Irish Chronicles Document Links Between Volcanoes and Weather
A study of over 40,000 written entries in Irish Annals and ice core measurements shows a strong correlation between the occurrence of volcanic eruptions and extreme cold weather in Ireland over a 1200 year period. Data analyzed in this study cover the period from 431 to 1649, during which time up to 48 volcanic eruptions are identified in Greenland ice core records through deposition of volcanic sulfate in annual layers of ice. You can find the study (open access), published on 6 June 2013 in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024035/article. Find out more about how volcanoes can influence climate.
EF-5 Tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma Widest Ever Recorded in US
The EF-5 tornado that hit El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31st was the widest ever recorded in the US, according to the National Weather Service in Norman Oklahoma. The tornado, which remained on the ground for 40 minutes and reached 2.6 miles across (4.2 km), took the lives of 18 people including storm chasers Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young. For more information on the tornado, visit http://ow.ly/i/2hfDG.
During the week of May 13th, the CO2 level at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii topped 400 ppm repeatedly. Daily levels of CO2 can vary due to weather, and there are seasonal trends as well. The level of atmospheric greenhouse gases continues to increase, now over 120 ppm since the Industrial Revolution began. For more on the Keeling Curve, see http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/. Find out more about greenhouse gases and warming.
March 11, 2011 - 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Japan
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit at 02:46:23 pm in the afternoon near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The quake was 24.4 km deep at its epicenter, and occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subducting plate boundary between the Pacific and the North American tectonic plates. The earthquake was preceded by numerous large foreshocks over the two preceding days, beginning on March 9, with a M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from the March 11 epicenter.
Following the major shock, which was the largest in Japan for 140 years (and one of the largest in the world for the past 100 years), a massive tsunami, reaching 10 meters high, hit the coast of Japan and caused widespread devastation and loss of life across the region. As of March 14, several thousand have been found dead, with more thousands missing. The tsunami continued to propagate across the Pacific Ocean, causing damage in Hawaii, as well as in California. There have been hundreds of aftershocks following the major earthquake, with more than two dozen at a magnitude of 6 or greater. The region is continuing to deal with tsunami warnings, which are complicating recovery efforts.
An additional complication is that the tsunami damaged reactors at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima. To date, there have been at least three explosions at the plant, which officials believe were due to explosive release of steam. Officials are still working to cool the reactors, and determine their condition. In the meantime, as a result of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor damage, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, many having lost their homes to the tsunami.
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