Earth ChangesS


Snow causes German traffic chaos with three deaths

© APNorth Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's most populous state
Heavy snow and high winds have caused traffic chaos across Germany with 300 accidents overnight in one region alone and at least three deaths nationwide.

One death was reported in North Rhine-Westphalia in the north-west while Bavaria in the south saw two deaths.

Bizarro Earth

Ozone Hole Healing Could Cause Further Climate Warming

Ozone Hole
© NOAATotal Antarctic ozone - September 2009.
The hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.

The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but the discovery of a previously undiscovered feedback shows that it has instead helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades.

High-speed winds in the area beneath the hole have led to the formation of brighter summertime clouds, which reflect more of the sun's powerful rays.


Strong quake reported in South Pacific

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale on Friday rattled deep waters near the South Pacific island of Vanuatu.

US monitors said the quake had struck east of the island, reporting no human or material losses. It also did not prompt any tsunami alerts.

Vanuatu, located east of Australia, was in early October rocked by several earthquakes of up to 7.8 in magnitude.

Last September, a magnitude-8 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami in the region. The destructive waves hit the villages and resorts on the island nations of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, killing 184 people.

Cloud Lightning

Another Cloud to be Appreciated

João Luís (thank you!) points this interesting video that appears to show some iridescence and general awesomeness.

The description on Youtube does not seem very credible, but the language spoken does seem to suggest it comes from Indonesia. We have already presented some clouds of wonder here in Forgetomori, mainly pileus clouds, but this looks like a different phenomenon.


Damage Control: NOAA claims water vapor slowed recent 'global warming trend'

A sudden and unexplained drop in the amount of water vapor present high in the atmosphere almost a decade ago has substantially slowed the rate of warming at Earth's surface in recent years, scientists say.

In late 2000 and early 2001, concentrations of water vapor in a narrow slice of the lower stratosphere dropped by 0.5 parts per million, or about 10 percent, and have remained relatively stable since then. Because the decline was noted by several types of instruments, including some on satellites and others lofted on balloons, the sharp decrease is presumed to be real, says Karen Rosenlof, a meteorologist at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

And because water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, the decline has slowed the increase of global temperatures, Rosenlof, Susan Solomon, also of NOAA in Boulder, and their colleagues report online January 28 and in an upcoming Science.

Comment: It's blatantly obvious that global warming data has been manipulated and is deeply flawed, yet these so called scientists are still basing their research on fairy tales.

Scientists in Stolen E-mail Scandal Hid Climate Data

Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified

More Scandals Implicate Delusional IPCC Climate Scientists

Climategate: CRU Was But the Tip of the Iceberg

First Climategate, now Glaciergate

The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam

IPCC climate gurus apologize for glacier 'error' after being called on their BS

Better Earth

Scientists in Stolen E-mail Scandal Hid Climate Data

The university at the centre of the climate change row over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner's Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

Better Earth

Better Food Makes High-Latitude Animals Bigger

New solution to 163-year old puzzle?

New research suggests that animals living at high latitudes grow better than their counterparts closer to the equator because higher-latitude vegetation is more nutritious. The study, published in the February issue of The American Naturalist, presents a novel explanation for Bergmann's Rule, the observation that animals tend to be bigger at higher latitudes.

Ever since Christian Bergmann made his observation about latitude and size in 1847, scientists have been trying to explain it. The traditional explanation is that body temperature is the driving force. Because larger animals have less surface area compared to overall body mass, they don't lose heat as readily as smaller animals. That would give big animals an advantage at high latitudes where temperatures are generally colder.

Bizarro Earth

A New Kind Of Lightning Discovered

© Bretwood HigmanLightning in the ash cloud atop Mount Redoubt from the March 28 eruption.
When volcano seismologist Stephen McNutt at the University of Alaska Fairbanks's Geophysical Institute saw strange spikes in the seismic data from the Mount Spurr eruption in 1992, he had no idea that his research was about to take an electrifying turn.

"The seismometers were actually picking up lightning strikes," said McNutt. "I knew that I had to reach out to the physicists studying lightning."

With McNutt's curiosity about volcanic lightning sparked, he teamed up with physicist and electrical engineer Ronald Thomas and Sonja Behnke, a graduate student in atmospheric physics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M. for a unique collaboration in order to learn more about volcanic lighting.

When the Mount Redoubt volcano started making seismic noise in January 2009, McNutt alerted Thomas and Behnke that this would be a great opportunity to capture some new volcanic lightning data. By the time the volcano erupted in March, the team had four Lightning Mapping Arrays set up to monitor the lightning from the eruption.

Life Preserver

7 killed, 2,500 stuck in Peru mudslide

Peru mudslide
© unknownMudslide floodwaters trap thousands
Heavy rains accompanied by mudslide have killed seven people while trapping more than 2,500 tourists, who were visiting the renowned Machu Picchu ruins in Peru.

According to emergency services by late Tuesday, the rescue team managed to airlift 125 foreign tourists from the historic site to safer places, leaving back many others in frustration and distress.

Around 1,900 tourists were stranded in nearby Aguas Calientes and 670 more on the Inca Trail, a narrow Andean passage up to Machu Picchu that takes four days to complete and which was cut in several places by landslides.

"People are sleeping in the street square, they are sleeping in gyms, in schools, on trains, in makeshift tents. People are just distressed," Julie Nemcich, 29, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from Aguas Calientes, AFP reported.


US: Winter snow totals trudge deep into records

© Rodney White
The last time there was more snow in Des Moines in December and January, the world was emerging from a several-hundred-year era of cold temperatures dubbed the "Little Ice Age."

Des Moines received 6.4 inches of snow Monday at the airport, pushing the total snowfall since Dec. 1 in the city to 41.4 inches. That topped the 37.2 inches in Des Moines during the same period in 1897-1898.

The record snowfall for Des Moines in December and January is 50.2 inches in 1885-86. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Extension climatologist, said the world was coming out of the Little Ice Age in the 1880s.