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Fri, 08 Dec 2023
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Earth Changes


In the Northern California wilds: animal 'Candid Camera'

© CA Dept of Fish and Game
In one scene, a small bobcat crouched on a one-inch perch, appearing to gather the courage for a 10-foot leap over a stream to an equally tiny landing spot.

In another, a large mountain lion crept along a creek, searching for a way across without getting wet.

Then there was the phantom creature that snuck right behind the wildlife biologist and his camera, then disappeared - but only for a moment. In another episode, a bear, the Holy Grail of "critter cams," hovered over a salmon pool on a remote creek, then out-quicked the camera.

A "critter cam," also known as a "trail cam," can unveil the wildlife secrets of forests, streams and lakes. These are movement-activated cameras strapped to trees, or fixed video cameras positioned at strategic locations on land and underwater. They are like having hidden eye-witnesses in the wilderness.

Cloud Lightning

Deadly flash floods hit storm-battered Australian city

Brisbane - Flash floods killed a woman and forced evacuations as torrential rain drenched Australia's battered city of Brisbane Thursday just days after it was hit by a violent storm, officials said.
Map of Australia locating Brisbane
© AFP/Graphic
Map of Australia locating Brisbane, where flash floods killed one person and forced evacuations days after the city was hit by a violent storm, according to officials.

The 85-year-old died when she was trapped in her car as it was swept away by floodwaters east of the Queensland state capital, police said. Her elderly husband was recovering in hospital.

More than 1,000 calls were made to emergency services in Brisbane and surrounding areas on the east coast, which were pounded by up to 25 centimetres (nearly 10 inches) of rain over seven hours overnight.

Thousands of homes were plunged into darkness and families were evacuated from houses threatened by a landslip workers had been trying to stabilise after Sunday's storm, said state Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts.


Government warns of "catastrophic" U.S. quake

Kansas City, MO - People in a vast seismic zone in the southern and midwestern United States would face catastrophic damage if a major earthquake struck there and should ensure that builders keep that risk in mind, a government report said on Thursday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said if earthquakes strike in what geologists define as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, they would cause "the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States."

FEMA predicted a large earthquake would cause "widespread and catastrophic physical damage" across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee -- home to some 44 million people.

Tennessee is likely to be hardest hit, according to the study that sought to gauge the impact of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in order to guide the government's response.


Eastern US Cold Weeks ahead of Schedule

Cold air that is as much as four weeks ahead of schedule has produced record cold temperatures and more lake-effect snow to the lee of the Great Lakes. Snow showers will reach east of the Appalachians into the weekend.

cold front US East
© AccuWeather
The extreme cold air pouring out of the high Arctic is trailing a weak clipper system that moved into the mid-Atlantic region Thursday. The cold air is spreading across much of the country east of the Rockies, but the core of the cold will be in the Midwest and the Northeast.

Temperatures into the weekend will be as much as 20 degrees below normal, while strong winds will create RealFeel® temperatures that will feel even colder.


Cold sweeping over US

Reinforcing shots of frigid air from Canada will continue to spill into the East into next week. By Thanksgiving Day, temperatures will finally rebound a little closer to normal.

The Midwest Regional News story reports that a weak Alberta Clipper moving into the Upper Midwest today will spread the next wave of arctic air into the East by this weekend, while sparking the next round of lake-effect snow to the lee of the Great Lakes.

Today, residents in the East woke to sub-freezing temperatures across the region. According to the East Regional News story, lows early this morning plummeted into the 20s across a good portion of the eastern third of the nation.


Bitter cold shatters record

Temperatures are climbing this morning after tumbling to a record low before dawn in Charlotte.

The frigid readings this morning not only set a record for the date, but it marked the earliest ever that the temperature has fallen below 20 degrees in Charlotte.

Forecasters say we will moderate slightly over the next two days, but another shot of cold air is headed for the region late Thursday into the weekend.

The unofficial low this morning at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport was 18 degrees. That broke the mark of 20 degrees for the date, set in 1951. Before today, the earliest sub-20 reading in Charlotte was on Nov. 20, 1951.


Early Snow - Sierra Nevada Opens Early

Sierra Nevada ski resort
© SkiInfo
Sierra Nevada, Europe's most southerly resort, had its earliest opening for 20 years at the weekend when more than 7000 skiers took to the slopes of Europe's most southerly resort.

The resort, one of Europe's highest, had planned to open this weekend but decided to open early following heavy snowfall. This led to a snow depth of 20 - 50cms (8 - 20 inches) of freshly fallen powder.

Magic Wand

'Snow-vember' Sees Ski Resorts Open Early Around The World

ski snow
Skiinfo.com, is reporting bumper pre-season snow across the northern hemisphere with the Alps, Pyrenees, Scandinavia and the Rockies all receiving huge early snow falls that have brought wonderful powder snow conditions for skiers and boarders on the glacier ski areas that were already open, and led to an increasing number of resorts in Canada, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the US to open up to a month earlier than planned.

Skiinfo.com reports that about 100 ski areas around the planet are now operational (the last southern hemisphere resort, Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand, winds up its 2008 record-snow season this weekend).

New openings in Europe this weekend (November 14 - 16) include Hemsedal in Norway, Obergurgl in Austria, Laax and Lenzerheide in Switzerland.

"Hemsedal has between 20-30 cm nature snow above the tree line and the snow conditions in the high mountain are excellent", said a resort spokesman. Half of the world's open ski areas at present are in Scandinavia where competition focus in on Levi in Finland this weekend for World Cup racing.


Ski industry predicts boom as cold sets in

Alps Snow 2008
© Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Recent snow at Saas-Fee in the Swiss Alps
Clad in salopettes and woolly hats, skiers swished effortlessly downhill yesterday as nervous beginners concentrated hard on their snow-ploughs. OK, so this was a dry slope in Sheffield, but dozens of those on the artificial piste are gearing up for the real thing and booking pre-Christmas breaks to the Continent and North America.

Because snow is already falling, Europe, the US and Canada are experiencing colder weather than the seasonal norm. That means two things for Britain's 1.3 million ski enthusiasts: the prospect of early trips to the slopes, and the promise of a longer season.


Dictators lay down the law in baboon troupes

It's rare that an animal garners comparisons to Stalin and Mussolini, but dominant male baboons practice a form of leadership not so different from dictators.

Troupe members follow their leader to a food site even though some get denied a meal, a new study of wild baboons finds.

On a scientific level, the study exposes a flaw in some theoretical models of group behaviour, which conclude that, given equal information, social animals make democratic decisions.

More practically, the research might hold some relevance to modern politics. Baboons showed the blindest devotion to leaders with whom they formed a social bond, a baboon they could believe in.
baboon society
© Tim Davies / ZSL Tsaobis Baboon Project
In baboon society, individuals reinforce 'friendships' through grooming one another.

"We've still got this evident bias for why we choose certain leaders," says Andrew King, a behavioural ecologist at the Zoological Society of London who led the study. "It might help us understand why we have certain biological biases to picking certain leaders."