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Air Pollution Responsible for More Than 2 Million Deaths Worldwide Each Year,
The News - Climate-Environment
July 12, 2013
air pollution kills
More than two million deaths occur worldwide each year as a direct result of human-caused outdoor air pollution, a new study has found. In addition, while it has been suggested that a changing climate can exacerbate the effects of air pollution and increase death rates, the study shows that this has a minimal effect and only accounts for a small proportion of current deaths related to air pollution.

The study, which has been published today, 12 July, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, estimates that around 470,000 people die each year because of human-caused increases in ozone. It also estimates that around 2.1 million deaths are caused each year by human-caused increases in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) ? tiny particles suspended in the air that can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing cancer and other respiratory disease.
 
Man Swims 5 Hours To Save His Family After Their Boat Capsized
The News - Current Events
July 11, 2013
man swims saves family
John Franklin Riggs swam for hours to reach help for his family, including two children, after their boat capsized in a storm. Riggs climbed rocks along the shoreline in the dark and knocked on the door of the first house he saw early Wednesday.

“He came to the right house,” said Angela Byrd, whose dog’s barking awakened her. She found 46-year-old Riggs outside, soaking wet and barefoot.

“He said, `I’ve been swimming since sundown; I need help,’ ” she told the Daily Times.
 
Distant earthquakes can affect oil, gas fields : Study
The News - Natural Disasters
July 11, 2013
distant earthquake damage
The powerful earthquake that rocked Japan in 2011 set off tremors around a West Texas oil field, according to new research that suggests oil and gas drilling operations may make fault zones sensitive to shock waves from distant big quakes.

It's long been known that large quakes can trigger minor jolts thousands of miles from the epicenter. Volcanically active spots like Yellowstone National Park often experience shaking after a large distant event. Less is known about the influence of remote quakes on fault lines that have been weakened by man-made activity like the deep disposal of wastewater at the Texas oil field. A new study led by researchers at Columbia University and published Friday in the journal Science suggests a strong quake that strikes halfway around the globe can set off small to mid-size quakes near injection wells in the U.S. heartland.
 
Solar Tsunami Used to Measure Sun's Magnetic Field
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 11, 2013
solar tsunami
A solar tsunami observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Japanese Hinode spacecraft has been used to provide the first accurate estimates of the Sun's magnetic field. Solar tsunamis are produced by enormous explosions in the Sun's atmosphere called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). As the CME travels out into space, the tsunami travels across the Sun at speeds of up to 1000 kilometres per second.

Similar to tsunamis on Earth, the shape of solar tsunamis is changed by the environment through which they move. Just as sound travels faster in water than in air, solar tsunamis have a higher speed in regions of stronger magnetic field. This unique feature allowed the team, led by researchers from UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory, to measure the Sun's magnetic field. The results are outlined in a paper soon to be published in the journal Solar Physics.
 
Why the Southwest Keeps Seeing Droughts
The News - Climate-Environment
July 11, 2013
2013 southwest drought
Severe drought parched the Southwest from Texas to California and heat waves set record-high temperatures. A New Mexico firestorm nearly killed 24 firefighters.

Sound familiar? Those were actually the events of 1950 in America, not 2013. In that year, natural cycles in Pacific and Atlantic oceans' sea-surface temperatures combined to create extreme heat and drought across the United States. And the pattern is repeating. About 10 years ago, the two ocean patterns flipped into the same drought-causing phase as in the 1950s. Because of the change, climate scientists have predicted drier-than-normal conditions in the Southwest for the next 20 to 30 years. But this time, unlike in the 1950s, the climate patterns are getting a boost from global warming, making the heat and drought more extreme.
 
Pictures: Extremely Wild Weather
The News - Climate-Environment
July 10, 2013
Volcano Lightning, Landslides, Tornadoes, and More...
 
Pandemic Risk? Troubling Traits of H7N9 Avian Flu Virus
The News - Current Events
July 10, 2013
H7N9 virus
The emerging H7N9 avian influenza virus responsible for at least 37 deaths in China has qualities that could potentially spark a global outbreak of flu, according to a new study published July 10, 2013 in the journal Nature.

An international team led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo conducted a comprehensive analysis of two of the first human isolates of the virus from patients in China. Their efforts revealed the H7N9 virus's ability to infect and replicate in several species of mammals, including ferrets and monkeys, and to transmit in ferrets -- data that suggests H7N9 viruses have the potential to become a worldwide threat to human health.
 
Animated: How The West Coast Will Look Under 25 Feet Of Water
The News - Climate-Environment
July 10, 2013
west coast under water
Back in April, artist Nickolay Lamm put together a collection of illustrations of what some of the East Coast's popular tourist destinations would look like under 25 feet of water, the potential sea level rise expected in the next few centuries. Since then, he's added a few new destinations along the West Coast in California.

Lamm, who used sea level rise data and maps from Climate Central, first posted the images on the blog for StorageFront.com, a search engine for self storage. We went ahead and put them into GIF form to really show the difference in water levels. The basic moral: Head for the hills, California beach bunnies. [POPSCI]
 
China floods trigger landslide that buries 30 people
The News - Natural Disasters
July 10, 2013
china landslides
Flooding in western China, the worst in 50 years for some areas, has triggered a landslide that buried about 30 people, trapped hundreds in a road tunnel and destroyed a high-profile memorial to a devastating 2008 earthquake. Meanwhile, to the north-east, at least 12 workers were killed when a violent rainstorm caused the collapse of a workshop they were building at a coal mine in Jinzhong. The accident on Tuesday night came amid heavy rain and high winds across a swath of northern China, including the capital, Beijing.

There was no immediate word on the chances of survival for the 30 or so people buried in Wednesday's landslide in the city of Dujiangyan in Sichuan province, but rescue workers with search dogs rushed to the area, the official Xinhua news agency said.
 
How to Survive a Plane Crash
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 09, 2013
survive plane crash
Your chances of surviving an airplane crash, like the recent crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, are surprisingly good.

More than 95 percent of the airplane passengers involved in a crash survive, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Despite this reassuring statistic, many people adopt a fatalistic attitude toward plane crashes — which can result in a dangerous level of apathy, especially regarding preflight safety briefings.
 
Why Toronto Was Drenched by Record Rainfall
The News - Climate-Environment
July 09, 2013
Toronto Flooding 2013
The torrential rain that soaked parts of Toronto yesterday (July 8), causing widespread flooding on major highways and hobbling the city's transit system, broke Toronto's nearly 60-year-old single-day rainfall record, meteorologists said.

Nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell in just two hours yesterday in and around Toronto, triggering severe flash floods and stranding some commuter-train passengers for hours before police could rescue them in boats. At Toronto's Pearson International Airport, almost 5 inches (13 cm) of rain were recorded, which is more than the average rainfall the city typically receives for the entire month of July. The heavy rain was generated by two separate storms that collided over the Greater Toronto area, a region that encompasses the city of Toronto and four surrounding regional municipalities.
 
Why People Don't Learn from Natural Disasters
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 09, 2013
why people don't learn from natural disasters
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New York subways were flooded and unusable, and much of the city lost power for several days. But despite such powerful scenes of destruction, most people don't think these disasters will happen to them, so they aren't prepared for them, or for recovering from them.

That lack of preparation, combined with the steady uptick in coastal populations, exacerbates the devastation caused by natural disasters. As the population grows, becomes more urbanized and builds infrastructure in hazardous areas like the coast, natural hazards pose an increasing threat. A panel of experts, speaking June 25 at a science policy conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), called for greater resilience in facing such hazards.

Resilience means not only preparedness for a threat, but also the ability to absorb, recover from or adapt to one, said Gene Whitney, a member of the Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters at the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council. The committee recently published a report on disaster resilience. [LS]
 
'A month's worth of rain' in under four hours triggers flash flooding, chaos in Toronto
The News - Natural Disasters
July 09, 2013
toronto flash flooding
A month’s worth of rain in a matter of hours caused chaos in Toronto on Monday, as flash flooding triggered widespread power outages, subway closures and left almost 1,500 people stranded on a commuter train filled with gushing water.

The deluge of more than 3.5 inches in just three-and-a-half hours forced motorists to abandon cars and left 400,000 homes without electricity late into the night. Environment Canada officials said they expected the official tally to top 4 inches.   The city’s police Marine Unit was called into action to rescue more than 1,400 people from a 10-car GO transit train that stalled as it tried to reverse away from the rising torrents.   
 
Water, do you take it for granted?
The News - Climate-Environment
July 09, 2013
polluted water
As technology improves, scientists are able to detect more pollutants, and at smaller concentrations, in Earth’s freshwater bodies. Containing traces of contaminants ranging from birth control pills and sunscreen to pesticides and petroleum, our planet's lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater are often a chemical cocktail.

Beyond synthetic pollution, freshwater is also the end point for biological waste, in the form of human sewage, animal excrement, and rainwater runoff flavored by nutrient-rich fertilizers from yards and farms. These nutrients find their way through river systems into seas, sometimes creating coastal ocean zones void of oxygen—and therefore aquatic life—and making the connection between land and sea painfully obvious. When you dump paint down the drain, it often ends up in the ocean, via freshwater systems.
 
Tropical Storm Chantal Picking Up Speed
The News - Natural Disasters
July 09, 2013
Tropical Storm Chantale
Tropical Storm Chantal formed in the tropical Atlantic Ocean late Sunday night (Eastern U.S. time) and has already made its way into the Windward Islands.

The system developed as a strong tropical wave with tropical storm force winds before finally developing a closed circulation late Sunday night, thus bypassing the tropical depression phase and becoming Tropical Storm Chantal straightaway. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Windward Islands today and are possible in parts of Puerto Rico tonight into early Wednesday.
 
The 7 Habits For Survival Preparedness
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 09, 2013
7 habits survival preparedness
These seven habits are the secret to being highly effective in what you do while adapting to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Survival preparedness is marginally to do with supplies and preps, while true survival and preparedness has to do with one’s ability to adapt and to produce results.

Here’s how you do it… [MSB]
 
Selecting the right gun for teaching a new shooter
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 08, 2013
picking first gun
Learning to shoot can be stressful even for adults. Guns can be heavy, ranges are usually noisy, and managing recoil and muzzle blast requires concentration. The learning challenge is that much greater for kids who are often much smaller than adult shooters, may lack the strength to hold up a firearm or to operate some of its controls. Add to this shorter attention span and the impressionable nature of children and the first range trip becomes a high-stakes proposition for the coach. Start out wrong and the interest can quickly change to aversion. Here are the things to consider when picking out a firearm for your child’s first range trip. [ALLOUTDOOR]
 
More Major Hurricanes Coming This Century
The News - Natural Disasters
July 08, 2013
stronger and stronger hurricanes
Strong hurricanes could hit Asia and the U.S. East Coast more often this century, a new study finds.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence that hurricanes are becoming more intense as global warming heats the oceans. This means Category 1, 2 and 3 storms will have fiercer winds, bumping them up to Category 3, 4 and higher. Overall, the study's modeling approach predicts a 40 percent global increase in tropical cyclones of Category 3 and higher during the 21st century. The findings were published in today's (July 8) issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
How to Protect Outdoor Workers (and yourself) from Heat Stroke
The News - Climate-Environment
July 08, 2013
deadly heat
In a typical year 658 Americans die from heat-related causes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This summer extreme heat in the Southwest has left one man dead from heat stroke and dozens of people hospitalized due to heat-related illnesses. Researchers at Columbia University predict an increase in the number of heat waves over the next few years, suggesting a growing need for those who work or play outside to learn how to recognize and avoid heat-related illnesses.
 
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