Tag Archive: Southeast Asia


       

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Global Flu Pandemic ‘Inevitable,’ Expert Warns

 

A new global flu pandemic within the next couple years is inevitable, one prominent flu vaccine manufacturer says.

Joseph Kim, head of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is currently working on a “universal” flu vaccine that would protect against most strains of the virus, says the world is due for a massive bird flu outbreak that could be much deadlier than the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

“I really believe we were lucky in 2009 [with the swine flu] because the strain that won out was not particularly lethal,” he says. “Bird flu kills over 60 percent of people that it infects, regardless of health or age. It is a phenomenal killing machine—our only saving grace thus far is the virus has not yet jumped to humans.”

 

Fears about the possibility of an H5N1 avian flu pandemic first surfaced in the mid 2000s—since then, it has infected more than 600 people, killing more than 350 of them, mostly in southeast Asia. The global toll thus far has been mild because the disease can only be transmitted from bird to bird and from bird to human. But experts fear that a few simple mutations in the virus could make it transmissible from human to human.

Last year, Ron Fouchier, a dutch flu researcher, genetically modified a strain of H5N1 so that it was transmissible between ferrets, which are often used to test human-to-human transmissibility. At the time, Fouchier said he had created “probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make.” Paul Keim, a geneticist with the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, echoed that sentiment: “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one,” he said. “I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this.”

The discovery led the World Health Organization to call for a moratorium on laboratory-modified H5N1 research and recognize “that research on naturally-occurring H5N1 influenza virus must continue to protect public health.”

 

Kim says that if a deadlier version of H5N1 is going to emerge naturally, it will probably come from southeast Asia, where there are large pig, human, and bird populations. If a pandemic were to occur, the virus would likely be passed from birds to pigs, where it would mutate, and then from pigs to humans, he says.

“If I was a betting man, I’d say Southeast Asia,” he says. “The last few pandemics have come from that area—you have a huge pig population, a humid climate, and a proximity of many birds, ducks, and geese.”

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Man-made super-flu could kill half humanity

 

Avian influenza virus, TEM (NIBSC/Science Photo Library)

Avian influenza virus, TEM (NIBSC/Science Photo Library)

A virus with the potential to kill up to half the world’s population has been made in a lab. Now academics and bioterrorism experts are arguing over whether to publish the recipe, and whether the research should have been done in the first place.

­The virus is an H5N1 bird flu strain which was genetically altered to become much more contagious. It was created by Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, who first presented his work to the public at an influenza conference in Malta in September.

Fouchier said the strain circulates in animals, particularly birds, but rarely affects humans.
In the ten or so years since bird flu first emerged in Asia, fewer than 600 cases have been reported in humans. But the H5N1 strain is particularly vicious, killing roughly half of patients diagnosed with it. What stops it from becoming a major threat to public health is that it does not readily transmit from human to human. Or at least it didn’t – until now.

Researchers in Fouchier’s team used ferrets – test animals which closely mimic the human response to influenza – and transmitted H5N1 from one to another to make it more adaptable to new hosts. After 10 generations, the virus had mutated to become airborne, which means ferrets became ill from merely being near other diseased animals.

A genetic study showed that the new, dangerous strain had only five mutations compared to the original one, and all of them were earlier seen in the natural environment – just not all at once. Fouchier’s strain is as contagious as the human seasonal flu, which kills tens of thousands of people each year, but is likely to cause many more fatalities if released.

 

Read Full Article Here

Japan pushes ASEAN to lift export restrictions

by Staff Writers
Phnom Penh (AFP)

Disaster Management

 

Japan pressed Southeast Asian nations on Tuesday to lift curbs on its exports imposed after last year’s earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Speaking at a regional summit, Tsuyoshi Michael Yamaguchi, Japan’s senior vice-minister for foreign affairs, called for a review of restrictions introduced amid fears some agricultural produce could be contaminated by radiation.

“I wanted to ask countries to relax or lift restrictions… based on scientific data,” Yamaguchi told reporters at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Phnom Penh.

“People will find that there’s no more danger,” he said, adding the perception of Japanese goods as being contaminated “was not the case.”

Yamaguchi earlier told the gathering of ASEAN foreign ministers — to which Japan, China and South Korea are also invited — that he hoped for “fruitful discussions” on the issue.

His comments came a day after Japan posted poor economic figures, underscoring fears about a recovery for the world’s third-largest economy amid turmoil in Europe, a key export market.

Meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in the aftermath of last year’s March 11 tsunami sent radioactive particles into the air and water, contaminating crops grown near the power station and polluting waters where seafood is harvested.

The Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia were among a host of countries to impose restrictions on some Japanese produce after the disaster.

Exports of Japanese farm products — once prized by its neighbours for quality — fell 7.4 percent in 2011 from the previous year while overseas sales of marine products slumped nearly 11 percent.

In April, Japan agreed to try to double trade with ASEAN’s 10 members over the next decade.

According to the World Bank, Japan is already the largest foreign investor in Thailand and the Philippines, and the second or third largest in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

ASEAN represents a market of nearly 600 million people.

 

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Earthquakes

 

 

EMSC     Georgia (sak’art’velo)
Apr 19 23:51 PM
2.6     2.0     MAP

EMSC     Madeira Islands, Portugal Region
Apr 19 23:41 PM
4.4     80.0     MAP

EMSC     Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Apr 19 23:36 PM
3.2     9.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 23:34 PM
2.6     3.0     MAP

GEOFON     Off West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 23:22 PM
4.2     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 23:03 PM
2.5     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Central Peru
Apr 19 23:02 PM
4.8     135.0     MAP

USGS     Central Peru
Apr 19 23:02 PM
4.8     122.7     MAP

GEOFON     Central Peru
Apr 19 23:02 PM
5.2     102.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 23:01 PM
2.6     6.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 22:54 PM
2.5     4.0     MAP

USGS     Alaska Peninsula
Apr 19 22:36 PM
2.5     15.2     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 22:18 PM
2.7     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Apr 19 22:11 PM
2.9     9.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 21:53 PM
2.4     5.0     MAP

USGS     Virgin Islands Region
Apr 19 21:53 PM
2.8     38.5     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 21:32 PM
2.5     6.0     MAP

EMSC     Northern Algeria
Apr 19 21:13 PM
3.5     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:49 PM
3.2     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:25 PM
3.2     6.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:18 PM
3.0     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:12 PM
2.5     4.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:10 PM
2.7     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:09 PM
3.0     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:06 PM
3.4     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 20:00 PM
3.3     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 19:55 PM
3.1     5.0     MAP

GEOFON     Turkey
Apr 19 19:52 PM
4.5     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 19:52 PM
4.5     7.0     MAP

GEOFON     Off West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 19:32 PM
4.2     10.0     MAP

USGS     New South Wales, Australia
Apr 19 19:09 PM
3.7     0.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 18:48 PM
2.5     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Greece
Apr 19 18:37 PM
2.6     10.0     MAP

GEOFON     North Indian Ocean
Apr 19 18:07 PM
4.7     10.0     MAP

EMSC     North Indian Ocean
Apr 19 18:07 PM
4.7     50.0     MAP

USGS     Washington
Apr 19 17:47 PM
2.5     16.1     MAP

EMSC     Molucca Sea
Apr 19 17:23 PM
5.3     72.0     MAP

GEOFON     Northern Molucca Sea
Apr 19 17:23 PM
5.3     10.0     MAP

USGS     Molucca Sea
Apr 19 17:23 PM
5.3     12.1     MAP

EMSC     Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Apr 19 17:03 PM
2.7     8.0     MAP

EMSC     Pyrenees
Apr 19 17:02 PM
3.2     1.0     MAP

USGS     Washington
Apr 19 16:36 PM
2.6     19.8     MAP

EMSC     Greece
Apr 19 16:26 PM
3.4     2.0     MAP

EMSC     Off East Coast Of Kamchatka
Apr 19 16:17 PM
4.0     33.0     MAP

GEOFON     Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico
Apr 19 15:56 PM
4.2     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Oaxaca, Mexico
Apr 19 15:56 PM
4.5     10.0     MAP

USGS     Oaxaca, Mexico
Apr 19 15:56 PM
4.5     1.0     MAP

GEOFON     Irian Jaya Region, Indonesia
Apr 19 15:46 PM
4.9     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Near N Coast Of Papua, Indonesia
Apr 19 15:46 PM
5.0     30.0     MAP

USGS     Near The North Coast Of Papua, Indonesia
Apr 19 15:46 PM
5.0     25.4     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 15:37 PM
2.6     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Albania
Apr 19 15:11 PM
2.5     16.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 14:58 PM
2.5     8.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 14:43 PM
2.5     5.0     MAP

GEOFON     Near Coast Of Guerrero, Mexico
Apr 19 14:35 PM
4.5     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Offshore Oaxaca, Mexico
Apr 19 14:35 PM
4.5     10.0     MAP

USGS     Offshore Oaxaca, Mexico
Apr 19 14:35 PM
4.5     10.0     MAP

GEOFON     Off Coast Of Northern Chile
Apr 19 13:40 PM
4.7     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Greece
Apr 19 13:38 PM
2.4     14.0     MAP

EMSC     Poland
Apr 19 13:31 PM
2.6     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 13:04 PM
2.7     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 12:58 PM
3.1     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 12:36 PM
2.5     6.0     MAP

USGS     Southern California
Apr 19 12:31 PM
2.5     2.4     MAP

EMSC     Aegean Sea
Apr 19 12:19 PM
3.0     77.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 12:15 PM
2.5     7.0     MAP

USGS     Southern California
Apr 19 11:46 AM
3.0     1.7     MAP

USGS     Southern California
Apr 19 11:45 AM
2.8     1.5     MAP

USGS     Southern Alaska
Apr 19 11:24 AM
2.5     75.6     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 11:00 AM
3.1     8.0     MAP

EMSC     Celebes Sea
Apr 19 10:59 AM
4.5     589.0     MAP

GEOFON     Celebes Sea
Apr 19 10:59 AM
4.5     545.0     MAP

USGS     Celebes Sea
Apr 19 10:59 AM
4.7     553.1     MAP

USGS     Off The West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 10:55 AM
4.7     29.9     MAP

GEOFON     Off West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 10:55 AM
4.8     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Off W Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 10:55 AM
4.9     12.0     MAP

EMSC     Central Turkey
Apr 19 10:54 AM
2.6     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 10:51 AM
2.8     9.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 10:34 AM
2.9     6.0     MAP

EMSC     Central Turkey
Apr 19 10:14 AM
2.5     15.0     MAP

EMSC     Dodecanese Islands, Greece
Apr 19 10:13 AM
3.3     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Central Italy
Apr 19 09:40 AM
2.7     7.0     MAP

EMSC     Strait Of Gibraltar
Apr 19 09:34 AM
3.2     10.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 09:25 AM
3.1     5.0     MAP

EMSC     Western Turkey
Apr 19 09:16 AM
3.0     5.0     MAP

GEOFON     Northern Chile
Apr 19 09:06 AM
4.6     104.0     MAP

EMSC     Eastern Turkey
Apr 19 08:31 AM
2.9     4.0     MAP

USGS     Central Alaska
Apr 19 07:56 AM
2.9     7.2     MAP

USGS     Puerto Rico Region
Apr 19 07:52 AM
3.3     159.0     MAP

USGS     Iran-iraq Border Region
Apr 19 07:42 AM
4.7     46.8     MAP

GEOFON     Iran-iraq Border Region
Apr 19 07:42 AM
4.3     10.0     MAP

USGS     Puerto Rico Region
Apr 19 07:22 AM
3.1     19.0     MAP

USGS     Off The West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 06:52 AM
4.5     29.9     MAP

GEOFON     North Indian Ocean
Apr 19 06:52 AM
4.5     10.0     MAP

USGS     North Indian Ocean
Apr 19 06:30 AM
4.8     14.8     MAP

GEOFON     North Indian Ocean
Apr 19 06:30 AM
4.7     10.0     MAP

USGS     Southern Alaska
Apr 19 06:25 AM
3.3     112.1     MAP

USGS     Dominican Republic
Apr 19 06:15 AM
3.4     100.0     MAP

USGS     Near The East Coast Of Honshu, Japan
Apr 19 05:00 AM
4.7     32.1     MAP

USGS     Near The East Coast Of Honshu, Japan
Apr 19 03:33 AM
5.2     18.0     MAP

GEOFON     Near East Coast Of Honshu, Japan
Apr 19 03:33 AM
4.9     14.0     MAP

GEOFON     Volcano Islands, Japan Region
Apr 19 02:48 AM
5.1     10.0     MAP

USGS     Volcano Islands, Japan Region
Apr 19 02:48 AM
4.9     18.2     MAP

GEONET     Canterbury
Apr 19 02:32 AM
3.6     10.0     MAP

USGS     Puerto Rico Region
Apr 19 02:14 AM
3.4     144.1     MAP

USGS     Puerto Rico Region
Apr 19 02:00 AM
3.3     71.0     MAP

GEOFON     Taiwan
Apr 19 01:58 AM
5.1     17.0     MAP

USGS     Taiwan
Apr 19 01:58 AM
5.1     18.8     MAP

GEOFON     Off West Coast Of Northern Sumatra
Apr 19 01:20 AM
4.3     10.0     MAP

USGS     Southern Yukon Territory, Canada
Apr 19 01:17 AM
2.7     11.9     MAP

USGS     Coquimbo, Chile
Apr 19 01:14 AM
4.7     52.3     MAP

GEOFON     El Salvador
Apr 19 00:48 AM
4.7     97.0     MAP

USGS     El Salvador
Apr 19 00:48 AM
4.4     94.0     MAP

GEOFON     Kuril Islands
Apr  19 00:24 AM
4.5     59.0     MAP

USGS     Kuril Islands
Apr 19 00:24 AM
4.8     71.8     MAP

USGS     Puerto Rico
Apr 19 00:13 AM
2.6     8.6     MAP

 

Earthquake swarm on Iran-Iraq border continues

Posted on April 20, 2012
April 20, 2012 IRAN5.1 and 5.0 earthquakes are the latest in a swarm of about six earthquakes that have erupted along the convergent plate boundaries between the Arabian and Eurasian plate. The swarm is about 528 km (328 miles) SW of TEHRAN, Iran. The epicenter of the earthquakes is located on the convergent boundary where the two tectonic plates are colliding along the border of Iraq and Iran in what’s known as the Alpide Belt. Three moderate earthquakes have erupted along the epicenter in less than 20 hours. Most of the volcanoes in Iran lie in the north and south of the country, so this region outside the Tigris River is not considered a high-risk region for magma intrusion. Might this be the precursor to some event? We will have to wait and see.

New research puts focus on earthquake, tsunami hazard for southern California

by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX) Apr 20, 2012


A new map of active faults off the coast of southern California could clarify some of the earthquake hazard for the region, say Jaime Conrad of the U.S. Geological Survey and colleagues. Although this area is crisscrossed by faults, the seismic hazard posed by their activity isn’t well understood, partly because it’s unclear how much the faults slip and how they interact.

Scientists will convene in San Diego to present the latest seismological research at the annual conference of the Seismological Society of America (SSA), April 17-19. This year’s meeting is expected to draw a record number of registrants, with more than 630 scientists in attendance, and will feature 292 oral presentations and 239 poster presentations.

“For over 100 years the Annual Meeting of SSA has been the forum of excellence for presenting and discussing exciting new developments in seismology research and operations in the U.S. and globally,” said Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, president of SSA, which is a scientific society devoted to the advancement of earthquake science. von Hillebrandt-Andrade is manager of the NOAA National Weather Service Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program in Puerto Rico.

A special public town hall meeting is scheduled for the evening of April 17, featuring talks by experts on the seismic hazard to San Diego from future earthquakes and tsunamis.

“We are extremely excited by the range, depth, and quality of science to be presented at this meeting” said David Oglesby, associate professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Riverside. “The meeting will cover all aspects of seismology and earthquake science, from geology to numerical models, and from seismograms to tsunamis.

“Our location near the US-Mexican border also help to illuminate the exciting opportunities in international scientific collaborations,” said Oglesby, who is a co-organizer of the conference program along with Raul Castro, a seismologist at the Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion Superior de Ensenada, Baja California.

The presentations by the international gathering of seismologists will focus on a broad range of topics, covering the Earth’s surface to its center. Some highlights that focus more closely on the San Diego area include:

Downtown San Diego:
The city of San Diego sits atop a fault system that poses considerable seismic hazard to the millions of the region’s residents. In an evaluation by Ivan Wong and colleagues from the URS Corporation, an international engineering consulting firm, the potential hazard from both strong ground shaking and surface faulting was quantified in the downtown area.

Several rupture scenarios of the Rose Canyon fault system were considered including rupture of the associated San Diego fault that traverses downtown San Diego.

The surface faulting hazard for locations along the San Diego fault is estimated to be low because of its low rate of activity but the ground shaking hazard is probably high throughout much of San Diego because of the distributed nature of the Rose Canyon fault system.

The behavior of the Rose Canyon fault system as it traverses San Diego is poorly understood. It is unclear what the role of individual faults in the fault system are in the vicinity of San Diego Bay and the downtown area in a large magnitude 7+ earthquake and how often such events may occur.

“It is clear however that the threat to the city from a future large earthquake is considerable and that research is needed to define what that level of hazard is,” said Ivan Wong, principal seismologist and vice president of URS Corporation.

San Jacinto Fault Zone:
Geophysicist Tom Rockwell, and colleagues from San Diego State University will describe the latest research findings on the San Jacinto Fault (SJF) Zone, which is a seismically active, major component of the overall southern San Andreas Fault system, and of particular importance to the San Diego region. They have mapped evidence of past ruptures consistent with very large earthquakes along the Clark Fault, an individual strand associated with the SJF.

Tom Rockwell and other presenters will discuss their work at a news briefing on April 19, beginning at 12:10 p.m. (local time) in the Terrace Salon 2 room of the Town and Country Resort and Convention Hotel.

Offshore faults:
A new map of active faults off the coast of southern California could clarify some of the earthquake hazard for the region, say Jaime Conrad of the U.S. Geological Survey and colleagues. Although this area is crisscrossed by faults, the seismic hazard posed by their activity isn’t well understood, partly because it’s unclear how much the faults slip and how they interact.

The new map covers a series of faults in the near-shore portion of the region known as the Inner Continental Borderland, located between the coast and the San Clemente fault, about 35-40 miles offshore.

The crumpled and uplifted seafloor from Santa Monica Bay to the Mexican border includes several high-angled and north-south trending faults. Using high-resolution seismic reflection data from a number of sources, including multiple sources of sonar beamed from research ships and unmanned underwater vehicles, the researchers were able to revise the current map in some surprising ways.

The data show linkages between faults that were not known previously, for example, and in some cases show a fault slip rate of 1-2 millimeters per year.

Related Links
Seismological Society of America
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

 

 

 

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Volcanic Activity

Popocatepetl Volcano Threatening to Erupt, 19 Million Prepare to Evacuate

By Sami K. Martin , Christian Post Contributor
April 18, 2012|11:57 am

The Popocatepetl volcano is making movement and threatening to erupt, causing Mexican officials to raise the alert level from yellow phase three to yellow phase two.

The volcano has already begun spewing red-hot bits of rock, and its opening has expanded. These are signs that the volcano, still quite active, could soon erupt. In a statement by Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention, the volcano could produce “moderate exhalations, some with ash, sporadic low to moderate explosions with likely burning fragments, and flaming magma within the crater.”

Residents and tourists have been advised to remain at least seven miles away from the volcano’s base, lest magma or hot rock injure anyone. Mexico has been experiencing natural disasters with increasing frequency.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Popocatépetl Volcano Erupts Spewing Hot Rock Fragments and Ash in Mexico

Alex Sosnowski
AccuWeather
Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:40 CDT
Print
Popocatepetl volcano

© AP
Birds fly in the foreground as a plume of ash and steam rise from Popocatepetl volcano as seen from San Andres Cholula, Mexico, Wednesday April 18, 2012. Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano is continuing to spout gases and hot rock fragments and it is dusting towns on its flanks with volcanic ash.
A volcano within view of Mexico City continues to erupt.

Steam, smoke and hot fragments of rock began to be ejected from Popocatepetl this past weekend.

The volcano is located about 50 miles southeast of Mexico’s capital, Mexico City. The metropolitan area of Mexico City is home to approximately 21 million people.

According to Reuters, Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention this week raised the alert level to three on a scale from one to seven, with seven being the greatest threat.

If eruptions intensify, evacuations of nearby villages may be necessary.

The volcano has had a long history of frequent minor to moderate eruptions.

In 2000, thousands of residents surrounding the nearly 18,000-foot mountain were forced to evacuate. Popocatepetl is North America’s second highest volcano.

Eruptions have occurred in November and June of 2011.

According to VolcanoDiscovery.com, Popocatepetl was dormant during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

This is a very active volcanic region of the globe and is known as the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.

Mexico authorities were recommending limiting access to the area, including air travel due to the frequency of the volcanic activity of late.

Ash from volcanoes can be carried into the intake of engines, leading to failure.

During a major eruption, smoke and ash can be carried for hundreds and thousands of miles downwind, depending on weather conditions. Such was the case with Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland during 2010.

Accord to Smithsonian, the last major eruption of Popocatepetl, which including a pyroclastic flow, occurred around 800 AD.

A pyroclastic flow is a combination of lethal hot gas and ash, similar to what happened in Pompeii, Italy.

Popocatepetl is the Aztec word for smoking mountain.

Surface winds in the vicinity of the volcano during April 19, 2012, were generally from the west and northwest, carrying smoke and ash away from the Mexico capital.

The town of Puebla, located southeast of Popocatepetl was reporting volcanic ash in the vicinity for a few hours during April 18.

This story was first published on Monday, April 16, 2012 and has been updated.

Reventador volcano (Ecuador), activity update: steaming and ash emission

Thursday Apr 19, 2012 09:04 AM | Age: 23 hrs
BY: T

eruption plume from Reventador on 18 April (photo: L. Gomezjurado / IG)

eruption plume from Reventador on 18 April (photo: L. Gomezjurado / IG)

Reventador continues to be mildly active with ongoing weak to moderate steam and ash emissions. The Instituto Geofísico reports a 2 km high column of steam and ash rising from Reventador volcano on 18 April. The ash cloud moved to the NW.
IG characterizes the actual activity level (visual and seismic activity) of Reventador “moderate”. No major changes have been observed at the volcano in recent days.

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Extreme Temperatures/ Weather

 

 

Short Time Event(s)
Upd. Date (UTC) Event Country Location Level Details
  Today Biological Hazard India State of Tamil Nadu, Valparai [Vellamalai Top Division Tea Estate] Damage level
Details
  Today Epidemic Hazard Samoa Capital city, Apia [Tafaigata prison] Damage level
Details
  Today Extreme Weather Turkey [Statewide] Damage level
Details
  Today Vehicle Accident USA State of Indiana, Indianapolis [Zionsville Road, Pike Township] Damage level
Details
  Today Vehicle Incident USA State of New York, New York City [John F. Kennedy International Airport ] Damage level
Details
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Climate Change

Southeast Asia’s billion dollar cassava industry at high risk due to climate change

by Staff Writers
Bangkok, Thailand (SPX) Apr 20, 2012

Southeast Asia’s billion dollar cassava industry at high risk due to climate change
by Staff Writers
Bangkok, Thailand (SPX) Apr 20, 2012


The green mite was first sighted feeding on cassava in Vietnam in 2009, with further reports from Southern China and additional unconfirmed sightings in Cambodia in 2011. Originally from South America, the tiny mites feed on the leaves of cassava plants, causing them to wither and die. It is closely related to the green mite species Mononychellus tanajoa, which has caused extensive damage to cassava in Africa and South America.

Severe outbreaks of new, invasive pests triggered by rising temperatures could threaten Southeast Asia’s multi-billion dollar cassava industry, as well as the livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of small farmers that rely on the crop for income, according to research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

“Warmer conditions and longer dry seasons linked to climate change could prove to be the perfect catalyst for outbreaks of pests and diseases. They are already formidable enemies affecting food crops,” said Pramod K. Aggarwal, regional program leader for Asia at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Around five million small producers across Southeast Asia supply cassava to domestic and foreign processing industries, which convert the roots to animal feed and biofuels and also extract starch for use in a wide variety of food and other products. Thailand’s cassava industry accounts for more than 60 percent of global exports. It is one of the world’s biggest producers of tapioca starch, made from the cassava root. In 2011, Thai farmers exported 2.8 billion metric tons of tapioca starch worth almost 48 billion Thai Baht, according to the Thai Tapioca Starch Association.

For cassava in Southeast Asia, mealybugs and whiteflies are already endemic in the region. But new threats, such as the tiny green mite (Mononychellus mcgregori), are already emerging, says the research, published recently in the scientific journal Tropical Plant Biology.

“The cassava pest situation in Asia is pretty serious as it is,” said Tony Bellotti, a cassava entomologist at CIAT. “But according to our studies, rising temperatures could make things a whole lot worse.”

The research was discussed at “Climate Smart Agriculture in Asia: Research and Development Priorities,” a conference convened in Bangkok this week by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“One outbreak of an invasive species is bad enough, but our results show that climate change could trigger multiple, combined outbreaks across Southeast Asia, Southern China and the cassava-growing areas of Southern India,” added Belloti. “It’s a serious threat to the hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers for whom cassava is a lifeline, and their main source of income.”

The green mite was first sighted feeding on cassava in Vietnam in 2009, with further reports from Southern China and additional unconfirmed sightings in Cambodia in 2011. Originally from South America, the tiny mites feed on the leaves of cassava plants, causing them to wither and die. It is closely related to the green mite species Mononychellus tanajoa, which has caused extensive damage to cassava in Africa and South America.

An invasive species-one whose movement is aided by the boom in global travel and trade, and which has no natural enemies in Asia-green mite populations could explode if left unchecked.

The report calls for a range of responses to minimize the risk of outbreaks, and to limit damage where outbreaks occur, under the broad banner of Integrated Pest Management. This includes renewed scientific focus on breeding cassava plants with increased resistance to the pests, minimal use of pesticides to avoid killing any possible natural enemies, as well as the identification, rearing and introduction of so-called “biological control agents”-predator and parasite species that hunt down and kill the pests.

In 2009, Thailand showed how a sudden, severe cassava mealybug outbreak could be swiftly brought under control through the use of the parasitic wasp Anagyrus lopezi, which was released into Thai cassava fields in 2010.

“These pest outbreaks need to be continually monitored,” Bellotti said. “Our research shows that there are specific niches that these exotic species can exploit, not just in Asia, but in Africa and the Americas too.”

Scientists emphasize the importance of taming these threats to cassava because the crop is one of the few that can prosper as the climate changes. Previous CIAT research identified cassava as a “Rambo root,” exceptionally tolerant of higher temperatures and droughts. But while the plant can survive the changing temperatures, in order to fully realize its potential to thrive in the face of climate change, it needs assistance in overcoming the crop pests that also come with modified climates.

The Climate Smart Agriculture conference in Bangkok featured leading agriculture, climate and development experts, as well as government representatives from 14 countries in South and Southeast Asia, who brought similar experiences of how agriculture has changed, discussed the most up-to-date research on the impacts of climate change on food security, and identified the priorities to make agriculture “climate-smart.”

These regions are home to more than 30 percent of the world’s population, but half of the world’s poor and malnourished. Agriculture is the backbone of most economies in the region, with nearly 50 percent of the population dependent on the sector for food and livelihoods. Agriculture, along with forestry and land use change, also account for almost one third of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and some of the most innovative approaches to reducing these emissions have been developed in Southeast Asia, one of the leading exporters of rice and cassava to the rest of the world.

In Vietnam, some farmers are switching from rice to shrimp farming to respond to increased salinity and other changes in water resources. Scientists are also working with farmers to disseminate varieties in Mekong Delta countries that can tolerate a larger amount of saltwater flooding, more acidic water and soil, elevated levels of pollution, and new strains of pests and diseases-all while decreasing the crop’s water usage and emissions footprint.

“Last year’s record flooding in Thailand and Southeast Asia was preceded by a record drought in 2010. These and many other extreme weather events have hammered global food prices,” said Bruce Campbell, program director at CCAFS. “With climate change in South and Southeast Asia expected to reduce agriculture productivity by as much as 50 percent in the next three decades, agriculture must become more productive, more resilient and more climate-friendly. Agriculture needs to shift from being climate dependent to being climate-smart.”

The research was published in Tropical Plant Biology, vol 4, numbers 3-4 Dec 2011.

Related Links
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Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

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