2011-03-11 19:54:46Earthquakes & climate change
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.83.209

Was just watching the horrendous tsunami and earthquake damage in Japan. This hot on the heels of a devastating earthquake in my country (NZ).

I remember reading an abstract a while ago about the possible link between the two (climate & earthquakes). I also notice the recent papers coming out showing that ice sheet loss is rapidly increasing and is becoming a dominant contributor to sea level rise. Therefore there is going to a major unloading of stresses in some areas. Just wondering if there's some relationship, between redistribution of mass, water and the slip-rate of faultlines.

Anyone able to e-mail me a full copy of this?: Response of faults to climate-driven changes in ice and water volumes on Earth’s surface - Hampel 2010

2011-03-12 00:16:19
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Interesting thought. Currently all that water is sitting in the middle of some techtonic plates mostly away from fault lines:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plates_tect2_en.svg

Shift it to the oceans and I guess it may have an effect, uplifting in some places and pressure down in others.

2011-03-12 01:44:31Related: Video from Japan Tsunami (from the 8.9 earthquake)
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2011/03/11/sot.tsunami.hit.japan.cnn

Burning buildings & ships being carried over fields & roads; cars driving frantically away...mesmerizing, horrifying stuff.

 

Edit: I saved a couple of these videos off-line for posterity.

2011-03-12 03:34:42
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

It's like a scene from 'The Day After Tomorow':

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2011/0311/Japan-earthquake-Eyewitness-accounts-capture-Japan-s-tsunami-after-earthquake

2011-03-12 04:22:57
Stephen Leahy

writersteve@gmail...
208.74.213.18

Rob here's a NASA report from 04 on retreating ice lead to more quakes in alaska http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0715glacierquakes.html

2009 article in new scientist references some papers - and connections between El Nino and increased sesmic activity

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327273.800-climate-change-may-trigger-earthquakes-and-volcanoes.html

and from a conference in 09:

Global warming threatens Earth with wave of natural disaster

guardian.co.uk — Scientists at a London conference next week will warn of earthquakes, avalanches and volcanic eruptions as the atmosphere heats up and geology is altered. Even Britain could face being struck by tsunamis

 

and lets not forget about the "supermoon" on Mar 19 -- New Zealanders beware. 

2011-03-12 06:47:44
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.236.17

Thanks Steve. Supermoon?, had to google what the heck you were referring to. 

2011-03-12 19:08:05
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.238.180

Can anyone help out with the paper?. I'd like to write a blog post, if there's any substance to it.

2011-03-12 19:20:52
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.222.63

I notice the energy infrastructure didn't stand up well to this.  Oil bunkers burning, and eleven reactors at four nuclear power stations automatically shut down. First of all the officials claimed no release of radioactivity, however, some news networks are reporting a blast had taken place at Fukushima Number 1 with substantially increased radioactivity. There are rumours that the reactor may be experiencing meltdown. It is one of two nuclear power stations in Fukushima where emergencies had already been declared due to cooling problems. Radioactive steam has been released to reduce rising pressure in the plants and the country's prime minister has ordered thousands of people living within six miles to leave the area

2011-03-12 19:33:12
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.238.180

Two major quakes on the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate (NZ & Japan) within weeks of each other, and a small one in Hawaii?. Some serious re-arrangement may be going on. I hope it doesn't unload on California.

Perseus, in a country well set up (apparently) for earthquakes, it's not a good sign. Mind you that is one massive quake. Wonder what strength the building codes were designed for?. 

That tsunami had me flabbergasted!. A lot of good people would have lost their lives. Very sad.

 

 

2011-03-12 19:36:37Paper on climate link to earthquakes
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78
Just based on the abstract of that paper, it seems clear that any climate link to earthquakes would be localized to regions of great ice sheet mass loss - Greenland and Antarctica. My understanding is the Japan earthquake is related to the Pacific tectonic plate pushing against and under the plate Japan sits on.
2011-03-12 19:50:39
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Looks like one of the nuclear reactors has lost containment??

News pictures shows one of the buildings just a skeleton steel frame work. The news reporters here are glossing over the issue (not chernobyl).

But it is clear from the picture that there has been a big explosion. Looks really serious.

2011-03-12 19:55:54
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Feck!

The explosion is massive. Just shown a video on BBC.

This is really, really serious.

The stupid nuclear expert on BBC news has finely admitted it ius really serious.

2011-03-12 19:56:54
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.222.63

John

There is no link to present earthquakes of tsunamis of course, but in the future it is suspected that the release of gas from hydrate deposits on the sea bed could also trigger landslides and tsunamis which would not be restricted to areas of glaciation

The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is also strongly exhorted to address more explicitly in future assessments the impact of anthropogenic climate change on the geosphere, together with its manifold potentially hazardous consequences.”

The papers follow a special meeting on the subject last year and are published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. They include studies of the likely impact of rising temperatures on events such as earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as whether the release of gas from undersea deposits called gas hydrates could trigger landslides and tsunamis

geological hazards of global warming 

2011-03-12 20:04:31Bunch of papers on earthquakes, volcanoes for everyone to chew on
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78
http://goo.gl/HrHaj
2011-03-12 20:19:00Article about earthquake
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78
If SkS does an article abut the earthquake, the point should be to clarify that climate change DID NOT cause the Japan tsunami. It has nothing to do with global warming and I find myself agreeing with the critics of Grist (eg - http://bit.ly/g70tyM )
2011-03-12 20:53:30
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.238.180

C'mon now John, you expect me to just make stuff up!. I wanna reasearch it a bit more see if there is something to it. The paper I referred to suggested that effects might be localized, but it will cite a whole bunch of papers that might be worth chasing up. 

The article you referred to says something about plates building up pressure and then unloading. Well, that's not very helpful is it?. Might as well say it's leprechauns that done it. Everything in the physical world has an explanation, we just need to figure it out. Neither am I impressed by seismologists saying this and that are unrelated. These being the same people that have no inkling an earthquake is about to happen in the first place!.

Here's my thinking:

- Recent papers are showing the dominant contribitor to sea level rise is the Greenland icesheet and mountain glaciers.

- If so, then a whole lot of that mass is going to end up in the Pacific. Per Kuhn 2010.

- tidal guages in the Pacific are showing sea level rises much higher than the global average. Satellite altimetry shows this as focussed in the Western Pacific

- We know that plate tectonics is only possible because of the presence of water on Earth.

- Maybe the gravitational loading has passed some tipping point, causing a change in hydraulic pressure between the plates?.

-Maybe we'll see more activity along the western boundary of the Pacific plate, corresponding with the non-uniform SLR.

- Maybe this is just a complete load of bollocks?.

I don't mind looking into it. If I come up empty so be it.

2011-03-12 21:42:51
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Personally I would writen't anything at this stage.

I think it is risky and would probably draw negative comments about exploiting the situation. I suggest leaving it for a few months before publishing anything.

2011-03-12 21:56:59
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.238.180

And if it turns out there something in it?. Sounds like a good way to attract viewership if we draw attention to some research that has been languishing deep in the archives of some journal (presuming it exists of course).

As for skeptic reaction, entirely predictable. They can't expect intelligent people to see the same routines repeated over and over again and not anticipate how they're going to respond. Exactly as you suggest. "Exploiting the situation", "they're trying to link every disaster to global warming!". Yeah, mate, can see it coming a mile away.

If any future post is supported by the literature what is there to "legitimately" whine about?.

2011-03-12 22:04:12
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.118.88

Maybe it's worth saying that, while more investigation will reveal more, it's not a good idea to jump to any conclusions about a connection between GW and earthquakes.

We don't seem to get any credit from "skeptics" for simply not jumping to conclusions, for example, concerning hot summers; I think it makes sense to point out that we're not jumping to conclusions. I have seen an article making a big deal about tweets linking earthquakes to AGW (tweets!), as if you could blame all the AGW-concerned for a few frantic tweeters.

2011-03-12 22:18:08
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.238.180

Neal, I have no idea what tweeters get up to. Not my thing, kinda vaccuous. People here seem worried by a post that may never eventuate. There may be no scientific basis at all. Just that a handful of papers I have read, seemed to paint a consistent picture. At least my musings had some foundation, most tweets are like chinese whispers ain't they?. 

2011-03-12 23:36:35
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.118.88

Rob,

We're engaged in a PR war. I'm proposing a defense, not against the dumb tweeters, but against the opportunistic "skeptics" who want to blame the AGW-concerned for what some dumb tweeters are already saying.

I think it will take you some time to figure out what can legitimately be said by researchers; and we might want that coffee to cool. I'm talking about what should be said right away.

2011-03-13 19:34:49
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.212.149

Notice where all the Earthquake activity is occurring?. Yeah, yeah likely a coincidence, but interesting nevertheless.

Bah, key didn't show up. From USGS 

2011-03-13 20:50:28
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.212.149

I'm coming up empty, although I have learned the Earth's crust is quite thin at the oceanic margins. So not a complete loss. 

2011-03-13 22:19:17
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.39.178

Ring of Fire?

2011-03-13 22:35:43
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.212.149

More like "mangled horseshoe of fire". I was pointing out that the main activity seems to be concentrated where the greatest SLR is occurring, although it's just a "snap-shot". And without a mechanistic understanding is pretty much useless anyway. There doesn't seem to be much literature, and what little there is, is paywalled. I'll do a bit more digging tomorrow then I'm back to whittling down my list.

Oh yeah, I did come across a paper which asserts that the Andes were formed as a result of climate change. Now that is news to me too. Suggests that climate change can affect plate tectonics though, although the process had nothing to do with ice melt.

2011-03-14 20:36:42
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.196.118

Hey guys, found a whole bunch of stuff, which I've downloaded and will digest. Seems the influence of climate on seismic activity, volcanism and even mountain-building is far more profound than I expected. 

2011-03-14 21:29:06
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.115.138

what is "SLR"?

2011-03-14 21:44:29
Ari Jokimäki

arijmaki@yahoo...
192.100.112.211

I bet it's sea level rise. :)

2011-03-14 22:24:46Ring of Fire sounds good to me
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Then we could use this:

2011-03-15 03:40:26Looking to do Article on this for IPS
Stephen Leahy

writersteve@gmail...
208.74.213.18

Rob, I'm doing a piece for the IPS news service on this topic - can you send me your contact details and any info you've collected? (And if anyone else wants to chip in some thing)

writersteve@gmail.com

2011-03-15 05:56:30
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.202.247

Steve, I'm having a read through now. Get back to you later today.  

Neal: Yeah, sorry SLR = sea level rise.

2011-03-15 08:13:57
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.202.247

Steve, sent copies of 9 papers to your e-mail address. Something to chew on.