Hurricane Central Strongest Hurricanes: 10 Most Intense Atlantic Hurricanes on Record
Nick Wiltgen Published: Sep 17, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT weather.com
The strongest Atlantic hurricanes based on atmospheric pressure.
Tropical Disaster in Mexico: Rescuers Dig in Mud, Rain for Dead in Landslide Published: Sep 23, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT Associated Press
Watching the Tropics
ACAPULCO, Mexico — Fourteen hours per body.That’s how long rescue crews with shovels, hydraulic equipment, anything they can muster, are averaging to find the victims of a massive landslide that took half the remote coffee-growing village of La Pintada, leaving 68 people missing.The Mexican army’s emergency response and rescue team slogged in several feet of mud and incessant rain with rescue dogs, recovering a total of five bodies as of Sunday, including a man found wedged under the collapsed roof of a dirt-filled home.Lt. Carlos Alberto Mendoza, commander of the 16-soldier team, said it’s the most daunting situation he’s seen in 24 years with the Mexican army.”They are doing unbelievable work, hours and hours for just one body,” he told The Associated Press. „No matter how hard the day is, they never get tired of working.”(MORE: Is Another Gulf of Mexico Storm on the Way?)Play Video
Watching the Tropics
Landslides Kill 20 in Northwest Philippines Published: Sep 23, 2013, 3:35 PM EDT Associated Press
Typhoon Usagi Update: 33 Killed, Travel Snarle
Louise Watt Published: Sep 23, 2013, 7:02 AM EDT Associated Press
Raw: Typhoon Hits China
Typhoon Produces Huge WavesTyphoon Produces Huge WavesDamage from Typhoon UsagiWatching the TropicsOn Saturday the storm had been a super typhoon when it passed between Taiwan and the Philippines, sparing both of them the brunt of the winds. However, Philippine officials said eight people were dead from drowning and landslides, and Taiwan authorities reported nine people hurt by falling trees.The storm wreaked havoc on travel plans just as many passengers were returning home after an extended weekend for the Chinese mid-autumn festival.More than 250 incoming and outgoing flights were canceled in Hong Kong, and an additional 200 were delayed, Airport Authority Hong Kong said. Intercity trains including the high-speed rail to Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were suspended until Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.At least 13 of the 25 victims in China were killed in worst-hit Shanwei city, where winds blew cars off the road near a gas station and houses were toppled, Xinhua said. One county’s electricity and water supply were cut off.In Hong Kong, dozens of trees were reported down and 17 people had sought medical treatment and eight of these were admitted to hospital, according to the Hong Kong government’s information services department.(MORE: Deadliest U.S. Hurricanes)China’s National Meterological Center said the typhoon would continue to weaken as it moves northwest and bring heavy rains later Monday and overnight to five southern provinces.In the Philippines, parts of the capital remained submerged Monday and classes were cancelled. The landslide deaths occurred in two villages in Zambales province west of Manila, Subic town mayor Jeffrey Khonghun said Monday. Two drowning deaths were reported previously.
Climate Scientists: IPCC Report Must Communicate ConsensusBy Becky Oskin, Staff Writer 1 hour agoView gallery Gokyo Lakes in the Himalayas in Nepal.As the huge effort to compile the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report comes to a close this week, many researchers expect new certainty to emerge in such areas as sea level rise and global temperature increases.Climate scientists are generally pleased with the evolution of and output of the group, though some would like to see stronger messages from it. Some scientists also want to cut down the timescale of the massive operation, which takes several years and is done on a volunteer basis by scientists.”I believe there are ways to make the more efficient, and that, in the future, we should look to ways that the IPCC can play an even more important role, while consuming less time of working scientists,” said Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist in the department of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif.Six years in the making, the will update the climate science community’s best estimates for the level of warming that may occur, as well as estimates for impacts like sea level rise and melting ice sheets. Its conclusions are already under attack, thanks to . The final summary of the first of four parts of the report will be released Friday (Sept. 27), after scientists and government officials hash out the details line by line.Spotlight on sea level rise-Although the changes reflected in the fifth report are not expected to be earth-shattering, there are some areas in which it will likely differ from the previous iteration of the report, released in 2007.”I expect that one area where the news will be qualitatively different this time is related to ,” said James McCarthy, professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University. At the time when the fourth assessment was completed, climate scientists „didn’t have a really good way of describing how to best anticipate the rate of ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica,” he told LiveScience.”Now, we know that Greenland alone can make a huge difference,” he added. „Within a couple of years — 2002, 2003 — we realized this had been underestimated. All you have to do is look at the difference between the 1990s and 2000s for summer temperature on the surface of Greenland.” [ ]Climate experts also told LiveScience they would like to see the new report stress the , and emphasize the link between human activities and global warming.”I hope this report will stress the virtual certainty among the scientific community that humans are affecting the climate system in profound ways, mainly through burning ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels,” said Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey. „I hope it will emphasize the high confidence in attribution of many aspects of climate change to increasing , and de-emphasize the discussion of uncertainty. The public hears „uncertainty” and thinks there is no consensus.”Along the same lines, McCarthy would like the report’s language to be more accessible to the public. Since its inception, the IPCC report has been aimed primarily at policymakers and governments, but it has become increasingly thrust into the broader public eye. „I hope the methods are stated ever more clearly so that it’s not only something the authors say they are unequivocal about, but it’s stated in a way that the public can appreciate as fully as the scientific community [can],” McCarthy said.A message for skeptics-Climate researcher Julienne Stroeve said the final IPCC report needs to communicate the differences between natural variability and long-term .”I believe society is often confused about the differences between natural variability and long-term changes,” said Stroeve, a research scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. „While the models used in the IPCC reports are useful tools for generally expected climate changes, natural variability can be powerful in reversing these trends for several years at a time, which doesn’t negate anthropogenic influences on climate. Better communication of that fact is needed.”Critics of the leaked drafts have focused on what climate scientist Kevin Trenberth said is the „mistaken idea that warming has slowed.” Global average temperatures as in previous decades because a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean created a cool spot that balanced out warmer temperatures elsewhere.”A key will be whether there is a major succinct message out of this report,” said Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also in Boulder, Colo.”The previous three have had signature messages,” Trenberth said. „Maybe this one is that warming signs are everywhere in melting Arctic sea ice, melting Greenland, warming oceans, rising sea levels, and more intense storms as well as higher surface temperatures. This would also go some way toward addressing [this] mistaken idea.” [ ]Because the reports draw worldwide attention, they also attract naysayers. An error on Himalayan glacier melting in the 2007 report was used by climate-change skeptics to question all of the report’s conclusions on global warming.”It is not just a scientific document — it should have policy implications,” Trenberth said. „And, of course, this is why there are well-financed and organized denier campaigns out in force.”Overhaul the operation-The IPCC was set up in 1988 to provide government and policymakers with authoritative reports on . Researchers from all over the world volunteer thousands of hours with the IPCC. The multiyear report process involves analyzing peer-reviewed research studies and producing a summary of the state of climate science. There are two major reviews — one by scientists and one by governments — and the United Nations rules require the IPCC to seek unanimous consensus.For its impact on world governments, the previous climate change report — released in 2007 — earned the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize.”I think these reports have had a substantial impact in the past,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale University Project on Climate Change. „I think they’ve helped alert the world to the , and help move the conversation towards both mitigation and adaptation responses.”But the Carnegie Institution’s Caldeira thinks shortening the IPCC report process would help scientists and policymakers.”For a mature science, such as climate science, it should not be necessary to write a new encyclopedia every five or six years,” he said. „I would like to see a process where we take the existing reports and create a super-high-quality encyclopedia from the existing text. Then, every few years, we can revisit this encyclopedia and see which parts need updating or rewriting. This should provide a solid bedrock of solid information on which governments can act, without consuming an excessive amount of time from the scientific community.”Caldeira is not alone in his calls for revising the IPCC method, but others think trimming the timescale may not be possible, given the United Nations’ requirements for the IPCC.”I don’t see how the time between reports could be shortened, as the process is so long,” Francis said. „The timescale must be kept as short as possible, though, because the science is changing quickly, and the urgency for accurate information and projections is great.”LiveScience Staff Writer Denise Chow and Planet Earth Editor Andrea Thompson contributed reporting.Email or follow her . Follow us , & . Original article on
More than 35 million years ago, a 15-story wall of water triggered by an as
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teroid strike washed over Virginia from its coast, then located at Richmond, to the foot of the inland Blue Ridge Mountains — an impact that would affect millions of people should it occur today. Yet despite its age, the effects of this ancient asteroid strike, as well as other epic space rock impact scars, can still be felt today, scientists say.The Virginia impact site, called the , is the largest known impact site in the United States and the sixth largest in the world, said Gerald Johnson, professor emeritus of geology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Despite its size, clues about the crater weren’t found until 1983, when a layer of fused glass beads indicating an impact were recovered as part of a core sample. The site itself wasn’t found until nearly a decade later. [ ]The comet or that caused the impact, and likely measured 5 to 8 miles (8 to 13 kilometers) in diameter, hurtled through the air toward the area that is now Washington, D.C., when it fell. The impact crated a massive wave 1,500 feet (457 meters) high, researchers said.Though the impactor left a crater about 52 miles across and 1.2 miles deep (84 km across and 1.9 km deep), the object itself vaporized, Johnson explained.”I’m just sad we can’t have a piece of it,” Johnson said in a statement.Modern effects-But the effects of the asteroid impact can still be seen today, most notably in the bay itself. Until 18,000 years ago, the bay region was dry. A giant ice sheet then covered North America, and when it began melting 10,000 years ago, valleys flooded, including the depression formed by the crater.The ancient impact still affects the region today, in the form of land subsidence, river diversion, disruption of coastal aquifers and ground instability.Last February, an meteor explosion over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk confirmed that the Chesapeake Bay impactor wasn’t the only space rock out there aimed at Earth. Though the was only about 56 feet (17 m) in diameter, it injured more than 1,000 people and caused millions of dollars in structural damage.”That asteroid still had a major effect on the ground, and there are potentially millions of them,” Dan Mazanek, a (NEO) expert at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, said in the statement. „Another meteor of similar size to that would be the next likely event.”Finding NEOs-Every day, small objects pass near Earth or burn up in the planet’s atmosphere. Objects about 50 miles (80 km) across pass within a few lunar distances on a monthly or annual basis without being drawn in by the planet’s gravity.”The frequency is always a question,” Mazanek said. „We know that the larger objects are less frequent, but they have more devastating effects.”According to models, scientists have discovered only about 10 percent of the objects larger than 328 feet (100 m), leaving many that pose a threat to the Earth still unknown.Both telescope and radar are instrumental in searching for incoming objects. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program is one of the groups watching for potentially dangerous incoming objects. Mazanek said the program has been responsible for about 99 percent of all NEO discoveries since 1998.Knowing where to point the instruments is a challenge. Timing, too, is tricky. A 100-year impact event doesn’t mean that 100 years will pass before the event occurs again.”It’s not like a bus or a train schedule; it just happens that frequently on average,” Mazanek said. „It’s like a coin toss. Even though it’s a 50-50 heads or tails average, it could be heads 10 times in a row or tails 10 times in a row.”Follow SPACE.com . We’re also on and . Original article on .