Russian: Heatwave kills 5,000 as wildfires rage totally out of control

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Wheat Prices Soar On Russia Export Ban, Trade Halted

Russia Declares State Of Emergy Emergency As Forest Fires Rage

Russia: Worst drought in a decade, high temperatures damaged 32 percent of land under cultivation, grain prices may double

Russia’s devastating summer heatwave has cost almost 5,000 lives, according to officials who conceded yesterday that the state was struggling to gain control over the worst wildfires in decades.

Moscow’s landmarks, including the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, are shrouded in a thick, acrid haze (AP)

The ministry for emergencies issued an urgent call for volunteers to join fire brigades to bolster the fight against the peat and forest fires raging out of control around Moscow.

Temperatures in Russia have hit records for the time of year on at least six occasions in recent weeks. Forecasters said there would be no respite from temperatures above 97F (36C) for at least another week.

Death rates have escalated steadily since the heatwave began, according to statisticians. “We recorded 14,340 deaths in Moscow in July, that is 4,824 deaths more than in July, 2009,” said Yevgenia Smirnova, an official from the Moscow registry office.

Almost half a million acres are still burning and Nasa images have shown smoke from the fires visible from space (EPA)

Firemen are battling to stop the flames encroaching on the capital. Moscow’s landmarks, including the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, were shrouded in a thick, acrid haze. Those workers not ordered to stay at home wore masks as they struggled through the streets.

As many as 140 flights were cancelled or delayed as visibility at Moscow’s airports was reduced to 1,148 feet (350 metres). Carbon monoxide in the city’s air rose to as high as 4.8 times the admissible maximum level before tapering off slightly as night fell.

The health ministry advised people to stay indoors, limit physical activity and wear a mask when going outside.

The authorities have warned of the risk of fires reactivating contamination in an area to the south and west of Moscow that was affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The risks posed by the fires encompass dozens of sensitive sites built up in the Soviet era. Military units were mobilised to remove artillery and missiles from bases around the capital and warnings were issued of the peril facing Sarov, a closed city that is home to Russia’s nuclear research headquarters.

Read moreRussian: Heatwave kills 5,000 as wildfires rage totally out of control

Scientists: Car fuel ‘could be made from thin air’

Car fuel could be created from thin air using an enzyme from a common soil bacterium, say scientists.

Cars could one day create their own fuel out of thin air, according to scientists. Photo: BLOOMBERG

It is hoped that this will lead to a cheap way of making environmentally friendly, carbon-neutral ‘green’ fuel that can be used without major redesigns of car engines.

Azotobacter vinelandii, a microbe found around the roots of various food plants, creates an enzyme – vanadium nitrogenase – which in nature produces ammonia from nitrogen gas. But now it has been shown that it can also create propane, the fuel commonly used in camping gas stoves, out of carbon monoxide – a common byproduct of industrial processes.

Read moreScientists: Car fuel ‘could be made from thin air’

Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico Has Stalled From BP Oil Disaster!


Life on this Earth Just Changed: The North Atlantic Current is Gone

Global Consequences if Current Fails to Reorganize


This could be the most significant man-caused Earth Changes news thus far in my lifetime.  This morning, Lesie Pastor informed the New Energy Congress of a report by Your Own World USA that as of July 28,

Oceanographic satellite data now shows that the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico has stalled as a consequence of the BP oil spill [volcano] disaster. This according to Dr. Gianluigi Zangari, an Italian theoretical physicist, and major complex and chaotic systems analyst at the Frascati National Laboratories in Italy.

He further notes that the effects of this stall have also begun to spread to the Gulf Stream. This is because the Loop Current is a crucial element of the Gulf Stream itself and why it is commonly referred to as the “main engine” of the Stream.

The concern now, is whether or not natural processes can re-establish the stalled Loop Current. If not, we could begin to see global crop failures as early as 2011.

Read moreLoop Current in the Gulf of Mexico Has Stalled From BP Oil Disaster!

Wheat Prices Soar On Russia Export Ban, Trade Halted

See also:

Russia Declares State Of Emergy Emergency As Forest Fires Rage

Russia: Worst drought in a decade, high temperatures damaged 32 percent of land under cultivation, grain prices may double


WINNIPEG Manitoba (Reuters) – Chicago wheat markets jumped 8 percent to near two-year highs on Thursday, twice triggering trading curbs to restore order before easing back after Russia said it would temporarily halt grain exports.

Russia’s worst drought on record has devastated crops in parts of the country and sent international grain prices soaring as markets placed bets that without shipments from one of the world’s leading exporters, global supplies would be restricted.

Wheat has risen seven of the past eight days at the Chicago Board of Trade and buying by funds and traders spilled across the grain markets. Corn and soybeans were 2 and 0.5 percent higher, respectively.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an order banning grain and flour exports from August 15 to December 31, with a spokesman saying this would apply to contracts that had been already signed.

Read moreWheat Prices Soar On Russia Export Ban, Trade Halted

Pakistan: Floods Spread Into Populous Punjab Region

Pakistan’s prime minister has demanded his cabinet speed up relief to 3.2 million people hit by the worst floods in 80 years as devastation spread when floodwaters surged into the south of the country.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, prime minister, told his cabinet to speed up relief work and try and estimate the financial scale of the damage.

Continuing heavy rain in the northwest triggered more flood warnings and some 15,000 houses were destroyed in the south as rivers carried the floodwaters into Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Survivors were facing starvation after four-fifths of food stocks had been washed away, the United Nations’ World Food Programme warned.

DEC launches Pakistan floods appeal

Punjab is Pakistan’s most populous area and contains nearly three fifths of the nation’s people. It is also holds swathes of farmland, earning it a reputation as the country’s breadbasket.

Flood waters receded in the worst hit northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, but the area remained devastated by landslides and flash floods from last week’s record monsoon that dumped a foot of rain in 36 hours.

In southern Punjab more than 130,000 people were evacuated by the army, but fears for further casualties grew as many were stranded when they ignored flood warnings.

At least 1.1 million acres of crops have been destroyed in the Punjab agricultural heartland alone the National Disaster Management Authority said.

Read morePakistan: Floods Spread Into Populous Punjab Region

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection: Pollution Makes 25 Percent Of Water Totally Unusable

‘Made in China!’

Fishermen load bags of dead fish onto a forklift at the Mian Hua Tan reservoir in Yongding county, Fujian province, July 13, 2010. Credit: Reuters/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters) – Almost a quarter of China’s surface water remains so polluted that it is unfit even for industrial use, while less than half of total supplies are drinkable, data from the environment watchdog showed on Monday.

Inspectors from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection tested water samples from the country’s major rivers and lakes in the first half of the year and declared just 49.3 percent to be safe for drinking, up from 48 percent last year, the ministry said in a notice posted on its website (

China classifies its water supplies using six grades, with the first three grades considered safe for drinking and bathing.

Another 26.4 percent was said to be categories IV and V — fit only for use in industry and agriculture — leaving a total of 24.3 percent in category VI and unfit for any purpose.

Read moreChina’s Ministry of Environmental Protection: Pollution Makes 25 Percent Of Water Totally Unusable

China: Garbage Islands Threaten Three Gorges Dam


Giant rubbish islands threaten China’s dams and bridges (Guardian):

Rivers choked with islands of debris after recent floods, threatening to block floodgates of dams and topple bridges.

Vast floating islands of rubbish and debris, accumulated after torrential rains and flooding, are threatening to topple a bridge and jam two big dams in China, state media reported on Wednesday.

One layer of garbage covering 15,000sq m – had lodged under a bridge in the north-eastern city of Baishan in Jilin province and was blocking water flow, the China Daily reported.

Officials fear a fresh wave of flooding, if crews fail to clear the debris, could bring down the bridge. If the island is washed downstream, it could block floodgates at the Yunfeng dam, now operating at full capacity.

Emergency services were scrambling to clean up the waterway, near the border with North Korea, but fear it could take days.

“We have collected 40 trucks of the trash, but the remaining trash might fill another 200 trucks,” the official Xinhua agency quoted police officer Wang Yong as saying.

A worker clears floating garbage washed down by recent torrential rain on the Yangtze River in Wuhu, Anhui province, August 2, 2010.

BEIJING (Reuters) – Thousands of tons of garbage washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China’s massive Three Gorges Dam, and is in places so thick people can stand on it, state media said on Monday.

Chen Lei, a senior official at the China Three Gorges Corporation, told the China Daily that 3,000 tons of rubbish was being collected at the dam every day, but there was still not enough manpower to clean it all up.

“The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges Dam,” Chen said, referring to the gates of the locks which allow shipping to pass through the Yangtze River.

The river is a crucial commercial artery for the upstream city of Chongqing and other areas in China’s less-developed western interior provinces.

Pictures showed a huge swathe of the waters by the dam crammed full of debris, with cranes brought in to fish out a tangled mess, including shoes, bottles, branches and Styrofoam.

Some 50,000 square meters of water (more than half a million square feet) had been covered by trash washed down since the start of the rainy season in July, the report said. The trash is around 60 centimeters (two feet) deep, and in some parts so compacted people can walk on it, the Hubei Daily added.

“Such a large amount of debris could damage the propellers and bottoms of passing boats,” Chen said, “The decaying garbage could also harm the scenery and the water quality.”

Read moreChina: Garbage Islands Threaten Three Gorges Dam

Pakistan: Floods threaten third-largest dam


Mass evacuations as flood threatens to destroy dam (Independent):

Rising water levels were last night threatening one of Pakistan’s largest dams, forcing the authorities to evacuate more people even as raging floods surged south into the country’s heartland, destroying communities and ruining livelihoods. Officials in the country’s north-west said unprecedented flooding had caused the water level at Warsak Dam near Peshawar to soar, already prompting the voluntary evacuation of some of the city’s residents and forcing the authorities to draw up plans to move those who sought to stay. “If needed, forced evacuation will be started,” said Adnan Khan of the Disaster Management Authority of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Even while waters recede in some parts of the north-west, it is far from clear that the country’s misery is over. Aid agencies estimate more than 3.2m people have now been affected by the nation’s most severe floods in recent history and the water that has caused such chaos is now reportedly moving south, sweeping into Punjab province.

Residents evacuated from outskirts of Peshawar as aid agencies warn disease could become biggest killer in floods

Floods in Pakistan destroyed houses in a village near Charsadda. (AFP/Getty Images)

Further rainfall and rising water levels threatened Pakistan’s third-largest dam as relief officials warned that disease could become the biggest killer in the country’s most destructive floods in more than 30 years.

Officials asked residents in the northern outskirts of Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan, to leave their homes as water levels rose at the Warsak dam. “If needed, forced evacuation will be started,” said Adnan Khan, a spokesman for the disaster management authority of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province.

River gorges flowing from the north-west began to flood villages in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province and home to many of its biggest farms. About 3,000 people were marooned in the Kot Addu area of southern Punjab after the water breached a flood bank, forcing the army to evacuate people using boats and helicopters.

The sudden surge surprised Fateh Mohammad and his family. “We just ran away with our children, leaving behind everything. All our possessions are drowned in the water. We have nothing,” he told Reuters.

Abdul Sami Malik, of Unicef, said: “What we have heard from Punjab is that 50,000 people have already been displaced and 200,000 people are being evacuated from Sindh.”

Read morePakistan: Floods threaten third-largest dam

Pakistan Floods Wash Whole Villages Away, Death Toll Rises To 1,100

See also: UN: Deadly Floods Affect 1 Million Pakistanis

Access blocked to areas in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa as authorities try to rescue 27,000 people trapped after heavy rains

Pakistan floods strand thousands

The death toll from flooding in north-west Pakistan rose to 1,100 today as rescue workers struggled to save more than 27,000 people still trapped by the water.

The rescue effort was aided by a slackening of the monsoon rains that caused the worst flooding in decades in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province. But as the waters started to recede, authorities began to understand the full scale of the disaster.

“Aerial monitoring is being conducted, and it has shown that whole villages have washed away, animals have drowned and grain storages have washed away,” said Latifur Rehman, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority. “The destruction is massive.”

Read morePakistan Floods Wash Whole Villages Away, Death Toll Rises To 1,100

The Sun Unleashes Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) At Earth

Earlier this morning, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) witnessed a complex magnetic eruption on the sun. The joint NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) — a mission sitting at the L1 point between the Earth and the sun — also spotted a large coronal mass ejection (CME) blasting in the direction of Earth.

It is thought that the SDO and SOHO observations are connected, making this a global magnetic disturbance affecting the whole of the Earth-facing side of the sun.

The eruption happened at around 0855 UT (3:55 am EST), when the SDO detected a C3-class solar flare originating from a cluster of sunspots (called sunspot 1092). This isn’t a large flare, but right at the same time, a filament located about 100,000 kilometers from the flare also erupted.

A “filament” is a long magnetic structure rising high above the surface of the sun filled with cool plasma. Because it is cooler than the sun’s chromosphere, when in the direct line of sight between the Earth and sun, it appears as a dark ribbon snaking across the sun’s disk. If a filament is spotted on the limb of the sun (i.e. on the side), it appears as a bright prominence arcing high into the sun’s atmosphere.

Judging by the timing, the flare and the filament erupted at the same time, suggesting they are connected via long-range magnetic field lines. The resulting shockwave emanating away from the flare site may have had a role to play in accelerating the filament when it hit the filament’s eruption zone.

Watch the video of the eruption as seen by the SDO:


This sequence of events led to a huge magnetic bubble of plasma being blasted into space. As the eruption was on the Earth-facing side of the sun, the CME is heading right for us — see the SOHO video of the CME. We can expect its arrival on Aug. 3.

Skywatchers will be on high alert that day as when that CME intermingles with the Earth’s magnetosphere, we can expect some intense aurorae around polar regions.

Far from being a frightening event, this morning’s complex solar eruption — including a flare, shockwave, filament eruption and CME — is a testament to the technological ingenuity of the solar scientists and engineers who have designed the powerful solar missions that continually monitor our tumultuous star. Now we know a CME is coming, we can prepare for its arrival.

Read moreThe Sun Unleashes Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) At Earth