The Guardian have published a rather nice interactive (link here), where you can see how temperature will rise in your lifetime. The graph above shows how hot it will get in my lifetime. The last decade was 0.6 degrees warmer than the decade before I was born. The data is provided by the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, the Interactive by Richard Millar
For the third time in a year the ground moved in the United Arab Emirates. Initial reports suggest that the powerful earthquake was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, striking at a depth of 28 km, affecting parts of Sindh and Balochistan, 145 miles south-east of Dalbandin. The quake, which struck at 4.29pm local time, was only felt for 8-10 seconds and fortunately it affected a fairly remote, sparsely populated area to the northern of Pakistan. For those people living in the region it is a 8-10 hour drive by road from Awaran (the nearest place for aid) to Balochistan, this means that the relief effort will be slow. It has been reported by The Tribune that the roofs of two schools have collapsed.
USGS have already created a map of the area and have a tectonic summary of the event which took place and they have also created a shake map of the region which shows the perceived strength and destructive power of the quake. Aftershocks are likely. No loss of life have so far been reported.
Find out more from Earthquake-report.com. If the earth moved for you ...you can report this on the 'I felt it' button' and the map updates as crowd-sourcing adds more information.
Y12 Question: Explain why the death toll of some earthquakes can be low, even when the magnitude of the event is high.
The image below is a screenshot from the 'I felt it' crowdsourced Google map
Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese, wreaked havoc across China and Hong Kong over the weekend. Perhaps the infrequency of cyclones over the past couple of decades have lulled the people of the South China Sea into a false sense of security. High magnitude typhoons which killed over 10,000 people in 1906 and 1937, still occur, but disasters are avoided as people are better prepared and meteorologists can predict the path of typhoons much more accurately. With warning, educated people can evacuate, board up their homes or take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of death. There is some excellent information covering this typhoon on the Geology in Motion blog.
Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese, wreaked havoc across China and Hong Kong over the weekend. Hundreds of flights at Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled. Major Chinese airlines, including China Southern Air, canceled flights into Guangdong and Fujian. In preparation for the storm's arrival, four of six reactors at the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station in Shenzhen reduced operating capacity. Heavy rainfall in the Philippines triggered many killer landslides, further detail from the BBC News can be read here.
The typhoon severely damaged 7,100 houses in Guangdong province and 226,000 people were relocated. In Fujian Province, a further 80,000 people were evacuated. More than 22,000 fishing boats in Fujian and another 48,000 in Guangdong were ordered into port for safety.
When disasters strike, geographers often find it useful to compare the impacts on one country with that of another. For Typhoon Usagi, it is worth comparing the death and destruction seen in China with the Philippines. It is also worth considering what action was taken before the storm to mitigate the potential loss of life.
photo: NASA Goddard MODIS Team public domain
Ever wondered what the other side of the moon looks like? From Earth, we do not see the moon rotate. This is because it is tidally locked to the Earth. NASA have uploaded a video showing the moon rotating through a full lunar month in 24 seconds, you can watch it on YouTube or find out more from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website here.
It seems that in a global free-market economy the mechanism for extracting profit comes with significant costs. These cost or negative externalities are pushed on the global labour force, who work in poor conditions extracting raw materials and manufacturing goods often for less than a living wage in order to make ends meet.
The BBC News article published today entitled ‘How mercury poisons gold miners and enters the food chain’ written by Linda Pressly, follows the story of small-scale gold miners in Kereng Pangi, Indonesia who are poisoning, with mercury, not only themselves, but also the land they depend on.
Mercury might be illegal, but it is also very useful in the mining process. Mercury forms an amalgam with gold and makes the extraction process from rocks and soil easier. Gold buyers then smelt the mercury till it evaporates leaving pure gold. Smelters are most likely to get ill as they inhale mercury daily. The poisonous neuro-toxin causes permanent damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain which coordinates movement and muscles.
Mercury poisoning was first recognized after industrial dumping of the heavy metal into Minamata Bay in Japan. Find out why Minamata disease was such a health problem for Japanese babies. Investigate where else mercury poisoning is an issue.
For more details read the BBC News article here and to find out about the geography of mercury poisoning look on the Blacksmith Institutes website here.
Mercury has already been made illegal in Indonesia, but with three million people dependent on gold mining for their livelihoods what mitigation should be put in place to protect their health?
Public opinion towards the nuclear industry has taken a significant u-turn since the images of the devastating Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster were transmitted live into our homes on the 11th March 2011. Two and a half years on from this tragic quasi-human induced disaster it is worth reflecting on whether nuclear power, once hailed as the low-carbon solution to our energy needs, really is worth the risk.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, 2013), global nuclear generating capacity will grow by between 17 and 94 per cent by 2030, mostly due to growth in China and other emerging economies in Asia. Nuclear power has successfully decarbonized entire nations and when comparing an energy’s deathprint, the number of people killed by one kind of energy or another, nuclear comes out best with only 90 deaths per trillion kWhr, unlike coal with 170000 deaths, for comparison1. Environmentalist Mark Lynas, in his controversial new ebook entitled Nuclear 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power suggests that if 800 new nuclear power stations can be designed, built and online by 2030, we may have a chance at limiting global climate change to two degrees.
Politicians and their voters have become uneasy about supporting an energy industry which gets such bad press when accidents occur, the clean-up cost at Fukashima will take over 40 years and cost tens of billions of pounds 2. Of the 52 Japanese reactors running at the time of the Fukashima disaster only two are back online. Germany, Switzerland and Belgium have decided to find alternative energy sources and France, where nuclear is the primary source of energy, is reducing output from 80 per cent down to 50 per cent by 2020.
If nuclear is not the affordable, reliable and safe energy source it was thought to be, what is?
1 How deadly is your kilowatt?
2 Fukushima farce reveals nuclear industry's fatal flaw
Video Link: Mark Lynas thinking the unthinkable on nuclear power, discussing how nuclear is better than other technologies to produce power. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pXiiQBknHM