#Earthquakes; TreeGrowth; #Arizona
New York/Canadian-Media: Earthquakes can tear down buildings, but they can also build up forests—at least for a little while. New research shows strong quakes can help trees grow by driving extra water into the soil surrounding their roots. These fleeting growth spurts leave signatures in wood cells that could also be used to better detect and date ancient earthquakes.
By measuring changes to individual cells in tree rings, researchers dated an earthquake in Chile to within 1 month of when it struck. Image credit: MEHMET GÖKHAN BAYHAN/ISTOCK
“This is really, really a new frontier in [timing earthquakes] on a more precise scale than a year,” says Irina Panyushkina, a tree ring expert at the University of Arizona who was not involved in the study.
University of Potsdam hydrologist Christian Mohr didn’t set out to find a link between seismicity and tree growth. But his research took a turn after the magnitude 8.8 Maule earthquake in Chile in 2010. It shook the river valleys where he was studying sediment transport—and it shook him. “I was there during the earthquake, which was pretty scary,” says Mohr, who sheltered in a doorframe as the waves rocked his wooden cabin in the middle of the night. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated parts of coastal Chile, killed hundreds, and directly affected more than 2 million people.
When Mohr and his colleagues returned to one of the river valleys after the earthquake, they found that streams there were flowing faster. Mohr suspected the Maule quake had shaken up soils and made them more permeable, allowing groundwater to more easily flow down from the ridges into the valleys. It seemed natural that earthquakes might also help valley trees grow at the expense of those on the hillslopes.
To see whether this was happening, Mohr and colleagues drilled two dozen plugs of wood from the trunks of six Monterey pines growing along the valley floors and ridgelines of two plantations in the Chilean coast range. Each plug was thinner than a pencil and twice as long as one. Back in a laboratory in Germany, they put thin sections of the cores under a microscope and tracked how the size and shape of cells within the tree rings changed as more water became available.
The researchers also measured how the ratio of heavy to light carbon isotopes changed in these cells. Trees take up more carbon-12 than carbon-13 during photosynthesis, so a change in the ratio can signal a photosynthetic growth spurt.
Trees on the valley floor, they found, experienced a small but discernable growth spurt lasting for weeks to months following the Maule quake—a boost about as strong as those caused by heavy rainstorms. And as predicted, trees on the ridges grew more slowly after the quake, they reported last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.
Panyushkina says the technique could be used to identify earthquakes and other events that cause short-term growth effects, which might be missed when considering tree ring width alone. Because tree rings reflect average growth over each year, studies using them to identify earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis can only date events to the nearest year, at best. By combining the cell-level measurements with carbon isotope data, Mohr and colleagues were able to pin down the Maule earthquake to within 1 month of when it hit.
The method could also help scientists peer into the past, Panyushkina says. She anticipates the method might one day help researchers identify short-term disturbances like earthquakes that occurred thousands of years ago. Reconstructing a more accurate record of ancient earthquakes and other events impacting groundwater would be “important for geological purposes, important for hydrology … [and] important for society,” she says. “What [these researchers] provided is the technique, the tool.”
#BC; #WildFire; #BCWildfireService; #StrongWinds
Vancouver/Canadian-Media: Today's weather forecast for British Columbia(B.C.) predicting wind speed and direction has a dramatic effect on the current wildfire situation in B.C.
Image: Wild fire. Image credit: Unsplash
A wind advisory for the province's Interior, southern Interior and southeast regions that extends to Thursday night has been issued by the B.C. Wildfire Service.
"Wind activity may significantly impact fire growth in these regions," the advisory says. "The rate of fire spread will likely increase, and the direction of fire growth may change quickly on some wildfires," CBC News reported.
Winds expected to shift direction Thursday, the gusts of wind to reach 40 km/h in parts of the southern Interior and 50-70 km/h in the southeast, would create potentially dangerous situations for firefighting.
Wind essentially feeds wildfires, said Fire ecologist Robert Gray, which means Thursday will be a challenging day for firefighters.
According to the forecast, the wind which would likely calm on Friday, could return over the weekend.
Nearly 3,400 square kilometers of land have already been burned by wildfire since April 1.
More than 4,300 properties in B.C. have been ordered to evacuate, as of Thursday morning, while about 17,700 more have been told to prepare to leave at a moment's notice.
Evacuees are encouraged to register online with Emergency Support Services, irrespective of the fact that they access services at an evacuation center.
#LyttonFire; BCCatastrophicFire; #RCMP
Lytton (B.C.)/Canadian-Media: More than 1,000 people were forced to leave with little notice Wednesday from the village of Lytton village and surrounding area in Fraser Canyon in British Columbia (B.C.), and the search for those unaccounted for by RCMP continues.
Lytton fire. Image credit: Screenshot
Dozens of families, who were forced to flee their homes due to the catastrophic fire in Lytton were frantically trying to find loved ones scattered in the evacuations.
Mike Farnworth B.C. Public Safety Minister said the RCMP is investigating the location of any residents who are unaccounted for, but could not provide an exact number. 100 more officers were deployed to assist with investigation efforts.
Those looking for loved ones should call the police nearest to them for guidance, Farnworth said.
Most homes and structures in the village, as well as the local ambulance station and RCMP detachment were destroyed, the province said Thursday.
"The conditions have been unprecedented in terms of dryness and heat," said Erika Berg, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service, CBC News reported.
Lytton RCMP said in a statement today that it was currently unsafe for anyone to enter the town and added,
"The situation is being continually assessed and when safe to do so we will be entering the area to conduct a formal search, specifically for any injured or missing people," said Dwayne McDonald, commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP.
#Miami; #UnitedStes; #PariallyBuildingCollapse
New York/Canadian-Media: Partial collapse of the sea-view side of a beachfront condo tower in the Miami-area town of Surfside early Thursday morning, killed at least one, residents trapped in rubble and twisted metal.
Representation of partially collapsed building. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Scores of rescue units rushed to the partially collapsed building and firefighters were seen pulling out survivors.
Raide Jadallah, assistant fire chief for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said at a mid-morning news conference that the collapse affected at least 55 of the building's 136 units, on the northeast side of the structure.
Shortly after 1:30 a.m. first responders arrived and eventually pulled 35 occupants from the building, said Jadallah, and two more from the rubble. Television crews had captured the rescue of a young boy.
Authorities haven't established how many people are unaccounted for, Jadallah said.
#Indonesia; #SriwijayaAirjetCrash; #Jakarta; #HumanBodyParts; #PiecesOfPlane
Indonesia/Canadian-Media: Location of the black boxes of the Sriwijaya Air jet with 62 onboard that crashed into the sea soon after taking off from the capital, Jakarta as well as human body parts and pieces of the plane were retrieved Sunday by Indonesian authorities with no signs of survivors, media reports said.
Crashed Plane Picture. Image credit: Unsplash
The Boeing 737-500 with 62 including 12 crew and 50 passengers on board, all Indonesians, including 10 children was headed on a domestic flight to Pontianak in West Kalimantan on Saturday before it disappeared from radar screens four minutes after takeoff.
The cause of the crash is not yet been determined.
The aircraft took off at 2:36 p.m. local time (0736 GMT) and climbed to reach 10,900 feet within four minutes, said tracking service Flightradar24, and then began a steep descent when all data transmission stopped 21 seconds later.
Air traffic control had asked the pilot why the plane was heading northwest instead of on its expected flight path seconds before it disappeared, a Transport Ministry spokesperson said.
"We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time," Boeing said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the crew, passengers and their families."
President Joko Widodo, speaking at the palace in Bogor, expressed "deep condolences" over the disaster and urged the public to pray that the missing people could be found.
Founded in 2003, Jakarta-based Sriwijaya Air group with a solid safety record with no onboard casualties in four incidents recorded on the Aviation Safety Network database.
In 2007 all Indonesian airlines were banned by the European Union following a series of crashes and reports of deteriorating oversight and maintenance since deregulation in the late 1990s. But in 2018 the restrictions were fully lifted.
#NASA; #NASANOAASuomiNPPsatellite; #PhilippineSea; #Typhoon; #VIIRS; #JTWC; #Hurricanes, #tropicalCyclones
Washington, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Philippine Sea on Sept. 4 and provided a visible image of Haishen that had strengthened into a super typhoon, NASA reports said.
NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Super Typhoon Haishen moving through the Philippine Sea on Sept. 4.
Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard Suomi NPP provided a visible image of Haishen that revealed a large, circular, organized structure of strong thunderstorms circling the open eye. The eyewall, the strong thunderstorms that circle the open eye, is estimated to be 81 nautical miles-wide. Satellite data indicate the eye is about 31 nautical miles wide. The storm is at least 450 miles in diameter, as tropical storm-force winds extend up to 225 miles from the center.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii noted at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 UTC) on Sept. 4, that Super Typhoon Haishen had maximum sustained winds near 135 knots (155 mph/250 kph). It is currently a Category 4 hurricane/typhoon. It was centered near latitude 22.2 degrees north and longitude 134.3 degrees east, about 439 nautical miles southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Island, Japan. The storm was moving to the northwest.
JTWC forecasters expect Haishen will turn to the north-northwest while intensifying more. It is expected to peak later on Sept. 4 with sustained winds near 140 knots (161 mph/259 kph) which would make it equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. JWTC forecasts Haishen to pass west of Kyushu, Japan and make landfall in South Korea after 3 days.
NASA Researches Tropical Cyclones
Hurricanes/tropical cyclones are the most powerful weather events on Earth. NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration contributes to essential services provided to the American people by other federal agencies, such as hurricane weather forecasting.
For more than five decades, NASA has used the vantage point of space to understand and explore our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA brings together technology, science, and unique global Earth observations to provide societal benefits and strengthen our nation. Advancing knowledge of our home planet contributes directly to America’s leadership in space and scientific exploration.
#Afghanistan, #AfghanistanFloods; #HumanitarianAid
Kabul (Afghanistan), Sep 1 (Canadian-Media): About 190 people have been killed and 172 injured since Aug 25 due to the floods triggered by heavy rains and onrush of water in the mountainous eastern Afghan region, media reports said.
Image: Floods. Image credit: Unplash
Thirteen provinces, mostly in the country's north, had been affected by floods, according to the Ministry for Disaster Management.
Ongoing efforts in assistance in recovery efforts and distribution of aid had been done by the Ministry of Defense said Afghan security forces.
Afghan security forces had also been dealing with rising violence from the Taliban as the start of peace talks in Doha hit delays.
NATO said that its forces were also supporting the Afghan military in providing food, water and blankets to the area earlier in the week.
According to the national and local officials, Parwan, just north of the capital Kabul, 116 people had been killed and more than 120 injured, with 15 people still missing,
"Rescue teams are still in the area and searching for the missing bodies," said Wahida Shahkar, a spokesperson for Parwan's governor, reported by CBC News.
Widespread damage have been caused by the floods to agriculture lands, crops, roads and highways in many provinces.
Taiwan, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): A video footage posted on social media on Sunday showed the survival of a three-year-old girl's terrifying rid when she was entangled in the tail of a giant kite after being swept more than 30 metres into the air during a kite festival in Taiwan, media reports said.
Kite flying. Image credit: Unsplash
The girl's nightmare ended after 30 seconds before she was pulled back to the ground by members of the crowd when the kite was brought back under control.
The girl only suffered minor cuts.
The shock of the impending danger forced organizers to cut short the festival in Hsinchu city in northwestern Taiwan.
Video of the incident was shared by festival-goers on social media and quickly racked up millions of views.
Louisiana (United States), Aug 27 (Canadian-Media): Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana, packing winds of 240 km/h, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
U.S. National Hurricane Center. Image credit: Twitter handle
One of the most powerful to hit the state, with forecasters warning that the storm could push a massive wall of water nearly 65 kilometres inland from the sea.
Officials said that the area in the direct path of the storm, home to about 4 million people, most had left for safer areas under evacuation orders.
Hurricane-strength winds could blow as far as 320 kilometres inland to Shreveport, La., said the forecasters
U.S. has set a new record for landfalls by the end of August when Laura, the seventh named storm to strike the U.S. this year.
The old record was six in 1886 and 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, reported by CBC News.
#Lebanon; #MassiveBeirutExplosion; #AtLeast100Killed; #ThousandsWonded
Lebanon, Aug 5 (Canadian-Media): A massive explosion at the port sent shock waves across the Lebanese capital, killing at least 100 people and wounding thousands, which could rise further, George Kettaneh, an official with the Lebanese Red Cross said, media reports said.
Beirut Explosion. Image credit: Wikipedia
Scores of people were missing and an Instagram page called "Locating Victims Beirut" was created with photos of missing people, and radio presenters read the names of missing or wounded people throughout the night.
It was unclear what caused the blast, which appeared to have been triggered by a fire and struck with the force of an earthquake. There is no evidence the Beirut explosion was an attack.
It appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock after it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014, Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station.
It was the most powerful explosion and one of the local newspapers described it as "The Great Collapse."
Already being on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis with its hospitals confronting a surge in coronavirus cases.
Security forces cordoned off the port area on Wednesday as a bulldozer entered to help clear away debris.
Numerous apartment buildings were destroyed by the blast, potentially leaving large numbers of people homeless at a time when many Lebanese were financial crisis.
The government of Lebanon was also concerned how it will continue to import nearly all of its vital goods with its main port devastated.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab, in a short televised speech, appealed to all countries and friends of Lebanon to extend help to the small nation, saying: "We are witnessing a real catastrophe."
There is also the issue of food security in Lebanon, with 80 percent of Lebanon's wheat supply is imported, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department with estimated 85 percent of the country's grain having been contaminated.
Rooted in decades of systemic corruption and poor governance since the end of the civil war, Lebanese have held mass protests calling for sweeping political change since last autumn but due to the economic situation having steadily worsened, few of their demands have been met.
The explosion came three days before a UN-backed court is due to deliver a verdict in the trial of four suspects from the Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah over a 2005 bombing that killed former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 others.
It was on the same waterfront, that Hariri was killed by a huge truck bomb, about two kilometres from the port.
Canada stands ready to assist Lebanon in the aftermath of an explosion in Beirut earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
"Absolutely tragic news coming out of Beirut. Canadians are thinking of everyone who has been injured and all those who are trying to locate a friend or family member or have lost a loved one. We’re keeping you in our thoughts and we stand ready to assist in any way we can," Trudeau said via Twitter on Aug 4.