Archive | June 23, 2015
Chemical fire hospitalises 13 people in Australia
FIVE police officers, five fire-fighters and three residents have been taken to hospital after potentially inhaling toxic fumes when a prime mover, trailer and B-double trailer carrying chemicals caught fire near Buronga, northwest of Balranald.
Emergency services were called about 3am yesterday (Monday) to a transport company on Silver City Highway where they found the vehicles alight, police say.
Fire-fighters managed to contain and extinguish the blaze but nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution.
All those taken to Mildura District Hospital were released without serious injury.
A crime scene was established by officers from Barrier Local Area Command and examined by specialist forensic officers and detectives.
The fire is being treated as suspicious, police say.
Courtesy of cowracommunitynews.com
MAGNITUDE 4.5 EASTERN TURKEY
Distances: 201 km SW of Yerevan, Armenia / pop: 1,093,485 / local time: 02:35:20.1 2015-06-24
Subject To Change
Depth: 5 km
Distances: 201 km SW of Yerevan, Armenia / pop: 1,093,485 / local time: 02:35:20.1 2015-06-24
28 km NW of Van, Turkey / pop: 371,713 / local time: 01:35:20.1 2015-06-24
7 fishermen rescued, four missing in typhoon-hit South China
Seven Chinese fishermen were rescued, while four others remain missing after Typhoon Kujira made landfall in the southern province of Hainan, said rescuers on Tuesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.
One fishing boat was swept away by strong winds and grounded 30 meters from the coast of Wanning City, where Kujira landed on Monday evening, said the city’s border police.
All seven fishermen aboard were rescued after being trapped for 12 hours. Another boat with four crew remains missing, a search is under way. Both vessels are registered in Guangdong Province.
Kujira, the eighth typhoon of 2015, made landfall in Wanning at 6:50 p.m. Monday, packing winds of up to 90 kilometers per hour. The coastal area of Wanning was hit by gales of up to 119 km per hour in the early hours of Tuesday.
Courtesy of en.apa.az
Severe storm with 50 mph winds in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas, USA
The combination of near-record heat, very high humidity, and a vigorous cold front is already triggering strong thunderstorms in Pennsylvania.
This is just the first area that will be affecting the state today. More storms will be developing this afternoon. As a result, a Severe T’storm Watch has been issued for much of the Philadelphia area until 7 p.m. (in the pink color).
Storms will intensify quickly, and move even faster, at about 50 mph. There are very strong winds high up in the atmosphere that are steering the storms. Sometimes those winds can make it down to the surface in a strong thunderstorm. That is the setup for potential wind damage, which is the greatest threat today.
Courtesy of philly.com
Mega Heatwave Set To Break Records This Weekend In North Western And Western USA
West Heat Wave Setup
A brutal heat wave kicking in later this week may shatter June or even a few all-time records in parts of the Great Basin and Northwest. Furthermore, it may last into the first days of July
June has already been a hot month in parts of the West.
Earlier in the month, Yakima, Washington, tied its all-time June high of 105 degrees. This occurred 15 days earlier on the calendar than the previous June 105-degree high. Medford, Oregon, is pacing for their hottest June on record, dating to 1911. Portland, Oregon, has already tallied 4 days of 90-degree-plus heat this month through Monday, just 2 days shy of the June record set in 2003.
The culprit in this hot setup is part of an overall pattern shift taking place this week across the United States.
A dome of high pressure aloft that has been searing the Desert Southwest over the past week will surge northwestward, becoming established over the Great Basin by late this week.
In addition to suppressing thunderstorm development over much of the Great Basin, this will allow the sizzling late-June sun to send temperatures soaring not simply in the typically hot Desert Southwest, but also locations well to the north including the Pacific Northwest, interior Northwest and northern Rockies.
By late this week into the weekend, highs in the triple digits are possible in many lower-elevation locations west of the Continental Divide and inland from the Pacific Coast.
This includes parts of Nevada, California’s Sacramento Valley, the Salt Lake Valley, Idaho’s Snake River Plain, much of Oregon’s lower elevations east of the immediate coast, and areas to the east of the Cascades in Washington State. Valley locations in western Montana such as Kalispell and Missoula will also top the century mark by this weekend into early next week.
In particular, parts of the Columbia Basin and lower Snake River Valley may surge above 110 degrees. This includes cities such as Yakima, Kennewick and Walla Walla in Washington as well as Lewiston, Idaho.
The extreme heat is even expected to surge north into Canada. Even Revelstoke, British Columbia – 130 miles north of the U.S. border and better known for skiing – could touch 100 degrees (38 degrees Celsius) this weekend.
Compared to what the more arid Great Basin is used to, evening and overnight temperatures will be slow to drop, possibly only bottoming out in the 70s in the hottest locations.
This heat appears to be locked in place well into next week, as the upper-level dome of high pressure remains camped out. There may be some relief in sight in the Northwest as we get closer to the Independence Day holiday.
The hot, dry weather will also produce high fire danger, as drought conditions have worsened over the Northwest and northern Rockies in the spring.
In mid-May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide drought emergency, and spring runoff from winter’s paltry snowpack was expected to be the least in 64 years.
Seattle has seen only 7 days with measurable rain since May 1, one-third the average number of such days, according to NWS-Seattle. Portland, Oregon, has set a new record June dry streak of 19 straight days through Monday, according to NWS-Portland.
Courtesy of weather.com
Severe heatwave kills nearly 700 in Pakistan
Nearly 700 people have died in a severe three-day heatwave in Pakistan, officials said today, with medics battling to treat patients as a state of emergency was declared in hospitals.
The majority of people died in government-run hospitals in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan’s economic hub of around 20 million people, as temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) at the weekend.
“The number of people who have died in the heatwave has now reached 692,” said Saeed Mangnejo, a senior provincial health official, adding that the toll may rise further.
The highest number of deaths have been recorded at Karachi’s largest hospital, Post Graduate Medical College Hospital, where they have treated more than 3,000 patients, doctor Semi Jamila told AFP.
Pakistan’s largest charity, Edhi Welfare Organisation, said their two morgues in the city had received more than 400 corpses in the last three days.
“The mortuaries have reached capacity,” Edhi spokesman Anwar Kazmi told AFP.
Meanwhile, seven people have died from the heat in Punjab province over the past 24 hours, officials said.
The deaths came as the overwhelmingly Muslim country of around 200 million people observes the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which eating and drinking is forbidden from sunrise to sunset.
Some clerics have issued public warnings saying that physically weak people can abstain from fasting in these tough conditions.
Electricity shortages have crippled the water supply system in Karachi, hampering the pumping of millions of gallons of water to consumers, the state-run water utility said.
Temperatures remained at around 44.5 Celsius in Karachi today but thunderstorms were forecast for the evening, Pakistan’s Meteorological Office said.
“Due to a low depression developing in the Arabian sea, thunderstorms will likely begin this evening and might continue for the next three days,” a Meteorological official told AFP.
The provincial government meanwhile announced a public holiday to encourage residents to stay inside, an official said. Many of the victims have been labourers who toil outdoors.
Some residents also took to hosing each other down with water today as to avoid collapsing from heat stroke.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has issued special instructions to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other relevant organisations to arrange urgent assistance for the heatwave victims.
An official from the National Disaster Management Authority told AFP heatstroke treatment centres would be established at all hospitals across Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.
The deaths come a month after neighbouring India suffered a deadly heatwave, with more than 2,000 deaths.
Courtesy of ndtv.com
Major chemical spill near Timaru, New Zealand
The Fire Service has set up cordons and is using hazmat gear to clean up an 800-litre chemical spill near Timaru
Emergency services were called to the spill at a property on Meadows Road in Washdyke shortly before 1pm.
The building where the spill was located has been evacuated.
A Fire Service spokesperson said firefighters were wearing hazmat (hazardous material) suits.
It was not known what the chemical was.
Courtesy of radionz.co.nz
Chemical Fire Strikes Petronas Chemicals Silo in Malaysia
Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd said on Tuesday that a fire occurred at one of its silos or intermediate product storage vessels at its plant in Terengganu.
The incident happened at 0900 GMT (5pm MYT) at its unit called Petronas Chemicals LDPE Sdn Bhd, according to a press statement. There are no casualties or injuries reported, the company added.
“The incident is confined to Petronas Chemicals LDPE and there is no impact to production at other Petronas Chemicals Group plants in Kerteh, Terengganu,” it said.
Shares of Petronas Chemicals, the chemical arm of Malaysia’s state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd, closed 0.16% higher at RM6.10 per share on Tuesday. – Reuters, June 23, 2015.
Courtesy of themalaysianinsider.com
Earth’s protective shield ‘Magnetosphere’ is weakening
Earth’s protective shield is slowly weakening, allowing harmful solar winds to penetrate the atmosphere
Earth’s protective shield is slowly weakening, allowing harmful solar winds to penetrate the planet’s atmosphere.
Known as the magnetosphere, this shield extends thousands of miles into space and affects everything from global communication to weather patterns.
The European Space Agency’s Swarm mission aims to map changes to magnetosphere – and, after a year in orbit, it’s now provided a glimpse into its dynamics.
The European Space Agency’s Swarm mission aims to map changes to magnetosphere – and, after a year in orbit, it’s now provided a glimpse into its dynamics. The image highlights the new crust (bottom) and core (centre) magnetic field models from Swarm. These preliminary results are based only on the first year of data
The initial results from Swarm are due to be presented at the General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics on 22 June to 2 July in Prague, Czech Republic.
Rune Floberghagen, Swarm Mission Manager, said, ‘These results show that all the meticulous effort that went into making Swarm the best-ever spaceborne magnetometry mission is certainly paying off.’
Swarm is tasked with measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
The four-year mission is hoping to eventually provide an insight into various natural processes, from those occurring deep inside the planet through to weather in space caused by solar activity.
The three satellites are identical, but to optimise sampling in space and time their orbits are different and change over the course of the mission’s life.
A weakened magnetosphere means that more aurora will be seen on Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF OUR MAGNETOSPHERE CONTINUES TO WEAKEN?
The magnetosphere protects the Earth from solar radiation.
If it weakens dramatically, radiation at ground level would increase with some estimates suggesting that overall exposure to cosmic radiation would double causing more deaths from cancer.
The Electric grid collapse from severe solar storms is a major risk.
As the magnetic field continues to weaken, scientists are highlighting the importance off-the grid energy systems using renewable energy sources to protect the Earth against a black out.
‘The very highly charged particles can have a deleterious effect on the satellites and astronauts,’ added Dr Mona Kessel, a Magnetosphere discipline scientist at Nasa.
The Earth’s climate could also change. A recent Danish study has found that the earth’s weather has been significantly affected by the planet’s magnetic field.
They claimed that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.
A weakened magnetosphere will also mean that more aurora will be seen on Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere.
Swarm is the first mission to take advantage of something known as ‘magnetic gradiometry’, which is achieved by two of the satellites orbiting side-by-side at a distance of about 60 miles (100km).
This is used to unravel the details of the magnetic field produced by magnetised rocks in Earth’s crust.
Nils Olsen from DTU Space in Denmark said: ‘We are extremely satisfied with these preliminary results.
‘Not only do they validate the gradiometry concept, but they also confirm the remarkable accuracy of the satellites’ absolute magnetic measurements.’
The layers of Earth’s upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, and magnetosphere, form a closely-paired, interacting system. Swarm is contributing to a better understanding of near-Earth electric current systems and processes as shown in this graphic
The Swarm constellation also makes it much easier to monitor the changes that occur in the main field produced in the Earth’s core, which protects us from harmful charged cosmic particles.
‘Our magnetic field is largely generated by Earth’s outer core,’ said Gauthier Hulot, one of the lead proposers of the Swarm mission.
‘The constellation provides detail on the way the field is changing and thereby weakening our protective shield.’
‘This is what will ultimately make it possible to predict the way this field will evolve over the next decades.’
The Swarm satellites will be in orbit for another three years at least.
These results will be presented at the 26th General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics on 22 June to 2 July in Prague, Czech Republic.
The Earth’s protective shield extends thousands of miles into space and affects everything from global communication to weather patterns
Courtesy of dailymail.co.uk