Earth ChangesS


Flashback Guinea: Record cold snap destroys crops, kills hundreds of animals

Near-freezing temperatures in north-central Guinea in January destroyed crops and livestock on which thousands of people depend for food as well as cash.

Elderly locals told IRIN they had never seen cold this intense in Mali, a town in Guinea's Labé region.

"The vegetation looks as if it was burned in a fire," Hannibal Barry of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told IRIN from Mali on 19 February during a joint evaluation by UN agencies, local authorities and NGOs.

Temperatures dropped to 1.4 degrees Celsius from 17 to 26 January, according to a preliminary report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP).

The cold wiped out crops - mainly potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions and bananas - across five districts in Mali. It is not yet known how many hectares were destroyed, Mamadou Saliou III Diallo, head of agricultural operations at the Mali prefecture, told IRIN after visiting the affected areas.

Bizarro Earth

US: Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma

An earthquake struck near the central Oklahoma town of Jones Friday morning, rattling parts of the whole state, including Green Country.
Oklahoma 4.0 Earthquake Reading
© Oklahoma Geological SurveyAn earthquake reported near Jones had a 4.0 magnitude Friday morning. (Photo: Oklahoma Geological Survey)

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 4.0 earthquake struck at 9:18 a.m. Jones is located about 17 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

Employees at the National Weather Service office in Tulsa say they felt the quake. A News On 6 viewer in Sapulpa reported feeling the quake as well.

"I was sitting in my office when I heard a 'thud' and felt a shake in the floor. I thought it was a big truck that had gone by on Yale, or that someone had dropped something really heavy on the 2nd floor," said Don Davis who works at 71st and Yale in Tulsa.

Suzie Reynolds from Broken Arrow said, "I was laying in bed with my 6-year-old daughter and she sat up and said 'What is that?? It sounds like someone is tapping on our window.' It was our window panes shaking!!"

"I work at Roosevelt Elementary. And I was sitting at my desk and I felt my chair moving around and thought nothing. Until I read on the Internet that we had the after effects of the earthquake. I was amazed. I told my co-workers and they laughed until they looked on," said Tammy Starks.


Northern lights activity quieter than it's been in decades

Not since 1913 have the Northland skies seen such a lull in northern lights activity.

A jewel of our region, many are wondering why the aurora borealis has become so hard to see and when will the lights will come back.

They are colors Mother Nature doesn't share very often.

"It's glowing, fluorescing greens and blues in the sky. They dance and they move around, I mean, it's beautiful," said Joel Carlson, director of the Palucci Space Theatre in Hibbing.


Flashback Cuba's winter '09 among its coldest

Cuba has been hit by 25 cold fronts so far in the current winter season, which makes it among the most active in the country since the 1916-1917 season.

Granma newspaper reported today that since that date, the island has been affected by a higher number of cold fronts only in 14 seasons, the most recent being in 1987-1988, and 1997-1998, with 26 in each period.

The newspaper explains that there are still two months left for the end of the winter, which makes it probable that the season will end with about 30 frontal systems registered. The historical record number of cold fronts that have hit the countries was in 1976-1977 with 35.


Flashback Big Freeze Plunged Europe Into Ice Age in Months

In the film, The Day After Tomorrow, the world enters the icy grip of a new glacial period within the space of just a few weeks. Now new research shows that this scenario may not be so far from the truth after all.

William Patterson, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and his colleagues have shown that switching off the North Atlantic circulation can force the Northern hemisphere into a mini 'ice age' in a matter of months. Previous work has indicated that this process would take tens of years.

Around 12,800 years ago the northern hemisphere was hit by a mini ice-age, known by scientists as the Younger Dryas, and nicknamed the 'Big Freeze', which lasted around 1300 years. Geological evidence shows that the Big Freeze was brought about by a sudden influx of freshwater, when the glacial Lake Agassiz in North America burst its banks and poured into the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. This vast pulse, a greater volume than all of North America's Great Lakes combined, diluted the North Atlantic conveyor belt and brought it to a halt.

Without the warming influence of this ocean circulation temperatures across the Northern hemisphere plummeted, ice sheets grew and human civilisation fell apart.


Flashback Winter 2009: Americans suffer record cold as temperatures plunge to -40C

© ReutersMorning commuters walk through a snow covered Times Square in New York
Americans were today shivering as bitter arctic winds caused temperatures to plunge to record-breaking levels in many parts of the vast country.

There are even fears that crowds planning to watch Barack Obama's presidential inauguration next week could suffer hypothermia and frostbite in sub-zero conditions.

This winter has been one of the toughest in decades with temperatures today reaching as low as -38C in large areas of the Midwest and -40C in the coldest place.

Arrow Down

Flashback Thailand Winter 2009 Was Coldest in a Decade

Thais are donning scarves, farmers are scrambling to save their rice crops and snakes are freezing to death.

That is all because temperatures in this normally balmy country have dipped to their coldest in a decade.

The country has been gripped in a cold spell that blew down from China earlier this month and is likely to last until February, the Thai Meteorological Department said Saturday.

Chukiat Thaijaratsathian, an official in the department's forecasting office, said temperatures in the country's capital fell to a low of 14.7 degree Celsius (58.5 Fahrenheit) on Jan. 11 - the coldest in a decade. They have even been colder in the country's mountainous northeast, reaching 4.2 degree Celsius (39.5 degree Fahrenheit) in Nakhon Phanom province.


Flashback Record snowfall in Kotzebue, Alaska

There was three times the average snowfall in Kotzebue this winter...and soon it will melt.

An Alaska state panel is considering a disaster declaration by the Northwest Arctic Borough in response to record snowfall in Kotzebue this winter, reports the Anchorage Daily News.

The Palin administration's Disaster Policy met this week to discuss the borough's request for state assistance for Kotzebue.

Kotzebue officials told the state that an unusually high snowfall depleted the city's snow removal budget.

The National Weather Service in Kotzebue says the average yearly snowfall for Kotzebue is about 40 inches (101 centimetres). This winter the area received almost 102 inches of snow (259 cm) -- a record, according to the Kotzebue office.

State officials say the city and borough also are worried about potential flooding from the excessive snow.


"México is a Gigantic Refrigerator"

Child discovers snow in Mexico!
¿cuál es papá?!
Email from a reader in Mexico:
Hi Robert!

Minus 7 degrees Celsius was our low in Saltillo yesterday and in addition to a frozen water pipe in our house, today there are no less than 13 headlines in various sections of our local paper relating to the current cold wave and all its local implications.

Two jumped out at me. 'Es Mexico Una Hielera Gigantesca' ("México is a Gigantic Refrigerator")... I never dreamed I would ever see such a headline here!

The other (finally) is the first one I have seen throwing doubt on global warming '¿Dónde quedó el calentamiento?' ("Where is the Warming?")

One of the accompanying photos in the articles shows the exquisite pleasure of a young child experiencing snow in Mexico. The other shows the stark reality of an ice bound boat, the MV Arkona, in a canal in Holland.

Come on Mr. Gore. Bring us some "global warming."

Best regards,

Alan Stover


In Florida, no reprieve from Arctic blast as state records coldest day in 82 years

© AFPHelena Anderson (L) and her mother Daniela Birska wear jackets as they walk on the beach on January 11, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. The National Weather Service said it recorded 36 degrees in Miami Monday morning, which beat the 82-year-old record of 37 degrees.
Florida woke Monday to another day of bone-chilling temperatures after days of Arctic air that have kept the southern United States -- including the usually balmy Sunshine State -- in a deep freeze.

Florida's usually mild and sunny winter weather has given way to record low temperatures during the historic cold snap.

In Miami, the thermometer dropped over the weekend to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 Celsius), the coldest since 1970.