Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Moderate Quake hits China's Sichuan Province: USGS

Beijing - A moderate 5.2-magnitude quake hit the Chinese province of Sichuan on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The tremor struck at 5:37 am (2137 GMT Saturday) at a depth of 18 kilometres (11 miles) with an epicentre 36 kilometres (22 miles) southeast of the city of Suining in Sichuan, southern China, the USGS said.

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan in May 2008, leaving nearly 87,000 people dead or missing and more than five million others homeless.

Bizarro Earth

Coral in Florida Keys suffers lethal hit from cold

Bitter cold this month may have wiped out many of the shallow water corals in the Keys.

Scientists have only begun assessments, with dive teams looking for "bleaching" that is a telltale indicator of temperature stress in sensitive corals, but initial reports are bleak. The impact could extend from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas west of Key West, a vast expanse that covers some of the prettiest and healthiest reefs in North America.

Given the depth and duration of frigid weather, Meaghan Johnson, marine science coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, expected to see losses. But she was stunned by what she saw when diving a patch reef 2.5 miles off Harry Harris Park in Key Largo.

Star and brain corals, large species that can take hundreds of years to grow, were as white and lifeless as bones, frozen to death. There were also dead sea turtles, eels and parrotfish littering the bottom.


Hamburg put on ice as Alster lake freezes

The deep freeze hitting Germany this winter has frozen Hamburg's Alster Lake for the first time in over a decade. Jeff Kavanagh laces up his skates to go for a spin.

It's not every day you see a man with a bike in the middle of a canal in the northern port city of Hamburg - particularly one on his hands and knees, taking a large hammer to the ice separating him from the freezing cold water below.

"Just checking it's thick enough to keep cycling," he calls out to concerned passers-by.

A middle-aged woman clad in a substantial amount of fur grumbles that it is too dangerous to walk on the canals, that warm water beneath the ice is thinning it out. Paying her no attention and having satisfied himself that it is indeed thick enough, the ice-cyclist clambers back on his bike and pedals off. Shaking her head, the woman announces that she's off to the Alster, Hamburg's picturesque inner-city lake.


Freezing weather causes more chaos in northern Europe

© Unknown
In freezing Germany, snow, high winds and icy roads led to over 300 traffic accidents in one state alone and brought transport systems to a halt.

Bad weather also prompted authorities to shut roads in the north, while in some areas railways stopped operating.

In the northwestern state of North Rhine-Wesphalia, one person was killed and more than 40 were injured in more than 300 accidents from Friday night through Saturday, police said.

Slippery roads claimed the lives of two other people involved in separate accidents in the southern state of Bavaria.

Meanwhile, Mecklenburg West Pomerania, a northern state blanketed by heavy snow since mid-December, is believed to be the worst affected by the flurry. Public transit was made impossible in the city of Rostock, hit by 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow overnight.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning Strike Grounds Florida-Bound Plane in Alabama

Montgomery - An airport official says a U.S. Airways flight was struck by lightning on its way to Florida, forcing the plane and its passengers to divert to Alabama.

Montgomery Regional Airport spokeswoman Lynn Cox said Saturday that the flight was grounded after 9:30 p.m. Friday in Montgomery, where the passengers had been given overnight accommodations.

Cox says a replacement plane had not arrived Saturday. She says some passengers arranged rental cars to continue on to Pensacola.

Cox says she was not aware of any injuries.

Cox did not know how many passengers were on board or where the flight originated.


Snow causes German traffic chaos with three deaths

© APNorth Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's most populous state
Heavy snow and high winds have caused traffic chaos across Germany with 300 accidents overnight in one region alone and at least three deaths nationwide.

One death was reported in North Rhine-Westphalia in the north-west while Bavaria in the south saw two deaths.

Bizarro Earth

Ozone Hole Healing Could Cause Further Climate Warming

Ozone Hole
© NOAATotal Antarctic ozone - September 2009.
The hole in the ozone layer is now steadily closing, but its repair could actually increase warming in the southern hemisphere, according to scientists at the University of Leeds.

The Antarctic ozone hole was once regarded as one of the biggest environmental threats, but the discovery of a previously undiscovered feedback shows that it has instead helped to shield this region from carbon-induced warming over the past two decades.

High-speed winds in the area beneath the hole have led to the formation of brighter summertime clouds, which reflect more of the sun's powerful rays.


Strong quake reported in South Pacific

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale on Friday rattled deep waters near the South Pacific island of Vanuatu.

US monitors said the quake had struck east of the island, reporting no human or material losses. It also did not prompt any tsunami alerts.

Vanuatu, located east of Australia, was in early October rocked by several earthquakes of up to 7.8 in magnitude.

Last September, a magnitude-8 earthquake triggered a massive tsunami in the region. The destructive waves hit the villages and resorts on the island nations of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, killing 184 people.

Cloud Lightning

Another Cloud to be Appreciated

João Luís (thank you!) points this interesting video that appears to show some iridescence and general awesomeness.

The description on Youtube does not seem very credible, but the language spoken does seem to suggest it comes from Indonesia. We have already presented some clouds of wonder here in Forgetomori, mainly pileus clouds, but this looks like a different phenomenon.


Damage Control: NOAA claims water vapor slowed recent 'global warming trend'

A sudden and unexplained drop in the amount of water vapor present high in the atmosphere almost a decade ago has substantially slowed the rate of warming at Earth's surface in recent years, scientists say.

In late 2000 and early 2001, concentrations of water vapor in a narrow slice of the lower stratosphere dropped by 0.5 parts per million, or about 10 percent, and have remained relatively stable since then. Because the decline was noted by several types of instruments, including some on satellites and others lofted on balloons, the sharp decrease is presumed to be real, says Karen Rosenlof, a meteorologist at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

And because water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, the decline has slowed the increase of global temperatures, Rosenlof, Susan Solomon, also of NOAA in Boulder, and their colleagues report online January 28 and in an upcoming Science.

Comment: It's blatantly obvious that global warming data has been manipulated and is deeply flawed, yet these so called scientists are still basing their research on fairy tales.

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