Earth Changes


Heat, drought cooks millions of fish alive in Pacific Northwest

© Chris Kozfhay/AP
Freakishly hot, dry weather in the Pacific Northwest is killing millions of fish in the overheated waters of the region's rivers and streams.

"We've lost about 1.5 million juvenile fish this year due to drought conditions at our hatcheries," Ron Warren of Washington State's Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement. "This is unlike anything we've seen for some time."

Sockeye salmon losses in the Columbia River due to the heat are in the hundreds of thousands, said Jeff Fryer, senior fishery scientist with the river's Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. The fish were returning from the ocean to spawn when the "unprecedented" warm water killed them, he said.

Water temperatures in the Columbia River — part of which runs along the border of Oregon and Washington — reached the low 70s shortly after July 4, something that doesn't usually happen until August, if at all, Fryer said.

High temperatures — coupled with the low water levels — can be lethal to fish, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. With no end to the drought in sight, there could be additional fish die-offs, said Rod French, a fish biologist with the department.


Warmer waters: Another large volcanic vent field discovered in Gulf of California

© GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Germany's deep-sea research vessel Sonne is currently sailing in the Gulf of California in search of carbon release related to volcanic systems. Now scientists led by Professor Christian Berndt from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have discovered a previously unknown vent field with several black smokers. The field consists of at least four mounds up to 70 metres high.

Reliable climate forecasts are only possible if all the factors that affect the climate are known.

Comment: True.

It is therefore necessary to find out what caused global warmings in the past.

Comment: Uhm, isn't it therefore necessary to find out what's causing 'global warming' NOW??

One hypothesis is, for example, that increased volcanic activity during the widening of the North Atlantic triggered a rapid warming, the so-called Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 54 million years ago.

A research team from Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway and Taiwan is currently conducting a cruise on the German vessel Sonne in the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California to test this hypothesis. The Guaymas Basin is thought to be in a similar state of rifting as the North Atlantic at the end of the Paleocene.

Comment: Scientists are strange creatures. From the above article, you'd think that this team's discovery was unique. But just a few weeks earlier, another research team discovered a different erupting volcanic vent field in another Gulf of California basin. If we can find out about each one, why can't they find each other??
Researchers discover deepest high-temperature hydrothermal vents in Pacific Ocean

To understand what's really going on, read this:

Volcanic eruptions, rising CO2, boiling oceans, and why man-made global warming is not even wrong


Another week of boiling weather in Cyprus: 42C heatwave begins, code yellow warning issued

Another week of boiling weather has already begun, with forecasters predicting temperatures could rise as high as 42C by Tuesday.

The Weather Service issued a 'code yellow' weather warning on Saturday, meaning: "The weather is potentially dangerous. The weather phenomena that have been forecast are are not unusual, but be attentive if you intend to practice activities exposed to meteorological risks. Keep informed about the expected meteorological conditions and do not take any avoidable risks."

The entire island is already basking in "wall-to-wall sunshine" as a swathe of blistering hot air sweeps in from Asia.

The heat wave will peak on Tuesday with temperatures reaching 42 degrees inland, a meteorologist told the Cyprus News Agency.

The mercury this weekend will average around the 38 degrees mark and will gradually climb above 40ºC, with 41 degrees being the average.

On the coastal areas slightly lower temperatures, ranging from 34 to 38 degrees, are expected.

Take Precautions

The heat could have health impacts, causing dehydration and exhaustion, particularly in people over age 65, infants and young children, people with medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, asthma or respiratory conditions.


Manam Volcano erupts in Papua, New Guinea; spews ash 65,000 feet

© Himawari-8/Japanese Meteorological Agency/NOAA
A volcanic ash plume is shown off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Friday, July 31, 2015, after the Manam volcano erupted.
The Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea sent up a major eruption on Friday, local time, the first of its kind in almost 11 years.

Volcanic ash was sent 19,812 meters (65,000 feet) into the air as a result of the eruption, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported in an volcanic ash advisory. The plume was moving to the southwest but was spreading out in all directions.

A Code Red aviation advisory was issued as a result.

The eruption was reported around 1 p.m. Friday, local time (11 p.m. EDT).

The last major eruption of Manam, located 13 kilometers (8 miles) off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, occurred in August 2004, according to the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian Institution.

Arrow Down

Sinkhole swallows Wichita, Kansas man

A sinkhole along the 1st Street Bridge opened up and injured a man walking in the area.

The sinkhole was caused by a failing storm water pipe. Recent rainfall washed away the soil underground and caused the surface soil to give way.

There has been a sinkhole in the area for a few weeks related the the pipe. The second sinkhole appeared about 50 feet away from the original.

The man was walking along the grass when he says the ground gave way.

"I stepped and I felt the ground get weak and the next thing I knew I was about 15 feet down in a hole. I had to dig myself out of there, no one around me to help me or anything," he said.

He suffered what appears to be a sprained ankle.

The city says they are working to get the pipe fixed. It is estimated to cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

Meanwhile, the department of Public Works & Utilities says that the street was not impacted by the sinkhole but the sidewalk is ruined; a 40-foot tall street light has had its foundation damaged and the city is removing it to keep it from falling onto traffic along First Street. The city has put up more signs and completely fenced off the area to keep people out.

Comment: Sinkholes - A Sign of the Times?

Cowboy Hat

Landspout tornado forms near Safford, Arizona

The National Weather Service has confirmed a landspout tornado north of Safford this afternoon. Based on social media accounts, the tornado touched down between 4:30-4:45 PM in central Graham County near the Gila River. Of note, Arizona averages 4 tornado touchdowns per year.

What makes a landspout tornado different from a regular tornado? According to the American Meteorological Society, a landspout tornado's rotation originates near the ground, not the base of the storm. Low level convergence creates the rotation, which is then lifted upward into the base of cloud by a thunderstorm updraft. Rotation within a landspout tornado is weak, but can produce some damage on occasion.

Landspout tornadoes are very hard to pinpoint on Doppler radar and typically are confirmed once on the ground.


California's drought has turned the state into a tinderbox

© Max Whittaker / Reuters
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a statement of emergency as 18 large wildfires burn through more than a dozen counties.

"California's severe drought and extreme weather have turned much of the state into a tinderbox," said Governor Brown in a statement. "Our courageous firefighters are on the front lines and we'll do everything we can to help them."

Wildfires are not an uncommon occurrence in California but severe drought conditions and high temperatures have combined to create an especially dangerous situation. The drought has caused millions of trees to die, which has helped spread the fires throughout the state, according to Brown.

Comment: California isn't the only region suffering from destructive wildfires; they have been wreaking havoc around the globe. Increased methane outgassing has been providing fuel for fires, while the increase in atmospheric electric discharges, including lightening strikes, often provide the spark.


Queensland rocked by 2 earthquakes as powerful as an 'atomic bomb' - in strongest shakes in nearly 100 years


Geoscience Australia reported the initial earthquake struck 110 kilometres east of Fraser Island at a depth of 10 kilometres
Two earthquakes as powerful as an atomic bomb rocked Queensland on Saturday afternoon, in the state's largest event in almost 100 years.

A magnitude 5.7 event struck near Fraser Island, about 200 kilometres north of Brisbane, shortly after 1:30pm on Saturday, in what was the biggest such even to hit Queensland since 1918.

Little more than one hour later, another quake measuring 5.2 in magnitude struck the same area, which was then followed by an aftershock of about 3.

Geoscience Australia reported the initial earthquake struck 110 kilometres east of Fraser Island at a depth of 10 kilometres, and experts compared the quakes to the most damaging in Australian history.

'This is equivalent to the earthquake that occurred in 1989 in Newcastle, which of course is the most damaging earthquake in Australia's history,' Senior seismologist Dan Jaksa told the ABC.

It is estimated that the impact could have been felt by people up to 340km away.


Odd animal migration: Manatees from Florida turn up in North Carolina

© Ocala Star-Banner /Landov / Barc
Manatees swim near the sanctuary at the entrance to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.
Researchers say manatees have again been spotted in the marinas and waters in south-eastern North Carolina - far from their natural Florida habitat.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported that local researchers have found that the manatees have travelled north to Georgia, the Carolinas and even Virginia.

Erin Cummings with the University of North Carolina Wilmington has charted the "sea cows" in North Carolina waters since the 1990s. Cummings says manatees have been reported in North Carolina dating to the 1930s.

She says manatees swim through open ocean, the Atlantic intracoastal waterway, sounds, bays, rivers and creeks searching for sea grass.

Cummings says there have been nine manatee sightings in North Carolina this year. She thinks there could be a couple of dozen in North Carolina waters.

Comment: See also these reports of unusual migrations for manatees: Manatee from Florida makes rare visit to Texas waters

Manatees moving out of Florida waters west along Gulf coast


Waterspout filmed off Clearwater Beach, Florida


Waterspout spotted off Clearwater Beach
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge was re-opened to "high-profile vehicles" around 1:30 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol, which briefly restricted traffic earlier Friday due to high wind speeds and gusts of more than 50 mph.

Earlier in the day, folks on Clearwater Beach saw a substantial waterspout offshore. Authorities said the spout led to some wind and high surf but no damage.

Otherwise, today has been much like yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Wet and cloudy.