Earth Changes


Buffalo, New York swallowed by wall of snow as it gets 6 feet, with more to come, and six people reported dead

A wall of snow has swallowed Buffalo, New York, this morning. NOAA meteorologists say it's a heavy snow lake effect. Check out the videos, plus the aerial photos (like the above posted byWBEN NewsRadio's Facebook) and satellite images. Good luck everyone. Updating with photos and video...

© Twitter/Joseph DeBenedictis
© Twitter/@IrishEagle

Hippopotamus kills 13 people, including 12 children in Niger

Twelve children and a villager have been killed in a hippopotamus attack on a boat near the Niger capital Niamey earlier this week, officials say.

Twelve children and a villager have been killed in a hippopotamus attack on a boat near Niger's capital Niamey earlier this week, officials say.

The students, aged 12 to 13, died when their boat transporting them across the Niger River was flipped by the hippopotamus on Monday.

A number of students in the West African nation take such boats to attend school on the other side of the river.

"Ultimately it was 12 students, including seven girls and five boys, who died after the attack," minister of secondary education Aichatou Oumani said.
Bizarro Earth

Keeper at UK's Whipsnade Zoo trampled by rhino

© Masons
Behan the rhino with her new calf at Whipsnade Zoo
A zookeeper has suffered serious injuries when he was trampled by a rhino at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire this morning.

The keeper was tramped by the beast as he tended to a rhino and her calf early this morning.

It's not clear what caused the animal to attack.

The man, who is in his 50s, suffered chest, abdomen and pelvis injuries after the animal attacked inside its enclosure.

He was helped out of the water by zoo staff, and was taken by ambulance to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in a serious but stable condition.

He was given pain relief at the scene for his injuries

Comment: Zoo animals often exhibit strange behaviors due to humans forcing them to live in unnatural habitats, and the suffering that ensues is on display most starkly there. However animals throughout the world have been acting strange and aggressive, and there have been increases in family pets attacking their owners often without provocation. Are animals reflecting the increasingly odd behaviors in the human population?

Cloud Precipitation

Floods kill 3 in Albania, over 5 inches of rainfall in 2 hours

Flooding in Albania has killed three people, after torrential rain caused power and water supply cuts in the western part of the country, authorities said Wednesday.

A 60-year-old man and his 26-year old daughter were found dead after their car was swept away by floodwaters in Lac, northwest of the capital, Tirana, late Tuesday. A 21-year-old motorcycle driver was also found dead in Lac, while his teenage passenger was rescued.

The heavy rainfall also flooded the main streets and buildings in Tirana and the western port city of Durres.

The government said the army was on standby to help emergency service workers with evacuation efforts, as more heavy rain was expected.

Agriculture Minister Edmond Planarity said the storm dumped 130 millimeters (5.1 inches) of rain in two hours overnight on the Lac and nearby Lezhe districts, causing power outages and flooding homes in those areas.

Source: AP

Virus devastating sea stars along Pacific Coast identified

© Neil McDaniel
This is a SSWD-affected star. The fatal disease leads to behavioral changes, lesions, loss of appendages, and disintegration.
Scientists have now explained the mysteriously sudden appearance of a disease that has decimated sea stars on the North American Pacific Coast.

Museum biological collections are the records of life on Earth and as such, they are frequently used to investigate serious environmental issues. When public health officials were concerned about the levels of mercury in fish and birds, for example, scientists studied museum specimens to assess historical changes in mercury contamination. Eggs in museum collections were analyzed to establish the connection between DDT, thinning eggshells, and the decline in bird populations. And now, specimens from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) have helped explain the mysteriously sudden appearance of a disease that has decimated sea stars on the North American Pacific Coast.

Comment: See also: 'Unprecedented' sea star disease epidemic on Oregon coast


Hundreds of seals die of avian flu on Germany coast

Hundreds of dead seals have been washing up on Germany's North Sea coast since the beginning of October. Researchers have now found the cause of death: the avian flu virus.

Since early October, 609 dead or dying seals have been found on the coasts of the German North Sea islands of Sylt, Heligoland, Amrum and Föhr.

"That is more than we normally find," Hendrik Brunckhorst tells DW. Brunckhorst is a biologist and spokesman for the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, a favorite habitat for the seals.

Typically, according to Brunckhorst, one to two thousand seals wash ashore in this part of Germany every year. Six hundred in less than a month, therefore, is indeed an "increased death rate."

The number of unreported cases is far higher, since only a percentage of the dead animals are actually found: Most of them are lost in the oceans.

Comment: See also: An avian flu that jumps from birds to mammals is killing New England's baby seals

10 fold increase in seal deaths reported this year off Swedish coast


Record breaking cold weather blankets U.S. - 85% surface area at or below freezing

Tuesday morning, America 'as a whole' awoke to the coldest it has been in November since 1976 -- 38 years ago. The Lower-48 or CONUS spatially average temperature plummeted overnight to only 19.4°F typical of mid-winter not November 18th! Data

An astounding 226-million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well -- if you venture outdoors.

More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower-48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50-states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.

California's Chinook salmon Fall spawning run slowed by drought

© Shutterstock
The annual fall migration of Chinook salmon has been delayed by warmer water temperatures and slow-flowing streams in parts of California as the state's three-year drought drags on, hatchery officials said Monday.

Cool November temperatures usually bring thousands of adult salmon from the Pacific Ocean into streams and rivers to spawn. But this year, fish have been slow to migrate up the American River to the state's hatchery near Sacramento, said William Cox, manager of the fish production and distribution program at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"They haven't come into the river at the same time that they would normally," Cox said.

Wildlife researchers check the strength of the fall salmon run by going out to creeks and rivers and counting them. This year in the American River and its tributaries, the survey crews found just 210 corpses of salmon that had presumably spawned and died in the streams, a tenth of the number normally encountered, Cox said.

At another hatchery, near the Central Valley city of Merced, a higher than normal number of male salmon are arriving unable to provide viable sperm to spawn, he said.

State wildlife experts are not entirely sure why the salmon are late, but some speculate that warmer temperatures and slower flow in the American River might be to blame.

"Folsom reservoir is low and warm right now, so the water coming down isn't as cold as the fish prefer," said Kevin Thomas, a supervising environmental scientist with the state.
Cloud Lightning

Sun's rotating "magnet" pulls lightning towards UK

© Stutterstock
The Sun may be playing a part in the generation of lightning strikes on Earth by temporarily 'bending' the Earth's magnetic field and allowing a shower of energetic particles to enter the upper atmosphere.

This is according to researchers at the University of Reading who have found that over a five year period the UK experienced around 50% more lightning strikes when the Earth's magnetic field was skewed by the Sun's own magnetic field.

The Earth's magnetic field usually functions as an in-built force-field to shield against a bombardment of particles from space, known as galactic cosmic rays, which have previously been found to prompt a chain-reaction of events in thunderclouds that trigger lightning bolts.

It is hoped these new insights, which have been published today, 19 November, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, could lead to a reliable lightning forecast system that could provide warnings of hazardous events many weeks in advance.
Snowflake Cold

NASA finally admits winters are going to get colder...much colder. Is Al Gore listening?

maunder minimum little ice age

An extraordinary climatic shock—the Great Frost—struck Ireland and the rest of Europe between December 1739 and September 1741, after a decade of relatively mild winters.
The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.

During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000-50,000 spots.

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last years winter, described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" is going to be a regular occurrence over the coming decades.

Casey asserts that there is mounting evidence that the Earth is getting cooler due to a decline in solar activity. He warns in his latest book, Dark Winter that a major alteration of global climate has already started and that at a minimum it is likely to last 30 years.

Casey predicts food shortages and civil unrest caused by those shortages due largely to governments not preparing for the issues that colder weather will bring. He also predicts that wickedly bitter winter temperatures will see demand for electricity and heating outstrip the supply.