Earth Changes
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Fish

Yet another mass death of anchovies on the California coast - fourth such incident in 5 weeks

Visitors and residents near Foster City's Gull and Marlin parks may have witnessed a natural phenomenon last weekend as thousands of anchovies died and washed ashore on the lagoon's beaches because their sheer volume depleted the oxygen they needed.

Once city officials noticed the dead fish washing ashore and in the lagoon, which is fed by the Bay, they immediately began to test the water and have since cleaned most of them up, said Public Works Superintendent Mike McElligottt. The quality of the water was safe, however, it did show it was depleted of more oxygen than usual, McElligottt said.

Although the event was unusual for Foster City and hasn't happened in at least the 10 years McElligottt said he's worked for the city, there is a biological explanation for it.

"This particular incident has not happened. But we have had fish die off about five or six years ago due to a red tide," McElligottt said. "We tested (the lagoon) for dissolved oxygen, it was low in those areas and I didn't realize what was going on until I called the National Marine Fisheries Service."

Comment: See also: Third mass die-off of anchovies in three weeks, Santa Cruz, California

Unknown substance found in water off Capitola Beach, CA - thousands of fish dead

Huge school of anchovies swarms off La Jolla, California - attracting hundreds of thousands of seabirds

Question

Deep-sea skate fish found on Spanish Banks beach, Vancouver

© Maria King
This photo submitted by Maria King shows the skate that washed up at Spanish Banks beach in Vancouver.
A stingray-like skate has washed up on the shores of Vancouver.

In an email with photos of the skate sent to The Province, Marie King said she found the bottom-feeding fish at Spanish Banks during low tide Sunday afternoon.

Eric Taylor, director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and a UBC zoology professor, said it's hard to be certain what kind of skate it is without seeing the actual specimen, but observed that it looks like a "rather large longnose skate, which is a native marine fish."

Taylor said he sometimes sees squid, dogfish and small sharks washed up on the beach, but skates show up less frequently.

"It's not extremely rare," he said. "I've seen, certainly, lots of things like skate egg cases - these are sort of tough little leathery things colloquially known as 'mermaid's purses' - that wash up."

Taylor said skates might be spotted near sandy areas around Stanley Park or Spanish Banks at very low tide in the spring, when they're not busy crushing small fish, crustaceans and mollusks on the ocean floor with their "pavement-like jaws".

Skates aren't a threat to humans, but can become lunch for sea lions and sharks, Taylor said.
Arrow Down

Shocking! 100,000 elephants killed in Africa between 2010 and 2012

Poachers killed an estimated 100,000 elephants across Africa between 2010 and 2012, a huge spike in the continent's death rate of the world's largest mammals because of an increased demand for ivory in China and other Asian nations, a new study published on Monday found.

Warnings about massive elephant slaughters have been ringing for years, but Monday's study is the first to scientifically quantify the number of deaths across the continent by measuring deaths in one closely monitored park in Kenya and using other published data to extrapolate fatality tolls across the continent.

The study, which was carried out by the world's leading elephant experts, found that the proportion of illegally killed elephants has climbed from 25 percent of all elephant deaths a decade ago to roughly 65 percent of all elephant deaths today, a percentage that, if continued, will lead to the extinction of the species.
Bizarro Earth

Ozone-depleting compound persists, NASA research shows

Ozone
© NASA
The ozone hole over Antarctica on Aug. 18, 2014. Purple and blue represent zones with the least ozone, while yellow and red show thicker areas. Data sources come from multiple NASA, European Space Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites.
Some bad news in the fight to protect Earth's ozone - one of the banned compounds that attacks this protective atmospheric layer is still being produced, somehow.

That compound is called carbon tetrachloride, which used to be common in fire extinguishers and dry cleaning. But those who have signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 reported no new emissions between 2007 and 2012.

So how is it that new research found atmospheric emissions are persisting at 30% of peak production, even with no new emissions being reported?

"We are not supposed to be seeing this at all," stated lead author Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. "It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources."
Solar Flares

Discredited global warming still kicking: Why global warming is taking a break?

sunspot
© Trace Project / NASA
The number of sunspots (white area here) varies in multi-year cycles. As a result, solar irradiance, which influences the Earth's climate, also fluctuates. The photo shows a UV image of the sun. (Image: Trace Project / NASA) The number of sunspots (white area here) varies in multi-year cycles. As a result, solar irradiance, which influences the Earth's climate, also fluctuates. The photo shows a UV image of the sun.
The average temperature on Earth has barely risen over the past 16 years. ETH researchers have now found out why. And they believe that global warming is likely to continue again soon.


Comment: If the average temperature has barely risen for last 16 years, does that mean the entire scare-show of "Himalayas melting", Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change( IPCC) meetings, Nobel prize distributions, carbon tax proposals etc, are just another Ponzi Scheme?.


Global warming is currently taking a break: whereas global temperatures rose drastically into the late 1990s, the global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 - surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. Climate sceptics used this apparent contradiction to question climate change per se - or at least the harm potential caused by greenhouse gases - as well as the validity of the climate models. Meanwhile, the majority of climate researchers continued to emphasise that the short-term 'warming hiatus' could largely be explained on the basis of current scientific understanding and did not contradict longer term warming.

Researchers have been looking into the possible causes of the warming hiatus over the past few years. For the first time, Reto Knutti, Professor of Climate Physics at ETH Zurich, has systematically examined all current hypotheses together with a colleague. In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers conclude that two important factors are equally responsible for the hiatus.

Comment: Are you interested in finding out more about Earth changes and what is causing it, Please check it out Earth Changes and the Human Cosmic Connection

Water

Water crisis can't get any worse? Wait until the aquifers are drained!

© Peter Essick, National Geographic
In ten years, the Colorado River Basin has lost the equivalent of two Lake Meads, the largest reservoir in the U.S., pictured here at dusk with Las Vegas in the background.

We're pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it's gone, the real crisis begins.


Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future.

We are at our best when we can see a threat or challenge ahead. If flood waters are rising, an enemy is rushing at us, or a highway exit appears just ahead of a traffic jam, we see the looming crisis and respond.

We are not as adept when threats - or threatened resources - are invisible. Some of us have trouble realizing why invisible carbon emissions are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere and warming the planet. Because the surface of the sea is all we see, it's difficult to understand that we already have taken most of the large fish from the ocean, diminishing a major source of food. Neither of these crises are visible - they are largely out of sight, out of mind - so it's difficult to get excited and respond. Disappearing groundwater is another out-of-sight crisis.

Groundwater comes from aquifers - spongelike gravel and sand-filled underground reservoirs - and we see this water only when it flows from springs and wells. In the United States we rely on this hidden - and shrinking - water supply to meet half our needs, and as drought shrinks surface water in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, we rely on groundwater from aquifers even more. Some shallow aquifers recharge from surface water, but deeper aquifers contain ancient water locked in the earth by changes in geology thousands or millions of years ago. These aquifers typically cannot recharge, and once this "fossil" water is gone, it is gone forever - potentially changing how and where we can live and grow food, among other things.

Comment: Further information on the water crisis can be found here and here

Cloud Precipitation

9 die in Panama after Chiriquí Viejo River flood

The flooding of the Chiriquí Viejo in the province of Chiriquí, western Panama, on Monday 18 August has left 9 people dead and several injured, according to local media reports. Many of the victims were children.

Sistema Nacional de Protección Civil (SINAPROC) in Panama say that the flooding has destroyed 27 houses leaving 116 people homeless. The homesless are curently being housed in temporary accomodation, inclidung a local gym and hotel. Around 40 other homes have been damaged. The flooding left the village of Cerro Punta completely cut-off after bridges were damaged and roads blocked by flood and landslide debris. SINAPROC have been carrying out rescues in the area since Monday 18 August 2014.

A state of emergency was declared for the flood hit areas in order to facilitate the rapid reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

Health

Man mauled by bear in Italian wood

© Hemis /Alamy
Brown bears are thriving in Northern Italy due to a successful reintroduction scheme known as Life Ursus.
Environmentalists angered by plan to capture bear who mauled a man foraging for mushrooms while it was nursing its cubs

Environmentalists in Italy have urged authorities in the northern province of Trentino not to capture or kill a brown bear that attacked a man on Friday.

Daniele Maturi, 38, was reportedly foraging for mushrooms in the woods near Pinzolo in the heart of the Dolomite mountains when he was set upon by Daniza, a female bear nursing her cubs. Maturi was bitten and scratched, and suffered injuries to his wrist, leg, knee and back during the attack.

"She seemed crazy," he told local television station TNN after being released from hospital. "She chased me. She took me with one paw on my back; she made a hole in my back. I was on the ground and then she jumped on top of me."

The vice-president of the autonomous province of Trentino, Alessandro Olivi, has signed an order for Daniza to be captured, a step the authorities believe is necessary to guarantee public safety. She is already reported to be under surveillance.

Comment: There appears to have been a spate of unusually aggressive animal attacks on humans of late, see also: Giant anteaters kill Brazilian hunters!

Bear attacks kill at least three people with many others injured in Siberia and far-east Russia

Boy and grandmother attacked and injured by river otter on Pilchuck River, Washington

Paddling family of three attacked by a beaver in Austria

400 pound alligator attacks 9-year-old boy, Florida

Crocodile kills fisherman in front of his wife in Northern Territory, Australia

Attention

Fishermen drag 70-foot dead whale to Karachi shore

The body of what fishermen say is an estimated 70-foot whale washed up on the coast of Karachi on Tuesday morning.

Local fishermen in the locality of Ghas Bandar area along the coastal belt said the whale got entangled into their fishing net, and they later dragged the body to the shore with the help of other people.

They said the whale was already dead when it was dragged to the shore early morning by 10 to 12 fishermen on two launches.

The local administration has so far made no comment on the appearance of the whale.

For fear of collision with boats, local fishermen generally view whales as dangerous and maintain a safe distance from them when out in the sea.

Last month, a 30 to 40-foot whale was found dead near the coast of Karachi.

Arrow Down

Mussel production falls by 90% along the French coast

© Alamy

Mussel growers estimate their losses at about €20 million
Growers in western France call for emergency state aid as mussel production plummets 90 per cent, forcing restaurants to rely on foreign import

Mussel growers in western France have called for emergency state aid as they face an "unprecedented" squeeze following a 90-per-cent plunge in production of the shellfish blamed on bad weather and pollution.

With not nearly enough local supply to meet demand for the beloved delicacy, French restaurants are now being forced to rely on imports of Irish, Dutch and Italian moules to accompany their frites.

Producers in the Atlantic port of La Rochelle say the decline, which started six months ago, is catastrophic for the local economy. They have staged two protests in recent weeks, dumping piles of oyster shells and dead mussels outside the Préfecture to demand action over a crisis they attribute to seawater contamination.
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