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I have been using the knuckles and fingertips approach to describe the coming earthquake for over ten years now. It’s really quite effective, all-the-more-so when I lay a pencil across the first knuckles and as the pencil leaps into the air when the fingertips slip tell them “this is what will happen to Seattle”. Gaius Publius has a post up at Down With Tyranny and Heather Digby Parton’s place that is really quite informative. Here’s a substantial clip:
This is not quite a political story, but it’s an important one. Most people west of the Mississippi and many people east of it assume that the so-called “Big One,” the mother of all American earthquakes, will occur in southern California along the San Andreas fault.
But scientists who study plate tectonics have come to a surprising, and relatively recent, conclusion — the “big one” is more likely to come in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s likely to be the “really big one.”
I can only give you a small part of this excellent recent article in the New Yorker by Kathryn Schultz, but if this interests you at all, the piece is worth reading through. There’s both good science and important warning here. And if you’re a resident of the region, it may qualify as a must-read.
The problem in a nutshell, from just after the start of the article (my emphasis):
Most people in the United States know just one fault line by name: the San Andreas, which runs nearly the length of California and is perpetually rumored to be on the verge of unleashing “the big one.” That rumor is misleading, no matter what the San Andreas ever does. Every fault line has an upper limit to its potency, determined by its length and width, and by how far it can slip. For the San Andreas, one of the most extensively studied and best understood fault lines in the world, that upper limit is roughly an 8.2—a powerful earthquake, but, because the Richter scale is logarithmic, only six per cent as strong as the 2011 event in Japan.
Just north of the San Andreas, however, lies another fault line. Known as the Cascadia subduction zone, it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, beginning near Cape Mendocino, California, continuing along Oregon and Washington, and terminating around Vancouver Island, Canada. The “Cascadia” part of its name comes from the Cascade Range, a chain of volcanic mountains that follow the same course a hundred or so miles inland. The “subduction zone” part refers to a region of the planet where one tectonic plate is sliding underneath (subducting) another. Tectonic plates are those slabs of mantle and crust that, in their epochs-long drift, rearrange the earth’s continents and oceans. Most of the time, their movement is slow, harmless, and all but undetectable. Occasionally, at the borders where they meet, it is not.
Take your hands and hold them palms down, middle fingertips touching. Your right hand represents the North American tectonic plate, which bears on its back, among other things, our entire continent, from One World Trade Center to the Space Needle, in Seattle. Your left hand represents an oceanic plate called Juan de Fuca, ninety thousand square miles in size. The place where they meet is the Cascadia subduction zone. Now slide your left hand under your right one. That is what the Juan de Fuca plate is doing: slipping steadily beneath North America. When you try it, your right hand will slide up your left arm, as if you were pushing up your sleeve. That is what North America is not doing. It is stuck, wedged tight against the surface of the other plate.
Without moving your hands, curl your right knuckles up, so that they point toward the ceiling.
Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely. There is a backstop—the craton, that ancient unbudgeable mass at the center of the continent—and, sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring. If, on that occasion, only the southern part of the Cascadia subduction zone gives way—your first two fingers, say—the magnitude of the resulting quake will be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.6. That’s the big one. If the entire zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2. That’s the very big one.
Flick your right fingers outward, forcefully, so that your hand flattens back down again. When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”.
GP bolded the parts that describe the geologic stress and what’s likely to happen to the land when it releases. The upward bulge of the land includes the Cascades mountain region and land west to the sea (Mount Hood, in the Cascades Mountains, is only 80 miles east of Portland). A six-foot drop in elevation of land within “a few minutes” would destroy everything built on top of it. A similar drop beneath the ocean would create a tsunami that would wipe out everything living along the coast.
The tsunami that was the result of earthquake that occurred in 1700 pretty much wiped out Japan, and may very well have had the added effect of opening her feudal society up to Western exploitation. There’s a real good book about it, with illustrations (pictures) down at the Bend Library.
We’ve got earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires…
… you people really don’t want to move here.
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech On Why Environmentalism Is A ‘Patriotic Duty’, defined what it was to be a progressive, and why the true nationalists and patriots were progressives, and environmentalists, and you ain’t it:
Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation. …
“I ask nothing of the nation except that it so behave as each farmer here behaves with reference to his own children,” Roosevelt explained in the speech. “That farmer is a poor creature who skins the land and leaves it worthless to his children. The farmer is a good farmer who, having enabled the land to support himself and to provide for the education of his children leaves it to them a little better than he found it himself. I believe the same thing of a nation.”
Roosevelt then immediately pointed out, “Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.” And he was blunt about the solution:
There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done….
It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced.
- The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.
- If in a given community unchecked popular rule means unlimited waste and destruction of the natural resources — soil, fertility, waterpower, forests, game, wild-life generally — which by right belong as much to subsequent generations as to the present generation, then it is sure proof that the present generation is not yet really fit for self-control, that it is not yet really fit to exercise the high and responsible privilege of a rule which shall be both by the people and for the people. The term “for the people” must always include the people unborn as well as the people now alive, or the democratic ideal is not realized.
- The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.
- The United States at this moment occupies a lamentable position as being perhaps the chief offender among civilized nations in permitting the destruction and pollution of nature. Our whole modern civilization is at fault in the matter. But we in America are probably most at fault … Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals’not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements.
- To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them.
This is what it means to be a progressive in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt.
The bottom line is it is immoral for one generation to destroy another generation’s vital soil — or its livable climate.
You are an enemy of the American People, enemy of the American Way of Life.
And a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s future.
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because The ‘Monster’ El Nino on the way isn’t even here yet…
In the dead of a Prairie winter, when cars won’t start and exposed skin freezes in 30 seconds, people pray for a searing hot summer. But across Western Canada this season, many may be recalling the old adage, “be careful what you wish for” as forest fires, drought and pestilence invite biblical comparisons.
More worrisome, though, than the sight of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia wilting under 30 degree [Celsius; 86°F] temperatures in June and July — and rationing scarce water supplies in some areas — is that this might just be the start of an even bigger problem.
Many meteorologists are chalking up today’s weird and wacky weather in the West to the fact that this is an El Nino year, referring to the cyclical Pacific Ocean phenomenon that disrupts global weather patterns.
The problem with that, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips: “It’s not even arrived in Canada yet.”
“We don’t see the effects of El Nino until late fall, winter and early spring,” he says.
What that likely means is at least three more consecutive seasons of warmer, drier weather when farmers are already, quite literally, tapped out in the moisture department.
As for what that could mean for drought conditions next summer and beyond, Phillips says it’s “not looking good.”
So the drought will likely continue through next year at least. Again, not good. “Game over” for ranchers:
Canada’s Prairies have just experienced their driest winter and spring in 68 years of record keeping. “So they were behind the eight-ball before the summer season ever came,” says Phillips.
That, coupled with a record low snow pack in North America, and few of the traditional June rains needed to grow crops, has had a cumulative effect that’s hit some producers harder than others.
Says Phillips: “For ranchers it’s pretty much game over.”
The tinder dry land has kept pastures for grazing cattle from turning green and producing feed, forcing cattle ranchers to sell down their herds or ship the animals around looking for alternative feed sources.
“Our cereal fields, our oats, our wheat, our barley essentially baked in the field,” says Garett Broadbent, agricultural services director for Alberta’s Leduc County, just south of Edmonton.
The municipality voted unanimously this week to declare a local state of agricultural disaster as soil moisture and crop conditions continue to decline to the worst levels in half a century.
And here’s a NOAA scientist saying that there is a trend, and it will continue “as long as greenhouse gas levels continue to rise year after year”:
NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden says, in addition to the dwindling snow pack, “glaciers are melting, sea ice is melting, sea levels reached record highs last year, the ocean heat was record high last year, sea surface temperatures were record highs last year, so you put it all together and there’s a definite trend.”
It’s a trend Blunden expects to continue into 2015 and beyond as long as, she says, greenhouse gas levels continue to rise year after year.
“We have 15 years to avert a full-blown water crisis; by 2030, demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent”
You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildren’s future. Fear me.
According to new data released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tuesday, globally averaged temperatures over ocean and land surfaces between January and June of 2015 were the hottest on record since 1880.
A statement by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revealed on Jul. 21 that “the average temperature for the six-month period was 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F), surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.09°C (0.16°F).”
Average global sea surface temperatures for the January-June 2015 period outstripped the previous record in 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F).
Land surface temperatures also hit record levels, surpassing the previous 2007 high by 0.13°C (0.23°F), according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The average land surface temperature from January to June was +1.40°C (2.52°F).
“Most of the world’s land areas were much warmer than average,” the organisation stated. “These regions include nearly all of Eurasia, South America, Africa, and western North America, with pockets of record warmth across these areas. All of Australia was warmer than average.”
March, May and June of 2015 all broke their monthly temperature records this year; January and February each witnessed the “second warmest” temperatures recorded and April experienced the fourth warmest monthly temperature ever.
NOAA’s Global Analysis for June 2015 further stated…
“These six warm months combined with the previous six months (four of which were also record warm) to make the period July 2014–June 2015 the warmest 12-month period in the 136-year period of record, surpassing the previous record set just last month (June 2014–May 2015).”
In an even more disturbing trend, the world’s leading meteorological body stated that the average Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 was 350,000 square miles (7.7 percent) below the 1981-2010 average and 60,000 square miles larger than the smallest June sea ice extent on record that occurred in 2010.
“This was the third smallest June extent since records began in 1979 according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA,” the WMO release explained.
Meanwhile, the Antarctic sea ice extent in June was 380,000 square miles (7.2. percent) larger than the average for the 1981-2010 period, making it the largest ever Antarctic sea ice extent for the month of June.
Just prior to the release of this new data, on Jul. 1, the WMO together with the World Health Organisaiton (WHO) put out a set of guidelines designed to deal with the health risks associated with hotter global temperatures.
The joint guidance on Heat–Health Warning Systems, released earlier this month, aims to address “health risks posed by heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change,” the agencies said.
“Heatwaves are a dangerous natural hazard, and one that requires increased attention,” said Maxx Dilley, Director of WMO’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch, and Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmenl and Social Determinants of Health.
“They lack the spectacular and sudden violence of other hazards, such as tropical cyclones or flash floods but the consequences can be severe.”
Over the past 50 years, according to WHO data, hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted, “The length, frequency and intensity of heatwaves will likely increase over most land areas during this century.”
Heatwaves also place an increased strain on infrastructure such as power, water and transport.
The agency cited the recent heatwaves in both India and Pakistan that killed thousands of people this summer.
In Pakistan alone, 1,200 perished in the month of June, mostly poor people and manual labourers who were forced to remain in the streets despite government warnings to stay indoors to avoid the blistering 45-degree heat.
According to the WHO, the European heatwaves in the northern hemisphere summer of 2003 were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as were the Russian heatwaves, forest fires and associated air pollution in 2010.
You are a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s future.
Something needs to be done about that.
So put down the ambien, prozac, viagra and criotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because sealevels may rise 10 times faster than previous thought:
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be “substantially more persuasive than anything previously published.” I certainly find them to be.
To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but “the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model,” Hansen says.
Hansen’s study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is “likely” to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study’s likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen’s view, requires “emergency cooperation among nations.”
We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.
You are a clear and present danger to my grand-children’s survival.
Something needs to be done about that.
With no time left to start again.
Don McLean, American Pie.
When you dumb down the population and send their jobs overseas…
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — When a 32-foot replica killer whale buzzed through the water to scare off hundreds of sea lions piled on Oregon docks, onlookers cheered. And then the dummy orca went belly-up.
The motorized fiberglass orca was brought to the seaside town of Astoria on Thursday as a sort of maritime Clint Eastwood — called upon to deal with ne’er-do-wells, in this case sea lions crowding onto docks and making it difficult for locals to access their boats.
But the orca’s first day on the job was a flop.
About 1,000 people cheered as the dummy whale — with its human operator inside — took to the water Thursday night. Jim Knight, executive director of the Port of Astoria, said sea lions that were crowded onto the docks became “deathly silent.”
But as a cargo ship passed by, the phony orca started to list from the vessel’s wake. And then the bogus orca capsized.
“Our crew from the port had to go rescue the operator so he didn’t drown,” Knight said.
So what did the sea lions think about this spectacle?
They probably think it’s dead now that it’s belly up…
So put down the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on Fox Kool-Aid and turn off the television, because you have just lived through the hottest January through April on record, and it is increasingly likely that 2015 will be the hottest year on record, possibly by a wide margin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just predicted a 90 percent chance that the El Niño it declared in March will last through the summer and “a greater than 80 percent chance it will last through 2015.” El Niños generally lead to global temperature records, as the short-term El Niño warming adds to the underlying long-term global warming trend.
And in fact, with April, we have once again broken the record for the hottest 12 months on record: May 2014 – April 2015. The previous record was April 2014 – March 2015, set last month. The record before that was March 2014 – February 2015. And the equally short-lived record before that was February 2014 – January 2015.
As we keep breaking records in 2015, our headlines are going to sound like a … broken record. May has already started out hot, and it is quite likely next month we will report “The Hottest 5-Month Start Of Any Year On Record,” and that June 2014 – May 2015 will become hottest 12 months on record.
You are a clear and present danger to my grandchildren’s future.
Good bad or in different, it’s here.
I’m worried about what’s on the other side of it.
You should too, if you’re on my list. You will pay for what you have done.
Fuck us once, shame on you, fuck us twice… President Obama is scheduled to visit Nike’s Oregon headquarters on Friday to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yes, Nike – an Oregon company that grew to billions by outsourcing jobs to overseas sweatshops, an Oregon company that sets up P.O.-box subsidiaries in tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, an Oregon company that uses threats to extort tax breaks from its “home” state.
Nike isn’t the solution to the problem of stagnant wages in America. Nike is the problem.
It’s true that over the past two years Nike has added 2,000 good-paying professional jobs at its Oregon headquarters, fulfilling the requirements of a controversial tax break it wrangled from the state legislature. That’s good for Nike’s new design, research and marketing employees.
But Nike’s U.S. workers make only a tiny percent of Nike’s products.
In fact, Americans made only 1 percent of the products that generated Nike’s $27.8 billion revenue last year. And Nike is moving ever more of its production abroad. Last year, a third of Nike’s remaining 13,922 American production workers were laid off.
Most of Nike’s products are made by 990,000 workers in low-wage countries whose abysmal working conditions have made Nike a symbol of global sweatshop labor.
YO! Phil, thanks for the little money you’ve spent here. Now get the fuck out.
You’re not welcome here.
Fuck the Ducks.