Archive | October 30, 2016

MASSIVE explosion has rocked an oil refinery in northeast Venezuela

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses

Antarctic Peninsula
A new NASA study says that Antarctica is overall accumulating ice. Still, areas of the continent, like the Antarctic Peninsula photographed above, have increased their mass loss in the last decades.
Credits: NASA’s Operation IceBridge
A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.
According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.
“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”
Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.
But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years — I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”
The study analyzed changes in the surface height of the Antarctic ice sheet measured by radar altimeters on two European Space Agency European Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites, spanning from 1992 to 2001, and by the laser altimeter on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from 2003 to 2008.
Zwally said that while other scientists have assumed that the gains in elevation seen in East Antarctica are due to recent increases in snow accumulation, his team used meteorological data beginning in 1979 to show that the snowfall in East Antarctica actually decreased by 11 billion tons per year during both the ERS and ICESat periods. They also used information on snow accumulation for tens of thousands of years, derived by other scientists from ice cores, to conclude that East Antarctica has been thickening for a very long time. 
“At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet,” Zwally said.
The extra snowfall that began 10,000 years ago has been slowly accumulating on the ice sheet and compacting into solid ice over millennia, thickening the ice in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches (1.7 centimeters) per year. This small thickening, sustained over thousands of years and spread over the vast expanse of these sectors of Antarctica, corresponds to a very large gain of ice – enough to outweigh the losses from fast-flowing glaciers in other parts of the continent and reduce global sea level rise.  
Zwally’s team calculated that the mass gain from the thickening of East Antarctica remained steady from 1992 to 2008 at 200 billion tons per year, while the ice losses from the coastal regions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula increased by 65 billion tons per year.
“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”
“The new study highlights the difficulties of measuring the small changes in ice height happening in East Antarctica,” said Ben Smith, a glaciologist with the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in Zwally’s study.
“Doing altimetry accurately for very large areas is extraordinarily difficult, and there are measurements of snow accumulation that need to be done independently to understand what’s happening in these places,” Smith said. 
To help accurately measure changes in Antarctica, NASA is developing the successor to the ICESat mission, ICESat-2, which is scheduled to launch in 2018. “ICESat-2 will measure changes in the ice sheet within the thickness of a No. 2 pencil,” said Tom Neumann, a glaciologist at Goddard and deputy project scientist for ICESat-2. “It will contribute to solving the problem of Antarctica’s mass balance by providing a long-term record of elevation changes.”
Map showing the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica.
Map showing the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica. Sums are for all of Antarctica: East Antarctica (EA, 2-17); interior West Antarctica (WA2, 1, 18, 19, and 23); coastal West Antarctica (WA1, 20-21); and the Antarctic Peninsula (24-27). A gigaton (Gt) corresponds to a billion metric tons, or 1.1 billion U.S. tons.
Credits: Jay Zwally/ Journal of Glaciology
Courtesy of

Winter Comes Early In Moscow, Russia

Snow Alert
In the Russian capital it became white. Snow fell on Oct. 27, but winter weather can get to keep for the next few days.
Thursday greeted the residents of Moscow premature onset of winter. Although the grass is still green, with trees not yet fallen colorful leaves, the streets of the capital were covered with white fluff.
Winter weather is partly due to the north-western part of the cyclone, which is currently in the Central Federal District of Russia.
Snow on Monday
Roshydromet meteorological service reported that snow and difficult weather situation in Moscow can keep up to Monday 31 October. In the coming days, meteorologists are expecting rain, wet snow, and the temperature will oscillate around zero degrees.
White powder not only surprised residents of the capital, but also caused numerous difficulties, including in air traffic. At airports Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airport canceled 22 flights, and at least seven were put on hold.
Authorities also warn against the difficult situation on the roads. Because ice and snow were issued orange weather alert.
First snow in Moscow that worked well with numerous entries in the social media.
Courtesy of

Heavy Snow During Harvest In China

Snow Alert
A snowstorm has engulfed many areas across northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 
Affected by a grim spate of cold air, Zhaosu County in Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture has witnessed constant snowfall since Tuesday, dropping the temperature down to five degrees Celsius below zero. A local meteorological department forecasts that the snowy weather will last until Sunday. The transportation sector has arranged for more traffic officers to be on guard near crossings of slippery roads to ensure the safe travel of drivers. 
Fruit Valley, a well-known resort boasting a variety of beautiful sights, has also embraced snowfall and slush accompanied by thick fog Monday morning, reducing visibility to less than 100 meters. 
The Valley’s downtown square is clad in beautiful silvery white. Traffic officers remind drivers to turn on fog lights and maintain safe distances in this weather. 
A West Siberian trough has created a snowstorm over Tacheng Prefecture and consequently a radical drop in temperature. The local agriculture sector suggests farmers and herdsmen reap crops as soon as possible as the snow is occurring during this year’s harvest season. 
“Spells of rainy weather have a certain impact on the harvest and loosening of the soil in the future,” said Xing Jun, deputy director of the agricultural bureau of Shawan County under Tacheng. 
Snow has enveloped Wenquan County in Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture since early Monday morning, severely affecting the transportation and agricultural operations throughout the area. 
In northern Kuqa County in Aksu Prefecture, sleet that began on Monday morning has brought many inconveniences to vehicles and passengers. The temperature has plunged to minus two or three degrees Celsius. 
Courtesy of

MEGA DIP SPIKES ON THE WEAK MAGNETOSPHERE @ APPROX 14:30, 19:00, 20:15, 20:30, 20:45, 21:00 HRS UTC

***BE ALERT***



Earthquake Swarm



***BE ALERT***


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 258 km (159 mi) S of `Ohonua, Tonga
279 km (172 mi) S of Nuku`alofa, Tonga
903 km (559 mi) SE of Suva, Fiji
984 km (610 mi) SE of Lambasa, Fiji
1009 km (625 mi) SE of Nadi, Fiji

Global view

Italy’s strongest earthquake in 36 years reduces towns to rubble

Walls collapse exposing the inside of a home
Walls collapse exposing the inside of a home
Italian towns hit by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake have been warned they could be hit by a “domino effect” of aftershocks.
People were pulled from the rubble in towns across central Italy and 20 were injured after buildings collapsed when the earthquake hit “like a bomb” at 7.40am local time on Sunday.
It struck at the heart of a region already struggling to rebuild after being devastated by a series of quakes, including one in August that left 298 people dead and two massive tremors four days ago. 
The magnitude was recorded by the US Geological Service at 6.6, with a depth of 10km, and if that stands, it would make it the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in 36 years.
Residents have been warned of a series of powerful aftershocks, which could continue “indefinitely”.
Seismologist Gianluca Valensise, of Italy’s National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, said the quake that struck three miles north of the town of Norcia, near Perugia, in the Umbria region had a “geodynamic link” to the one in August.
A giant crack down the wall of homes in  Norcia
A giant crack down the wall of homes in Norcia
He said the seismic activity could resemble events in the south of the country in 1783 when area suffered five major quakes measuring greater than 6.5 magnitude in two months.
In Norcia nuns and monks fled into the street as a cathedral and a church, which had been left standing after the recent earthquakes, crumbled during morning worship.
They joined residents to pray in the town square where a firefighter appealed to the priest to keep panicking residents calm, saying: “We have to keep people calm. Prayer can help. I don’t want people to go searching for family members.”
The Monks of Norcia said the 14th century Basilica of St Benedict had been “flattened” in the quake. Some knelt in the rubble of the landmark, which attracts 50,000 pilgrims each year, deeply upset by the loss of the building they tended.
St Mary Argentea church, known for its 15th century frescoes, and the town’s ancient walls were also seriously damaged. The town hall clock tower appeared perilously close to collapse.
Rescue workers help a nun in Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia
Rescue workers help a nun in Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia
Norcia city assessor Giuseppina Perla said: “It’s as if the whole city fell down.”
The town’s deputy mayor, Pierluigi Altavilla, said: “It was like a bomb went off. We are starting to despair. There are too many quakes now, we can’t bear it any more.”
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pledged to rebuild all of the homes and churches destroyed by the latest earthquake.
Priests have been told not to hold masses in churches in the region because of the risk.
In Cascia, 13 miles south of Norcia, a hospital was being evacuated and children in some towns were being told schools would not open on Monday. There were 15,000 homes without power.
Aleandro Petrucci, the mayor of Arquata del Tronto, another town battered by the series of quakes, declared: “There are no towns left. Everything’s come down.”
The quake was felt as far away as Rome
The quake was felt as far away as Rome
In Rome, more than 100 miles away, cracks appeared in buildings and the underground train network was shut for structural checks.
Around 1,300 people in the Umbria and Marche regions – where serious damage has been seen – had already fled to the coast after being struck four days ago by a 6.1 magnitude and 5.5 magnitude earthquake.
Those who had not left had been sleeping in their cars. One of them was the Mayor of Ussita, Marco Rinaldi. He said: “Everything collapsed. I can see columns of smoke, it’s a disaster, a disaster.
“I saw hell break out.”
Rescuers confirmed that a handful of farmers and elderly people who had refused to leave the small village of Casali after last week’s strikes had been found and they were considering forcing them to move out.
Crumbling walls around Saint Anthony Church
Crumbling walls around Saint Anthony Church
Courtesy of Sky News


Subject To Change

Depth: 9 km

Distances: 115 km NE of Roma, Italy / pop: 2,564,000 / local time: 14:34:54.4 2016-10-30
53 km N of L’Aquila, Italy / pop: 68,600 / local time: 14:34:54.4 2016-10-30
34 km W of Ascoli Piceno, Italy / pop: 51,400 / local time: 14:34:54.4 2016-10-30
15 km NE of Maltignano, Italy / pop: 2,600 / local time: 14:34:54.4 2016-10-30

Global viewRegional view

Record Snowfall Freezes Northeastern B.C. Grain Harvest

Rick Kantz of the B.C. Grain Producers Association says snow has forced farmers across the Peace region in northeastern B.C to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crop in the fields.
Rick Kantz of the B.C. Grain Producers Association says snow has forced farmers across the Peace region in northeastern B.C to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crop in the fields. (Dave Gilson/CBC)
A record snowfall is forcing grain farmers in northeastern B.C. to halt their harvest.
On Oct. 1, Fort St. John received 23 centimetres of snow,  The old record for the day was six centimetres set in 1954.
“This is probably the most severe one-off weather condition that I can remember in the last 40 years,” said Rick Kantz, president of the B.C. Grain Producers Association.
Kantz said harvest had already been difficult this year.
“[The fields] were extremely wet before the snows came … so instead of travelling across the surface, you’re sinking in.”
He said it’s been raining and snowing since then, and the weather has forced grain farmers to leave anywhere between 10 to 20 per cent of their crops in the field.
“You’re down 20 per cent of your income … you might have enough to cover expenses but it doesn’t leave much for wages to carry on,” he explained.
Potential price hike for consumers
Similar weather conditions have frustrated grain farmers across the prairies.
In Saskatchewan, the harvest is well behind schedule with much of the grain-belt pelted with double the rain it usually receives.
In southern Alberta, farmers are waiting for warmer Chinook winds to dry their crops so they can harvest, with one expert saying nearly a third of the province’s crops need to be harvested.
Kantz said the low harvest this year could mean prices on goods from cereal to livestock feed could rise.
“There are some small increases happening already because this is happening already, right across Canada,” he said.
B.C.’s Peace Region accounts for about 80 per cent of the province’s field crop production, and its main crops are wheat, barley and canola.
Courtesy of