Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

Driller thriller: Antarctica's tumultuous past revealed

The midnight sun hangs low in the sky on this November evening. A plain of flat ice sweeps in all directions and mountains rise in the distance. Perched on the sea ice is a massive, teepee-shaped tent. A mechanised rumble emanates from within.

Inside the tent, men in hard hats tend a rotating shaft of steel. This drill turns day and night through 8 metres of sea ice covering the surface of McMurdo Sound, off the coast of Antarctica, and through 400 metres of water beneath it and into the seabed.

Comment: See also: US Military research site shows Arctic ice thickening over last 12 months


Sunbird learns to hover for sweet reward

Dogs might be resistant, but it turns out you can teach an old bird new tricks. An African bird has learned to hover so that it can collect nectar from flowers, just as hummingbirds do in the Americas. The bird has an unlikely trainer: an invasive South American plant that has made its way to South Africa.


US: High winds kill 2, knock out power in Southeast

High winds are causing power outages for parts of the Southeast and are responsible for the death of a teen in Tennessee and another person in Atlanta.

An Etowah teenager has been killed when a strong gust of wind blew a tree onto his family's home.

McMinn County Sheriff's Detective Jerry Wilson said the 18-year-old was still in bed when a tree fell onto the house around 6 a.m. ET Monday and a limb penetrated it, killing him.

Better Earth

U.S. Military research site shows Arctic ice thickening over last 12 months

US MIL Arctic buoy locations
© Cold Regions Research and Engineering LaboratoryUS MIL Arctic buoy locations

The WUWT Arctic Ice Thickness Survey has been conducted from the comfort of a warm living room over the last half hour, without sponsors, excessive CO2 emissions or hypothermia. The data is collected from the US military web site. All of the active military buoys show significant thickening ice over the past six months to a year, as at right.
Catlin Arctic Survey Team position
Location of Catlin team relative to buoy 2008D and the North Pole

Bizarro Earth

El Salvador: Earthquake Magnitude 4.6


* Monday, April 13, 2009 at 00:33:20 UTC

* Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 06:33:20 PM at epicenter

Location 13.548°N, 88.511°W

Depth 188.4 km (117.1 miles)

Distances 40 km (25 miles) WNW of San Miguel, El Salvador

75 km (50 miles) ESE of SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador

120 km (75 miles) ESE of Santa Ana, El Salvador

1305 km (810 miles) ESE of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico


'Britain's Beach Litter Worst Since Records Began' Say Conservationists

Britain's beaches are more littered than at any time since records began, according to a report published today by the Marine Conservation Society.

An average of 2,195 pieces were found for every kilometer cleaned in the society's Beachwatch project last year, more than two items per meter and more than double the amount found in the first clean-up in 1994.

The amount of plastic rubbish found had tripled in the same time and made up about 60 per cent of the waste recovered, said Emma Snowdon, the project's coordinator.

South West England was the worst affected area, with almost 5,000 pieces of litter on every kilometer of beach. Almost 40 per cent of the litter was discarded by beach users.

Better Earth

New orangutan population found in Indonesia

Black Orangutan
© Associated Press Photo/The Nature Conservancy, HOn this undated photo released by The Nature Conservancy, an orangutan of a newly found population is seen in Sangkulirang forest on Borneo island, Indonesia. Conservationists have discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote, mountainous corner of Indonesia, perhaps as many as 2,000, giving a rare boost to one of the world's most critically endangered great apes.
Jakarta - Conservationists have discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote, mountainous corner of Indonesia - perhaps as many as 2,000 - giving a rare boost to one of the world's most endangered great apes.

A team surveying forests nestled between jagged, limestone cliffs on the eastern edge of Borneo island counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a "substantial" number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at the U.S.-based The Nature Conservancy.

"We can't say for sure how many," he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate "several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even."

The team also encountered an adult male, which angrily threw branches as they tried to take photos, and a mother and child.


Australia: Catching food a spit in ocean for dolphin

Snubfin dolphin
© Unknown
A rare and recently discovered species of Australian dolphin catches its prey by spitting at it.

The snubfin dolphin is found along Australia's northern coastlines and was recognised as a new species only in 2005.

The snubfin not only looks strange - it has a small dorsal fin and round, melon-like head - but new research shows it has an unusual method of feeding.

World Wildlife Fund Australia's marine and coasts manager Lydia Gibson said the small dolphins hunt in groups, chasing fish to the surface and rounding them up by shooting jets of water from their mouths. "This incredibly unusual behaviour, first seen in Australia off the Kimberley coast, has only been noted before in Irrawaddy dolphins, which are closely related to this species," Ms Gibson said.


US: Study of fault directly under San Jose points to hard shaking

A new study deepens the knowledge of Silver Creek Fault, charting its precise route under San Jose. The emerging research suggests that if the fault erupts, the city could suffer high levels of ground shaking.

Seismic profiles of the earth underneath three streets near downtown San Jose - Empire Street, Mission Street and Gish Road - provide conclusive evidence of a shallow fault, according to a study by geophysicist Rufus Catchings of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

"Because the fault zone extends through downtown San Jose, and likely much of the East Bay, the fault may pose a significantly high seismic hazard to the region," Catchings said.

Evil Rays

Bad news for Catlin Expedition: Satellite Data Shows Arctic Cooling in February and March

As reported by Anthony, RSS satellite temperature data is out for March. And as the Catlin adventurers have discovered, it has been "stupidly cold" in the Arctic. March was the second consecutive month of below normal Arctic temperatures, and the continuation of a four year cooling trend - as seen below. Google's linest() function shows that since the beginning of 2005, Arctic temperatures have been cooling at a rate of 1.8 degrees C per decade, or 18C per century ( see comments). Also note that Arctic monthly temperature anomaly now is about three degrees lower than in January, 1981.

That short term trend isn't meaningful, except in the context of the Catlin Expedition and the cold they are experiencing.