Global Warming

Antarctic seas defy global warming

A persistent chill in the ocean off Antarctica that defies the global warming blamed for melting Arctic ice at the other end of the planet is caused by cold waters welling up from the depths after hundreds of years, scientists said on Monday.

The Southern Ocean off Antarctica may be among the last places on Earth to feel the impact of man-made climate change, with a lag of centuries to affect waters emerging from up to 5,000 meters (16,000 ft) deep, the U.S. study said.

Many people who doubt mainstream scientific findings that human use of fossil fuels is warming the planet often point to the paradox of expanding winter sea ice off Antarctica in recent decades and a rapid shrinking of ice in the Arctic.

The upwelling of cold water helped to explain the persistence of sea ice but not its expansion, a trend other studies have linked to shifts in winds off the vast frozen continent.

Monday’s report found that warm waters in the Gulf Stream cool as they flow north into the North Atlantic, then sink and loop south towards Antarctica as part of an aquatic conveyor belt that takes centuries to complete.

Eventually, gale force winds in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica blow surface waters northwards and draw the chill, ancient waters from the depths.

That upwelling helps explain why the surface of the Southern Ocean have warmed by just 0.02 degree Celsius (0.036 Fahrenheit) per decade since 1950, a fraction of the global average of 0.08 degree (0.144F), the study said.

It was unclear if the cold waters could delay a melt of ice locked up on land in Antarctica, the biggest worry about the continent that could sharply raise global sea levels.


Wildfires – Arizona, USA

The Juniper Fire near Young grew to more than 6,620 acres over the weekend, casting a pass of smoke over Rim Country. Some 358 firefighters continued to monitor and direct the blaze, relying on five aircraft, a masticator, three dozers and 15 engines with five Hotshot crews to make sure the low-intensity ground fire remained within a boundary of some 80,000 acres.

Meanwhile, the 3,708-acre Pivot Rock Fire north of Pine also sent a thick column of smoke into the sky throughout the holiday weekend.

Fire crews also continued to monitor and direct two lightning-caused wildfires near Flagstaff.

The Cowboy Fire hit 2,139 acres on Monday.

The Mormon Fire grew to 2,167 acres.


Mysterious Haemorrhagic fever outbreak in Sudan

The mystery disease in South Sudan has not been identified but is known to cause fever and unexplained bleeding.

So far, there have been 51 cases — including 10 deaths — from an unknown disease in the northern part of South Sudan. The main symptoms of the disease are similar to those seen with Ebola: unexplained bleeding, fever, fatigue, headache and vomiting.

Scientists have tested 33 of the cases for Ebola, and all of them came back negative. The samples also tested negative for other viruses known to cause unexplained bleeding, such as Marburg virus and Crimean-Congo fever.

Five samples did test positive for O’nyong-nyong — a mosquito-borne virus closely related to chikungunya. But O’nyong-nyong doesn’t cause bleeding and isn’t fatal.

“Viral hemorrhagic fever” is a generic term for a group of illnesses caused by four families of viruses. Several of these viruses — such as dengue, yellow fever and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever — are spread by mosquitoes or ticks. When the disease is severe, the virus can damage blood vessels, causing bleeding in organs, under the skin and from the mouth, eyes and ears.

But that’s not what kills. The cause of death is typically not loss of blood from bleeding, but from multi-organ failure — especially the kidneys and liver — and shock syndrome from low blood pressure in patients with severe illness.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bromo (East Java, Indonesia): Our expedition leader Andi currently on location reported that the volcano’s activity has been increased since 4 days ago, with visible activity consisting of mild phreatic explosions and strong steaming. The volcano observatory has been registering continuous tremor as well. Small ballistic ejecta (bombs) can be seen from the rim of the crater.

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): One of the local mountain guides reported that as of 30 May, no more lava flows from the side vent were active and cascading into the main lava lake, although lava bubbling could still be seen at the side vent. Our next group will visit the volcano from 18-21 June and hopefully be able to report the volcano’s current activity in more detail.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Early in the morning of 24 May (at 06:50 local time), a sudden surge in lava supply caused the main lava tube carrying the lava underground away from Pu’u ‘O’o to rupture. This resulted in two so-called surface lava breakouts located about 500 m N and NE from the cone, feeding two new large surface lava flows. The lava flows formed broad channels with fast-flowing lava that traveled quickly in opposite directions: towards the northwest and west, and to southeast from their breakout points, respectively. After only a few hours, they both had reached more than 1 km length. Both lava flows currently pose no immediate threat to inhabited areas. The new surface lava flows from the two breakouts north and northeast of Pu’u ‘O’o vent on the eastern rift zone remain active. They form broad, branching channels that have been gradually enlarging the two new pahoehoe lava flow fields NW/W and SE of the cone.