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Cloud Lightning

Strange Squid-like Lightning Spotted Over France

Image
© Oscar van der Velde
High above Earth, in the realm of meteors and noctilucent clouds, a strange and beautiful form of lightning dances at the edge of space. Researchers call the bolts "sprites"; they are red, fleeting, and tend to come in bunches. Atmospheric scientist Oscar van der Velde of Sant Vicenç de Castellet, Spain, photographed this specimen on June 5th.

"With my new zoom lens I can now magnify the sky above thunderstorms to get very detailed images of sprites," says van der Velde. "This amazing 'carrot sprite' occurred near the coast of southern France about 250 km away from me."

"Sprites are a true space weather phenomenon," he adds. "They develop in mid-air around 80 km altitude, growing in both directions, first down, then up. This happens when a fierce lightning bolt draws lots of charge from a cloud near Earth's surface. Electric fields [shoot] to the top of Earth's atmosphere--and the result is a sprite. The entire process takes about 20 milliseconds."

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.7 - Offshore Honduras

Image
© US Geological Survey

Date-Time:
Monday, June 08, 2009 at 05:13:16 UTC
Sunday, June 07, 2009 at 11:13:16 PM at epicenter

Location:
15.930°N, 86.952°W

Depth:
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances:
30 km (20 miles) NW of La Ceiba, Honduras

125 km (80 miles) ENE of San Pedro Sula, Honduras

205 km (130 miles) N of TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras

1290 km (800 miles) SW of Miami, Florida

Document

Comment On Joe Romm's Weblog On El Nino and Global Warming

Climate Progress has a weblog by Joseph Romm titled "Breaking: NOAA puts out "El Nino Watch," so record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record".

This is an interesting and very bold forecast of record temperatures by Joe Romm, and, if this does occurs, it would substantially support his claims on the dominance of human-caused global warming. Only time will tell, of course, if this warming will occur. However, unfortunately, he still does not understand that i) the appropriate metric to monitor global warming involves heat in Joules, most which occurs in the oceans (e.g. see), and ii) that the accumulation Joules in the upper ocean has not occurred since 2003 (e.g. see and see).

Bizarro Earth

Gavin Schmidt's Anti-Science Exposed

Gavin Schmidt book cover
© Gavin Schmidt and Joshua Wolfe
Like that of all reservoirs in the American West, the water level of Lake Powell has fluctuated since the day it was dammed.

What follows is an open letter to the Salon writer Peter Dizikes, who recently published an article about a new book by NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt on climate change.

Dear Mr. Dizikes:

I recently read your overview of Gavin Schmidt's new book as well as your interview with him on Salon.

I was surprised to see that you consider the effects of manmade global warming to be "oddly invisible." Having studied the subject for a couple of years now, while performing my own research, it has been my observation that newspapers, magazines, and television news sources show images of supposed manmade climate change on a daily basis. Such images include: floods, polar bears, glacial calving, etc. If anything, images of global warming might be said to saturate western media.

As with so many other products generated by the AGW industry, Schmidt's book Climate Change: Picturing the Science is part of an ongoing effort to frighten the credulous. Its messages include: weather will kill you; our moment on Earth is unique; and climate did not used to change.

Evil Rays

UK: Tornado spotted in Cornwall

tornado
© John Prescott/SWNS
A tornado comes close to touching the ground near Bude, Cornwall
Britain's recent bizarre weather blew up a storm more usually associated with America's Deep South - a tornado.

The twister - a thick tunnel of cloud caused by spiralling wind - was seen near Bude in Cornwall over the weekend.

The tornado, defined as a "violently rotating column of air" are usually found in America but Britian has about 33 a year.

Derek Prescott, 58, who witnessed the latest storm, said: "Its spout formed and started spiralling down towards us. It was exciting."

Tornadoes usually occur with thunderstorms. They usually form where warm moist air meets dry hot air.

Target

Earthquake shakes Greece, causes property damage

Property damage was reported on Sunday in Greece following an undersea earthquake at mid-day that measured 4.2 on the open-ended Richter scale.

Seismologists at the Athens Observatory put the epicentre of the quake, which struck at noon (0900 GMT), at a point 150 kilometres (95 miles) west of Athens in the Corinthian Gulf, off the city of Aigio.

Question

Cold puts Western Canada crops behind schedule

wheat canada
© Reuters / Shaun Best
Canadian wheat grows in a field near Teulon, Manitiba, July 26, 2006.

Winnipeg, Manitoba - Cool weather has pushed growth of Western Canada's wheat and barley crop at least 10 days behind schedule, the Canadian Wheat Board said on Monday.

"You're pushing development into a period with better likelihood of getting a (pre-harvest) frost," said Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board. "It's not particularly what we need at this moment. It's just too cool."

There's little relief in forecasts for the Prairie region. Southern Manitoba, parts of which are still seeding, will have cool, wet weather through Wednesday, according to Environment Canada. Daily low temperatures of just above freezing are also forecast for much of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Wheat Board, which has a government-granted marketing monopoly on Western Canada's wheat and barley, releases its planting and production estimates on Thursday.

Cloud Lightning

The clouds with no name: Harbingers of a mighty storm

Image
© Ken Prior
Whipped into fantastical shapes, these clouds hang over the darkening landscape like the harbingers of a mighty storm.

But despite their stunning and frequent appearances, the formations have yet to be officially recognised with a name.

They have been seen all over Britain in different forms - from Snowdonia to the Scottish Highlands -and in other parts of the world such as New Zealand, but usually break up without producing a storm.

Sun

NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming

Image
© Wikimedia Commons
Past studies have shown that sunspot numbers correspond to warming or cooling trends. The twentieth century has featured heightened activity, indicating a warming trend.
Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest. A study from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Chess

The Man Who Cried Doom

NASA's James Hansen is the least-muzzled climate alarmist in America.

It's been more than 20 years since James Hansen first warned America of impending doom. On a hot summer day in June 1988, Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, came to Washington to announce before a Senate committee that "the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now."

The greenhouse effect would have looked obvious enough to anyone watching on television. The senators conducting the hearing, including Al Gore, had turned the committee room into an oven. That day it was a balmy 98 degrees, and as former Colorado senator Timothy Wirth later revealed, the committee members "went in the night before and opened all the windows. And so when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and [high ratings], but it was really hot."

Hansen has been a star ever since. On the 20th anniversary of his testimony to Congress and still serving in the same role at NASA, Hansen was invited back for an encore performance where he warned that time was running out. He also conducted a media tour that included calling for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, to be put on trial for "high crimes against humanity and nature."

If you hear the echo of Nuremberg in those trials, it's because Hansen doesn't shy away from Holocaust metaphors to make his point. In 2007, Hansen testified before the Iowa Utilities Board not in his capacity as a government employee but "as a private citizen, a resident of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the planet, of life on Earth, including all species." Hansen told the board that "if we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains--no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species."