Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Strong Earthquakes Hit Indonesia

At least four people have been killed and dozens injured after a series of powerful earthquakes hit eastern Indonesia, officials say.

© BBC NewsA number of buildings collapsed in Manokwari
The strongest tremor, with a magnitude of 7.6, struck north of the city of Manokwari in West Papua province at 0443 (1943 GMT on Saturday).

It was followed by another big quake and a string of aftershocks.

Witnesses said the tremors triggered mass panic in Manokwari, where several buildings were flattened.

Bizarro Earth

An Eighteen-Hundred-Year Climate Record from China

Working with a stalagmite found in China's Wanxiang Cave (33°19'N, 105°00'E) -- which Zhang et al. (2008) say is located on the fringes of the area currently affected by the Asian Monsoon and is thus sensitive to (and integrates broad changes in) that annually-recurring phenomenon -- the seventeen researchers developed a O18 record with an average resolution of 2.5 years that "largely anti-correlates with precipitation" and runs continuously from AD 190 to 2003. Even more important than its close ties with precipitation, in our opinion, Zhang et al. demonstrate that the record "exhibits a series of centennial to multi-centennial fluctuations broadly similar to those documented in Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions, including the Current Warm Period, Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period and Dark Age Cold Period." And when one compares the peak warmth thus implied by their data for the Current and Medieval Warm Periods, it is readily seen that the Medieval Warm Period comes out on top as having been the warmer of the two.

Better Earth

4000 Year Oxygen-18 Histories of New Zealand's North and South Islands

This is a review from of an interesting paper looking at Oxygen 18 records in water driven cave formations (stalactite, stalagmite or flowstone) than span a 4000 year period. Here is a basic description from the NZ Climate Centre:

"These deposits occur within karst terranes in subterranean caverns mainly as calcite (CaCO3) precipitated from groundwater that percolated through overlying limestone or marble rock. Interior cave climates and environments are generally stable; temperatures have little annual variation and are usually close to the external local mean annual air temperature. Oxygen and carbon stable isotope values (18O/16O and 13C/12C) obtained from speleothem calcite have been employed at many locations in the world to determine past climate conditions and can be used to interpret environmental changes."

Alarm Clock

Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted

You are probably wondering whether President-elect Obama owes the world an apology for his actions regarding global warming. The answer is, not yet. There is one person, however, who does. You have probably guessed his name: Al Gore.

Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that "the science is in." Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.

Better Earth

New Breeding Ground For Endangered Whales? High Numbers Of Right Whales Seen In Gulf Of Maine

 right whales
© NOAA/Misty NiemeyerThree North Atlantic right whales are visible at the surface on Jordans Basin. A fourth whale is visible just below the surface at lower left.
A large number of North Atlantic right whales have been seen in the Gulf of Maine in recent days, leading right whale researchers at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center to believe they have identified a wintering ground and potentially a breeding ground for this endangered species.

The NEFSC's aerial survey team saw 44 individual right whales on Dec. 3 in the Jordan Basin area, located about 70 miles south of Bar Harbor, Maine. Weather permitting, the team regularly surveys the waters from Maine to Long Island and offshore 150 miles to the Hague Line (the U.S.-Canadian border), an area about 25,000 square nautical miles.

"We're excited because seeing 44 right whales together in the Gulf of Maine is a record for the winter months, when daily observations of three to five animals are much more common," said Tim Cole, who heads the team. "Right whales are baleen whales, and in the winter spend a lot of time diving for food deep in the water column. Seeing so many of them at the surface when we are flying over an area is a bit of luck."


India: Mysterious outbreak among buffaloes

The chief of Bolongdai village (Nungba), Ningkham Gangmei informed IFP over the telephone today that a mysterious outbreak of a disease has led to the death of over 12 buffalo heads. According to him, about five buffaloes were reported dead in the village prior to Christmas while another seven have died till yesterday.

He said that he had no reports of death of other types of cattle coming from the village and expressed concern that the outbreak could also affect other villages since cattle graze together.


Tsunami alert issued after strong Indonesian quake

JAKARTA - Authorities and witnesses say a strong earthquake in eastern Indonesia has sent panicked residents running outside.

The country's meteorology and seismology agency warned that with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 it was strong enough to cause a tsunami. There were no immediate reports of giant waves.


New Zealand: Unseasonable weather wreaks havoc in Canterbury

It has been a wet, windy and weird 24 hours in Canterbury as the province has gone from searing heat, to a windstorm, then hail and thunder.

First wind wreaked havoc in Ashburton, then an afternoon storm in Christchurch disrupted holiday-makers and fans watching the one-day international between the Black Caps and the West Indies at AMI Stadium.

The ball wasn't the only white object flying around AMI Stadium this afternoon - a predicted hailstorm arrived driving players from the field.


Magnitude 4.2 - Potosi, Bolivia

Magnitude 4.2

* Saturday, January 03, 2009 at 03:21:12 UTC
* Friday, January 02, 2009 at 11:21:12 PM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Cloud Lightning

US: Floods, mounting snow ruin buildings in Northwest

Portland -- A mud slide destroyed a home Friday, briefly trapping its occupants, and flooding, mud and deep snow blocked roads as the latest winter storm pummeled the Northwest.

Residents of a home in suburban Lake Oswego called 911 early Friday saying they were trapped after mud flowed into their home, filling the first floor. They escaped out a window and were taken to a hospital, said deputy Fire Marshall Gert Zoutendijk. He said their lives were not in danger.

Authorities said 21 nearby homes were evacuated.

Outside Portland in Clackamas County, about 30 families were evacuated from a mobile home park because of flooding and about 60 roads were closed. County officials declared a state of emergency.

Also in Clackamas County, floods crept into the Estacada library, ruining thousands of books before the water receded. A layer of silt remained.

The storm dropped just over 3 inches of rain east of Portland before the sky cleared during the morning, and 3.9 inches fell in Aurora, south of the city.