Earth Changes
Map


Bizarro Earth

NBC News declares 'billions could starve' as America's water aquifers run dry

drought
© Unknown
In America, a crisis is unfolding right under the public's feet. Water scarcity is beginning to creep into the Texas panhandle and the breadbasket region of the United States. A valuable aquifer that once provided water security is drying up beneath farmers' feet as drought-like conditions linger.

"This country became what it became largely because we had water security," says Venki Uddameri, Ph.D., director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech. "That's being threatened to a large degree now."

The vital Ogallala Aquifer is drying up, putting billions of people at risk

The Ogallala Aquifer, sprawled out beneath eight states in the heart of the US, is being depleted with mathematical certainty. Spanning 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles, this vital aquifer feeds the sophisticated agricultural region from South Dakota through Nebraska and Kansas to the Texas panhandle.

As NBC News recently declared, "If the American Breadbasket cannot help supply ever-growing food demands, billions could starve."

"The depletion of the Ogallala is an internationally important crisis," said Burke Griggs, Ph.D., consulting professor at Stanford University, stating how populations around the world rely on the agricultural production of the breadbasket region of the US. "How individual states manage the depletion of that aquifer will obviously have international consequences."

Parts of the aquifer have already dried up and receded. A farmer in the Texas panhandle named Lucas Spinhirne attests to this. Just a decade ago, water flowed boundlessly under his farmland. By 2011, that water had all been pumped out, leaving Spinhirne only one source of water for his wheat and sorghum crops -- the rainwater from the sky.

"We try to catch anything that falls," Spinhirne said.

The Ogallala aquifer has been used up at an unsustainable pace since the early 1980s when big agriculture began using automated center pivot irrigation devices. Once farmers started putting these devices into widespread use, the Ogallala became a center for abuse, precipitously drained year after year. The Ogallala is unique; it cannot be replenished by surface water or precipitation. When it's used up, there's no more water to go around.
Bizarro Earth

Why is Wal-Mart preparing for a major earthquake on The New Madrid Fault?

Madrid Fault Line_1
© End of American Dream
Buried in a Wall Street Journal article from about a week ago was a startling piece of information. According to a Wal-Mart executive, Wal-Mart "participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line" earlier this summer.

And officials at the U.S. Geological Survey have just released a report which indicates that they believe that the New Madrid fault zone has the "potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought".

So should we be concerned? Do they know something that we don't? The USGS also says that the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern portions of the United States has quintupled over the past 30 years, and that significant earthquakes have started popping up in areas of the country that were once extremely quiet.

Along with the new report, the USGS released the following map...
Phoenix

State of emergency in Siberia's largest permafrost region because of wildfires

© Dozhd TV
States of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.
People evacuated after thunderstorms with no rain ignite foliage and forests.

More than one thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the Sakha Republic - also known as Yakutia - which is the largest region of the Russian Federation, while states of emergency are also in effect in other major regions such as Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.

Famed for its cold and permafrost, Sakha is now under siege from wildfires.

Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic's Forestry Department, said: 'The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia''

Comment: See the report below for a possible explanation of what may have ignited these fires -

Colorado firefighters hampered by winds, heat -- and meteors

Binoculars

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare arctic bird spotted in Florida

© Mark Hedden
Swedish biologist Viktor Nilsson-Ortman came to Florida to collect damselfly eggs for his post doctorate research and left last week with a discovery that turned the birding world all aflutter.

On the shoreline he spotted a red-necked stint, the first time this species has been seen and documented in the Sunshine State.

"What a great find Viktor!" was the salute on limeybirder.wordpress.com.

The red-necked stint is a tiny shorebird in the sandpiper family that breeds in Siberian Asia and parts of western Alaska. It migrates thousands of miles to winter in east India and Taiwan south through Australia and New Zealand. In the continental Untied States, the species has been spotted along the Pacific coast and in New England and New Jersey. And in July 2012, a red-necked stint caused a big stir when one was discovered by a national wildlife refuge biologist in Kansas.

© Wikimedia Commons
The Distribution of the Red-necked Stint
Red Broken Lines = Estimated Range
Green = Breeding Range
Blue = Wintering Range
But never before had one been seen and documented anywhere near Florida. This bird in the Keys may have remained anonymous - perhaps to be seen only by beachgoers who had no idea what type of bird it was or the magnitude of its existence here - if not for the eagle eyes and knowledge of Ortman.
Fish

Cold-water fish of northern latitudes turns up in Irish waters

© Joe O’Shaughnessy
Fishmonger Stefan Griesbach with the Golden Red Fish in Galway. It was served to visitors to the Galway arts festival.
Golden Redfish commonly found off Iceland, Greenland and Norway

A long-living fish which prefers the chillier waters of northern latitudes has been caught by an Irish fishing vessel on the Porcupine Bank.

The golden redfish, or sebastes norvegicus, is prevalent in Iceland, and can be found along the North American coast, south of Greenland and along the Norwegian coast.

The 5.9kg specimen was caught by Aran islander Tomás Conneely of the Ocean Harvester II, a Rossaveal, Co Galway, vessel which fishes for prawns on the Porcupine.
Bizarro Earth

Mystery behind giant hole in Siberia clearer as 2nd hole is discovered

2nd Siberian Hole
© Marya Zulinova / Governor of Yamal-Nenets Region's Press Service
The craters, believed to be formed by an underground explosion, are now filled with snow and ice.
Reindeer herders in Russia's Far North have discovered yet another mysterious giant hole about 30 kilometers away from a similar one found days earlier.

Located in the permafrost of the subarctic Siberian region of Yamal, which means "end of the earth" in the local Nenets language, both craters appear to have been formed in recent years and have icy lakes at their bases.

Scientists who examined the first hole theorized that it could have been created when a mixture of water, salt and gas exploded underground, the Siberian Times news site reported.
Bizarro Earth

Single lightning strike kills 45 head of Black Angus cattle on Montana ranch

Herd of Black and Red Angus
© Wikimedia Commons
Mixed herd of Black and Red Angus.
Darby - A bolt of lightning killed 45 head of cattle on a ranch near Darby.

Rancher Jean Taylor tells the Ravalli Republic the cows, calves and a prize bull were crowded under some small crabapple trees on July 14 when the lighting struck.

Taylor says the clap of thunder awakened her at 10:28 p.m.

Taylor says the family spent years building their herd of Black Angus cattle, and now they only have eight to 10 cows left.

Area ranchers helped the family dispose of the dead animals.

Source: Associated Press
Bizarro Earth

Province of Son La, Vietnam rocked by three earthquakes in one night

vietnam earthquake july 2014 map

Muong La District (in the red dashed line) in the northern Vietnamese province of Son La is seen in this Google Map screen capture.
The northern Vietnamese province of Son La experienced three earthquakes in a row on Saturday night, one of which reached a magnitude of 4.3 on the Richter scale, the Earthquake Information and Tsunami Warning Center said.

The three quakes struck Muong La District and their aftershocks were felt in Hanoi, 278 km away from Son La, according to the center under the Institute of Global Physics.

The first quake measuring magnitude 4.3 rocked the district at 7:14 pm, with its epicenter around eight kilometers underground.

The tremor lasted for about 30 seconds, shaking or throwing household furniture and tools to the ground, local residents said.

Many people rushed out of their houses during the earthquake, locals said.

Another quake happened in the same district at 8:20 pm, with a lower strength of magnitude 3.2. Its epicenter was the same as that of the previous one.

More than an hour later, the third earthquake, measuring magnitude 3.5, hit the locality at 9:42 pm, with its epicenter about seven kilometers underground.
Snowflake

New research on ocean heat content: Deep oceans are cooling amidst modeling uncertainty

Guest essay by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist's Journey to Climate Skepticism:

Two of the world's premiere ocean scientists from Harvard and MIT have addressed the data limitations that currently prevent the oceanographic community from resolving the differences among various estimates of changing ocean heat content (in print but available here).3 They point out where future data is most needed so these ambiguities do not persist into the next several decades of change. As a by-product of that analysis they 1) determined the deepest oceans are cooling, 2) estimated a much slower rate of ocean warming, 3) highlighted where the greatest uncertainties existed due to the ever changing locations of heating and cooling, and 4) specified concerns with previous methods used to construct changes in ocean heat content, such as Balmaseda and Trenberth's re-analysis (see below).13 They concluded, "Direct determination of changes in oceanic heat content over the last 20 years are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties remain too large to rationalize e.g., the apparent "pause" in warming."
© Wattsupwiththat.com
Water

Five of the world's lakes drying up completely due to drought, water reallocation and big business

Due to drought, water reallocation and industrialization, nations across the globe are finding that some of the world's most iconic bodies of water are disappearing.

1. Aral Sea

Once the world's fourth largest lake, located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea has undergone numerous changes over the centuries, but today it is nearly dried up.

Formed by the combined flows of both the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, the Aral Sea was re-figured in the 1960's by the Soviet Union, in an attempt to make the region's desert landscape more hospitable for farming.

Nearly 40 years later, the northern and southern parts of the lake separated and the southern part of the lake was split into two parts - east and west. In 2001, the southern connection was detached and the eastern portion of the lake began to recede. Soon after a drought plagued the area for approximately four years, from 2005 to 2009, cutting the water flow of the southern part of the lake to the Amu Darya, according to NASA.
© NASA Earth Observatory)
The Aral Sea is captured by NASA's Earth Observatory on Aug. 25, 2000, showing the diminished shoreline from where the lake sat in 1960.
Top