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Indian Seismologist Arun Bapat had Predicted China Earthquake on August 8

Bapat’s prediction based on surface temperatures also turned out to be correct in the case of an earthquake in Manipur early this year

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Indian Seismologist succesfully preditcs several earthquakes beforehand by studying data,.
Earthquake prediction enables emergency measures to reduce death and destruction. Pixabay
  • Indian seismologist correctly predicts China earthquake beforehand by studying changes in scientific data and temperatures
  • Scientific technology used for short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction witnessing continuous progression

Bengaluru, August 13, 2017 : Indian seismologist Arun Bapat had warned, a day before it struck, of the the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that rocked China on August 8, killing close to 40 people and forcing the evacuation of thousands more.

“I daily visit the website of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for various geological, meteorological, ionospheric and seismic parameters,” Bapat, a former chief of earthquake research at the Central Water and Power Research Station in Pune, told IANS.

“On August 7, around midnight, I saw a satellite infra-red photo showing a thermal high in the China-Japan region that was not there five hours earlier.”

Bapat — a consulting seismologist at International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Centre headquartered in Orlando, Florida — knew this was a sign of a moderate to a large magnitude earthquake. He immediately alerted seismologists in his group in an email warning that “an earthquake should occur within the next 18 to 24 hours”.

That forecast turned out to be correct. “Predicted China earthquake happened,” Hong-Chun Wu, a Chinese seismologist, responded in an email on August 8.

Indian seismologist correctly predicts chinese earthquake
The blinking red light on a seismograph shows the epicentre of the earthquake. (representational image) Wikimedia

“This only confirms that the science of short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction is really progressing,” said Bapat who had predicted the 7.2-magnitude Mexico earthquake of April 18, 2014, two months before the event.

Bapat’s confidence stems from the string of correct predictions he had made using satellite readings of seismological and geophysical parameters like ‘Total Electron Content’ and ‘Outgoing Long Wave Radiation’ in addition to infra-red images of the Earth.

For instance, on April 14, 2017, in an email to the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, Bapat wrote: “During my routine check of various earthquake-related parameters it has been found that the area near Bhaderwah could perhaps be heading for an earthquake of magnitude around 5.5 within next few days.” A 5 magnitude earthquake did occur four days later, some 80 km from Kargil, as predicted.

Bapat’s prediction based on surface temperatures also turned out to be correct in the case of an earthquake in Manipur early this year.

On February 23, he alerted the North-East Disaster Management Authority in an email: “The temperatures at three locations indicate the likely occurrence of an earthquake of magnitude around 5.0 within next few days. The epicenter could be within 70 km from any of the above locations. Most vulnerable dates could be 25/26 Feb.”

An earthquake of magnitude 5.2 did occur in Churachandpur district of Manipur on February 24. “The magnitude and location were fully correct,” Bapat said. “Only the date was missed by a few hours.”

Satellite-borne data, freely available on IMD website, could be effectively used for short-term earthquake forecasting and prediction on a 24×7 basis, he said. Besides satellite data, there are seismic precursors arising from “seismo-electromagnetic effect” that are worth watching, Bapat said.

“Before the occurrence of any moderate to large magnitude earthquake, the underground location where the rupture takes place gets heated. As the temperature rises, the geomagnetic field of the earth at that location goes on decreasing which adversely affects the propagation and reception of electromagnetic waves and communication.” The impact of this, Bapat said, can be observed by anyone with a telephone or television set.

About two days before an earthquake, landline telephone communication gets disturbed; radio reception fades away about 30 to 40 hours before the event and television reception gets disturbed about 10 hours before earthquake, Bapat said.

“If all mobile telephones in a radius of 15 km or more are affected, it could be a sign of earthquake within the next 100 minutes. This was noted for the first time prior to the 1993 Latur earthquake in Maharashtra, in Bhuj before the destructive quake of January 26, 2001, and prior to the 7.5 magnitude Kathmandu earthquake on April 25, 2015.”

“I would like to say with sufficient level of confidence that using electronics and satellite-borne data would definitely give good result-oriented earthquake predictions. All State Disaster Management Authorities (DMAs) and the NDMA are requested to consider this seriously,” Bapat said.

“In view of the predicted large magnitude earthquake in the Himalayan region, it is the right time to act now,” he added. (IANS)


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Researchers Suggest Studying Aquifer Water Levels in the Himalayas to Predict an Earthquake

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth's surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, believe researchers

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Can water levels in the foothills of Himalayas forewarn about earthquakes? The blinking red light on a seismograph shows the epicentre of an earthquake. (representational image) Wikimedia

Bengaluru, October 16, 2017 : Continuous monitoring of water levels in the foothills of the Himalayas can warn about an impending earthquake in the region, which is due for a major temblor.

This recommendation to the Ministry of Earth Sciences has come from Ramesh Singh, professor of environmental sciences at California’s Chapman University, who is also president of the Natural Hazards Group of the American Geological Union.

Singh says the utility of monitoring the water levels of underground aquifers for predicting earthquakes in quake-prone regions has been confirmed from analysis of water level data in a bore hole collected during the earthquake that rocked Nepal’s Gorkha district on April 25, 2015.

The findings of the study carried out by Singh and three seismologists from China have recently been published in the journal Techtonophysics.

The Gorkha quake, one of the deadliest in Nepal, killed about 5,000 people mainly in Nepal, a few in bordering India, two in Bangladesh and one in China, and injured about 9,200 people.

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth’s surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, Singh told this correspondent in an email.

In China, many parameters are being monitored in water wells, including water level, water temperature, and water radon concentrations to detect any signal prior to an impending earthquake.

According to the scientists, due to seismic wave propagation, the volume of an aquifer expands and contracts, forming fractures that change the water flow in a bore well sunk into the aquifer.

In the case of the Gorkha quake, the scientists considered the water level in a bore well — called “Jingle” well — atop an aquifer in China’s Shanxi province, 2,769 kilometres from the temblor’s epicenter. The data was analysed soon after the Nepal earthquake.

A “spectrum analysis” of the co-seismic response of the bore hole water level showed large amplitude oscillations with a maximum peak-to-peak value of about 1.75 metres associated with ground vibrations generated by the earthquake, says their report.

In addition, the analysis revealed the arrival of a possible precursor wave at the “Jingle” well about 6.5 hours prior to the actual occurrence.

ALSO READ Indian Seismologist Arun Bapat had Predicted China Earthquake on August 8

“The study of co-seismic changes in groundwater has emerged as an important research area which can provide an improved understanding of earthquake processes and corresponding changes in surface and subsurface parameters,” Singh said.

Water level data in close proximity to the epicenter may be of great importance in getting early warning signals of an impending earthquake, he said. China and the United States routinely monitor aquifer water levels at 15-minute intervals.

In the light of the finding, Singh said that “India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences may consider deploying water level sensors in the Himalayan foothills areas, which may provide valuable information about an impending earthquake in the Himalayan region, which is due for a major earthquake.”

Such data, he added, “is also useful in understanding the dynamic nature of the Indian plate”.

However Arun Bapat, former head of Earthquake Engineering Research at the Central Water and Power Research Station in Pune, says he has some reservations about the study’s conclusion that water level changes observed in the bore hole were the warning signal for the Gorkha earthquake.

“Various effects associated with a large earthquake (Magnitude 7.5 or more) such as electrical, magnetic, geological, tectonic, hydraulic, radioactivity, etc., have been observed within about 600 to 800 km from the epicenter (but not beyond),” Bapat told IANS.

Bapat said the magnitude of the Gorkha quake was about 6.5 to 6.75 which is considered as moderate. “The effect of this quake on water level changes at a distance of 2,769 kilometres from its epicenter is almost not possible.” (IANS)

 

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Over 200 Killed As 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Mexico City

The earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985

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People evacuated from office buildings gather in Reforma Avenue after an earthquake in Mexico City, Sept. 19, 2017. VOA

Mexico, September 20, 2017 :  A powerful earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck Mexico city, leaving more than 200 people dead and many trapped under the collapsed buildings. At about 2.15 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday, the earthquake shook central Mexico, its epicenter was 4.5 km east-northeast of San Juan Raboso and 55 km south-southwest of the city of Puebla, in Puebla state.

“We are facing a new national emergency,” said Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, in his first televised address following the earthquake.

The earthquake was felt far and wide. In Mexico City, there were power outages and more than 40 buildings collapsed crushing cars and trapping people inside.

Dozens of buildings collapsed or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of nearby states also.

Thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians — including college students — in Mexico City clawed through the rubble with picks, shovels and their bare hands. Windows buckled and shattered, falling several stories to the ground while thousands of people streamed into the streets running away from buildings and potential gas leaks.

People struggled to get home when power poles that toppled in the quake blocked the streets and the public transportation system temporarily shut down operations. Nearly 5 million customers were still without power early Wednesday.

The earthquake came less than two weeks after a massive 8.1-magnitude quake hit the country on September 7 and killed nearly 100.

The earthquake took place on the anniversary of a devastating earthquake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985. Just hours before the quake hit, many people took part in drills and commemorative events.

All public and private schools in Mexico City and some of the states affected by the earthquake will remain closed until further notice, Education Minister Aurelio Nuño tweeted.

Foreign leaders sent messages of support to Mexico. US President Donald Trump, who has courted controversy with his plans for a border wall with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his support following the “devastating news”.

 

(IANS)

 

 

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Here is why Rain-bearing Clouds have been thinning out across India in last 50 Years!

India gets around 70 per cent of its annual rainfall and snowfall during the monsoon, from June to September

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Monsoon Clouds,. Wikimedia
  • The study has found that the decline during the monsoon has been 1.22 per cent per decade on an average
  • IMD defines a rainy day as a day when total precipitation is 2.5 mm or more
  • According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade

June 12, 2017: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that this year’s monsoon rainfall will be around 98 per cent of the long-period average, which is good news in this drought-prone era. But another study by the same IMD shows a more worrying trend. It has found that rain-bearing clouds have been thinning out across the country over the last 50 years.

The study, published in the IMD journal Mausam, shows that between 1960 and 2010, annual mean low cloud cover (responsible for the bulk of the rainfall) over India has been decreasing by 0.45 per cent per decade on average. Low clouds are declining over various seasons as well, the most significant one being during the monsoons. The study has found that the decline during the monsoon has been 1.22 per cent per decade on an average.

ALSO READ: Ham Radio Operators to help Check Fishermen along West Bengal coast receive Weather Updates in the deep seas

India gets around 70 per cent of its annual rainfall and snowfall during the monsoon, from June to September.

According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade. This means that the country has lost approximately one rainy day over the last five decades. IMD defines a rainy day as a day when total precipitation is 2.5 mm or more.

“It is for the first time that low cloud cover has been studied in India, so it is a first-of-its-kind study,” A.K. Jaswal, retired scientist from IMD and leader of the study, told indiaclimatedialogue.net. “We have on an average lost one rainy day at each location that was studied across India, and that is of significance.”

As expected, the study found a strong correlation between low cloud cover and the number of rainy days. A thinning of this cloud cover also seems to lead to rising maximum temperature.

“Since monsoon season alone contributes to approximately 70 per cent of annual rainfall, the significant decrease in LCC (low cloud cover) as well as NRD (number of rainy days) in monsoon season during 1961-2010 obtained in this study is a cause of worry,” says the paper.

For the study, observations of cloud cover were made at 215 surface meteorological stations by trained observers who can distinguish low clouds from medium and high ones. Annual low cloud cover was found to have decreased at 61 per cent of the stations studied.

During the monsoon season, the thickest low cloud cover was recorded in 1961 (46.7 per cent), and the thinnest in 2009 (33.5 per cent).

The study found there has been an increase in the low cloud cover over the Indo-Gangetic plains and northeast India, while it has decreased over the rest of the country. The authors say more studies are needed to account for these regional differences.

Rainfall and temperature data was also obtained for all the stations to find out their correlations with the low cloud cover.

Around 60 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by clouds. They play a critical role in weather and climate by reflecting sunlight, blocking outgoing longwave radiation and producing rain and snow, recycling water vapour and in global energy balance. Cloud cover variability is one of the most uncertain aspects of climate model predictions.

The study says, “At present, it is not known whether changes in cloudiness will exacerbate, mitigate, or have little effect on the increasing global surface temperature caused by anthropogenic greenhouse radiative forcing. Due to their high albedo, low clouds have cooling effect, whereas high clouds trap outgoing infrared radiation contributing to warming of earth’s surface.”

Given that agriculture in India is hugely dependent on monsoon rainfall, there is a strong case for learning to adapt to a thinning low cloud cover.

“We are seeing so many farmer suicides. Agriculture is in lot of stress. And farmers have to adapt to the changing climate by storing water through traditional methods, changing crop patterns, creating ponds to augment groundwater depletion,” said Jaswal.

The study found that while the number of rainy days is decreasing, there is not much change in the total amount of rainfall. This shows a trend towards shorter, heavier bursts of rain. That is bad news, because heavier raindrops can dislodge wheat and rice grains from their stalks. It also means rainwater flows down a slope that much faster instead of percolating underground.

Globally, various factors are being blamed for declining cloud cover — climate change, aerosols and other pollutants. But given the complexities of multiple factors impacting weather, more studies are needed to find the cause.

Though the study does say, “One factor causing decrease in low cloud cover may be the direct effect of aerosols. As aerosols can cool the earth’s surface by reflecting sunlight and warm the aerosol layer by absorbing downward longwave radiation, the lapse rate will decrease and atmospheric stability will increase, suppressing cloud formation and reducing the cloudiness.”

Jaswal however points out that in some studies in other parts of the world, it has been found that aerosols (which form the skeleton of the clouds) can also have a positive impact on the cloud cover. “I hope that someone will take up the logical second part of the study to see what kind of changes are happening within the low cloud cover itself,” he said. Wwhether stratus clouds are increasing or the non-rain making clouds are increasing in the low cloud cover.” (IANS)