Earth ChangesS


Nebraksa: Ravenna Lake suffers massive fish kill

Experts call it a winter-kill. Onlookers call it devastating. Thousands of fish - much more than originally thought - are now dead in Ravenna Lake.

Game and Parks officials said the extended ice and snow coverage this year blocked the sun and killed aquatic plants. Without plants producing enough oxygen an estimated 3800 fish suffocated.

The massive amount of algae you see may also have been a factor.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners said they'll decide what to do next in April.

Bizarro Earth

US: Floods push 325,000 pounds of lead into Idaho's Lake Coeur d'Alene

An estimated 352,000 pounds of lead from leftover mine pollution has washed into Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho, an official with the U.S. Geological Survey says.

Hydrologist Greg Clark said the lead washed into the lake on Jan. 18 as a result of a rain-on-snow event that caused flooding.

"We haven't seen those kinds of flows in quite a while," Clark, an associate director of the Idaho Water Science Center in Boise, told The Spokesman-Review. "We end up with a lot of metals - lead in particular - transported to the lake during those types of events."

The newspaper reports in a story published Thursday that's the weight equivalent of about 70 pickups.

The lead is left over from a century of mining. The Environmental Protection Agency last summer proposed cleaning up 300 old mine sites and contaminated groundwater areas in the region.

But Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, other elected officials and area residents say the $1.3 billion price is too high and the cleanup will take too long.

Bizarro Earth

Sulfur Dioxide Plume Erupts from Vanuatu Volcano

Vanuatu Volcano_2
© NOAASulfur Dioxide Plume Erupts from Vanuatu Volcano
Vanuatu Volcano
© NOAAWide View of Sulfur Dioxide Plume Erupting from Vanuatu Volcano
On the tiny island of Tanna, Vanuatu in the South Pacific is one of the world's most active volcanoes: Mt Yasur. As the NASA Aura satellite orbited overhead today (March 18, 2011), the Ozone Mapping Instrument detected a large sulfur dioxide plume being emitted from the volcano. OMI, though designed primarily for monitoring the ozone layer, is an important tool in monitoring volcanoes. NOAA's Satellite Analysis Branch operates the Washington Volcanic Area Advisory Center (WVAAC) in conjunction with the National Weather Service to issue volcanic ash advisories and alerts.

These advisories are critical for air quality monitoring, but even more so for diverting air traffic in the impacted areas. Volcanic ash, if ingested by jet engines can cause significant damage, and even loss of the aircraft. It is estimated that NOAA's ash monitoring saves the aviation industry between $100 and 200 million per year. The Mt Yasur volcano is situated in the Wellington (New Zealand) VAAC, but NOAA SAB processes and monitors plumes from many volcanoes around the world who's ash might enter the WVAAC airspace.

Bizarro Earth

First North Pole Ozone Hole Forming?

Arctic Ozone
© Picture Press / AlamyStratospheric clouds in the Arctic (file picture) worsen ozone loss, experts say.

Spawned by strangely cold temperatures, "beautiful" clouds helped strip the Arctic atmosphere of most of its protective ozone this winter, new research shows.

The resulting zone of low-ozone air could drift as far south as New York, according to experts who warn of increased skin-cancer risk.

The stratosphere's global blanket of ozone - about 12 miles (20 kilometers) above Earth - blocks most of the sun's high-frequency ultraviolet (UV) rays from hitting Earth's surface, largely preventing sunburn and skin cancer.

But a continuing high-altitude freeze over the Arctic may have already reduced ozone to half its normal concentrations - and "an end is not in sight," said research leader Markus Rex, a physicist for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Preliminary data from 30 ozone-monitoring stations throughout the Arctic show the degree of ozone loss was larger this winter than ever before, Rex said.

Before spring is out, "we may even get the first Arctic ozone hole ... which would be a dramatic development - one which would make it into coming history books," he said.

"It's too early to call, but stay tuned."

Bizarro Earth

UK: Hundreds of Dead Starfish Wash Up on Talybont Beach

© Erfyl LLoyd Davies PhotographyThe common starfish is found around the coast of the British Isles.
Several hundred dead starfish have been found washed up on a north Wales beach.

It comes following the discovery at Talybont, between Harlech and Barmouth in Gwynedd.

Council maritime officer Barry Davies said it is common for starfish to be washed ashore during spring tides but it was not clear why they had migrated so far up the shoreline.

Barmouth harbour committee chairman said an inquiry is needed.

Councillor Trefor Roberts said: "What I would like is a full scientist report on what caused the deaths of these starfish."

Mr Davies said he did not think anything suspicious has led to the deaths of the starfish.

Bizarro Earth

US: Tornadoes Rip Through Western Pennsylvania

Tornadoes Rip Through Western Pennsylvania

Bizarro Earth

Myanmar: Earthquake Magnitude 6.8

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 13:55:12 UTC

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 08:25:12 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

20.705°N, 99.949°E

10 km (6.2 miles)


89 km (55 miles) N of Chiang Rai, Thailand

168 km (104 miles) SSW of Yunjinghong, Yunnan, China

589 km (365 miles) NE of Rangoon, Myanmar

772 km (479 miles) N of BANGKOK, Thailand


Colder than normal spring predicted by Environment Canada

© CP
Even though spring has officially arrived and Canadians may occasionally get a small taste of warmth, it's going to be a while before you can put away the parkas.

"Forget what the calendar says, this is Canada," says Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips. "Ten per cent of snowfall happens in spring."

Canada is the snowiest country in the world, the second coldest country and winter is the longest season.

"Last year we had the earliest and warmest spring on record," says Phillips. "It was a gift."

By the end of a nice spring, Canadians believe it's the norm and only remember the last year. However, not only does it usually snow in April, but a third of the time it snows in May. That's more of what we can expect for this spring, he says.

Phillips predicts a colder than normal April for everywhere west of the Ottawa Valley. That will include more snow and April showers. East of the Ottawa Valley he's predicting normal conditions. He says it's much of the same for May and June with it to be colder than normal in the West and normal in the East.


US: Storm brings mix of snow, sleet, ice to Michigan

A storm packing a mix of snow, sleet and ice has created near-blizzard conditions and hazardous roadways in parts of Michigan.

The National Weather Service says that as of Wednesday morning 4-7 inches of snow fell in Saginaw and Tuscola counties, while the Flint area got more than 4 inches of sleet and snow. A glaze of ice also was seen in some areas. In the northern Lower Peninsula, the Houghton Lake area got up to 6 inches.

Rain fell in the Detroit area, with temperatures at or above freezing. Forecasters warned that could change later in the day.

By Wednesday afternoon, forecasters say an area from Ludington to Mount Pleasant could get 5-10 inches of snow and sleet by the time the storm passes.

Cloud Lightning

US: Officials surveying Iowa tornado, storm damage

© James SkiversJames Skivers captures a tornado touchdown near Cromwell, Iowa on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
The National Weather Service will send teams to Madison, Cass and Adair counties today to survey tornado and storm damage. The results will be available late this afternoon.

"We don't have any reports of injuries," Kenny Podrazik, a meteorologist with the Weather Service, said Wednesday morning.

Reports of property damage are coming in from areas all along the path of the storms. "We will know a lot more about the extent of the damage this afternoon," Podrazik said.