Monday, May 23, 2011

DOOMSDAY 2011: The Age of Obama and the End of America - A Most Devastating Tornado Rips Through the City of Joplin in Missouri, Kills 89, Flattens Buildings and Carves up a Massive Path of Destruction?! UPDATE: Deadliest Tornado in nearly 60 Years as Death Toll Increase!

“So far have they [the United States] strayed into wickedness in those [future] times that their destruction has been sealed by my [father]. Their great cities will burn, their crops and cattle will suffer disease and death, their children will perish from diseases never seen upon this Earth, and I reveal to you the greatest [mystery] of all as I have been allowed to see that their [the United States] destruction will come about through the vengeful hands of one of our very own sons.” - Johanwa Owalo, Kenyan Prophet and the founder of Kenya’s Nomiya Luo Church, 1912.

I have been saying for years that the age of Obama would result in the destruction of America, as we know it, and the current news headlines are providing the evidence of this. From the "evolutionary flash point" of the recession-ruined economy to the collapse of the U.S. dollar to the escalation in immorality to the unprecedented destruction from Earth changes. Against the background of the monumental and record-breaking weather systems experienced during the month of April, Americans wake up this morning to the news of the death toll of 89 persons, from the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. A figure which is likely to increase if you consider Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon's declaration that there are many still buried under heavy rubbles across the city. Search-and-rescue and relief crews race against an approaching storm, but their efforts are complicated by downed power lines, fires and transportation problems. They have been poring through rubble, wreckage and all that was left in many areas of Joplin, where more than 2,000 structures have been ripped apart and whole neighborhoods have been obliterated over a six-mile path through southwestern Missouri.

"I would say 75% of the town is virtually gone,"
said Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross.
Tornadoes have ripped through parts of the US Midwest killing at least 89 people in a town in the state of Missouri. The twister flattened large parts of Joplin, which has a population of 50,000 people, late on Sunday afternoon. "We have heard up into the over-100 (range), but ... I don't think anyone has a good count right now," said Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges of the deaths. He added that 11 bodies had been recovered from just one location. The winds also caused one death in Minneapolis and injured 30 others. Local reporter Jeff Lehr said he was upstairs in his home when the storm hit but was able to make his way to a basement cupboard. "There was a loud huffing noise, my windows started popping. I had to get downstairs, glass was flying. I opened a closet and pulled myself into it," he said. "Then you could hear everything go. It tore the roof off my house, everybody's house. I came outside and there was nothing left." President Barack Obama sent his "deepest condolences" to the victims. The US has experienced severe storms in recent months and more than 330 people were killed as tornadoes swept through seven states in April. There have also been severe floods which has ruined properties and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland. - Sky News
Joplin residents searched through major tornado devastation Monday morning as another brief but severe storm hampered search efforts and rescuers warned the death toll could climb. At least 89 people were killed in the massive tornado that sliced a 6-mile swath through southwestern Missouri, hitting Joplin, destroying a hospital, flattening a high school, slamming cars into buildings and splintering the bark off trees. The damage was breathtaking in scope. "You see pictures of World War II, the devastation and all that with the bombing. That's really what it looked like," said resident Kerry Sachetta, the principal of a flattened Joplin High School. "I couldn't even make out the side of the building. It was total devastation in my view. I just couldn't believe what I saw." - USA Today
Residents in Joplin, Missouri, braced for news of fatalities Monday after a vicious tornado flattened buildings, tossed cars and hurled debris up to 70 miles away. "I would say 75% of the town is virtually gone," said Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard and stressed urgency in rescuing survivors after the Sunday evening twister. "It's total devastation, with a hospital down, the high school down, other areas," he said. "We just want to make sure that as the night goes on, we're saving lives between now and dawn." Nixon said late Sunday night that there was no official death toll, but "we have had confirmation of a number of deaths. And the number appears to be rising." - CNN
WATCH: Missouri officials say storm killed at least 89.

WATCH: Raw Video - After twister, heavy storm hits Joplin.

WATCH: Deadliest in the history of Missouri, a Multi-Vortex Tornado.

WATCH: Dozens die as tornadoes tear through US MidWest.

WATCH: Missouri tornado creates absolute devastation.

WATCH: Storm Chasers capture storm's fury.

UPDATE: First Person's and Storm Chasers' Video of Tornado.

The following video, although poorly lit, is a first person visual capture of the tornado that passed through Joplin, Missouri.
The video I took while at Fastrip on East 20th street. We huddled in the back of the store until the glass got sucked out , then ran into the walk in storage fridge. Sorry for the lack of visuals but the audio is pretty telling of how intense the storm was. The tornado hits at around 1:20 seconds. - IZELSG, Youtube member.

WATCH: Storm Chasers Jeff Piotrowski and Kathryn Piotrowski tracking the tornado.

UPDATE: The Deadliest Tornado in Nearly 60 Years, as Death Toll Increases!
The death toll from the monster tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., has soared to 116, making it the deadliest single tornado in nearly 60 years, according to federal records. The lethal Joplin twister has also made 2011 the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1953, with 454 deaths in 1,000 tornadoes so far, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA began keeping records of tornado fatalities in 1950. Before Sunday's storm, the deadliest tornado hit Flint, Mich., on June 8, 1953, also killing 116 people, although independent record keepers have recorded higher death counts in earlier years. This past April also set a record as the deadliest month on record with 361 tornado related deaths, according to NOAA's records. The Joplin tornado was rated as an EF-4, the second-strongest classification with winds ranging between 166 and 200 mph. The nearly mile-wide funnel touched down at 5:41 p.m. CT Sunday and blasted a six mile wide path through the city and left trapped survivors crying out for help this morning. Rescuers shifted through rubble today looking for survivors as high winds and hail continues to plague the area. - ABC

EARTH CHANGES: Tidal Floods Swamps Christchurch, New Zealand!

Tidal flooding has swamped some Christchurch properties in New Zealand, twice a day since the February earthquake, residents say.

Lower Styx Rd, Brooklands, homeowner Doug Logan said the problems began in September, but worsened after the February quake. About 15 homes were being protected by sandbags, he said. "If we didn't have these little dams across the lawn, we'd flood right to our house twice a day, every day," Logan said. The water, which he believed contained sewage, was like a "black lake". "We don't know how contaminated that water is, and you imagine that sitting on your back lawn every day." The tidal flooding was from the Lower Styx River. Land remediation work in Brooklands was on hold. "We've had guys out saying they don't know what's happening with the land because there's the possibility we won't be building in our area again," Logan said. Robbie Coulter, a Brooklands resident for 18 years, said the flooding, if coupled with prolonged wet weather, could spark a Civil Defence emergency. His four-year-old house had been built at the new flood-plain height, but many were not. "I would say our house would be safe, but there'll be lots and lots of houses out here that will be under water. If it happened in the middle of the night, there could be residents that would need evacuating," he said. The destruction of his prized garden was a further blow after the September quake damage, Coulter said. "The river did flood a couple of times a year [before September] when there was severe weather. It would breach the stopbanks and come in. But this is every tide, and the water's coming in 10 to 15 metres." Council water and waste manager Mark Christison said post-quake flood protection work had focused on the "area of greatest need", around the lower reaches of the Avon River. A tidal gate in the Lower Styx River offered some protection but land levels had dropped because of the quake, he said. "This is an issue that will be considered as part of land- remediation measures being considered across the city," Christison said. Meanwhile, the council confirmed dredging of the Avon River was being considered. Interim measures included raising the level of temporary stopbanks, repairing damaged stormwater pipes, sand- bagging around street sumps in the worst-affected areas, and having sucker trucks and extra sandbags on stand-by. - Stuff.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Night of Terror and Shaking in Venezuela?!

In my previous post on the increased seismic activity along the Puerto Rico Trench, I made mention of the transformational faulting and subduction of the oceanic crust around the Caribbean and South American tectonic plates, this morning, news coming out of Venezuela, details an unprecedented and monumental shaking that occurred over the weekend, collapsing several houses and causing major damage in the Santa Anita sector.

It was a night of terror the plight of the inhabitants of Santa Anita sector, the Municipality Freedom. Just after 10 pm, the Earth began to "roar" as if it Were an earthquake, scores of men ran with women and their children to be safe. They started watching the road, the houses falling down and within minutes, everything was reduced to ruins. Miguel Angel Aquino lived on a hill at the top of Santa Anita, where it Was engaged in growing cilantro, lettuce and other vegetables. "On the night of Friday, I felt a slight movement and noises coming from the Earth. Slept there children under the four age of eleven, and my Wife, suddenly felt the need to leave the ranch," he said. Minutes later, the structure vulnerable slid 300 metres down the mountain to the bottom of the ravine and stopped, with all the belongings within. Throughout the course of the night, the Earth did not stop. The ground was broken pavement, as if they were biscuits, parts of the pathway were rising down one by one, to become pieces of cement. You can see displacement, the cracks grow in size and depth, from one moment to another. The result was the total collapse of some 19 houses, with cracked walls, broken ground, and leaving an equal number of homeless families. The church of Santa Anita also collapsed, and the inhabitants of the sector, muted, lived through the destruction of an entire community.

A drama that grows in Tachira in Venezuela and accelerated by the harshness of the natural conditions. Well-built concrete houses, tin shacks and others of mud, all ended on the floor equally, as happened to Mary Alexandra Duarte de Guerrero, who had just completed the construction of her home and. The collapse was Saturday, and she was barely able to save some part of the structure, such as fences, gates and Other elements... nursery, preschool, primary and secondary, was destroyed by the movements of the Earth, according to teachers. They were able to save about ten percent of the furniture, school equipment and electronics. Everything was in there, under the structure in ruins. According to Zulay Ramírez, Professor of Computer Science, "it has long been a perceived risk, every day we saw something new: a crack, a wall moved, a piece of ground opened up... but Friday, we arrived and it was very rare, we decide to send the children home," he said with tears in his eyes. On one side of the stadium, opposite the church, there was also destruction. Gladys Gomez, another resident of the area, recounted the historic experience, "we hear the roar, the ground sounded horrible, felt like an earthquake, my house collapse. I have lost everything. I am evicted from my own house. I have lived here forever, for 24 years." This land seems to have a flaw, that is very strong and may eventually wipe out everything in its path. Women with babies in their arms guarded their belongings, while men of the community worked together to rescue some furniture, despite rampant fears that the walls would collapse. A mill,over a hundred years in operation, located next to the school was also destroyed. The site was used to process sugar. The site was abandoned when the electricity poles and cables collapsed onto the ground. On the site, was the Fire Department of Rubio, Civil Protection of Freedom township, officials from the largest of Liberty and the other from Tachira, led by Victor Arciniegas Mauricio Machado,as they try to help in the evacuation of Santa Anita. Erasmo Gomez, the mayor of Liberty, who also hails from Santa Anita, spent all day taking care of the emergency, just could not stop the tears. The councilman said that the team is dedicated to dealing with the issue and addressing the problems of those without housing, especially the families that were at greatest risk. 

- Lanacion. [Translated] 

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Dust Storm Hits Jaipur - 2 Killed, 12 Hurt!

High velocity dust storms accompanied by thundershowers affected life and traffic in the state of Jaipur on Sunday. It was unprecedented weather for Pink City on Sunday afternoon when suddenly the sky became dark and life came to a standstill for almost an hour.

Two people were killed while at least 12 others injured in mishaps due to dust storm across the state. Attributing the weather change that began on Saturday evening to the heavy upper air cyclonic circulation and passing of the western disturbances, the Met office said there would be no further change as dust storms and rain will occur in southern and western parts of the state in the next 24 hours. Jaipurities woke up to an overcast morning but acute darkness prevailed in Jaipur around 1.30 pm on Sunday when heavy dust storm lashed the city. Traffic literally came to a standstill for almost an hour. In order to avoid accidents bus services were halted in the city. It was so dark that drivers had to use headlights to manoeuvre their vehicles. "I have never seen such darkness in the afternoon. Though dust storm is a common here but this much of darkness was never witnessed," said Vishal Mandera, a city bus driver said. The 90 km/hour dust storm also affected normal life in Jaipur as at Kachchi basti in Mansarover a three-year-old girl sustained grave head injuries after a hut collapsed on her. Life was affected in other parts of the state too as a person was killed after an 11- KV high tension line fell on him. He was killed on the spot and is yet to be identified. A person in Dholpur was killed while two others were injured after a wall collapsed. In Rajgarh fire broke out at many of the hutments after the heavy dust storm, however no loss of life was reported. The storm was followed by rain due to which maximum temperature in the city came don to 37.2 degrees Celsius. The city also witnessed a rainfall of 5.6 mm. Churu remained a maximum rainfall in the state as it received 21.6 mm and was followed by Pilani 10.2 and Sriganganagar 0.3. Denizens of the city witnessed abrupt power cuts that started since Saturday night and lasted till the very evening on Sunday. Many colonies in the city, including Mansarover, Jhotwara, Jawahar Nagar, Raja Park, Bani Park and Bapu Nagar, witnessed power cuts during wee hours due to which the call centre of power department remained busy. The situation worsened in many areas on Sunday since power cuts were already introduced for maintenance work at some of the stations till 1 pm and thereafter due to the dust storm again power went off. Finally the situation was brought to normal to some extent in the evening. - Times of India.  

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Dead Leopard Sharks in Richardson Bay?!

An alarming number of sick, dying and dead leopard sharks have been turning up on the shores of Richardson Bay over the past two weeks, but researchers are baffled as to what is causing the problem, observed elsewhere in the Bay Area as well.

The period of April through June is when leopard sharks enter shallow waters, like those in Richardson Bay, to spawn. This year, some are not leaving. "I first noticed one April 10, it was acting bizarre," said Kerry Wilcox, sanctuary manager at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary. "It was bumping into pilings and stranding itself on rocks and was coming into water that was shallower and shallower." Wilcox assumed it was an isolated case, but he then heard of similar issues with leopard sharks near Redwood City later in April. In less than two weeks, as many as 50 leopard sharks washed up dead near Redwood City. Starting May 2, Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary researchers began to scour beaches along Richardson Bay after high tide. Since then, more than 20 have turned up dead. "The leopard sharks are here this time of year anyway, but we don't know if that's why we are seeing dead ones or if they are being washed here," Wilcox said. "There are all sorts of questions." Last week, Liz Beers and her mother were walking near Greenwood Cove near the Cove Apartments in Tiburon and saw five leopard sharks that had beached themselves. "Three of the leopard sharks were already dead and the other two were floundering about, trying to free themselves from the mud," she wrote via email. "It was a very sad sight." More than 100 of the sharks have washed ashore in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties over the past month. The sharks need a certain amount of salinity to survive, but with all the rain that has fallen this year there may be too much freshwater in the bay. A similar die-off occurred in 2006 after heavy rains, said Carrie Wilson, biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game. "Based on history, that is one thing we are looking at," she said. But the evidence for that theory is not conclusive. Another theory is that there is a lack of oxygen in the water. Samples of the dead sharks have been taken for analysis. Those results will come back in a few weeks and could provide more details. "It's really hard to know, it could be cyclical," Wilcox said. The center is asking people to report any leopard shark they see in distress. Leopard sharks are covered with dark splotches and their dorsal surface varies in color from silver to a bronzed gray. The average size of an adult leopard shark is about 4.5 feet and pups are about 8 inches long. They feed primarily on invertebrates and small fish. Crabs, shrimp, octopi, shiner perch, bat rays and a variety of fish eggs are part of their diet. Marine mammals prey on young leopard sharks, and both juvenile and adults are vulnerable to large fish, including great white sharks. The sharks pose virtually no danger to humans, but they do contain high levels of mercury and should not be consumed regularly, according to state officials. - Inside Bay Area.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 68 Quakes in Puerto Rico in Just 1 Day?!

Have a look at the following images of the Puerto Rico region, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). As indicated in the first image, at the time of writing, there have been 68 earthquakes in the region in just one day.

(Click on image for a large view.)

(Click on image for a large view.)

There seems to be increased seismic activity along the mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America, bordering the intense seismic regions of the North American Plate, the South American Plate, the Nazca Plate and the Cocos Plate. The  frequency of these earthquakes indicates that major movements and transformational faulting on the Puerto Rico Trench is taking place, where the oceanic crust of the border plates subducted under the Caribbean Plate. Since this subduction zone formulates the volcanic islands of the Lesser Antilles and given the heightened volcanism worldwide, I would be looking for an eruptive awakening along the volcanic arc from the Virgin Islands in the north to the islands off the coast of Venezuela in the south,  the Soufriere Hills on Montserrat, Mount Pelée on Martinique, La Grande Soufrière on Guadeloupe, Soufrière Saint Vincent on Saint Vincent; and the submarine volcano Kick-'em-Jenny which lies north of Grenada.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Second Whale Found Dead in Loch Carnan?!

A second pilot whale has been found dead in a Hebridean loch after experts feared more than 60 of the animals had been at risk of becoming beached.

The pod had left the shallow waters of Loch Carnan in South Uist on Saturday, but returned later that night. They have now headed out of the area - but an animal welfare charity confirmed another whale's body had been found. Tests on a body found earlier suggested the female died from disease, not because it was stranded on rocks. Marine experts said the rest of the pod had now left the loch and appeared to be heading south. Dave Jarvis, from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team, said it was thought the second whale had died elsewhere and floated into the area on the tide. Mr Jarvis said: "During the late afternoon, BDMLR operations manager Stephen Marsh was alerted to a possible sighting of a second dead whale in the sea loch. "A search was mounted and sadly the sighting was confirmed. "It was too dangerous to recover the body of the adult, although another attempt might be made tomorrow [Monday] although it was noted that there seemed to be little damage to the parts that were visible. "Due to its location and orientation, it is thought that the creature probably died elsewhere in the area and floated in on the incoming tide. "It is currently impossible to comment on why this animal died." - BBC.

EARTH CHANGES: Monster Snowpacks Melt - Major floods in America!

The United States of America seems to be moving from one disaster to another, as the monster snowpack melts and multiple floods spreads across its western states.

It's been one long series of natural disasters this year - and now it looks like another is on the way. The focus may soon be shifting from the epic flooding in the Mississippi Valley to Westwern states where enormous winter snows have piled up on mountain ranges. More than 90 sites from Montana to New Mexico and California to Colorado have record snowpack totals on the ground for late May. This has been caused by a winter marked by blizzard and an unusually cold and wet spring. Now there is a very real fear of localised flooding at those sites as the snowpacks melt under hotter, sunnier conditions in June. A sudden thaw could mean millions of gallons of water rushing through river channels and narrow canyons. Bob Struble, the director of emergency management for Routt County in north central Colorado, said: 'This could be a year to remember. All we can do is watch and wait.' At risk in Routt County is Steamboat Springs, the county's largest town. It sits about 30 miles from the headwaters of the Yampa River, a major tributary of the Colorado River that has 17ft of snow or more in parts of its watershed. The last time the west was hit by serious flooding casued by mega-thaws was 1983. Since then, however, several wide open areas that were hit have now been developed into towns. In contrast to the floods on the Mississippi River, which is centred on one mighty waterway, the Western story is fragmented, with anxiety dispersed across dozens of large and small waterways that could surge individually or collectively, the New York Times reports. In California, officials staged three days of flood training last week, running disaster scenarios filling sandbags and tying down tarp. The state’s aging levee system has long been a source of concern, with fears of large-scale failures that could leave Sacramento, the state capital, vulnerable to a Hurricane Katrina-scale flood. The worries are heightened this year by the deep snows in the Sierra Nevada, where some ski spots around Lake Tahoe saw more than 60ft this season. At Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River in Utah, federal managers have begun spilling water downstream in readiness for the rising waters. In the Wasatch Mountains outside Salt Lake City, where the Alta Ski Resort still has about 200 inches of snow, cool temperatures have kept snowpacks from crossing what hydrologists call the isothermal barrier — 32 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the snowmass — which allows gradual melting from the bottom. Last week alone there was three feet of snow. In sparsely-populated Wyoming, emergency officials are worried about tiny communities that in many cases are far from help if rivers surge. Almost every county is in a potential snow-melt flood zone, and relatively few residents have flood insurance. In Colorado's Routt County, the terrain itself has changed, with thousands of acres of dead pine trees on high mountain slopes. The trees were killed by an infestation of beetles in recent years and no longer hold the soil as they once did, raising erosion concerns. From Sacramento to Baggs in Wyoming, a town of about 600 people on the Little Snake River, 150 miles west of Cheyenne, looking upslope at the end of May and seeing lots of white is not the norm. Floods kill more Americans than lightning, tornadoes or hurricanes in an average year, according to federal figures. - Daily Mail.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Hottest Spring for a Century in the UK?!

As rain stays away, the spring is on course to be the hottest in over 100 years in the United Kingdom, since records began.

And despite the prospect of showers over the next few days, forecasters say there is still no sign of the heavy rain needed to ease near-drought conditions in the South and East of England. According to Met Office figures, April was the warmest since records began in 1910, while March was warmer than usual. So if temperatures in the second half of this month remain high, the average temperature of the three months will be around 9.2c (48.6f) – the hottest on record. Jonathan Powell, senior forecaster at Positive Weather Solutions, said: 'This year has seen an exceptional spring, with temperatures and sunshine well above average and rainfall down by a huge amount, fuelling drought worries.' There is no relief on the way for farmers, who have warned of a harvest disaster after the driest spring since records began. England and Wales have been averaging 61.3mm of rain since March, while western Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have seen just 10mm. Rivers and reservoirs are lower than normal across the country. In East Anglia the soil is as hard as concrete, while in Essex some farmers have seen just half an inch of rain since February. These parched conditions have sparked fears of hosepipe bans and forest fires. In addition, the cost of basic foods such as bread is set to rise for millions of families because of drought conditions across Europe. Growers in East Anglia are reporting yields down 25 per cent, French wheat is forecast to be down 11.5 per cent while German output is likely to be down 7 per cent. Planting has also been delayed in the U.S. and Canada, trade magazine The Grocer reported. - Daily Mail

EARTH CHANGES: Water Stressed Nations - Middle East Runs Dry!

The most water-stressed nations on Earth are all in the Middle East and North Africa. Add surging populations and food and energy costs, and trouble seems inevitable.

Water, it's the very stuff of life, and a high-resolution analysis of the most water-stressed places on Earth reveals anew a stark reality. The Middle East and north Africa (Mena), currently in the middle of a historic wave of unrest, is by far the worst affected region. Of the 16 nations suffering extreme water stress, according to risk analysts Maplecroft, every single one is in the Mena region. Bahrain tops the list of those using far more water than they sustainably receive. Other crisis-hit countries, including Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia, are not far behind. Syria tops the next category: high stress. The obvious question is to what extent this severe lack of water underlies the troubles affecting these nations? The obvious response is that only a fool would wade into political and historical waters so deep and try to divine the role of a single factor, amid poverty, unemployment, repression and more. But reassured by a middle east expert here at the Guardian that water is indeed a major underlying issue in many Mena nations, and John Vidal's article from February, I'm going to dip my toe in as far as following the chain of events that starts with scarce water. Why? Because it powerfully demonstrates how the world's biggest environmental problems link together with profound effect. First, the Mena region has seen rapid and ongoing population growth, from 127m in 1970 to 305m in 2005. That's a lot more people to feed, and to grow food you need water. But there isn't enough water any more. That problem was solved by simply throwing money at it: many of the Mena states are rich in oil. Water could be produced by desalination, virtually non-existent in 1970, or, more commonly, food could be bought in from wetter places, importing water in effect. But when oil and food prices rise, the money-throwing solution becomes harder to sustain. And food prices in particular have certainly been a contributing factor to the so-called Arab spring. The next solution is to cut out the middle men and buy or lease land in wetter places in order to grow food for export back to the dry Mena countries. Saudi Arabia has done so in Ethiopia, and Qatar in Kenya. Along with other countries including China and South Korea, the Mena countries are leading the "land grab" to alleviate their water woes. It's a compelling, sweeping (and simplistic?) narrative. It encompasses water, population, food, energy, land grabs and civil unrest. It could, I think, be the start of the first large scale example of the "perfect storm" predicted by the UK's chief scientific advisor, Professor John Beddington, and 20 years sooner than he foretold. But more than anything, as we nervously watch the Middle East, it shows how environmental problems in one region send waves around our globalised world. - Guardian.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Grimsvotn Volcano Eruption Closes Airport! The Largest in Grímsvotn in 100 Years & Larger than Eyjafjallajökull?!

Iceland has shut its main airport after a massive eruption at the Grimsvotn volcano, and other aiports on the island are likely to close during the day, the civil authority said on Sunday, following the largest eruption in the 100 years at Grímsvotn on the Vatnajökull glacier, even larger than the one in Eyjafjallajökull last year.

Iceland closed its main international airport and canceled domestic flights Sunday as a powerful volcanic eruption sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the air. The eruption was far larger than one a year ago that caused international travel chaos — but scientists said it was unlikely to have the same widespread effect. University of Iceland geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano was "much bigger and more intensive than Eyjafjallajokull," the volcano whose April 2010 eruption shut Europe's airspace for five days. "There is a very large area in southeast Iceland where there is almost total darkness and heavy fall of ash," he said. "But it is not spreading nearly as much. The winds are not as strong as they were in Eyjafjallajokull." He said the ash is coarser than in last year's eruption, falling to the ground more quickly. The ash plunged areas near the volcano into darkness and covered buildings, cars and fields in a thick layer of gray soot Sunday. Civil protection workers urged residents to wear masks and stay indoors. Airport and air traffic control operator ISAVIA said Keflavik airport, the country's main hub, was closed at 0830 GMT (4:30 a.m. EDT), and would stay shut for the rest of the day. Spokeswoman Hjordis Gudmundsdottir said the ash plume was covering Iceland, but "the good news is that it is not heading to Europe." She said the ash was blowing northwest toward Greenland instead. Trans-Atlantic flights were being diverted away from Iceland, and there was no indication the eruption would cause the widespread travel disruption triggered last year by ash from Eyjafjallajokull. In April 2010, officials closed the continent's air space for five days, fearing the ash could harm jet engines. Some 10 million travelers were stranded. The Grimsvotn volcano, which lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier about 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of the capital, Reykjavik, began erupting Saturday for the first time since 2004. Gudmundsson said the new eruption was 10 times as powerful as that one, which lasted for several days and briefly disrupted international flights. He said the eruption was Grimsvotn's largest for 100 years. Grimsvotn also erupted in 1998, 1996 and 1993. The eruptions have lasted between a day and several weeks. Sparsely populated Iceland is one of the world's most volcanically active countries and eruptions are frequent. Grimsvotn and Iceland's other major volcanoes lie on the Atlantic Rift, the meeting of the Euro and American continental plates. Eruptions often cause local flooding from melting glacier ice, but rarely cause deaths. Gudmundsson said it was hard to predict how long the eruption would last... - CBS News

WATCH: Iceland volcano eruption, giant ash clouds from Grimsvotn.

According to the Daily Mail, several experts are saying that the United Kingdom (UK) should brace itself, as the volcanic ash could reach Scotland in 48 hours and rest of UK by Thursday if eruption continues.
Ash from Iceland's most active volcano could reach northern Scotland by Tuesday and the rest of the UK, France and Spain by Thursday, experts say. The Grimsvotn volcano erupted late last night hurling steam and ash 12 miles into the sky forcing the country's main international airport to close. Initial reports this morning suggested the ash cloud was heading to Greenland, but now scientists say it is on its way to Europe. Domestic flights at Keflavik airport, close to the capital Reykjavik, have been cancelled and no flights have been allowed to take off or land since 8.30am this morning. However, experts say the ash cloud will probably not cause the same kind of disruption as when Eyjafjallajokull erupted last April, as its eruptions tend to be smaller and the particles from it less likely to disperse so far into the atmosphere. Last year, Europe came to a virtual standstill as flights were grounded for days for fear dust and ash would get into aircraft engines and cause accidents. An estimated 10 million travellers were stranded. 'There is no reason to expect Grimsvotn's current eruption to produce the volume of finely fragmented ash that caused such disruption during last year's Eyjafjallajokull eruption,' said Open University Volcano Dynamics Group expert David Rothery. 'There will be re-routing of some transatlantic flights, but I doubt that it will become necessary to close European airspace. The eruption is also expected to cause local flooding because of escape of meltwater,' he said. He said the plume from the volcano had been seen on radar screens as high as nine miles up, but he said the smoke was going straight up into the air. University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson said: 'Grimsvotn is a very powerful volcano, so we’re monitoring it closely, even if the last few eruptions have been harmless.' He said ash was also coming from the volcano, but added: 'We do not expect this to be a big one as it’s coming from the same crater as the last three eruptions, which were all small.' Mr Einarsson added that a farmer in an area south of the glacier said that ash had already begun to fall on his land, Reuters reports. A team of scientists from Iceland's capital Reykjavik flew to the area on Saturday to check on the situation. Mr Einarsson said: 'The ash in Eyjafjallajokull was persistent or unremitting and fine-grained. 'The ash in Grimsvotn is more coarse and not as likely to cause danger as it falls to the ground faster and doesn't stay as long in the air as in the Eyjafjallajokull eruption.' Europe's air traffic control organisation said on Sunday: "There is currently no impact on European or trans-atlantic flights and the situation is expected to remain so for the next 24 hours. 'Aircraft operators are constantly being kept informed of the evolving situation,' the Brussels-based organisation said. The Isavia civil aviation authority said it had decided to shut the island's main airport, which is about 30 miles from capital city Reykjavik. 'The ash distribution forecast over the next six hours shows that the ash from the volcano will spread over Iceland today, leading to the closure of most Icelandic airports as the day goes on,' it added in a statement. The Grimsvotn volcano lies under the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in the south east of Iceland and has not erupted since 2004. A no-fly zone was immediately designated for 120 nautical miles (220 kilometers) in all directions from the volcano. A spokesman for Iceland's air traffic authority said the flight ban was a precautionary measure until the full extent of the problem was known. Icelandic Met Office geologist Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson said: 'It's a big eruption!'