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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SOLVED?! Louisiana Reporting Loud Boom and Shaking - Reported to be an Explosion that Created a One and a Half Mile High Mushroom Cloud... COVER UP??!!??

According to the National Weather Service, a large bunker explosion occurred Monday night in Webster Parish, La., around 30 miles east of Shreveport. The event occurred near the border of the Camp Minden Army ammunition plant. "A large flash was observed," the Shreveport, La., National Weather Service reported. "[C]itizens were shaken out of bed and windows were shattered during the late night hours Oct. 15." The explosion occured shortly before 11:28 p.m.
The explosion sent a mystery object flying that was captured by radar in Shreveport. Speculation this morning focused on the possibilities of UFO's and meteors before the confirmation of the bunker explosion was released.

note:  IF this was truly a bunker explosion, then they would have been upfront with the sheriff and the town about it, right after it occurred.  This is NOT the case though; it took more than 13 hours after the explosion for the military to cook up the "bunker explosion" story; after first denying that it had anything to do with the base.

The Shreveport Times reports:  The state police hazardous materials unit has completed its on-site investigation and the findings have been turned over to headquarters in Baton Rouge for further review. Troop G spokesman Matt Harris is uncertain when the results will be released publicly.

The outcome of the investigation will dictate any enforcement action. “We won’t know what violations, if any, until it’s all completed,” Harris said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also is involved in the probe.
Meanwhile, the blast site has been turned over to Camp Minden officials for cleanup, which is under way.

Amy Mealey and her family have lived just a few miles from Camp Minden for five years, growing so accustomed to the sounds of military happenings that she no longer notices them. Just before 11:30 p.m. Monday, that changed.

"I honestly thought we were being bombed," Mealey said of the explosion at an Explo Systems bunker, also known as an igloo, in Webster Parish. "It was the scariest thing I've ever been through."

Mealey was checking some last-minute emails before going to bed when she felt an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach — like a rolling thunder in the distance. "It was getting closer and closer, and I felt everything moving with me," the mother of two said. "I could literally feel it moving toward me."

The explosion shook her house, shattering a lead window and blowing out its frame. Her husband, Darin, awakened. And the two ran to comfort their children, Piper, 10, and Aidan, 12. "They were terrified," Mealey said.

They weren't the only ones. Webster 911 received the first call at 11:26 p.m. Then the lines didn't stop ringing for hours. Additional dispatchers had to be summoned to handle the call volume.

Initially, an explosion at Camp Minden was discounted because there were no visible signs. Other large manufacturers also were checked. Officials even entertained the idea that a meteorite was to blame for the loud boom and glow in the sky that unnerved thousands in northwest Louisiana.
But by daybreak, the source was traced to a more earthly cause — a bunker loaded with explosives and leased by Explo Systems Inc. exploded in the L-1 area toward the central eastern part of Camp Minden.
The facility, formerly the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, consists has bunkers scattered throughout its predominantly wooded 15,000 acres.

Terry Wright, Explo's vice president of operations, said an investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing. He declined speculation Tuesday morning until all facts are known. Multiple attempts to obtain further comment from Wright later in the day were unsuccessful.

The probe is headed up by the Louisiana state police's hazardous materials unit, Troop G spokesman Matt Harris said. As for why no one could confirm the source of the blast until early Tuesday morning, he said, two factors came into play. Number 1, it was nighttime and the site was not readily visible. And, Number 2, the moisture level in the ground because of recent rains allowed the explosives to burn out "real quick" and snuffed out any spot fires.

The bunkers, which also are referred to as magazines, are scattered in secluded areas.

They were built decades ago, when Camp Minden was home to the ammunition plant, to act as storage for the explosive materials used on site.

Because they've been there so long, most of the bunkers blend into the scenery and only appear as hills or slight earthen bumps in the woods. All are concrete-reinforced and designed so that damage to adjacent areas would be minimal should a worst-case scenario such as an explosion occur.

"They did what they were designed to do," Webster sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Igo said of the blast that sent debris upward.

Webster Sheriff Gary Sexton was returning from vacation in Colorado when he saw two flashes about two to three seconds apart as he entered the parish.

He and deputies gathered at the sheriff's office in Minden and on Elmo Burton Loop after the National Weather Service reported a plume estimated to be three-fourths of a mile wide and 7,200 feet tall at its highest.

"It was pretty unique," said meteorologist Jeff Hood of the Weather Service office in Shreveport.

The explosion was so powerful that it could be seen on the Weather Service's radar maps.

Normally, Hood said, these types of images aren't picked up by the radars unless it is something like a large forest fire. "It had to be intense for us to see it."

By all accounts, Hood said, the radar images support that the bunker exploded just as it should, going straight up out of the structure.

East Camden Highland Railroad maintains about 2,400 railroad cars throughout Camp Minden, about 80 of which were in the vicinity of the blast, general manager Bo Guice said. "We have some damage to railcars, but we haven't been in to look. We won't until (Wednesday)."

No injuries were reported to Webster 911, and damage was limited to a few shattered windows and items falling from walls, Sexton said.

Several historic buildings in downtown Minden are among those with broken windows.

"Our concern is the safety of the people of the parish," Sexton said. "It eases my mind to stand here and tell you everything is fine, and the igloos are working."

The explosion and ensuing mystery as to its origin also brought out the humor and creativity of those rattled by the blast.

Facebook postings have been ripe with alien references in a nod to the meteorite theory. Photos of flying saucers and even suggested T-shirt slogans were popular throughout Tuesday.

note:  What concerns me, is the fine detail of the report they have from the military about this... (Oh Yeah...  it DID take them more than 13 hours to formulate the story, after first denying it completely)   Also, notice the reference to UFOs so they can ridicule that idea.   ...Gee, what happened to the proverbial "weather balloon" explanation.  Could it have been a weather balloon that exploded?  That would have been an easier story to formulate in much less than 13 hours...

If Extreme Weather Becomes the Norm, Starvation Awaits...

With forecasts currently based only on averages, food production may splutter out even sooner than we feared

I believe we might have made a mistake: a mistake whose consequences, if I am right, would be hard to overstate. I think the forecasts for world food production could be entirely wrong. Food prices are rising again, partly because of the damage done to crops in the northern hemisphere by ferocious weather. In the US, Russia and Ukraine, grain crops were clobbered by remarkable droughts. In parts of northern Europe, such as the UK, they were pummeled by endless rain.

Even so, this is not, as a report in the Guardian claimed last week, "one of the worst global harvests in years". It's one of the best. World grain production last year was the highest on record; this year's crop is just 2.6% smaller. The problem is that, thanks to the combination of a rising population and the immoral diversion of so much grain into animal feed and biofuels, a new record must be set every year. Though 2012's is the third biggest global harvest in history (after 2011 and 2008), this is also a year of food deficit, in which we will consume 28m tonnes more grain than farmers produced. If 2013's harvest does not establish a new world record, the poor are in serious trouble.

So the question of how climate change might alter food production could not be more significant. It is also extremely hard to resolve, and relies on such daunting instruments as "multinomial endogenous switching regression models". The problem is that there are so many factors involved. Will extra rainfall be cancelled out by extra evaporation? Will the fertilising effect of carbon dioxide be more powerful than the heat damage it causes? To what extent will farmers be able to adapt? Will new varieties of crops keep up with the changing weather?

But, to put it very broadly, the consensus is that climate change will hurt farmers in the tropics and help farmers in temperate countries. A famous paper published in 2005 concluded that if we follow the most extreme trajectory for greenhouse gas production (the one we happen to be on at the moment), global warming would raise harvests in the rich nations by 3% by the 2080s, and reduce them in the poor nations by 7%. This gives an overall reduction in the world's food supply (by comparison to what would have happened without manmade climate change) of 5%.

Papers published since then support this conclusion: they foresee hard times for farmers in Africa and south Asia, but a bonanza for farmers in the colder parts of the world, whose yields will rise just as developing countries become less able to feed themselves. Climate change is likely to be devastating for many of the world's poor. If farmers in developing countries can't compete, both their income and their food security will decline, and the number of permanently malnourished people could rise. The nations in which they live, much of whose growth was supposed to have come from food production, will have to import more of their food from abroad. But in terms of gross commodity flows the models do not predict an insuperable problem.

So here's where the issue arises. The models used by most of these papers forecast the effects of changes in averaged conditions. They take no account of extreme weather events. Fair enough: they're complicated enough already. But what if changes in the size of the global harvest are determined less by average conditions than by the extremes?

This is what happened in 2012. This is what seems likely to happen in subsequent years. Here's why. A paper this year by the world's leading climate scientist, James Hansen, shows that the frequency of extremely hot events (such as the droughts which hammered the US and Russia) has risen by a factor of about 50 by comparison with the decades before 1980. Forty years ago, extreme summer heat typically affected between 0.1 and 0.2% of the globe. Today it scorches some 10%. "We can project with a high degree of confidence," the paper warns, "that the area covered by extremely hot anomalies will continue to increase during the next few decades and even greater extremes will occur." Yet these extremes do not feature in the standard models predicting changes in crop production.

If the mechanism proposed by another paper is correct, it is not just extremes of heat that are likely to rise. I've explained this before, but I think it's worth repeating. The jet stream is a current of air travelling eastwards around the upper northern hemisphere. It separates the cold wet weather to the north from the warmer, drier weather to the south. Wobbling along this ribbon are huge meanders called Rossby waves. As the Arctic heats up, the meanders slow down and become steeper. The weather gets stuck.

Stuck weather is another way of saying extreme weather. If the jet stream is jammed to the north of where you are, the weather stays hot and dry, and the temperature builds up – and up. If it's lodged to the south of you, the rain keeps falling, the ground becomes saturated and the rivers burst their banks. This summer the UK and the US seem to have found themselves on opposite sides of stuck meanders, and harvests in both countries were savaged by opposing extremes of weather.

This is where we stand with just 0.8 degrees of global warming and a 30% loss of summer sea ice. Picture a world with two, four or six degrees of warming and a pole without ice, and you get some idea of what could be coming.

Farmers in the rich nations can adapt to a change in averaged conditions. It is hard to see how they can adapt to extreme events, especially if those events are different every year. Last winter, for example, I spent days drought-proofing my apple trees, as the previous spring had been so dry that – a few weeks after pollination – most of the fruit shrivelled up and died. This spring was so wet that the pollinators scarcely emerged at all: it was the unfertilised blossom that withered and died. I thanked my stars that I don't make my living this way.

Perhaps there is no normal any more. Perhaps the smooth average warming trends that the climate models predict – simultaneously terrifying and oddly reassuring – mask wild extremes for which no farmer can plan and to which no farmer can respond. Where does that leave a world which must either keep raising production or starve?

note: I fear our time is VERY quickly running out; it's time to prepare and stock up NOW!