Tag Archive: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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Magnitude-6.8 earthquake strikes Chile, no damage reported

earthquake

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A strong magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck north-central Chile on Saturday, causing buildings to sway in the capital of Santiago, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 4:31 a.m. about 29 miles (47 kilometers) southwest of Ovalle, a city 185 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (36 kilometers).

Chile’s Navy first alerted, but later discounted, the possibility of a small tsunami.

“The situation in the region of the epicenter is now in a state of normality,” Ricardo Toro, the head of Chile’s emergency services, said in a press conference.

 

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8 earthquakes in map area

  1. M 4.2 – 26km WSW of Ovalle, Chile

    2015-11-07 23:56:21 UTC 43.8 km

  2. M 4.6 – 98km WNW of Illapel, Chile

    2015-11-07 22:23:54 UTC 17.6 km

  3. M 5.9 – 23km SW of Ovalle, Chile

    2015-11-07 10:53:43 UTC 37.7 km

  4. M 4.7 – 32km SW of Ovalle, Chile

    2015-11-07 10:31:20 UTC 41.3 km

  5. M 4.7 – 33km SW of Ovalle, Chile

    2015-11-07 09:16:59 UTC 35.8 km

  6. M 6.8 – 47km SW of Ovalle, Chile

     2015-11-07 07:31:43 UTC 37.6 km

  7. M 6.2 – 107km WNW of Coquimbo, Chile

    2015-11-07 07:04:31 UTC 12.0 km

  8. M 4.9 – 74km W of Coquimbo, Chile

    2015-11-07 01:34:51 UTC 8.6 km

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NOAA’s National Weather Service

Tsunami.gov

Current date and time is: Nov 8, 2015 01:16 UTC

No Tsunami Warnings, Advisories or Watches are in effect

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International Business Times

Chile Earthquake Update 2015: Buildings Sway As Magnitude 6.8 Quake Strikes Central Region

By @suman09 s.varandani@ibtimes.com on November 07 2015 5:40 AM EST
Chile earthquake aftermath
This photo shows local residents walking amid debris left on the beach by the tsunami that ensued after an 8.3 magnitude quake that killed at least 11 people in central Chile. On Saturday, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit the same area. Getty Images/Martin Bernetti/AFP

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook central Chile Saturday with no damage or injuries reported so far. The tremor comes just two months after another quake hit the same area.

Buildings reportedly swayed in capital city of Santiago, but no tsunami alert has been issued. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck 30 miles southwest of Ovalle, a city nearly 185 miles northwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles.

 

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AP

Magnitude-6.8 earthquake strikes Chile, no damage reported

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A strong magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck north-central Chile on Saturday, causing buildings to sway in the capital of Santiago, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 4:31 a.m. about 29 miles (47 kilometers) southwest of Ovalle, a city 185 miles (300 kilometers) northwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (36 kilometers).

Chile’s Navy first alerted, but later discounted, the possibility of a small tsunami.

“The situation in the region of the epicenter is now in a state of normality,” Ricardo Toro, the head of Chile’s emergency services, said in a press conference.

He added Saturday’s quake was part of a string of aftershocks from an 8.3-magnitude quake that hit off the coast of Chile on Sept. 16.

 

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Space Weather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

SOLAR ‘MINI-MAX’:

Last month at the Space Weather Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, solar cycle expert Doug Biesecker of NOAA announced that “Solar Maximum is here, finally.” According to his analysis, the sunspot number for Solar Cycle 24 is near its peak right now.

Spoiler: It’s not very impressive. “This solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record,” says Workshop attendee Ron Turner of Analytic Services, Inc. To illustrate the point, he plotted the smoothed sunspot number of Cycle 24 vs. the previous 23 cycles since 1755:

In the composite plot, Cycle 24 is traced in red. Only a few cycles since the 18th century have have had lower sunspot counts. For this reason, many researchers have started calling the ongoing peak a “Mini-Max.”

“By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet,” notes Turner. “However, Doug Biesecker has presented several charts showing that most large events such as strong flares and significant geomagnetic storms occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle.”

In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead. Let’s just hope it is not too significant.

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A photo of a fishmonger peeling the spine from a tuna.

A worker peels the spine from a tuna at New York’s Fulton Fish Market—the world’s largest after the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan—on March 29, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN MINCHILLO, AP

Brian Clark Howard

Published April 9, 2014

Do you know if the fish on your plate is legal? A new study estimates that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal or “pirate” fishing. That’s a problem, scientists say, because it erodes the ability of governments to limit overfishing and the ability of consumers to know where their food comes from.

The estimated illegal catch is valued at $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion annually and represents between 15 and 26 percent of the total value of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S., report scientists in a new study in the journal Marine Policy.

Study co-author Tony Pitcher says those results surprised his team. “We didn’t think it would be as big as that. To think that one in three fish you eat in the U.S. could be illegal, that’s a bit scary,” says Pitcher, who is a professor at the fisheries center of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To get those numbers, Pitcher and three other scientists analyzed data on seafood imported into the U.S. in 2011. They combed through government and academic reports, conducted fieldwork, and interviewed stakeholders.

The scientists report that tuna from Thailand had the highest volume of illegal products, 32,000 to 50,000 metric tons, representing 25 to 40 percent of tuna imports from that country. That was followed by pollack from China, salmon from China, and tuna from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Other high volumes were seen with octopus from India, snappers from Indonesia, crabs from Indonesia, and shrimp from Mexico, Indonesia, and Ecuador.

Imports from Canada all had levels of illegal catches below 10 percent. So did imports of clams from Vietnam and toothfish from Chile.

Graphic showing percent of seafood imported into the U.S. that is illegal and unreported.

NG STAFF. SOURCE: P. GANAPATHIRAJU, ET AL., MARINE POLICY

In response to the study, Connie Barclay, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries, said, “We agree that [pirate] fishing is a global problem, but we do not agree with the statistics that are being highlighted in the report.” Barclay says data are too scarce to make the conclusions verifiable.

But, she adds, “NOAA is working to stop [pirate] fishing and the import of these products into the U.S. market.” She points to recent increased collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and improved electronic tracking of trade data.

Pirate Fishing

The U.S. is important to consider when it comes to fishing because it is tied with Japan as the largest single importer of seafood, with each nation responsible for about 13 to 14 percent of the global total, says Pitcher. Americans spent $85.9 billion on seafood in 2011, with about $57.7 billion of that spent at restaurants, $27.6 billion at retail, and $625 million on industrial fish products.

However, what few Americans realize, says Pitcher, is that roughly 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and about half of that is wild caught, according to NOAA.

Pirate fishing is fishing that is unreported to authorities or done in ways that circumvent fishery quotas and laws. In their paper, the authors write that pirate fishing “distorts competition, harms honest fishermen, weakens coastal communities, promotes tax evasion, and is frequently associated with transnational crime such as narcotraffic and slavery at sea.” (See: “West Africans Fight Pirate Fishing With Cell Phones.”)

Scientists estimate that between 13 and 31 percent of all seafood catches around the world are illegal, worth $10 billion to $23.5 billion per year. That illegal activity puts additional stress on the world’s fish stocks, 85 percent of which are already fished to their biological limit or beyond, says Tony Long, the U.K.-based director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project.

“The ocean is vast, so it is very difficult for countries to control what goes on out there,” says Long. He explains that pirate fishers are often crafty, going to remote areas where enforcement is lax. They may leave a port with a certain name on the boat and the flag of a particular country, engage in illegal fishing, then switch the name and flag and unload their catch at a different port.

 

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The oceans are vast and humans are small — as the monthlong hunt for a vanished Malaysian jetliner demonstrates. Think of the challenge, then, for law enforcement and fisheries managers in going after fleets of shady boats that engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. These criminals ply the seas and sell their catches with impunity, making off with an estimated 11 million to 26 million metric tons of stolen fish each year, a worldwide haul worth about $10 billion to $23.5 billion. Many use banned gear like floating gillnets, miles long, that indiscriminately slaughter countless unwanted fish along with seabirds, marine mammals, turtles and other creatures.

The danger that illegal fishing poses to vulnerable ocean ecosystems is self-evident, but the harm goes beyond that. Illegal competition hurts legitimate commercial fleets. And lawless fishermen are prone to other crimes, like forced labor and drug smuggling. The convergence of illegal fishing with other criminal enterprises makes it in every country’s interest to devise an effective response.

That’s the job of the Port State Measures Agreement. It is a treaty adopted by the United Nations in 2009 that seeks to thwart the poachers in ports when they try to unload their ill-gotten catches. Many countries have been unable or unwilling to enforce their own laws to crack down on poachers flying their flags.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Solar Activity

 

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Space Weather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

GROWING CHANCE OF FLARES:

Sunspot AR2002 poses a growing threat for solar flares. Since the week began, the active region has more than tripled in size. It now has more than a dozen dark cores and sprawls across 100,000 km of solar terrain. Karzaman Ahmad sends this picture from the Langkawi National Observatory in Malaysia:

“AR2002 is so large,” says Ahmad, “that I was able to photograph it using an ordinary 11-inch Celestron telescope capped with a Thousand Oaks Glass Filter.” The exceptionally crisp image shows thousands of boiling granules surrounding the sunspot’s dark cores. Each granule is about the size of Texas.

A 48-hour movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot’s development:

The rapid growth of AR2002 has destabilized its magnetic field, which makes it more likely to erupt. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of M-class flares and a 15% chance of X-class flares during the next 24 hours.

 

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Washington’s Blog

Federal, State and Local Governments Refuse to Test for Radiation on the West Coast of North America

Numerous models show that – while the ocean dilutes radiation – pockets and streams of concentrated radiation may still hit the West Coast of North America.

West Coast residents are very concerned.  Indeed, many local and state government officials have said that residents are inundating them with questions about Fukushima radiation.

And yet the government isn’t measuring seawater or fish on the West Coast for radiation.

Ken Buessler is the head scientist at Woods Hole in Massachusetts,  one of the world’s top ocean science institutions.  Much of Buessler’s career has focused on measuring radioactive particles in the ocean, and he’s been studying groundwater and ocean samples in and around Fukushima since the accident in March of 2011.

Buessler has consistently tried to downplay the risks from Fukushima, and yet even he admits that we won’t know unless we test.  Buessler noted this week:

The predictions are rather low and are not of direct concern, but no one makes measurements of these isotopes along the [West] coast .

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No one is measuring so therefore we should be alarmed. I really try to take the approach that we shouldn’t trivialize the risks of radiation and shouldn’t be overly alarmed.

Buessler said last week:

What we don’t really know is how fast and how much is being transported across the Pacific. Yes, models tell us it will be safe, yes the levels we expect off the US West Coast and Canada we expect to be low, but we need measurements — especially now, as the plume begins to arrive along the West Coast and will actually increase in concentration over the next 1 to 2 years. Despite public concern about the levels, no public agency in the US is monitoring the activities in the Pacific.

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Without careful, extensive, consistent monitoring, we’ll have no way of knowing how much radiation from Fukushima is reaching our shores, and how it could affect life in the ocean.

And:

Buesseler says no US government agency currently tests radiation levels in the Pacific Ocean.“I don’t expect the radiation levels to be high but we can’t dismiss the concerns that the public has.”

“The effects of Fukushima will be increasing as the front edge of a large water plume coming from the nuclear plant will reach California soon and increase over the years,” said Buesseler.

Buesseler recently took his concerns to Washington where he met with US government officials at the various agencies responsible for monitoring radiation levels in air, food, and water.

He said he visited officials at the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

They all said that it’s not their responsibility to test the Pacific Ocean for radiation. This issue is falling between the cracks of government responsibility. It’s a health and safety issue here,” Buesseler said.

And Buesseler points out the circular reasoning which the government is using (at 10:00):

I completely agree that no radiation has been seen in the regards that we’re not really testing for it [laughter] in any organized way … We have very few data; it’s not really being organized. The government says we don’t really need to do that because we’re predicting very low levels.

This type of circular reasoning is – unfortunately – common these days. For example, when bad policy led to the 2008 financial crisis, the Gulf Oil spill, factory-farming caused disease, runaway pesticide use, and other problems, the government simply stopped testing or changed allowable levels.

U.C. Berkeley professor of nuclear engineering Eric Norman raises a similar point:

There is no systematic testing in the US of air, food, and water for radiation, continuous testing is needed

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“I’m not terribly confident in the information Japan is sharing about the plant’s activities and clean up. That’s why it’s even more important now to advocate for continuous testing of air, food, and ocean water for radiation.”

University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Doug Dasher notes:

There’s a lot of unknowns, a lot of uncertainties. There are others that also have the same message that they want to get out, we really need to sample to understand this and we really need to look at what’s happening out there in the ecosystem at the same time. There’s an opportunity to do this. It’s a huge amount of initial release, and the models do not address the continuing release [the models all assume that Fukushima was totally contained by about June 2011 … in fact, it has leaked continuously hundreds of tons of radioactive water every day for more than 2/12 years]. Fukushima has continued to leak ….

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BPEarthWatch BPEarthWatch
Giant Sunspot 1944/Now X-Flare Capable/Still Growing. photo GiantSunspot1944NowX-FlareCapableStillGrowing_zps8e22b8d2.jpg
 

Published on Jan 5, 2014

Extreme Cold Weather Warning. National Weather Service http://www.weather.gov/

 

 

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National Weather Service

Bitterly Cold Temperatures and Dangerous Wind Chills Will Continue to Move South and East through the Early Part of the Week

Cold temperatures and gusty winds associated with an arctic airmass will continue dangerously cold wind chills as far south as Brownsville, Texas and central Florida. This arctic airmass will affect the eastern two-thirds of the country on Monday as a sharp cold front moves towards the East Coast. The cold temperatures will remain in place through mid-week before a warming trend begins.
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BPEarthWatch BPEarthWatch

 

Published on Jan 4, 2014

Giant Sunspot 1944 is turning earth facing. Draconid meteor shower.
Solar,Quake and Weather Links, http://www.bpearthwatch.com

 

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 Spaceweather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

GIANT SUNSPOT:

Sunspot AR1944, which appeared on January 1st, is one of the largest sunspots of the current solar cycle. It’s so big, people are noticing it as a naked-eye blemish on the solar disk. Daisuke Tomiyasu sends this picture from Higashinada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan:

“Sunspot 1944 was visible at sunrise on January 4th,” says Tomiyasu. “I combined three exposures of 1/15sec, 1/100sec, and 1/640sec to create this HDR (high dynamic range) image.”

Aside: Look carefully at the full-sized picture. There is a red fringe on the bottom of the sun and a green fringe on top. That’s real. The colorful fringes are caused by refraction in Earth’s atmosphere. The effect is explained here.

Although the sunspot has been relatively quiet and stable since it first appeared on New Year’s Day, a region of this size has the potential to produce significant activity. Indeed, NOAA forecasters, who say they are keeping a close eye on this behemoth, estimate a 75% chance of M-flares and a 30% chance of X-flares on Jan. 4th.  

 

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 Spaceweather

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

GREEN VORTEX OVER SWEDEN:

For the second day in a row, a solar wind stream is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field, sparking intermittant geomagnetic storms and auroras around the Arctic Circle. Last night, Northern Lights tour guide Chad Blakley photographed a luminous green vortex over Sweden’s Abisko National Park:

“Tonight was one of those nights that makes being an aurora photographer the best job in the world,” says Blakley. “The lights started around 5:00 PM and continued well into the night. I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Peter Richards, a representative of National Geographic student photography expeditions. At one point during our night under the stars I heard him say that the display was the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his life – I couldn’t agree more!”

NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of more polar geomagnetic storms on Jan. 4th as the solar wind continues to blow. 

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BPEarthWatch BPEarthWatch·

 

Published on Jan 2, 2014

2 large objects caputured on Lasco C2 During a solar flare.
Solar,Quake and Weather Links….http://www.BPEarthWatch.com
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bpearthw…

 

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Spaceweather

SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE:

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

2014 began with a bang. At 18:54 UT on January 1st, big sunspot AR1936 erupted, producing a strong M9-class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the explosion’s extreme ultraviolet flash:

The movie shows a dark filament of plasma racing away from the blast site, but most of the material fell back to the stellar surface. Nevertheless, the explosion did produce a CME that could deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field later this week. NOAA analysts are still evaluating this possibility.

The M9-flare of New Year’s Day followed close on the heels of an M6-flare on New Year’s Eve. Sunspot AR1936 produced both explosions. The New Year’s Eve event produced a minor, slow-moving CME that is not expected to disturb Earth’s magnetic field if and when it does arrive.

Sunspot AR1936 is active, but new sunspot AR1944 looks even more potent. The behemoth active region emerged over the sun’s southeastern limb on Jan 1st:

Because of foreshortening near the sun’s limb, the complexity of AR1944’s magnetic field is still unknown. The sheer size of the sunspot, however, suggests it is capable of strong flares. The emergence of AR1944 combined with the ongoing activity from AR1936 has prompted NOAA forecasters to raise the odds of eruptions on Jan. 2nd to 70% for M-flares and 30% for X-flares

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BPEarthWatch BPEarthWatch

 

Published on Dec 28, 2013

2 Large Solar Blast. Fireball Reports Coming in from the UK.
Solar,Quake and Weather Links http://www.BPEarthWatch.Com
http://amsmeteors.org/fireball_event/… http://lunarmeteoritehunters.blogspot…

 

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Spaceweather.com

MINOR RADIATION STORM IN PROGRESS:

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

Energetic protons are swarming around Earth on Dec. 28th following a magnetic eruption near the western limb of the sun: movie. The ongoing radiation storm ranks S1 on NOAA storm scales, which means it is a relatively minor storm with little effect on spacecraft and high-altitude aviation

Read More Here

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Spaceweather.com

CRACKLING SUNSPOT:

by Dr. Tony Phillips.

AR1936 is waking up. The sunspot has a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for strong eruptions, yet it has been quiet for days. Now AR1936 is beginning to crackle with flares. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash from an almost-M-class flare at 1800 UT on Dec. 28th:

Because the sunspot is facing Earth, any flares emanating from it are going to be geoeffective. So far, the extreme ultraviolet “crackles” have produced only minor waves of ionization in our planet’s upper atmosphere. Earth-effects will increase, however, if the activity continues to intensify. 

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Study links BP oil spill to dolphin deaths

US government scientists have for the first time found direct evidence of toxic exposure in the Gulf of Mexico

A dolphin is seen swimming through an oil sheen from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

A dolphin is seen swimming through an oil sheen from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off East Grand Terre Island, where the Gulf of Mexico meets Barataria Bay, on the Louisiana coast, July 31, 2010. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

US government scientists have for the first time connected the BP oil disaster to dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, in a study finding direct evidence of toxic exposure.

The study, led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found lung disease, hormonal abnormalities and other health effects among dolphins in an area heavily oiled during the BP spill.

A dead bottlenose dolphin that was found on Ono Island

An Institute for Marine Mammal Studies veterinary technician examines a dead bottlenose dolphin that was found on Ono Island. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

The diseases found in the dolphins at Barataria Bay in Louisiana – though rare – were consistent with exposure to oil, the scientists said.

“Many disease conditions observed in Barataria Bay dolphins are uncommon but consistent with petroleum hydrocarbon exposure and toxicity,” the scientists said.

Half of the dolphins were given a guarded prognosis, and 17% were expected to die of the disease, the researchers found.

“I’ve never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals – and with unusual conditions such as the adrenal hormone abnormalities,” Lori Schwake, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

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LiveScience

BP Oil Spill May Have Contributed to Dolphin Deaths, Study Finds

 

The 2010 BP oil spill contributed to an unusually high death rate for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, a new study suggests.

Between January and April 2011, 186 dead bottlenose dolphins washed ashore between Louisiana and western Florida. Most alarmingly, nearly half of these casualties were calves, which is more than double the usual proportion of young to old dolphins found dead. Scientists now blame both natural factors and human catastrophe for the unusual die-off.

“Unfortunately, it was a ‘perfect storm’ that led to the dolphin deaths,” study researcher Graham Worthy, a biologist at the University of Central Florida, said in a statement. “The oil spill and cold water of 2010 had already put significant stress on their food resources. … It appears the high volumes of cold freshwater coming from snowmelt water that pushed through Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound in 2011 was the final blow.” [Gulf Oil Spill: Animals at Risk]

Cold water and spilled oil

The winter of 2010 was a cold one, the researchers reported July 18 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE. Oil began spilling into the Gulf in April 2011, after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded following a blowout.

The unusually harsh winter of 2010 already dealt wildlife a disadvantage, Worthy and his colleagues wrote. Finfish, marine birds, sea turtles and manatees had been hit hard, with about 6 percent of the U.S. population of manatees lost to cold weather.

Just before the baby dolphins began washing ashore in January 2011, meltwater from an unusually heavy Mobile Bay watershed snowfall hit the Gulf. A comparison of dolphin stranding sites and water conditions revealed that the discovery of the carcasses followed temperature dips from meltwater by two to three weeks, indicating that the dolphins were stressed, died, washed ashore and were eventually found and recorded.

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