Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Flashback Water rage victim to be farewelled

A 66-year-old Sydney man who died after a fight over water use will be farewelled by his many family and friends this week.

Ken Proctor suffered a massive heart attack on Wednesday last week after he was allegedly punched in the head by a stranger, and kicked as he lay on the ground. He died a short time later in hospital.

Life Preserver

At least six Russian vessels hit by storm in Kerch Strait

Several crew are missing after at least six Russian vessels have been hit by a storm in the Kerch Strait in the Sea of Azov in southern Russia, the emergencies ministry said on Sunday.

"Two dry cargo ships, Volnogorsk and Nakhichevan, loaded with sulfur sank [on November 11] during the storm. The first vessel's crew and three crewmembers from the second ship have been rescued. The fate of eight sailors from the Nakhichevan is not known," a ministry spokesman said.

Cloud Lightning

High winds, lunar tides blamed for North Carolina island's beach erosion

The eastern side of this North Carolina resort island is accustomed to seeing beach erosion, but after tide changes and a recent offshore hurricane, the west side is experiencing the same.

Mayor Debbie Smith said some beachfront properties don't have relief plans like those on the east side of the island. Some local homeowners were surprised by areas of significant erosion - in one case, nearly 300 feet of sand dunes was said to have washed away.

Cloud Lightning

Storm smashes Russian oil tanker near Black Sea, causing 1,300-tonne spill

Five-metre high waves smashed a Russian tanker in half on Sunday, spilling 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil into the Kerch Strait between Russia and Ukraine and sank two other cargo ships, officials said.

Two vessels each carrying some 2,000 tonnes of sulphur went under nearby and eight crew members were reportedly missing amid worsening weather in waters between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Five-metre high waves have sunk three ships in the Kerch Strait. A Russian oil tanker was smashed in half causing it to spill 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil into the strait that divides Russia and Ukraine.

Cloud Lightning

Worst-on-record drought intensifies in North Carolina

The drought -- the worst on record in North Carolina -- became slightly more intense across the state over the past week, according to a report out today.

Gov. Mike Easley announced today that water usage is down 30 percent for the state's 25 largest public water systems, but conservation efforts have fallen short of the governor's goal of 50 percent reduction in water use for the state.


Indonesia's Krakatau roars and dazzles with fireworks

SUNDA STRAIT - Indonesia's Anak Krakatau volcano lets out a massive roar as it blasts a gigantic cloud of smoke and flaming red rocks hundreds of meters into the night sky.

A few hours later, a river of lava and stones glowing like embers glide down the slopes of Mount Anak Krakatau as the muted light of the rising sun tries to break through thick clouds settled above the mountain.

The volcano, whose name means "Child of Krakatau," formed in the Sunda Strait close to Java island after Mount Krakatau's legendary eruption in 1883. It rumbled to life about two weeks ago and since then has been dazzling scientists and visitors with its amazing pyrotechnics.

Bizarro Earth

Moderate quake strikes Indonesia's Sumatra

JAKARTA - An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia's Sumatra island on Sunday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage, the meteorology agency said.

Bizarro Earth

Strong 5.6-magnitude tremor shakes area of Chios, Greece

A strong undersea quake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale was recorded yesterday morning in the northeast Aegean, off the isle of Psara and close to Chios, but there were no injuries or damage reported. The quake, whose epicenter was about 20 kilometers from both Chios and Psara, was felt as far away as Athens. It occurred shortly before 4 a.m. yesterday and was followed by two aftershocks, measuring 5 and 5.3 Richter respectively, just after 9 a.m. Seismologists said they were monitoring the area.


San Francisco: Schwarzenegger declares Bay oil spill emergency

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared the oil spill in San Francisco Bay an emergency on Friday as workers intensified clean-up efforts and part of a popular weekend race was canceled.

Schwarzenegger visited the region and pledged all possible resources for cleaning up a container ship's fuel spill after it struck the Bay Bridge in thick fog on Wednesday.

©REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
A National Park Service ranger places a sign indicating the closure of a roadway leading to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, November 8, 2007.

Cloud Lightning

Hailstorm Paralyses Colombian Capital

Colombia's capital, Bogota, was hit by a freakish hailstorm on the weekend that rendered vehicles immobile. Cars were trapped under a cover of hail that reached up to 1.5 metres in height in some areas.

©El Tiempo

Comment: Amazingly, the story is getting very little international press. This storm ranks at least on par with the recent flooding in Mexico. This video shows how dire the situation was:

(Thanks to SOTT reader, Alejo)

The map below shows the effect of el Nino on precipitation. Since we're now in the la Niña part of the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) cycle the red indicates increased precipitation and the blue reduced precipitation for September through November. The area around Columbia shows increased precipitation so the event, or its severity, can probably be ascribed to the la Niña.

September-November This season the effects of El Niño are strongest. Almost all of Indonesia, the Philippines and eastern Australia are drier than usual during most El Niño events. Large parts of India are often drier than usual, but the Sri Lanka and some southern states get more rain. East Africa, parts of Central Asia and Spain are also on average wetter than normal during El Niño in this season, as are Chili and Uruguay.

This "La Niña is much better defined than last year -- right up there with the strongest we've ever seen. The ocean temperatures off the South American coast are the coldest since 1950."

The figure below shows the effect of el Nino on precipitation for December through February. Again, reverse the correlation since we're in a la Niña period.

December-February In boreal winter the Philippines and East Indonesia stay drier, whereas the Pacific islands along the equator remain wetter. Florida also gets more rain than normal during El Niño, this effect extends to other southern states of the U.S. and into Mexico. South Africa is more frequently dry, as is the northern coast of South America and some of the leeward Antilles. In Uruguay en South Brasil rainfall increases on average. Along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru rainfall increases when the coastal waters heat up, an effect also named El Niño but not always coincident with the warming along the equator that affects the rest of the world.

Notice the large blue area in the southeastern part of the US, meaning reduced precipitation. The southeast US is already suffering from an extreme drought which can see Atlanta run out of water within 90 days.

And not just Georgia will be affected:
As if the summer wasn't hot enough, now we face an unusually warm winter with temperatures expected to be 3 to 5 degrees above normal, the National Weather Service in Miami said Wednesday.

And don't blame global warming. If its predictions holds true, the weather service said, it will mainly be the work of La Niña, the same weather phenomenon expected to reduce rainfall and plunge South Florida back into severe drought by next spring.
This is bad timing for the southeast US.