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SKYE on AOL

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    Friday, May 2, 2014
    Mount St Helens

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Mount St. Helens is nowhere near another eruption, but new magma is rising underground, heaving the volcano upward and outward by the length of a fingertip, researchers said here today (May 2) at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.

    A small amount of magma started pooling 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) beneath the volcano in 2008, said lead study author Seth Moran, a seismologist with the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington state. The depth comes from the pattern of surface swelling, measured with GPS, and from earthquakes triggered by the molten rock pushing upward. GPS units moved away from the center of the volcano by up to 0.5 inches (12 millimeters) between 2008 and 2013. (Imagine that Mount St. Helens' magma chamber is like a balloon inflating deep beneath the volcano, pushing everything above it out of the way as it fills with a fresh batch of molten rock.) [Gallery: The Incredible Eruption of Mount St. Helens]

    "This doesn't mean it's getting ready to erupt," Moran told Live Science's Our Amazing Planet. "The balloon has inflated, and it could stay inflated for decades. What we can say, is when it is ready to erupt, we will know."

    The observatory tracked a similar refueling pattern beneath Mount St. Helens during the volcano's quiet period in the 1980s and 1990s, Moran said. However, the earthquakes were deeper during the first quiet period, at about 4 to 5 miles (6 to 8 km) below the surface, and the magma refueled faster, according to the new results.

    Scientists keep a close eye on the Washington volcano, which has erupted on and off since its deadly 1980 blast. Studies of past eruptions suggest Mount St. Helens is more likely to spend the next few hundred years rebuilding a beautiful, snowy peak, rather than blowing the countryside to smithereens.

    Even so, the signals from the slumbering volcano are a message to be ready for the next eruption, however small, the researchers said.

    "We're like the fire department," Moran said. "We've got to be ready to go."

    Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at Live Science's Our Amazing Planet.

    Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Incredible Photos of Volcanic Eruptions
    Lightning, Volcano

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    In this file photo, a woman on the Staten Island ferry looks at lower Manhattan in the rain. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


    Residents of the Northeast and Midwest may want to keep an umbrella handy this weekend as showers linger around the regions.

    Neither Saturday or Sunday will be a washout, but the showers will be enough to dampen any outdoor activities planned for either day.

    Cooler conditions will also accompany the showers with more clouds than sunshine and temperatures running a few degrees below normal.

    Fortunately, those attending the Kentucky Derby can count on a dry race as the showers stay well to the north on Saturday.

    Folks headed to the ballpark this weekend shouldn't have to worry about any game being rained out. However, a raincoat or poncho may be useful in the event that a shower or two passes over during the game.

    Flooding is not anticipated to be a problem, even across the mid-Atlantic where several inches of rain led to flooding and landslides this past week.

    RELATED:
    Interactive Radar
    Near-Record Heat to Build Over Plains, Then Eye East
    This Week in Review:Lethal Storms Flood Eastern US

    For those looking for drier weather, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    The system responsible for this lugubrious weather pattern is expected to track over Atlantic Canada early next week allowing for drier weather to make a return to much of the mid-Atlantic.

    Not all of the East will be in the clear though, as spotty showers linger around New England, as well as moving though the Ohio Valley.

    Similar to what will be seen this weekend, very little rainfall is expected, but it may still dampen any outdoor activities.


    RELATED ON SKYE: 10 U.S. Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    A massive landslide buried a village Friday, May 2, 2014, in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, which Afghan and U.N. officials say left hundreds of dead and missing. (AP Photo/Ahmad Zubair)

    At least 350 people are dead after a massive landslide occurred in northeastern Afghanistan on Friday, May 2, 2014.

    The landslide engulfed the remote Afghani town of Hobo Barik in the Badakhshan province of the country, enclosed between the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges, on Friday afternoon, burying more than 300 homes in the area and leaving more than 2,000 people unaccounted for, according to the Associated Press.

    "There have been heavy showers and storms in the area over the last few days," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

    Following the slide, nearby towns were evacuated in case of another landslide.

    Aside from the area's rugged and mountainous terrain, more wet weather may hinder search-and-rescue efforts.

    "Showers and thunderstorms will be a daily occurrence across the Badakhshan province into next week," Samuhel said. "The region's wettest weather is usually in April and May."

    RELATED:
    Detailed Afghanistan Weather
    AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
    Landslides: Where and Why They Occur

    The United Nations Assistance Mission in the country and authorities already on the ground in the region are working together to try and rescue those still entrapped.

    However, lack of equipment is halting some rescue crews, according to the Associated Press.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    This NASA graphic shows the orbit of asteroid 2014 HL129. Discovered on April 28, 2014, the asteroid passed close by Earth on May 3, coming within 186,000 miles of the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    A small asteroid about the size of a city bus zipped by Earth at a range closer than the moon early Saturday (May 3), but posed no threat to our planet.

    The newly discovered asteroid 2014 HL129 came within 186,000 miles of Earth when it made its closest approach on Saturday morning, which is close enough to pass between the planet and the orbit of the moon. The average distance between the Earth and moon is about 238,855 miles.

    You can watch a video animation of asteroid 2014 HL129's orbit around the sun on Space.com. The asteroid is about 25 feet wide, according to NASA's Asteroid Watch project based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It made its closest approach to Earth at 4:13 a.m. EDT.

    Saturday's close shave by asteroid 2014 HL129 came just days after its discovery on Wednesday, April 28, by astronomers with the Mt. Lemmon Survey team, according to an alert by the Minor Planet Center, an arm of the International Astronomical Union that chronicles asteroid discoveries. The Mt. Lemmon Survey team scans the night sky with a telescope at the Steward Observatory atop Mt. Lemmon in Arizona's Catalina Mountains.

    NASA scientists and researchers around the world constantly monitor the sky for potentially dangerous asteroids that could pose a risk of impacting the Earth.

    Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    As in this file photo, President Barack Obama will address storm survivors in Arkansas. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor says President Barack Obama has accepted his invitation to visit the Arkansas communities that were hit last week by a deadly tornado.

    Pryor's office announced Saturday that Obama plans to visit the state Wednesday to survey the tornado damage. Fifteen people died in the storm. Details were not immediately available on which communities the president would visit.

    The Obama administration has already designated Faulkner County, which was hit hardest Sunday night, as a major disaster area.

    The visit marks Obama's first trip as president to Arkansas, a state he lost in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and where he remains deeply unpopular. The last time he visited Arkansas was as a United States senator in 2006 to campaign for Mike Beebe's successful bid for governor.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Deadly Tornados Strike Central, Southern US

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

    The heat set to expand eastward from the southern Plains next week will not be quick to race to the Northeast and may even avoid much of New England.

    The return of 75-degree warmth is not in the offering for the Northeast through at least Wednesday.

    Some mid-Atlantic communities, including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will see temperatures rise into the lower 70s on a couple of days. Otherwise, highs in the 50s and 60s will be common across the Northeast.

    Near the eastern Great Lakes and northern New England is where temperatures will mainly be held to the 50s, which -- outside of northern Maine -- is cool for early May.


    Numerous showers and gusty winds will usher in fresh cool air for Sunday. Spotty showers and a breeze will linger through Monday.

    The winds will calm enough for frost and freeze concerns in parts of northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York, western Massachusetts and northern New England (west of I-95) Monday and Tuesday nights.

    RELATED:
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    Bradford, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding typically colder areas may even dip to freezing Sunday night.

    It will take later in the week for 80-degree warmth to surge back to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and the rest of the mid-Atlantic as the storm system threatening to spark more severe weather across the Plains heads eastward.



    However, the storm may track in such a fashion to prevent the warmth from spilling across upstate New York and most of New England.

    "Exactly where the storm's frontal boundary sets up with clouds, showers and thunderstorms will determine which areas hit 80 F and which places only 100 miles away hover in the 50s and 60s," stated AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.



    It will be a close call late in the week with the surge of warmth versus stubborn cooler air in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and western Massachusetts. This includes New York City, where temperatures have yet to crack the 80-degree mark this spring.

    Confidence is higher for the late-week warmth stopping short of reaching Boston, Portland and Burlington, Vermont.

    "As far as prolonged warmth for eastern and northern New England, that will likely hold off until the weekend of May 17-18," according to AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecaster Mark Paquette.

    Residents elsewhere in the Northeast should not put away their jackets when temperatures spike late in the week.

    Paquette anticipates another shot of cool air around Tuesday, May 13 with the threat of frost across the interior Northeast during the following couple of days.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
    Hottest Places on Earth

     

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    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    More destruction, like this file photo post-hurricane in Mississippi, could be on its way. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Concerns are mounting for another outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes, to target the midsection of the U.S.

    First, the nation will get a few more days to dry out and clean up from the violent weather of the past week.

    A storm is then forecast to move in from the Pacific Ocean and into the Northwest this weekend. Once the storm moves across the Rockies, hot and humid air will build northward over the Plains through the next several days.



    As this storm begins to interact with heat and humidity, shifting winds will assist in development thunderstorms starting late Wednesday and Wednesday night.

    According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Justin Pullin, "Isolated thunderstorms with large hail and strong wind gusts will develop from northwestern Texas to Kansas late Wednesday."

    These storms will fire along what is known as a dry line which separates desert air from the West and humid Gulf of Mexico air from the east.



    "Another batch of storms is likely to erupt from eastern Nebraska and Iowa to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Wednesday night into Thursday," Pullin said.

    These storms will develop along a warm front, which separates the cool air to the north from warm, moist air to the south.

    "The storms along the warm front can bring torrential rainfall, large hail and a few tornadoes," Pullin said.

    RELATED:
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    As the large storm system pushes east of the Rockies on Thursday and Friday, so will the threat of severe weather.

    More numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will line the Plains on Thursday with the danger shifting to the Mississippi Valley Thursday night and Friday.

    The southern extent of the severe weather area, however, may hang back longer across the southern Plains on Friday and delay the arrival of the violent thunderstorms to the lower Mississippi Valley until the weekend.

    All residents of the nation's midsection are urged to check back with AccuWeather.com as more details on the impending severe weather outbreak unfold.

    The extent of dry conditions over Colorado, New Mexico and the neighboring Plains states could impact nearby thunderstorm formation.

    "We are at the point where the drought in the region is feeding upon itself," AccuWeather Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Executive Mike Smith said. "By that I mean, the extremely dry air over the southern High Plains moves out to the east and can snuff out thunderstorms even when many of the other atmospheric conditions are favorable."



    Drought continues to build over the region and has reached exceptional levels from northwest Texas to western Oklahoma, eastern New Mexico and part of southeastern Colorado.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Dramatic Photos Reveal California's Epic Drought

     

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    Saturday, May 4, 2014
    AP
    As in this file photo of a rainy Seattle, the new week will bring plenty of moisture to the Pacific Northwest. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


    The new week will bring big changes to the West after a hot and dry start to May.

    A low pressure system tracking across the region will be the driving force behind these changes, spreading rain, mountain snow and howling winds over different portions of the West.

    Those in the Pacific Northwest may want to keep their umbrellas handy on Sunday and Monday as the system slowly moves onshore and spreads rain across the region.

    Most of the moisture associated with this low pressure system is expected to miss California and stay north of Arizona and New Mexico.

    The dry conditions paired with howling winds in the interior Southwest will contribute to a heightened risk of wildfires both on Tuesday and Wednesday.

    People in these areas are urged take extra precautions to help prevent wildfires. A controlled burn can quickly become a fire burning over several acres under these conditions.

    In addition to precipitation and gusty winds on Tuesday and Wednesday, this system is forecast to usher cooler air across the West with widespread temperatures in the 60s and 70s. This is a big change from the widespread 80s and 90s that challenged records in dozens of cities late last week.

    However, the deserts of the Southwest can still expect highs in the 80s, only a few degrees below normal high temperatures this time of year.

    RELATED:
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    Looking ahead to the latter part of this week, the system responsible for the unsettled weather will progress eastward over the Plains.

    This will result in near-normal temperatures and calmer winds for the West with only a few spotty showers lingering over the Rocky Mountains.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Dramatic Photos Reveal California's Epic Drought

     

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    May 4, 2014

    Afghans search for survivors after Friday's landslide buried Abi-Barik village in Badakhshan province, northeastern Afghanistan, Saturday, May 3, 2014. Afghan rescuers and hundreds of volunteers armed with shovels rushed on Saturday to help villagers hit by a massive landslide in the remote northeast a day earlier, officials said, while fears of a new torrent of mud and earth complicated rescue efforts. (AP Photo/Gulrahim Niazman)

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - As Afghans observed a day of mourning Sunday for the hundreds of people killed in a horrific landslide, authorities tried to help the 700 families displaced by the torrent of mud that swept through their village.

    The families left their homes due to the threat of more landslides in the village of Abi Barik in Badakhshan province, Minister for Rural Rehabilitation Wais Ahmad Barmak said.

    Aid groups and the government have rushed to the remote area in northeastern Afghanistan bordering Tajikistan and China with food, shelter and water.

    A spokesman for the International Organization of Migration, Matt Graydon, said the group is bringing solar-powered lanterns, blankets and shelter kits. He said after a visit to the area Sunday that some residents have gone to nearby villages to stay with family or friends while others have slept out in the open.

    "Some people left with almost nothing," Graydon said.

    Authorities gave $400,000 to the provincial governor Saturday to use in the aid effort, said Barmak, who promised the government would provide more money if it's needed.

    President Hamid Karzai designated Sunday as a day of mourning for the hundreds of people who died in Abi Barik when a wall of mud and earth broke off from the hill above and turned part of the village into a cemetery.

    Authorities still don't have an exact figure on how many people died in the landslide, Barmak said. Estimates have ranged from 250 to 2,700, but authorities have said it will be impossible to dig up all the bodies.

    The government has identified 250 people who died and estimated that 300 houses were buried under tons of mud, Barmak said.

    Afghanistan has suffered through some three decades of war since the Soviet invasion in 1979. But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have taken a toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities.

    Already this year, 159 people have died in April and May from flooding, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Sunday in a statement. New waves of flooding are expected in two northern provinces, the agency said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

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    May 4, 2014


    Concerns are mounting for another outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes, to target the midsection of the U.S.

    First, the nation will get a few more days to dry out and clean up from the violent weather of the past week.

    A storm is then forecast to move in from the Pacific Ocean and into the Northwest this weekend. Once the storm moves across the Rockies, hot and humid air will build northward over the Plains through the next several days.

    As this storm begins to interact with heat and humidity, shifting winds will assist in development thunderstorms starting late Wednesday and Wednesday night.

    According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Justin Pullin, "Isolated thunderstorms with large hail and strong wind gusts will develop from northwestern Texas to Kansas late Wednesday."

    These storms will fire along what is known as a dry line which separates desert air from the West and humid Gulf of Mexico air from the east.

    "Another batch of storms is likely to erupt from eastern Nebraska and Iowa to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Wednesday night into Thursday," Pullin said.

    These storms will develop along a warm front, which separates the cool air to the north from warm, moist air to the south.

    "The storms along the warm front can bring torrential rainfall, large hail and a few tornadoes," Pullin said.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
    What Are the Numbers Behind the Recent Severe Weather Outbreak?
    AccuWeather Summer 2014 Forecast


    As the large storm system pushes east of the Rockies on Thursday and Friday, so will the threat of severe weather.

    More numerous severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will line the Plains on Thursday with the danger shifting to the Mississippi Valley Thursday night and Friday.

    The southern extent of the severe weather area, however, may hang back longer across the southern Plains on Friday and delay the arrival of the violent thunderstorms to the lower Mississippi Valley until the weekend.

    All residents of the nation's midsection are urged to check back with AccuWeather.com as more details on the impending severe weather outbreak unfold.

    The extent of dry conditions over Colorado, New Mexico and the neighboring Plains states could impact nearby thunderstorm formation.

    "We are at the point where the drought in the region is feeding upon itself," AccuWeather Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Executive Mike Smith said. "By that I mean the extremely dry air over the southern High Plains moves out to the east and can snuff out thunderstorms even when many of the other atmospheric conditions are favorable."



    Drought continues to build over the region and has reached exceptional levels from northwest Texas to western Oklahoma, eastern New Mexico and part of southeastern Colorado.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Deadly Tornados Strike Central, Southern US

     

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    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    (Rappensuncle/Flickr)

    Summerlike heat will continue to build across the southern Plains through early in the new week. Warmth will then spread farther east but may encounter some resistance.

    The heat will begin to crank up over the weekend, setting the stage for the record-challenging warmth Monday and Tuesday from Texas to Kansas.

    Afternoon highs will flirt with the 100-degree mark from central Texas to central Oklahoma under the bright afternoon sun; this is more than 20 degrees above normal for early May.



    People across the region should take proper precautions to stay protected from the high temperature values and the strong rays of the sun.

    Wearing sunblock, light-colored clothing and sunglasses with UV protection are just several ways to stay protected from the sun.

    Staying hydrated is also important, especially if you have plans on spending long periods of time in the outdoors. Be sure to drink plenty of water and try to avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages that can accelerate dehydration.



    One of the many cities that is forecast to see consecutive days at or above the 90-degree mark is Dallas.

    This stretch of above-normal temperatures will likely result in the first time that the city has had three consecutive 90-degree days since the beginning of October 2013.

    Oklahoma City is also forecast to come within a few degrees of 100 F. If it does manage to reach the triple digits, it would be the second earliest 100-degree day on record.

    RELATED:
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    Although the core of the heat is expected to focus on the southern Plains, this will eventually translate to warmer weather for the Midwest and South by midweek.



    According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Temperatures will spike well into the 80s F in the Ohio Valley and may touch 90 F in some locations of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas."

    Average highs for this region of the South during early May generally in the 70s.

    Across the Northeast, forecasting the coverage and longevity of the warmth is more challenging.

    "Exactly where frontal boundary sets up with clouds, showers and thunderstorms will determine which areas hit 80 and which places only 100 miles away hover in the 50s and 60s," Sosnowski said. "That boundary could hold nearly stationary over the mid-Atlantic or meander north and south each day next Wednesday into the weekend over the Northeast."

    New York City has not yet hit 80 F this spring.

    According Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell, "The latest 80-degree reading at New York's Central Park was on May 23 in 1984 and in 1988."

    The warmest it has been so far this spring at Central Park is 78 F.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
    Hottest Places on Earth

     

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    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    In this file photo, Greenpeace members picket for cleaner energy. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - The United Nations secretary-general on Sunday urged world policymakers to do more to address the threat of climate change as negotiators attempt to forge a new global warming pact next year.

    Speaking to hundreds of international delegates at the start of a climate gathering in Abu Dhabi, Ban Ki-moon warned that time is running out to reduce harmful emissions and that political leaders need to offer bold commitments to drive meaningful change.

    "If we do not take urgent action, all our plans for increased global prosperity and security will be undone," he warned.

    Ban was in the United Arab Emirates capital to mark the start of a conference meant to lay the groundwork for a climate summit he has called for world leaders in September.

    More than 1,000 participants, including former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and dozens of government ministers from around the world, are taking part in the two-day Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting. They aim to focus on a range of strategies to address climate change, including deployment of renewable energy, efforts to improve energy efficiency and the use of more sustainable agriculture.

    Ban's September meeting in turn is designed to provide impetus for efforts to secure a sweeping climate deal involving rich and poor nations in 2015. That is the target year negotiators in a U.N.-led process have set for themselves after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord.

    The aim of the process is to get governments to agree to cut emissions after 2020 to keep warming below 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to today's levels. Global temperatures already have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since record-keeping began in the 19th century.

    No major breakthroughs are expected to emerge from the Abu Dhabi meeting, though organizers hope it will boost momentum for upcoming talks.

    The secretary-general told reporters that negotiations that fall under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have been "disappointingly slow," and that this week's meeting aims to accelerate the process while helping policymakers to look beyond domestic political considerations.

    The head of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change last month said the cost of keeping global warming under control would be "relatively modest" if the world acts quickly to reverse the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Doing so would require greater investment in low-carbon sources such as wind and solar power and less dependence on fossil fuel.

    Abu Dhabi controls the bulk of the vast petroleum reserves in the UAE, a seven-state federation that ranks among the largest oil exporters in OPEC.

    Although it owes much of its wealth to fossil fuel, the emirate has sought to position itself as a leader in clean energy and has invested billions of dollars in the sector. It is home to the International Renewable Energy Agency, as well as a government-backed initiative known as Masdar that is investing in renewable energy technology and developing what aims to be an environmentally sustainable model city in the desert.

    Emirati Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan told delegates his country aims to produce 24 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2021. That figure includes ongoing efforts to boost solar power use as well as the development of the country's first nuclear power plant.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 10 U.S. Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

     

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    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    As in this file photo of an approaching twister in Oklahoma, the Plains states will again face dangerous weather this week. (AP Photo/KFOR-TV, Chase Thomason)

    Severe weather will return to the Plains later this week with an outbreak, complete with tornadoes, likely to unfold on Thursday.

    Thursday's outbreak will yield numerous thunderstorms capable of unleashing damaging winds, large hail, frequent lightning, flooding downpours and tornadoes.

    At this time, the greatest tornado danger on Thursday, mainly during the afternoon and evening, stretches from eastern Nebraska and Iowa to eastern Oklahoma, northeastern Texas and western Arkansas.

    Cities in this zone include Dallas and Tyler, Texas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; and Des Moines, Iowa.



    Motorists planning to travel on stretches of Interstates 29, 35, 40, 44, 49, 70 and 80 are at risk. Remember, a vehicle is a dangerous place to be when a tornado is approaching.

    According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Rich Putnam, all the ingredients will be coming together for tornadoes to touch down.

    "Energy in the upper levels of the atmosphere will arrive just in time for tornado development on Thursday," Putnam stated.

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    Putnam continued, "[In the southern Plains], the severe weather looks to initiate very near I-35 and will then move eastward."

    A key ingredient for Thursday's outbreak will be the warmth that is challenging records in the southern Plains and set to build northward. Igniting the violent thunderstorms and tornadoes will be the storm that will first bring dramatic changes to the West.

    Thursday, however, will not mark the return of violent thunderstorms to the Plains this week.

    As the warmth surges northward, mainly hail-producing thunderstorms can start targeting the Upper Midwest as early as Tuesday night around northern Iowa. Another round of similar thunderstorms will also rattle northern Iowa, as well as southern Minneapolis and Wisconsin Wednesday night.



    Very spotty thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds will threaten west-central Oklahoma and central Texas during the late-day hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

    These thunderstorms will fire along what is known as a dry line, which separates desert air from the West and humid Gulf of Mexico air from the east.

    The dry line may activate a bit more for Wednesday night before the worst of the severe weather outbreak commences Thursday afternoon.

    "I think in the end, pretty much nothing ends up developing Wednesday, which would in turn make the atmosphere more volatile for severe weather on Thursday," Putnam added.

    Thursday night, strong thunderstorms may track across more of the upper and mid-Mississippi Valley toward Lake Michigan as the severe weather danger evolves into a heavy rain threat around the Arlatex.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for gusty thunderstorms to rattle the Great Lakes on Friday, as well as drenching and stronger thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi Valley and Texas.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Stunning Photos from the 2013 Tornado Season
    Kansas Torndao

     

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    Monday, May 5, 2014
    Flickr RF
    (Gettystock)

    The heat set to expand eastward from the southern Plains next week will not be quick to race to the Northeast and may even avoid much of New England.

    The return of 75-degree warmth is not in the offering for the Northeast through at least Wednesday.

    Some mid-Atlantic communities, including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., will see temperatures rise into the lower 70s on a couple of days. Otherwise, highs in the 50s and 60s will be common across the Northeast.

    Near the eastern Great Lakes and northern New England is where temperatures will mainly be held to the 50s, which--outside of northern Maine--is cool for early May.

    Numerous showers and gusty winds will usher in fresh cool air for Sunday. Spotty showers and a breeze will linger through Monday.

    The winds will calm enough for frost and freeze concerns in parts of northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York, western Massachusetts and northern New England (west of I-95) Monday and Tuesday nights.

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    Bradford, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding typically colder areas may even dip to freezing Sunday night.

    It will take later in the week for 80-degree warmth to surge back to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and the rest of the mid-Atlantic as the storm system threatening to spark more severe weather across the Plains heads eastward.

    However, the storm may track in such a fashion to prevent the warmth from spilling across upstate New York and most of New England.

    "Exactly where the storm's frontal boundary sets up with clouds, showers and thunderstorms will determine which areas hit 80 F and which places only 100 miles away hover in the 50s and 60s," stated AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    It will be a close call late in the week with the surge of warmth versus stubborn cooler air in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and western Massachusetts. This includes New York City, where temperatures have yet to crack the 80-degree mark this spring.

    Confidence is higher for the late-week warmth stopping short of reaching Boston, Portland and Burlington, Vermont.

    "As far as prolonged warmth for eastern and northern New England, that will likely hold off until the weekend of May 17-18," according to AccuWeather.com long-range forecaster Mark Paquette.

    Residents elsewhere in the Northeast should not put away their jackets when temperatures spike late in the week.

    Paquette anticipates another shot of cool air around Tuesday, May 13 with the threat of frost across the interior Northeast during the following couple of days.


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    Monday, May 5, 2014
    twister
    (Shutterstock)

    Severe weather will return to the Plains later this week with an outbreak, complete with tornadoes, likely to unfold on Thursday.

    Thursday's outbreak will yield numerous thunderstorms capable of unleashing damaging winds, large hail, frequent lightning, flooding downpours and tornadoes.

    At this time, the greatest tornado danger on Thursday, mainly during the afternoon and evening, stretches from eastern Nebraska and Iowa to eastern Oklahoma, northeastern Texas and western Arkansas.

    Cities in this zone include Dallas and Tyler, Texas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas, Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa.

    Motorists planning to travel on stretches of Interstates 29, 35, 40, 44, 49, 70 and 80 are at risk. Remember, a vehicle is a dangerous place to be when a tornado is approaching.

    According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions storm warning meteorologist Rich Putnam, all the ingredients will be coming together for tornadoes to touch down.

    "Energy in the upper levels of the atmosphere will arrive just in time for tornado development on Thursday," Putnam stated.

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    Putnam continued, "[In the southern Plains], the severe weather looks to initiate very near I-35 and will then move eastward."

    A key ingredient for Thursday's outbreak will be the warmth that is challenging records in the southern Plains and set to build northward. Igniting the violent thunderstorms and tornadoes will be the storm that will first bring dramatic changes to the West.

    Thursday, however, will not mark the return of violent thunderstorms to the Plains this week.

    As the warmth surges northward, mainly hail-producing thunderstorms can start targeting the Upper Midwest as early as Tuesday night around northern Iowa. Another round of similar thunderstorms will also rattle northern Iowa, as well as southern Minneapolis and Wisconsin Wednesday night.

    Very spotty thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds will threaten west-central Oklahoma and central Texas during the late-day hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

    These thunderstorms will fire along what is known as a dry line, which separates desert air from the West and humid Gulf of Mexico air from the east.

    The dry line may activate a bit more for Wednesday night before the worst of the severe weather outbreak commences Thursday afternoon.

    "I think in the end, pretty much nothing ends up developing Wednesday, which would in turn make the atmosphere more volatile for severe weather on Thursday," Putnam added.

    Thursday night, strong thunderstorms may track across more of the upper and mid-Mississippi Valley toward Lake Michigan as the severe weather danger evolves into a heavy rain threat around the Arlatex.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for gusty thunderstorms to rattle the Great Lakes on Friday, as well as drenching and stronger thunderstorms across the lower Mississippi Valley and Texas.


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    Monday, May 5, 2014
    A man stares at the sea on the beach in
    A man stares at the sea on the beach in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco State, Mexico, on May 25, 2012, as Hurricane Bud was set to make landfall. (HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/GettyImages)

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists are monitoring an area of the East Pacific for a potential tropical development this week. The usual hurricane season in the East Pacific begins on May 15, but conditions are favorable this year for an early start.

    Through the first half of this week, low pressure likely will develop in the East Pacific about a thousand miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico.

    Thanks to warmer than usual sea surface temperatures attributable to a developing El Niño in the East Pacific, there is a good chance that this area of low pressure acquires tropical characteristics.

    Current computer model guidance shows the potential track of a storm, which would be named Amanda if it reaches tropical storm strength, generally toward the middle of the Mexican Riviera with a threat for excessive rainfall and potentially strong wind for this area, including Acapulco.

    However, there remains considerable uncertainty at this point, and most of our guidance currently indicates a relatively weak and disorganized storm system.

    The reason for the northeastward track is that a storm system now moving into the western U.S. and Mexico will create a southwesterly steering flow for this system. This means that any potential tropical cyclone in this area will likely track toward the Mexican Riviera.



    This image shows the sea surface temperatures over the East Pacific near Mexico in the area of concern off the Mexican Riviera. Water temperatures are generally 28-29 degrees Celsius, or 82-85 degrees Fahrenheit, in the area where a tropical cyclone may form and move this week.

    The track of this potential storm will play a role in how intense it can get. The waters in this area are running 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit (1-1.5 degrees Celsius) warmer than usual for this time of year, in the low to middle 80s Fahrenheit (28-29 degrees Celsius). However, the warmest waters and the greatest depth of warm waters are found over the southern end of the Mexican Riviera.

    Therefore, should the storm track toward Acapulco or especially toward areas southeast of there, it has the potential to be stronger than if it were to track more toward Manzanillo or points to the northwest where waters are cooler.

    At this point, residents of the Mexican Riviera and others with interests in the area should keep in touch with further developments and make sure that early preparations for the hurricane season are complete by midweek.


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    Monday, May 5, 2014
    Perseid meteor star trail
    (Getty Images)

    Stargazers in the southern U.S. will have some of the best sky conditions in North America to view the Eta Aquarid meteor shower late on Monday night and early on Tuesday morning.

    Skies from the Southeast to the central and southern Plains and northern Mexico are expected to be free of clouds during the peak of the meteor shower early in the morning Tuesday.

    In addition to the lack of clouds, moonset will occur prior to the peak of the hourly rate of the Eta Aquarids, allowing for a dark sky.

    A storm system will produce abundant clouds and precipitation from the Great Basin to the northern Plains, thus obstructing the view of space in those regions.

    Sky-watching conditions in rural areas in the Northeast away from the lights of the big cities will be fair to poor. Clouds will be rather abundant north of a front from the mid-Atlantic to central Ohio.

    The Eta Aquarid is one of two meteor showers that occurs from the debris trail of Halley's Comet. The other is the Orionid meteor shower that will occur in October.

    Halley's Comet will not return to the Earth's vicinity until the summer of 2061.

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    The Aquarids can be viewed in the southeastern portion of the sky with 10-20 meteors an hour at the peak prior to dawn on Tuesday. The meteor shower will last into early Wednesday morning, but at lower hourly rates.


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    Monday, May 5, 2014
    Southwest Wildfires
    In this file photo, smoke envelopes firefighters as they work to keep a grass fire from jumping the road in Choctaw, Okla., Friday, March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

    GUTHRIE, Okla. (AP) - Firefighters worked through the night and into early Monday to battle a large wildfire that destroyed at least six homes and left one person dead after a controlled burn spread out of control in central Oklahoma.

    The wildfire broke out Sunday afternoon near Guthrie and by 9 p.m. had burned an estimated 4 to 6 square miles of land as well as several homes, Guthrie Fire Department Chief Eric Harlow said. Aerial television footage shows the fire still burning at daybreak Monday and Harlow said the fire was about 75 percent contained.

    About 1,000 people were evacuated from homes in the city about 35 miles north of Oklahoma City Sunday, according to the fire department. Harlow said a 56-year-old man who did not leave was found dead in his home Sunday night.

    The Guthrie Fire Department said six homes were destroyed and that the number of damaged or destroyed homes was expected to rise Monday. Fire department crews were assessing the fire and damage by helicopter at daybreak Monday.

    Tabitha Diamond, who lives a few miles from Guthrie, told KOCO-TV that she was returning from a music festival in Noble when she saw the flames and sped home. The fire missed her place but destroyed a nearby trailer home.

    "It didn't get close enough, but it got too close," she said.

    The American Red Cross set up a shelter at a church in Guthrie for those affected by the fire.

    High winds and dry conditions fueled several wildfires in Oklahoma on Sunday, and those conditions were expected to persist Monday. The National Weather Service predicted a high temperature of 100 degrees in Guthrie on Monday, with winds gusting up to 31 mph.

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    Tuesday, May 6, 2014
    Manhattan, Kansas.
    (Getty Images)

    A surge of heat expanding from the southern Plains to the Midwest and South this week will shun much of the Northeast.

    Temperatures soared to over 100 degrees in portions of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas this past weekend and will continue to challenge records much of this week.

    Wichita, Kansas, experienced its earliest 100-degree temperature in 126 years of record keeping on Sunday. A high of 102 F surpassed the prior record high for the date of 94 set in 1963.

    Daily record highs were also set in Oklahoma City, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Springfield, Missouri and Amarillo, Texas.

    Extreme heat will continue over the southern and central Plains through midweek and it is forecast to swell northward into part of the Midwest and eastward across the South as the week progresses.

    One or more days with high temperatures in the 80s will reach Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

    Ninety-degree temperatures are projected to reach Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia, where record highs will also be challenged. Temperatures will reach well into the 80s most days this week in Atlanta.

    Meanwhile, the warmth will not make it into portions of the Northeast and upper Great Lakes.

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    On one or more days an extreme temperature contrast zone is forecast from southwest to northeast over the mid-Atlantic. A distance of 100 miles could mark the difference between temperatures in the 80s and the 50s.

    Cool air is likely to hold its ground across New England and much of New York state.

    An area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms may accompany the temperature contrast zone. As a result, temperatures may fluctuate substantially from one day to the next along the contrast zone.

    According to senior meteorologist Brett Anderson, "The boundary of warmth and chill is likely to meander north and south across the Upper Midwest and mid-Atlantic this week."

    While millions of people may welcome the warmth with open arms, some may find it difficult to adjust to the sudden surge of summerlike conditions.

    Be sure to increase your intake of fluids as the temperature increases.

    Remember to never leave children and pets unattended in vehicles. Even in early May the temperature inside a closed vehicle can climb to life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes.

    According to the San Francisco State University, Department of Geosciences, in the United States, the number of children that died from heatstroke by being left in vehicles during 2013 was 44.

    As you trade long-sleeve clothing for short-sleeve items be sure to increase your use of sunscreen.

    On portions of the Plains, the combination of extreme heat, gusty winds and dry air will continue to elevate the wildfire danger. A wildfire that broke out in Guthrie, Oklahoma, spread rapidly on gusty winds amidst dry conditions. Much of the central and southern High Plains continue to struggle with building drought.


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    Tuesday, May 6, 2014
    Oklahoma Wildfire
    A wildfire burns through a grove of Red Cedar trees as firefighters continued to work on containing the blaze Monday, May 5, 2014, in Guthrie, Okla. (AP Photo/Nick Oxford)

    Gusty winds, low humidity and dry conditions will combine to create a high wildfire threat across the southern Plains and parts of the Southwest this week.

    The fire danger is especially high in the southern Plains, where extreme heat and low humidity over the past couple of days are creating increasingly dry fuels.

    A wildfire in Guthrie, Oklahoma, last Sunday killed one person, and according to Oklahoma Forestry Services, the Governor of Oklahoma has declared a burn ban in 36 counties across the state.

    Eighty-seven counties across Texas have instituted outdoor burn bans, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

    Afternoon temperatures in the southern Plains through the middle of this week will likely smash more records.

    Low humidity and wind gusts of 30-40 mph will help contribute to the high fire danger.

    While it will not be as hot across Arizona and New Mexico, a few thunderstorms are expected to move through the Four Corners region on Wednesday. These thunderstorms will contain cloud-to-ground lightning and very little rain.

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    A single lightning strike can ignite a fire, and gusty winds and dry conditions can help flames spread quickly.

    The southern Plains and portions of the Southwest are in the grip of worsening drought conditions, as some areas have received less than 25 percent of their normal rainfall since early March of this year. Much of southern Arizona has received less than 5 percent of their normal rainfall over the last 60 days.

    Showers and thunderstorms are expected across portions of the southern Plains on Wednesday and Thursday. While the rain will be beneficial, it will not be enough to end the drought.

    Some of the storms can be severe and contain damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

    Cooler air will settle over the southern Plains on Friday in the wake of these storms.


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