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Mon, 30 Mar 2020
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Mystery surrounds thousands of dead fish washed up in Spain's Fuengirola

dead fish
The beaches this morning in Spain's Fuengirola are littered with dead fish both on the beach and in the water under mysterious circumstances.

Thousands of dead fish are floating in the water and strewn across the beach with a warning going out from culinary experts not to be tempted to collect and take the fish home for consumption.

Fish specialist chef Jo Jo from the popular Luna Bar that hosts Friday fish nights warned "These fish could be contaminated and whilst the temptation could be to bag them up and take home for eating - it could have complications causing sickness"


At least 648 vultures found dead in Guinea-Bissau

Hooded Vulture

Hooded vulture
Hundreds of vultures have been found dead in Guinea-Bissau over the past 10 days, according to the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF).

As of 28 February, the known death toll was placed at 648 - and this figure continues to rise in what represents a massive blow to the country's vulture populations.

Last week, an incident was reported in the eastern province of Bafatá, which was initially thought to have caused around 200 vulture deaths. However, the death toll subsequently increased substantially. Poisoning was initially thought to be the cause, given that this has become a frequent occurrence across Africa and is now recognised as posing the biggest threat to vultures around the continent.

André Botha, the Endangered Wildlife Trust Africa's Vultures for Africa Programme manager, said: "In recent years, we have unfortunately faced several incidents where hundreds of vultures died around a poisoned carcass, usually due to human-wildlife conflict with predators, we first thought this was such a case."

However, the situation has since become more confusing, with dead birds found across several areas within Bafatá province. Such dispersion of victims has complicated the case, as poisoning incidents are typically more concentrated. Therefore, the precise cause of death remains to be established.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain triggers deadly flooding and landslides in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

flood damage
Heavy rain from 29 February triggered flooding and landslides in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, causing widespread damage and at least 3 deaths, according to local media.

Some areas recorded more than 180mm of rain from late 29 February to early 02 March. A weather station in Mendanha recorded 61.4mm of rain in 1 hour late on 29 February, with 17.6mm falling in 15 minutes.

The rain triggered flooding and landslides causing severe damage in the Metropolitan Region of Rio, particularly western areas, and also in the Baixada Fluminense region of the state.

Dozens of roads were flooded, cars swept away and houses damaged. Two people were injured when a house collapsed in Magé, in Baixada Fluminense. Rio Metroplitan Civil Defense responded to 161 calls in total, many of them for collapsed or damaged buildings.


Russia's highest volcano, Klyuchevskoy erupts sends ash 20,000 feet into the air


Russia's highest volcano, Klyuchevskoy, has erupted, sending ash and steam in a volcanic cloud up to 20,000 feet into the air.

On Monday, a report from the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) said a "moderate explosive eruption" of Klyuchevskoy was ongoing, and that explosions of ash between 16,400 and 23,000 feet "could occur at any time."

The aviation code of the volcano, which informs of the risk posed to aircraft, was listed as orange, the second highest warning level. An orange code means the ash cloud produced by the eruption has the potential to impact flights. If volcanic ash gets into an aircraft it can lead to the failure of navigation instruments and engines. "Ash particles sucked into an engine can melt quickly and accumulate as re-solidified deposits in cooler parts, degrading engine performance even to the point of in-flight compressor stall and loss of thrust power," the United States Geological Survey (USGS) notes.

According to the KVERT report, the height of the volcanic cloud had reached between 18040 and 19680 feet. The cloud had traveled nine miles and was drifting westwards.

Cloud Lightning

Perth, Australia breaks record with 5 consecutive days of summer thunderstorms

Lightning over Perth
© Syan Dougherty/twitter/supplied
Lightning over Perth.
Perth's wild weather over the last week has broken records as the city experienced its first five consecutive days of thunder and lightning in the summer months.

A severe storm hit the metropolitan area on Tuesday afternoon, flooding roads, tearing roofs off homes, uprooting trees and trapping some people in their cars.

On Thursday night came another severe weather warning from Gingin to Mandurah as a freak electrical show filled Perth's skyline.

The Perth area today recorded its fifth consecutive day of thunderstorm activity, which the Bureau of Meteorology said was a record for the summer months.

On average, Perth has around two days of thunderstorms in February.

Snowflake Cold

Comets, volcanic eruptions and 10 FEET of rainfall: 1861-1862, California's most devastating winter

california flooding 1862
© California Historical Society
Sacramento under water, circa 1862.
There's been a lot of talk about weather records being broken this winter, but it was only January's epic snowfall totals that have made it into the record books so far. In January 2017, the Central Sierra Snow Lab (CSSL) near Donner Pass and many Tahoe Sierra resorts set new monthly snowfall tallies ranging from 20 to 25 feet.

But the current seasonal snowfall total of about 42 feet at the CSSL means we still have a long way to go to reach Top 10 status at Donner Pass, let alone exceed the 68 feet that fell in 1938. We are, however, closing in on the wettest year in the precipitation category, currently holding at third place behind 1982 and 1995, the first- and second-ranked water years since 1871. Remember, precipitation is rain and the water content of snow combined.

The signature weather pattern of this winter has been a seemingly relentless series of atmospheric rivers that transported huge volumes of water vapor from the Pacific Ocean into the West Coast. At CSSL, resident scientist Randall Osterhuber has measured about 100 inches of precipitation so far — the annual average is 55 inches — but warmer temperatures due to the subtropical origin of many of the storms has limited snowfall totals at elevations below 7,000 feet.

Comment: That was California during the winter of 1861-1862. Further north in Washington and Oregon that winter, they experienced all that rain plus an intensely cold freeze. Speculating on what caused that extreme winter, John Caldbick at HistoryLink.org writes:
[...] the protracted and severe cold weather of the winter of 1861-1862 was seen throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere and was not merely a local phenomenon. Scientists also learned that in May of 1861, a large volcano named Dubbi in the northeast African country of Eritrea had erupted. It was the largest volcano recorded on that continent since records had been kept, and it spewed a "sulfate aerosol veil" into the sky.

Subsequent studies conclusively established a link between massive injections of sulfates into Earth's atmosphere by volcanoes and widespread, if temporary, global cooling. Today the scientific consensus is that this was the most likely cause of the Northwest's most severe winter on record...
Indeed, this volcanic eruption on the African shore of the Red Sea occurred in May 1861. But just weeks later, the Great Comet of 1861 became visible to the naked eye...
For two days, when the comet was at its closest, the Earth was actually within the comet's tail, and streams of cometary material converging towards the distant nucleus could be seen. [...]

Emily Holder, wife of Joseph Bassett Holder, while stationed at Fort Jefferson, Florida:
"Its appearance was sublime, as it extended over nearly half of the heavens. Many wondered if the world was not coming to an end."
Great Comet of 1861

Great Comet of 1861, also known as C/1861 J1 or comet Tebbutt; drawing by E. Weiss
The US Civil War began in 1861, as did the Dungan Revolt in China, which left over 20 million dead in a decade-long inter-ethnic and religious war. There was also a major earthquake and tsunami off the Indian Ocean coast of Sumatra in 1861; the next most powerful and devastating of which would be the 2004 disaster at the same location.

According to censuses in Europe, populations there declined in numbers in the early 1860s, the first such declines since the early 1700s, suggesting that excess deaths occurred from cholera and plague outbreaks that overlapped with the above events.

1861-1862 seems then to have been something of a nexus point in the recurring rhythms of natural climate change. Today, the US isn't quite being torn apart by civil war, but the social climate is nevertheless being reflected in the natural climate.


Bizarre snow strip forms over Kansas baffling forecasters

Rare narrow band of snow that stretches 150 miles long and 15

Rare narrow band of snow 150 miles long and 15 wide
Leigh Marts was on her way from St. Louis to Phoenix on Wednesday when she spotted something unusual out the window of her Southwest Airlines flight: a narrow strip of white, flanked by bare grass, lay painted across the Kansas prairie below.

A similar sight was seen above Hutchinson, Kansas.

Weather satellites confirmed the bizarre feature, which highlights the meteorological caprice that can give rise to such narrow swaths of snow. More than a foot of snow fell in the band, which was 10 to 15 miles wide in places. Just a few miles on either side, there were hardly flurries.

The thin stretch of intense snow was oriented northwest to southeast, passing through parts of Russell, Lincoln and Ellsworth counties in Kansas. The snow persisted toward Cottonwood Falls and Marion.


Up to 4 feet of snowfall thumps upstate New York (UPDATE)

A Jeep is buried in snow in a town of Adams parking lot
A Jeep is buried in snow in a town of Adams parking lot
The National Weather Service has cancelled the blizzard warning and has instead issued a lake effect snow warning.

The lake effect snow warning is in effect in Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties until 4 a.m. Saturday.

According to the NWS, 31.7 inches of snow fell in Watertown as of 3 p.m. Friday. In Carthage, a whopping 40 inches of snow was reported as of 4:40 p.m. Friday.

Additional snow accumulations of 6 to 11 inches are possible in the most persistent snowfall areas. Wind gusts are forecast to be as high as 30 miles per hour.

The lake shore flood warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. Friday.

Comment: Update: Newyorkupstate.com reports on 29th February:
Meteorologists were predicting up to 4 feet of snow could fall this week in a lake effect snowstorm that was intense even for Upstate New York.

Copenhagen, in Lewis County, had 44.2 inches of snow
© Kathy Hanchek
Copenhagen, in Lewis County, had 44.2 inches of snow
They were right: So far, Carthage, in Jefferson County, has measured exactly 48 inches of snow since the storm began Thursday. Copenhagen, in Lewis County, has measured 44.2 inches so far.

© Kathy Hanchek

© Kathy Hanchek
It's not over yet: A few more inches could fall today off Lake Ontario, the source of moisture for nearly all of this week's snow.

© Kathy Hanchek
Western New York got hit hard, too, as strong west winds blew over Lake Erie. The southern Erie County town of Sardinia had 26.5 inches.


Up to 73 cm (29 inches) of snow dumped in southern Ontario, Canada

Environment Canada got out the ruler and measured 53 cm of snow in Barrie as a result of the recent snow squall activity.

The tally came in around 9:30 Saturday morning.

The difference in snowfall from one place to the next shows how localized these squall events can be.

In Shanty Bay, a weather spotter reported 19 cm, while Phelpston, just south of Elmvale, recorded 39 cm.

The area around Flesherton was the most severely punished, with totals between 62 and 73 cm of snow.


Woman dies after attack by 2 pit bull terriers in Shreveport, Louisiana

A Shreveport woman attacked by two pit bull dogs late Thursday has been named by the Caddo Parish Coroner's office.

Geraldine Hamlin, 64, of the 2900 block of Seventh Street, in north Shreveport, was mauled in the incident that occurred around 10 p.m. at her residence. She was taken to Ochsner LSU Health hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries at 6:59 a.m. Friday.

An autopsy was scheduled at Ochsner.