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Fri, 21 Feb 2020
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Earth Changes


6.2-magnitude earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea

Seismologists said coastal residents near the epicentre would have felt 'quite strong ground shaking' as the tremor was close to the shore of Papua New Guinea

Seismologists said coastal residents near the epicentre would have felt 'quite strong ground shaking' as the tremor was close to the shore of Papua New Guinea
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea today, the US Geological Survey said.

The quake hit just after 4pm local time at a depth of 19 miles some 75 miles south of Kokopo, the capital of PNG's East New Britain province, the USGS said.

Despite the earthquake strike close to the shore no tsunami warning was issued, authorities said.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Trevor Allen said coastal communities near the epicentre would have felt 'quite strong ground shaking' as the tremblor was close to the shore.

But, he said, the area was relatively sparsely populated and flexible building design locally helped limit exposure to damage from quakes.


Storm Ciara's hurricane-force winds batter UK transport

High winds from Storm Ciara whip up foam onto the road at Caswell Bay near Swansea
© Phil Rees/Rex/Shutterstock
High winds from Storm Ciara whip up foam onto the road at Caswell Bay near Swansea.
Hurricane-force winds have rocked Britain's transport network, causing the cancellation of trains, flights and ferries and prompting warnings of power cuts and a risk to life from falling debris.

The arrival of the weather front known as Storm Ciara, along with heavy rain and winds of more than 80 miles per hour, also comes with a heightened risk of flooding.

Heathrow airport said it had agreed with airlines to "consolidate" the flight schedule in a bid to minimise the number of cancelled flights.

British Airways was offering rebooking options for customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City while Virgin Atlantic also posted a list of cancelled flights on its website.

At least 10 rail companies sent out "do not travel" warnings, and nearly 20 others have told passengers to expect delays as strong winds were expected to damage electrical wires and clutter train tracks with broken tree limbs and other debris.

Rail companies issuing warnings against travel included Gatwick Express, Great Northern, LNER, Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink, Grand Central Hull Trains and TransPennine Express.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash flooding after torrential downpours cause havoc in Johannesburg and Gauteng, South Africa

Floods in Gauteng Province, 08 February 2020.
© Gauteng Province Community Safety
Floods in Gauteng Province, 08 February 2020.
Torrential downpours in South Africa have caused havoc on roads around Johannesburg and Gauteng Province. In some areas flooding has prompted residents to evacuate their homes.

Dozens of roads have been flooded in and around Johannesburg, including parts of the M1 De Villiers Graaff motorway. Some motorists were forced to abandon their cars submerged under water.

City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Service (EMS) said on 08 February: "Heavy rainfall since yesterday has resulted in flash floods in some parts of Johannesburg. We urge residents to exercise caution on all roads, low lying areas and near rivers. Officers from all Fire Stations along with police are attending to various incidents citywide."


Shallow 6.1-magnitude quake hits off Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 jolted 124km SSE of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands at 14:32:57 GMT on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 16.12 km, was initially determined to be at 60.0165 degrees south latitude and 25.4811 degrees west longitude.

Cloud Lightning

Lighting kills 4 mountain gorillas in Uganda

Mgahinga national park
Four mountain gorillas from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda have been found dead inside Uganda's Mgahinga national park in southwestern Uganda, reports The Observer.

According to reports, the gorillas are suspected to have been killed by a lightning strike on February 3. The deceased gorillas include three adult females and a male infant.

The Hirwa family of 17 members crossed to Uganda's Mgahinga national park on August 28, 2019, from Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.


Severe winter weather in central and eastern Europe - at least 3 killed

A snowplow pulls a truck stranded along a snow-covered road in the village of Naklerov, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

A snowplow pulls a truck stranded along a snow-covered road in the village of Naklerov, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.
A series of winter storms across central and eastern Europe claimed another life on Thursday after an elderly man was found dead in his snow-trapped car in Serbia.

The spate of blizzards and strong winds combined with heavy rain and snow have left at least three people dead across the region.

Serbian police said Thursday they found a man's body while rescuing around 20 people, including five children, from their blocked cars on a road the southwestern part of the country.

Comment: Reports from other countries in the region:


Winter storm drops snow on Haleakala, Big Island summits, Hawaii

Winter storm drops snow on Haleakala

Winter storm drops snow on Haleakala
A deep cold front dropped snow on the summits of Haleakala on Maui, and Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island, resulting in snowcaps on Hawaii's three tallest mountains.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu had those summits under a winter storm warning through noon Friday.

A dusting of snow fell on summit of Haleakala, which tops out at about 10,023 feet. The road to the summit was closed for much of the day Friday because of icy conditions.

Meanwhile, snow accumulations of up to 6 inches is in the forecast for the Big Island summits.

Snowflake Cold

Snowfall, blizzard cause traffic disruptions across Romania

Roads and railways have closed, trains have been canceled and schools have closed across the country after the recent snowfall and blizzard.

The A2 highway, linking Bucharest to Constanța, a city on the Romanian Black Sea coast, closed on the evening of February 5 because of the blizzard, G4media.ro reported.

In Buzău, Brăila, Ialomița and Tulcea counties, all national and county roads were closed between 22:00 and 08:00 for all vehicles, except the intervention ones.

In Harghita and Covasna counties segments of national roads were closed for traffic after trees fell onto the roads, while the blizzard closed national roads in Constanța county (DN 2A Hârșova - Ovidiu and DN22 Ovidiu - Tulcea). In Prahova county, the traffic was blocked on the national road DN1A Ploiești - Cheia because of the trees that had fallen down, while the DN 71 Sinaia - Moroieni was closed because of the blizzard. Similarly, roads were closed in Galati county (DN24 D Galați-Bârlad) and in Călărași county (DN 3 Călărași - Lehliu - Fundulea, DN3A Fetești - Lehliu, DN 31 Oltenița - Călărași, DN 21 Călărași - Slobozia and DN 3B Călărași- Borcea) because of the blizzard.

Snowflake Cold

Earth Could Be About to Enter a 'Mini Ice Age,' Scientist Claims

"The Sun is approaching a hibernation period."
iced electric poles
© Wikimedia Commons
UPDATE: This story has been challenged by Science Feedback and rated false because the "most recent forecast from NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (from December 2019) predicts that the next solar cycle will be similar to the one that is currently ending" and "even if an extended grand solar minimum were to occur, it would not produce marked global cooling."

The Mind Unleashed was not claiming to know professor Valentina Zharkova is correct, so we have revised our title for better accuracy.
(TMU) — A scientist has warned that Earth could be facing a mini ice age due to the Sun radiating less energy and heat toward our planet. According to the expert, this would mean that the planet would be plunged into a period of extreme winter and chilly cold storms during the next 30 years.

According to NASA, the Sun will reach its lowest activity in over two centuries in 2020. As a result of it going into a natural period of hibernation, Earth could see temperatures drop, resulting in food shortages on a global scale. The temperature could also drop by as much as one degree Celsius over a period of roughly 12 months — an incremental yet significant change in climate conditions that could have unpredictable results.

Comment: Astrophysicist- Mini Ice Age is now accelerating

Better Earth

Ocean currents are getting faster

Ocean currents
© NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Ocean currents visualized using data gathered between 2005 and 2007. New evidence suggests ocean currents are moving faster now than they did two decades ago.
New research, published today (Feb. 6) in the journal Science Advances, finds that this acceleration is occurring around the globe, with the most noticeable effects in the tropical latitudes. The enhanced speed isn't just at the ocean's surface, but is occurring as deep as 6,560 feet (2,000 meters).

"The magnitude and extent of the acceleration in ocean currents we detected throughout the global ocean and to 2000-meter (6,560 foot) depth was quite surprising," study co-author Janet Sprintall, an oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement. "While we expected some response to the increased winds over the past two decades, that the acceleration was above and beyond that was an unexpected response that is likely due to global climate change."

Winds over the ocean have been picking up at a rate of 1.9% per decade, the researchers found. This increase in wind speed transfers energy to the ocean's surface, and subsequently, deeper waters. About 76% of the upper 6,560 feet (2,000 m) of the oceans have seen an increase in kinetic energy since the 1990s. Overall, ocean current speeds have crept up about 5% per decade since the early 1990s, the study found.

Comment: In addition, wave heights and winter storms have been on the rise over the last 70 years too. However, despite the claims in the article that this is all because of 'global warming', what researchers have actually discovered is that the depths of the Pacific Ocean are cooling.

It's true that the climate is changing, it just has nothing to do with global warming, nor is it man-made. As reported in a recent study, also by scientists in China, we are entering a period of cooling.

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