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Hundreds of seals die of avian flu on Germany coast

Hundreds of dead seals have been washing up on Germany's North Sea coast since the beginning of October. Researchers have now found the cause of death: the avian flu virus.

Since early October, 609 dead or dying seals have been found on the coasts of the German North Sea islands of Sylt, Heligoland, Amrum and Föhr.

"That is more than we normally find," Hendrik Brunckhorst tells DW. Brunckhorst is a biologist and spokesman for the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, a favorite habitat for the seals.

Typically, according to Brunckhorst, one to two thousand seals wash ashore in this part of Germany every year. Six hundred in less than a month, therefore, is indeed an "increased death rate."

The number of unreported cases is far higher, since only a percentage of the dead animals are actually found: Most of them are lost in the oceans.

Comment: See also: An avian flu that jumps from birds to mammals is killing New England's baby seals

10 fold increase in seal deaths reported this year off Swedish coast

Hourglass

Record breaking cold weather blankets U.S. - 85% surface area at or below freezing

Tuesday morning, America 'as a whole' awoke to the coldest it has been in November since 1976 -- 38 years ago. The Lower-48 or CONUS spatially average temperature plummeted overnight to only 19.4°F typical of mid-winter not November 18th! Data

An astounding 226-million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well -- if you venture outdoors.

More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower-48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50-states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.
© Weatherbell.com
Fish

California's Chinook salmon Fall spawning run slowed by drought

© Shutterstock
The annual fall migration of Chinook salmon has been delayed by warmer water temperatures and slow-flowing streams in parts of California as the state's three-year drought drags on, hatchery officials said Monday.

Cool November temperatures usually bring thousands of adult salmon from the Pacific Ocean into streams and rivers to spawn. But this year, fish have been slow to migrate up the American River to the state's hatchery near Sacramento, said William Cox, manager of the fish production and distribution program at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"They haven't come into the river at the same time that they would normally," Cox said.

Wildlife researchers check the strength of the fall salmon run by going out to creeks and rivers and counting them. This year in the American River and its tributaries, the survey crews found just 210 corpses of salmon that had presumably spawned and died in the streams, a tenth of the number normally encountered, Cox said.

At another hatchery, near the Central Valley city of Merced, a higher than normal number of male salmon are arriving unable to provide viable sperm to spawn, he said.

State wildlife experts are not entirely sure why the salmon are late, but some speculate that warmer temperatures and slower flow in the American River might be to blame.

"Folsom reservoir is low and warm right now, so the water coming down isn't as cold as the fish prefer," said Kevin Thomas, a supervising environmental scientist with the state.
Cloud Lightning

Sun's rotating "magnet" pulls lightning towards UK

© Stutterstock
The Sun may be playing a part in the generation of lightning strikes on Earth by temporarily 'bending' the Earth's magnetic field and allowing a shower of energetic particles to enter the upper atmosphere.

This is according to researchers at the University of Reading who have found that over a five year period the UK experienced around 50% more lightning strikes when the Earth's magnetic field was skewed by the Sun's own magnetic field.

The Earth's magnetic field usually functions as an in-built force-field to shield against a bombardment of particles from space, known as galactic cosmic rays, which have previously been found to prompt a chain-reaction of events in thunderclouds that trigger lightning bolts.

It is hoped these new insights, which have been published today, 19 November, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, could lead to a reliable lightning forecast system that could provide warnings of hazardous events many weeks in advance.
Snowflake Cold

NASA finally admits winters are going to get colder...much colder. Is Al Gore listening?

maunder minimum little ice age

An extraordinary climatic shock—the Great Frost—struck Ireland and the rest of Europe between December 1739 and September 1741, after a decade of relatively mild winters.
The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.

During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000-50,000 spots.

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last years winter, described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" is going to be a regular occurrence over the coming decades.

Casey asserts that there is mounting evidence that the Earth is getting cooler due to a decline in solar activity. He warns in his latest book, Dark Winter that a major alteration of global climate has already started and that at a minimum it is likely to last 30 years.

Casey predicts food shortages and civil unrest caused by those shortages due largely to governments not preparing for the issues that colder weather will bring. He also predicts that wickedly bitter winter temperatures will see demand for electricity and heating outstrip the supply.
Ice Cube

Former NASA consultant, climatologist John L. Casey: 'a radical shift in global climate is underway, 30-year cold spell will strike Earth

ice age
With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. - along with last winter described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" - climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to stay for decades to come.

In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the provocative book Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell, which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway, and that Al Gore and other environmentalists have it completely wrong. The earth, he says, is cooling, and cooling fast.

And unless the scientific community and political leaders act soon, cold, dark days are ahead. Casey says the evidence is clear that the earth is rapidly growing colder because of diminished solar activity. He says trends indicate we could be headed for colder temperatures similar to those seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the sun went into a "solar minimum" - a phenomenon with significantly reduced solar activity, including solar flares and sunspots.

If he's right, that would be very bad news. Dark Winter posits that a 30-year period of cold has already begun. Frigid temperatures and the food shortages that inevitably result could lead to riots and chaos.

Comment: SOTT has been reporting this for years - though now it's becoming mainstream. Here are just a few of the more recent reports:

The Ice Age is coming, and corrupted scientists continue to lie through their teeth: Stronger winds explain puzzling growth of sea ice in Antarctica

Ice Age cometh: Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year; top scientists warn of global cooling

NASA stumped: Summer Arctic ice extent among highest this decade, Antarctica "headed toward record extent"

and read Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow to learn about the reality of the situation.

Attention

Unusual groundhog attack causes scare in Hampton, New Hampshire


A groundhog tries to get inside a Little River Road home in Hampton after attacking a man who ran inside. (Courtesy photo)
The McGraths are used to friendly critters stopping by their Little River Road backyard, but a frenetic visit Tuesday morning from their resident groundhog was anything but a welcomed encounter.

Gary McGrath was unloading his truck when the roughly two-foot-long groundhog came barreling toward him. What started out as a comical sight quickly turned into a somewhat scary incident for the 65-year-old woodworker as he watched the plump animal running at a brisk jog in his direction.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move, then it came running," said McGrath. "I kicked it away, but then it got back up and came back at me again. I kicked it away again, and it came right back."

That's when McGrath ran into his garage and shut the door, only to have the groundhog circle around to the other side of the garage and get in through a different open door.
Wolf

Coyote attacks woman and her dog in Greenland, New Hampshire

© U.S. National Park Service.
Stalking coyote.
A woman and her dog are recovering after they were attacked by a coyote while walking on their property Monday morning, police said. Husband fires gun in bid to scare animal away.

A woman and her dog are recovering after they were attacked by a vicious coyote while walking in a field on their property Monday morning.

The woman was returning to her house on Post Road around 9:15 a.m. after taking her dog out for a morning walk when the two were attacked.

"It came charging across the field and was hell-bent on attacking them," said the woman's husband, who was armed with a gun when he rushed to their aid.

The attack happened in an open field on the property about 100 yards from the house.
Wolf

91-year-old woman fighting for life after her dog attacked

A 91-year-old woman mauled by her own dog is fighting for her life three days after the attack.

Police said the woman suffered serious arm injuries when the dog attacked around 4 p.m. Friday at the victim's home on Judith Terrace in Stratford.

The dog mauled her in the kitchen, and although the victim was gravely hurt, she was conscious and managed to call 911 on her own. First responders rushed her to Bridgeport Hospital, where she remains in critical condition, hospital officials said.

According to her daughter, the victim has owned the black-and-white Keeshond mix for eight years and has never had a problem with the animal. Now she's dealing with skin grafts and kidney failure, and family members fear she is dying.

Wolf

Feral dog pack found to have killed woman on Wyoming Indian reservation

© Dante Dasaro
Feral dogs
On Monday, authorities in Wyoming said a dog pack was behind the death of a Native American woman. The animal attack comes on the heels of a warning last week to the public to be on the lookout for a dangerous predator. With the FBI involved, among other things, members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe were left a bit skeptical of the pack of dogs revelation, citing a report from the NWI Times.

Deanne Lynn Coando, 40, of Fort Washakie, was found dead on the Wind River Reservation. The terrain is rugged and bordered by mountains and steep hills. The Fremont County Chief Deputy Coroner, Mark Stratmoen, said the woman's cause of death was from a combination of hypothermia and bite wounds from a dog pack in the Wyoming mountains.
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