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2010 Hurricane Season Forecast / Update
The News - Natural Disasters
June 22, 2010
hurricane forecast 2010

Hurricane Season 2010 - Update and Possible Development Later This Week.

Forecasters are keeping an eye near the Yucatan Peninsula as an area of strong thunderstorms has formed. 

Computer models bring this area of storms and associated surface low pressure center into the Gulf Of Mexico within a week.

As the storm nears, the National Hurricane Center has stated that they will issue the proper warnings if needed.  Some forecasters at the center have told said that they fully expect the area to develop within the next few days after it crosses over the peninsula. [ NOAA ] [ ACCUWEATHER VIDEO ] **Click Image to Enlarge**

Tropical system in the Caribbean may move into the Gulf Of Mexico this weekend and impact the oil area next week. Judging by the overall weather pattern and ideas from several computer models, the odds are increasing for tropical cyclone formation in the western Atlantic Basin before the end of the month.

At the very least, a period of rough seas and strong thunderstorms will affect part of the Gulf of Mexico next week. AccuWeather.com Hurricane and Long Range Expert Meteorologist Joe Bastardi assimilates the current weather pattern in the Atlantic Basin to a "tropical brew that is ready to boil over."

2010 hurricane season forecast predictions
Stories of hurricane winds and rain lashing the coasts of Florida, Louisiana and other southeastern states pop up in the news constantly during the summer, but warnings of Pacific storms such as Jimena are few and far between.

How many hurricanes will there be in 2010?

AccuWeather.com Chief Hurricane Meteorologist Joe Bastardi has upped his original forecast from 16-18 storms, to 18-21, with at least eight impacts and six hurricanes, and two or three of those hurricanes will have major landfalls. Only five years in the 160 years of records had 18 or more storms in a season.

"The hurricane season should have several hits on the U.S. coast from July through September, mainly in the Southeast and Gulf," said Bastardi.

ĎMonsterí black holes result of galaxiesí collision
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 22, 2010
galaxy collision monster black holes
Enormous black holes, some of the most powerful sources of radiation in the universe, apparently switch on after galaxies collide, researchers have found.

The centers of as many as a tenth of all galaxies generate more energy than can be explained by stars, with some of these "active galactic nuclei" releasing more radiation than the entire Milky Way galaxy combined, but from a space no larger than our solar system. Astronomers suspect this energy is released when matter falls into giant, supermassive black holes that are up to billions of times the mass of our sun at these galaxies' cores.

"These monster black holes evolve in a way that is strongly related to the amount of dark matter that surrounds them and that is intimately related to the probability of galaxies to merge," said study lead author Nico Cappelluti, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.[ MSNBC ]

Danger of Tsunamis From Methane?
The News - Natural Disasters
June 22, 2010
methane tsunami

A new and less well known asymmetric threat has surfaced in the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. Methane or CH4 gas is being released in vast quantities in the Gulf waters. Seismic data shows huge pools of methane gas at the location immediately below and around the damaged "Macondo" oil well. Methane is a colourless, odourless and highly flammable substance which forms a major component in natural gas. This is the same gas that blew the top off Deepwater Horizon and killed 11 people. The "flow team" of the US Geological Survey estimates that 2,900 cubic feet of natural gas, which primarily contains methane, is being released into the Gulf waters with every barrel of oil. The constant flow of over 50,000 barrels of crude oil places the total daily amount of natural gas at over 145 million cubic feet. So far, over 8 billion cubic feet may have been released, making it one of the most vigorous methane eruptions in modern human history. If the estimates of 100,000 barrels a day -- that have emerged from a BP internal document -- are true, then the estimates for methane gas release might have to be doubled.

Older documents indicate that the subterranean geological formation below the "Macondo" well in the Gulf of Mexico may contain the presence of a huge methane deposit. It has been a well known fact that the methane in that oil deposit was problematic. As a result, there was a much higher risk of a blow out. Macondo shares its name with the cursed town in the novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by the Nobel-prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

By some geologists' estimates, the methane could be a massive bubble trapped for thousands of years under the Gulf of Mexico sea floor. More than a year ago, geologists expressed alarm in regard to BP and Transocean putting their exploratory rig directly over this massive underground reservoir of methane. Warnings were raised before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that the area of seabed chosen might be unstable and inherently dangerous.
China flood toll rises to 175 dead, more rain forecast
The News - Natural Disasters
June 21, 2010
Torrential rains battering south and central China have left 175 people dead and forced the evacuation of 1.7 million, as washed out roads and railways hampered rescue work Monday.

Premier Wen Jiabao called for greater efforts to battle flooding that has also left 107 people missing since June 13, as more rains are forecast in the next few days, the government said.

"In the coming days another round of heavy rain will hit areas in the south. We are facing a bigger test, so we need to make better preparations to avoid disaster," Wen said on state television. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

Can Earth Survive?
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 21, 2010
can earth survive

The millions upon millions of gallons of oil hemorrhaging into the Gulf of Mexico every day is a crude reminder of the many ways humans are fouling the planet. As forests are cleared, cities and suburbs paved and expanded, as the air and sea warm and become increasingly polluted with cancer-causing chemicals and garbage, and with species dropping like flies, the planet’s health is being challenged in ways that have not occurred in its entire 4.5-billion-year existence.

Can Earth survive?

The simple answer is a resounding "yes."

Ocean Changes May Have Dire Impact on People
The News - Climate-Environment
June 19, 2010
ocean dire impacts people
The first comprehensive synthesis on the effects of climate change on the world's oceans has found they are now changing at a rate not seen for several million years.

In an article published June 18 in Science magazine, scientists reveal the growing atmospheric concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases are driving irreversible and dramatic changes to the way the ocean functions, with potentially dire impacts for hundreds of millions of people across the planet.

The findings of the report emerged from a synthesis of recent research on the world's oceans, carried out by two of the world's leading marine scientists, one from The University of Queensland in Australia, and one from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the USA.

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, lead author of the report and Director of The University of Queensland's Global Change Institute, says the findings have enormous implications for mankind, particularly if the trend continues. [ SCIENCE DAILY ]

More than a million evacuated in China over flood threat
The News - Current Events
June 19, 2010
Iceberg in an ocean   Image: BBC
More than a million people living along rivers in China's south have been evacuated with water rising to dangerous levels, state media said Saturday, as torrential rains left at least 88 dead.

The government said more than 1.4 million residents living on river banks and in low-lying areas had had to move, according to the official China Daily.

Zhang Zhitong, deputy director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said China's second-largest waterway, the Pearl River, which crosses the south, had breached warning marks on Thursday. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

3 killed, dozens injured in Minn. tornadoes
The News - Natural Disasters
June 18, 2010
minnesota tornado june
Police and National Guard soldiers blocked off neighborhoods Friday as city officials organized a cleanup from tornadoes that ripped through the city the night before, part of a turbulent system that fueled twisters across the state and killed at least three people.

Dozens more were injured in Thursday's heavy weather. The National Weather Service collected 36 reports of tornado sightings, with northwestern and southern Minnesota hit hardest. If the sightings are all confirmed, it would exceed the previous state record of 27 in one day, in 1992.

In northwestern Minnesota, a woman was killed in Almora and a gas station owner was killed in Mentor. In southern Minnesota, a woman was killed when her home west of Albert Lea was destroyed.

Wadena, a town of about 4,300 people that lies 70 miles southeast of Fargo, appeared to suffer the most extensive property damage. The storms destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and other buildings, toppled power lines and left a big chunk of the town without trees. Officials met Friday morning to plan the town's next step.  [ YAHOO NEWS ]

'World could be plunged into crisis in 2014' - prediction
The News - Weird-Strange
June 17, 2010
world crisis 2014
A "Doomsday " moment will take place in 2014, and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous - according to a Cambridge University professor.

In the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic "Great Event" of international significance at the start of each century, he claims.

Occurring in the middle of the second decade of each century, they include events which sparked wars, religious conflict and brought peace.

Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University, who carried out the research, has pinpointed the global financial crisis as the trigger for the next 'Great Event'. And he claims the U.S., with its waning economic influence but unrivalled military power, holds the key to determining the course and character of the next 90 years.

'Killer space rock' hunt to begin
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 17, 2010
killer asteroid hunt

A new telescope facility in Hawaii designed to search for asteroids and comets which could threaten Earth has been made operational.

The Pan-STARRS 1 telescope will map large portions of the sky each night to track not only close space objects, but also exploding stars (supernovae).

The telescope has been taking science data for six months but is now operating from dusk-dawn each night. Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) is expected to map one-sixth of the sky every month. The facility boasts a huge digital camera: a 1,400 megapixel (1.4 gigapixel) device that can photograph an area of the sky as large as 36 full Moons in a single exposure. [ BBC NEWS ]

Our own extinction is forecast - Aussie Scientist
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 17, 2010

WE humans are about to be wiped out in a few decades. The grandchildren of many of us will not live to old age.

Hear it from Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University and the man who helped eradicate smallpox.

"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years," he told The Australian this week.

Sea creatures flee oil spill, gather near shore
The News - Current Events
June 16, 2010
Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.

Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange - and troubling - phenomena. Fish and other wildlife are fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast. But that is not the hopeful sign it might appear to be, researchers say.

The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily get devoured by predators.

"A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable," said Larry Crowder, a Duke University marine biologist. [ AP NEWS ]
What's wrong with the sun?
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 16, 2010
where are the sunspots

SUNSPOTS come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to fade away again after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.

But for the past two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged for nearly a hundred years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise. "This is solar behaviour we haven't seen in living memory," says David Hathaway, a physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The sun is under scrutiny as never before thanks to an armada of space telescopes. The results they beam back are portraying our nearest star, and its influence on Earth, in a new light. Sunspots and other clues indicate that the sun's magnetic activity is diminishing, and that the sun may even be shrinking. Together the results hint that something profound is happening inside the sun. The big question is what? [ NEW SCIENTIST ]

French storms and floods kill 19
The News - Natural Disasters
June 16, 2010
french floods kill 19
Flash floods caused by torrential rain killed 19 people and left seven missing near France's Mediterranean coast, an official said on Wednesday, after the worst downpours the region has seen since 1827.

More than 350 mm (14 inches) of rain fell on the Var department in southern France in a few hours on Tuesday.

The sub-prefect for the region said 19 people had died and seven others were missing.

More than 1,000 people found refuge in schools and other buildings after their homes were swamped. Helicopters flew over 450 rescue missions and some 100,000 households were without electricity. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

Bright green comet visible in UK skies for the rest of the week
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 16, 2010

A bright green comet is streaking its way across UK skies – for the first and last time.

Comet 2009R1 McNaught will be visible from our back gardens for the rest of the week before it disappears from our Solar System forever.

Professor John Mason from the British Astronomical Association said that the comet’s visit was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime event’. He said that even though it is not particularly bright at the moment the comet can still be viewed using a decent pair of binoculars. [ DAILYMAIL UK ]

bright green comet uk skies
Oil leaking up to 2.52M gallons daily - New estimate
The News - Climate-Environment
June 15, 2010
new oil spill size estimate
Scientists provided a new estimate for the amount of oil gushing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday that indicates it could be leaking up to 2.52 million gallons of crude a day.

A government panel of scientists said that the ruptured well is leaking between 1.47 million and 2.52 million gallons of oil daily. The figures move the government's worst-case estimates more in line with what an independent team had previously thought was the maximum size of the spill.

"This estimate brings together several scientific methodologies and the latest information from the sea floor, and represents a significant step forward in our effort to put a number on the oil that is escaping from BP's well," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

The latest numbers reflect an increase in the flow that scientists believe happened after undersea robots earlier this month cut off a kinked pipe near the sea floor that was believed to be restricting the flow of oil, just as a bend in a garden hose reduces water flow. BP officials has estimated that cutting the kinked pipe likely increased the flow by up 20 percent. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

Border jolted with big aftershock
The News - Natural Disasters
June 15, 2010
To the crowd of baseball fans cheering at San Diego's Petco Park, the jolt in the eighth inning came as a surprise.

But for scientists, Monday night's magnitude-5.7 earthquake was the kind of aftershock they expected from the deadly magnitude-7.2 Easter Sunday quake centered in Baja California two months earlier. Major shakers tend to produce aftershocks for months and sometimes years, scientists say. [ MSNBC ]

Solar flares from 'huge space storm' will cause devastation - NASA
The News - Science-Astronomy
June 14, 2010
solar flare 2012 2013 predictions

Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation “space storm”, Nasa has warned.

National power grids could overheat and air travel severely disrupted while electronic items, navigation devices and major satellites could stop working after the Sun reaches its maximum power in a few years.

Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes “from a deep slumber” sometime around 2013, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

In a new warning, Nasa said the super storm would hit like “a bolt of lightning” and could cause catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken. Scientists believe it could damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs.

Hurricanes could bust Gulf oil lines
The News - Natural Disasters
June 14, 2010
hurricanes break oil lines
Hurricanes roaring across the Gulf of Mexico create strong enough underwater waves to dig up and potentially bust open oil pipelines that run across the ocean floor, according to a new study that recorded the currents created by the massive storms.

The massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf has focused attentions on the potential for more such environmental disasters, particularly now that the 2010 hurricane season has started. Scientists and officials are not only worried about how a storm might exacerbate the current spill, but the potential for it to cause another one, possibly by causing a rupture in an oil pipeline.

At least 31,000 miles of pipelines snake across the floor of the Gulf, according to the Minerals Management Service, and hurricanes have long been known to cause a range of damage to them, from dents to full ruptures.

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