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Thu, 20 Jan 2022
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Earth Changes


Butterflies' Migrational Timekeeper Found

© Monarch Watch/Chip Taylor
Migrating monarch butterflies need their antennae to navigate.
Monarchs may navigate using clocks in their antennae.

Every autumn, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies pour out of southern Canada, funnel through the United States to the central Mexican highlands and land in groves of fir trees no larger than the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Sun is a crucial tool for navigating this precise 4,000-kilometre flight path - but it's a moving target. To maintain their southward bearings while the Sun crosses the sky, the insects must keep track of the time of day to continuously correct their internal compass. Neurobiologists have assumed that this clock is in the monarchs' brain together with the rest of the navigation circuitry, but new research reported in Science reveals that it may actually reside in the antennae.

"This is a novel function for the antennae, and a huge surprise overall," says lead author Steven Reppert of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. "It brings us closer to understanding how time and space are integrated on [the monarchs'] remarkable migration."

Cloud Lightning

U.S. Northeast May Have Coldest Winter in a Decade

The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

"Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard," Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. "About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It's pretty good odds."

Warming in the Pacific often means fewer Atlantic hurricanes and higher temperatures in the U.S. Northeast during January, February and March, according to the National Weather Service. El Nino occurs every two to five years, on average, and lasts about 12 months, according to the service.


Dust storms spread deadly diseases worldwide?

dust storm disease
© Tim Wimborne/Reuters
A dust storm blankets Sydney's iconic Opera House at sunrise
Huge dust storms, like the ones that blanketed Sydney twice last week, hit Queensland yesterday and turned the air red across much of eastern Australia, are spreading lethal epidemics around the world. However, they can also absorb climate change emissions, say researchers studying the little understood but growing phenomenon.

The Sydney storm, which left millions of people choking on some of the worst air pollution in 70 years, was a consequence of the 10-year drought that has turned parts of Australia's interior into a giant dust bowl, providing perfect conditions for high winds to whip loose soil into the air and carry it thousands of miles across the continent.

Cloud Lightning

Philippine storm leaves 106 dead and missing

© AP Photo/Pat Roque
Two women scrape mud from the floor at her home after floodwaters subsides Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 in Manila's Marikina City, Philippines. More than a month's worth of rain fell in just 12 hours as Tropical Storm Ketsana slammed ashore in the Philippines, killing scores of people and stranding thousands on rooftops in the capital's worst flooding in more than 42 years.
Rescuers plucked bodies from muddy floodwaters and saved drenched survivors from rooftops Sunday after a tropical storm tore through the northern Philippines and left at least 106 people dead and missing.

It was the region's worst flooding in more than four decades. The government declared a "state of calamity" in metropolitan Manila and 25 storm-hit provinces.

Tropical Storm Ketsana roared across the northern Philippines on Saturday, dumping more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours. The resulting landslides and flooding have left at least 83 people dead and 23 others missing, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said.

Many parts of the capital remained flooded Sunday, although waters were fast receding.

TV footage shot from military helicopter showed drenched survivors still marooned on top of half-submerged passenger buses and rooftops in the suburbs of Manila. Some dangerously clung on high-voltage power lines while others plodded through waist-high flood waters.


Flash floods kill five in Turkey

Flash floods and landslides caused by heavy rain have killed five people in northeastern Turkey overnight, according to local media reports.

The casualties included three members of one family who died when their house was crushed by a landslide on Wednesday night near the border with Georgia, Anatolia news agency reported.

A five-story building in the town of Kale collapsed and several buildings and a mosque in Demiciler were heavily damaged, DPA reported.

Bizarro Earth

Canada: Earthquake Magnitude 4.8 - Northwest Territories

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 23:01:35 UTC

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 05:01:35 PM at epicenter

66.578°N, 131.165°W

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

216 km (134 miles) SSE (149°) from Inuvik, NWT, Canada

247 km (154 miles) NW (307°) from Norman Wells, NWT, Canada

473 km (294 miles) NE (50°) from Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada

779 km (484 miles) ENE (68°) from Fairbanks, AK

Bizarro Earth

Congo-Tanzania: Earthquake Magnitude 5.3 - Lake Tangayika

Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 13:26:36 UTC

Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 03:26:36 PM at epicenter

7.592°S, 30.444°E

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

25 km (15 miles) WSW of Kipili, Tanzania

135 km (85 miles) WNW of Sumbawanga, Tanzania

975 km (610 miles) W of DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania

990 km (620 miles) SW of NAIROBI, Kenya

Control Panel

It's Back: More Dust Blankets Australian East Coast

Dust Sotrm
© AAP/John Pryke
Dust to dust: Sydney landmarks have been covered again
Dust storms are moving through Brisbane and other parts of south-east Queensland this evening for the second time this week.

Residents in Brisbane say they can taste the dust in the air and it is visible at Robina on the Gold Coast.

Earlier today it caused more health problems in New South Wales.


Leading global warming proponent pulls an about face

Imagine if Pope Benedict gave a speech saying the Catholic Church has had it wrong all these centuries; there is no reason priests shouldn't marry. That might generate the odd headline, no?

Or if Don Cherry claimed suddenly to like European hockey players who wear visors and float around the ice, never bodychecking opponents. Or Jack Layton insisted that unions are ruining the economy by distorting wages and protecting unproductive workers.

Or Stephen Harper began arguing that it makes good economic sense for Ottawa to own a car company. (Oh, wait, that one happened.) But at least, the Tories-buy-GM aberration made all the papers and newscasts.

When a leading proponent for one point of view suddenly starts batting for the other side, it's usually newsworthy. So why was a speech last week by Prof. Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute not given more prominence?

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 4.1 - Eastern Montana

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 15:11:34 UTC

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 09:11:34 AM at epicenter

45.016°N, 104.207°W

4.5 km (2.8 miles)

48 km (30 miles) NE (40°) from Hulett, WY

48 km (30 miles) NW (324°) from Belle Fourche, SD

56 km (35 miles) NW (314°) from Fruitdale, SD

69 km (43 miles) N (11°) from Sundance, WY

501 km (311 miles) N (8°) from Fort Collins, CO

591 km (368 miles) N (6°) from Denver, CO