Earth Changes
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Snowflake Cold

July chill brings record cold temperatures to parts of U.S.

US cold summer

Actual low temperatures on Wednesday morning, July 16, 2014.
Temperature records set way back in the 1880s have been broken as unusually cool air is blanketing a large part of the country in the heart of summer. It will feel more like fall from the Upper Midwest into the South through this weekend. An unusually strong cold front for July began its southward plunge on Monday. The result is below-average temperatures for much of the East.

The potential for record lows and record cool highs extends all the way from the Northern Plains to the Gulf Coast.
Question

Rise of the killer dolphins: 'Alarming' rise in fatal attacks on porpoises leaves experts puzzled in Wales


A dramatic rise in killer attacks by dolphins on porpoises (shown) is baffling scientists in one of Britain's main breeding seas. The calm waters of Cardigan Bay have been turned red in recent weeks by bottlenose dolphins killing smaller porpoises during deadly clashes
A dramatic rise in killer attacks by dolphins on porpoises is baffling scientists in one of Britain's main breeding seas. The calm waters of Cardigan Bay in Wales have been turned red in recent weeks by bottlenose dolphins killing smaller porpoises during deadly clashes.

Marine scientists are struggling to understand why the rare attacks have been on the rise - with three out of the four attacks proving fatal. Researchers at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) said they have always known dolphins attack porpoises, but that the frequency of recent attacks is alarming.

Volunteers at CBMWC, in Ceredigion, West Wales, rescued a porpoise stranded on the beach in May after being chased by dolphins. Last month researchers witnessed three dolphins killing a porpoise - with another fatal attack a week later. Then last week three dolphins spent 20 minutes brutally attacking a porpoise close to the centre's research vessel.

The bottlenose dolphins repeatedly pounced on the porpoise, forcing it underwater then throwing it in the air close to the boat. 'One of the dolphins in particular was attacking the porpoise while the others joined in from time to time,' said researcher Milly Metcalfe. 'Although we were close by, they took no notice of us, intent on the attack.'
Snowflake Cold

Cold temperatures break 128-year record in Mobile, AL

© Fox10tv.com
Forecasters say Mobile has broken a 128-year-old record with a low temperature of 64 degrees.

The National Weather Service says the low Thursday morning was 1 degree cooler than the low of 65 degrees set in 1886.

The weather service says Huntsville tied a record low for the date of 59 degrees set in 1945, and temperatures were in the mid- to upper 50s across north Alabama.

The unseasonably cool temperatures are supposed to continue during the day with highs expected below 90 degrees across the state.
Cloud Precipitation

Hailstorm causes huge damage to fruit and vegetable farms in Kashmir, India

A hailstorm and strong winds, besides heavy rains caused huge damage to crops and vegetable farms in Kashmir, leaving farmers in distress over expected losses.

Farmers in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir were worried as their crops have suffered massive damaged due to the hailstorm.

Expressing their sorrow, farmers said that they invested huge amount of money for sowing high yielding vegetable seeds, but the hailstorm destroyed their entire fields.

"I had sown high breed seeds for which we spent 8-9,000. The moment the crops got ready, hailstorm destroyed them. This is my only source of income. I am dependent on it. It's been two weeks. Nobody from the administration (government) has come here. Therefore, we request them to come and see the damage and government should provide us some support," said a farmer, Shabbir Hussain.

Agriculture officer Rafiq Choudhary said that farmers must avail the benefit of number of schemes introduced by the provincial government for the growers who are faced with such problems due to natural calamity. "We can't help it. This destruction has been caused by nature. But it would have been better if they had avail 'Kisan (farmer) credit card' scheme and had got their crops insured on time, because then they wouldn't face this problem," said Choudhary.
Cloud Precipitation

Servere hailstorm causes damage to crops in Northeastern Wisconsin

© Samantha Hernandez/Door County Advocate
Growing corn shorn from its stalks along Walker Road in the town of Sevastopol after a localized hailstorm ravaged crops Monday night.
A severe hailstorm caused significant damage to crops in northeastern Wisconsin, farmers and researchers said.

Matt Stasiak, an agricultural researcher, tells the Door County Advocate the hail crushed cherry trees, grapevines, winter wheat, corn and other crops in Sevastopol on Monday night.

"A lot of foliage was stripped right off the cherry and apple trees," he said. "I saw some corn that had been ripped down to the stalks."

Stasiak also said five or six unfinished experiments at the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station were ruined. His team will have to wait until next year to repeat them.

A farmer tending to 60 acres of corn said the storm reduced the crop to one foot tall from four feet. The farmer said he remembers a similar hailstorm that hit the area 51 years ago, but it didn't leave behind "snowbanks" like the one on Monday night.

Bizarro Earth

Wildfires rage on U.S.West Coast causing evacuations of entire towns

carlton complex wildfires
© AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
A plane drops fire retardant on the Chiwaukum Creek Fire near Leavenworth, Wash., Thursday, July 17, 2014. The blaze closed a section of U.S. Highway 2, and resulted in the evacuation of nearly 900 homes.

A small north-central Washington town and a nearby hospital threatened by a wind-whipped wildfire have been evacuated, and the blaze has burned at least 35 homes in Okanogan County, the sheriff said.

Sheriff Frank Rogers said late Thursday he's heard of no injuries from the Carlton Complex of wildfires.

The sheriff issued his highest evacuation notice Thursday for Pateros, a town of about 650 people along the Columbia River. Residents drove south to Chelan. A hospital in nearby Brewster was evacuated as a precaution, with the patients sent to Omak.

"The whole town was evacuated," Rogers said in a telephone interview as he drove the eight-mile stretch between Brewster and Pateros. "It was a chaotic mess but we got everybody on the highway."

"There's nobody in Pateros" except a few "stragglers" who stayed, he said, adding the fire was burning in the town, although the small business district was believed intact.

Rogers said perhaps 15-20 homes have burned in Pateros and another 20 homes in the Twisp-Winthrop area. He had no estimate of how many homes have burned in the entire county of about 40,000 people.
Igloo

Quiet sun: Current solar cycle one of weakest in over a century

solar cycle 24
Ten days ago, the sun was quite active and peppered with several large spots. Now the sun has gone quiet and it is nearly completely blank. It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. It looks as if this solar cycle is "double-peaked" (see below) which is not all that uncommon; however, it is somewhat rare that the second peak in sunspot number during the solar max phase is larger than the first. In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. For this reason, many solar researchers are calling this current solar maximum a "mini-max". Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost no sunspots, a very unusual situation during a solar minimum phase that had not happened for almost a century.

Comment: For more information on the electrical nature of the universe and the factors that are currently affecting the sun and the weather here on earth, read Pierre Lescaudron's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

Health

Florida residents infected with chikungunya virus from domestic mosquitos

mosquito_chikunguya
© Desconocido
Health officials are reporting that for the first time, U.S. mosquitoes are spreading a virus that has been tearing through the Caribbean.

Two people in Florida have domestically-acquired chikungunya (chik-en-GUN-ye) infections, officials said Thursday. In both cases, they said, a person infected with the virus after visiting the Caribbean was then bitten again by an uninfected mosquito in Florida, which then transmitted the illness further.

Health officials urged residents to prevent mosquito bites, but said there was no cause for alarm.

"There is no broad risk to the health of the general public," said Dr. Celeste Philip, a public health official with the Department of Health.

Federal officials noted it's an unfortunate milestone in the spread of a painful infectious disease that has raced across the Caribbean this year and is apparently now taking root in the United States.

Comment: See also:

Incurable mosquito-borne chikungunya virus now found in six US states
Newly arrived virus gains foothold in Caribbean
CHIKV virus similar to Dengue Fever reported on St. Martin in the Caribbean

Clipboard

New data shows extreme drought in 80% of California

More than 80% of California is now in an extreme drought, according to new data by the National Weather Service.

The NWS' Drought Monitor Update for July 15 shows 81% of California in the category of extreme drought or worse, up from 78%. Three months ago, it was 68%.

The map shows that drought conditions worsened in parts of Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

The new data comes as officials are getting tough on water wasters.

Saying that it was time to increase conservation in the midst of one of the worst droughts in decades, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted drought regulations that give local agencies the authority to fine those who waste water up to $500 a day.
Blue Planet

Earth's magnetic field could flip sooner than expected

Changes measured by the Swarm satellite show that our magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than originally predicted, especially over the Western Hemisphere

changing magnetic field
© www.geologypage.com
Changes in Earth’s magnetic field from January to June 2014 as measured by the Swarm constellation of satellites. These changes are based on the magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core. Shades of red represent areas of strengthening, while blues show areas of weakening over the 6-month period.
Credit: ESA/DTU Space
Earth's magnetic field, which protects the planet from huge blasts of deadly solar radiation, has been weakening over the past six months, according to data collected by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite array called Swarm.

The biggest weak spots in the magnetic field - which extends 370,000 miles (600,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface - have sprung up over the Western Hemisphere, while the field has strengthened over areas like the southern Indian Ocean, according to the magnetometers onboard the Swarm satellites - three separate satellites floating in tandem.

The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is that Earth's magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA's Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia.

"Such a flip is not instantaneous, but would take many hundred if not a few thousand years," Floberghagen told Live Science. "They have happened many times in the past."[50 Amazing Facts About Planet Earth]

June 2014 world magnetics
© world-in-deep.blogspot.com
June 2014 magnetic field resolution results.
Scientists already know that magnetic north shifts. Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner.

Comment: All objects that create their magnetic fields by flowing currents of matter deep inside, a process called the Dynamo Mechanism, will fall victim to these reversals over time. The span of time between these reversal episodes depends on how fast the body is spinning, how large the body is, whether the body is solid or gaseous, and how electrically-conducting the material happens to be. The earth and sun differ in many ways from each other, but both have magnetic fields. The solar magnetic field reverses with every sunspot cycle (11-years) while the solid Earth takes much longer (300,000 years or more).

It may very well be fortuitous that the sun, at this time, is producing less sunspots and CMEs (consistent with the upcoming onset of an ice age). A weakened magnetosphere that could reach near-zero levels would leave Earth vulnerable to extreme phenomena such as the Carrington event. Precipitated by an enormous sunspot in 1859, the sky turned blood red with bolts of lightning electrifying the atmosphere. Telegraph operators all over the world received electric shocks, people were electrocuted and fires were started through telegraph connections. In today's technological climate, the impact of a weak magnetic field and a strong solar delivery would be unimaginably devastating.

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