Category Archives: Geo-environmental Hazards

California drought, unprecedented in the last 1,200 years

The current drought in California, which has wrought havoc to farmers statewide since 2012, has been attributed by climate scientists to the presence of the now infamous “Ridicolously Resilient Ridge”, an extraordinarily persistent region of high pressure over the northeastern Pacific Ocean in the middle atmosphere that forced that has prevented winter storms from reaching California.

Will California turn into an enormous desert?
Will California turn into an enormous desert?

Continue reading California drought, unprecedented in the last 1,200 years

The Aral Sea is drying up

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NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

A spectacular natural-color Landsat 8 image taken by NASA shows emerald-coloured Hanhowuz artificial lake situated in Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia with an annual precipitation from 300 millimeter in the mountains to 80 millimeters in the desert northwest. Continue reading The Aral Sea is drying up

Floods devastate the Balkans, causing epidemics and washing away landmines

On May 13, 2014, a huge low-pressure system designated “Yvette” formed when a cool mass of polar air from Central Europe mixed with humid, sub-tropical air from the Mediterranean Basin.

The low-pressure area moved to the Balkans, where it remained stationary for about two days, causing unprecedented rainfall over Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Continue reading Floods devastate the Balkans, causing epidemics and washing away landmines

Cyclone poleward shift threatens previously unaffected areas

IDL TIFF file
NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon

A study, led by a the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and published on May 15 in Nature, has revealed key information about the linkage between cyclone activity and the expansion of the tropics. Continue reading Cyclone poleward shift threatens previously unaffected areas

Coal mine explosion causes mayhem in Turkey, sparks mass riots

A disaster occurred in Turkey on May 13, when  787 miners were involved in an explosion due to technical problems at depth of 2000 m, in the Earth’s interior. They were working in an underground private coal mine located in Soma, 120 km away from Smirne.

A blaze, probably induced by a spark from a broken down transformer, killed 282 of them due to scorching heat and consequent lack of oxygen. Continue reading Coal mine explosion causes mayhem in Turkey, sparks mass riots