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Thu, 25 Aug 2016
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Fish

Marine heatwaves are causing unprecedented climate chaos

© D. Derickson/COASST
The Pacific coast has witnessed record numbers of dead Cassin’s auklets this winter.

Wide-scale disruption from warming oceans is increasing, but they could change our understanding of the climate


First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.

Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.

A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren't seen surging in the same year.

Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015.

This chaos was caused by a single massive heatwave, unlike anything ever seen before. But it was not the sort of heatwave we are used to thinking about, where the air gets thick with warmth. This occurred in the ocean, where the effects are normally hidden from view.

Nicknamed "the blob", it was arguably the biggest marine heatwave ever seen. It may have been the worst but wide-scale disruption from marine heatwaves is increasingly being seen all around the globe, with regions such as Australia seemingly being hit with more than their fair share.

It might seem strange given their huge impact but the concept of a marine heatwave is new to science. The term was only coined in 2011. Since then a growing body of work documenting their cause and impact has developed.

Comment: These unprecedented marine heatwaves could be attributed to increased quantities of CO2, methane outgassing and heat are coming up from below, i.e. passing up through the oceans from within the planet, heating and acidifying the planet's oceans.

There has been a sharp rise in observable volcanic activity on our planet's surface in recent times. However, the vast majority of the planet's volcanoes are located underwater (up to one million is estimated).

We are also seeing an increasing number of bizarre, odd (perhaps even mutated species), previously unknown and mysterious creatures being discovered recently, together with increases in abnormal animal and marine behavior. All over the world such 'strange' and 'unusual' incidents are quickly becoming the norm, as are mass fish die offs.

Are these more 'signs of the times'? If so, what do they mean?
The fact remains that there is a lot of hard evidence suggesting that, far from 'global warming', we're already in the process of entering a new ice age (which could end up being a lot bigger than the last one), accompanied by increasing cataclysmic activity such as major destructive storms, earthquakes, and volcanism, among other 'anomalous' goings-on all over the planet. So no wonder the animals are behaving strangely. Maybe they're trying to tell us something important. The question is, is anyone listening?
Creatures from the deep signal major Earth Changes: Is anyone paying attention?


Arrow Down

U.S. Senators trying to muzzle climate change skeptics

© The Right Planet
Nineteen U.S. senators are working to destroy free speech and silence dissent, defying the Constitution they swore to defend and uphold. Senators Harry Reid, Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and fifteen other Democrats took to the Senate floor last month to demonize their 'enemies list' of fossil fuel companies, think tanks and journalists for having the temerity to disagree with their views. They are also proposing a Congressional Resolution to formally disapprove of the actions of those who disagree with them.

Climate change happens to be the subject of their action, but the topic is irrelevant.

As President Harry Truman, himself a Democrat, said, "Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

That path of repressive measures has already been blazed. Seventeen attorneys general representing fifteen states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands formed "AGs United for Clean Power" and are threatening legal action and huge fines against anyone who declines to believe in a scientific theory which remains in dispute among respected scientists.

The Daily Signal reports, "This comes on top of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitting that the Justice Department is discussing the possibility of pursing civil actions against climate change deniers, and that she has already referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which federal law enforcement could take action."

Bizarro Earth

Feds see 2018 shortage in Lake Mead water supply to southwest U.S.

© Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
File photo October 14, 2015. Amid an historic drought in the West, federal water managers are due to release an annual projection of surface levels at Lake Mead that will determine whether water deliveries from the crucial Colorado River reservoir will be cut next year to Arizona, Nevada, and California
Initial shortages not likely to impact Havasu, mayor says

Amid punishing drought, federal water managers projected Tuesday that — by a very narrow margin— the crucial Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River won't have enough water to make full deliveries to Nevada and Arizona in 2018.

A 24-month projection, issued on a day the largest reservoir on the closely controlled and monitored river was 36 percent full, showed the surface level of the lake behind Hoover Dam is expected to clear the trigger point this year to avoid a shortage declaration in 2017.

The margin is expected to be just under 4 feet, or almost 228 billion gallons of water. Mandatory shortages begin to take effect once levels dip below 1,075 feet.

For 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects missing the mark by under a foot, which would trigger a shortage declaration, cuts to Arizona's water allocation by 11.4 percent, and cuts to Nevada's water flow by 4.3 percent.

That would be enough water to serve more than 600,000 homes a year in Arizona, and about 26,000 in Nevada.

Bad Guys

Southern France - train crashes into fallen tree, about 60 injured

© Alexandre Dimou / Agence France-Presse
At least 60 people have been injured in a train crash in southern France, local media report, citing rescue services. The incident occurred on a railway line between the cities of Nimes and Montpellier.

According to French TV channel BFM, at least 10 people were seriously injured in the train crash and about 50 more suffered minor injuries.

One person is in critical condition, BFM TV reports. The train did not derail but the first carriage was seriously damaged, according to the TV station.

At the same time, French railway company SNCF confirmed the injuries of only 13 people, saying that three crash victims suffered serious injuries and 10 more were slightly injured.

Cloud Lightning

Stargazer captures a horizontal bolt of lightning crawling across the night sky before flashing brightly over Tampa Bay, Florida


After moving from right to left the bolt of lightning suddenly flashes brightly and illuminates the entire night sky
This incredible footage shows a horizontal bolt of lightning illuminating the night sky before disappearing as quickly as it emerged. The sudden electrostatic discharge was captured over Tampa Bay, Florida and was seen travelling from right to left like a wave.

The video shows the bolt of light slowly vanishing as it streaks across the sky. It then flashes brightly and illuminates the night before disappearing for good.

The footage was posted to Reddit, where it picked up a number of comments from impressed viewers, helping it go viral. Many pointed out that the type of horizontal lightning captured on camera is an Anvil Crawler.


Black Cat

4-year-old girl attacked by mountain lion near Rexburg, Idaho


Kelsi Butt, 4, of Blackfoot, Idaho shows some of the wounds she suffered when a mountain lion grabbed her and tried to drag her away.
Little Kelsi Butt is now "more or less 100 percent back to normal," her dad says, four days after the 4-year-old's Aug. 12 encounter with a mountain lion.

The Butt family — dad Israel, mom Kera and their three children, son Kegan, 8, and daughters Maylie, 7, and Kelsi — were at a family reunion, camping with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, near Green Canyon Hot Springs, east of Rexburg, Idaho.

The weekend of outdoor fun took an unexpected turn Friday night, when Kelsi was attacked by a 90-pound, young male mountain lion that had been lurking in the wooded area.

"We usually have family reunions up there, camping at Hot Springs Campground," Israel Butt told Gephardt Daily, "but this year we decided to go higher up."

The area was a little more remote, with fewer people around than at the campground. Kelsi's mom thought she saw the cat earlier in the day and mentioned it to other family members. But the woods are full of wildlife, no one else had seen the animal, and cats generally avoid human beings anyway, so there seemed to be no cause for concern.


Comment: See also this other recent report: Jogger uses rock to battle cougar in attack on Vancouver Island, Canada


Attention

Dead whale mistaken for overturned boat near Elliston, Canada


Representative image
There is a dead whale floating off the coast of Elliston that was mistaken for an overturned boat earlier today.

In a press release issued this afternoon, Bonavista RCMP say they were called to Elliston after a report of a possible overturned boat off the coast.

According to RCMP, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre was contacted and they dispatched a cormorant helicopter from Gander to investigate.

Once the helicopter arrived on the scene, they determined the object was not a boat but a dead whale.

Bonavista RCMP are advising the public to be cautious while boating in the area of Elliston, as the whale is floating at the surface of the water and may be difficult to see.

Red Flag

NASA team finds fracking contributing to major methane leaks in the US

© NASA /J PL-Caltech / University of Michigan
This map shows anomalous U.S. methane emissions (or how much the emissions differ from average background concentrations) for 2003 to 2009, as measured by the European Space Agency's SCIAMACHY instrument
Using airborne thermal infrared spectrometers, a NASA-led team has found 25 leaks due to fracking natural gas production are contributing two-thirds of the methane emissions in a hot spot in the United States' Four Corners region.

Using two airborne spectrometers flying 3,000 to 10,000 feet above the ground, researchers identified and measured more than 250 individual sources leaking methane plumes in the Four Regions region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The majority of leaks are from gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines and processing plants used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations for natural gas.

"The sources emitted the gas at rates ranging from a few pounds to 11,000 pounds (5,000 kilograms) per hour," NASA said in a statement. The study said as much as two-thirds of the methane could be spewing from only about 25 locations.

Only a handful of the 250 leaks were caused by natural seepage from underground formations, and one was a vent from a coal mine, according to researchers with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology.

Fish

Over 1,000 fish found dead in Yellowstone River, Montana

© Scott McMillion
Dead whitefish
Vicki Schwarz had friends in from out of state, so they decided to float down the Yellowstone River on Sunday afternoon. They put in at Mayor's Landing near Livingston, six people on the raft. But as the Livingston schoolteacher rowed them along, it became clear something strange was going on.

"I noticed as I was paddling that like every 5 feet I could see a belly-up whitefish," Schwarz said. "It was really sad. I didn't know what to tell anyone."

State officials aren't yet sure what to tell anyone either. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has now counted more than 1,000 dead mountain whitefish in the Yellowstone River. Dead fish have been seen as far upstream as the Point of Rocks Fishing Access Site south of Emigrant and as far downstream as one east of Springdale. But they can't point to a cause just yet.

Fire

State of emergency declared for wildfire raging in San Bernardino, California; 18,000 acres burned and 82,000 people evacuated

© (Will Lester/AP)
Firefighters battle the Blue Cut Fire along Swarthout Canyon Road in the Cajon Pass.
A fast-growing 18,000-acre wildfire burned through rural communities in California overnight, triggering a state of emergency and evacuation orders for more than 82,000 residents in the San Bernardino area.

More than 700 firefighters and other emergency workers were battling the Blue Cut fire, which flared early Tuesday some 60 miles east of Los Angeles and spread rapidly along the Cajon Pass.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County, families fled and Interstate 15 was closed as the blaze grew.

"This moved so fast," said Darren Dalton, 51, who along with his wife and son had to get out of his house in the small town of Wrightwood. "It went from 'have you heard there's a fire?' to 'mandatory evacuation' before you could take it all in ... Suddenly it's a ghost town."

Ash rained down on motorists from billowing black smoke, while aerial pictures from KNBC captured a roadside 'firenado' in which swirling gusts of wind sent flames twisting high into the air.


Comment: Could 2016 be California's worst wildfire season?