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Sun, 25 Sep 2016
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Swordfish mysteriously washes up on beach in Rye, New Hampshire

© New Hampshire Marine Mammal Rescue
Deceased swordfish
Marine biologists in New Hampshire were baffled after a deceased swordfish was found washed up on the shore of a local beach.

New Hampshire Marine Mammal Rescue arrived to investigate what happened to the large fish, which is typically found in deeper water.

"We decided to take it back to the Center to see if we could find any internal signs that may point to why it washed up, as swordfish would normally be offshore in deep water," New Hampshire Marine Mammal Rescue said.

Rescue Assistant and Aquarist Rob Royer performed an informal necropsy on the swordfish and did not discover any signs of having been hooked, according to CBS Boston.

The rescue group also reported there were no signs of plastic in its stomach, but said it appeared it had not eaten in some time.

Cloud Lightning

Two killed by lightning bolt in Odisha, India

© 123RF
Two persons were killed and their wives injured after they were struck by lightning at Palli Padmanavpur in Odisha's Ganjam district today.

The victims, who were working in their farms, had taken shelter under a tree during a sudden downpour when they were struck by lightning, said inspector in-charge of Berhampur sadar police station, S S Mohapatra.

The dead were identified as locals and their wives were admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital where their condition was stated to be out of danger, he said.

Source: Press Trust of India

Cloud Lightning

Two killed, two injured by lightning bolt in Bihar, India

© 123RF
Two persons were killed and as many others injured after lightning struck them in a village of Bhojpur district in today, an official said.

The incident took place at Chowkipur village as lightning struck the four people while they were grazing cattle in a field, District Magistrate Virendra Prasad Yadav said.

While two persons, identified as Pintu Paswan (22) and Dasai Kumar (15) died on the spot, burn injuries, he said, the injured were admitted to Sadar hospital.

Yadav also announced an ex-gratia assistance of Rs. four lakh each to the kin of the two victims.

Source: Press Trust of India


215M gallons of 'slightly radioactive' water drained into Florida aquifer

© FOX 13 News
Mosaic says 215 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" water has leaked into the Florida aquifer since August 27 after a sinkhole opened under a retention pond in Mulberry.

It's happening at Mosaic's New Wales plant in Polk County. A representative for Mosiac told FOX 13 News, the plant stores wastewater in ponds on top of a huge gypsum stack.

Comment: World Health Organization: Prolonged exposure to low levels of radiation increases the risk of cancer


A weather rarity: Tropical Storm Julia forms 'over land' in Florida

© National Hurricane Center
Tropical weather systems in the Atlantic basin on Sept. 14, 2016.
While a super typhoon was wreaking havoc in East Asia, a little tropical storm named Julia formed in Florida on Tuesday night. Yes, "in" Florida.

As in, it formed over land -- a very rare occurrence, meteorologically speaking.

The center of the storm was over the city of Jacksonville when it was given tropical storm status late Tuesday night -- but that decision caused some controversy.

'Persistent organization'

At 11 p.m., the National Hurricane Center made the decision to name the storm after a small area of tropical storm-force winds was consistently reported for 12 hours.

"Given this persistent organization, the system is classifiable as a tropical cyclone and advisories are being initiated on Tropical Storm Julia, the tenth named storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season," the center said in its discussion Tuesday night.

Comment: "Only about 2 percent of all tropical cyclones form over land," said meteorologist Dylan Dreyer. "In fact, it's been 29 years since any tropical storm has formed over U.S. land anywhere — Beryl, which formed over southeastern Louisiana in 1988."

Cloud Precipitation

Floods continue in Victoria and South Australia following record rainfall

© Victoria SES
Floods in Victoria, Australia, September 2016
The floods affecting the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia have continued, leaving dozens of homes damaged and at least 1 person missing.

Flooding has been affecting areas of Victoria and South Australia since the start of the week. Further heavy rain in South Australia over the last 24 hours caused further flooding, damaging at least 80 homes and forcing over 70 families to evacuate.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said that 14 September was the wettest September day on record for the Adelaide area. Earlier this wee BoM said that parts of Victoria had seen the wettest 3 day stretch in September for over 100 years.

In Victoria, the State Emergency Service (SES) has warned that, despite the easing of the torrential rain there, floodwaters continue to rise. One person is missing after his vehicle was swept away by floods in the south west of the state of Victoria.

Cloud Lightning

Record-breaking 200-mile lightning bolts reported

© Roger Coulam/Alamy Stock Photo
Most lightning bolts last just a few milliseconds and travel fewer than a dozen kilometers. But scientists have just announced new world records for distance and duration of single lightning flashes—and boy, are they surprising. Reviewing data gathered by networks of sensors that monitor the electromagnetic radiation triggered by lightning discharges (the bursts of static so familiar to those who listen to AM radio), the researchers were able to triangulate the positions where lightning bolts originated and the routes they traveled.

The distance champ (not pictured) leapt to life just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the middle of a long line of midafternoon thunderstorms on 20 June 2007 and then shot westward nearly to the Texas border—a distance of 321 kilometers (almost 200 miles), the researchers report online today in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. In addition to its cloud-to-cloud travels, the discharge also sent at least 13 bolts down to the ground, the researchers note.

The longest duration single flash of lightning occurred over southern France in the early morning of 30 August 2012; it doubled back on itself and thus traveled a mere 160 kilometers, the researchers say, but it lasted a whopping 7.74 seconds.


Surprise snowstorm brings blizzard to Yellowstone National Park

© ching.1002 via Instagram
Christmas has come early at Yellowstone National Park after a surprise snowstorm granted visitors an unexpected opportunity to capture stunning photos of the blanketed national park.

Four to eight inches of snow were forecast to fall up until late Monday night with further snowfall also expected early Tuesday as temperatures dropped to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).

A recent study carried out by the Yellowstone Center for Resources noted that the annual amount of snowfall and number of days of snow cover at the park were declining significantly.
This is not the first time, however, the park has been hit by a freak snowstorm. In 2014 snow came even earlier to the region, sweeping across the park at the end of August.

September temperatures in Yellowstone - which extends into Wyoming, Idaho and Montana - usually range between 37 degrees Fahrenheit and 68 degrees Fahrenheit while the average total snowfall for the month is half an inch.

The unexpected wintry blast hasn't deterred snap-happy enthusiasts who braved the conditions to capture some spectacular photos of America's first national park. The unexpected wintry blast hasn't deterred snap-happy enthusiasts who braved the conditions to capture some spectacular photos of America's first national park.


Mercury contamination widespread across western North America in air, soil, plants, and wildlife

© Kelly J. James
Densely forested areas, such as those found along the Oregon Coastal Range, collect substantial amounts of mercury because they receive high amounts of precipitation.
Mercury contamination is widespread, at various levels across western North America in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish and wildlife.

An international team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey, recently documented widespread mercury contamination in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish, and wildlife at various levels across western North America. They evaluated potential risk from mercury to human, fish, and wildlife health, and examined resource management activities that influence this risk.

"Mercury is widespread in the environment, and under certain conditions poses a substantial threat to environmental health and natural resource conservation," said Collin Eagles-Smith, USGS ecologist and team lead. "We gathered decades of mercury data and research from across the West to examine patterns of mercury and methylmercury in numerous components of the western landscape. This effort takes an integrated look at where mercury occurs in western North America, how it moves through the environment, and the processes that influence its movement and transfer to aquatic food chains."

More than 80 percent of fish consumption advisories posted in the United States and Canada are wholly or partially because of mercury. Fish consumption provides many health benefits to people, but the presence of mercury at high concentrations in fish can reduce some of those benefits. Balancing the protection of human health from mercury while also communicating health benefits associated with fish consumption requires detailed information about the distribution of mercury among fish species and across various aquatic systems.


Dead humpback whale found on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

© Tom Boudreau
A 25-to-30 foot humpback whale was found dead on a private beach in Edgartown sometime Monday.
Researchers took a trip to Martha's Vineyard Wednesday following a report of a dead humpback whale that apparently washed ashore earlier in the week.

Jennifer Goebel, a spokeswoman with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, said members of the International Fund for Animal Welfare went to a private property in Edgartown where a 25-to-30-foot humpback whale was found dead sometime Monday.

"Depending on the whale's condition, they will conduct a partial or full necropsy," she said in a telephone interview.

Goebel did not know how the whale died, its age, or whether the animal was a male or female.