Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
MODIS Aqua chlorophyll a (top), sea surface temperature (middle) and RGB (bottom) images on 18 Oct 2007. High chlorophyll a tongue extended from eastern Java towards the south. This phenomena very much similar to that in 2006. IOD driven coastal upwelling still persist at Southern Java. Reducing cloud observed at Southern Sumatra, Southern Kalimantan and whole Java Island.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It may seem obvious that life is distributed across Earth in uneven patches: lush forests teem with life, while barren deserts support a relatively small number of specialized plants and animals. But scientists have only started to glimpse the pattern of life in Earth’s oceans with the advent of Earth-orbiting satellites, and the greatest contribution has come from a small satellite called the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS). Designed to orbit the Earth for five years collecting information about the oceans, SeaWiFS entered its eleventh year of operation in September 2007. Along with its predecessor, the Coastal Zone Color Scanner, the satellite provided scientists their first view of how plants are distributed across the globe’s oceans and revealed that, like land, the oceans contain rainforest-like areas where plants proliferate and desert-like areas where fewer plants grow. SeaWiFS’ more detailed view also mapped out the relationship between ocean plants and temperatures, currents, and weather patterns and offered insight into the role of ocean plants in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
A decade of observations from the SeaWiFS satellite are represented in this image, which shows average chlorophyll concentrations in Earth’s oceans from mid-September 1997 through the end of August 2007. Areas where plants thrive are light blue and yellow, while less productive regions are dark blue. The satellite records the amount of light that chlorophyll is soaking up as the plant converts light, water, and carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen through photosynthesis. In general, high chlorophyll concentrations correspond with a high number of healthy plants.
The distribution of plants in the ocean is driven by currents and temperature. Currents around the Equator, for example, push away from each other, creating a well where nutrient-rich water can rise to the surface. Plants flourish in the combination of sunlight and nutrients, as illustrated by the pale blue band that circles the Earth at the Equator. Cool, nutrient-rich water also rises to the ocean’s surface along the edges of continents, creating the line of productive waters along the west coasts of Africa and North, Central, and South America. The combination of interacting currents and deep water pushing up along the continental shelf gives rise to productive waters off the southeastern tip of South America.
The final global pattern revealed in this image is the relationship between temperature and productivity. In general, warm water suppresses upwelling because warm surface waters are more buoyant than denser deep water. This difference in density makes it difficult for nutrient-laden cold water to rise to the surface: the lighter warm water will always want to float over it. As a result, the surface water in warm regions tends to be nutrient poor and unable to support very many plants. Where the surface water is cool, the difference in density between the layers of the ocean is smaller, so it is easier for nutrient-rich layers from lower in the ocean to rise to the surface where plants grow.
This global relationship between temperature and productivity was one that scientists first observed in SeaWiFS data and is illustrated in this image. The places with the lowest chlorophyll concentrations are in the sun-baked tropics, while the cold waters in the Arctic and Antarctic have high chlorophyll concentrations. What the image does not show is that the growth at the poles is seasonal. The plants only flourish during the spring and summer when there is sufficient light to fuel photosynthesis. Since the image is a composite, made with data collected every day over a period of ten years, it erases all seasonal patterns. In other words, chlorophyll levels on any one day would never match the levels shown in this image, since summer in the Arctic is separated from summer in the Antarctic by six months.
Apart from revealing patterns of productivity, SeaWiFS’ observations are helping scientists understand the role of the ocean’s plants in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Tiny ocean plants that grow at the ocean’s surface—phytoplankton—soak up more carbon dioxide than anything else on Earth, including dense tropical forests. Since ocean plants remove so much of the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, they play an important role in mitigating global warming.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Star, 5 Oct 2007
MIRI: Sarawak has been placed on haze alert with 130 major fires having been detected in Kalimantan.
Shifting cultivators in rural Sarawak have also started burning their farmlands and hillslopes to prepare for the planting season.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who is state Disaster Relief Committee chairman, said the fires in Kalimantan were large enough to be detected by satellites.
“There are about 130 hotspots already in Kalimantan. In Sarawak, we have detected about 71 cases of burning in the central region.
“These local fires are not big. They are scattered fires here and there caused by open burning carried out by interior farmers and shifting cultivators,” he said.
He was commenting on the presence of a persistently hazy-looking skyline over various parts of the state over the past week.
Dr Chan said there was no immediate need to impose a ban on open burning.
In Petaling Jaya, the Meteorological Department said the haze was back but not at a worrying stage.
“There is a slight haze but it is not that bad as visibility at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport and the KL International Airport (KLIA) is still more than 10km.
“The haze could be because of the dry weather and other factors, as it has been quite dry in the last few days,” said an officer.
“We are still having the South-West Monsoon and approaching the inter-monsoon season anytime now,” he said.
12 Oct 2007, from Business Line
by Vinson Kurian
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct. 12 All leading international weather models are now convinced that a La Nina event (colder counterpart of El Nino) is strengthening, with a warming anomaly getting entrenched in the west-central to north-west Pacific.
While the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) had sounded a related warning earlier this month, the latest update by the US National Centres of Environmental Prediction (NCEP) goes to confirm it further.
La Nina conditions develop when eastern and central equatorial Pacific (near the South American coast) cool down concurrently with a comparable warming of the equatorial west Pacific. This is just the reverse of El Nino and is widely believed seen as aiding annual precipitation over Australia, India and Indonesia.
In La Nina years, the easterly winds from the Americas are stronger than usual. They drive more than the normal amount of warm sea-water westward to Asia. With so much warm water flowing in, the Pacific’s mighty heat engine remains firmly anchored in the west, causing heavier monsoon rains in India.
A growing La Nina is believed to have combined with the ‘positive Indian Ocean Dipole’ (warming of the southwest Indian Ocean) to bring about surplus precipitation during the just concluded southwest monsoon.
The maturing La Nina could result in enhanced convective activity and storms in the west Pacific/South China Sea, which could get reverberated in the contiguous Bay of Bengal.
With another northeast monsoon beckoning, weathermen are watching the behaviour of the Bay.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The Sea Surface Temperature is very high at the South China Sea area.
Turbid water from Mekong River can be clearly seen in the RGB image. Greenish color after the turbid water show the evidence of phytoplankton bloom. It is amazingly clear in this RGB image.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
By Michael Byrnes
SYDNEY, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Interactions between major oceans, triggered by climate change, will produce increasingly dry conditions in southern parts of Australia for decades to come, projections by the country's main science organisation show.
Further projected decreases in rainfall in southwest and southeast Australia could be arrested if carbon dioxide emission increases were halted, but a full recovery would take around 600 years, Dr Wenju Cai, a leading scientist with the government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said.
"The recovery takes a long, long time.... Not in our lifetime," Cai said.
As it stands, the CSIRO is confidently forecasting a further 10-15 percent decline in rainfall in southeast Australia and a decline of over 20 percent in southwest Australia by 2050.
This takes in Australia's capital cities, almost all of the national population of around 20 million and farmlands which produce one of the biggest exportable surpluses of agricultural produce in the world.
As crops wilt and die for lack of rain, this year's spring rainfall could be as much as 40 percent below average because of an unusual weather pattern last seen in 1967 -- but which is now more likely to recur because of climate change, Cai said.
Cai, a senior CSIRO scientist who specialises in marine and atmospheric research, said in an interview that Australia was presently being affected by the conflicting influences of a "wet weather" La Nina event in the Pacific and a "dry weather" Indian Ocean Dipole effect in the west.
The Indian Ocean effect was showing itself to be the stronger, replicating results in 1967 when a weak Pacific La Nina was overwhelmed by the Indian Ocean and Australian rainfall dried up to 40 percent less than average.
This explained the puzzling lack of rain which has accompanied the formation of a La Nina this year, dashing hopes after last year's El Nino produced one of the worst droughts on record.
La Nina events typically produce wet weather in eastern Australia and Southeast Asia from warming Pacific sea temperatures. El Ninos produce opposite effects.Cai said greenhouse gases were now likely to create such conditions more often as they warmed the dry Australian landmass faster than the ocean.
In southwest Western Australia, the drying-out is being intensified by westerly wind jets shifting towards the Antarctic in response to ozone depletion over the last 30 years. This is now being intensified by increased carbon dioxide emissions.
The overall effect is reduced rainfall for southern Australia in winter and spring -- exactly when it is needed to grow the country's main crops of wheat, barley and canola.
Cai calls the overall effect a "three-headed dog", made up by the Indian Ocean Dipole, the Southern Annular Mode shifting westerlies southward, and increasingly powerful El Nino events.
Together the three effects are threatening permanent closure for many southern farmlands, already on the brink in the driest inhabited continent in the world.Cai sees no relief from the present dry spell until November -- too late for wheat, with at least 40 percent of the crop now lost.
Talk is beginning to emerge of a long-term solution in moving farms to the high-rainfall belt in the far north.Howver, Cai's studies urge caution, saying more work needs to be done to see if this pattern will last.
Monday, October 08, 2007
News from NST, Malaysia
5 Oct 2007, PENANG, Fri.:
The air quality in Penang today is moderate with the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings at below 85 and pose no threat to public health.
A state Meteorological Department spokesman when contacted by Bernama said Seberang Jaya on the mainland recorded the highest API reading at 85 compared to 77 yesterday.The API readings in Perai and Universiti Sains Malaysia taken today were 66 and 63 respectively (63 and 59 yesterday).Visibility in Perai was at 6km and in Butterworth at 4km.The haze is believed to be caused by open burning in Sumatra, Indonesia
News from theage.com.au
October 4, 2007 - 4:54PM
Drought-stricken farmers in Australia's south-east, desperate for rain to grow grain crops, face the prospect of spring rainfall 40 per cent below the annual average.
CSIRO scientist Dr Wenju Cai told an agri-climate change conference in Sydney that this year's rainfall in the country's south-east should be almost the same as in 1967, when spring rains were 40 per cent below the norm.
It's the first year since then that a coincidence has occurred of two particular global weather events - an Indian Ocean Dipole and a La Nina.
"In 1967, spring rainfall in most of south-eastern Australia was about 40 per cent lower than average," Dr Cai told the Greenhouse 2007 Program audience.
"Although a La Nina event would normally give us more rainfall over eastern Australia, it seems to have been overwhelmed by the reduction due to the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)."
Dr Cai said long-term predictions for steadily drier weather were based on increasing CO2 levels and the global warming of the Indian Ocean, creating more IOD-like conditions.
"That is the consensus reached by most of the climate models and that indicates rainfall trends will continue to decrease in the winter and spring seasons," he said.
Dr Cai said rainfall in Australia's south-east corner, reaching north to Sydney and west to Adelaide, was predicted to decrease by 10 to 15 per cent by 2050, reducing dam inflows in the area by 30 to 40 per cent.
The area covers about 50 per cent of Australia's food bowl, the Murray-Darling Basin.
The prediction is based the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's forecast of a 1.5 to two degree celsius global warming by 2050.
It comes as economists revise down winter wheat crop estimates by as much as seven million tonnes, after a lack of follow-up rain after planting.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) general manager of agribusiness, Wayne Carlson, on Tuesday described the conditions as "extremely disappointing".
"Apart from a few pockets still having a great season, our bankers are now reporting declining outlooks for crops and a sell-off of livestock as pasture growth falters and feed prices skyrocket," he said.
Both dire outlooks come as wheat belts from NSW to Western Australia sit under clear blue skies, with little chance of rain in the next seven days.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
News from The Sydney Morning Herald
Deborah Smith Science EditorOctober 5, 2007
DROUGHT-STRICKEN farmers could face spring rainfall that is up to 40 per cent below average because of a rare weather pattern last seen 40 years ago.
A CSIRO scientist, Wenju Cai, told the Greenhouse 2007 conference in Sydney yesterday that Australia was experiencing an unusual combination of two events: a La Nina phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean in the east, and an Indian Ocean Dipole phenomenon in the west.
"The only time in [recorded] history we had this kind of combination was in 1967," he said.
In that year, spring was extremely dry in the south and east of the country, and this could provide an indication of what was ahead in the next few months, he said.
Although La Nina usually brings more rainfall to eastern Australia, it appeared to have been overwhelmed in 1967 by the positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which reduces rainfall across Australia, including in the south-east.
Dr Cai said that, overall, the projection in coming decades was for reduced rainfall in winter and spring in southern Australia, with a decline of up to 15 per cent by 2070.
"There is no longer any doubt that climate change caused by increases in greenhouse gases is influencing seasonal shifts in rainfall patterns," he said.
Global warming would also lead to greater evaporation that would magnify water shortages. "Our results provide strong evidence that rising temperatures impact on Australia's water resources, in addition to any reduction in rainfall."
Dr Cai said that three major phenomena, which he likened to a "three-headed dog", influenced Australia's rainfall: El Nino events, the Indian Ocean Dipole, and the Southern Annular Mode, a weather pattern in the Southern Ocean that promotes airflow towards south east Australia.
Last year, each had had only a small effect on rainfall decline. "But in sequence they gave us a very big dry, on top of the impact of the very high temperatures," he said.
The good news was that the dog had "a tail", which may be able to partially offset some drying. This was rapidly heating waters in the Tasman Sea, which research suggested could lead to an increase in rainfall in the south-east during summers.
Dr Cai said that greenhouse gas emissions accounted for about half the rainfall reduction in the south west of the country, where there has been a 10 per cent decline since the early 1970s.
Separate research on an Antarctic ice core suggests this drying may represent a very unusual event.
Tas van Ommen, of the Australian Antarctic Division, told the conference his team had identified a link between rainfall in the south-west and snowfall at a site called Law Dome in East Antarctica.
Their study of an ice core from Law Dome that covers the past 750 years suggests that the last 30 years in south-west Australia has been the driest period, and longest period of reduced rainfall, since the year 1250.
"So media suggestions that the drought in Australia is a 1-in-1000-year event is not unreasonable, at least for the south-west," Dr van Ommen said.
From The STAR, 4 Oct 2007
MIRI: Sarawak has been placed on the alert for the possibility of transboundary haze following the detection of 130 major fires raging in Kalimantan Borneo, across the border from Sarawak.
The State Disaster Relief Committee is being extra vigilant because shifting cultivators in rural Sarawak have also started open-burning of farmlands and hill slopes to prepare for the planting season.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who is also the committee chairman, Thursday said the fires in Kalimantan are large enough to be detected from satellites.
"There are about 130 hotspots already in Kalimantan. Inside Sarawak, we have detected some 71 cases of domestic burning in the central regions of the state.
"These local fires are not big. They are scattered fires caused by open burning carried out by interior farmers and shifting cultivators," he said when interviewed Thursday.
Dr Chan was asked to comment on the persistently hazy-looking skyline over various parts of the state over the past week or so.
He said the hazy skyline was caused by transboundary smog being blown into the state from the more than 500 major fires that are raging in Kalimantan and Sumatra.
Dr Chan, when asked if there is a need to impose a ban on domestic open-burning as a precaution, said there is no immediate need for such a ban as yet.
"For those in the state who need to burn their agriculture wastes, we have asked them to carry out only staggered burning.
"We don't want them to conduct open-burning all at once. There is no danger of a localised haze if we can control our fires," he stressed.
The Department of Environment in Miri, when contacted, confirmed that the Air Pollutant Index for Miri was still within healthy levels despite the dull-looking skies.
Department chief for Miri Norina Frederick said the latest department reports of air quality readings showed that there is actually no haze in the Miri region.
"The abnormal looking skyline is not caused by any localised source of haze. There are some small open burning cases detected in several rural areas but these are minor fires. They are not big enough to cause any haze.
"The visibility is not very clear, especially in the morning. However, at the ground level, there are no major air pollution threats," she said.
A check with the Miri Fire Department also revealed no major fires as of 3pm on Thursday.
News Link http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/10/4/nation/20071004155508&sec=nation
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
For detail, please check following
Chlorophyll a Quicklook
FTP for data