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Author Topic: Prophecy, Drought, Earthquakes, Famine, Pestilence, War, and Strange Weather.  (Read 90714 times)
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« Reply #1080 on: August 30, 2006, 06:46:28 PM »

Hurricane John now category 4 storm 
Forecasters predict march up Mexico's Pacific coast

Category 4 John Heads for Western Mexico

Hurricane John became a dangerous, Category 4 storm Wednesday and forecasters predicted its center would come closer to land during its march up Mexico's Pacific coast, where its outer bands already were lashing tourist resorts with heavy winds and rain.

The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 135 mph, and stronger gusts capable of ripping roofs off buildings and causing storm surges of up to 18 feet above normal.

John was not expected to affect the United States, but a hurricane warning covered a more than 300-mile stretch of the Mexican coastline from Lazaro Cardenas to Cabo Corrientes, the southwestern tip of the bay that holds Puerto Vallarta.

The area south of Lazaro Cardenas to Acapulco was under a tropical storm warning, including the resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Lazaro Cardenas already was being hit with tropical storm-force winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said John's hurricane-force winds were likely to begin raking beaches south of Puerto Vallarta late Wednesday, then come close to hitting land early Thursday. The storm would then nick Los Cabos at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula on Friday before heading out to sea.

The Mexican army and emergency services were on alert along the coast, and public schools were canceled in Acapulco and surrounding communities.

In the resort cities of Ixtapa and Zijuatanejo, authorities closed the port to small ocean craft while city officials set up temporary shelters in case the storm were to worsen in the area. Some students decided to leave school early before any potential flooding.

Light rain fell in Ixtapa, about three hours up the coast from Acapulco. At the five-star Emporio Hotel, receptionist David Gonzalez said the hotel had received only minor warnings of rising tides, and said none of the hotel's 92 guests had indicated an early departure.

Pedro Ochoa, reception clerk at the four-star Posada Real Ixtapa Hotel, said neither staff nor guests were making any special preparations for the storm because "we were advised that it was headed elsewhere."

"It's barely raining and there aren't even any winds to speak of," Ochoa said.

Authorities warned residents of low-lying areas to be on alert and urged deep-sea fishing expeditions to return to port in Acapulco. But the airport was still open, and there were few signs of preparation for the hurricane.

Forecasters warned the hurricane could dump up to 8 inches of rain along some of Mexico's southern coast, causing landslides or flooding. Dozens of communities were on alert, but no major problems had been reported.

The center of the hurricane was about 70 miles south of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico's deepest port, and was moving to the northwest near 14 mph. But so far, the most damaging winds have remained offshore, and only tropical storm-force winds have hit the coast.

Meanwhile, a second weather system, Tropical Storm Kristy, formed in the Pacific far off the Mexican coast early Wednesday, but was forecast to move farther out to sea with no threat to land, the hurricane center said. Kristy had maximum sustained winds of 58 mph and was moving northwest at about 6 mph.
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« Reply #1081 on: August 31, 2006, 08:41:20 PM »

Hurricane Watch Issued for Carolinas Ahead of Tropical Storm Ernesto

Forecasters issued a hurricane watch for the North and South Carolina coasts Thursday, and Virginia's governor declared a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Ernesto gained strength over the Atlantic.

The watch, stretching from South Carolina's Santee River to Cape Lookout in North Carolina, means hurricane conditions, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, are possible within 12 hours.

Click here to check out FOXNews.com's Natural Disaster Center

For residents who have long weathered hurricanes in this vulnerable region, Ernesto's wind was less of a concern than the threat of flooding. Thunderstorms have been drenching North Carolina for more than a day, and Ernesto could bring half a foot of rain.

"We need some rain around here — just not all at once," said Jean Evans, a convenience store worker along North Carolina's Holden Beach, part of the lengthy strip of coastline under the National Weather Center's tropical storm warning.

Ernesto had been downgraded to a tropical depression over Florida, but gained strength and was upgraded as it moved over the warm waters of the Atlantic.

By Thursday morning, it's outer bands had reached the South Carolina coast, and its sustained wind was near 60 mph shortly before noon. The storm was forecast to make landfall late Thursday along South Carolina's coast, likely near Georgetown, then head for central North Carolina.

In Virginia, Gov. Timothy Kaine declared a state of emergency, preparing the Virginia National Guard and state agencies to take all reasonable actions to protect residents. In Pennsylvania, officials worried about the storm reaching a dam north of Pittsburgh that was damaged by recent heavy rain there.

The Mid-Atlantic region has struggled this summer with on-again, off-again drought. But the runoff from back-to-back heavy downpours, while refilling reservoirs, could also damaging flooding.

Central North Carolina has had anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of rain in the past day, National Weather Service meteorologist Deborah Moneypenny said. Duke Energy, which serves central and western North Carolina and parts of South Carolina, reported 4,900 customers without power at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, well before Ernesto arrived.

Ernesto was expected bring another 4 to 8 inches of rain to the Mid-Atlantic states, with up to 12 inches in some areas.

"We're taking it very seriously," said Cathy Plaut, a Wake Forest resident visiting Oak Island for a family vacation. "But things don't look too bad. If that changes, we can always head out of here."

Hundreds of National Guard troops were on alert, and officials in the Carolinas warned residents to prepare for anything.

"We know we're going to get a lot of rain, we know this is going to be a water event," North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, Ernesto was centered about 105 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C., and about 225 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, N.C. It was moving north-northeast at about 17 mph.

Ernesto's 60 mph sustained wind at 11 a.m. was up 20 mph from early Thursday.

The storm was expected to move ashore along the northern South Carolina coast Thursday afternoon or night and expected to quickly weaken after making landfall, but a larger area will be affected because tropical storm-force winds stretched out up to 85 miles from its center.

No evacuations were ordered in the Carolinas, though both states' governors urged residents to keep abreast of forecasts.

In North Carolina, Easley activated 150 National Guard troops and the State Emergency Response Team to prepare for possible flooding and power outages. Guard troops in South Carolina were released from active duty Wednesday but remain on standby status, Lt. Col. Pete Brooks said.

On James Island, one of a string of barrier islands on the South Carolina coast, Gerald Galbreath made two trips Wednesday to collect 24 sand bags from the fire department.

"I don't want any water coming in and doing any damage," he said. "It's just precautionary."

"All of James Island and (nearby) Folly Beach is in a flood zone," said Capt. Brian Pucel of the fire department. "So even in just a good storm, a summer storm, we have flooding on the whole island."

The National Hurricane Center, which issued the hurricane warning, warned of a storm surge of 3 feet to 5 feet in the Carolinas, with the highest surge coming Thursday night or Friday morning around the time of high tide.

Ernesto lost much of its punch crossing eastern Cuba and made landfall late Tuesday on Plantation Key, Fla., with 45 mph wind — far from the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane that Ernesto briefly met Sunday.

Check the National Hurricane Center's forecast to monitor Tropical Storm Ernesto.
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« Reply #1082 on: September 02, 2006, 04:28:46 PM »

A few facts in recorded history:


The Largest Earthquake in the World     Magnitude 9.6

The largest tsunami  Lituya Bay wave  When the wave rushed across the bay it ran up the valley walls to a height of 576 m at its maximum, (1720 ft) and over 100 m for the rest of the bay area.


It's hard to say what the "largest" tornado is. Several have apparently been at least a couple of miles wide, based on the damage they did, but there is no firm way to establish exactly how wide a tornado is. Determining path length is also impossible because there is no way to be sure exactly how many tornadoes are involved. What seems to be one could really be several tornadoes from the same storm. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Tri-state Tornado that hit Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on March 18, 1925 as having the longest track, 219 miles; the longest time on the ground continuously, 3.5 hours; the first in total area of destruction, covering 164 square miles; and the largest width at over a mile wide. It traveled 219 miles from Ellington, Mo., across southern Illinois to Petersburg, Ind.

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« Reply #1083 on: September 05, 2006, 03:28:08 PM »

Tropical Storm Florence forms

Tropical Storm Florence became the sixth storm of the season Tuesday when it strengthened out of the tropical depression phase.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded the storm Tuesday morning when its winds hit 40 miles per hour. Florence is currently 935 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.

The storm formed during the holiday weekend and was forecasted to strengthen into a tropical storm. Florence is now moving west at 12 miles per hour. The NHC forecast track for Tropical Storm Florence has it still well east of Puerto Rico and the Bahamas on Friday, but forecasters warn that it's still too early to tell exactly where the storm is headed.

Right now Florence's tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.
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« Reply #1084 on: September 06, 2006, 02:50:24 PM »

Tropical Storm Florence Is Forecast to Strengthen (Update2)


Tropical Storm Florence, currently hundreds of miles out to sea, is forecast to strengthen over the Atlantic, then swerve to the north and track near Bermuda this weekend.

Florence was about 800 miles (1,290 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands as of 11 a.m. Miami time, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving west- northwest at about 12 mph and is forecast to continue in that direction for another day. Its turn to the north, currently forecast to take it west of Bermuda, is expected on Sept. 10.

``Bermuda is in the cone of uncertainty, so definitely Bermuda needs to monitor the progress of Florence,'' hurricane center meteorologist Mark Willis said in an interview. ``We are forecasting it to come to hurricane status over the next 24 to 48 hours.''

It's too soon to speculate about whether the storm may make landfall on the North American mainland, though long-term storm models indicate that Florence could recurve after its swing north and approach the U.S. East Coast, Willis said.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were about 50 miles an hour as of 11 a.m. Miami time, the hurricane center said in an online advisory. Florence's winds would have to accelerate to at least 74 mph for the storm to be categorized a hurricane.

`Unusually Large'

Winds of tropical-storm strength, at least 39 mph, extended as far as 290 miles from the storm's center today. The diameter - - roughly the distance to Toledo, Ohio, from New York -- makes Florence ``unusually large,'' so may take longer to develop and intensify than a smaller storm would, the center said yesterday.

The size of the storm will cause ocean swells and waves much larger than they would be with a smaller storm and might cause trouble for beachgoers in the U.S., Willis said.

``It will produce dangerous surf conditions by Sunday in the Southeast around Florida,'' he said. ``Beachgoers should be aware of that and contact their local National Weather Service forecast offices all up and down the East Coast.''

The high surf conditions will extend north along the U.S. East Coast on Sept. 11, he said.

By this time last year, 15 named storms had developed in the Atlantic, six of them hurricanes. Four of those were so-called major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher. They included Katrina, which caused about $81 billion in damage, devastated New Orleans, killed more than 1,800 people, and cut most oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

A record 28 named storms formed in the Atlantic in 2005, compared with an average of 11. Fifteen became hurricanes. The previous record of 12 was set in 1969.

Of this year's five previous named Atlantic storms, only Ernesto became a hurricane, and that was for less than a day. The next Atlantic storm to form will be called Gordon. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 though Nov. 30.

Hurricane John, which lashed Mexico's Baja California peninsula last week, isn't included in the tally because it formed in the Pacific.
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« Reply #1085 on: September 08, 2006, 09:32:56 AM »

'Virtually untreatable' TB found
Drug-resistant disease has emerged worldwide, including in U.S., Eastern Europe, Africa


A "virtually untreatable" form of TB has emerged, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Extreme drug resistant TB (XDR TB) has been seen worldwide, including in the US, Eastern Europe and Africa, although Western Europe has had no cases.

Dr Paul Nunn, from the WHO, said a failure to correctly implement treatment strategies was to blame.

TB experts have convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss how to address the problem.

TB presently causes about 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide, but researchers are worried about the emergence of strains that are resistant to drugs.

Drug resistance is caused by poor TB control, through taking the wrong types of drugs for the incorrect duration.

Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB), which describes strains of TB that are resistant to at least two of the main first-line TB drugs, is already a growing concern.

Globally, the WHO estimates there are about 425,000 cases of MDR TB a year, mostly occurring in the former Soviet Union, China and India.

Treatment requires the use of second-line drugs, which are more toxic, take longer to work and costly.

But now, according to researchers, an even more deadly form of the bacteria has emerged.

High prevalence

XDR TB is defined as strains that are not only resistant to the front-line drugs, but also three or more of the six classes of second-line drugs.

This, according to Dr Paul Nunn, coordinator of the WHO team at the Stop TB department, makes it virtually untreatable.

A recent survey of 18,000 TB samples by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and the WHO between November 2004 and November 2005 found 20% of them were multi-drug resistant and a further 2% were extreme drug resistant.

Further detailed analysis of several countries found the prevalence was even higher.

In the US, 4% of all MDR TB cases met the criteria for XDR TB; in South Korea, the figure was 15%.

In Latvia, and according to Dr Nunn other areas of the Baltics and the former Soviet Union, 19% of all multi-drug resistant cases were extreme drug resistant too.

Dr Nunn said XDR TB was present across several strains, but added it was not yet clear how transmissible it was or whether it was limited to isolated pockets.

HIV peril

But he warned HIV positive people were at particular risk.

He highlighted a study recently presented at the International Meeting for Aids, held in Toronto.

In Kwazulu-Natal, in South Africa, 53 patients were found with XDR TB. Of these, 52 died within 25 days, and 44 of the 53 had been tested for HIV and were all found to be HIV positive.

He said XDR TB could have a bigger impact on developing nations, including Africa, because of the prevalence of HIV.

Dr Dunn said: "This is very worrying, especially when mixed with HIV.

"We need to make sure we do the basics properly, in other words, ensuring, and where necessary, supervising that the patient takes ever pill for the course of the treatment.

"If you do that, then the rate of development of resistance drops dramatically, even in the context of HIV."

He added that it was key that new drugs were developed in future. He said work was underway looking at new drugs, including research into TB vaccines.

The meeting in South Africa will discuss the recent findings and how to curb the growing problem.

Paul Sommerfeld of TB Alert, said: "XDR TB is very serious - we are potentially getting close to a bacteria that we have no tools, no weapons against.

"What this means for the people in southern Africa, who are now becoming susceptible to this where it is appearing, is a likely death sentence.

"For the world as a whole it is potentially extremely worrying that this kind of resistance is appearing. This is something that I am sure the WHO will be taking very seriously."
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« Reply #1086 on: September 11, 2006, 08:10:48 PM »

Strong Earthquake Hits Gulf of Mexico, Sends Shockwaves From Louisiana to Florida

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Gulf of Mexico sent shock waves through an area from Louisiana to southwest Florida on Sunday, but no damage was reported, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The earthquake, centered about 260 miles southwest of Tampa, was too small to trigger a tsunami or dangerous waves, the agency said. The USGS received more than 2,800 reports from people who felt the 10:56 a.m. quake.

Scientists said it was the largest and most widely felt of more than a dozen earthquakes recorded in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the last 30 years.

"This is a fairly unique event," said Don Blakeman, an analyst with the National Earthquake Information Center who said the quake was unusually strong. "I wouldn't expect any substantial damage, but it is possible there will be some minor damage."

The most prevalent vibration, which last for about 20 seconds, was felt on the gulf coast of Florida and in southern Georgia, Blakeman said. But residents in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana also called in reports.

"It rattled our trailer pretty good," said Dan Hawks, who lives near Ocala in the small central Florida community of Pedro. "The house started shaking. We could actually see it moving. We looked at each stupidly and said, 'What's the deal?"'

Florida counties along the Gulf of Mexico called the state emergency operations center with reports of tremors but no damage was reported, spokesman Mike Stone said. Gov. Jeb Bush was informed of the situation, Stone said.

The epicenter is an unusual location for earthquake activity, but scientists recorded a magnitude 5.2 temblor in the same location on Feb. 10.

"This kind of occurrence is unusual in that spot, especially for an earthquake of this size," Blakeman said of Sunday's quake.

The temblor was unusual because it was not centered on a known fault line. The "midplate" earthquake, deep under the gulf, was probably the result of stresses generated by the interaction of tectonic plates in the earth's crust, the agency said.

Only one of Florida's rare earthquakes caused significant damage. In January 1879, St. Augustine residents reported heavy shaking that knocked plaster off the walls.

A more recent temblor, in November 1952, prompted a resident of Quincy to report the shaking "interfered with the writing of a parking ticket," the USGS said.
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« Reply #1087 on: September 14, 2006, 09:26:58 PM »

 'Drastic' shrinkage in Arctic ice


A Nasa satellite has documented startling changes in Arctic sea ice cover between 2004 and 2005.

The extent of "perennial" ice - thick ice which remains all year round - declined by 14%, losing an area the size of Pakistan or Turkey.

The last few decades have seen summer ice shrink by about 0.7% per year.

The drastic shrinkage may relate partly to unusual wind patterns found in 2005, though rising temperatures in the Arctic could also be a factor.

The research is reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

 The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the global average; and recent studies have shown that the area of the Arctic covered by ice each summer, and the ice thickness, have been shrinking.

September 2005 saw the lowest recorded area of ice cover since 1978, when satellite records became available.

Perennial decay

This latest study, from scientists led by Son Nghiem of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, measures something slightly different from the extent of summer ice cover - the extent of "perennial" ice cover.

Perennial or "multi-year" ice is up to 3m thick and survives through at least one summer. It is different from "seasonal" ice, which is thinner and melts more easily, surviving for just one winter before succumbing to the summer sun.

"Perennial ice contains less salinity," explained Dr Nghiem. "It's freshwater ice - there are more bubbles in it and typically its surface is much rougher - and a scatterometer [a radar-based instrument] can distinguish between the two types."

Using the scatterometer on Nasa's Quikscat satellite, researchers scanned the Arctic for perennial and seasonal ice. From October 2004 to March 2006 they plotted a steady decline.

When they compared figures for the 2004 and 2005 northern hemisphere winter solstices - 21 December - a huge change showed up.

"In previous years there is some variability, but it is much smaller and regional," Dr Nghiem told the BBC News website.

"However the change we see between 2004 and 2005 is enormous."

The area of perennial sea ice lost was about 730,000 sq km, with a huge loss in the East Arctic (defined as north of Russia and Europe) and a small gain in the West Arctic, north of the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean.

Stray winds

Continuous scatterometer data has been available only since 1999, so for comparison researchers must use the records of summer ice extent - which is almost, but not exactly, the same thing as perennial ice extent.

"If we average that over the long term we find a reduction of between 6.4% and 7.8% per decade," said Dr Nghiem. "What we have here is 14% in one year - 18 times the previous rate."

The key questions are what caused it, and whether it is an anomaly or the first sign of a major change of pace for Arctic melting.

Quikscat also monitors winds, and noted unusual patterns of wind in the East Arctic in 2005 which could be related, perhaps propelling old ice from east to west, though how that could explain such a drastic loss of perennial ice is not clear.

If the pace of Arctic melting is quickening, the implications for the future are not reassuring.

Ice reflects the Sun's energy back into space; open water absorbs it. So a planet with less ice warms faster, potentially turning the projected impacts of global warming into reality sooner than anticipated.
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« Reply #1088 on: September 14, 2006, 09:28:06 PM »

 El Nino forms in Pacific Ocean

El Nino, an extreme warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean that wreaks havoc with world weather conditions, has formed and will last into 2007, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.

El Nino has already helped make the Atlantic hurricane season milder than expected, said a NOAA forecaster.

"The weak El Nino is helping to explain why the hurricane season is less than we expected. El Ninos tend to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic," said Gerry Bell, a hurricane forecaster for NOAA.

The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said the El Nino probably will spur warmer-than-average temperatures this winter over western and central Canada and the western and northern United States.

It said El Nino also will cause wetter-than-average conditions in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, and spark dry conditions in the Ohio valley, the Pacific Northwest and most U.S. islands in the tropical Pacific.

In Asia and South America, the last severe El Nino killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damage as crops shriveled across the Asia-Pacific basin. This El Nino has caused drier-than-average conditions across Indonesia, Malaysia and most of the Philippines.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country with over 200 million people, while nearly 90 million live in the Philippines. Both are major importers of U.S. grains.

The CPC Web site said surface temperatures were substantially warmer than normal by early September in the Pacific. Scientists detect formation of El Ninos by monitoring sea surface temperatures with a system of buoys.

"Currently, weak El Nino conditions exist, but there is a potential for this event to strengthen into a moderate event by winter," Vernon Kousky, the chief El Nino expert at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

"The latest ... predictions indicate El Nino conditions for the remainder of 2006 and into the northern hemisphere spring [of] 2007," the CPC Web site explained.

El Nino, which means "little boy" in Spanish, hits once every three years or so. Anchovy fishermen in South America noticed the phenomenon in the 19th century and named it for the Christ child since it appeared around Christmas, and it normally peaks late in the year.
El Nino hinders hurricanes

One immediate impact of the El Nino is during the current Atlantic hurricane season, which follows on the heels of the record 28 storms and 15 hurricanes that struck in 2005.

Last year's storms included Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. But this El Nino apparently has helped hinder storm formation in 2006. So far, there have only been seven tropical storms and two hurricanes halfway through the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30.

Scientists said El Nino disrupts storm formation because it allows wind shear to rip apart thunderstorms in the center of the hurricanes, reducing power and intensity as a result.
U.S. Northeast in for milder winter

An El Nino also usually leads to milder winter weather in the U.S. Northeast, the top heating oil market in the world.

Bell said scientists will have a better idea in the fall how long this El Nino will last. "There's no way to say at this time how strong it is going to be. It's too early," he said.

The last severe El Nino struck in 1997-1998. The weather phenomenon caused searing drought in Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines while causing rampant flooding in Ecuador and Chile, the world's top producer of copper.
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« Reply #1089 on: September 15, 2006, 04:26:40 AM »

U.S. climate researcher:
We've got 10 years left 
NASA scientist urges action to stop catastrophe,
but records show summer of '36 hotter than '06


While a leading U.S. climate researcher claims there's a decade at most left to address "global warming" before environmental disaster takes place, the federal government issued a report showing the year 1936 had a hotter summer than 2006.

"I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change ... no longer than a decade, at the most," said James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Addressing the Climate Change Research Conference this week, Hansen said if "business as usual" continues, world temperatures will rise by 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit and "we will be producing a different planet."

Ironically, a report issued yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that while the summer of 2006 was the second-warmest on record, the hottest year for the contiguous 48 states since statistics began in 1895 was 1936 – seven decades ago.

"The average June-August 2006 temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) was 2.4 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 72.1 degrees F (22.3 degrees C)," said the NOAA report. "This was the second warmest summer on record, slightly cooler than the record of 74.7 degrees F set in 1936 during the Dust Bowl era. This summer's average was 74.5 degrees F. Eight of the past ten summers have been warmer than the U.S. average for the same period."

Looking back to the winter and spring months of this year, NOAA points out, "The persistence of the anomalous warmth in 2006 made this January-August period the warmest on record for the continental U.S., eclipsing the previous record of 1934."

Hansen, who has claimed previously the Bush administration tried to silence him about his findings on the climate, says the U.S. "has passed up the opportunity" to impact the world on global warming.

He's now urging not only more energy efficiency, but a reduction in dependence on carbon-burning fuels.

"We cannot burn off all the fossil fuels that are readily available without causing dramatic climate change," Hansen said. "This is not something that is a theory. We understand the carbon cycle well enough to say that."

NASA this week also released the results of two studies suggesting large reductions in the amount of winter Arctic sea ice.

Dr. Son Nghiem, who led one of the projects at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, "the change we see between 2004 and 2005 is enormous."

British professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, said the variations shown by the U.S. studies were "huge," but he told the Independent newspaper, "It remains to be seen whether the rate of change is maintained in future years."

As if to allay fears of rising waters, the paper pointed out: "The melting of the Arctic ice will not itself contribute to global sea-level rise, as the ice floating in the sea is already displacing its own mass in the water. When the ice cube melts in your gin and tonic, the liquid in your glass does not rise."

Despite the recent claims, the idea the Earth is heating up is hardly a universal belief.

As WND previously reported, another NASA-funded study noted some climate forecasts might be exaggerating estimations of global warming.

The space agency said climate models possibly were overestimating the amount of water vapor entering the atmosphere as the Earth warms.

The theory many scientists work with says the Earth heats up in response to human emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, causing more water to evaporate from the ocean into the atmosphere.

WND also reported that Dr. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, maintains there has been little or no warming since about 1940.

"Any warming from the growth of greenhouse gases is likely to be minor, difficult to detect above the natural fluctuations of the climate, and therefore inconsequential," Singer wrote in a climate-change essay. "In addition, the impacts of warming and of higher CO2 levels are likely to be beneficial for human activities and especially for agriculture."

In July 2004, the London Telegraph reported on a study by Swiss and German scientists suggesting increased radiation from the sun – not human activity – was to blame for climate changes.

"The sun is in a changed state," said Dr. Sami Solanki of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany. "It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently – in the last 100 to 150 years."

The research adds credence to the beliefs of British professor David Bellamy, president of the London-based Conservation Foundation.

"Global warming – at least the modern nightmare version – is a myth," Bellamy told the Telegraph. "I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy-makers are not.

"Instead, they have an unshakeable faith in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement: humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide – the principal so-called greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up. They say this is global warming, I say this is poppycock."

Yet another study this week teaming scientists at the Planck Institute with others in the U.S. and Switzerland claimed the energy from the sun has varied only slightly in the past 1,000 years, suggesting human factors were to blame for any increase in temperatures on Earth.

"Overall, we can find no evidence for solar luminosity variations of sufficient amplitude to drive significant climate variations on centennial, millennial or even million-year timescales," the report said.

"Our results imply that over the past century climate change due to human influences must far outweigh the effects of changes in the sun's brightness," said Tom Wigley of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research.

In December 2003, NASA reported global warming on Mars, even though the red planet is not subject to pollutants of human habitation.

"One explanation could be that Mars is just coming out of an ice age," William Feldman of the Los Alamos National Laboratory told Space.com.

In July 2004, WND reported on a controversial study released by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation suggesting white people were most to blame for global warming.

The study alleged responsibility for the problem does not lie primarily with blacks, stating, "African-American households emit 20 percent less carbon dioxide than white households. Historically, this difference was even higher."
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« Reply #1090 on: September 24, 2006, 12:11:41 PM »

Hot, dry winds stoke Calif. wildfire

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago

OJAI, Calif. - Firefighters anticipated another day of hot, dry winds Sunday as they battled to keep a three-week-old wildfire from moving toward homes at the edge of the Los Padres National Forest.

"The wind is beginning to pick up this morning," said Dan Bastion of the U.S. Forest Service. "These are the Santa Ana winds, from the northeast."

The forecast called for winds of 15 mph with gusts of up to 40 mph.

Late Saturday, authorities urged the evacuation of about 300 houses and a college east of Ojai. The order was voluntary and came after the fierce Santa Ana winds blew embers past the lines of the blaze, igniting at least two "spot" fires.

The winds also prompted authorities to briefly ground their 27 water-dropping helicopters Saturday, but Bastion said all available aircraft will be used Sunday.

Flames were visible on the ridge from Highway 150, which is about three miles from the fire line.

The new fires consumed thousands of acres of brush before burning back into the main blaze, which has scorched 127,569 acres — or nearly 200 square miles — since igniting Labor Day. It was 40 percent contained.

One of the "spot" blazes burned about 7,000 acres in the canyons above Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula along Highway 150, about 75 miles north of Los Angeles. The campus was evacuated late Saturday.

Plumes of reddish smoke were visible as students raced between dorms gathering books and clothing.

Charlie Kaiser, 20, walked to his car carrying a surfboard wrapped in a blanket and several books.

"If we get Monday off, I want to go surfing," Kaiser said. "I don't think the campus is going to burn down or anything. It's too wet. The fire will probably go around."

Students said college maintenance employees had been running sprinklers nonstop for a week. Buses were transporting evacuated students to a nearby church for the night.

The second "spot" fire burned about 3,000 acres south of Lockwood Valley.

To the west, 10 homes in the Rose Valley area were evacuated as a precaution, and hundreds of people in communities about 10 miles from the fire's edge were told to be ready to leave if the winds sent flames their way.

Susan Freeman, an Ojai resident, said she had loaded belongings into her station wagon in case evacuations were ordered and worried about her three dogs and five cats at home. She said, "When you live with your house packed in your car for two weeks, you get scared."

The
National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for extreme fire conditions through Sunday in the area. Forecasters said gusts as high as 70 mph were possible during the weekend.

Parker said fire officials were hopeful the winds would begin to taper off by Sunday afternoon.

"Once that happens, we will get in there with a passion and do as much work as we can so we can put this thing to bed," he said.

The blaze along the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties doubled in size when Santa Ana winds kicked up a week ago. A light, moist wind from the south had calmed the huge fire for several days earlier this week.

More than 3,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which has cost $33 million to fight.

Elsewhere, a small brush fire broke out Saturday in the Angeles National Forest in northern Los Angeles County. It burned 100 acres and was 35 percent contained. No structures were threatened and no evacuations were ordered, authorities said.

Hot, dry winds stoke Calif. wildfire
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« Reply #1091 on: September 25, 2006, 11:57:01 AM »

Strong quake shakes northwest Argentina

Sun Sep 24, 10:53 PM ET

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A strong earthquake shook northwestern Argentina on Sunday evening but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
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The magnitude-5.7 quake was centered 140 miles northeast of the city of Mendoza in the Gualaguay mountains of the San Juan province, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado.

Fans watching a soccer match in Mendoza reported feeling the stadium shake, the Argentine daily newspaper Clarin said in its online edition.

Strong quake shakes northwest Argentina
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« Reply #1092 on: September 26, 2006, 09:54:14 AM »

2 quakes shake South Carolina in 1 week
'The windows sounded like they were about to bust out'

  A minor earthquake awakened residents early Monday in northeastern South Carolina, the second quake to hit the area in several days.

The magnitude 3.7 quake hit at 1:44 a.m. and was centered near Society Hill, about 90 miles southeast of Charlotte, N.C., according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Denver.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Roy Allison, director of emergency management for Marlboro County, said he and other residents were woken up by their shaking houses.

At a furniture and appliance store in Wallace, about 10 miles north of the epicenter, "the windows sounded like they were about to bust out," said Valerie Perhealth, daughter of the store's owner. "It scared me so bad."

A magnitude 3.5 quake shook the area Friday. The centers of the two quakes were about 10 miles apart.

Jessica Sigala, a geophysicist with the earthquake center, said the area gets small earthquakes now and then because of faults connected to the Appalachians.

"There's no fear of a bigger earthquake. These (small tremors) just happen," Sigala said.

There were no reports of damage from Friday's quake but there were reports of windows cracking and dishes rattling.

South Carolina each year has, on average, 10 to 15 earthquakes that register below magnitude 3. An earthquake between 3 and 4 normally is recorded about once every 18 months.

The area's most devastating quake on record was a magnitude 7.3 that rumbled near Charleston on Aug. 31, 1886, killing more than 100 people.
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« Reply #1093 on: September 28, 2006, 10:43:48 AM »

 Fourpeaked Volcano stirs after 10,000-year slumber

Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists confirmed this week what earlier photographs of steam plumes coming from near Cape Douglas suggested: Fourpeaked Volcano has become active after last erupting more than 10,000 years ago. Scientists are saying the volcano, about 100 miles southwest of Homer, is no longer extinct.

“This one caught us on our toes. We had Fourpeaked in that category of volcanoes we didn’t need to worry about,” said Michael West, a seismologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, one of the partner agencies with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and the U.S. Geological Survey at AVO.

Last Wednesday, AVO assigned Fourpeaked a level of concern of yellow in its four-color system, defined as elevated seismic activity with the potential of an eruption. Fourpeaked previously was not assigned a level of concern.

In an update Monday, AVO warned that an eruption in the next days to week is possible. The update listed three scenarios, with the most likely first:

n A small to moderate eruption, with ash plumes higher than 33,000 feet and possible lava flows;

n No eruption, with the current unrest subsiding to background levels;

n A large eruption, with ash plumes higher than 33,000 feet and a widespread ash fall.

Since last Wednesday, scientists have flown over Fourpeaked, done chemical analyses and temperature readings of gas coming off the west flank and installed seismometers about 7 miles to the east of the mountain. West said AVO crews will be installing other instruments in the next few weeks. GPS instruments have not yet been put in, so it’s not known if there has been deformation or swelling of Fourpeaked, as happened with Augustine Volcano before it erupted in mid-January.

Fourpeaked is acting like Augustine in other ways, West said. On a flight Sunday, scientists photographed a line of fumaroles, or volcanic vents, steaming through a glacier along the west flank of Fourpeaked. West said some ash was seen around some of the vents. Measurements at the vents showed temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and the presence of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide, all in high amounts. Ash samples were taken, but have not yet been fully analyzed.

A “rotten egg” sulfur smell was also noticed up to 30 miles away. Sulfur dioxide was present in amounts similar to that measured on Augustine in late December and early January before it erupted on Jan. 11.

“That’s the one we use the most. It’s a fairly robust measurement — it’s one we have experience interpreting,” West said.

Scientists also noticed flooding and disturbance of glaciers near the summit.

“Whatever is going on is going on beneath a layer of snow and ice, and has managed to break through a few areas with steam,” West said.

Although the Fourpeaked Volcano page on AVO’s site has a webicorder — a graph of daily seismometer activity near the mountain — West noted that the station, CDD, is 7 miles away, further than webicorders on Augustine, which are within a mile of the peak. Measurements shouldn’t be interpreted the same as with Augustine. Station CDD also is measuring activity on nearby volcanoes.

If Fourpeaked erupts, the most likely hazard would be from airborne ash.

“The kinds of ash hazards would not be unlike the ash hazards from Augustine,” West said.

Homer and other Kachemak Bay area communities had a slight dusting of ash during the eruptions in mid-January. Scientists have been studying satellite and radar images of Fourpeaked, and are developing models to see how far and where ash could spread if it erupted. There also is a danger on the mountain from floods or debris and volcanic mud flows.

Fourpeaked lacks not only the heavy instrumentation of Augustine before it erupted, but also its history.

“Augustine has a long historic record of what we might expect. There is no typical behavior for Fourpeaked in the modern era,” West said.

Scientists haven’t gone to 24-7 hours yet, but they are checking seismographs four times a day, West said.

“Everyone is dialed in on this — our colleagues at USGS and DGGS,” he said.
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« Reply #1094 on: October 02, 2006, 11:52:38 AM »

 Vietnam's death toll from Typhoon Xangsane rises to 15 as residents inspect damage

DANANG, Vietnam Disheartened residents returned to Vietnam's battered central coast Monday to inspect damage wrought by Typhoon Xangsane as the country's death toll rose to 15, with one missing and nearly 600 others injured, officials said.
 
The overall toll from the storm stood at 91 — with 76 killed and 69 left missing in the Philippines last week before the typhoon barreled into Vietnam and weakened into a tropical storm on Sunday.
 
"The areas in the typhoon's direct path looked like they were just bombarded by B-52s" said Nguyen Ngoc Quang, deputy provincial governor of the coastal province of Quang Nam.
 
Quang Nam and the key port city of Danang bore the brunt of the damage.
 
The most unfortunate found their homes demolished; the lucky ones discovered they still had foundations upon which to rebuild. Virtually everyone along the coast from Danang to the ancient city of Hoi An will have some rebuilding to do.
 
"When I returned home, there was nothing left," said Pham Thi Thanh of Son Tra District in Danang. "Luckily, all my four family members are safe."
 
In Danang alone, nine people were killed and the damage was estimated at 3.2 trillion dong (US$200 million;€159 million), according to a report by the city's government. Officials had yet to tally damages in other provinces.
 
The typhoon killed one person each in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Binh and Quang Tri. Further south, in Binh Dinh province, where the winds from the storm weren't as strong, three boys aged 11 to 13 drowned while swimming during the storm. A fourth boy was still missing, disaster officials in these provinces said.
 
In Quang Nam, where some 61,000 people were evacuated ahead of the typhoon, 3,700 houses were destroyed and 132,000 others were damaged, said Quang, the deputy provincial governor.
 
Soldiers were mobilized to help villagers clean up and repair their homes. Quang said the provincial government will give 2 million dong (US$125; €100) to each family whose house was destroyed and 1 million dong (US$63; €50) to each family whose home was badly damaged.
 
The damage to the ancient town of Hoi An, a popular tourist destination just south of Danang, was not major.
 
A report of the National Floods and Storms Control Committee said 5,600 houses were destroyed and 211,117 others were damaged and another 19,000 homes were flooded in the affected central provinces.
 
About 435 people were injured by collapsing homes or tin roofs hurled by the winds in Danang, said Trinh Luong Tran, director of the city's public health department. Another 94 people were injured in Quang Nam and 43 others in Thua Thien Hue province.
 
No rains were reported in the region Monday. Weather forecasters had feared that heavy rains could continue for several days, possibly unleashing flash floods and landslides.
 
Danang disaster official Huynh Van Thang said, "the evacuation of people from high-risk areas ahead of the typhoon helped us to minimize human losses."
 
In all, some 200,000 people were evacuated in advance of the storm, 17,000 of them from Danang.
 
 
DANANG, Vietnam Disheartened residents returned to Vietnam's battered central coast Monday to inspect damage wrought by Typhoon Xangsane as the country's death toll rose to 15, with one missing and nearly 600 others injured, officials said.
 
The overall toll from the storm stood at 91 — with 76 killed and 69 left missing in the Philippines last week before the typhoon barreled into Vietnam and weakened into a tropical storm on Sunday.
 
"The areas in the typhoon's direct path looked like they were just bombarded by B-52s" said Nguyen Ngoc Quang, deputy provincial governor of the coastal province of Quang Nam.
 
Quang Nam and the key port city of Danang bore the brunt of the damage.
 
The most unfortunate found their homes demolished; the lucky ones discovered they still had foundations upon which to rebuild. Virtually everyone along the coast from Danang to the ancient city of Hoi An will have some rebuilding to do.
 
"When I returned home, there was nothing left," said Pham Thi Thanh of Son Tra District in Danang. "Luckily, all my four family members are safe."
 
In Danang alone, nine people were killed and the damage was estimated at 3.2 trillion dong (US$200 million;€159 million), according to a report by the city's government. Officials had yet to tally damages in other provinces.
 
The typhoon killed one person each in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Binh and Quang Tri. Further south, in Binh Dinh province, where the winds from the storm weren't as strong, three boys aged 11 to 13 drowned while swimming during the storm. A fourth boy was still missing, disaster officials in these provinces said.
 
In Quang Nam, where some 61,000 people were evacuated ahead of the typhoon, 3,700 houses were destroyed and 132,000 others were damaged, said Quang, the deputy provincial governor.
 
Soldiers were mobilized to help villagers clean up and repair their homes. Quang said the provincial government will give 2 million dong (US$125; €100) to each family whose house was destroyed and 1 million dong (US$63; €50) to each family whose home was badly damaged.
 
The damage to the ancient town of Hoi An, a popular tourist destination just south of Danang, was not major.
 
A report of the National Floods and Storms Control Committee said 5,600 houses were destroyed and 211,117 others were damaged and another 19,000 homes were flooded in the affected central provinces.
 
About 435 people were injured by collapsing homes or tin roofs hurled by the winds in Danang, said Trinh Luong Tran, director of the city's public health department. Another 94 people were injured in Quang Nam and 43 others in Thua Thien Hue province.
 
No rains were reported in the region Monday. Weather forecasters had feared that heavy rains could continue for several days, possibly unleashing flash floods and landslides.
 
Danang disaster official Huynh Van Thang said, "the evacuation of people from high-risk areas ahead of the typhoon helped us to minimize human losses."
 
In all, some 200,000 people were evacuated in advance of the storm, 17,000 of them from Danang.
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