Archive | September 12, 2016

Super typhoon Meranti targets Taiwan, mainland China

It only took 24 hours for Super Typhoon Meranti, which is threatening Taiwan and mainland China, to roar from the equivalent of a Category 1 storm to a top-scale
Category 5.
Meranti is forecast to make landfall along the southern tip of the island of Taiwan, home to more than 23 million people, on Wednesday morning local time.
Fortunately, most of the population lives on the northern and western side of the island. Even though Meranti, which likely will still be a super typhoon at landfall (meaning the winds are in excess of 150 mph/240 kph) on the southern tip, the entire island will feel the storm’s wrath.
The tropical storm-force wind field from Meranti stretches more than 350 miles (560 km) from one end to the other; Taiwan is only about 230 miles long.
Dangerous winds, however, are only one of the potentially devastating impacts Meranti will unleash on Taiwan and then mainland China. Torrential rainfall, which frequently accumulates to over 3 feet (1 meter) over the mountainous terrain of central Taiwan during typhoons, can produce deadly flash floods and devastating mudslides.
Taiwan, which is a frequent target for powerful Pacific typhoons, has a very good track record of limiting their deadly impacts. But as the storms move into the mainland, they often turn deadlier. A combination of flatter terrain that is prone to storm surge and inland flooding, higher population and more vulnerable living conditions often result in higher numbers of people killed and misplaced by the storm.
This was the case with a similar storm, Super Typhoon Nerpartak, which hit in almost the same location as Meranti is forecast to travel. Nepartak, which made landfall on July 8, caused at least three deaths in Taiwan and cut power to over half a million, but became much deadlier as it moved into mainland China.
Despite weakening to a tropical storm as it hit mainland China, Nepartak and the associated heavy rainfall of up to 10 inches (254 mm) killed more than 80 people. Meranti is expected to be much stronger than Nepartak when it hits mainland China, with winds around 115 mph (185 kph), which would make it equivalent to a major Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic.
A combination of very warm western Pacific ocean waters and weak upper level winds have allowed Meranti (pronounced me-run-ti) to undergo what meteorologists call “rapid intensification.” It went from 85 mph (140 kph) on Sunday to a sustained 180 mph (285 kph) on Monday afternoon.
Rapid intensification presents great challenges to forecasters and disaster management officials, as it can quickly up the ante when it comes to expected impacts from tropical cyclones.
If the forecast holds, and Super Typhoon Meranti makes landfall with winds of 155 mph (250 kph), it would be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan since Super Typhoon Bilis in 2000.
Courtesy of


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47 TONS of dead fish found in aquatic farms in Central Vietnam

Fish Kill Alert
About 47 tons of fish were found dead at aquatic farms on September 8 in a bay near Ngoc Island, Nghi Son Commune, Tinh Gia District, Thanh Hoa northern central province.
The dead fish, worth about VND8 billion ($354,000), belong to 21 households in Nghi Son, according to Nghiem Xuan Dung, vice chairman of the commune. There are total 60 fish farm households in the bay.
“We have raised fish in the bay for tens of years. Fish also died this time in previous years but this year we’ve seen the worst damage,” said Tran Van Thac, a 60- year- old fish farmer. About 5 tons of fish, each weighing between 3.5-6 kg were killed.
Thac said the seawater in the bay turned red with abnormal scum on the surface before the fish died.
On Friday, representatives from Thanh Hoa’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Police and authorities of Tinh Gia District came to take samples in the bay to investigate the cause behind the fish deaths.
Initial conclusion from local authorities showed that the fish died because of lack of oxygen.
Earlier this year, Taiwanese Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Plant grabbed headlines for causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in Vietnamese history, killing tons of fish across four coastal provinces. The company’s test-run led to the discharge of toxic substances into the sea, including phenol, cyanide and iron hydroxide.
Formosa has officially apologized to the Vietnamese people and paid $500 million in compensation to make up for the damage. The firm also promised to compensate local people for economic losses, help them find new jobs and subsidize clean-up activities.
Courtesy of

50,000 fish dead due to ‘mystery disease’ in Bardiya, Nepal

Fish Kill Alert
Nearly 50,000 fish have perished in the past one month in different parts of Bardia due to a mystery disease. 
Most of the deaths have been reported from Sorahawa and Basgadi which are known as fish pocket areas. Fish farmers said that around 1,000 fish farmed in ponds and lakes were dying daily.
Fish ponds are filling up with dead fish and farmers have not been able to identify the disease that may cause their ruin. More than 20,000 fish raised on 75 hectares in Bardia Lake have died.
Pushpa Bhusal of Sorahawa has been rearing fish in the lake. He has leased the lake from the district development committee to rear fish. Local fish farmer Lallu Ram Tharu said he was losing 200 to 300 fish daily.
The District Agriculture Office has started to spray medicines on the ponds and lakes to control the disease. There are no labs in the Mid-Western Region to identify the disease, said fisheries development officer Ram Awatar Harijan.
He said that the fish could have died due to low oxygen levels in the water and lack of nutrition. “The agriculture office has recommended spraying herbicides.”
The office has been distributing herbicides to fish farmers free of cost. A team of technicians from Kathmandu had visited the area and they have suggested to the farmers to apply medicines on their ponds.
“However, the fish are still dying,” said Ramnath Tharu, a local farmer. “The disease has been witnessed mostly in silver carp and naini species,” he said.
Farmers said that red spots were also seen in other fish species. Three weeks ago, agro technicians had suspected ammonia poisoning, one of the biggest killers of aquarium fish, as being responsible for the deaths; but it has not been confirmed.
“A research team has been studying the affected areas,” said senior agriculture officer Parshu Ram Raut. Bardia produces 1,500 tonnes of fish and ships fish worth Rs350 million annually to other districts. Farmers in Bardia became attracted to rearing fish as it provided double the income from growing crops.
According to official statistics, commercial fish farming started to boom in the district after the government launched a fish mission a decade ago.
Under the programme, the government provides Rs100,000 as a subsidy to dig a pond on a hectare of land. Sorahawa, which is a major fish pocket area in the district, has 270 ponds covering 155 hectares. Fish farming is also conducted in Bardia Lake which is spread over 70 hectares. Currently, commercial fish farming is done on 380 hectares in the district.
Courtesy of

Thousands of frogs dying due to deadly fungus across California, USA

A deadly fungus that’s been devastating frog populations is still spreading across the globe. In California, the chytrid fungus has moved inexorably across the Sierra Nevada from west to east, leaving thousands of frogs dead.
But Bay Area scientists are trying to turn the tide against the fungus with an experimental treatment, one that could matter to frogs worldwide.
They’re making a last-ditch effort to save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog by immunizing it against chytrid.
Mountain yellow-legged frogs, found only in California’s alpine lakes, have been in steep decline due to the fungus as well as predation by non-native trout. More than 90 percent of the population has disappeared.
“When it hits, it’s within weeks that they’re just gone, just literally gone,” says Jessie Bushell, director of conservation at the San Francisco Zoo.
Bushell is part of an emergency search-and-rescue operation for the frogs.  Like last summer, when she got up before dawn and drove five hours to meet a helicopter flying out of the Sierra Nevada.
“This bright yellow helicopter comes landing down,” she says. “The doors fly open. The firefighters start unloading these large white coolers.”
The coolers were holding hundreds of wiggling, green tadpoles, the sole survivors of a deadly outbreak at their remote alpine lake. Federal biologists had found dozens of frogs dying from chytrid fungus and, hoping to save the species, had collected their remaining young.
Courtesy of


Earthquake Swarm

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Subject To Change

Depth: 2 km

Distances: 5 km NE of Skopje, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 475,000 / local time: 14:19:05.0 2016-09-12
6 km W of Арачиново, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 12,800 / local time: 14:19:05.0 2016-09-12
4 km SW of Црешево, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 1,500 / local time: 14:19:05.0 2016-09-12

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Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 364 km S of Calgary, Canada / pop: 1,020,000 / local time: 04:27:22.7 2016-09-12
283 km NW of Helena, United States / pop: 28,200 / local time: 04:27:22.7 2016-09-12
31 km N of Thompson Falls, United States / pop: 1,400 / local time: 04:27:22.7 2016-09-12

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Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 3 km E of Skopje, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 475,000 / local time: 19:53:52.7 2016-09-12
6 km NE of Сопиште, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 9,500 / local time: 19:53:52.7 2016-09-12
5 km N of Usje, Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of / pop: 1,100 / local time: 19:53:52.7 2016-09-12

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Subject To Change

Depth: 40 km

Distances: 399 km SW of Palembang, Indonesia / pop: 1,442,000 / local time: 22:10:12.7 2016-09-12
137 km SW of Bengkulu, Indonesia / pop: 310,000 / local time: 22:10:12.7 2016-09-12

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