page. The majority of those hit by the outage are in the Townsville and Ingham area, the Queensland- government owned utility said in the posting. A group of six elderly people who called seeking an evacuation from the town of Hinchinbrook can’t be helped because conditions prevent any rescue efforts, state disaster coordinator Ian Stewart told reporters. Coastal residents were warned of a storm tide as the cyclone approaches, with the tide in Townsville reaching the three meter mark and possible surges of as much as 7 meters, according to Stewart.
Economy Hit Queensland is beginning a recovery effort estimated to cost at least A$5 billion as its economy prepares for slower growth because of flooding since November, Bligh said Jan. 28. The state contributes about 19 percent of Australia’s economic output, producing 80 percent of the country’s coking coal, Treasurer Wayne Swan said last month. Tourists in Cairns, the Whitsundays and Townsville, popular centers for cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, rushed to board flights late yesterday before airports closed. Losses to the sugar cane industry in the region, which accounts for about a third of Australian production, may be A$500 million, Steve Greenwood, chief executive officer of industry group Canegrowers, said in an e-mail. Banana plantations in Queensland, which account for 85 percent of national production, face “catastrophic” losses while a fifth of the state’s A$3.3 billion cattle herd may be wiped out, the National Farmers’ Federation said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Century, the world’s second-largest zinc mine, slowed operations because of the cyclone, Bruce Loveday, a spokesman for Minmetal Resources Ltd.’s MMG unit, said yesterday by phone. Kagara Ltd. shut its Mt. Garnet zinc mine and treatment plant, Chairman Kim Robinson said by phone. Rio Tinto Group and Xstrata Plc shut coal mines, while ports and rail lines are closed. At least 32 coal ships have headed out to sea after Hay Point harbor and the Abbot Point export terminal were shut, according to North Queensland Bulks Ports Corp. and Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty. --With assistance from Rebecca Keenan, Ben Sharples and Wendy Pugh in Melbourne, Jacob Greber in Sydney and Chris Bourke in Wellington. Editors: Iain Wilson, Paul Tighe To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Fenner in Melbourne at email@example.com; Gemma Daley in Canberra at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dave McCombs at email@example.com
United States: Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 251 Posted April 28, 2011
PLEASANT GROVE, Ala. — Massive tornadoes tore a town-flattening streak across the South, killing at least 250 people in six states and forcing rescuers to carry some survivors out on makeshift stretchers of splintered debris. Two of Alabama's major cities were among the places devastated by the deadliest twister outbreak in nearly 40 years.
As day broke Thursday, people in hard-hit areas surveyed obliterated homes and debris-strewn streets. Some told of deadly winds whipping through within seconds of weather alerts broadcast during the storms Wednesday afternoon and evening
"It happened so fast it was unbelievable," said Jerry Stewart, a 63-year-old retired firefighter who was picking through the remains of his son's wrecked home in Pleasant Grove, a suburb of Birmingham. "They said the storm was in Tuscaloosa and it would be here in 15 minutes. And before I knew it, it was here."
La. floodgate opens, diverting Mississippi River. 'Now's the time to evacuate ... That water's coming,' governor says.
By MELINDA DESLATTE , MARY FOSTER The Associated Press updated 5/14/2011
A steel, 10-ton floodgate was slowly raised Saturday for the first time in nearly four decades, unleashing a torrent of water from the Mississippi River, away from heavily populated areas downstream.
The water spit out slowly at first, then began gushing like a waterfall as it headed to swamp as much as 3,000 square miles of Cajun countryside known for small farms and fish camps. Some places could wind up under as much as 25 feet of water.
Opening the Morganza spillway diverts water away from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and the numerous oil refineries and chemical plants along the lower reaches of the Mississippi.
"We're using every flood control tool we have in the system," Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh said Saturday from the dry side of the spillway, before the bay was opened. The podium Walsh was standing at was expected to be under several feet of water Sunday.
The Morganza spillway is part of a system of locks and levees built following the great flood of 1927. When it opened, it was the first time three flood-control systems have been unlocked at the same time along the Mississippi River.
Earlier this month, the corps intentionally blew holes into a levee in Missouri to employ a similar cities-first strategy, and it also opened the Bonnet Carre spillway northwest of New Orleans to send water into the massive Lake Ponchatrain.
Snowmelt and heavy rain have been blamed for inflating the Mississippi, and the rising river levels have shattered records all set 70 years ago.
About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm's way. Source.
Tornados, Floods and Drought Highlights Climate Change Across the USA. May 27, 2011 Colin Andrews
Its the worst of Tornado's, Floods and Drought that grips the USA during May 2011 and highlights climate change is at work. Full report HERE
Russian scientists have discovered hundreds of plumes of methane gas, some 1,000 meters in diameter, bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists are concerned that as the Arctic Shelf recedes, the unprecedented levels of gas released could greatly accelerate global climate change.
Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells the UK's Independent that the plumes of methane, a gas 20 times as harmful as carbon dioxide, have shocked scientists who have been studying the region for decades.
"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of meters in diameter," he said. "This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing."
Semiletov said that while his research team has discovered more than 100 plumes, they estimate there to be "thousands" over the wider area, extending from the Russian mainland to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.
"In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Semiletov said. "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale — I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were a kilometer or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere — the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."
Colin's Comment: Methane Gas is extremely flammable and has a low flashpoint as well as being an asphyxiant and has a very much greater warming effect of the environment compared to CO2: Facts.
Warm seawater forces Connecticut nuclear plant shutdown August 13, 2012 Associated PressBy STEPHEN SINGER | Associated Press – 59 mins ago HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)
— Connecticut's nuclear power plant shut one of two units on Sunday because seawater used to cool down the plant is too warm.
Unit 2 of Millstone Power Station has occasionally shut for maintenance or other issues, but in its 37-year history it has never gone down due to excessively warm water, spokesman Ken Holt said on Monday.
Water from Long Island Sound is used to cool key components of the plant and is discharged back into the sound. The water cannot be warmer than 75 degrees and following the hottest July on record has been averaging 1.7 degrees above the limit, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
The federal agency issued an "emergency license amendment" last week, allowing Millstone, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., to use an average temperature of several readings.
"It wasn't enough to prevent us from shutting down," Holt said.
In addition to the extreme heat last month, the mild winter didn't help because it kept Long Island Sound water unusually mild, Holt said.
Robert Wilson, a professor at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, said readings show temperatures in central Long Island Sound are nearly 80 degrees, much higher than the more typical 74 degrees.
He blamed weather patterns, beginning with the mild winter and little wind that allows heat to hang around.
"If you start from warm winters, then have sustained persistent surface heating without wind stirring you get very high temperatures," Wilson said.
Millstone provides half of all power used in Connecticut and 12 percent in New England. Its two units produce 2,100 megawatts of electricity, which is reduced by 40 percent with Unit 2 down, Holt said.
Richmond, Va.-based Dominion, which operates Millstone, does not have an estimate of when the unit will restart, he said..... Full Report