Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

Mother Earth On Crack

It must be the worst nightmare; the forces of nature spinning totally out of control. Is that what is about to happen? With one major ecological catastrophe after another? If so, it would be the “fattest tail” in the history of science.

“We hear about more earthquakes and it seems like they are more frequent.”

J. Ramón Arrowsmith

8,8 on The Richter Scale is quite a ride. But it’s not abnormal. Nor is the earthquake frequency out of the “normal” range, according to scientists. What’s worries me is that most scientists are using the same mathematical models when reaching their conclusions as the economists that didn’t see the financial crisis coming.

The Chilean earthquake, and the tsunami it spawned, originated on a hot spot known as a subduction zone, where one plate of Earth‘s crust dives under another.

It’s part of the very active “Ring of ire,” a zone of major crustal plate clashes that surround the Pacific Ocean.

“This particular subduction zone has produced very damaging earthquakes throughout its history,” says Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), according to Associated Press.

The world’s largest quake ever recorded, magnitude 9.5, occurred along the same fault zone in May 1960.

A Whole Lotta Shaking Going On

Magnitude-8 earthquakes occur globally, on average, just once a year.

“Since magnitudes are given on a logarithmic scale, an 8.8-magnitude is much more intense than a magnitude 8, and so this event would be even rarer,” J. Ramón Arrowsmith, a geologist at Arizona State University, says.

The Ryukyu Islands of Japan were hit with a 7.0-magnitude quake just last night. News of this, the Haiti quake and now Chile make it seem Earth is becoming ever more active. But in the grand scheme of things, geologists say this is just Mother Nature as usual.

“From our human perspective with our relatively short and incomplete memories and better and better communications around the world, we hear about more earthquakes and it seems like they are more frequent,” Arrowsmith said.

“But this is probably not any indication of a global change in earthquake rate of significance.”

“Coupled with better communication, as the human population skyrocket and we move into more hazardous regions, we’re going to hear more about the events that do occur,” Arrowsmith adds.

However, Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology, says: “Relative to the 20-year period from the mid 1970’s to the mid 1990’s, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 or so years.”

“We still do not know the reason for this yet. Could simply be the natural temporal variation of the stress field in the earth’s lithosphere.”

(The lithosphere; the outer solid part of the Earth.)

Common Factors

The latest earthquake in Chile have two common factors with the 7,0 magnitude quake in Japan recently.

For one, any seismic waves that did make their way from Japan to the Chilean coast could play a slight role in the ground-shaking.

“It is too far away for any direct triggering, and those distances also make the seismic waves as they would pass by from the Haiti or Japan events pretty small because of attenuation,” J. Ramón Arrowsmith says.

(Attenuation is the decrease in energy with distance.)

“Nevertheless, if the Chilean fault surface were close to failure, those small waves could push it even closer.”

In addition, both regions reside within the Ring of Fire, which is a zone surrounding the Pacific Ocean where the Pacific tectonic plate and other plates dive beneath other slabs of Earth.

About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur along this arc.

The Fat Tail of Mother Nature

What do you think geologists, climate scientists, financial engineers and poker players have in common?

Financial model

They all use – roughly – the same mathematical models, based on available historical data,  to calculate probability.

Events that occur outside the statistical pattern are usually referred to as “fat tails”.

The last couple of years, the term “Black Swan” have been used about similar unexpected incidences.

(After Nassim Taleb’s famous book by the same name).

The “rocket scientists” on Wall Street obviously ran into a “fat tail” and it seems like the climate scientists, (or should I say “the climate industry”?),  are about to do the same.

So, what about the geologists?

What happen if?

That’s the question probability models are used for.

General model

The answer is only as reliable as the date you put into the formula.

And when it comes to the development of the Earth, our historical data is less than insignificant.

Even a million years is next to nothing.

Still, we’re determined to alter the composition of our  delicate earthly mechanisms.

Without knowing the consequences.

What would happen if we replaced all the salt water on the Earth with fresh water?

Or, what would happen if we replaced all the oil in the Earths lithosphere with a mixture of salt water and dirt? (Or pump the empty oil wells in the North Sea full of CO2?)

Well, I’m no geologist.

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A non-agreement on nothing

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Europe Risks Being Sidelined In Climate Talk

Netherlands Adds New Controversy To UN Climate Report

Top Scientist: “UN Climate Panel Is Losing All Credibility”

World May Not Be Warming, Scientists Says

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A non-agreement on nothing

Friday evening, said U.S. President Barac Obama that it is achieved “meaningful and enestårende” climate agreement after negotiations on overtime in Copenhagen.  But the so-called agreement does not contain anything concrete. See for yourself.

U.S. President Barack Obama told the press late Friday night that it had achieved a “meaningful and unique agreement” between the world’s heads of state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 2050.

In addition, it agreed to create a climate fund of 100 billion dollars to be used for mitigation in developing countries.

The agreement was presented in Copenhagen for talks on overtime between the U.S. and China.

– For the first time in history have all the major world economies come together and accepted its responsibility to act against the looming climate change, said Obama, according to international news agencies

Not binding

– The agreement is not legally binding, but what it does is to allow each country to show the world what they are doing, and it will be agreed from each country that we are in this together. We will see who meets, and who do not meet, the common commitments that have been put forth, “said Obama.

– We know that the measures we do not have sole NOK to get where we need to be by 2050, but that is why this should be the first step.

Obama thinks there are nødvending with a legally binding agreement, but that one could not sit to wait for everyone to agree on details.

X-and Y-agreement

The agreement is not legally binding and it is up to each country if they want to sign or not,

Those who write under is committed only to participate in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – individually or collectively – with 80 per cent towards 2050.

Each country can even fill out the percentage they will reduce their emissions by up to 2020 – X percent compared to 1990 and Y per cent compared to 2005.

According to the agreement, specific targets and commitments specified in a new agreement by 2016.


Politicians disappointed – environmentalists outraged

There are apparently no one – except Obama – who is satisfied with the agreement.

“Let’s be honest, this is not a perfect agreement. It does not remove the climate pressures, climate change threat to humanity”, said EU president, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told a news conference on Friday night.

“Our future is not for sale. I regret to inform you that Tuvalu can not accept this document,” said Ian Fry, who represents the small øystaten in the Pacific Ocean is likely to disappear in the ocean if sea levels rise as much as feared.

Fry calls the document a betrayal of biblical proportions.

“It looks like we have been offered 30 pieces of silver to betray our people and our future.”


Greepeace: “Copenhagen is the site of a crime today, and the culprit is the wild flight to the airport. There is neither the goal for emissions cuts or a legally binding agreement,” said John Sauve from the British division of Greenpeace.

Friends of Earth: “The agreement a miserable failure, and says that the rich countries thus have condemned millions of the world’s poorest people to starvation, suffering and loss of life as the climate changes ahead.” Det sier organisasjonens leder Nnimmo Bassey.

“Ansvaret for dette katastrofale resultatet ligger direkte hos de rike landene,” It says the organization’s leader Nnimmo Bassey.

“The responsibility for this disastrous outcome is directly in the rich countries,”

World Development Group: “The summit has been the only chaos from beginning to end, and finally ended in a shameful and monumental failure to judge one million around the world to indescribable suffering,” says Tim Jones in the WDG.

“To say that this agreement at any way is historical or meaningful is to fake the fact that it is empty of content. It is in reality meaningless. “

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