Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

India: Black Spotted Deer, Uhm, Spotted

Black spotted deer
© Unknown
Indian news services are reporting on Sunday, July 26, 2009, in the Sakaal Times of Pune, India, and in The Hindu of an intriguing example of melanism in a deer.

Needless to say, this may be a rare mutation or a new color morph seen near Coimbatore, India, but it is doubtful, as the article states in the Sakaal Times headline, that it is a "New species of deer spotted." (Since it seems to be a black spotted deer, I am not unaware that the Indian headline writer may have been attempting a bit of a pun here.)


Kamchatka volcano spews ash to 5,000 meters in Russia's Far East

Russia's northernmost active volcano churned out ash to a height of some 5,000 meters (23,000 feet) in the country's Far East late on Saturday, the local geophysics service said on Sunday.

The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula last erupted in December 2006 and has been active ever since.

The service reported registering over 170 tremors within the area in the past 24 hours. "Some of them were followed by powerful ash bursts and avalanches," a spokesman for the service said.


US: 3,000 Low Temp Records Set This July!

Here are some stats and maps regarding the unusually cold July that is happening over a large portion of the U.S., especially the Northeast quadrant (yes, it's been unusually hot in the SW, see below). Note: Since I am on vacation at the end of the month, I will not be able to update these but will be running news articles about how cool July was in these areas, come the first week in August.

First, some stats. 1,044 daily record low temperatures have been broken this month nationwide according to NCDC -- count record "low highs" and the number increases to 2,925, surely to pass 3,000 before the end of the month. Some thoughts on the 'low highs" below.

Arrow Down

Report contradicts study on Great Lakes water drop

A new report says that a joint U.S.-Canadian study exploring lower water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron has significantly underestimated the amount of water the lakes have lost due to erosion on the St. Clair River.

A study released in the spring by the International Joint Commission said the water loss was four inches. But the report prepared by the coastal engineering consultants Baird & Associates says the water loss was actually more than nine inches.

Bizarro Earth

US: Drought turning Texas as dry as toast

Dallas - Off-duty police officers are patrolling streets, looking for people illegally watering their lawns and gardens. Residents are encouraged to stealthily rat out water scofflaws on a 24-hour hot line. One Texas lake has dipped so low that stolen cars dumped years ago are peeking up through the waterline.

The nation's most drought-stricken state is deep-frying under relentless 100-degree days and waterways are drying up, especially in the hardest-hit area covering about 350 miles across south-central Texas. That's making folks worried about the water supply - and how long it might last.


Mediterranean rim battles to contain wildfires

© AFP/Stephan AgostiniA volunteer from Olivese, a village nearby Aullene in Corsica, cuts off a bush with a chainsaw, helping firefighters to prevent the fire in la Vacca mountain from crossing the other side of the valley. Firefighters battled blazes in five countries along the northern Mediterranean rim Sunday, slowly gaining the upper hand after an exhausting week that left eight people dead.
Rome - Firefighters battled blazes in five countries along the northern Mediterranean rim Sunday, slowly gaining the upper hand after an exhausting week that left eight people dead.

Tens of thousands of hectares of countryside have been devastated mainly in Italy, Spain, France and Greece with initial estimates suggesting that the insurance bill may already run into hundreds of millions of euros

New fires were sparked Sunday in some of the worst hit areas, but also in Croatia, with the latest again blamed on arson following recriminations over criminal fire-starting elsewhere.

On the scorched Italian island of Sardinia, as many as 25,000 hectares (60,000 acres) have been razed by a flaming inferno fanned by high temperatures and an extra-strong Mistral, a fast and dry northerly wind.


Poaching Crisis As Rhino Horn Demand Booms In Asia

© iStockphoto/Hilton KotzeEndangered black rhinoceros. Twelve rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, according to new research.
Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns, according to new research. Poachers in Africa and Asia are killing an ever increasing number of rhinos - an estimated two to three a week in some areas - to meet a growing demand for horns believed in some countries to have medicinal value, according to a briefing to a key international wildlife trade body by WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and their affiliated wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

An estimated three rhinos were illegally killed each month in all of Africa from 2000-05, out of a population of around 18,000. In contrast, 12 rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, the three groups told the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee this week in Geneva.


Population of nearly extinct frogs found in California

© Adam Backlin, U.S. Geological SurveyUSGS scientists found this adult mountain yellow-legged frog on June 10 in Tahquitz Creek, a rediscovered population of the endangered frog in the San Jacinto Wilderness, San Bernardino National Forest, California.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, a population of a nearly extinct frog has been rediscovered in the San Bernardino National Forest's San Jacinto Wilderness. Biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessing suitability of sites to re-establish frogs and scientists from the San Diego Natural History Museum retracing a 1908 natural history expedition both rediscovered the rare mountain yellow-legged frog in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Idyllwild, Calif.

This re-discovery - along with the San Diego Zoo's first successful breeding of the frog in captivity, and successful efforts by California Department of Fish and Game to restore frog habitat - renews hope of survival for this Southern California amphibian.

Globally, amphibians are on the decline because of habitat loss, effects of climate change and the spread of a deadly pathogen called the chytrid fungus. The mountain yellow-legged frog is one of three frogs or toads on the federal Endangered Species List in Southern California. Prior to this recent discovery, USGS researchers had estimated there were about 122 adult mountain yellow-legged frogs in the wild.


New York City may miss 90ยฐF for second time in history

NYC Central Park
© unknown

More from the "weather is not climate" department. While our economy cools, so do apparently our cities. Cincinnati has a similar problem, and does Traverse City, and the cool weather doesn't "play in Peoria".

Taken by themselves it doesn't mean much, but it is interesting.


US: A flood of cold weather and climate data

First of all, I want to thank the hundreds of readers coming here every week! Because of you, the writers for the Examiner can continue their work, and the more you visit, the more we will write for your enjoyment and information.

Secondly, as a lifelong weather lover, my goals have always been to take the complex science of meteorology and make it easier to understand for the general public. That's what I did for 23 years in television and continue to do on MAX FM radio in Cincinnati (97.7 and 99.5 FM), which you can listen to online anywhere. I'll be doing a weekly segment on MAX FM highlighting the current research and observations involving weather and climate so you can better understand where we're heading. Our first installment, if all goes well (it's "live"), is Friday morning at 9:40 am (eastern time) and we'll be doing that every Friday at 9:40 am, for 20 you'll get some good information. We'll even be taking a few phone calls if you have questions.

You won't see me doing detailed research because that's not my specialty, nor do I have the time to do the thorough job that is done by paid researchers. It's their job, and many do it well, although we're always looking at who is paying for the research to ascertain potential biases. What I like to do, and apparently you like to read, is bring the big news and research stories together here and add my own experience and expertise in a plain-language story that everyone from children to the elderly can understand.