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Better Earth

Midnight sun: Night-shining clouds light up dark skies of Britain

Noctilucent clouds in england
© Mark Humpage/ swns.com
'Noctilucent' or 'night-shining' clouds form at the outer limits of the upper atmosphere and reflect the sun's light long after it has gone down over the horizon.
With the sun dappled across these white clouds and a deep blue sky, it appears dawn is about to break.

But this remarkable photograph of an English rural landscape near was taken at midnight and shows the rare phenomenon of 'night shining.'

The shimmering clouds form at an altitude of around 55 miles above sea level and are made up of tiny ice droplets. Because they are so high up in the atmosphere the sun is able to illuminate the clouds from below the horizon.

Called 'noctilucent' clouds, which literally means 'night-shining' in Latin, they are normally spotted in polar regions during the summer months.

But stunned residents spotted a rare glimpse of the clouds lighting up Leicester's skyline shortly after midnight on Thursday morning.

Comment: Notice the twist pointing once again to man-made global warming. However, a more plausible explanation is an increasing accumulation of cosmic dust at the highest altitudes. Especially disturbing is that the composition of this dust suggest the earth is entering a debris-filled region of space, upping the odds of a catastrophic collision with extraterrestrial objects. We would recommend a careful reading of the Comets and Catastropes series, starting here.

Better Earth

After 90 Years, the Wolverine (Just One) Returns to Colorado

wolverine
© unknown
Wolverine
The last time wolverines were known to live in Colorado, Theodore Roosevelt had just died and women had not yet won the right to vote. But now, 90 years later, researchers using radio tracking devices have followed a wolverine into the state.

The scientists concede that the return of one animal to a species' ancient range is hardly cause for jubilation. "Somewhat of an anomaly," Rick Kahn, an official in the Colorado Division of Wildlife, called it in a statement.

But the researchers hope their efforts to track the young male, designated M56, will help explain why only an estimated 250 to 500 wolverines remain in the lower 48 states and what their fate might be in the face of development and climate change.

Wolverines live in Alaska and Canada, and "we know they used to be in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, California and Washington," said Robert M. Inman, who directs the Greater Yellowstone Wolverine Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that also runs the Bronx Zoo.

But "it is one of the most elusive and just mysterious creatures," Mr. Inman added. "Few people have seen them."
Bulb

The US Government's New Climate Report: Shading Science for Alarmism

"Imagine if an industry-funded government contractor had a hand in writing a major federal report on climate change. And imagine if that person used his position to misrepresent the science, to cite his own non-peer reviewed work, and to ignore relevant work in the peer-reviewed literature. There would be an outrage, surely . . ."
- Roger Pielke Jr. on Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States (June 2009)
The U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program (CCSP) report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, is a major disappointment, particularly for some of us who labored to not only correct the small things but to get the big picture right. The political side won with stubbornness and persistence. Reality lost with an overall description that many of the impacts from climate change are greater (worse) than the best science allows. The result is an advocacy document parading as a scientific assessment.
Magnify

Systematic Misrepresentation of the Science of Disasters and Climate Change

Let me start this post by stating that I am a strong supporter of action on both adaptation and mitigation policies related to human-caused climate change. At the same time I have seen some disturbing things take place in the scientific community. And it is just my luck that the area where I have observed the most shenanigans is the area in which I have considerable expertise -- disasters and climate change.

This post summarizes and reviews the systematic misrepresentation of the science of disasters and climate change in major science assessments, partly for my own purposes, but also to explain that there is a pattern of behavior taking place in this community that should be of concern to anyone who cares about the integrity of science, regardless of their position on climate policies and politics.
Blackbox

Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved?

© NASA
A helioseismic map of the solar interior. Tilted red-yellow bands trace solar jet streams. Black contours denote sunspot activity. When the jet streams reach a critical latitude around 22 degrees, sunspot activity intensifies.
The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years. Now, for the first time, solar physicists might understand why.

At an American Astronomical Society press conference today in Boulder, Colorado, researchers announced that a jet stream deep inside the sun is migrating slower than usual through the star's interior, giving rise to the current lack of sunspots.

Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, used a technique called helioseismology to detect and track the jet stream down to depths of 7,000 km below the surface of the sun. The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years, they explained to a room full of reporters and fellow scientists. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear.

Howe and Hill found that the stream associated with the next solar cycle has moved sluggishly, taking three years to cover a 10 degree range in latitude compared to only two years for the previous solar cycle.

Comment: This article sounds very much like a public relations attempt to salvage the colossal computer model failures that predicted a super cycle for solar cycle 24.

Recall this recent article on SOTT:

Solar cycle computer model with 98 percent forecasting accuracy a complete failure

The basic reality is that the modelers do not know what is going on. We only understand the science to a given point and beyond that we are learning. The problem is that so many in the scientific community now run on political energy and saving face as long as they can is more important than being honest about what we do and do not know.

This article is being mentioned on other sites as well. Here is a comment from the Watts Up With That site from a leading solar researcher, Leif Svalgaard:
Leif Svalgaard :

This press release is just NASA PR-machine hype. We have not 'solved' the problem. Even if we assume that the 'jetstream' has anything to do with the generation of spots [and I personally think it is the other way around] we have just moved the problem [rather than solving it] because now the question is "why was it slower?" Furthermore the 'critical 22 degrees' is not based on anything other than having happened once before.

What we have is a well-orchestrated CYA attempt: our [i.e. NASA-supported] models [predicting a super-cycle] were thwarted by this strange delay of the oscillation, but are basically correct [I think not].
FYI, 'CYA' is an acronym for Cover Your A##.

And another commenter from the Solar Science blog:
John A :

Wow. Even Leif thinks its a dubious correlation at best.

I have two points to make about predictions about the current Solar Cycle:

1. Predictions about the next solar cycle have been persistently wrong.
2. Solar physicists are ignoring the wrong predictions without explanation rather than dealing with their failures.

It ain't science, folks. Its guessing. One day someone will get lucky and lead an entire science astray.

A more general observation is that predicting the future is exactly what it used to be - very, very difficult to pull off unless you can induce amnesia in your audience or appeal to their venality or both.

I suppose that could be the theme of the blog. It didn't start off that way, but I'm depressed that solar physicists don't appear to be addressing the failures of their models.
You can search SOTT for 'sunspot' or 'solar' and read many articles and papers on what is currently up with the sun.

Here is a good place to start:

A Cheshire Cat - Will Sunspots disappear entirely by 2015?

Cloud Lightning

US: Midwest storms cause flooding, spawn tornadoes

Lightning in Kansas
© Associated Press/Orlin Wagner
Lightning strikes behind a windmill on a farm near Baldwin City, Kansas, Monday, June 15, 2009
Another round of storms in the Midwest has damaged homes and businesses, flooded streets and knocked out power to thousands.

In Minnesota, an apparent tornado struck the town of Austin on Wednesday, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines. At least one person was reported with minor injuries.

The National Weather Service said the storm sent debris flying, flipped cars on their sides and sent trees through roofs.

Abercrombie, a small town south of Fargo, N.D., has been overwhelmed by almost 8 inches of rain in 24 hours.

In the small Missouri town of Norborne, straight-line winds from a thunderstorm reached more than 74 mph, knocking down the walls of one buildings and damaging roofs and trees.
Blackbox

Canada: Winter still grips 90 per cent of north - migratory birds can't breed

It is the winter that refuses to go away in northern Manitoba and most of the eastern Arctic.

Prolonged cold snowy conditions in the Hudson Bay area are expected to obliterate the breeding season for migratory birds and most other species of wildlife this year.

According to Environment Canada, the spring of 2009 is record-late in the eastern Arctic with virtually 100 per cent snow cover from James Bay north as of June 11.

May temperatures in northern Manitoba were almost four degrees C below the long-term average of -0.7, and in early June, temperatures averaged three degrees below normal.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration images confirm snow and ice blanket all of northern Manitoba, part of northern Ontario and almost all of the eastern Arctic as of June 12. U.S. arieal flight surveys confirm the eastern Arctic has no sign of spring so far.

"I have lived in Churchill since the 1950s, and this the latest spring I have ever seen here," said local resident Pat Penwarden. "The spring of 1962 was almost this bad."

Six-foot snowdrifts blocked Churchill-area roads. A thick blanket of snow, in places three- and four-feet deep, coated 90 per cent of the local taiga in northern Manitoba. Ecotourists, who normally flock to northern Manitoba every June to see birds and other wildlife, cancelled their plans this June "in droves," according to local ecotourist specialists. Snowy conditions are largely to blame.

"It is like a winter landscape," said Ruth Baker, a Michigan tourist who spent June 9 to 12 at Churchill. "I couldn't believe the snowdrifts, like mountains of snow".

Researchers confirm that the lateness of the spring of 2009 dooms local birds to a virtually complete reproductive failure.

Comment: This is a very good article until the last five paragraphs. The worldwide global warming psychological conditioning cannot be threatened by any piece of evidence that may counter the chosen agenda.
Recent late springs in the Hudson Bay area have been more frequent than normal: 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1997.
It should be pointed out that the data shows the planet has been globally cooling for at least 7 years and possibly as much as 10-11 years. (Link), (Link), (Link).

The possibility and even high probability given the data that what lies ahead is more frequent delayed springs in the north due to cooling is not even mentioned.

But, dut da da dah... Global Warming is the cause of course!
According to NOAA scientists, although the Arctic is warming, more frequent annual oscillations in temperature are likely to occur, often resulting in late springs.
Of course. And if there were less snow and earlier springs it would be of course - you got it - global warming. And it would be expected regardless.
"Such major oscillations are part of a bumpy ride toward global warming," said Thomas Karl of the National Climate Center. "For awhile at least this will be the shape of things to come."
If such oscillations increase and spread south and crops fail and there are fuel shortages, it will be because of global warming.
"People often confuse climate with weather, and this spring is a weather phenomenon," said an Environment Canada spokesperson.
This last paragraph is just plain insulting. How are the people to understand anything when the spokes people are so utterly wrong?

We will have to see what the next few years bring us.

Fish

The cephalopods can hear you

squid
© NPL
Bigfin Reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana).
Do Bigfin reef squid listen out for predatory whales?
Octopus and squid can hear.

The discovery resolves a century-long debate over whether cephalopods, the group of sea creatures that includes octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautiluses, can hear sounds underwater.

Compared to fish, octopus and squid do not appear to hear particularly well.

But the fact they can hear raises the possibility that these intelligent animals may use sound to catch prey, communicate with one another or listen out for predators.

The question of whether cephalopods can perceive sound has been controversial since the early 20th Century. Some experiments suggested that blind octopus seemed able to locate the sounds produced by boats or by tapping on the outside of a tank.

But most cephalopods lack a gas-filled chamber, such as the swim bladders that fish can use to hear. That suggested they could not detect the pressure wave component of sound.

However, sensory physiologist Hong Young Yan of the Taiwan National Academy of Science in Taipei, Taiwan suspected that octopus and squid might use another organ called the statocyst to register sound.
Bizarro Earth

A Cheshire Cat - Will Sunspots disappear entirely by 2015?

Sun 02/22/2009
© SOHO
Spotless Sun 02/22/2009

Physical conditions in the infrared at 1.5 microns, including maximum magnetic field strength and temperature, have been observed spectroscopically in 1391 sunspots 1990 to 2009 (1). We emphasize the quantitative difference between our IR sunspot measurements and the visible light results from most solar magnetographs employed world-wide. The latter are compromised by scattered light and measure flux, not field strength. A lower limit of ~1800 Gauss is required to form spot umbra. The umbral maximum field strength has declined over the above interval, perhaps because spots have on average diminished in size. The present condition of solar activity minimum has more spotless days than since the 1910s (2). The Cheshire Cat behavior is related to magnetic surface fields often appearing without accompanying dark spots.
Red Flag

Jellyfish Booms Signal Ecosystems Out of Whack

© unknown
Jellyfish Swarms Spell Trouble
The dramatic proliferation of jellyfish in oceans around the world, driven by overfishing and climate change, is a sure sign of ecosystems out of kilter, warn experts.

"Jellyfish are an excellent bellwether for the environment," explains Jacqueline Goy, of the Oceanographic Institute of Paris. "The more jellyfish, the stronger the signal that something has changed."
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