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Latest Earthquakes Shake The World

Magnitude 8.8
Date-Time Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 06:34:14 UTC
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 03:34:14 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 35.846°S, 72.719°W
Depth 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
Distances 100 km (60 miles) NNW of Chillan, Chile

Summary: This earthquake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. The two plates are converging at a rate of 80 mm per year. The earthquake occurred as thrust-faulting on the interface between the two plates, with the Nazca plate moving down and landward below the South American plate.

Coastal Chile has a history of very large earthquakes. Since 1973, there have been 13 events of magnitude 7.0 or greater. The February 27 shock originated about 230 km north of the source region of the magnitude 9.5 earthquake of May, 1960 – the largest earthquake worldwide in the last 200 years or more. This giant earthquake spawned a tsunami that engulfed the Pacific Ocean. An estimated 1600 lives were lost to the 1960 earthquake and tsunami in Chile, and the 1960 tsunami took another 200 lives among Japan, Hawaii, and the Philippines. Approximately 870 km to the north of the February 27 earthquake is the source region of the magnitude 8.5 earthquake of November, 1922. This great quake significantly impacted central Chile, killing several hundred people and causing severe property damage. The 1922 quake generated a 9-meter local tsunami that inundated the Chile coast near the town of Coquimbo; the tsunami also crossed the Pacific, washing away boats in Hilo harbor, Hawaii. The magnitude 8.8 earthquake of February 27, 2010 ruptured the portion of the South American subduction zone separating these two massive historical earthquakes.

A large vigorous aftershock sequence can be expected from this earthquake.

Magnitude 7.0
Date-Time Friday, February 26, 2010 at 20:31:27 UTC
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 05:31:27 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 25.902°N, 128.417°E
Depth 22 km (13.7 miles) set by location program
Distances 80 km (50 miles) ESE of Naha, Okinawa, Japan

Summary: The Ryukyu Islands earthquake of February 26, 2010, occurred near the boundary that accommodates most of the relative motion between the Philippine Sea and Eurasia tectonic plates. In the region of the earthquake, the Philippine Sea plate moves WNW with respect to the interior of the Eurasia plate, with a relative velocity of approximately 60 mm/yr. The Philippine Sea plate subducts beneath the Eurasia plate at the Ryukyu Trench and is seismically active to depths of about 250 km. The initial estimates of the earthquake’s epicenter, focal-depth, and focal-mechanism imply that the shock occurred as an intraplate event either within the subducting Philippine Sea Plate, or within the overlying Eurasia plate, rather than on the thrust-fault plate interface that separates the two, but preliminarily data do not clearly discriminate between these two possibilities.

The largest, instrumentally recorded, shallow-focus, earthquakes from the region of the central Ryukyu trench have had magnitudes in the 7.1 – 7.4 range.

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Raining Fish In Australia

Torrential rains caused it to rain fish from the sky in Australia. The bizarre phenomena happened twice in the same day.

When Christine Balmer saw “hundreds and hundreds” of fish falling from the sky, she could not believe it.

“It rained fish in Lajamanu on Thursday and Friday night,” she said, “They fell from the sky everywhere. Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere. These fish were alive when they hit the ground. I haven’t lost my marbles. Thank God it didn’t rain crocodiles.”

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Copenhagen Accord Pledges Fall Short of Climate Goals

Pledges by 60 countries to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 10 years will not be sufficient to hold global temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report notes that an emissions path with a medium likelihood of keeping temperature rises below the 2°C mark will require annual global GHG emission to be at or below the equivalent of 40-48.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide. In contrast, the pledges under the Copenhagen Accord are estimated to achieve the equivalent of 48.8-51.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year by 2020. The report also notes that GHG emissions should peak sometime between 2015 and 2021, and over the following 30 years, global GHG emissions need to fall by 48%-72%, or about 3% per year. Climate scientists generally agree that global temperature increases should be held below 2°C to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts, which means that countries must find a way to bridge the “gigaton gap.”

More Ambition Needed if Greenhouse Gases are to Peak in Time, Says New UNEP Report

Pledges Post Copenhagen Unlikely to Keep Temperatures Below 2 Degrees Celsius by Mid Century

UNEP Year Book Also Launched Today Outlines Growing Governance Challenge from Climate to Chemicals

Bali (Indonesia), 23 February 2010 – Countries will have to be far more ambitious in cutting greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to effectively curb a rise in global temperature at 2 degrees C or less.

This is the conclusion of a new greenhouse gas modeling study, based on the estimates of researchers at nine leading centres, compiled by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The experts (see notes to editors) suggest that annual global greenhouse gas emissions should not be larger than 40 to 48.3 Gigatonnes (Gt) of equivalent C02 in 2020 and should peak sometime between 2015 and 2021.

They also estimate that between 2020 and 2050, global emissions need to fall by between 48 per cent and 72 per cent, indicating that an ambition to cut greenhouse gases by around three per cent a year over that 30 year period is also needed.

Such a path offers a ‘medium’ likelihood or at least a 50/50 chance of keeping a global temperature rise at below 2 degrees C, says the new report.

The new study, launched on the eve of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum taking place in Bali, Indonesia, has analyzed the pledges of 60 developed and developing economies.

They have been recently submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) following the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in December.

The nine modeling centres have now estimated how far these pledges go towards meeting a reasonable ‘peak’ in emissions depending on whether the high or the low intentions are met.

“The expected emissions for 2020 range between 48.8 to 51.2 GT of CO2 equivalent based on whether high or low pledges will be fulfilled,” says the report.

The report, as noted earlier, says that in order to meet the 2 degree C aim in 2050, emissions in 2020 need to be between 40 Gt and 48.3 Gt.

Thus even with the best intentions there is a gap of between 0.5 and 8.8Gt of CO2 equivalent per year, amounting to an average shortfall in emission cuts of 4.7 Gt.

If the low end of the emission reduction pledges are fulfilled, the gap is even bigger-2.9 Gt to 11.2 Gt of CO2 equivalent per year, with an average gap of 7.1 Gt says the report How Close Are We to the Two Degree Limit?

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “There are clearly a great deal of assumptions underlying these figures, but they do provide an indication of where countries are and perhaps more importantly where they need to aim.”

“There clearly is ‘Gigatonne gap’ which may be a significant one according some of the modelers. This needs to be bridged and bridged quickly if the international community is to pro-actively manage emissions down in a way that makes economic sense,” he added.

“There are multiple reasons for countries to make a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy of which climate change is a key one. But energy security, cuts in air pollution and diversifying energy sources are also important drivers,” said Mr Steiner.

“This week at the UNEP GC/GMEF we will also shine a light on the opportunities ranging from accelerating clean tech and renewable energy enterprises to the climate, social and economic benefits of investing in terrestrial and marine ecosystems,” he added.

Some of those multiple opportunities for action are showcased in the UNEP Year Book 2010 which is being presented to ministers responsible for the environment who are attending the meeting.

These include Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) which gained political support at the Copenhagen climate change meeting.

REDD, which involves supporting developing countries to conserve rather than clear tropical forests, could make an important contribution not only to combating climate change but also to overcoming poverty and to a successful UN International Year of Biodiversity.

. The Year Book estimates that investing $22 billion to $29 billion in REDD could cut global deforestation by 25 per cent by 2015.

It also highlights a new and promising REDD project in Brazil, at the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve in Amazonas.

. Here each family receives US$28 a month if the forest remains uncut, one potential way of tipping the economic balance in favour of conservation versus continued deforestation.

Renewables are also gaining momentum: although still very low compared to the huge potential of renewable energy, the global installed wind generation capacity has grown at the rate of 25 per cent per year over the past five years.

. In China, for example installed capacity has nearly doubled every year since the end of 2004 – and the report notes that the wind energy potential under perfect conditions has been estimated at up to 72,000 GW, nearly five times total energy demand. Probably 20 per cent of this energy potential could be captured in the future, representing almost 15 000 GW.

Managing a response to climate change also echoes the challenge of International Environment Governance, a key theme at this week’s GC/GMEF.

Governance also underpins the international response to other challenges highlighted in the UNEP Year Book 2010.

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