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Sun, 04 Dec 2016
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Earth Changes

Ice Cube

Brace yourself, the polar vortex is shifting

Climate change has hit the Arctic worse than ever over the past few years, but that doesn't mean the Northern Hemisphere is going to be experiencing a mild winter this year.

In fact, a new study shows that the polar vortex is shifting, and it's going to make winters on the east coast of the US and parts of Europe even longer, with exceptionally cold temperatures expected during March.

The polar vortex is that lovely zone of cold air that swirls around the Arctic during winter. When parts of the vortex break apart and splinter off, it can cause unseasonably cold conditions in late-winter and early-spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

This happened in early 2014 - as you can see in the satellite image above - and caused an extreme weather event in the northern US and Canada.

But not many people realise there are actually two polar vortices: the stratospheric polar vortex, which is about 19,800 metres (65,000 feet) above the surface of the Earth; and the tropospheric polar vortex around 5,500 to 9,100 metres (18,000 to 30,000 feet) above the surface.

Comment: Se also:


Second earthquake strikes northwestern China near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

A new earthquake has hit northwestern China near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake has occurred in northwestern China, near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, where the day before a 6.7 magnitude earthquake was registered, the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said on Saturday.

According to Chinese seismologists, the earthquake center was at a depth of 6 kilometers and was located in Akto county of the Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang. Tremors were recorded at 17:23 (09:23 GMT).

There are currently no reported casualties.

On Friday night, the area was hit by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. According to reports, the earthquake killed an Akto County resident. A total of six homes were affected by the earthquake.

Cloud Lightning

2 killed as lightning strike ignites house fire in the Philippines

Lightning struck a house here past midnight Saturday, allegedly igniting a fire which killed two people.

According to the Banggoy Fire Station, witnesses claimed that lightning hit the house of Eden Josephine David, the assistant regional director of the Department of Tourism-XI, at Purok 4, Barangay 33-D before the fire started.

The lightning possibly hit the main electricity line, causing fire to break out at the second floor of the house. It spread quickly as the house was made of light materials.

David's nine-year old son John Brent and their 19-year old housemaid Kimberly Luayon died in the fire.

David, her daughter, sister-in-law Imelda Motoc, and housemaid Rowena Arisgado sustained minor burns.

Another househelper identified as Reymar Sabordo suffered 3rd degree burns on her body.


Two large flashes light up night skies over Surgut, Western Siberia

© YouTube/Igor Kessler
This video uploaded to YouTube shows two overhead flashes in Surgut, Western Siberia on 22nd November 2016. The description indicates a thunder-like crackling sound was also heard. Was this lightning or another type of electrical discharge? Or perhaps overhead meteor explosions?

Comment: Earlier this year unexplained flashes of light puzzled residents of Petrozavodsk, Russia.

Ice Cube

100-year-old logbooks of polar explorers Scott and Shackleton prove Antarctic sea ice is not shrinking due to man-made climate change

The Endurance, trapped in sea ice
Antarctic sea ice had barely changed from where it was 100 years ago, scientists have discovered, after poring over the logbooks of great polar explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

Experts were concerned that ice at the South Pole had declined significantly since the 1950s, which they feared was driven by man-made climate change.

But new analysis suggests that conditions are now virtually identical to when the Terra Nova and Endurance sailed to the continent in the early 1900s, indicating that declines are part of a natural cycle and not the result of global warming.

It also explains why sea ice levels in the South Pole have begun to rise again in recent years, a trend which has left climate scientists scratching their heads.


Popocatepetl volcano erupts sending ash plume 5 kilometers high

© Toño Lorenzini
Strong eruption at Popocatepetl volcano on November 25, 2016.
The Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico is entering an new phase of enhanced activity.

After several explosions at night, the volcano had a strong eruption ejecting ash and gas 5 km above the crater.

324 exhalations of low intensity have been recorded within the last 24 hours at Popocatepetl volcano. The most important occurred on November 24, 2016 at 11:05am.

At night, seven explosions happened at 00:14, 00:51, 01:37, 01:43, 03:16, 06:22 and 08:07 am, which increased the intensity of the incandescence and generated plumes less than 1 km in height.

Today, November 25, 2016, at 09:45 pm an explosion generated an eruptive column that reached 5 km above the crater.


CCTV captures moment cow attacks man in Pakistan

The animal pins him up against the wall and then then sends him flying through the air with an almighty flip of its head
This moody cow decided to take some frustration out on an innocent bystander while it was having a stroll down an alleyway.

The footage, shot in Pakistan, shows a man stood talking on his mobile phone next to a wall.

Wandering the streets of its own accord, the cow is seen heading down the same alleyway, seemingly minding its own business.

However, it clearly takes a disliking to something the man is doing, and pauses behind him.

After a couple of seconds of consideration, the cow instigates its vicious attack by digging its horns into him and catching the man, who has his back turned, completely unawares.

Comment: See also: No milk today: Rampaging cow sending man spinning through the air filmed in Nigeria

Black Cat

Leopard enters village, attacks 8 in Gurugram, India

© Manoj Kumar
A leopard was thrashed to death after it strayed into Mandawar village in Sohna, 26km south of Gurugram, and injured eight people on Thursday morning. The leopard, a two-and a-half-year-old male, sneaked in around 8am and kept villagers on their toes till noon with the forest department failing to tranquillise it and or capture it with nets.

The first to be attacked was Sundar Bharadwaj, a 46-year-old farmer. "I was tending to my field when the animal attacked me," said Bharadwaj. He noticed the leopard crouching furtively amid tall grass, before it lunged at him. He slipped his arms between its jaws, grabbing them while trying to fend off its deadly bite. During the struggle, he sustained grievous injuries on his shoulder and chest. Villagers later admitted him in Sohna's Civil Hospital.

When Bharadwaj spoke to TOI, he had a blood-soaked sling across his shoulder. According to other villagers, the leopard was first noticed in the morning by two farmers, Sumeet (21) and Rajesh (23), as they were returning from their fields. In panic, the duo raised an alarm. Scared, the leopard leapt into the compound of the Government Primary School, Mandawar. Luckily, the school was closed. "When we approached the big cat in a group, it ran away and hid inside a mound of hay," Desh Raj, a 20-year-old villager, said.


Magnitude 6.5 earthquake hits northeast Tajikistan

Earthquake hits northeastern Tajikistan.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 struck northeastern Tajikistan, close to the borders with China and Kyrgyzstan, at 1424 GMT on Friday, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.8, struck at a depth of 75 kilometres.

Source: Reuters

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills two in Zambia

Two people of Mushona township in Zambezi district have died after being struck by lightning during a downpour.

Acting Zambezi district commissioner Sombo Chiteta said in an interview that the incident happened on Tuesday afternoon and he named the victims as Fulayi Lunkunu, 34, and Peter Luvuwa, aged nine.

"The information we got is that the two went to a nearby house to seek shelter when the rains started and that is where they died after being struck by lightning," she said.

Ms Chiteta said the house caught fire after it was struck by lightning.

The bodies are in the Zambezi District Hospital mortuary.