Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Azerbaijan.

5.2 Earthquake hits Iceland.

5.1 Earthquake hits Iceland.

5.0 Earthquake hits Iceland.

5.0 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Tropical Storm Rachel is located about 485 mi…780 km W of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…75 mph…120 km/h. Present movement…N or 360 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

Tropical storm 17w (Kammuri), is located approximately 320 nm east-southeast of Narita Airport, and is tracking northeastward at 13 knots.

Tropical storm 18w (Phanfone), is located approximately 325 nm east-southeast of Saipan, and is tracking west-northwestward at 12 knots.

NewsBytes:

USA – Powerful thunderstorms brought heavy rain and strong wind to parts of Arizona, Utah and Nevada Saturday — flooding roads, delaying flights and leaving thousands without power.

Global Warming

Climate Change Scrambles Arctic Food Chain

The Arctic’s shrinking sea ice is reshaping the region’s food web from the bottom up, a new study reports.

Historically, tiny plantlike organisms called phytoplankton burst into bloom in the spring in the Arctic Ocean. The enormous one- to two-week bloom sets off a feeding frenzy among zooplankton, fish and bottom-dwelling creatures at the base of the Arctic food chain.

“The entire ocean system is linked to this massive input of carbon,” said lead study author Mathieu Ardyna, a marine biologist at Laval University’s Takuvik Joint International Laboratory in Quebec, Canada.

But now, because of the declining sea ice, a second bloom also appears in the fall, according to a new analysis of satellite records, published Sept. 2 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The fall bloom could have widespread ripple effects on marine life and the Arctic climate. Phytoplankton clear carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

Annual spring and fall phytoplankton blooms are a common feature in warmer oceans, from the cool north Atlantic to the hot, tropical Pacific. The double Arctic blooms may herald a shift from a polar to a more temperate ecosystem.

However, the trends are so new, and varied across the Arctic, that the researchers can only speculate what the final impact will be. “For sure, the carbon cycling will change a little bit, but the question now is to understand how the rest of the plankton and fish will respond to this new pulse of phytoplankton,” Ardyna says.

Ardyna and his co-authors charted phytoplankton blooms between 1998 and 2012 with satellite data that measures ocean colour (a proxy for phytoplankton levels). The researchers also looked at sea ice extent and wind speeds.

The results showed that fall plankton explosions are becoming more frequent throughout the Arctic Ocean up to 80 degrees north latitude. At these high latitudes, there are no plankton blooms at all because of permanent sea ice.

The largest increases were seen in the Eastern Arctic Ocean, especially north of Russia, where ice once prevented plankton blooms. “The percentage change is really high here because this is where there used to be ice,” Ardyna said. The western Arctic includes Alaska and Canada, while the eastern Arctic encompasses northern Europe and Russia.

The researchers said the plankton is likely thriving in fall for two reasons: delayed freezing and strong winds. In the fall, new sea ice starts to form when ocean temperatures fall below about 29 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 1.9 degrees Celsius). But as the Arctic sea ice shrinks, the ocean absorbs more of the sun’s heat in summer, postponing the freeze until all the warmth dissipates. There were also a greater number of strong fall storms in the last decade, which can stir up nutrients to feed a phytoplankton bloom.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Oregon, USA

Progress continued Sunday in the fight against Oregon’s remaining significant wildfires, with the possibility of rain on Monday and Tuesday offering potential further relief.

In Estacada, the 36 Pit Fire was 69 percent contained by Sunday evening, though several roads, including Highway 224 remained closed to the general public, but open to residents and workers escorted by pilot cars. The 5,520-acre blaze began Sept. 13, and investigators have since determined the fire was started by target shooters’ hot bullet fragments igniting dry tinder near the out-of-use rock quarry.

In Josephine County, the 4,134-acre Onion Mountain Fire was 95 percent contained Sunday, and the last heavy helicopter that was assigned to the fire was released at the end of the shift. Firefighters expect to have the fire fully contained by Tuesday. The fire began on Sept. 13.

The Deception Complex Fire near Oakridge also was 95 percent contained Sunday, with milder temperatures and a lower sun angle helping in firefighting efforts. The 6,033-acre fire began on Aug. 11 and was caused by lightning strikes.

The weather forecast for Oregon could offer help in efforts against the wildfires. A weak weather system is expected to move into the state Monday, bringing the possibility of rain on Monday and Tuesday. A high pressure system is expected to bring back warmer and drier weather Wednesday through Saturday.

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

There are still two massive blazes crews are trying to contain.

The Chelaslie River Fire has been burning since early July and it’s about 133,000 hectares in size and the Mount McCallister fire just west of Chetwynd is roughly 26,000 hectares. No homes are presently in danger.

So far, BC has spent nearly $300 million fighting wildfires, burning through the initial $63 million budget.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bardarbunga (Iceland): Eruptive activity at the Holuhraun fissure remains stable. The lava flows continue to expand towards the north and particularly to the east, now over a snow-covered landscape as winter conditions set in. Earthquakes under the intrusive dyke decrease slowly, but remain frequent and strong under the caldera of the central volcano, which subsides at a more or less constant rate of 50 cm per day.