Friday, August 29, 2008

Arctic sea ice drops to 2nd lowest level on record

 More ominous signs  have scientists saying that a global warming "tipping point" in the Arctic seems to be happening before their eyes: Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is at its second lowest level in about 30 years.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that sea ice in the Arctic now covers about 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since satellite measurements began in 1979 was 1.65 million square miles set last September.With about three weeks left in the Arctic summer, this year could wind up breaking that previous record, scientists said.

Arctic ice always melts in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more of the ice is lost to the sea with less of it recovered in winter. While ice reflects the sun's heat, the open ocean absorbs more heat and the melting accelerates warming in other parts of the world.

Sea ice also serves as primary habitat for threatened polar bears.

"We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point," said senior scientist Mark Serreze at the data center in Boulder, Colo. "It's tipping now. We're seeing it happen now."

Within "five to less than 10 years," the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer, said NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally.

"It also means that climate warming is also coming larger and faster than the models are predicting and nobody's really taken into account that change yet," he said.

Five climate scientists, four of them specialists on the Arctic, told The Associated Press that it is fair to call what is happening in the Arctic a "tipping point." NASA scientist James Hansen, who sounded the alarm about global warming 20 years ago before Congress, said the sea ice melt "is the best current example" of that.

Last year was an unusual year when wind currents and other weather conditions coincided with global warming to worsen sea ice melt, Serreze said. Scientists wondered if last year was an unusual event or the start of a new and disturbing trend.

This year's results suggest the latter because the ice had recovered a bit more than usual thanks to a somewhat cooler winter, Serreze said. Then this month, when the melting rate usually slows, it sped up instead, he said.

The most recent ice retreat primarily reflects melt in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast and the East Siberian Sea off the coast of eastern Russia, according to the center.

The Chukchi Sea is home to one of two populations of Alaska polar bears.

Federal observers flying for a whale survey on Aug. 16 spotted nine polar bears swimming in open ocean in the Chukchi. The bears were 15 to 65 miles off the Alaska shore. Some were swimming north, apparently trying to reach the polar ice edge, which on that day was 400 miles away.

Polar bears are powerful swimmers and have been recorded on swims of 100 miles but the ordeal can leave them exhausted and susceptible to drowning.

And the melt in sea ice has kicked in another effect, long predicted, called "Arctic amplification," Serreze said.

That's when the warming up north is increased in a feedback mechanism and the effects spill southward starting in autumn, he said. Over the last few years, the bigger melt has meant more warm water that releases more heat into the air during fall cooling, making the atmosphere warmer than normal.

On top of that, researchers were investigating "alarming" reports in the last few days of the release of methane from long frozen Arctic waters, possibly from the warming of the sea, said Greenpeace climate scientist Bill Hare, who was attending a climate conference in Ghana. Giant burps of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, is a long feared effect of warming in the Arctic that would accelerate warming even more, according to scientists. 

Overall, the picture of what's happening in the Arctic is getting worse, said Bob Corell, who headed a multinational scientific assessment of Arctic conditions a few years ago: "We're moving beyond a point of no return." 


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Magnetic Declination

Magnetic declination is the difference between true north (the axis around which the earth rotates) and magnetic north (the direction the needle of a compass will point). It is usually printed on the map to the left of the scale bar at the bottom of a USGS 7.5' quadrangle. After finding the declination on the map, you need to transfer the information to your compass before you ever take it into the field. If you fail to do this, any readings you get from your compass will be in error and you may wind up far from where you want to be (in other words, LOST ! ! !).

Magnetic north is determined by the earth's magnetic field and is not the same as true (or geographic) north. The location of the magnetic north pole changes slowly over time, but it is currently northwest of Hudson's Bay in northern Canada (approximately 700 km [450 mi] from the true north pole). Maps are based on the geographic north pole because it does not change over time, so north is always at the top of a quadrangle map.

However, if you were to walk a straight line following the direction your compass needle indicated as north, you would find that you didn’t go from south to north on the map. Howfar your path varied from true north would depend on where you started from. The angle between a straight north-south line and the line you walked is the magnetic declination in the area you were walking. In the example figure, if you walked 1.25 miles toward magnetic north(i.e. you followed your compass without adjusting for magnetic declination) you would end up 1/3 of a mile away from where you would be if you walked 1.25 miles toward true north.

Fortunately, magnetic declination has been measured throughout the U.S. and can be corrected for on your compass (see below). This map shows lines of equal magnetic declination throughout the U.S. and Canada.
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Congratulations India

With all the inherent contradictions and weaknesses we Indians have an intense desire to succeed,to march ahead and to excel. This is our secret of suceess.Happy Independence Day to fellow Indians.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nigeria to Use Spacetech to Fight Flood Disaster

Nigeria - The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is to avail relevant agencies with space-based technology to address environmental problems.The Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Mrs. Grace Ekpiwhre stated this in her speech at a Workshop on Flood Early Warning systems organised in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mrs. Ekpiwhre said agencies of her ministry like the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Centre For Remote Sensing, would be willing to work with the Federal Ministry of Environment and Urban Development, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other agencies to develop early warning and monitoring systems for sustainable environmental development in Nigeria.

According to her, space-based technology such as Remote Sensing, Geographic Information System and Global Positioning System are very reliable as they provide faster, cheaper, accurate and reliable data for addressing flood and other environmental disasters. Mrs Ekpiwhere said NASRDA and the National Centre for Remote Sensing had just produced settlement Map of Nigeria, and a Digital Elevation Model and they are currently working to produce a National land use/land cover mapping at the scale of I: 100000 using NigeriaSat – I.

While canvassing closer collaboration with her – Ministry with that of Environment, Mrs Ekpiwhre added that satellite images provides synoptic data of an area either in real-time or near real-time at different spatial and/or temporal resolutions.

She further said that the Geographic Information System provides the enabling environment for combining remote sensing date, Digital Elevation Models, hydrological data and other spatial and attribute datasets to delineates flood affected areas under different magnitudes of floods or flood scenarios.

She concluded that the development of flood Early Warning systems for Nigeria was not only timely but necessary in achieving the 7 – Point Agenda, adding that the Ministry's Space Agency would provide all satellite images while the centre for Remote Sensing based in Jos was well-positioned to facilitate the implementation of Flood Early Warning System. 

Source :

ISRO postpones Chandrayaan I until mid-October

India - The launch of India's first unmanned mission to the Moon has been postponed until the middle of October, the head of the Indian space program has said. 

The launch of the Chandrayaan I lunar orbiter by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was originally planned for September 19 but scientists have yet to conduct the thermo-vacuum testing of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with the orbiter on board.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Urgent Requirement

Empower consultancy, a chennai based leading provider of geospatial 
databases,customize d map products and solutions for wireless 
telecommunications industry worldwide, has openings for the below 
mentioned positions.

1. Team Leaders

The candidate should be M.Tech / in Remote Sensing &
Geoinformatics having 2 to 3 years of experience in image processing,
Geo-spatial data analysis. The candidate should be technically strong
in ERDAS, Arc GIS, MapInfo,ArcInfo, Auto desk map 3D 2006.

2. Application Engineers

The candidate should be M.Tech / in Remote Sensing &
Geoinformatics having 1 year of experience in image processing,
Geo-spatial data analysis. The candidate should be technically strong
in ERDAS, Arc GIS, MapInfo,ArcInfo, Auto desk map 3D 2006.

3. Trainees

The candidate should be M.Tech / in Remote Sensing &
Geoinformatics passed out in 2008. The candidate should have the 
basic knowledge of ERDAS, Arc GIS, MapInfo,ArcInfo, Auto desk map 3D 

Interested candidates can forward their Resumes to the below
mentioned E-mail.



India's Abhinav Bindra won a gold in men's 10-metre Air Rifle event in Beijing. Bindra shot 104.5 to take his total to 700.5 in the final. This is India's first ever Olympic gold in any individual event and ninth in total.

In ten rounds, Bindra shot 10.7, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.5, 10.5, 10.6, 10.0, 10.2, 10.8 to clinch the first berth. China's Qinan Zhu won silver while Finland's Henri Hakkinen won bronze.

Bindra had shot a total of 596 out of 600, shooting a perfect 100 in 3 of the 6 rounds of the qualifiers. Bindra finished 4th to qualify 2 points behind Henri Hakkinen of Finland. 

Gagan Narang, meanwhile, was very unlucky missing out by just 1 point on a countback after he was tied with 4 others after 6 rounds with an average score of 9.917 in the qualifiers. In a countback, since all five shooters, who were tied, had shot a perfect 100 in the last round, the 5th round scores were taken into account, where Narang had managed a 98, whereas the others had shot either a 99 or a 100. 

If Narang had shot a 99 instead of a 98, 4th round scores would have been taken into account and Narang would have gone through.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Needed:GIS System Projects Manager

Job Location(s):
United Kingdom

GIS Works Management Systems & Project Manager; ESRI, Ellipse, Works Management Systems and Prince 2 Projects Manager. This role requires the successful candidate to manage the Department that manages the below ground assets (GIS) systems and the above ground asset systems (AMIS). 

They will be required to carry out various tasks including: 

The Below and Above Ground Asset systems (GIS and AMIS) are being developed in line with the business need. 

The GIS and AMIS opex and capex budget targets are achieved without compromising levels of service, or the scope of services delivered. 

The GIS and AMIS systems run across the Group without interruption. 

All managers and staff in the team are set clear aims and objectives with a high level of motivation 

Development Plans, User Groups and Steering Groups are in place for both GIS and AMIS applications. 

Projects are completed on time and within budget using, where appropriate, a defined methodology 

Internal customers have all received the suitable level of training and coaching for relevant systems 

Application service level targets are met for both GIS and AMIS. 

Project manage system implementations. In depth knowledge of both spatial data and asset data 

Make recommendations on future Asset System developments. Authorise third party to undertake software development and support. 

Monitoring the cross functional business processes and resources to meet priorities and SLA's 

Controlling the Section's physical, financial and human resources. Exercising judgement when dealing with customers, contractors and suppliers and technical problems.
Additional Information
Salary: from £40,000.00 up to £45,000.00 per year
Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Great Training
Application Centre Ltd
Paul Corcoran
13 Lawn Close
Torquay, TQ2 8JZ
Devon, United Kingdom
Phone Number: 01803 320033
Mobile Number: 07947 200 000

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oil holds above $119

Oil prices were steady above $119 a barrel Wednesday as investors awaited weekly oil and gasoline inventory data for further evidence of declining crude demand in the U.S.  

By midday in Europe, light, sweet crude for September delivery was up 36 cents to $119.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $2.24 overnight to settle at $119.17 a barrel.

In London, September Brent crude rose 66 cents to $118.36 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Oil will probably drop further unless the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration says in its weekly oil inventory report that gasoline stocks fell significantly, said Tetsu Emori, who manages a commodity markets fund at ASTMAX Futures Co. in Tokyo.

"If we don't get a strong number, oil prices will likely fall further," he said.

read on

Monday, August 4, 2008

Iran tests 'new weapon' for use at sea

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran announced Monday that it has tested a new weapon capable of sinking ships nearly 200 miles away, and reiterated threats to close a strategic waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf if attacked.  

Up to 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage along Iran's southern coast. Tehran has warned it could shut down tanker traffic there if attacked — a move likely to send oil prices skyrocketing.

The warnings came two days after a deadline expired for Iran to respond to incentives from six world powers, offered in exchange for a promise to curb its uranium enrichment.

Later Monday, the U.S. State Department said the group — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany — agreed to pursue further sanctions against Iran because of its failure to meet the Saturday deadline.

Iran and the West have been mired in a standoff over the country's disputed nuclear program. The United Nations has already slapped Iran with three rounds of sanctions, over its refusal to stop enriching uranium — a key process that generates either fuel for a nuclear reactor, or the fissile material for a bomb.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, to generate electricity.

Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said Monday that the new marine weapon is "unique in the world" and has a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles), according to the state news agency IRNA.

That's within range of U.S. warships deployed in the Persian Gulf. Last month, Iran tested missiles it claimed were capable of reaching 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) away — putting U.S military bases in the Middle East as well as Israel, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula, Afghanistan and Pakistan all within striking distance.

Monday's report gave no details on when or where the new weapon was tested. Its range indicates it could be a type of torpedo, but state radio called it a missile.

Jafari warned Iran would respond decisively if any military strike is carried out against it.

"Enemies know that we are easily able to block the Strait of Hormuz for an unlimited period," he was quoted by state radio as saying. "The strait and vessels are in range of our various weapons."

Both the U.S. and Israel — which shares American concerns over Iran's nuclear program — have said they would prefer a diplomatic solution to the standoff with Iran, but have not ruled out other options — including a military one.

Israeli analyst Ephraim Kam, a former senior intelligence officer, dismissed the new weapons test.

"They are always boasting about their weapons and their military capabilities and saying how unique they are, but they are usually just standard military weapons," he said.

Tropical storm forms in oil area of Gulf of Mexico

The fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season formed near a major oil and gas producing area of the northern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical Storm Edouard, located around 80 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River by 11 p.m. EDT, was expected to come ashore at close to hurricane strength in a few days on the Texas coast, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

One of the computer models used to predict storm paths and intensities indicated Edouard could become a hurricane, with winds in excess of 74 miles per hour (119 km per hour), the hurricane center said. But its official forecast called for Edouard to top out at 69 mph (111 kph).

The center issued a hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours, for the coastline west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Port O'Connor, Texas.

A tropical storm warning, meaning tropical storm conditions could be expected within 24 hours, was extended westward from the Mississippi River to Cameron, Louisiana.