Taiwan Earthquake 7 Feb 2016

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan at 4am local time on 7 Feb 2016.
The damage at the epicentre Kaohsiung was much lower than Tainan due to the softer soil at Tainan. The impact was also greater as the earthquake  was shallow at a depth of 10km. Many families were at home as it is the eve of lunar new year and casualties were higher as they were sleeping at the time when earthquake struck and were not able to respond or evacuate on time.

The collapse of buildings have caused more deaths and injuries. Queries are made on the structure of the buildings, especially when tin cans were found in the construction. Most new buildings in Taiwan are built to withstand quake of magnitude 5 to 6. The president of Taiwan said that the government will tighten regulation on building construction.
Other than strengthening buildings, what are the other ways to mitigate the impact of earthquakes?
Rescue work is still in progress and is one of the most important short term response.
What are the other short and long term responses?

Earthquake is common as Taiwan lies at the plate boundary of the Eurasian and Philippines Plate.


Why does earthquake occur at the plate boundary?
Why is earthquake a hazard?
Why does the damage from earthquake differ?

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island early Tuesday (Feb 9). The quake hit some 96 kilometres southwest of Panguna at 2.19am (12.19am Singapore time), according to the US Geological Survey. The epicentre was 102 kilometres southwest of the larger town of Arawa also on Bougainville Island and USGS said it was 32 kilometres deep, which is considered shallow. Quakes are common on the island nation, which lies on the 4,000-kilometre-long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the "Ring of Fire", a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.  http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/6-3-magnitude-earthquake/2499350.html

The earthquake which struck Papua New Guinea has the same magnitude as the one which struck Taiwan. Why are there more damages and casualties in Taiwan? 

Another earthquake struck Chile at 7.33 pm 9 Feb (0033 GMT Wednesday 10 Feb) 326 km north-northwest of Santiago, the USGS said. It had a depth of 31.5 km. There was no immediate reports of damage and injuries. 

Read Users' Comments (0)

Impact of climate change on crop yield

* Warming of sea surface temperatures in eastern and central Pacific Ocean that disrupts weather patterns across the Pacific
* Can cause ocean cooling in the western Pacific and around Northern Australia 
* Can deliver more rain to the west coast of North and South America
* Can disrupt trade winds that blow moisture-laden air towards eastern Australia

* Lower rainfall through winter and spring, especially in the north and east
* Temperature extremes
* Warmer-than-average weather, particularly in southern Australia in the second half of the year
 * Decreased cloud and low rainfall
* Worsening heat extremes for cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne, increase in extreme hot days and heatwaves further north
* Increased frost
* Increased bushfire risk
* Fewer tropical cyclones, especially for Queensland
* Later northern monsoon rains
* Below-average wet season rains early
* Reduced winter snowfall

However over at France, the increase in temperature has been good for champagne maker. http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/global-warming-good-for-champagne-makers-so-far

The 1.2°C increase in temperatures in the region over the past 30 years has reduced frost damage. It has also added one degree in the level of alcohol and reduced acidity. Harvesting in Champagne has been brought forward by two weeks on average over the past 30 years. And while drought has slashed output in other areas of agriculture, the chalky Champagne soil has water retention properties that have so far been able to temper the impact. And to fight dry weather, winemakers also use techniques such as removing grass competing for water in vineyards or keep more leaves to protect grapes from the sun.

Read Users' Comments (0)

Pulau Ulbin

One of the projects by my former student, Cheri, on responsible tourism in Pulau Ubin. Do click on like on the video to support her project.

As you watch the video, think of the possible tensions that could arise due to tourism between

  • Tourists and the local community
  • Tourists and environment

Read Users' Comments (0)

Interesting cartoons on Geography

Interesting cartoons from http://www.ripleys.com/blog/tag/geography/
The Australian Alps receive more snowfall than the Swiss Alps. There are only two individuals in the U.S. who have their own zip code—the president and Smokey the Bear. (Submitted by Chester Tumidajewicz, Amsterdam, NY) During Mount St. Helens’ nine-hour eruption in 1980, the volcano spewed 540 million tons of ash over more than 22,000 square miles! About 50,000 Canadians fought in the American Civil War, including about 200 for the South. (Submitted by Dan Paulun, West Lafayette, OH)
Look at the intensity of the volcanic eruption from the cartoon.  Are you curious to find out more about the Mount St Helens eruption?

Where is Mount St Helens located?
When did it erupt?
Why did it erupt?
Who are affected by the eruption?
What are the damages by the eruption?
How did the people respond to the eruption?

Read Users' Comments (0)

Dealing with climate change - Green Mark program

Updates from climate change sg on facebook: Singapore’s “Green Mark” program aims to cover 80% of its buildings by 2030 could see a reduction in building electricity use of 22% and net economic savings of over US$400 million. 
Learn more about 2015 climate plan @ http://bit.ly/1fiX5P8 

Climate change impact on cities are greater due to the increasing influx of people and the infrastructure development. Read more about it @ http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/asias-coastal-megacities-at-natures-mercy 29 Aug 2015

Deforestation contributes to climate change as forests store carbon while acting as a filter taking the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas out of the atmosphere.  According to a study by the Washington-based centre for Global Development, tropical forests covering an area nearly the size of India are set to be destroyed in the next 35 years, a faster rate of deforestation than previously thought. If current trends continue, tropical deforestation will add 169 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, the equivalent of running 44,000 coal-fired power plants for a year according to the study.
Source:  http://www.straitstimes.com/world/tropical-forests-the-size-of-india-set-to-be-lost-by-2050

A good article on the cause and effects of global warming:  http://planetsave.com/2009/06/07/global-warming-effects-and-causes-a-top-10-list/

Global Warming Cause:
1. Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants
2.Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation
3. Methane emissions from animals,  
 4. Deforestation, especially tropical forests for wood, pulp, and farmland and thus more Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
5. Increase in nitrogen oxides from the increased usage of chemical fertilizers on croplands 

Global Warming Effect: 
1. Rise in sea levels worldwide
2. More killer storms
3. Massive crop failures

Here are some common misconceptions about climate change highlighted by National Climate Change Secretariat for the National Climate Change competition 2015 -https://ncccsg.wordpress.com/ 

Global warming vs climate change 
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Global warming refers to the increase in the Earth’s average temperature. Climate change, on the other hand, does not only refer to global changes in temperatures, it also refers to changes in weather patterns due to rising temperatures over a long period of time. Climate change brings about more occurrences of heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall in various parts of the world. 

While being environmentally-friendly can help to address climate change, littering does not cause climate change. Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels that releases greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere when energy is produced. It certainly is not caused by the irresponsible act of littering. Recycling, on the other hand, keeps litter off the ground and is a way to address climate change because it requires less energy to recycle materials such as paper, metal and glass as compared to making them from scratch. 

Ozone depletion 
The depletion of the ozone layer and global warming is not the same thing, and neither is one the cause of the other. The ozone hole is caused by human-produced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), while global warming is caused by excess greenhouse gases produced by human activities released in the atmosphere. 

Carbon monoxide 
Carbon monoxide is an air pollutant, and can cause harm to our health. Although it contains one part carbon, similar to carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change), carbon monoxide is not a direct contributor to climate change.

Interesting interactive map on carbon emission and impacts: http://www.carbonmap.org/#

Read Users' Comments (0)

Earthquakes and extent of damage

I have been telling my students about the numerous earthquakes near Solomon islands last week. You can read about it from the channelnewsasia:

How is the magnitude is measured on the Richter scale?
What are the factors which affect the extent of damage?
Why is a shallow focus earthquake more damaging than a deep focus earthquake?
Where are most earthquakes found?

The fear of an earthquake is real and you should know the cause of a tsunamis and the impacts of tsunamis on coastal areas.

Most importantly what are the preparedness measures?
Does the early warning system work?
Has technology helped?

Remember the eBook on the oceans fury? Do check out my earlier post: http://www.olevelgeog.blogspot.sg/2015/03/e-book-ocean-fury.html?m=1

Read Users' Comments (0)

National efforts in mitigating climate change

Read the article on http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-pledges-to/1958688.html

Singapore has made a pledge to stabilise and limit its yearly greenhouse gas emissions to about 65 million tonnes by 2030. 

Singapore has progressively switched from fuel oil to natural gas for cleaner power generation. Today, over 90 per cent of electricity here is generated from natural gas. There is a need for us to attain higher levels of energy efficiency by deploying best-in-class technologies.

What other ways have we been helping in mitigating climate change? How effective are these strategies?

We need to continue our efforts in mitigating climate change by reducing carbon emission or our temperatures in Singapore may soar by 4.6°C by end of the century.

Watch this cute animation on what you can do to help reduce carbon emission and contribute to mitigating climate change.  http://youtu.be/ymhdRTKyZ8c

As shown above there are more warmer days and more intense rainfall in Singapore. 

Watch the video below to see how climate change cause an increase in sea level and its impact.

Read Users' Comments (0)

Flood in Southern Asia

Find out more about how the Monsoon rain has led to flooding in Southern Asia from

Where are the areas affected by the flood?
Who are the people affected by the flood?
Why did the flood occur?
What is the extent of damage from the flood?
How can help be rendered to the victims of the flood?

Find out which part of Asia received the most amount of rainfall in the last seven days from Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/publications_dir/seven_day_rain_2.html


Read Users' Comments (0)

Concerns on water resources

Another national tap of Singapore  - imported water from Malaysia.
Find out more from http://www.straitstimes.com/uncategorized/singapores-water-supply-from-malaysia-reaches-critical-levels

Why is there a need to conserve the use of water?
What are the other three national taps of Singapore?
Who are the ones responsible of ensuring ample water supply in Singapore?
Which are the sectors affected if there is a shortage of water supply in Singapore?
How can we prevent water shortage in Singapore?

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/uncategorized/singapores-water-supply-from-malaysia-reaches-critical-levels

More on Singapore's 4 National Tap here:

Read Users' Comments (0)

Volcanic eruption affecting tourism in Bali

Read this article on how travel to Bali is affected due to the volcanic eruption of Mount Raung in East Java (natural disaster).

The volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java has lead to the cancellation of 250 flights and thousands of tourists stranded in Bali on 10 July 2015. Flights have to be cancelled due to reduced visibility from the volcanic ash which posed a hazard in landing.

As posted earlier the outbreak of diseases such as MERS also affected tourist arrivals e.g. in South Korea. 

The economic situation of Greece has also discourage tourist arrivals. What other situations can you think of that affects tourist arrivals?

Read Users' Comments (0)

Preparedness Measures for earthquakes

Read this article on how research in Singapore on building design can help to save lives in an earthquake. http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/he-triggers-earthquakes-every-day

Associate Professor Li Bing has been working on the best way to make buildings quake-proof. In Nepal, for instance, six school buildings which had their beam and column structures wrapped with low-cost materials like wire mesh and glass fibre withstood April's 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

And when disaster strikes in Asia and Pacific regions, Singapore is often among the first to send rescue missions overseas. Meanwhile, the Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre helps disaster-affected areas by coordinating multi-national military relief efforts.

Visit http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/playgame.html and play the game.
Record the strategies used in minimizing damage from earthquakes.

Read Users' Comments (0)