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Sun, 04 Dec 2016
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Earth Changes


Snow records shattered on Prince Edward Island, Canada

© Laura Meader/CBC
These sorts of struggles are unusual for the end of November.
If it seems like there is a lot snow on the ground on P.E.I. for early December, that's because there is.

In fact, there has been a record amount of snow on the ground. Charlottetown Airport broke records on both Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Previously, the snowiest end of November/start of December was in 1989. Those records for Nov. 27-29 stand, but 29 centimetres is a new record for Nov. 30 (17 in 1989) as is 32 for Dec. 1 (19 in 1989).

None of the storms this week broke snowfall records on their own, but in combination they have. Three storms brought snow to the Island in the space of five days, and the amount of snow was a surprise to everyone.

Blue Planet

Powerful New Zealand earthquake exposes new land near Kaikoura

© Sentinel data from the European Space Agency
Photo acquired November 25, 2016

On November 13, 2016, a powerful earthquake jolted the northeastern coast of New Zealand's South Island. The 7.8 magnitude quake lifted the seabed by 0.5 to 2 meters (2 to 7 feet) along a 20-kilometer stretch of the Kaikoura coast. In one area, the uplift was a remarkable 5.5 meters (18 feet).

The sudden shifting of such a huge quantity of rock produced some unusual sights. From above, satellites captured an image of a thin swath of newly exposed land ringing the Kaikoura Peninsula and other parts of South Island.

On November 25, 2016, a multispectral imager on the European Space Agency's Sentinel 2 satellite captured an image (second) of the newly exposed land near Kaikoura. For comparison, the first image—acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8—shows the same area on October 12, 2016. The tidal water level was approximately the same in both cases.


Fiery sprites photographed over Japan

© Yasuo Takeda
Sprites appear above cumulonimbus clouds off the coast of Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Nov. 25.
Photographer Yasuo Takeda thought he was seeing things when strange lights shot up into the sky off the coast from Hokota, Ibaraki Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Nov. 25.

But he was actually lucky enough to witness sprites, a phenomenon that is rarely observed, let alone photographed, as the natural lights are usually obscured by the lightning that often accompanies them.

Sprites occur about 50 to 90 kilometers above ground and become visible when nitrogen molecules emit light after coming into contact with electrical charges released from lightning clouds.

"It happened in an instant as though it was some sort of optical illusion," said Takeda, 56, of his fortunate chance encounter.

It is believed that sprites occur frequently during the winter off the coast of Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures as well as in the Sea of Japan.

Takeda used his meteorological knowledge as a weather forecaster to work out the time and location where the sprites might appear.

Comment: A couple of months ago 28 sprites were captured above hurricane Matthew as it was rapidly intensifying, and an enormous 'jellyfish' sprite was photographed over the Caribbean Sea. Also this year 'rare' red sprites have been recorded over northern Italy, Texas and Arizona.


Rare November tornadoes strike Nebraska

© YouTube/Breaking News (screen capture)
Three tornadoes touched down in south-central Nebraska Sunday afternoon but each spent mere minutes on the ground and caused minor damage, officials from the National Weather Service in Hastings reported Monday.

The twisters marked the first confirmed tornadoes after Thanksgiving in Nebraska since 1975.

No injuries were reported in any of the tornadoes.

The first spawned southwest of Upland in Franklin County just after 4 p.m., spent one minute on the ground and traveled just over a quarter mile with wind speeds reaching 70 mph, the Weather Service said in a report Monday.

Around 4:30 p.m., a tornado ripped through a row of pine trees near a home 5 miles northeast of Red Cloud, the National Weather Service in Hastings said.

The home did not sustain structural damage, but outbuildings were overturned. The tornado overturned two center-pivot irrigation systems on its route.

Comment: Study: Tornado outbreaks are increasing - but scientists don't understand why

Arrow Up

Man rescued from sinkhole after it opens up and swallows him in Toronto

© Victor Biro
A man raking leaves at his North York home suffered minor injuries after a 2-meter sinkhole opened beneath him, and swallowed him up to the neck.
A man had to be rescued after he fell into a sinkhole that opened up on Tamworth Rd. in Willowdale. The man suffered minor injuries from the fall.

Toronto Fire received a call at 4 p.m. saying a man was trapped in a hole up to his shoulders. The sinkhole is next to a drainage hole, Toronto Police Services reported.

According to witnesses, the sinkhole opened under the man's feet as he was walking down the street.

Toronto fire had to set up a perimeter around the hole to distribute the weight of their equipment. They then set up: a ladder over the opening, a tripod, a harness and a winch, to get the man out.


Magnitude 5.3 tremor hits Costa Rica, followed by 400 aftershocks

© Gabriela Gómez
Gabriela Gómez posted images on OVSICORI’s Facebook page of landslides, fissures and other damage at her farm located in Capellades in northwestern Cartago province.
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported that at least one house collapsed and dozens are damaged in cantons east of Cartago due to the strong earthquake that shook the province at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Red Cross spokesman Gerald Jiménez confirmed to The Tico Times on Thursday that the organization had not received any reports of injured people.

Fifteen people in the canton of Alvarado were evacuated to a shelter, following recommendations from the CNE and the Firefighters' Corps. Experts from both agencies are evaluating homes in the area to assess whether their occupants can safely return, the CNE reported.

In addition to some 40 damaged houses there are also reports of landslides and cracked roads in the Cartago cantons of Jiménez and Alvarado. People in Turrialba, Alvarado, Jiménez and Oreamuno suffered power and water cuts.

On Thursday evening there were still some 4,000 people without water in various communities in Jiménez.
The University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network reported the epicenter in Capellades, in northern Cartago province.

Black Cat

260 people killed and nearly 11,000 injured due to man-animal conflict in past 5 years in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India

At least 260 people have been killed and 10,955 were injured in man-animal conflict during last five years in Madhya Pradesh, making it a serious cause of concern for the state forest officials.

Besides, 22 tigers, leopards, bears, wild boars, jackals and other carnivores have been killed by humans during the same period.

According to the Forest department data, 51 people were killed by wild animals in 2011-12, 48 each in 2012-13 and 2013-14; 61 in 2014-15 and 52 in 2015-16.

Likewise, 3,181 people were injured in man-animal conflict in 2011-12, 2,906 in 2012-13, 2,092 in 2013-14, 1,334 in 2014-15 and 1,442 in 2015-16, the data reveals.

25,344 cattle also killed in the past five years. Recently, a minor girl was mauled to death by a tiger in Bagda forest range of Hoshangabad district on November 19.


Canadian mountain resort receives almost two meters of snow in a week

© Via [email protected]
Whistler Blackcomb has received over 190 centimetres of snow in the last seven days, and the powder won't stop falling anytime soon.

The mountain resort reports they have measured 26 centimetres of new snow in the last 12 hours, 86 centimetres in the last two days, and 192 centimetres in the last week. With only three days into the 2016/2017 winter season, they already have a base of 206 centimetres at mid-mountain.

For skiers and boarders planning on ending their weekend making fresh lines in the snow, the weather will continue to cooperate on Sunday and maybe even make way for some blue sky.

Temperatures will be frosty at -5 C up the mountain with sunny periods and flurries developing around noon, but winds gusting up to 45 km/h will add extra chill to the air. Forecasters at Whistler expect another four to eight centimetres to fall on Sunday and three to five to fall on Wednesday.


Shallow 5.2 magnitude temblor hits India-Nepal border

The tremors were felt in various parts of Uttrakhand including Champawat, Srinagar, Garhwal and Almora. No casualties have been reported so far.
An earthquake measuring 5.2 intensity on Richter Scale has recently hit India-Nepal border. The tremors were felt in various parts of Uttrakhand including Champawat, Srinagar, Garhwal and Almora. No casualties have been reported so far.

This is the second time in a week that Nepal has witnessed the tremors. A couple of days back, same intensity earthquake, measuring 5.5 on the Richter Scale, hit the coastal area of Nepal with its epicentre being located at Solukhumbu district near the Everest region, which is around 150 km east of the capital Kathmandu. As per the country's National Centre for Seismology, a unit of Ministry of Earth Sciences, the quake occurred at a depth of 10 km.


Sun halo spotted over Cape Coral, Florida

© Sue Murdock
A great example of what's known as a sun halo was spotted over Cape Coral on Saturday.

A sun halo is when an enormous ring appears to form around the sun. Though the effect appears rather remarkable, it's actually a somewhat common occurrence.

Sun halos are formed when cirrus clouds are present in the atmosphere. These are clouds forming well above the Earth's surface, usually at heights greater than 22,000 feet. The temperature in the atmosphere this high up is cold, so instead of being made up of tiny water droplets like clouds closer to the surface, cirrus clouds are constructed with small ice crystals.

When the sun's light hits these small ice crystals in the sky, the light is bent in the same manner as it is when entering a prism. This is what generates the circular structure we see when sun halos form.