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Thu, 23 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Pluto is undergoing global warming, researchers find

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Pluto is undergoing global warming, as evidenced by a three-fold increase in the planet's atmospheric pressure during the past 14 years, a team of astronomers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Williams College, the University of Hawaii, Lowell Observatory and Cornell University announced in a press conference today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences in Birmingham, AL.


More Data on Global Warming on Mars

New gullies that did not exist in mid-2002 have appeared on a Martian sand dune.

That's just one of the surprising discoveries that have resulted from the extended life of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which this month began its ninth year in orbit around Mars. Boulders tumbling down a Martian slope left tracks that weren't there two years ago. New impact craters formed since the 1970s suggest changes to age-estimating models. And for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress.

"Our prime mission ended in early 2001, but many of the most important findings have come since then, and even bigger ones might lie ahead," said Tom Thorpe, project manager for Mars Global Surveyor at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The orbiter is healthy and may be able to continue studying Mars for five to 10 more years, he said.

Mars years are nearly twice as long as Earth years. The orbiter's longevity has enabled monitoring of year-to-year patterns on Mars, such as seasonal dust storms and changes in the polar caps. "Mars is an active planet, and over a range of timescales changes occur, even in the surface," said Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor.


Mars Undergoing Global Warming

Mars may be going through a period of climate change, new findings from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter suggest.

Odyssey has been mapping the distribution of materials on and near Mars' surface since early 2002, nearly a full annual cycle on Mars. Besides tracking seasonal changes, such as the advance and retreat of polar dry ice, the orbiter is returning evidence useful for learning about longer-term dynamics.

The amount of frozen water near the surface in some relatively warm low-latitude regions on both sides of Mars' equator appears too great to be in equilibrium with the atmosphere under current climatic conditions, said Dr. William Feldman of Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M. He is the lead scientist for an Odyssey instrument that assesses water content indirectly through measurements of neutron emissions.

"One explanation could be that Mars is just coming out of an ice age," Feldman said. "In some low-latitude areas, the ice has already dissipated. In others, that process is slower and hasn't reached an equilibrium yet. Those areas are like the patches of snow you sometimes see persisting in protected spots long after the last snowfall of the winter."

Frozen water makes up as much as 10 percent of the top meter (three feet) of surface material in some regions close to the equator. Dust deposits may be covering and insulating the lingering ice, Feldman said. He and other Odyssey scientists described their recent findings today at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.


White House Rejects Mandatory CO2 Caps to slow Global Warming

WASHINGTON - Despite a strongly worded global warming report from the world's top climate scientists, the Bush administration expressed continued opposition Friday to mandatory reductions in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman warned against "unintended consequences" - including job losses - that he said might result if the government requires economy-wide caps on carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

"There is a concern within this administration, which I support, that the imposition of a carbon cap in this country would - may - lead to the transfer of jobs and industry abroad (to nations) that do not have such a carbon cap," Bodman said. "You would then have the U.S. economy damaged, on the one hand, and the same emissions, potentially even worse emissions."
Excuuuuse us! But hasn't the U.S. already lost most of its industry to "outsourcing"? Isn't the U.S. economy already severely damaged by Bush's warmongering and tax cuts for the rich?


Britain culls turkeys to quell bird flu outbreak

HOLTON (Reuters) - Britain gassed tens of thousands of turkeys and extended restrictions on the movement of poultry on Sunday to try to prevent the spread of deadly bird flu from a farm in eastern England.

Cloud Lightning

Jakarta floods death toll rises

At least 20 people have been killed and 340,000 made homeless by massive floods that have swept through the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Three days of torrential rain have caused rivers to burst their banks, sending muddy water up to 3m (10ft) deep into homes and businesses.

Authorities say the city of nine million people is now on its highest level of alert.

The floods are said to be the worst to hit Jakarta for five years.

Meteorologists have warned the downpour is likely to continue for another week, and with heavy rains falling on hilly regions to the south, more flooding is threatened.

Cloud Lightning

3 Tornadoes Confirmed to have struck Florida Friday Last

This is the second time in less than two months Central Florida has been struck by severe storms. The first time was in December when several tornados ripped through the area, causing structural damage, but no fatalities.

Here is the latest information as the recovery effort continues for people in Lake, Sumter, Seminole, and Volusia counties whose lives were shattered by tornadoes.

The National Weather Service now says at least three tornadoes struck Central Florida.

An EF-3 tornado packing winds between 155-160 miles per hour touched down in Lady Lake, Lake Mack and Paisley.

An EF-2 Tornado, with winds between 110-137 miles per hour hit DeLand, and an E-F 1 tornado, with winds up to 100-105 miles per hour, touched down in New Smyrna Beach.


Hibernating Animals Suffer Dangerous Wakeup Calls Due to Warming

Sun-worshipping humans might welcome the news, but for groundhogs and other hibernating animals, a longer winter could be a blessing.

A recent trend toward increasingly mild winters is disrupting normal hibernation patterns for many high-latitude and high-elevation species-and in some cases it may be a matter of life or death.

From marmots in the Rocky Mountains to bears in the Moscow Zoo, animals are spending less time napping. The change may be placing some species fatally out of synch with their environment.

When animals hibernate they're able to conserve the energy stored in their fat during periods when food is scarce. So when they are abnormally active, they risk using up their stored energy before they can replace it.


Operation Save the Whales: $25,000 Reward Offered for Location of Japanese Whaling Ships

An American-based conservation society patrolling the waters of the Ross Sea off of Antarctica is offering a $25,000 reward for the coordinates of Japanese whaling ships.

The Sea Shepherd Society announced the reward during its "Operation Leviathan" mission to stop illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. Two Sea Shepherd ships, the Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter, are in the Antarctic with 70 volunteers from 14 countries. They believe they are within 500 miles of the Japanese whaling fleet.

Comment: Japan is UBER-EEEVIL! Whale hunting should have ended long ago. Any truly civilized society would not hunt a creature that is probably as intelligent as human beings.

Cloud Lightning

Multicolored Snow Falls over Three Siberian Regions

MOSCOW -- Strange colored snow that fell in three different Siberian regions is not toxic and may have been caused by dust and soils blown into the atmosphere from neighboring Kazakhstan, a Russian emergency official said Friday.

The snow, which fell Wednesday afternoon, was yellow, green and orange and covered more than 100 square kilometers (40 square miles) in at least three provinces, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov.