Earth ChangesS


Arctic Mystery: Identifying the Great Blob of Alaska

A group of hunters aboard a small boat out of the tiny Alaska village of Wainwright were the first to spot what would eventually be called "the blob." It was a dark, floating mass stretching for miles through the Chukchi Sea, a frigid and relatively shallow expanse of Arctic Ocean water between Alaska's northwest coast and the Russian Far East. The goo was fibrous, hairy. When it touched floating ice, it looked almost black.

But what was it? An oil slick? Some sort of immense, amorphous organism adrift in some of the planet's most remote waters? Maybe a worrisome sign of global climate change? Or was it something insidious and, perhaps, even carnivorous like the man-eating jello from the old Steve McQueen movie that inspired the Alaskan phenomenon's nickname?

The hunters got word to the U.S. Coast Guard, which immediately sent two spill response experts to fly over the mass, which looked sort of rusty from the air. They also approached it by boat. The North Slope Borough, the local government for the vast and sparsely populated cap of Alaska, sent its own people out the main village of Barrow to have a look. They scooped up jars of the stuff for analysis in a state lab in Anchorage.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.2 - Iraq

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 20:32:27 UTC

Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 12:32:27 AM at epicenter

35.844°N, 43.349°E

7.4 km (4.6 miles) (poorly constrained)

60 km (35 miles) SSE of Mosul, Iraq

70 km (45 miles) WSW of Irbil, Iraq

105 km (65 miles) WNW of Kirkuk, Iraq

295 km (185 miles) NNW of BAGHDAD, Iraq

Bizarro Earth

Two earthquakes rock New Zealand, aftershocks continue

Two more earthquakes with a magnitude of over 5 on the Richter scale rocked New Zealand's southern Fiordland region Friday as aftershocks continued in the wake of a major shake two days earlier.

Both were in the same region as Wednesday night's quake, which New Zealand seismologists insist was of magnitude 7.8, equal to the one that devastated the North Island city Napier in 1931, killing 256 people. At 7.8, it would be the biggest in the world this year.

However, the US Geological Survey downgraded its strength to 7.6, which would equal the year's most powerful quakes recorded off the Pacific island state Tonga in March and off Indonesia on January 3.


US: Wildfires rage out of control in Nevada

Reno - Firefighters at the edge of the Sierra Nevada are trying to contain a pair of brush fires that have burned nearly 12 square miles near where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management national director nominee lives.

The Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center says about 600 firefighters are battling the Trailer 1 and Red Rock fires north of Reno along U.S. 395 near the California line and where former Nevada state BLM director Bob Abbey lives.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 4.5 - Guerrero, Mexico

© US Geological Survey
Friday, July 17, 2009 at 14:45:44 UTC
Friday, July 17, 2009 at 09:45:44 AM at epicenter

16.838°N, 98.686°W

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances:115 km (75 miles) SE of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico

130 km (80 miles) E of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

145 km (90 miles) SW of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico

290 km (180 miles) S of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

Comment: 13 minutes preceding this quake, there was another 4.5 magnitude in the same vicinity, although much deeper than this earthquake.

Bizarro Earth

4.8 Earthquake Hits Himachal Pradesh

An earthquake of moderate intensity jolted the hills of Himachal Pradesh Friday, officials said.

"An earthquake of moderate intensity hit some parts of the hill state at 4.37 p.m. It measured 4.8 on the Richter scale," R.S. Negi, an official of the department of seismology at Kangra, told IANS on phone.

He said the earthquake was recorded in the entire Chamba district, adjoining Jammu and Kashmir, and upper Kangra district only.

"The epicenter of the earthquake was Holi and Bharmour region in Chamba district. It was single-stroke quake and tremors were felt for six seconds. It was likely to have hit the adjoining state of Jammu and Kashmir too," he added.


Solar Cycle Linked to Global Climate

Establishing a key link between the solar cycle and global climate, research led by scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., shows that maximum solar activity and its aftermath have impacts on Earth that resemble La Niña and El Niño events in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The research may pave the way toward predictions of temperature and precipitation patterns at certain times during the approximately 11-year solar cycle.
Setting Sun
© NCARScientists find link between solar cycle and global climate similar to El Nino/La Nina.


Best of the Web: Could the "Year Without True Summer" Mean the Coldest and Snowiest Winter in Over Five Years from New York City to Washington, D.C.?

Jet Stream July 2009
© AccuWeather

According to's Chief Meteorologist and Expert Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi, cooler-than-normal weather this summer in the Northeast could point to a cold, snowy winter for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. He says the heart of winter will be centered over the area from Boston to Washington, D.C.

For people across the Great Lakes and Northeast, this has been the coolest summer in more than a decade. After a period of more classic summer heat in the coming weeks, cooler weather is expected to continue the trend of the "Year Without True Summer." For Southeast residents, the hot topic for the end of summer will be the tropics heating up after August 15th.

The Weather So Far this Summer

This summer has been unusually cool across the Northeast, northern Plains and parts of the West. Places like New York City and Philadelphia, which are typically warm and humid this time of year, have had relatively cool and wet weather instead.


Poor pour chilly New York has some people claiming global cooling

© AP / Bebeto MatthewsFlooding rain in Brooklyn, NY on June 19
There is not a typo in the title ... it poured in New York and it was chilly last month. In fact, rain fell 23 out of 30 days. That was the first time so many wet days have been reported, and records have been kept in New York's Central Park station since 1869. These records have a lot of value since there are many problem weather sites across the country. I pointed that out in a recent post.

Most weather stations in the US do not comply with scientific standards and show false warming, according to So when the National Weather Service came out with this chilly report below, it reinforced the sentiment for many of us. Where is the heat?

Better Earth

NOAA'S and GISS's Hot Streaks Continue - Despite Satellite Sensed Cooling

NOAA has as expected announced that June 2009 for the globe was the second warmest June in 130 years, falling just short of 2005. NASA GISS which starts with NCDC GHCN and then adds their own special touches had this June the second warmest on record just behind 1998.

In SHARP contrast, NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment had June virtually normal (+0.001C or 15th coldest in 31 years) and RSS (+0.075C or 14th coldest in 31 years). This is becoming a habit.

NOAA proclaimed May 2009 to be the 4th warmest for the globe in 130 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment showed it was the 15th coldest May in the 31 years of its record. This divergence is not new and has been growing. Just a year ago, NOAA proclaimed June 2008 to be the 8th warmest for the globe in 129 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA satellites showed it was the 9th coldest June in the 30 years of its record.

We have noted in the last year that NOAA has often become the warmest of the 5 major data sets in their monthly global anomalies. They were second place until they removed the USHCN UHI adjustment in 2007 and introduced a new ocean data set recently.

NOAA and the other ground based data centers would have more credibility if one of the changes resulting in a reduction of the warming trend and not an exaggeration which has been the case each and every time.