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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.

Binoculars

Wrong place, wrong time: Pacific (Arctic) loon spotted in New Hampshire

© Wikimedia Commons/Tim Bowman, USFWS
Pacific loon
An immature Pacific loon was seen at Seal Rocks along the coast in Rye on Saturday and Sunday.

This bird normally spends its summers in the Arctic making it a rare sighting in New Hampshire. It is also listed in Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies as an Arctic loon.

It was reported as part of the New Hampshire Audubon's Rare Bird Alert for Tuesday, July 15.

Attention

Dead humpback whale washes ashore on Blacks Beach, Australia


Dead humpback whale washes ashore in Mackay.
A dead humpback whale has washed ashore at Blacks Beach this morning.

It is believed that it is the same whale that was seen in the water yesterday.

Sharks were seen feeding off the whale at Blacks Beach yesterday afternoon.

The dead whale was been spotted in waters close to shore at Blacks Beach, a National Parks department spokesman said.


"A number of sharks are feeding on the carcass and rangers in attendance are urging the public to refrain from boating or swimming in the area for safety," the spokesman said.

"There is no clear indication of a cause for the whale's death.

Residents are asked to stay away from the area.
Attention

The Ice Age looms: Record cold summer temperatures across many U.S. states

Just scan down this list! It's amazing. Feels like October in Oklahoma, Iowa, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, even Manitoba. Have you seen much about this in the mainstream media?

Cold front brings record-breaking temperatures to Oklahoma City

Temperatures in Oklahoma City climbed only to 72 degrees Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The record for the coolest high temperature for July 16 in Oklahoma City was 74 degrees, set in 1967, according to National Weather Service records.

Cold front brings record-breaking temperatures to Oklahoma City on Wednesday

Record low temperature for Sioux City, Iowa

The National Weather Service recorded a low of 49 degrees at Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City, breaking the old record of 50 degrees set in 1976.

After record low, Sioux City to see warming trend

Cold Breaks 128-Year Record in Mobile - Huntsville ties 69-year-old record low

Forecasters say Mobile, Alabama, has broken a 128-year-old record with a low temperature of 64 F, one degree cooler than the low of 65 F set in 1886. Meanwhile, Huntsville tied a record low for the date of 59 degrees set in 1945. In fact, temperatures ranged from the mid- to upper 50s across north Alabama.

Cold temps break 128-year record in Mobile
Umbrella

Super typhoon Rammasun slams China, Vietnam - risk of damaging winds, flooding, mudslides, coastal storm surge

© Accuweather.com
After moving over extreme northern Hainan China Friday afternoon, local time, the eye of Super Typhoon Rammasun will crash into the Leizhou Peninsula early Friday evening.

Rammasun, packing winds of 155 mph with higher gusts, is expected to make landfall again as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane early Friday evening, local time.

Rammasun will likely bring widespread winds of over 100 mph to northern Hainan Island on Friday afternoon and Friday night (local time) with higher gusts. Widespread wind damage is expected across northern Hainan, as well as the Leizhou Peninsula to the north.
Cloud Precipitation

Flooding, heavy rainfall distress over 1 million people in China

© Reuters/China Daily


Street lamps are seen among floodwaters next to partially submerged buildings by an over flowing river at the ancient town as heavy rainfall hits Fenghuang county, Hunan province July 15, 2014.
Hundreds of thousands have been forced to evacuate with over 1 million people in total affected in China as heavy rainstorms batter Hunan and Guizhou provinces, with reports of several deaths and mass destruction.

Some 720,000 people from 240 townships in Hunan are now affected, the provincial flood control headquarters said on Tuesday, Xinhua reports. At least 460 homes have been destroyed and 149,400 residents have been relocated.

The ancient town of Fenghang was flooded with more than 120,000 locals and tourists evacuated since Monday night. Multiple temporary settlements have been set up to cater for the displaced people. Power supply in the region has also been cut off, prompting the local hydrographical bureau to issue a red alert, at 10:10 am local time.

Comment: At least 18 killed in China rainstorms

Sherlock

Update! Russian scientists explore site of 'crater-hole' in Yamal peninsula: 'Probably result of internal forces not seen in 8,000 years'

© Andrey Plekhanov, Marina Leibman
The hole is nowhere near as big as first reported
The crater on the Yamal Peninsula was caused by aliens, a meteorite, a stray missile, or an explosive gas cocktail released due to global warming, according to various theories in recent days.

Images of the remarkable phenomenon have gone round the world since The Siberian Times highlighted helicopter images of the giant hole earlier this week.

The first expedition to the scene - the scientists have just returned - took these epic pictures of the hole, including the darkening pattern on the inner rim.


Now they are using Russian satellite pictures to fix the moment when it suddenly formed.

They found the crater - around up to 70 metres deep - has an icy lake at its bottom, and water is cascading down its eroding permafrost walls.

It is not as wide as aerial estimates which suggested between 50 and 100 metres.

Comment: Just to be clear, any local 'warming' that is taking place is due to increased volcanic activity, especially under the Arctic Ocean, where methane clathrate deposits are being ruptured in enormous quantities these days, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. Together with sinkholes and fissures of all descriptions appearing all over the world in recent years, this discovery further suggests that the planet is literally opening up.

Map

New map points up future hot spots for U.S. earthquakes

us earthquake hotspots
© U.S. Geological Survey
Hot spots: California is still a seismic hazard hot spot—but the latest earthquake risk maps suggest a higher risk of damaging quakes than previously estimated.
Earthquake risk assessments can seem pretty abstract at first glance, with their "percent probabilities" and "peak ground accelerations." But the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS's) national hazard maps, updated periodically, pack a powerful punch: Insurance companies and city planners rely heavily on the maps, which influence billions of dollars in construction every year. Today, USGS scientists released the most recent earthquake hazard assessments for the country. Although the picture hasn't changed much on a national scale since the last report in 2008, the devil is in the details, the report's authors say - and some areas in the country are now considered to be at higher risk for powerful quakes than once thought.

The best-known earthquake zones - California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Intermountain West - still dominate the hazard picture. Farther east, hot spots around the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the center of the country and Charleston, South Carolina, reflect the memory of powerful historical quakes (in 1811 to 1812 and 1886, respectively). But, in fact, all 50 states have the potential for earthquakes, and damaging ground shaking could happen in 42 of the 50 states within 50 years, the new report suggests. Of those, 16 states, all of which have had earthquakes of at least magnitude 6 in historical times, are considered highly likely to experience damaging ground shaking.

To assess the risk of where and how often future earthquakes will occur, and how hard the ground will shake, scientists are constantly seeking new data from these regions and using them to develop new ways of modeling ground motion, says Mark Petersen, a seismologist at USGS in Golden, Colorado, and the lead author of the new report. Among the latest temblors incorporated into the assessment is the 2011 5.8-magnitude Virginia earthquake, which "helped us understand better ground shaking in the central and eastern United States," Petersen says. New data also came from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which in 2010 published its own risk assessment for earthquake damage to its power plants in the central and eastern United States. These all suggest the region has the potential to experience an even more powerful quake.
Sun

Hottest air of season may follow record chill in Central U.S.

After record-challenging chill this week, temperatures could rebound to their highest level of the summer so far in parts of the North Central states next week.

A forecast shift in the jet stream will set into motion a marked temperature turnaround this weekend into next week over portions of the northern Plains and Midwest. The jet stream is a river of high-speed winds high above the ground that guides storms and air masses along.
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