I found this brainstorm at CBC News. In a report on the Japanese earthquake, CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe opined:
" A magnitude 8.9 quake is actually 8,000 times more powerful than a 7.2 quake," said Wagstaffe. " Because the earthquake occurred under the ocean floor, massive amounts of water were displaced above the shaking ocean ground, generating a tsunami."
8,000 times? We know the Richter scale works on factors of ten. An 8.0 magnitude quake, for example, would be ten times greater than a 7.0 tremblor. Hence a 9.0 quake would be one hundred times more powerful than a 7.0. What beggars belief is how Wagstaffe comes up with the math than an 8.9 quake is eight thousand times more powerful than a 7.2.
If anything, meteorologists know far less about seismology than climatology. They're trained to guess whether it's going to rain tomorrow, not whether you've got a tsunami in your future. Yet when a story like the Japanese quake arrives, everybody and their cousins get to weigh in, even if they really know squat.