Earth Changes


Strange skys: Spectacular photo of sun dogs, solar halo, circumzenithal arc captured in Croatia sky

© Zlatko Orbanic
High above Earth, tiny ice crystals create halos by refracting and reflecting the light of the sun or moon

Zlatko Orbanic in the city of Pula in Croatia sent in this photo, which he shot in September, 2015. It shows a circular 22-degree halo surrounding a setting sun. These ice halos are the result of ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Within the halo itself, on either side of the sun, you can see two prominent parhelia, also called sun dogs. Also within the halo, above the sun, you'll see a hint of what's called an upper tangent arc. And above that is a circumzenithal arc.

All of these phenomena are considered frequent halos by experts in sky optics. Les Cowley of the great website Atmospheric Optics says:
Halos appear in our skies far more often than do rainbows. They can be seen on average twice a week in Europe and parts of the United States. The 22° radius circular halo and sundogs (parhelia) are the most frequent.

Comment: The increase in atmospheric phenomena like sun dogs and sun halos are likely due to a build up of cosmic material in our atmosphere.

Spectacular Russian rocket launch - more evidence of comet dust loading our atmosphere


Sun dog seen off coast of Whitby, UK

This stunning photo of a rare phenomemon in the sky was taken off the coast of Sandsend by Whitby Gazette reader Mel Sprague.
© Mel Sprague
"I'm told it is a very rare phenomenon showing two sun dogs either side of the Sun and a halo," said Mel.

"This is caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere."

Sun dogs are defined as mock suns or phantom suns, an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo.


Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador spews gas, ash 2km into the air


Tungurahua volcano (2011)
A second volcano is once again spewing plumes of ash in the mountain chain near Ecuador's capital.

The country's Geophysics Institute says the Tungurahua volcano shot out several bursts of gas and ash over the weekend, with one reaching more than a mile (about 2 kilometers) above 16,475-foot (5,023-meter) summit. It also hurled incandescent rock onto its slope.

The Cotopaxi volcano closer to the capital was relatively calm Monday after several outbursts in recent days. It shot ash and gas about 1.5 mile (2.5 kilometers) above its crater on Sunday.

It poses a greater threat to populated areas, standing about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Quito. Tungurahua is 87 miles (140 kilometers) south of the capital.


Britain faces longest winter in 50 years after earliest ever arrival of Siberian swan


The first Bewick's swan of the year has arrived at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge.
Britain is facing its longest winter in 50 years after the earliest-ever arrival of a Siberian swan which traditionally heralds the start of the season.

Each year around 300 Bewick's swans migrate 2,500 miles from Arctic Russia to escape the approaching cold weather which follows closely behind them.

They flock to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge, Glos, where their arrival has been recorded since 1963.

The first bird arrived on Sunday - a full 25 days earlier than last year and the earliest date on record.

It coincided with the first frosts of the autumn in the area and experts say its early return could be a sign of a long, hard winter ahead.

The premature arrival of winter in many European countries has encouraged Bewick's swans to flock westwards earlier than usual.

Temperatures are currently five to 10 degrees below average in parts of western Russia and eastern Europe and are expected to drop to the minus 30s.

Spurred on by bitter north easterly winds, many of the swans are currently gathering in the Netherlands, with 45 on Lake Gooimeer and 80 on Lake Lauwersmeer.

Life Preserver

Shark bite critically injures Hawaii surfer

© Courtesy Google Maps
A surfer was taken to the hospital this morning from Leftovers on the North Shore in critical condition after a shark attack left him with an injury to his left leg.
A 25-year-old surfer was hospitalized in critical condition this morning after he was attacked by a shark at a popular North Shore surf spot.

Paramedics responded to the attack at Leftovers, a surf break between Laniakea and Waimea Bay, at about 10:25 a.m.

Justin Baluch said he saw a paddleboarder and a surfer bringing the victim out of the water to Kamehameha Highway at about 10:20 a.m. and stopped his car to help.

The two people who brought him out of the water carried him out on a surfboard and used a surf leash as a tourniquet. "We were able to stop the bleeding," Baluch said.

Comment: Additional information about the shark attacks in the Hawaiian Islands:


New study finds frogs going extinct about 10K times faster than historical rate

© Kevin Enge/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
The endangered gopher frog, endemic to Southeastern United States, is losing its natural habitat.
A new study finds that 200 frog species around the world have gone extinct since the 1970s and hundreds more could disappear in the next 100 years.

The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that frogs are going extinct about 10,000 times faster than their historical rates.

"Many frogs around the world are in a death spiral and desperately need our help," said Jenny Loda, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney and scientist focused on protecting amphibians and reptiles.

Comment: All life on Earth is going through sixth mass extinction


Record-breaking heat to bake Western US; 10-20 degrees above average

A stretch of higher-than-average temperatures will continue across a large portion of the Western U.S. this week. Temperatures through the weekend will runbetween 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average for many locations this week. Some cities will challenge record highs.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee, "A ridge of high pressure will dominate the West through the week, leading to temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above average." Portions of the West set new record-high temperatures over the weekend.
© Accuweather
Downtown Los Angeles reached 100 F for the third straight day on Sunday, the first time such a streak occurred since 1989. The last time Los Angeles had three straight days of triple-digit heat in October was in 1958.

While the coastal areas are expected to cool slightly during the week, the interior portions of the West will remain very warm.

Temperatures this week will be more typical of late August and early September than the middle of October.
The weather will be ideal for anyone with outdoor activities this week.
Record-high temperatures will be challenged on Tuesday across the Southwest including the cities of Sacramento and Fresno, California; Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Pueblo, Colorado; and Medford, Oregon. Relief from the warmth will occur across the Southwest later in the week.

Comment: See our latest Earth Changes Summary for a snapshot of the wild weather that occurred all over the world in the month of September.

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - September 2015: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Cloud Precipitation

Storm creates havoc in southern Sydney with hail and damaging winds

Hail and damaging winds have created havoc for southern Sydney residents, with a huge, fast-moving storm sweeping through the Campbelltown and Sutherland areas.

The flash storm halved the temperature in the southwest hubs in a matter of minutes, catching residents and motorists off guard.

Campbelltown's temperature peaked at 29.3degC at 1.40 before the sudden plunge cut 50 per cent off the thermometer reading.

The storm sucked the warmth out of a 30-degree day, gauges plunging to 14.4degC in a matter of minutes just after 2pm. As well as hail, 18mm of rain fell on Campbelltown in half an hour.

Stranger still, the warmth returned a little, temperatures climbing back above 20degC by 3pm.


Waterspout rips apart U.S. mail truck in Tampa Bay, Florida

© WFLA/social media/CNN
Mail flies from an overturned US Mail tractor-trailer truck that was hit by a waterspout-turned-tornado on a Tampa bridge.
They were scary moments on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida.

Winds from a waterspout were so strong, they knocked over and then picked up a U.S. Mail tractor trailer.

The truck was left with extensive damage, and mail flying all over the roadway.

Luckily, the driver managed to escape unharmed.


Sun halo captured in Warwickshire, UK skies

© Catman161
Beautiful solar halo and sun dog at the dropzone this morning before a nice fresh Autumn jump. Not sure if this should go in solar section. The colours were so much more vivid in person but only used iPhone to capture these shots. The last one was through my sunglasses to try and bring out the colour but failed dismally!
© Catman161