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Sat, 19 Sep 2020
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What's going on with the Sun? Will it save us from global warming?

Something is happening to our Sun. It has to do with sunspots, or rather the activity cycle their coming and going signifies. After a period of exceptionally high activity in the 20th century, our Sun has suddenly gone exceptionally quiet. Months have passed with no spots visible on its disc. We are at the end of one cycle of activity and astronomers are waiting for the sunspots to return and mark the start of the next, the so-called cycle 24. They have been waiting for a while now with no sign it's on its way any time soon.

©The Independent
Between 1645 and 1715 sunspots were rare. It was also a time when the Earth¿s northern hemisphere chilled dramatically

Cloud Lightning

Sun's Shifts May Cause Global Warming

His studies show that natural variations in the sun plays a major role in global warming. So are humans off the hook? And if so, why does he use compact fluorescent lightbulbs?

Most leading climate experts don't agree with Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen. In fact, he has taken a lot of blows for proposing that solar activity and cosmic rays are instrumental in determining the warming (and cooling) of Earth. His studies show that cosmic rays trigger cloud formation, suggesting that a high level of solar activity - which suppresses the flow of cosmic rays striking the atmosphere - could result in fewer clouds and a warmer planet. This, Svensmark contends, could account for most of the warming during the last century. Does this mean that carbon dioxide is less important than we've been led to believe? Yes, he says, but how much less is impossible to know because climate models are so limited.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 7.3 rocks eastern Caribbean

A powerful earthquake rocked the eastern Caribbean on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. No damage was immediately reported.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.3, was centred 37 kilometres southeast of Roseau, the capital of Dominica, where the shaking lasted for about 20 seconds. The quake was felt as far away as Puerto Rico.

Bizarro Earth

Yemen: Red Sea volcano erupts again

A volcano on a small uninhabited island in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen erupted again on 3 December after previously erupting on 30 September 2007.

No-one has been injured and there is no obvious threat to the environment following the eruption on Yemen's Jabal al-Tair island, Yemeni officials have said.

Battery

Electricity Revives Bali Coral Reefs

PEMUTERAN BAY, Indonesia - Just a few years ago, the lush coral reefs off Bali island were dying out, bleached by rising temperatures, blasted by dynamite fishing and poisoned by cyanide. Now they are coming back, thanks to an unlikely remedy: electricity.

Umbrella

Northwest wind and rain targets Midwest

PORTLAND, Ore. - A storm that brought hurricane force winds and heavy rain to the Northwest, killing at least four, was en route to the Upper Midwest, which has already been hit with heavy snow and rain.

Many roads remained closed by downed trees and landslides in Oregon and Washington, communications were spotty at best and power remained out for thousands of residents after back-to-back storm fronts Sunday and Monday that were among the region's worst in recent memory.

Bizarro Earth

Strong quake hits Indonesia's Sulawesi island



©REUTERS/Graphics
An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the northern part of Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the meteorology agency said.

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the northern part of Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the meteorology agency said.

Butterfly

Rare Sumatran rhino sighting in Malaysia



©Unknown

A Sumatran rhinoceros has been photographed in peninsular Malaysia in the first sighting for more than a decade, raising hopes the animal can avoid extinction, a report said Sunday.

The New Straits Times said the image, captured by a camera trap, snapped just a small part of the rhino but experts declared the wrinkly and folded thigh was unmistakable.

Cloud Lightning

Seattle, WA Rescue efforts underway as governor declares emergency; cities remain cut off, in the dark.

The Coast Guard scrambled helicopter rescue crews to the hardest-hit locations in Western Washington today as Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a state of emergency because of massive flooding, heavy rain and high winds that have killed at least two people.

The weather caused a three-day shut-down of Interstate 5 near Chehalis, and cut off coastal communities. All over Western Washington, flooding deluged homes and businesses.

©Steve Ringman/Seattle Times
Woodinville firefighters Jesse Disch, left, and Justin Ralph pull residents of the Archstone Apartments and their pets to safety.

So far, the worst of the weather has focused on Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, which have reported tens of thousands of customers without electricity, and most major roads in and out closed or blocked, including U.S. Highways 12 and 101. At one point early Monday nearly every road into Aberdeen was closed or blocked.

The Chehalis River was also flooding in Lewis County, including Chehalis, where helicopters were scrambled to rescue people from their flooded homes. . The weather service said heavy rain and lowland snow likely would cause the river to surge into areas that had never flooded before.

Bizarro Earth

Fire down below; Could we be standing above an untamed nuclear reactor nearly 10 kilometres across?

SOON we will be able to see into the centre of the Earth. Giant detectors will let us look down through the crust, the rocky mantle and the iron core. And there, thinks Marvin Herndon, we will see an enormous nuclear reactor, an 8-kilometre ball of fissioning uranium and plutonium.