Earth Changes


Waterspout strikes home on Long Beach Island


Brant Beach
Tuesday's severe storm caused quite a scare for people at the Jersey Shore.

An Action News viewer sent us video from from Brant Beach on Long Beach Island.

The storm appears to whip up a waterspout, sending it across the bay and right into his home.

It also tossed around debris and boats docked nearby.

Cloud Precipitation

Fifty die due to floods in Gujarat, India

Indian villagers standing on a building awaiting rescue by authorities as floodwaters rise in Amreli District, some 200kms south-west of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat on June 24, 2015.
Authorities in India's Gujarat state have asked people to move to higher grounds as incessant monsoon rains have triggered floods and house collapses.

Heavy rains have been battering the worst-affected region, where more than 50 people have died in flood-related incidents.

Nearly 10,000 people have been moved to higher ground, including 1,000 who were airlifted to safety.
India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season.

But the ferocity of this year's monsoon in Gujarat has surprised many, says the BBC Hindi's Ankur Jain in Ahmedabad, the main city in Gujarat.


Over 270 wildfires are burning in Alaska right now

© AK Forestry ‏
This map from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center helps put Alaska's wildland fire situation in perspective.
Following on a record hot May in which much snow cover melted off early, Alaska saw no less than 152 fires erupt over the weekend. A further increase since then had the number of active fires at 243 as of Tuesday — a number that appears to have risen still further to 278 Wednesday, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

"Given the high number of fires and the personnel assigned to those fires, the state's firefighting resources are becoming very limited, forcing fire managers to prioritize resources," noted the state's Department of Natural Resources Tuesday. The preparedness level at the moment for the state is 5, meaning that "resistance to control is high to extreme and resistance to extinguishment is high."

Granted, according to reporting by the Alaska News Dispatch, while this year's fire numbers are high total acreage burned so far hasn't been that huge. Nonetheless, it's quite a busy start to the summer — and there's a lot of fire season left to go.

Cloud Precipitation

3 killed and thousands affected by floods, landslides in Philippines

© Javes Ysip
One of three collapsed bridges in Koronadal City, 24 June 2015.
Three people were confirmed killed while around 800 others were displaced as flashfloods and landslides hit parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces early Wednesday.

Reports from local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) offices said the floods and landslides occurred following the almost non-stop heavy to moderate rains in the area that started Tuesday evening.

In South Cotabato, severe flooding was reported in the municipalities of Banga, Norala, Tantangan, Tupi, and Koronadal City due to the swelling of several rivers and tributaries.

Landslides were also reported in Barangays Bunao and Lunen in Tupi after a portion of a mountain in the area collapsed at the height of heavy rains early Wednesday.

Ira Aguinaldo, staff member of the Tupi Municipal DRRM Office (MDRRMO), said three casualties were reported in the landslide that hit a portion of Purok Tinago, Sitio Akmaon in Barangay Bunao.

Two of the casualties were identified as couple Nonoy and Monita Ga, who were both 74 years old.

Cloud Lightning

Thunderstorms lash U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, cutting off power to thousands

© Reuters/Yuri Gripas

A lightening strikes the sky above the Jefferson Memorial after a severe storm in Washington June 23, 2015
Powerful thunderstorms packing heavy rain and high winds lashed the U.S. Middle Atlantic region late on Tuesday, killing one person, snarling travel and cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

The fast-moving band of storms stretching from Virginia to southern New Jersey dumped up to one inch (2.5 cm) of rain in less than an hour in some places, said Jim Hayes, a National Weather Service meteorologist in College Park, Maryland.

"The storms were intense but they were moving pretty quickly," he said.

Police in Montgomery County, Maryland said a 79-year-old man died after his pickup truck hit a tree that had fallen across the roadway, about 30 miles (48 km) north of Washington D.C.

Bizarro Earth

Alaska shakes with force of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake after record spate of wildfires

© US Geological Survey
Quake: This is the region that was struck by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday afternoon
Alaska was shaken by a a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday afternoon.

The tremor, about 75 miles north west of Anchorage, shook buildings for about 15 to 20 seconds in the city at around 3.30pm.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Anita Shell said.

The quake was initially recorded at a magnitude of 5.6, then was upgraded to 6.2, before the USGS settled on 5.8.

'Thought a moose was head-butting my camper,' Becky Woltjer, resident of nearby Willow, wrote on Facebook.

It comes after a wave of wildfires hit Alaska in May and the beginning of June.

Preliminary research suggested the quake was at a depth of 71.6 miles, originating in a remote mountainous region.

No tsunami was expected, despite its proximity to the coast.

Bizarro Earth

More methane seeps discovered in the deep ocean

© Courtesy of CAGE/UiT
Arctic seafloor at 500 meters water depth. Carbonate blocks are colonized by anemones and sponges. Tube worms are abundant at the seafloor. In the upper part of the image, we see patches of bacterial mats. All of these features are indigenous to sites of methane release. Schools of codfish appeared to be following the laser beams from the camera system. Fish were often observed in big quantities during the cruise.
Over a course of 12 days Dr. Giuliana Panieri and her colleagues from Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE) collected images from seven areas of known methane release in the Arctic Ocean. One of them was Vestnesa Ridge, with over 1000 active seep sites at the depth of over 1000 m.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas stored in the ocean floor in unknown quantities. CAGE is a centre dedicated to assessing the amount of methane stored in these reservoirs, and what impact the methane in the Arctic Ocean may have for ocean environment and climate change. Main focus of the research is gas hydrate, a methane trapped in a solid structure that resembles ice.

Panieri collaborated with scientists and engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's MISO Deep-Sea Imaging Facility. The aim was to get a proper view of the deep Arctic Ocean floor.

"We have taken so many samples all over these areas, but we were sampling blind. We needed to see what was going on down there." says Panieri who is an awe of the results achieved during the two-week cruise.

The system that was used to get these images is based on the 'TowCam' design developed by WHOI scientists and engineers, and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. It consists of a color still camera that takes images every 10-15 seconds.

"This is the first time that we have seen these methane seeps in the deep Arctic Ocean areas. The images are amazing." says Panieri.

The midnight sun allowed for the tow cam system to be deployed 24/7 providing scientist with data that will be crucial in new discoveries in years to come.


Britain braced for mini-ice age as temperatures are set to drop to a 300-year low

Low temperatures not seen for 300 years could be on the way to Britain thanks to a drop in solar activity, experts have warned.

If you were enjoying the current warm spell, enjoy it while it lasts as forecasters have warned that the UK could enter a mini-ice age.

A Met Office-led study in conjunction with scientists at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Reading, found that a return to low solar activity not seen for centuries could increase the chances of cold winters in Europe and eastern parts of the United States.

But the study, which was published in the Nature Communications journal, added that the freeze will not be enough to halt global warming.

Sarah Ineson, a Met Office scientist and lead author of the study said: "This research shows that the regional impacts of a grand solar minimum are likely to be larger than the global effect, but it's still nowhere near big enough to override the expected global warming trend due to man-made change.

"This means that even if we were to see a return to levels of solar activity not seen since the Maunder Minimum, our winters would likely still be getting milder overall."

It is understood that the sun's output increases and decreases, measured by the number of sunspots on the star's surface, over a timescale of 100 to 200 years.


Early wildfire season ignites with 313 fires in Washington

2015 Wildfire
Firefighters continue to battle the elements, in what is shaping up to be an extreme wildfire season.

Firefighters have already said that the hot, dry conditions are ripe for wildfire. Now there is new proof in the form of numbers.

Washington has already seen 313 wildfires in 2015.

By comparison, in 2014 there were only 214 wildfires and even fewer in the previous years. In 2012, firefighters battled 155 brush fires and only 55 in 2011.

Fire officials said it is combination of several factors. First, the snowpack in Washington is the lowest it has been since at least 1981. Secondly, what started as a warmer, drier winter continued into an even hotter, drier spring.

In May, the average temperature is 60 degrees according to KREM Chief Meteorologist Tom Sherry. However in 2015, May delivered six days with temperatures soaring beyond 80 degrees.

Sherry said June delivered much of the same. More than one-third of the month had temperatures registering above 80 degrees and a few 90 degree days.


Woman and dog injured by black bear near Chico, California


Black bear
A woman and her dog were injured when they were attacked by a bear Monday night outside a home near Chico, in Butte County.

At about 11:30 p.m. Monday a woman who lives in Magalia heard a noise in her yard and her dog began barking. She let the dog out, heard sounds of a fight and stepped out herself.

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife Capt. Patrick Foy, she said a bear immediately came out from beneath a blue tarp, clawed her on the shoulder and bit her before running off.

The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening wounds and given rabies treatment. The dog, a 9-year-old golden retriever, was taken to a veterinarian, and is in tough shape, according to Foy. "Sounds like he fought hardily," Foy said of the dog.

Fish and Wildlife are deploying a trap to the area to try and capture the offending bear. Foy said it should be in place by the end of the day.