News No foul play suspected in deaths of two workers at U.S. research station in Antarctica
Two train cars derailed during the crash, the AP reported, citing NTV television.’Turkey train crash Reuters Rescue workers search at the wreckage after a high speed train crash in Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 13, 2018. (REUTERS/Tumay Berkin)At least 47 people have been injured in the crash, with three of them in serious condition, according to BBC News.Six passengers and three engine drivers are reportedly among the deceased, the AP said.”Our hope is that there are no other victims,” Ankara Gov. Vasip Sahin said.As of 12:30 p.m., local time, all passengers and drivers were removed from the wreckage, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said.The cause of the crash remains under investigation.Snow fell in Ankara several hours prior to the crash.The city’s international airport observed snow from 8:31 p.m. Wednesday to 12:20 a.m. Thursday, local time. Visibility was reduced to below 1 mile (1.6 km) for a time.While the rest of Thursday is expected to be dry for continued rescue and recovery efforts, a new system moving into the area Thursday night could bring another round of snowfall. Drier weather is forecast to return later Friday and continue into the weekend.
An Upheaval at the Ends of the World Robinson Meyer•An Upheaval at the Ends of the World On Monday, a new NASA report warned that ancient glaciers in Antarctica are “waking up” and beginning to dump ice into the sea, which could eventually raise sea levels. The following day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its new Arctic Report Card, which finds that the top of the world is also thawing, melting, and breaking down. The Arctic is undergoing a period of “record and near-record warmth unlike any period on record,” the report says.Little did we know that less than a century later, the hustle and bustle of our society would alter that ancient landscape forever.The pristine environments at both poles of the Earth are changing, perhaps irreversibly, according to a new pair of federal studies. On Monday, a new nasa report warned that ancient glaciers in Antarctica are “waking up” and beginning to dump ice into the sea, which could eventually raise sea levels.The following day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its new Arctic Report Card, which finds that the top of the world is also thawing, melting, and breaking down. The Arctic is undergoing a period of “record and near-record warmth unlike any period on record,” the report says.Emily Osborne, a scientist who leads Arctic research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, repeated this warning while speaking at a major geoscience conference on Tuesday. “The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in human history,” she said.The finding at the bottom of the world is in some ways the most shocking. Antarctica is split into two massive ice sheets, the East and the West. Researchers have long considered the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to be less worrisome: Though it contains enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by 173 feet, it sits at a high enough altitude to withstand the first century or so of warming.The new finding may complicate that conclusion. Using a new database of global ice movements, nasa scientists found that several glaciers in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet are quickening their march toward the sea. Since 2008, a set of glaciers that feed Vincennes Bay—which is due south of Australia—lost about nine feet of overall height. Their speed has also increased, suggesting that these glaciers are dumping more ice into the ocean than researchers previously expected.The Vincennes Bay glaciers are important because they block the inland Aurora and Wilkes ice basins from tumbling into the sea. If both basins collapsed, they could raise sea levels by 92 feet. “Taken together, they’re about four Greenlands [worth of sea-level rise],” said Catherine Walker, a glaciologist at nasa, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Monday.Read: The pond at the North Pole Alex Gardner, another glaciologist at nasa, said that warming oceans—and not just a warming climate overall—seemed to be causing the decline in glacier levels. Some of the fastest-collapsing glaciers in the world—such as the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland—are primarily giving way because of warm ocean waters wearing at their icy fronts.Both researchers said that existing models of sea-level rise may not account for these changes. “We weren’t expecting it because we never knew it was happening,” Walker said. “This isn’t new; it started happening 10 years ago. We just couldn’t see it.”A reindeer herder stops with two animals in north-central Russia. Reindeer and caribou populations have fallen by more than 56 percent worldwide since the 1980s, according to a new federal study. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters)
Not that the other end of the world is doing much better. noaa’s new Arctic Report Card—an annual analysis, now in its 13th edition—finds that the world’s Far North is going through a tremendous upheaval. The report says that the catastrophic effects of climate change now wreak mayhem in every season of the year.In the winter, when the Arctic Ocean has historically frozen into an enormous skating rink, sea ice now struggles to form at all. 2018 was the second-worst year on record for sea ice, the report says. The Arctic is now so warm that it hemorrhages ice even at the coldest, darkest time of the year: “During two weeks in February—normally the most important weeks for sea-ice growth in the year—the Bering Sea actually lost an area of ice the size of Idaho,” said Don Perovich, a geophysicist at Dartmouth, on Tuesday.In the spring, the sea ice vanishes early, allowing algae blooms to envelop the open ocean. One warm-water species of algae produces toxins that trigger a disease called paralytic shellfish poisoning when absorbed by shellfish and then eaten by humans. Toxins in a single animal can kill a person in as little as two hours, according to the Alaska Division of Public Health. There is no antidote.Cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning have increased sevenfold in Alaska over the past 40 years, the new report finds. Seals, walruses, and whales have also been killed by the disease.Finally, in the summer, temperatures soar. In August, huge swaths of the Arctic Ocean surface measured 20 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal. Ice now almost never makes it through the summer: Less than 1 percent of sea ice in 2018 formed more than four years ago. When scientists began tracking that figure back in the 1980s, one-sixth of all sea ice was at least four years old.Animal life is cratering in response to these year-round changes. Caribou and reindeer herds have lost more than half their animals since the 1980s, said Howard Epstein, a professor at the University of Virginia. About 4.7 million caribou and reindeer roamed the tundra a few decades ago. Only 2.1 million do so today.Meanwhile, micro-plastics—tiny shards of plastic from bottle caps, fishing gear, and the filters of cigarette butts—are pouring into the region. “The Arctic Ocean has a higher concentration of micro-plastics than any other global basin in the world,” said Karen Frey, a professor at Clark University. “All roads in the global ocean-circulation system lead to the Arctic.”All these dire federal scientific reports might seem like they would prompt a federal governmental response. Tim Gallaudet, the interim administrator of noaa and a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, was on hand to provide it. He hailed President Donald Trump’s signing of the Save Our Seas Act, a law to combat micro-plastic pollution that Congress passed unanimously in October. He also hailed the White House’s support for noaa Arctic research.But he did not endorse any attempt to fight climate change. “The data is the data. Changes are occurring,” he said. “What we need to do is adapt to those changes—and we can adapt as a country effectively by better understanding and improving our predictions.”Asked whether he or any other senior noaa official had talked to the president about climate change, he admitted he had not, and did not acknowledge any other efforts. “No,” he said. “I personally have not briefed the president on climate change.”We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.ROBINSON MEYER is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers climate change and technology.
The most recent notable eruption in the region occurred in 1538, but it was small in comparison to two other events that occurred 12,000 and 30,000 years ago.If the Yellowstone volcano was to erupt today, the effects would also be similar.”Such a giant eruption would have regional effects such as falling ash and short-term [years to decades] changes to global climate,” the U.S. Geological Survey reports.
This combination photo shows a part of Minnesota Drive, left, that collapsed after an earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 30, 2018, and the same part of the road after it was repaired on Dec. 5. The collapsed off-ramp in Alaska’s largest city after the destructive force of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake was rebuilt and reopened four days after its destruction. (AP Photo/Dan Joling, Mike Dinneen, File)
Winter infrastructure repairs and long-range construction projects are difficult to plan around Alaska’s unique weather conditions and lack of daylight. And that’s without an earthquake.
But on Dec. 1, the city of Anchorage was struck by a monstrous 7.0 magnitude quake that crumbled major roadways. Cars were left stranded, buildings were rocked and bridges were damaged.
With the severity of the destruction and unobliging weather of Anchorage winters, it was reasonable to believe that the repairs would take weeks, if not months, to complete. Instead, the roads were repaved, repaired and reopened in just a few days.
While the city was in the midst of a warmer spell at the time of the earthquake, the temperatures in the week following were consistently below freezing. Average temperatures for December in Anchorage range from 13 to 25 F degrees while residents are granted less than six hours of sunlight.
In this Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 file photo, a vehicle is trapped on a section of road that collapsed during an earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska. The collapsed roadway that became an iconic image of the destructive force of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake and its aftershocks was repaired just days after the quake. The off-ramp connecting Minnesota Drive and a road to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport reopened Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, with shoulder work finished Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dan Joling, File )
But to Shannon McCarthy, the media liaison of the Alaska Department of Transportation, the preparation and hard work of the asphalt producers and the paving crews made all the difference in completing the repairs in just four days.
„Cold temperatures were a huge challenge for paving,” McCarthy told AccuWeather. „All of our asphalt plants were shut down for the winter. Our staff contacted our local asphalt producer about two hours after the quake to ask them about restarting the plants, and they did so immediately. It’s incredible that they were able to bring them back on line as quickly as they did.”
McCarthy also said that there were eight major breaks in infrastructure from the earthquake. One of the most significant issues came from the collapse of the off-ramp by the Anchorage Airport.
While the daylight and temperatures certainly were not ideal for the repair efforts, McCarthy told AccuWeather there was another weather impact that actually made the work more difficult for crews.
„Construction crews brought in lights; they worked 24//7 to make the repairs,” she said. „We had a combination of weather and some snow, but the hardest condition was actually the freezing rain. They just pushed through the weather, not ideal but the workers came prepared.”
Many of the repairs that were made are considered just temporary, as the frozen soil and cold weather hurts the durability of roadways, according to McCarthy. More permanent repairs will be made at a later time, but for the next few winter months, residents can thank the diligence and quick response of paving crews for getting their city running smoothly once again.
Residents in Tennessee and Georgia got a big surprise Wednesday morning: the rumblings of an earthquake.
A magnitude 4.4 earthquake was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey at around 4:14 a.m. ET, with its epicenter near Decatur, Tenn., which is roughly more than 150 miles from Nashville.
An aftershock was felt about 13 minutes later with a magnitude of 3.3, said the USGS.
According to Atlanta TV station WXIA, the earthquake was felt as far as northern Georgia.
Some light and weak shaking was felt as far as Nashville and Murfreesboro to the west and even north into Kentucky.
According to the USGS, the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active earthquake areas in the Southeast. The zone extends across Tennessee and northwestern Georgia into northeastern Alabama.
Confused residents in the region took to social media, including Twitter, to confirm the earthquake. The hashtag #earthquake is among the top trending searches on Twitter as of Wednesday morning.
There have been no reports of serious damage or injuries.
The National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn., reported on Twitter the quake was the second strongest on record in East Tennessee. The strongest was a 4.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the region in 1973.
John Paul, a TV anchor with local station WSOC, reported the quake happened across the river from the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Tennessee. In a statement, the Tennessee Valley Authority said their facilities including the plant were not impacted by the earthquake.
TVA facilities are designed to withstand seismic events & were not impacted by Wednesday morning’s earthquake. They continue to safely operate. Personnel are currently conducting further inspections as a precaution. Our top priority remains the safety of the public.
Contributing: Kelli Krebs, The Tennessean
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Magnitude 4.4 earthquake shakes Tennessee, Georgia
That dearth of data is why researchers behind the the first-ever nationwide assessment of urban flooding call the issue the country’s “hidden challenge. Researchers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University surveyed professionals involved in public and private flood management from more than 350 municipalities in 48 states. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they’d experienced urban flooding in their communities.
For those hoping to get a glimpse of the Geminid meteor shower, the weather across the United States will either be very good, with clear skies and excellent viewing prospects, or very bad, with cloud-filled skies and perhaps some rain or wintry precipitation thrown in for bad measure.
The national weather map for the predawn hours tomorrow (Dec. 14) — when the Geminids are expected to be at their best — shows a developing storm near the Texas-Louisiana border. The storm is expected to generate a large swath of dense clouds over much of the eastern half of the nation. From the central Great Lakes south through the Tennessee and Mississippi river valleys and into the central Gulf Coast, the only meteors that will be visible will be those of the hydro variety (raindrops). Over the Florida Panhandle, the rain could be especially heavy with as much as 2 or more inches falling within only a few hours’ time. Across much of the south there will be a threat of thunderstorms.
Across the Middle Atlantic and northeastern U.S., not much precipitation is expected. Instead, skywatchers will experience low clouds and spotty areas of mist, drizzle and patches of dense fog. [Geminid Meteor Shower: When, Where & How to See It]
Another storm, situated a few hundred miles off the coast of Washington state, is pushing a cold front into the Pacific coast, producing considerable cloudiness from Washington to California.
But if you live anywhere else, the weather for meteor watching looks just fine. A large high-pressure, „fair weather” system over the central Rockies should produce mainly clear skies across much of the Rockies and Plains States.
Generally, anywhere west of a line extending from Dallas northeast to Traverse City, Michigan, will be in good shape for Geminid viewing. West of the Continental Divide, however, cloudiness will increase because of the unsettled weather systems advancing toward the Pacific coast.
Those in the favored regions for viewing should be sure to bundle up, as overnight temperatures will be in the teens and 20s. One of the drawbacks of the Geminid meteor shower is that prospective viewers are usually subjected to lying on their backs for long intervals in subfreezing temperatures. Such a situation detracts from watching one of the brightest, most reliable and prolific of the year’s annual meteor showers.
To obtain the latest weather forecast, tailored specifically for your hometown, check the National Weather Service website.
You will find links to National Weather Service Forecast Offices across the United States, as well for Puerto Rico and American Samoa. Just locate your region and click on the weather office nearest to your location; you be able to get the latest weather outlook. (You can also watch the Geminids virtually this evening via a Slooh Online Observatory webcast.)
For those who will miss this year’s Geminid shower because of poor weather, we normally would say: „Wait till next year.” Unfortunately, we can’t even say that. In 2019, a full moon will occur on Dec. 12, just two days before the shower’s peak. That means the sky will be lit up by moonlight all through the night, likely hiding all but the brightest „Gems.”
It will be much better in 2020 when the Geminids coincide with a new moon.
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers’ Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for Verizon FiOS1 News in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.