Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Post-snow, US Northeast mops up from wind-driven rain: Six people died in storm-related accidents, and hundreds of thousands were without electricity

© AP Photo/Chris CorradinoA tree lies across a smashed car at a home in Wantagh, N.Y., Sunday, March 14, 2010. Strong winds and heavy rain downed trees and power lines throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut on Saturday, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.
Last month, the Northeast was smothered by blizzards. Now, it's waterlogged by torrential rains.

The region mopped up Sunday following a bout with high wind and heavy rains that uprooted trees, downed power lines and flooded creeks and rivers. Six people died in storm-related accidents, and hundreds of thousands were without electricity.

More than a half-million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut lost electricity at the peak of Saturday's storm, which carried wind gusts of up to 70 mph. The storm came about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark.

Arrow Down

Peruvian Nazca Civilization Was Destroyed by Deforestation

The collapse of the ancient Nazca civilization, long attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon, may have actually been caused by deforestation, according to research conducted by scientists from Cambridge University and the French Institute of Andean Studies, and published in the journal Latin American Antiquity.

"The landscape only became exposed to the catastrophic effects of that El Nino flood once people had inadvertently crossed an ecological threshold," researcher David Beresford-Jones said.

The Nazca, who inhabited coastal desert areas in what is today Peru, are best known for constructing massive patterns in the desert sand that can only be seen from the air. Their civilization entered an abrupt decline roughly 1,500 years ago.

Researchers have now discovered that much of the Nazca environment was originally covered by a leguminous hardwood tree known as the huarango.


At least 2 snowmobilers dead in Canadian avalanche

Revelstoke, British Columbia - An avalanche struck an informal snowmobile rally in Canada's Rocky Mountains, killing at least two people and leaving an unknown number missing at an annual gathering best known for its party atmosphere and stunt riding.

Rescuers sent helicopters over remote Boulder Mountain at daybreak Sunday to determine if conditions were safe for a full-scale ground search after operations were halted overnight when darkness fell.

Police also conducted a door-to-door search of hotel rooms Sunday to piece together how many people were missing from the Big Iron Shoot Out rally that drew about 200 people to the mountain.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the canvass of hotel rooms left police more optimistic that the death toll would not rise significantly. He said that was because many of the snowmobilers were equipped with avalanche recovery equipment and rescued themselves.

Moskaluk said some people could still be buried on the mountain, but he could not confirm yet if anybody has been reported missing.

"Certainly we're in a better position today than we were yesterday," Moskaluk said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "This site will not be stood down until they are very confident, 100 percent confident that there's nobody remaining buried."

Better Earth

HDTV reveals brainy octopus has no personality

© Jeff Rotman/Nature Picture Library/Rex FeaturesI spurn your primitive human technology.
Octopuses make for discerning TV viewers: it seems they prefer high-definition to traditional cathode ray images (CRT). What's more, the first study using video to trick octopuses, finds that they may be the Jekyll and Hydes of the oceans: aggressive one day, shrinking violets the next.

"People have been trying for over a decade to get proper behavioural responses from octopuses and other cephalopods using videos," says Roger Hanlon, an octopus researcher at the Marine Resources Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study. "But this is the first time anyone has managed it."

Gloomy octopuses (Octopus tetricus) reacted to films shown on liquid crystal high definition television (HDTV) as if they were seeing the real thing, according to a new study by Renata Pronk at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues. "They lunge forwards to attack crabs and back off from other octopuses, much as they do in the wild," says Hanlon.

Surprisingly, an octopus that was bold, aggressive and exploratory on one day was just as likely to be shy, submissive and stationary the next. "This suggests that the gloomy octopus does not have personality," writes Pronk in the new study.

Bizarro Earth

Japan: Earthquake Magnitude 6.6 - Near East Coast of Honshu

Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 08:08:05 UTC

Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 05:08:05 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
37.780°N, 141.562°E

39 km (24.2 miles)


80 km (50 miles) SE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan

95 km (60 miles) E of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan

100 km (60 miles) NE of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan

285 km (175 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan

Bizarro Earth

New Zealand - South Island Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake

© GeoNet NZ
Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 1955 UTC

45.50°S, 166.64°E

7 km (4.35 miles)

80 km (49.7 miles) west of Te Anau, South Island,

110 km (68.4 miles) north-west of Tuatapere, South Island,

170 km (105.6 miles) north-west of Invercargill, South Island,

300 km (186.4 miles) west of Dunedin, South Island

Likely felt in Fiordland. Possibly felt in western Southland.

Better Earth

Climate Change - Goliath's Panic Begins

© UnknownThe higher-ups of the AGW movement, aka Goliath, sense that something is amiss.
A new editorial in Nature is startling for what it reveals, especially the fact Paul Ehrlich is a go-to figure about how hard scientists have it when it comes to media access. Ehrlich is an individual who became an international celebrity by spinning one frightening story after another (about the death of the oceans, for one thing) who maintains, with a straight face, that he and his fellow scientists have an unfair disadvantage in communicating their side of the climate debate. He is quoted by Nature as saying, regarding the aftermath of Climategate and the fact that skeptic scientists are finally getting a hearing,
"Everyone is scared shitless, but they don't know what to do."
People often forget: Goliath, right before the end, sensed that something was amiss.

For, ironically, among the most pervasive myths attending global warming is the one pitching David against Goliath, in which those touting the risks of damaging climate change are cast as David and Big Oil is Goliath. The story requires observers to ignore the facts: Media, most scientists, and governments the world over have spent and received so much money on their version of events that they have collectively become Goliath. Observers must ignore, too, the reality that skeptic scientists maintain their intellectual freedom at significant risk. Funding routinely dries up; tenure is denied them; ad hominem attacks of the most vicious variety are launched against them from the Ivory Tower of academia, from the studios of multi-billion dollar news organizations, and from the bully pulpit of government.

Life Preserver

Over 80 evacuated after landslides in south Russia

Landslides in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan have destroyed homes and caused the evacuation of 82 people, emergency workers said on Saturday.

The landslides, which are moving at a speed of 15 cm an hour, are occurring in the town of Buynaksk, some 40 km from the republic's capital, Makhachkala.

Bizarro Earth

Indonesia: Earthquake Magnitude 6.4 - Kepulauan Obi

Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 00:57:45 UTC

Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 09:57:45 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

1.710°S, 128.051°E

52.4 km (32.6 miles)

220 km (135 miles) N of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia

285 km (180 miles) SSE of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia

1230 km (760 miles) NNW of DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia

2415 km (1500 miles) E of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia


UN climate change claims on rainforests were wrong, study suggests

© REXA new study, funded by Nasa, has found that the most serious drought in the Amazon for more than a century had little impact on the rainforest's vegetation
The United Nations' climate change panel is facing fresh criticism after new research contradicted the organisation's claims about the devastating effect climate change could have on the Amazon rainforest.

A new study, funded by Nasa, has found that the most serious drought in the Amazon for more than a century had little impact on the rainforest's vegetation.

The findings appear to disprove claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could react drastically to even a small reduction in rainfall and could see the trees replaced by tropical grassland.