Earth Changes


Agricultural nutrient pollution found to reduce rivers and streams ability to support life

stream nutrients
© Jon Benstead/University of Alabama
David Manning, a University of Georgia doctoral student, and John Kominoski, a former UGA postdoctoral researcher who is now an assistant professor at Florida International University, perform maintenance on the pump used to add nutrients to one of the streams in their experiment.
An important food resource has been disappearing from streams without anyone noticing until now.

In a new study published March 6 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by University of Georgia ecologists reports that nutrient pollution causes a significant loss of forest-derived carbon from stream ecosystems, reducing the ability of streams to support aquatic life.

The findings show that the in-stream residence time of carbon from leaves, twigs and other forest matter, which provide much of the energy that fuels stream food webs, is cut in half when moderate amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus are added to a stream.

"This study shows how excess nutrients reduce stream health in a way that was previously unknown," said the study's lead author Amy D. Rosemond, an associate professor in the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

Stream food webs are based on carbon from two main sources. One is algae, which produce carbon through photosynthesis. Nutrient pollution has long been known to increase carbon production by algae, often causing nuisance and harmful algal blooms. The second source is leaves and bits of wood from streamside forests. This forest-derived carbon typically persists year-round, making it a staple food resource for stream organisms.

Comment: More proof that industrial agricultural practices are contributing to the degradation of the environment as well as the overall health of populations.

Snowflake Cold

Rare snow on Huntington Beach plus waterspouts near Los Angeles

Yes you read that headline correctly. Yesterday in Huntington Beach there was snow. And, in Redondo Beach, waterspouts were reported. I'm sure it won't be long before somebody tries to blame these weather events on "global warming" which is fast becoming the "universal bogeyman" for any weather event.

And in downtown:

Snowflake Cold

Massive snowfall in mid-Atlantic states

Snow covered much of West Virginia Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands without power - Ice shutting down roads from Virginia to Mississippi to Louisiana to Alabama - D.C. government offices shut down - Almost no mention on national media.

A storm system will continue to blast areas from Texas to New York with widespread snow and flooding rain through Thursday, says

"Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will occur at times from south of New York City to Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia," Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Some 40,000 customers are without power in West Virginia and at least 19,000 in Ohio, where snow is hindering restoration efforts in some areas.

Cloud Precipitation

Acre river reaches record heights in Rio Branco, Brazil

© Sérgio Vale/ Secom
Floods in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil.
Floods have been affecting thousands of people in the state of Acre, northern Brazil, since 23 February 2015, when some of the state's rivers, in particular the River Acre, overflowed.

Further heavy rainfall has forced river levels higher still, and on 03 March 2015 Brazil's federal government declared a state of emergency in Acre.

One of the worst affected areas is the state capital, Rio Branco. By early evening (local time) yesterday 04 March 2015, levels of the River Acre reached a record 18.40 metres. Flood stage is thought to be 14 metres. Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM) were expecting levels to rise further still over the next 12 hours.

Arrow Down

Villagers concerned over reappearing sinkhole in Bovingdon, UK

After sinkhole was filled in by the land owners, HMP The Mount, but collapsed again.
Villagers are looking for reassurance that land in Bovingdon where a reoccurring sinkhole has appeared is suitable for future development.

The sinkhole, which first appeared around January 17 this year on land by HMP The Mount, was said to be approximately 15ft deep. But soon after the owners of the land, the prison, filled the sinkhole with concrete and soil, the hole collapsed again on February 23.

Many residents in Bovingdon have joked about the hole being a prisoner's escape but serious questions have been raised surrounding the suitability of the land for future housing development plans, whether the hole was filled properly the first time, and what the hole means for residents living nearby.

Ross Butcher, national chair of ModeShift, who lives in Mitchell Close next to the Molyneaux Avenue prison, said: "The sinkhole was discovered by someone walking their dog one morning, and I then went out the next day to take pictures.
Arrow Down

Second sinkhole appears on road in Aldershot, UK

© Hayley Else-Williams
Another sinkhole has appeared in Cambridge Road, Aldershot
Reports surfaced on Monday morning of another sinkhole in Cambridge Road, within touching distance of the spot where the road caved in during January

Another vast sink hole has opened up in a road in Aldershot - just weeks after Thames Water patched up the last one.

Residents in Cambridge Road awoke on Monday morning to find another yawning chasm right outside their houses, within touching distance of the previous carriageway repairs.

The latest hole appeared after a bin lorry drove over an apparent weak spot in the road just yards from where Thames Water dealt with a collapsed sewer in January.

Cambridge Road itself reopened less than a month ago, but already there appears to be fresh problems with the embattled road.

Pictures sent in to the Historic Aldershot Military Town Facebook group on Monday by Gregan Court resident Hayley Else-Williams show a similar hole in the middle of the carriageway, around a metre-and-a-half in length by half-a-metre wide.

Flocks of rare bohemian waxwing seen in New Hampshire

© Wikimedia Commons/Andreas Trepte
Bohemian waxwing

An irregular visitor in winter from the far north, several flocks of Bohemian waxwings have been spotted in the Granite State this past week.

Slightly larger than a cedar waxwing, with a reddish brown under its tail, Bohemian waxwings only come as far south as states which border Canada.

Sightings during the past week included: a flock of 75 near the library in Strafford on Feb. 25 and again on March 1; a flock of over 80 behind Stan's Auto Service Center in Conway on the 26th; a flock of 12 in Hart's Location on the 27th; a flock of over 150 near the traffic circle in New London on the 27th and a flock of 209 in the same area on March 1.

Also, a flock of 40 was seen along Route 106 near Sam's Club in Concord on Feb. 28; a flock of 50 along Winona Road in New Hampton on March 1, and a flock of 45 in Hanover on March 2.

These flocks were seen mainly foraging on ornamental fruit tress, or resting nearby.
Ice Cube

Winters are going to get colder...much colder - NASA consultant

sever winter ice age
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. (Source)

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last year's 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.

Casey isn't alone in his thinking. Russian climate expert and astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov goes one step further and states that we are at the very beginning of a new ice age.

Comment: Given the endless parade of winter storms this season, it appears that Mr. Casey is spot on. The pendulum is slowly swinging, but not quickly enough. Even though more and more scientists are finally getting off the global warming bandwagon, there is no sign the politicians are following. There's too much money still to be made on carbon credits and other political scams. The only sensible course is to take responsibility for preparing to look after yourself and your family. The PTB is not likely to be there.

Blue Planet

In defense of Dr. Willie Soon's humble quest for truth

As a follow up to the statement made yesterday by Dr. Willie Soon, this essay is appropriate. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley answers the campaign of assaults on the reputation of Dr. Willie Soon, an unsalaried astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics - Anthony
willie soon
The recent campaign of concerted assaults on Dr Soon's reputation

Recently the Boston Globe, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Scientific American and even Nature, as well as many other media outlets and environmentalist weblogs, have mounted what appears to be a costly, malevolent and carefully coordinated campaign of assaults on the reputation of Dr Willie Soon, falsely alleging that in several of his published scientific papers he had failed to disclose that some of the funding for his research has come from fossil-fuel interests.

This campaign of libels was calculated to damage Dr Soon's reputation, to undermine the credibility of his research results, and to threaten his employment at the Center for Astrophysics by improperly suggesting that he has acted unethically and dishonestly. I propose to knock the worst of these libels on the head. This will be a long read, but well worth it.

Comment: The attack on Dr. Soon has been low. It just goes to show how mean-spirited the scientific community can be, especially when it comes to challenging popular (and lucrative) sacred cows. Scientific ideals and objectivity get thrown out the window, and it is scientists like Soon -- who uphold those principles -- who get attacked.


Nova Scotia aquaculture salmon killed by superchill

© Canadian Press
Cooke Aquaculture's fish farm in Shelburne Harbour on Nova Scotia's South Shore is one of the sites where officials believe fish have died due to a so-called superchill.
Cooke Aquaculture sites in Annapolis Basin, Shelburne Harbour, Jordan Bay reporting mortalities

Fish at three aquaculture sites in Nova Scotia have died and a so-called superchill is suspected, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture said Tuesday.

Cooke Aquaculture's sites in the Annapolis Basin, Shelburne Harbour and Jordan Bay are reporting mortalities, officials said.

A fish health veterinarian visited the Annapolis Basin and Shelburne Harbour sites and is expected to visit the Jordan Bay site in the next few days to investigate the cause of death, Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell said in a statement.

"Our provincial fish health veterinarians investigate mortality events to rule out diseases of concern," he said.

The department said a preliminary investigation has found a superchill happened, meaning sustained cold temperatures dropped the temperature of the water to the level that fish blood freezes — around - 0.7 C.

Tides in late February and early March also tend to be high, the department said, contributing to to lowering temperatures in sea cages by flooding more shallow areas than usual. Low air temperatures cool the water and receding tides flush the cages with superchilled water.

Comment: Ice age cometh: Brutal winters point to Earth turning colder