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Every year the world’s foundations are shaken by natural disasters. Whether we’re talking about hurricanes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, forest fires etc., it’s vital to know in advance and to be prepared. Being caught off guard might be the difference between surviving and not. Recent scientific studies have confirmed some upcoming natural disasters for the whole spam of the 21st century in the US (in both the near and distant future). Here are 5 of the most important calamities to be aware of.
Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) finest have concluded their research in the field with a grim prediction: by 2050, natural wildfires will become even more dangerous! Wildfires are bound to last 3 weeks longer compared to today’s rate, will release twice the amount of smoke and will engulf a large portion of West coast per each passing year. In the last 15 years, the territorial range afflicted by wildfires has grown from 2.2 million acres (starting 2000) to 6.5 million acres annually. According to Dr. Loretta J. Mickley (senior researcher in atmospheric chemistry – SEAS), the root of “all evil” regarding wildfires is gradual climate change. The climate changes have raised the Earth’s temperature, creating optimal conditions for out-of-control wildfires. The greater the temperature, the graver the danger. It’s been predicted that the range of forest fires will vary between 30,000 to 50,000 per year. This one is close to home as 4 of my friends lost their homes in 1 wildfire in California last summer. It’s a reality.
The Earthquake-Tsunami Effect In Oregon
The Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisor Commission has conducted various experiments throughout 2009-2010. The scientists and volunteers involved in the project have determined through scientific research and calculus that a at some point in the next 50 years, an earthquake of 8.0-9.0 Richter magnitude will hit the coast of Oregon, that’s soon to be followed by a tsunami. The exact date hasn’t been determined yet, the all the measurements seem to point to the inevitable disaster. The predictions seem to estimate that there will be around 10.000 dead and if portions of the West Cost get split from the main land, estimated damages can go up to $32 billion!
The source of the unforgiving earthquake-tsunami combo is considered to be the Cascadia subduction zone, an 800 mile crack in the Earth’s crust 60 miles offshore from Oregon, created by the Juan de Fuca and the North American tectonic plates.
The submersion of the East Coast
NASA’s scientific research program have suggested that wind activity and sea level trends are bound to leave a great portion of the East Coast underwater by 2100. John Boon, an emeritus professor of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has shown that sea level has constantly been increasing by 0.3 millimeters per year ever since 1987. This will gravely affect the East Coast from Key West (Florida) to Newfoundland (Canada). A group of scientists from Florida that recently ran a US Geological Survey confirmed that East Coast sea levels are rising up to 4 times faster than usual.
In 2013, the ex-mayor of New York (Michael Bloomberg) proposed a $20 billion flood system before leaving office, but the proposal was refused. His intention was based on studies that showed that the north-western coastline is mostly at risk. The sea level in the New York City area is expected to rise 31 inches by 2050. In the present 25% of New York is exposed to a watery calamity, but by 2050, it might be around 95%.
The “Big One” earthquake in California
Californians have been holding their breaths, waiting for that one serious earthquake for decades. And they will get it, sooner or later. The USGS division, UCERF3 (Third Uniform California Rupture Forecast) stated that an 8.0 Richter magnitude earthquake or above is bound to hit the West Coast sometime in the next 30 years. The chances of smaller quakes (6.5 – 7.0 Richter magnitude) are as high as 30%! There are differences of opinion as to where the “Big One” will originate exactly. Some scientists believe that the shockwave will commence from the breaking of the San Andreas Fault, while others consider the point of origin to be the Hayward Fault (near San Francisco).
Regardless the point of origin, the effects will be more then devastating. A group of scientists created a computer simulation of the outcome. The shockwaves will travel at speeds of approximately 7,200 mph, reducing highways and main roads unusable instantly. The White House is currently funding the Earthquake Early Warning System that is able to pick up seismic activity and give pertinent warning one minute in advance of an actual earthquake. $5million have been invested so far, but the alert goes off only 10 seconds before the shockwaves hit, which is nowhere near enough.
The solar storms
Solar storms are the worst natural disasters that can hit us in the near or distant future. There’s no running from them, there is no escape.
It’s important to understand that the Sun’s activity is cyclical, inconstant and ever-changing. The cycle consists in alternating the periods of low nuclear activity with periods of full energy outburst.
Such outbursts result in spewing CMEs (coronal mass ejections). These are massive clouds of magnetized plasma that acts as an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) on all human-made electronics. The circuits get burned instantly, rending useless everything that’s electrical. Such solar storms also contain high level of radiation (mostly UV), solar flares and more. In 2012 a solar flare hit the space station TEREO-A, but it came dangerously close to hitting the Earth instead.
Pete Riley, a scientist for Predictive Science Inc. analyzed the solar storm phenomena recorded in the last 50 years and concluded that there is a 12% chance of the Earth actually getting hit by a solar storm by 2030. When this happens, it will firstly disrupt radio signals, GPS coordination units and satellite communications. Next it will disable power grids, as the alien energetic particles causing the breakdown will ultimately be responsible for the ultimate worldwide blackout! The costs of the ordeal are estimated to $2.5 trillion and a full recovery (if possible) will take longer than 15 years.
No matter what’s in store for us, we can’t avoid it. Be prepared for what’s to come, take all the precautions needed and in case of calamity, make sure you are fully stock. Because in the end, it might come down to pure survival.
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