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Fri, 26 Aug 2016
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Earth Changes

Black Cat

2 people killed by leopard in 3 days in Murbad, India

Murbad has been left in shock ever since the death of two elderly villagers in two separate leopard attacks over the weekend. Such instances of man-leopard conflict have not been witnessed in the area in seven years, and local residents — both, human and animal — are shaken to the core. According to reports, the forest department sought orders to shoot the leopard from wildlife headquarters at Nagpur, and have been given a go ahead.

Highly unusual

The first incident took place on Friday evening. With no eyewitnesses or evidence to prove what exactly happened to provoke the animal, officials are still trying to understand the unusual circumstances under which the attack took place. For one, it was still daylight when the leopard attacked tribal farmer, Mirabai Ware (55). She was in an open area, returning from her neighbour's house just 300 metres from her own home, when the leopard is thought to have pounced on her and dragged her away. "Family members followed the trail of blood till they found her body in the bushes," said a forest official.


Wombat attack leaves woman with horrific bite in Canberra, Australia

© Getty
Wombats are small marsupials with stumpy legs who are not known to be vicious
A woman has been hospitalised with more than 20 bites after she was viciously attacked by a WOMBAT.

Kerry Evans was out walking with her dogs on a home-lined street when she saw what looked like a rock in a garden.

The 58-year-old said that, as she and her two English springer spaniels Murphy and Pirate got closer to the object in Canberra, Australia, she realised it was wombat - a badger-sized furry marsupial.

Public servant Kerry was stunned when the animal suddenly turned on her and her dogs, charging them and biting Murphy.

Kerry fell to the ground tripping over the dog leads - and that's when the animal turned on her, launching a sustained attack as the terrified dogs tried to get out of the way.

The attack, at about 7.30pm last Monday, only stopped when two samaritans came to Kerry's aid and she was able to get to her feet and escape.


Walker finds dead minke whale in Cotes-d'Armor, France

A walker made a grisly discovery during a Sunday-morning stroll along the seafront at l'Ile Grande à Pleumeur-Bodou, Côtes-d'Armor - the decomposing body of a 7m whale.

A security cordon has been placed around the animal, identified as a minke whale which is thought to have been dead for at least a week, while experts work to establish the cause of death and remove the body.

It is thought the body that washed up on the Côtes-d'Armor shore was that of a dead whale that was spotted in the sea off the coast of the Île de Batz, near Roscoff. Experts say sea currents could have brought the body

Minke whales are a regular sight in the Channel, but they are more usually seen out in the Atlantic


SOTT Exclusive: The growing threat of underground fires and explosions

© Mbusi Ka-Mphezulu/AENS
The Council for Geoscience is on its way to investigate this strange ground fire in Limpopo.
A couple of weird underground fires recently caught our attention. Scientists from South Africa's Council for Geoscience are gathering in Limpopo, the country's northernmost province of South Africa to investigate the mysterious appearance of a lava-like fire, which has injured three people after burning unabated for three weeks at Zaaiplaas Village in Sehlakwane.

Last month the Limpopo Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) received a call from the Sekhukune District Municipality regarding the emergence of an unusual fire, consisting of mud and grey ash in a damp wetland area on the outskirts of the village.

The fire has steadily burnt through an area larger than a rugby field, transforming the wetland into what looks like an active volcanic field. A community member, Mbusi Ka-Mphezulu, posted photos on Facebook of a lava-like substance glowing from underneath the ground. He said,
"While we were doing ANC work this is what we saw, the ground is on fire. It is like a volcano. People of Sehlakwane please take note of this unusual stuff."
In a Times LIVE article, unusual seismic activity, tree roots burning underground or the ongoing drought conditions, which have dried out the wetland, have all been pointed to as possible sources for the mysterious 'volcano' fire phenomenon.


2016 is already a year of extreme weather disasters for the United States

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Travis Guedry and his dog Ziggy glide through floodwaters keeping an eye out for people in need on August 17, 2016 in Sorrento, Louisiana. Tremendous downpours have resulted in disastrous flooding, responsible for at least seven deaths and thousands of homes being damaged.
The United States has already seen some of the most extreme weather disasters this year, and 2016 is only half over.

Just this week, the Blue Cut wildfire raged in Southern California, destroying dozens of houses and forcing over 80,000 residents to evacuate.

Also recently, at least 11 people were reported to have died from the catastrophic flooding in south Louisiana. About 30,000 people have been rescued since Friday, when heavy rains started to submerge communities. The flood, which is said to be one of the worst in Louisiana history, had damaged at least 40,000 homes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released a report saying that as of July 2016, weather disasters have already caused $8-billion worth of losses across the U.S. NOAA has listed eight weather and climate disasters (2 flooding events and 6 severe storm events), with losses exceeding $1 billion each, including deaths and significant economic impact among affected areas. These weather events are all notable effects of climate change.

The Blue Cut wildfire and the Louisiana flooding are only two of the most catastrophic weather disasters that plagued the country. Here are the other deadly climate catastrophes that hit the U.S. so far in 2016.

Comment: For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the planet, check out the monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - July 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Bizarro Earth

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits India-Myanmar border region, tremors felt in Assam

© Google maps
A 3.1 magnitude earthquake also struck Karbi Anglong district in Assam, tremors were also felt in Guwahati.

An earthquake of magnitude 5.5 on the Richter Scale hit Myanmar-India border region at 7:11 am Tuesday morning, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

A 3.1 magnitude earthquake also struck Karbi Anglong district in Assam at 5:30 am Tuesday morning. Earthquake tremors were also felt in Guwahati in Assam, news agency ANI reported.

There are currently no reports on damage in the local areas.

Cloud Grey

NASA: This year's Arctic melt won't be setting any records

© NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio
Visualization of Arctic sea ice extent on Aug. 13, 2016.
From Walt Meier at NASA Goddard:

This year's melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. The melt slowed down in June, however, making it highly unlikely that this year's summertime sea ice minimum extent will set a new record.

"Even when it's likely that we won't have a record low, the sea ice is not showing any kind of recovery. It's still in a continued decline over the long term," said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "It's just not going to be as extreme as other years because the weather conditions in the Arctic were not as extreme as in other years."

"A decade ago, this year's sea ice extent would have set a new record low and by a fair amount. Now, we're kind of used to these low levels of sea ice - it's the new normal."

This year's sea ice cover of the Barents and Kara seas north of Russia opened up early, in April, exposing the surface ocean waters to the energy from the sun weeks ahead of schedule. By May 31, the extent of the Arctic sea ice cover was comparable to end-of-June average levels. But the Arctic weather changed in June and slowed the sea ice loss. A persistent area of low atmospheric pressure, accompanied by cloudiness, winds that dispersed ice and lower-than-average temperatures, didn't favor melt.

Comment: NASA's predictive ability is not only limited but completely irrelevant with their use of faulty computer models, cooked record keeping, distorted interpretations, and denial of the historical patterns leading to ice ages. One doesn't even need to be a keen reader to see how much Meier really wants a drastic Arctic ice melt to occur.


Seven killed, two missing in typhoon Dianmu flash flooding, landslides in northern Vietnam

© Tuoitre News
Landslides in the northern Vietnamese province of Yen Bai caused by tropical storm Dianmu.
Seven people have been killed, two are missing, and eight have been wounded by the impact of tropical storm Dianmu in northern Vietnam over the weekend. The Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control has sent a brief report to leaders of northern provinces, confirming the number of casualties in the aftermath of the typhoon.

The storm made landfall on Friday afternoon in Hai Phong City and Thai Binh Province with winds near the eye of the storm reaching 60 - 90kph, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting. Dianmu began weakening by 7:00 pm on the same day and eventually dissipated en route to the northern mountains, with anticipated heavy rainfall, flash floods, and landslides.

The two missing victims were swept away by flood water while the injured were caught under fallen trees, muds, and collapsed homes, The Department of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said.

A total of 44 houses were knocked down entirely or washed away, while the roofs of 651 residences were damaged by strong winds, it continued, adding that 1,511 houses had been submerged in flood and 2,154 households had been evacuated.

The tropical storm also ravaged 8,843 hectares of paddy field and 1,189 hectares of other crops, while uprooting 252 trees planted across the region. About 14 small bridges were destroyed and many sections of national and provincial highways were damaged in the provinces, creating problems for local traffic.Several electric lines were also impacted and about 63 utility posts broken, according to the report.


Pennsylvania residents abuzz by cause of mystery 'sonic boom'

© Via YouTube/World Cities
Things are certainly booming in Hazleton — the question is, what caused the loud blast heard by many throughout the area? At approximately 12:15 a.m. Sunday many residents across the Hazleton area reported experiencing what sounded and felt like a "sonic boom" — rattling windows, and "echoing like an explosion," according to concerned resident Tom Heller.

"I've been hearing people report about it from all over," he said. "McAdoo, Hazleton, Packer Township ... even the Valley." The noise went viral on social media, drawing hypotheses from concerned residents as to what caused such a boom.

"We've haven't gotten any calls or responded to any incidents that were related to any type of boom like that," Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko said. "We've heard people talking about this explosion, but there's nothing that we're sure of, or that we responded to."

While some cite a "sonic boom," "a meteor exploding in atmosphere" or "a high-tension power line breaking," the most popular guess points to the ignition of a methane gas pocket at the site of the Jeanesville mine fire, burning underground in Banks Township.

Many local residents also cite smelling sulfur — something common in methane-related incidents. "I wish we had some answers, but nothing was reported in that region for the past few days," Colleen Connolly of the Department of Environmental Protection told the Standard-Speaker on Sunday evening.

Ice Cube

8,000 blue lakes appear in Antarctica worrying scientists

© DigitalGlobe, Inc.
Satellite image of lakes on Langhovde Glacier, East Antarctica
Scientists have discovered that thousands of blue lakes of melt water have formed on the surface of Antarctica's glaciers over the past decade, an unprecedented event which threatens the stability of the largest ice mass on Earth.

Researchers from the Durham University in the UK analyzed hundreds of satellite images and meteorological observations of Langhovde Glacier, on the coast of East Antarctica's Dronning Maud Land. The study revealed that between 2000 and 2013, about 8,000 new blue lakes have appeared in Antarctica.

The scientists suspect that the water of some lakes could seep under the glacier's surface, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

Previously it was thought that East Antarctica's ice hadn't been affected by global warming; therefore, more attention has been paid to the changes taking place in the Antarctic Peninsula. It is known that the occurrence of such lakes has led to melting of glaciers in Greenland, where 1 trillion metric tons of ice have melted between 2011 and 2014.