Earth Changes

Cloud Precipitation

NASA using data from May supercell hailstorm over Carolinas to predict future Appalachian storm activity

supercell storm North Carolina may 2014

ER-2 aircraft pilot Stu Broce snapped this photo of a supercell that formed over North Carolina in May.
Swirling supercell thunderstorms brewed over the border between North and South Carolina in May, showering the area with chunks of hail as big as baseballs.

The huge storm column stretched 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) tall. NASA's Earth Observatory recently released a photo that a pilot took as he flew an ER-2 aircraft over the storms on May 23. Normal commercial airplanes fly at around 30,000 feet (9,000 m), but the ER-2 soared around 65,000 feet (20,000 m).

An anvil-shaped cloud typically forms in a thunderstorm when cooler winds push warm air up into the atmosphere, and a particularly powerful updraft can produce a huge dome-shaped cap called an "overshooting top." Severe storms, like the supercell in the photo, tend to have large and long-lasting overshooting tops.

Comment: The world has been plagued recently with hailstorms. For more information on what is really behind the bizarre weather lately listen to the SOTT Talk Radio show: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Methane gas seeping out of the ground in China

Dangerous: Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into fire
* Nanjiawan village in China has been dubbed the 'Invisible Fire Village'

* Lighting a cigarette or starting electrical equipment can be hazardous

* Locals called in priests at first believing they had been cursed by evil spirits

Methane gas is coming up from the ground in a village in China causing the air to burst into balls of fire.

The phenomenon is now so common that Nanjiawan village in south-west China has been dubbed the 'Invisible Fire Village'.

Lighting a cigarette or starting electrical equipment can have disastrous consequences.
Cloud Precipitation

Flash flooding across Belgium after 36 hours of rain

© Hanne Desmet
Around 36 hours of constant rainfall that began Tuesday 26 August 2014 caused flash flooding across Belgium including the provinces of Hainaut, Liege, Walloon Brabant and around the city of Brussels.

Hundreds of calls were made to local emergency services after homes and streets were flooded. The flooding caused chaos for motorists and at one point several motorways were also flooded, including the A8 and A12. In Brussels the tunnel road network was badly affected. The NATO, Montgomery and Arts-Loi tunnels were all flooded and closed to traffic at some point.

A family had to be evacuated from their flooded home in the Ath municipality in the province of Hainaut. No injuries were reported.

Rainfall Levels

Figures from WMO for a 24 hour period between 26 and 27 August 2014:

* Chievres - 53 mm

* Semmerzake - 56 mm

* Koksijde - 59 mm

Belgium saw some severe flooding in late July when heavy rain inundated wide areas of northern Europe. Two people died in the floods in Germany.

Cloud Precipitation

'Unprecedented' 40,000 seabirds dead following Atlantic winter storms this year off the coast of Europe

© Richard Crossen
Guillemot colony.
Britain's sea birds are under threat, experts have warned, after an "unprecedented" 40,000 were found to have died in this year's storms.

Three times the average number of guillemots were killed on Skomer Island, Wales, one of the country's most important havens for seabirds, as they struggled to find enough to eat in turbulent seas.

Professor Tim Birkhead, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said that a "run of storms" and "high mortality" would mean seabird populations will start to decrease.

The warning comes after a spell of extreme weather from mid-December to early January that caused a succession of major winter storms, bringing widespread chaos to the UK.

The unpredictable weather continued earlier this month as Hurricane Bertha brought further rain and storms, with nearly the entire average rainfall for August falling in just the first half of the month.
Blue Planet

Some San Francisco bay area residents report mysterious flashes in the sky during Napa quake

Several people called the KPIX 5 newsroom after Sunday morning's magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Napa, reporting mysterious flashes of light in the sky. Witnesses said the strange phenomenon looked like lightning.

Similar flashes of light have been reported in earthquakes around the world, from Japan to Peru.

Friedemann Freund, a scientist with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, said the same thing happened during Sunday morning's earthquake. And it wasn't a transformer blowing up or UFOs.

"What they are, are a consequence of the stresses building up deep below the earth, seven miles like in the case of the Napa Valley earthquake," Freund told KPIX 5.

He calls the phenomenon "earthquake lights," the quick buildup of stress that causes an electric current to flow to the surface and burst through the earth. This typically happens before or during an earthquake.

Deadly landslide strikes in south-west China

China landslide

The landslide hit the village in south-west Guizhou province on Wednesday night.

At least six people have died and 21 others are missing after a landslide struck a village in south-west China.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported that more than 70 houses in the village in Guizhou province were destroyed.

It also said, quoting officials, that 22 people were injured and had been transferred to hospitals for treatment.

The landslide was believed to have been caused by a breach from a small reservoir, state broadcaster CCTV said.


Last year's blustery winter gales were stormiest ever recorded for Ireland

Irish weather

Winter storms hit Dun Laoghaire.
Last winter was the stormiest on record, climatologists have revealed. Weather buffs used detailed atmospheric charts to rate winter storms dating as far as 1871.

And they discovered that last year's gales were the stormiest on record.

Dr Tom Matthews, Dr Conor Murphy and Shaun Harrigan from NUI Maynooth's Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units teamed up with Professor Rob Wilby from Loughborough University in the UK to analyse winter storminess over the North Atlantic for the last six decades - and as far back as the winter of 1871 in Ireland.

And the results showed that last year's was the windiest.

China has lost 55% of its most valuable resource - water

© Unknown
A few days ago I had a conversation with the Chief Operating Officer for our agricultural fund in Chile. We were discussing water, and he told me that roughly 60% of California right now is suffering "extreme drought" conditions. 30% of the state is in "severe drought". And 10% of the state is only under "drought".

In other words, roughly the entire state - the 8th largest economy in the world - is facing a severe shortage of water. But if you think that's bad, China is about to take over the spotlight yet again. A study by China's Ministry of Water Resources found that approximately 55% of China's 50,000 rivers that existed in the 1990s have disappeared. Moreover, China is over-exploiting its groundwater by 22 billion cubic meters per year; yet its per-capita water consumption is less than one third of the global average.

This is astounding data. More than 400 major cities in China are short of water, with some 110 facing "serious scarcity". Beijing and other northern cities get most of their water from underground aquifers. Over the last five decades, China has had to drill increasingly deeper to gain access to water.

Another challenge China faces is logistics. More than 60% of China's water is in the southern part of the country, but most of the usage is in the north and along the coastlines. When you consider that this is a country that has almost one fifth of the world's population and is soon to become the world's biggest economy, this is rapidly becoming a global problem.

Comment: See also:
  • About that overpopulation problem


Sub-glacial eruption of Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano forms deep 'cauldrons' of melted ice

Icelandic volcano activity increased on Wednesday, with scientists detecting 10-15 meters deep cauldrons of melted ice at the Vatnajökull glacier, prompting fears of an imminent eruption.
© Reuters / Sigtryggur Johannsson

A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) away, in the north-west region of the Vatnajokull glacier August 19, 2014.
Icelandic scientists have detected a series of 10-15m deep cauldrons at Bardarbunga volcano glacier. They apparently are a result of melting following a sub-glacial eruption, the Icelandic Civil Protection Scientific Advisory Board reported. A surveillance flight over the surface of Vatnajokull has shown the cauldrons to be 1 km wide, located in a straight line some 4-6 kilometers south of the Bardarbunga caldera.
The 10-15 m deep cauldrons, 1 km wide, south of the #Bárðarbunga caldera. Picture by
- Almannavarnir (@almannavarnir) August 28, 2014
"The cauldrons have been formed as a result of melting, possibly a sub-glacial eruption, uncertain when," country's Meteorological Office said, pointing out that the data is still being analyzed.

"During the night (Wednesday) we have had three larger events, two of them in the Bardarbunga caldera. Those were 5.2 and 5.3, and very similar to the events that we have seen there before," Palmi Erlendsson, a geologist at the Met Office told the country's RTE news.

At the same time, scientists have registered more than 1,300 earthquakes since midnight Wednesday. Meanwhile 50km to the north, a 4.5 magnitude quake shook the Askja volcano, presumably because magma from Bardarbunga crater is traveling in that direction.

Comment: Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes and flooding all in one: Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano 'cauldrons'


'Tornado' seen over Romney Marsh, Kent, UK

© Steve McGarrigIe
A funnel cloud spotted from a Dymchurch caravan park.
Sky-spotters were stunned to see a large tornado forming over Kent this afternoon.

Onlookers grabbed their cameras after spotting what appeared to be a twister in the skies over Dymchurch, on Romney Marsh.

The funnel cloud - technically not a tornado because it did not touch the ground - was snapped from a caravan park and elsewhere in the town.

Pictures of the would-be tornado of rapidly rotating air were posted on Twitter by Jayne Theo and Steve McGarrigle.

Holidaymaker Jayne said: "On holiday this week in Dymchurch and saw this little twister forming this afternoon!"

And Steve posted: "Wow spotted mini tornados in the sky at Dymchurch."

A funnel cloud is made up of condensed water droplets that becomes a tornado on contact with the ground.