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Thu, 09 Dec 2021
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Monster croc at popular Northern Territory tourist spot - photographed

moster croc
© Brian Hammond
Fancy a dip? ... the monster croc is believed to be at least 4.5m long.
A monster croc believed to be at least 4.5m long has been spotted lurking near a walkway at a popular Northern Territory tourist reserve.

Brian Hannond, 66, managed to photograph the beast at Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve - about 70km southeast of Darwin, reports the Northern Territory News.

Mr Hannond, of Stuart Park, said the saltie was sitting only two metres from where he stopped his car.

"I've never ever seen a croc that size out of the water," he said.

"I didn't get out of the car. But to sit there that close you know why you wouldn't have a chance in the world against him. It's the ultimate killing machine.

"He would be the king of the swamp out there."


Bell

El Nino study challenges global warming intensity link

Singapore - Research showing an El Nino event in 1918 was far stronger than previously thought is challenging the notion climate change is making El Nino episodes more intense, a U.S. scientist said on Tuesday.

El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modelling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation.

The outcome of the research was valuable for several reasons, Giese told Reuters from Perth in Western Australia.

"It questions the notion that El Ninos have been getting stronger because of global warming," he said ahead of a presentation of his team's research at a major climate change conference in Perth.

The 1918 event also coincided with one of India's worst droughts of the 20th century.

Info

People still being sacrificed to climate god

Back in 1500, we learn from a Princeton professor, the Aztecs figured the climate debate was over, and that if you wanted rain or sunshine, it was simple enough what you had to do - sacrifice 20,000 lives a year to the right gods.

In 2009, it's an equally sure thing in the minds of some that carbon in the air is going to fry us unless we put the welfare of millions on the line, and here is the latest on President Obama's plan - it could cost industry $2 trillion over eight years.

That hefty sum to be paid out to a cap-and-trade carbon tax would snatch money from consumers far more than rising oil prices did, hinder economic growth and in still other ways generate human misery, and all in the name of what? Computer models that can't get anything right, that's what.

Igloo

US: Blizzard whips northern Plains; travel difficult

spring blizzard US plains
© The Scottsbluff Star-Herald / Rick Myers
Lady Liberty stands tall in a Gering park as a blizzard rages around her early Tuesday, March 24, 2009, in Gering, Nebraska.

Omaha, Nebraska - Wind-blown snow whipped across the northern Plains on Tuesday, closing major highways, as a powerful storm stalled over western Nebraska and South Dakota.

In neighboring Montana, the Army National Guard dispatched two helicopters to help locate motorists stranded by a snowstorm in southeastern part of the state.

"We do know we have some motorists out there, but we don't know where. So we have a serious situation," Charity Watt Levis, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Transportation, told The Associated Press.

Nearly 2 feet of snow had piled up in South Dakota's rugged Black Hills, and the storm system also had generated tornadoes.

The blowing snow cut visibility and piled up in drifts as much as 4 feet high in parts of Wyoming.

"We have wind gusts to 62 mph at Valentine this morning," said National Weather Service meteorologist Clifford Cole in North Platte, Nebraska.

Phoenix

New tremors at Alaska volcano spewing ash into sky

Anchorage - New tremors at Alaska's Mount Redoubt are prompting speculation that the volcano could be in a phase that will lead to more instability. The 10,200-foot volcano erupted six times Sunday and Monday, spewing clouds of gritty ash high into the sky.

A volcanologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said Tuesday that Redoubt was exhibiting activity that could indicate it is creating a formation called a lava dome.

Volcanologist Peter Cervelli said such a formation can collapse, creating more ash plumes and mudflows.

Phoenix

Oil terminal a concern as Alaska volcano rumbles

Anchorage - An Alaska volcano continued to rumble Tuesday amid new concerns that eruptions and mud flows will damage a nearby oil terminal where about 6 million gallons of crude are stored. The 10,200-foot Mount Redoubt volcano, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted Sunday night. Since then there have been five more explosions; the latest, on Monday night, shot an ash plume into the air that was 40,000 to 50,000 feet high.

The volcano has been relatively quiet since, but that is not expected to continue, said Stephanie Prejean, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. The last time Redoubt erupted was in 1989, when there were more than 20 explosions as magma pushed to the surface and formed domes that later collapsed and sent ash plumes into the air.

Bizarro Earth

US: Los Angeles Quake Swarm: A Precursor to the Big One?

There has been a swarm of earthquakes in one area of Southern California that scientists in Pasadena are watching closely, with more than 20 temblors hitting this morning.

The biggest of the 24 quakes recorded this morning was a magnitude-4.8 which struck at 4:55 a.m. near the Salton Sea in Imperial County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was centered three miles south of the small town of Bombay Beach and 90 miles east of San Diego.

It was followed by a swarm of smaller quakes, which were recorded between 4:58 a.m. and 6:14 a.m. around Bombay Beach. Most of those temblors registered lower than a 3.0-magnitude, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of any injury or damages. Scores of small quakes have shaken the area in recent days.

Better Earth

Coral colony as old as the pyramids

Image
© NOAA's Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory
Colonies of gold coral Gerardia (pictured) can persist for more than 2700 years, while a black coral, Leiopathes, has been dated to 4265 years.

Giant deep-sea corals don't get around much, but what they lack in mobility they make up for in longevity. A new study has discovered that some coral colonies can "live" for more than 4000 years, showing that the animals grow far more slowly than was thought.

It is this extremely slow growth that is the secret of the corals' long life, says Brendan Roark, at Texas A&M University.

The finding may have grave implications for the conservation of the corals' ecosystems. "Because corals are so big, they form the habitat for many other species in the coral bed and if you take them away, it will take thousands of years for similarly sized organisms to grow back," says Roark.

The gold coral Gerardia and the black coral Leiopathes both grow several metres tall, at depths of up to 500 metres in oceans around Hawaii. Whilst other studies had estimated their age at between a few hundred years and at most 3000 years, Roark argues that what had been considered "annual" growth rings actually take much longer to form.

Better Earth

Rescue efforts on large beached whales 'futile'

Large whales that strand themselves should be killed, as any attempts to save them are probably futile and likely to cause more suffering, according to animal welfare specialists.

The results of a series of autopsies of beached whales carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have led veterinarians to conclude that sperm whales and beaked whales have little chance of survival if they become stranded.

"Euthanasia can be a very emotive issue," says Adam Grogan of the UK's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), "but it is often in a stranded whale's best interests." It is normally carried out by lethal injection.

The statement, made by the Marine Animal Rescue Coalition, a group of organisations including the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the RSPCA, comes as rescuers were trying to save 90 long-finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins that had beached themselves on the west coast of Australia. At time of writing, only 10 of the animals were still alive.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude-4.7 quake shakes near Salton Sea, California

Bombay Beach, California - A moderate earthquake struck Tuesday on the edge of the Salton Sea in Southern California's Imperial County, but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damages.

The magnitude-4.7 quake struck at 4:55 a.m. at a depth of about 3.5 miles, said seismologist Amy Vaughn of the U.S. Geological Survey. It was centered three miles south of the small town of Bombay Beach, or 90 miles east of San Diego.