Posts Tagged ‘Earth Sciences’

Another harsh winter is expected as La Niña returns

September 9, 2011

Yesterday the NOAA finally confirmed that  La Niña was back. 

The Indian monsoon has been reasonably good and we can expect  greater evaporation leading to increased rains in the Western Pacific and in Australia. There should be less rain in the Eastern Pacific on the western coast of S. America (coastal Chile and Peru) but increased rain on the east coast in southern Brazil and  northern Argentina. Dry conditions should persist in the Southern US but the Northern hemisphere can now expect another harsh winter for the third year in a row. Forecasters are beginning to warn about this and local authorities are preparing to stock adequate amounts of salt and grit.

Sweden: Forecasters promise another harsh winter 

While Swedes are still enjoying the relatively clement weather of early autumn, weather experts are already forecasting another freezing winter to follow the last two. ”It is true that they generally follow each other,” said meteorologist Lisa Frost from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) to daily Aftonbladet.
According to experts, the last two winters have been the coldest for the last few decades and statistics from the institute all point to cold winters coming in threes. …. The three extremely cold winters 1940-43, during the war, were followed by four very clement winters. Since then, the weather would seem to have followed this 3.5 year pattern.

Scotland: New bid to avoid repeat of winter road chaos 

The Scottish Government has called in the Red Cross to help prepare for the possibility of another harsh winter. In a bid to avoid a repeat of last year when motorists were stranded for hours on snow- bound motorways, transport minister Keith Brown has called a ‘Get Ready For Winter’ week next month.

Ireland: Heavy snow promised in Ireland  

The Irish Government has told Irish households to stock up on disposable barbecues to avoid disasters during the freezing weather promised for the forthcoming winter. After studying the last two years bitterly cold winters and the situations which arose the Government has advised that citizens should have “some barbecue trays” to hand in case they get snowed in.

UK: Forecaster Predicts Early Winter Snowfall For Ireland And Britain 

A long range weather forecaster is predicting an early start to winter 2011-2012 for many regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland.  James Madden of Exacta Weather says heavy snowfalls are likely in places as soon as late October and early November.

US: Resurgent La Niña may enhance snowfall for northern Colo. ski areas this winter 

… the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA ) has issued a La Niña Advisory. This means La Niña conditions are likely to drive weather trends this winter. … “At this time, the Climate Forecast System (CFS) models are predicting an episode rivaling the same strength as last winter, but that forecast may change quite a bit as we get closer to the winter.”

Last winter, a moderate La Niña in the Pacific Ocean helped generate conditions just right for continuous massive snowfall in the Rocky Mountains of central and northern Colorado.

Related: Newborn La Niña: An Illustrated Guide

Borobodur Temple covered by Merapi volcano ash

November 7, 2010


Borobudur temple view from northeast plateau, ...

Borobudur Temple: Image via Wikipedia


Update from CNN:

The death toll from recent eruptions at Indonesia’s Mount Merapi continues to rise as the volcano spewed hot ash clouds and gas on Sunday. At least 156 people have died since Merapi started erupting on October 26. Ash columns reached as high as 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), according to the Indonesian Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency.

The Borobudur temple lies about 45 km from Mount Merapi and is currently covered with ash which is being painstakingly cleared.

Employees of Borobudur temple on Sunday were working to keep the historic site from being damaged by the thick black ash that has fallen from nearby Mount Merapi’s eruption.

Karyono, a parking lot employee who has been working there since 1986, was taking the ash off the driveway and the parking lot. Using a small iron shovel, he and his 10 coworkers were squatting and painstakingly taking the ash away in buckets.Karyono said that he has been cleaning since Saturday and piling up the ashes to be dumped elsewhere.

While the cleanup operation continues, the famous temple is closed to visitors from Nov. 5 to 9.

Mount Merapi unleashed nearly 50 million cubic meters of gas, rocks and ash on Friday, its most powerful eruption in a century.

Up to 138 people have now died on Merapi’s slopes in the past ten days of eruptions and gas cloud ash emissions.

Authorities charged with conserving the temple say that

ash up to 3-centimetres deep has covered it and the acidity could erode the temple’s stones. They believe that if the ash it is not cleared away quickly it will accelerate the decay of the stones. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulating the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). During the journey the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades. Officials however confirm that over the next few days they will be conducting a technical evaluation for the cleaning process. The temple was again closed down for visitors temporarily after volcanic ash covered it following the Merapi volcano’s powerful eruptions on Friday. When the cleanup is completed visitors will be allowed to visit the site early next week – but they will still not be permitted to climb up to the temple.

Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is still used for pilgrimage; once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument. Borobudur remains Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction.

Since Borobudur was built sometime in the 9th Century it has probably seen – and survived – over one hundred eruptions from Mount Merapi in the following 1200 years. Mount Merapi is Indonesia’s most active volcano and has certainly been erupting regularly at least since 8000 BC. Since 1548 written eruption records are available but earlier eruptions are inferred.


Mount Merapi as seen from Borobudur: image



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