With the terrible news of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan this morning, my thoughts are with the victims and their families. Is this more evidence of "Global Weirding?
TOKYO -- A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's northeastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland and prompting a "nuclear emergency."
At least 40 people were killed and there were reports of several injuries in Tokyo, hundreds of miles away, where buildings shook violently through the main quake and the series of massive aftershocks that followed.
Consider this article, from NOAA scientists, "Do the 2010 Haiti and Chile earthquakes and tsunamis indicate increasing trends?"
Recent analysis of historical data shows that four of the top ten most deadly earthquakes and tsunamis since 1701 occurred in the last decade, including the 2004 Indian Ocean (Sumatra) and 2010 Haiti events. The magnitude 8.8 2010 Chile earthquake was the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded. These events generate questions about the frequency and severity of geologic natural hazards worldwide. The National Geophysical Data Center and co-located World Data Center for Geophysics and Marine Geology maintain a global historical event database of tsunamis, significant earthquakes, and significant volcanic eruptions (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/hazards/). Analysis of the database revealed that while the total number of magnitude 7.5 earthquakes per decade since 1901 has remained consistent, the last decade has experienced some of the most devastating geologic events in history. Until 2010, the most deadly event in the Caribbean was the 1902 eruption of Pelee that caused 28 000 deaths. While devastating, this event is dwarfed by the 230 000 deaths that resulted from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The 2010 Chile earthquake is among the top ten most deadly earthquakes and tsunamis in the entire history of Chile. While the database does not provide answers as to why these recent events are so deadly, the analysis reinforces the need for increasing our understanding of earthquakes and tsunamis in all regions of the world. As the global population continues to increase, placing more people at risk, it is important to dedicate resources to mitigate against the effects of such natural hazards.
Figure 14. Count of all tsunamis for 10-year periods from 1701 to the present. (Source: National Geophysical Data Center/World Data Center.)
Figure 15. Total number of deaths from tsunamis for 10-year periods from 1701 to the present. (Source: National Geophysical Data Center/World Data Center.)