Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Strong 5.4 magnitude earthquake jolts Anchorage, Alaska, US

A strong earthquake jolted Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, sending people diving under desks and huddling in doorways but apparently causing no damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 struck about 24 miles from the town of Willow at 11:28 a.m. The epicenter was 58 miles from the state's largest city, Anchorage, where the rumbling continued for several moments.

"Things were swinging pretty good and shaking, like pictures on the wall, bottles rattling - and my blood pressure went up at least 20 points," said Pam Rannals, a bartender in Talkeetna, about 30 miles from the epicenter. "We had bears in the parking lot last night and now the earthquake. Those are the talk of the town."

Bizarro Earth

Locusts Swarm Ethiopia

© AFP/File/Tengku Bahar
Crops in large swathes of Ethiopia risk being destroyed by swarms of locusts coming from northern Somalia, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Tuesday.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) "reports that locust swarms have been confirmed in seven regions in the country, including in areas where there is no previous record of infestation," a statement said.

"The government is expected to present a response plan specifying immediate and medium-term actions to be taken during the week," OCHA said.


US: So far, June sunlight in Boston is lowest in past century

Since the sun virtually disappeared on June 5, hidden behind an impenetrable pall of cement-colored clouds, Robert Skilling has tracked each overcast moment, anticipation building with each gray afternoon.

Peering out at the gloom from his perch at the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory and Science Center, Skilling does not dwell on the canceled Little League games or postponed beach days.

Rather, he focused yesterday on the primitive, softball-sized glass sphere on the observatory's roof, a device that has burned lines on paper since 1885 to record nearly every burst of sunshine strong enough to cast a faint shadow. This month, the sun has been obscured by clouds more than in any other June in Skilling's 50-plus years of meteorology. With a little more than a week remaining, it is flirting with the all-time local record set in June 1903, when only 25 percent of the sun's rays penetrated the clouds to reach the Blue Hills.


The Ap Index says: "There will be no sunspots"

SOHO sun specks 06222009
© SOHOSun today - a speck group has appeared, specks 1022 & 1023 are cycle 24 specks.

Frank Hill's summoning up of sunspots from the vasty deep of the Sun's convection zone reminds me of some Shakespeare (Henry the Fourth):

I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

Frank Hill says that his sunspots will be with us in three to six months. The Ap Index suggests otherwise. There is a correlation between the geomagnetic indices (aa Index and Ap Index) at minimum and the amplitude of the following solar cycle. Earlier this year I produced this graph of the Ap Index plotted against solar cycle maxima when I thought that the Ap Index would bottom out at three, giving a maximum amplitude of 25:

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake magnitude 6.7 near New Guinea

A major undersea earthquake with a 6.7 magnitude struck off the remote New Ireland area of Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said.

The epicentre of the quake, which struck at the early hours in the morning was located 95 kilometres south-southeast of Taron, New Ireland, the USGS said.

It took place at a depth of 35 kilometres.

Papua New Guinea sits on the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire", where continental plates meet.

Cloud Lightning

Tropical Storm Andres brushes Mexico; 1 killed

© Reuters
Tropical Storm Andres flooded homes and knocked down trees along Mexico's Pacific coast, killing at least one person as it headed toward a likely hurricane-force scrape with land on Tuesday.

Mexico issued a hurricane warning for the strip of coast from just south of Manzanillo to near Puerto Vallarta. To the south, the storm dumped heavy rains on Acapulco, where flooding forced about 200 people to evacuate their homes on Monday.

A fisherman drowned when choppy currents overturned his boat in a lagoon Monday in Tecpan de Galeana, between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, a state police report said. The sun peeked through cloudy skies in Acapulco on Tuesday, but the government closed all schools.

Andres sped up as it headed on a course to graze the port city of Manzanillo at hurricane strength late Tuesday, then push along shore past towns such as Barra de Navidad that are home to some American and Canadian expatriates.


Why some monkeys are better liars

Some monkeys use deceit to fool other group members, and the ability varies from species to species - now researchers think they know why.


Great White Sharks' Hunting Skills As Refined As Jack The Ripper's

© Neil HammerschlagUniversity of Miami's Neil Hammerschlag and collaborators from the University of British Columbia and Texas State University collected data on 340 natural predatory attacks by white sharks on Cape fur seals in False Bay, South Africa. They found that spatial patterns of shark predation were not random and that smaller sharks had more dispersed prey search patterns and lower kill success rates than larger sharks. (
What do great white sharks have in common with serial killers? Refined hunting skills, according to a paper recently published in the Zoological Society of London's Journal of Zoology. Researchers have found that sharks hunt in a highly focused fashion, just like serial criminals.

Predation is one of the most fundamental and fascinating interactions in nature, and sharks are some of the fiercest predators on Earth. However, their hunting pattern is difficult to study because it is rarely observed in the wild. As a result, shark predatory behavior has remained much of a mystery. Now, researchers from the United States and Canada are using geographic profiling -- a criminal investigation tool used to track a connected series of crimes and locate where serial criminals live -- to examine the hunting patterns of white sharks in South Africa.


Scientist: Obama's climate report 'would make Pravda editors blush with envy'

The following is a guest post by Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Chris Walcek, a professor at the University at Albany in NY and a Senior Research Associate at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center who studies the relationship of pollutants within the atmosphere. Dr. Walcek is joining many other scientists in critiquing President Obama's new global warming report.

Dr. Walcek: The authors of the latest US climate change report would make Pravda editors and reporters blush with envy on how they can misconstrue and mis-report truths for a propaganda angle.

In the climate report's Executive Summary there is statement that winter temperatures across the northern great plains have increased more than 7 degrees over the past 30 years. Whenever I see absurd claims like these, I delve into archived temperatures (Global Historical Climate Network) archived at our National Climate Data Center and wade through the analysis to see the "truth". Attached are two figures showing actual thermometer measurements (I doubt that actual thermometer measurements are shown anywhere in this report...) This was the first site I looked at.... but I am confident that the conclusions are robust and more general.

Why only look at winter temperatures (3 months of the year), and ignore the other 75% of the measurements? Because summer temperatures and annual temperatures show cooling!!

Bizarro Earth

Scaremongering, Scientists Pan Obama Climate Report

'This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA'...'Misrepresents the science'

Below is a small sampling of first reactions to the President Obama's new global warming report. (See: Obama issues global warming report -- 'Detailed picture of the worst case scenarios' -- 'Poised for its most forceful confrontation with American public' )

Sampling of Scientific Reactions to report

Meteorologist: 'This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA'> - June 16, 2009
By Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo, the first Director of Meteorology at The Weather Channel and former chairman of the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting. D'Aleo publishes www.IceCap.US

Excerpt: The report issued was the Hollywood supported NOAA CCSP report which after two rounds of comments by many scientists citing peer review reasons to change, largely ignored the comments and delivered a document even more alarmist than the UN IPCC. It starts out DAY ONE being wrong on many of its claims but goes much further to rely on climate models for 2050 and 2100 to make even more dire prognoses. This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA. They gave the administration the cover to push the unwise cap-and-tax agenda. For D'Aleo's complete reaction, go here.