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Sun, 27 May 2018
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Cassiopaea

Aurora Australis lights up southern skies, seen from further north in New Zealand than normal

Image
© Ian Griffin/@iangriffin
The lights over Otago

The skies above Dunedin were lit up with a colourful aurora australis last night.

There were even reports the lights, caused by a geomagnetic storm, could be seen as far north as Manawatu.

Aurora australis, or the Southern Lights as they're also known, are usually only visible in the far south. They occur when charged particles, typically ejected from the sun, are captured by the Earth's magnetic field and are hurled towards the poles, colliding with molecules in the upper atmosphere.

Ian Griffin, director of the Otago Museum, snapped some shots of the lights from Strath Taieri, a plateau northwest of the city.

"No... it wasn't a dream," he wrote on his Twitter account. "There really was an amazing aurora australis last night seen over Dunedin."

Binoculars

Rare Arctic songbird turns up at Panama City Beach, Florida

Image
© Ron Houser
Our members of the Bay County Audubon Society saw a Snow Bunting at St. Andrews State Park on Saturday, Feb. 15. This is a very rare bird in Florida. Its winter range usually extends no further south than Ohio but it breeds in the Arctic, much further north. The last one reported locally was in 1986.
Clear eyes, full hearts and lots of sunshine can't lose.

This week is why you moved to Florida. It's the middle of February and the temperatures will be in the 70s all week. Also, that troublesome rain that you normally associate with great weather like this is nowhere to be seen. At least until Friday when there is a 40 percent chance of scattered showers.

How nice is it? A snow bunting, a rare artic bird is hanging out in Saint Andrews State Park, according to local resident Ron Houser of the Bay County Audubon Society.

Houser captured a shot of the bird Saturday. He said they breed in the arctic and usually don't travel any further south than Ohio.

Also, Spring Break has not started yet which means you have the beach to yourself. That's right, you heard me, you have the beach to yourself locals.

Get to it.

Comment: See also : Thousands of Arctic songbirds invade Ohio farmstead

Rare Arctic bird turns up in Darwin, Australia

UK storms bring in rare Arctic gulls to Pembrokeshire

Storm blows Canadian bird 3,000 miles on to Tyrone lough, Northern Ireland

Bird watchers flock to Portland, UK after a rare Arctic Brunnich's Guillemot spotted

Ice Age Cometh: Snowy Owl invasion coming in North America?

Maine experiencing a Canadian owl invasion

Incredible Hawk Owl invasion in Estonia!

Huge Snowy Owl invasion becomes official in Canada and U.S.

Thousands of Hawk Owls descend on Finland as food in northern Russia runs out

Ice Age Cometh: Unprecedented influx of Arctic Ivory Gulls into UK


Nuke

Highly radioactive water leak discovered at Fukushima, Tepco says

Fukushima
© Reuters
Tepco said a new leak of 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water has been discovered at Fukushima.
A new leak of 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water has been discovered at Fukushima, the plant's operator said on Thursday after it revealed only one of nine thermometers in a crippled reactor was still working.

The toxic water is no longer escaping from a storage tank on the site, said a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, adding it was likely contained, but the news is a further blow to the company's already-battered reputation for safety.

"As there is no drainage way near the leak, which is in any case far from the ocean, it is unlikely that the water has made its way into the sea," he said.

The tank, one of hundreds at the site that are used to store water contaminated during the process of cooling broken reactors, sits around 700 metres from the shore.

However, the water was highly radioactive, with a beta radiation reading "at 230 million becquerel per litre", he said.

Igloo

Warning signs heralded Korean resort tragedy

Collapsed Roof
© Chosun
An aerial view of the gymnasium in a mountain resort in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province that collapsed under heavy snow on Monday.
The resort collapse in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Monday night that killed 10 students and injured 105 was no freak accident.

Record snowfall in southeastern Korea on Nov. 9 had already caused five roofs in the neighboring port city of Ulsan to cave in and another 27 reports of possible structural failure at factories and homes.

On Feb. 10, the roof of one autoparts maker in Ulsan caved in crushing one worker to death, and on Feb. 11, the roof at another factory nearby collapsed, killing one worker and injuring two others.

Gyeongju, just 20 km away from Ulsan, saw 50 to 60 cm of snowfall since Feb. 9, but nobody took the time to voice concerns as hundreds of students piled into the gymnasium at the snow-covered resort.

Ice Cube

Will the new ice age produce a US invasion of Mexico?

snow NYC
© AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Piles of snow line the waterfront overlooking the New York City skyline in Weehawken, N.J., Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Commuters faced slick roads on Friday after yet another winter storm brought snow and ice to the East Coast, leaving at least 24 people dead.

Los Angeles civil rights lawyer Alex Jacinto is known among some of his friends and acquaintances as the Don Quixote of California, a modern day knight errant never shy about jousting with windmills he may find offensive to his sense of justice. He even went out on a limb and stated that the US may one day invade Mexico to escape the extreme cold brought on by climate change.

He once ran for sheriff against a powerful but corrupt longtime incumbent, becoming a cause celeb in the process - and did respectively well, with boxing legend Muhammad Ali, his major endorser, campaigning alongside him.

At other times, carrying a life-size replica of the Virgen de Guadalupe tilma enshrined in Mexico City, he has crusaded in liberal corners of L.A. against abortion, stem cell research and other causes dear to progressive Democrats, much to their chagrin.

But perhaps nothing seemed as absurd as the night some years back at a Hollywood Mexican restaurant, with several politicians including then former Gov. Jerry Brown nearby, when Jacinto went on a long diatribe about how the United States in the not so distant future would "have" to invade Mexico to expand into that South of the Border country for survival.

Huh?

Sun

More than 140 Brazilian cities ration water amid prolonged heat wave

Image
© AURELIEN FRANCISCO BARROS / AFP/GETTY IMAGES
A cow in Quixada, in Brazil's Ceara state, stands in a dried-up field in early January. An ongoing heat wave in Brazil is causing a serious drought, forcing more than 140 cities in the country to ration water.
More than 140 cities are rationing water amid the worst drought to hit Brazil in decades, according to a survey conducted by the country's leading newspaper.

The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper wrote Saturday that water is being rationed to close to six million people living in 142 cities in 11 states.

The newspaper quoted water supply companies saying reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they've been in 20 years.

Some neighbourhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state only receive water for 13 hours, once every three days.

Water consumption normally grows by up to 20 per cent during the Southern Hemisphere's summer. But this year, consumption has risen by up to 30 per cent due to a prolonged heat wave affecting several states.

Sun

Heat wave kills 32 elderly people in Brazil

Image
© University of California
The heat wave besetting most of Brazil with temperatures above 40 C (104 F) has killed 32 elderly people in just two days in the city of Santos, in the southwestern state of Sao Paulo, the municipal Health Secretariat said Wednesday.

The victims, who died on Monday and Tuesday, ranged in age from 65 to 90 and all of them suffered from chronic health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and heart difficulties.

Dehydration caused by the intense heat could have aggravated the victims' preexisting problems as well, the secretariat said.

Of the 32 people, 17 died at their homes, while the other 15 expired in health centers where they had been admitted.

There were 220 telephone calls for help received by the emergency services during those two days, whereas the daily average is 130, Santos Health Secretary Santos Odilio Rodrigues Filho said.

Phoenix

Boulder crews contain half-acre wildfire on Flagstaff Mountain, Colorado

Image
© Paul Aiken / Daily Camera
Smoke can be seen rising from a fire on Flagstaff Mountain on Tuesday
Boulder crews were able to reach containment on a half-acre wildfire on Flagstaff Mountain near Fifth Street.

Dispatchers received reports of smoke and flames 2 to 3 feet high around 3:30 p.m. at the base of Flagstaff Road, but by about 4:20 p.m. officials on the scene said the fire had been contained and crews were in mop-up duty.

Officials said the fire started on private property, and the cause is unknown at this time.

Flagstaff Mountain Road has been re-opened.

Snowflake Cold

This polar vortex graphic is the most upsetting map of the winter

Image
NASA put together this look at the record-breaking cold temperatures it's been monitoring this winter using infrared sensor 3,000 feet above the earth's surface. As you can see, we began December with a pretty normal polar vortex lingering over top of Canada and the Arctic. Things started to unravel in late December, and by early January, there's a single line of arctic air stretching straight from the North Pole clear down to Florida.

So what happened to cause it all? NASA scientist Eric Fetzer explains how a low pressure system in Canada's Hudson bay and an unusual movement of the jet stream conspired to drop temperatures in this video:

Question

Pond suddenly turns blood red Wichita, Kansas


"It's been a weird day!" Freddy Fernandez says.

The weirdness began Tuesday morning when the pond outside his Wichita house took on a pinkish color. Within a few hours, it had turned blood red.

Fernandez says the pond is full of fish, and there's no indication any have died because of this. There's also no odor.

Fernandez took a photo last week of the pond when it was frozen-over. At that time, an unusual pink pattern had formed in the ice.

"I just don't want any zombies coming out of there!" he says.

Comment: A couple of other weird things that happened in Wichita, Kansas lately:

US: Hundreds of fish die in Wichita park's pond

US: Wichita, Kansas Experiences Rare 'Heat Burst' Overnight

As for water sources turning blood red, check out these recent cases:

Yet another European river turns 'blood' red overnight, this time in Northampton, UK, 16 Jan 2014

Another European river turns 'blood' red overnight, this time in Slovakia!, 03 Dec 2013

River turns blood red overnight in The Netherlands, 01 Nov 2013

Waters at Bondi Beach, Australia turn blood red, 28 Nov 2012

Yangtze River turns red, 07 Sep 2012

Lebanon: Beirut River mysteriously runs blood red, 16 Feb 2012

Texas Lake Turns Blood-Red, 01 Aug 2011