Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is New Zealand Sinking? UPDATED 8-15-2012

update 8-15-2012

Yes, there are many changes happening around the globe.  For this update, I am going to give you information that will effect mostly New Zealand.

The following guy is really quite a hippie and makes me laugh at that part of him, but he seems to seriously know his stuff regarding what is going on around the globe.  Take a watch...

I found that most of the links to the articles that are shown in these videos are broken links with nothing there anymore.  Why would those articles not be kept?  Weird! 


Retreat of the Tasman Glacier

·                                 Credit:

 NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data provided by the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility and ASTER data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Michon Scott.
In November 2007, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) announced that ice volume in the country’s Southern Alps had shrunk nearly 11 percent over the previous 30 years. NIWA scientists attributed the glacial retreat primarily to global warming and stated that, in the absence of substantial climate cooling, 12 of the largest glaciers would not recover to their previous sizes.
Three of these twelve large glaciers appear in this pair of images. Tasman Glacier, on New Zealand’s South Island, is the nation’s longest glacier. The Thematic Mapper on NASA’s Landsat 4 satellite acquired the top image on December 30, 1990, and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the bottom image on December 6, 2007. Both pictures were taken during New Zealand’s late spring or early summer. In these false-color images, pale blue indicates ice and snow, electric blue indicates water, green indicates vegetation, and brown indicates rock or bare ground.
Although composed of ice, the glacier snouts in this image appear dirty gray-brown. The color results from literal dirt. As glaciers move, they pick up rocks and debris and carry it with them downstream. Upstream from their drab exteriors, the Hooker and (especially) Tasman Glaciers are more pristine; a pale blue streak on the Hooker glacier attests to its icy interior. The dark coatings on these glaciers absorb more of the Sun’s energy and can lead to faster melting, but if the insulating layer of dirt and debris is thick enough, it can actually insulate the ice and slow the melting process.
In the 1990 image, a small lake rests at the snout of each glacier. According to NIWA scientists, these glacier-snout lakes increase the likelihood that chunks of ice will break off the glacier. In addition, the water blocks the glacier’s future advance. In the 2007 image, both glacier-snout lakes had grown, especially that of the Tasman Glacier. NIWA scientists stated that this glacier had retreated by 5 kilometers (about 3 miles) over the previous three decades. They also stated that New Zealand glaciers on the whole had lost 5.8 cubic kilometers (roughly 1.4 cubic miles) over the same time period.

Crack in the Antarctic!

From the University of Texas at Austin, a press release to tell us the ice shelves in the Antarctic peninsula are losing their grip and cracking a bit. That could be tragic, except, well, sea ice in Antarctica is growing.
And, there’s only a 40 year historical context for these observations. I just can’t too excited about this.  – Anthony
West Antarctic Ice Shelves Tearing Apart at the Seams
Posted on March 26, 2012
Rifts in Pine Island Glacier 2011
Rifts along the northern shear margin of Pine Island Glacier (upper right of image). Credit: Michael Studinger, NASA’s Operation IceBridge.
A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.
The most extensive record yet of the evolution of the floating ice shelves in the eastern Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica shows that their margins, where they grip onto rocky bay walls or slower ice masses, are fracturing and retreating inland. As that grip continues to loosen, these already-thinning ice shelves will be even less able to hold back grounded ice upstream, according to glaciologists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Geophysics (UTIG).
Reporting in the Journal of Glaciology, the UTIG team found that the extent of ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea Embayment changed substantially between the beginning of the Landsat satellite record in 1972 and late 2011. These changes were especially rapid during the past decade. The affected ice shelves include the floating extensions of the rapidly thinning Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers.

“Typically, the leading edge of an ice shelf moves forward steadily over time, retreating episodically when an iceberg calves off, but that is not what happened along the shear margins,” says Joseph MacGregor, research scientist associate and lead author of the study. An iceberg is said to calve when it breaks off and floats out to sea.
“Anyone can examine this region in Google Earth and see a snapshot of the same satellite data we used, but only through examination of the whole satellite record is it possible to distinguish long-term change from cyclical calving,” says MacGregor.
The shear margins that bound these ice shelves laterally are now heavily rifted, resembling a cracked mirror in satellite imagery until the detached icebergs finally drift out to the open sea. The calving front then retreats along these disintegrating margins. The pattern of marginal rifting and retreat is hypothesized to be a symptom, rather than a trigger, of the recent glacier acceleration in this region, but this pattern could generate additional acceleration.
“As a glacier goes afloat, becoming an ice shelf, its flow is resisted partly by the margins, which are the bay walls or the seams where two glaciers merge,” explains Ginny Catania, assistant professor at UTIG and co-author of the study. “An accelerating glacier can tear away from its margins, creating rifts that negate the margins’ resistance to ice flow and causing additional acceleration.”
Amundsen Sea Embayment Map
Location of Amundsen Sea Embayment
The UTIG team found that the largest relative glacier accelerations occurred within and upstream of the increasingly rifted margins.
The observed style of slow-but-steady disintegration along ice-shelf margins has been neglected in most computer models of this critical region of West Antarctica, partly because it involves fracture, but also because no comprehensive record of this pattern existed. The authors conclude that several rifts present in the ice shelves suggest that they are poised to shrink further.
This research is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation.

West Antarctic Ice Shelves – Then and Now

(click to download high resolution version):
West Antarctic Ice Shelves Then and Now
Pairs of Landsat satellite images showing changes in ice shelf margins in the eastern Amundsen Sea Embayment in West Antarctica between 1972 and 2011. The striping visible in the 2011 images is due to an unrepaired malfunction in the Landsat-7 platform that occurred in 2003.
UPDATE: Gail Combs adds this background info in comments:
Velocities of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers, West Antarctica, From ERS-1 SAR images
Average velocities of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers were measured for the time periods between 1992 and 1994 by tracking ice-surface patterns. Velocities of the central flow of the Pine Island Glacier range from 1.5 km/yr above the grounding line (separating the grounded from the floating parts of a glacier) to 2.8 km/yr near the terminus; velocities of the central Thwaites Glacier range from 2.2 km/yr above the grounding line to 3.4 km/yr at the limit of measurements on the tongue. Both glaciers show an increase in velocity of about 1 km/yr where they cross their grounding lines. The velocities derived from ERS-1 images are higher than those previously derived from Landsat images, perhaps reflecting acceleration of the glaciers. Both glaciers are exceptionally fast. The high velocities may be due to high precipitation rates over West Antarctica and the lack of a major buttressing ice shelf.
Keywords: ERS-SAR images, Pine Island Glacier, Thwaites Glacier, glacier velocity, glacier tongue, glacier terminus
Antarctic volcanoes identified as a possible culprit in glacier melting
…”This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet” in Antarctica, Vaughan said.
Volcanic heat could still be melting ice to water and contributing to thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island glacier, which passes nearby, but Vaughan said he doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in western Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause of thinning.
Volcanically, Antarctica is a fairly quiet place. But sometime around 325 B.C., the researchers said, a hidden and still active volcano erupted, puncturing several hundred yards of ice above it. Ash and shards from the volcano carried through the air and settled onto the surrounding landscape. That layer is now out of sight, hidden beneath the snows that fell during the next 2,300 years…..
E.M.Smith says:
Golly, ice shelves break up. I’m shocked…
(Last thing I’d want to see is ice shelves extending and never breaking, if that ever happens, we’re headed for Iceball Earth again…)
Two added notes:
1) Isn’t this on / near the warming peninsula? That part of Antarctica to have a bunch of volcanoes and warming dirt under the ice? As the rest of Antarctica is getting colder, to have ice growing where it’s colder and breaking off a bit where the land is warming seems quite reasonable.
2) With the solar sleepy time the UV dropped. That let the air column shorten. I’ve observed a return of the stronger more blustery winds of the 1950s and ’60s (and potentially a bit more so). Now assuming this holds near Antarctica too (do we have wind data there?) that would lead to larger waves and a faster circumpolar current. I’d fully expect that to put more ‘tearing’ force on an ice shelf; and more up / down flexing fracturing the margins too. Do we have circumpolar current speed data anywhere? ( IMHO, the spike of cold water we saw in the last few years out into the central Pacific from S. America is evidence for a faster circumpolar current whacking into Drake Passage and sending the ‘excess’ up the coast of S. America. To the extent that is true, the Antarctic side of Drake Passage ought to be getting more currents and pressure too.)
So I think it’s an interesting observation on the ice sheet and land mooring at the margins, but think it’s more likely related to #1 and #2 above and unrelated to air temperatures. 

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source
A aerial view of the Mertz Glacier tongue breaking off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, February 20, 2010. REUTERS-Neal Young-Australian Antarctic Division

SINGAPORE | Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:05am EST
(Reuters) - An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, scientists said on Friday, in an event that could affect ocean circulation patterns.
The 2,500 sq km (965 sq mile) iceberg broke off earlier this month from the Mertz Glacier's 160 km (100 miles) floating tongue of ice that sticks out into the Southern Ocean.
The collision has since halved the size of the tongue that drains ice from the vast East Antarctic ice sheet.
"The calving itself hasn't been directly linked to climate change but it is related to the natural processes occurring on the ice sheet," said Rob Massom, a senior scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center in Hobart, Tasmania.
Both organizations, along with French scientists, have been studying existing giant cracks in the ice tongue and monitored the bumper-car-like collision by the second iceberg, B-9B.
This 97 km long slab of ice is a remnant of an iceberg of more than 5,000 sq km that broke off, or calved, in 1987, making it one of the largest icebergs ever recorded in Antarctica.
The Mertz glacier iceberg is among the largest recorded for several years. In 2002, a iceberg about 200 km long broke off from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf. In 2007, a iceberg roughly the size of Singapore broke off from the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica.
Massom said the shearing off of the ice tongue and the presence of the Mertz and B-9B icebergs could affect global ocean circulation.
The area is an important zone for the creation of dense, salty water that is a key driver of global ocean circulation. This is produced in part through the rapid production of sea ice that is continually blown to the west.
"Removal of this tongue of floating ice would reduce the size of that area of open water, which would slow down the rate of salinity input into the ocean and it could slow down this rate of Antarctic bottom water formation," he said.
He said there was a risk both icebergs would become grounded on banks or shoals in the area, disrupting the creation of the dense, salty water and the amount that sinks to the bottom of the ocean, he said.
Oceans act like a giant flywheel for the planet's climate by shifting heat around the globe via myriad currents above and below the surface.
(Reporting by David Fogarty; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Arctic Sea Ice Concentration – Same Date Compared With 2007
Cryosphere Today – Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois – Click the pic to view at source (thanks to Ric Werme)

NCDC, US temps since 1940

Residents fight to keep sinking home
Published: 8:56PM Thursday August 02, 2012 Source: One News/Close Up
Three Rotorua homeowners say they are willing to fight the Rotorua District Council to keep their dream homes.
Just a few years after the Ngongotaha residents moved in to their homes they began sinking and cracking.
Despite the ground they are built on being soft and unstable, Rotorua District Council signed it off as being suitable to build on.
Documents obtained by Close Up show that the council was well aware of the ground stability issues in the earliest days of the subdivision's completion.
Close Up has a copy of a legal document which describes the situation just after the first houses were built as "fraught with all sorts of potential difficulties".
..."Well we moved in and slowly the house has been tipping over."

Neighbour John Grundy agreed saying that the  "Rotorua District Council must accept responsibility for its mistakes".
Ngongotaha resident Richard Davis said that one side of his house in dropping in one direction, while the opposite side of the house is dropping in the other direction.
Grundy said: "It's pulling the house apart and this is after four years.
"It's not Christchurch, but the house is sinking."
Here is an interesting conversation on the topic...

------------------end update----------------

Liquefaction following earthquake in New Zealand

Geoff Sloan / New Zealand Herald via AP
This aerial photo shows the Burwood and New Brighton areas damaged by liquefaction after a 5.8-magnitude quake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday Dec 23, 2011. A series of strong earthquakes struck Christchurch on Friday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified holiday shoppers to flee into the streets. There was no tsunami alert issued and the city appeared to have been spared major damage.

Simon Baker / Reuters
Sewage (bottom and right) spreads past a car trapped in a sink hole caused by liquefaction in the Christchurch suburb of Parklands after an earthquake struck December 23, 2011.
A series of strong earthquakes struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified holiday shoppers to flee into the streets. There was no tsunami alert issued and the city appeared to have been spared major damage. Continue reading...
Continue reading...

Christchurch rocked by earthquakes

3:02 PM Friday Dec 23, 2011
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Residents try to free a car stuck in a liquefaction sink hole in Bower Avenue, Parklands, after today's quakes. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Residents try to free a car stuck in a liquefaction sink hole in Bower Avenue, Parklands, after today's quakes. Photo / Geoff Sloan

A series of earthquakes have terrified many already-frazzled Christchurch residents this afternoon, starting with a 5.8 magnitude tremor at 1.58pm.
It was followed by a 6.0 magnitude aftershock at 3.18pm, centred 10km east of Christchurch in South New Brighton.
There was also a 5.3 magnitude quake at 2.06pm and a 5.0 at 4.50pm.
Initial reports said one person had received minor injuries, although St John had responded to 19 earthquake-related emergency calls in and around Christchurch.
They ranged from complaints of chest pain and seizures, to a panic attack.
Five people had collapsed, and one suffered a knock to the head.
St John said all injuries were minor.
Police say there is no tsunami threat, and they have no reports of serious or widespread damage or injury.
Civil Defence staff have met on the ground in Christchurch to get a good picture of the extent of impact, but national civil defence controller David Coetzee said it was too early to comment on the way forward.
He said while there were no reports of serious damage, buildings that were already weakened in previous earthquakes may have sustained further damage.
"There will be further aftershocks. This event pretty much takes the pattern of the June event," he said, referring to a strong aftershocks in Christchurch that month.
"Be aware of further aftershocks. Drop, cover and hold remains the old mantra. Look after each other, look after the neighbours, stay safe and call 111 or the council if you need help."
Rockfalls and damage
People were urged to stay away from hill suburbs because of risk of rockfalls, and Coastguard had rescued four people who were trapped by rockfall in Boulder Bay.
Police said there had also been a significant rockfall at Redcliffs, a stopbank on New Brighton Road had collapsed, a partly demolished building on the corner of Barbadoes and Kilmore Streets collapsed, and a vacant house at 81 Aynsley Terrace collapsed.
Some residents at Windsor Hospital rest home in New Brighton were trapped on the second floor of the building, but are being evacuated by the Fire Service.
There has been significant flooding and liquefaction in the eastern suburbs including Avonside and Bexley.
The India Blue restaurant in Sumner is damaged and has been cordoned off and a building on the corner of Charles Street and William Street in Kaiapoi is at risk of collapse.
Road damage and liquefaction
Major holes in the road were reported to have opened up on Broadhaven Avenue, and liquefaction was reported in Avonside.
Drivers were urged to slow down and be patient as congestion built up in some areas.
Police said Christchurch residents should stay off roads if at all possible, and text rather than phone.
Christchurch Hospital, the Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton are all fully operational. Burwood is operating on emergency power.
There are no reports of damage and no injuries to staff or patients who were at the board's facilities at the time of the quake.
The DHB said people can access 24-hour non-emergency care through their general practice, and are asked to help keep the Emergency Department clear for genuine emergencies. The 111 service is operating normally for emergencies.
The Christchurch mayor said his heart breaks for Cantabrians shocked by a series of earthquakes this afternoon.
The first, a magnitude 5.8 tremor, struck at 1.50pm. Its focal point was at a depth of eight kilometres, 20km off the coast of Lyttelton.
Airport evacuated
Christchurch Airport remains evacuated, with literally hundreds of people standing outside with their luggage.
Newstalk ZB reporter Scarlett Cvitanovich says nobody knows when they'll be able to go back inside.
"There's quite a bit of aggression out there. People are asking how they're going to get on flights in time for Christmas and are taking it out on staff at the moment," she says.
Flights bound for Christchurch are also being diverted to other cities.
Key: 'My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch'
Prime Minister John Key said Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee, will be heading to Christchurch this afternoon to access the situation.
"My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch and Canterbury at this time," Mr Key said.
"However, residents can be confident that the authorities are onto the situation and government resources stand ready to assist wherever they are needed.
"The Government's resolve to work with the people of Christchurch and Canterbury to rebuild remains unchanged following today's two aftershocks."
Mayor Bob Parker has now booked to fly back to Christchurch from Taupo, where he was holidaying.
He told TVNZ he was getting a lot of reports in from the east of the city of minor damage.
"On the east there's more reports coming in of liquefaction, in Avondale ... and there's small collapses around riverbanks."
He said while initial reports tell of minor damage to the city, today's shake would have taken a large emotional toll on people.
"Many of them just sitting around and in tears. You just can't understand the ongoing stress."
"We were just getting over that feeling, I think, and it sets people back."
Chlorine had finally been removed from the waterways two weeks ago, and today's quake could have set infrastructure progress back, he said.
'Very violent... constant rolling'
Jacqui Taylor said she was working in the Lyttelton library when the first magnitude 5.8 quake hit.
"It was very violent, with constant rolling for a very long time, we left the building and people gathered in the main street. there were more aftershocks while we were in the street.
"I luckily made it through the tunnel and back home in Addington, feeling one more shake while i was in my car at the lights."
Power outages
Electricity distributor Orion said, following the 3.18pm magnitude 6.0 aftershock, power was again tripped to the Eastern Suburbs of Christchurch and to the rural central Canterbury area around Springston.
Around 26,000 customers remain without power in eastern Christchurch. Power is out from the New Brighton area through to Shirley.
Orion said its crews were out assessing damage. It said it appeared power is out due to tripping caused by shaking rather than damage to equipment.
Neanwhile New Zealand Post said there will be no mail deliveries in Christchurch. The Christchurch Mail Centre has been evacuated as a precaution and will not re-open this evening.
The next scheduled mail deliveries following the statutory holidays will be December 28.
Emergency Operations Centre
The Christchurch City Council has established an Emergency Operations Centre in the city. There has been a rockfall behind containers at Scarborough, and liquefaction at Parklands, the council said.
Police are doing aerial reconnaissance to check for damage across the city.
All Council buildings will be closed until they can be assessed as safe to occupy. People should assume all Council buildings are closed until they can be assessed and declared safe.
Cantabrians are being warned that more aftershocks could be on the way before Christmas.
GNS: More aftershocks to come
GNS seismologist Ken Gledhill told TVNZ "this is part of a series of earthquakes that have been set off by what happened in September 2010.
"In the coming days the most likely scenario is that there will be a series of aftershocks in a similar location.
"This is just a reminder that this area is more active than what it was before September 2010."
He said GNS were doing the best they could with information and the situation in Christchurch.

More Chch areas could face red-zone revision

Published: 6:39AM Saturday December 24, 2011 Source: ONE News
  • More Chch areas could face red-zone revision (Source: Reuters)
    Darryl Freeman shovels liquefaction from in front of his house in Parklands - Source: Reuters
    More Chch areas could face red-zone revision (Source: ONE News)
    Liquefaction following Christchurch earthquakes - Source: ONE News
There is the possibility more areas of Christchurch could be red-zoned after yesterday's strong earthquakes.
Christchurch was rocked by two powerful tremors in quick succession yesterday afternoon, which forced evacuations from buildings.
Since midnight there have been 23 aftershocks, with the last one just before 2.30pm. Many of today's shakes were around magnitude 3, but the biggest, at 6:37am this morning, was magnitude 5.1.
Most of the quakes were centred around the same area - off the coast, about 10 kilometres east of Christchurch.
The ongoing tremors mean many areas of Christchurch are still dangerous.
The Port Hills pose a risk of rock falls, and authorities are urging people to steer clear, unless they live there.
In the eastern suburbs, many residents are cleaning up liquefaction for the third, fourth or even fifth time this year.
Parklands residents have told ONE News that they want their land rezoned red once and for all.
"We've had enough - we can't keep doing this, this will happen again, and again," said resident Geoff Cooke.
The rezone will mean that instead of getting individual geo-tech reports on each property - the whole area would be zoned uninhabitable.
"We've had this three times now, you've seen the volume of liquefaction coming out of our ground," Cooke adds.
"It doesn't matter what the foundation types are, they'll keep the houses plum all right, but they'll keep sinking into the ground, it's an absolute waste of time in this area."
In response, the government stated today that engineers will return to the area in the new year once the water subsides - leaving a better picture of the land damage.
Another Parklands resident told ONE News he is all for a rezone.

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