Japan's Cooler, Wetter Weather Could Linger Through Spring

Mar 14, 2011 – 6:39 AM

Between radiation concerns, displaced persons and the cleanup and rebuilding process, Japan's weather will be of greater concern for some time to come.

And with the current La Nina expected to continue at least through spring, the weather in Japan might be cooler and wetter than average.

A La Nina -- a cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific -- influences weather patterns across the globe. One common effect is an increase in the intensity of storm systems in the northern branch of the jet stream. This effect is most pronounced during winter, but with a well-defined La Nina -- such as the current one -- northern storms tend to continue well into spring. During a La Nina winter, Japan is typically cooler than average.

With the northern part of the island being the hardest hit by the earthquake -- the epicenter of the quake was a latitude similar to Washington, D.C.'s -- these regions might experience more frequent, chilly storm systems.

Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor in Japan suffers 2nd explosion

Monday, March 14th 2011, 9:36 AM

A second hydrogen explosion rocked a crippled Japanese nuclear reactor Monday, spewing a giant cloud of smoke into the air and injuring 11 workers, officials said.

The blast was so large it could be felt 25 miles away.

The plant's operator, however, insisted that radiation levels around the facility remained within legal limits.

A similar explosion was triggered Saturday at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactor after cooling systems were damaged by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

Officials said a separate damaged reactor at the facility was also experiencing severe problems after its fuel rods became fully exposed, raising the risk of overheating and yet another explosion.

A state of emergency has been declared at six reactors where cooling systems and backup generators failed following Friday's twin disasters.

Japanese shares slump after deadly quake

Friday's earthquake has seen Japan's share market record its biggest one day loss since the middle of the global financial crisis.

The Nikkei slumped more than 6 per cent, despite the Bank of Japan pumping a record $US181 billion into the nation's financial system.

Shares in Tokyo Electric went untraded. There were plenty of sellers, but no buyers for the company that owns a nuclear reactor which is in danger of a meltdown.

Other blue chip companies such as Toyota and Sony also slid heavily, due to the disruption caused to production by the earthquake, tsunami and associated power cuts.

The Australian share market fell in empathy, but recovered from earlier losses of more than 1 per cent to finish only 0.5 cent down.

The All Ordinaries lost 25 points to 4,710, while the ASX 200 lost 18 points to 4,626.

The hardest hit sector was uranium miners on fears the reactor problems in Japan will lead to a shift away from nuclear power.


Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth's axis


March 12, 2011 4:01 p.m. EST
The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.

"At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass," said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


170,000 evacuated for fears of radioactive contamination

As Japan's nuclear crisis continues to intensify authorities are racing against time to combat the threats of multiple reactor meltdowns. More than 170 thousand people have been evacuated from the country's quake-and- tsumani hit northeast, on Sunday, for fears of radioactive contamination.

Japanese power plant operators have been trying to keep temperatures down among a series of atomic reactors -- to prevent the current disaster from worsening.

Winds at Japan Power Plants Should Send Radiation out to Sea


Mar 13, 2011; 12:08 PM ET

Three reactor units at the Onagawa plant are being watched and controlled for radiation leaks and possible meltdown.

The wind direction may impact where the radiation goes both at a local level and even across the globe. The wind direction at both of these locations are similar since the Onagawa power plant is located just to the northeast of Fukushima power plant.

"The exact direction of the winds would have to be known at the time of the release of a large amount of radiation to understand exactly where the radiation would go," according to Expert Senior Global Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

It is unknown when a large release of radiation would occur, if at all, at this point.

"You can calculate how long the release of a radiation would take to cross the Pacific from Japan to the U.S. by choosing different speeds that the radioactive particles might be moving and using the direct distance between given locations- say Sendai, Japan, and Seattle, Wash.," Andrews added.

Map of Nuclear Reactors in Japan

More info here

Map from International Nuclear Safety Center

World sends disaster relief teams to Japan

World sends disaster relief teams to Japan

GENEVA | Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:21am EST

The international community started to send disaster relief teams on Saturday to help Japan after it suffered a massive earthquake and tsunami, with the United Nations sending a group to help co-ordinate work.

"We are in the process of deploying 9 experts who are among the most experienced we have for dealing with catastrophes. They will help evaluate needs and coordinate assistance with Japanese authorities," Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters.


Japan may hand out iodine near nuclear plants

Japan may hand out iodine near nuclear plants: IAEA

VIENNA | Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:59am EST
Japanese authorities have told the U.N.'s atomic watchdog they are making preparations to distribute iodine to people living near nuclear power plants affected by Friday's earthquake, the Vienna-based agency said.


Citizen Tube displays citizen-documented earthquake footage

Citizen Tube displays citizen-documented earthquake footage:

Evacuation ordered near Fukushima nuclear reactor

Thousands of evacuees join those spending a second night in shelters away from home. These people have been ordered from their homes near the radiation-leaking Fukushima nuclear reactor.

japan earthquake evacuees

For more live information, visit Al Jazeera Live Blog

Fuel Relief Fund Is Going To Japan



The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake: Crustal Deformation and Fault Model

2011 off the pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake


A mega thrust earthquake with a moment magnitude 9.0 (JMA) occurred in Japan on March 11, 2011 (JST). The Geospacial Information Authority of Japan (GIS) constructed a fault model using coseismic surface displacement data observed by the GPS Earth Observation Network System (GEONET).

A preliminary fault model which consists of two rectangular faults with a uniform slip in an elastic half-space shows that

  • A total major rupture length reaches ~400 km with a fault width of ~80-90 km. (Northern segment: ~200 km long/ Sourthern segment: ~180 km long).
  • A fault upper edge is at a depth of 10 km.
  • A reverse fault motion is inferred. Slip amounts of northern segment and southern one are estimated to be ~28 m and ~6 m, respectively.
  • A total moment magnitude is 8.8. (Northern segment: Mw8.7 / Southern segment: Mw8.2)
  • For more information, visit: GSI Japan

    Nuclear Emergency at Fukushima Site Appears to be Coming Under Control

    Given the events of the past few days, it may be prudent to consider that new concerns may arise.  However, it appears that the Fukushima nuclear powerplant are beginning to come under control.  Reactors are still shutdown and emergency procedures are starting to come under control.  However, cooling procedures appear to be taking effect.

    Full assessments of radiation releases need to take place.  Local radiation exposures near the Fukushima nuclear powerplant have been noted.  Those directly affected are undergoing medical evaluations.


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