Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Cuba: Earthquake Magnitude 5.6 Offshore

Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 18:08:09 UTC

Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 01:08:09 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

19.731°N, 75.279°W

17.2 km (10.7 miles)


45 km (30 miles) S of Guantanamo, Cuba

65 km (40 miles) ESE of Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

825 km (510 miles) ESE of HAVANA, Cuba

840 km (520 miles) SE of Miami, Florida

Better Earth

Seabird evolved head feathers as sensory device

Attracting the opposite sex is not the only reason some birds have elaborate head ornamentation. Avoiding things that might bump your head in the dark is also important, at least for crested and whiskered auklets - seabirds famed for their decorative head feathers.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.2 - New Ireland Region, Papua New Guinea

Papua Earthquake
© USGSEarthquake Location
Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 14:00:51 UTC

Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 12:00:51 AM at epicenter

3.380°S, 152.231°E

423.5 km (263.2 miles)

95 km (60 miles) N of Rabaul, New Britain, PNG

150 km (95 miles) NW of Taron, New Ireland, PNG

870 km (540 miles) NE of PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea

2670 km (1660 miles) N of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia

Better Earth

Orangutans can swim - we've got pictures to prove it

Orangutans normally steer clear of water. In the wild they rarely go near rivers and lakes, to avoid the crocodiles and snakes that lurk there. So it came as a surprise to conservationists when a group of orphaned orangutans that had been relocated to Kaja Island in Borneo started getting wet for all sorts of reasons: one pair was even seen having sex in water.

"My guess is that the male chose the location because there was less chance of him being interrupted by other, more dominant males," says Anne Russon of York University in Toronto, Canada.


"Orangutans are famous for their fear of water," says Russon. "They have high body densities and can't help but sink." They're such lousy swimmers that some zoos have stopped surrounding enclosures with moats - too many orangutans have drowned.

© Anne Russon
"One day we saw an adolescent orangutan called Sif wade into deep water, hunker down and then lunge forward making simple paddling movements with her arms and legs," says Russon. "It was kind of like a bad dog paddle." Sif didn't get all that far - about a metre.

Bizarro Earth

Orange sky in Beijing for year's biggest sandstorm

Dust Storm
© Associated PressTaipei city is seen among dust storm Wednesday morning, March 17, 2010. A wave of sandstorms hit Taiwan Tuesday, affecting the air quality, according to the Environmental Protection Administration.
China's capital woke up to orange-tinted skies Saturday as the strongest sandstorm so far this year hit the country's north, delaying some flights at Beijing's international airport and prompting South Korean weather officials to issue a dust warning for Seoul.

The sky glowed and a thin dusting of sand covered Beijing, causing workers to muffle their faces in vast Tiananmen Square. The city's weather bureau gave air quality a rare hazardous ranking.

Air quality is "very bad for the health," China's national weather bureau warned. It said people should cover their mouths when outside and keep doors and windows closed.

China's expanding deserts now cover one-third of the country because of overgrazing, deforestation, urban sprawl and drought. The shifting sands have led to a sharp increase in sandstorms - the grit from which can travel as far as the western United States.


Climate-change scientists aren't happy and feel 'muzzled' by Canadian government: documents

A dramatic reduction in Canadian media coverage of climate change science issues is the result of the Harper government introducing new rules in 2007 to control interviews by Environment Canada scientists with journalists, says a newly released federal document.

"Scientists have noticed a major reduction in the number of requests, particularly from high-profile media, who often have same-day deadlines," said the Environment Canada document. "Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80%."

The analysis reviewed the impact of a new federal communications policy at Environment Canada, which required senior federal scientists to seek permission from the government prior to giving interviews.


Canada: Another fatal avalanche strikes near Revelstoke, British Columbia

Another avalanche, like this one that killed two people last weekend, has struck near Revelstoke, B.C.
One is dead and at least one injured after avalanche in Revelstoke, B.C. Friday afternoon, less than a week after a massive slide killed two snowmobilers in the same area.

RCMP say it's not clear whether there are any other snowmobilers are unaccounted for and a search is underway in the latest avalanche.

Unconfirmed reports state one person has possibly died and several others buried by an avalanche Friday afternoon in Eagle Pass, 20 km west of Revelstoke.

Comment: Here is a link to the March 13th incident.


Flashback Best of the Web: Sign of Cosmic Climate Change: New Island Forms in South Pacific

© Fredrik FranssonFredrik Fransson and crew witnessed this volcano rear its head above the water's surface to form a new island in the Pacific in 2006. Increasing underwater vulcanism causes more water to evaporate from the Oceans.
This email forward arrives with a series of photographs that depict a yacht's encounter with a large area of floating volcanic stones and the apparent birth of a new volcanic island in the South Pacific Ocean. Although the images are certainly unusual, they are genuine. Both the phenomena of the floating stones and the newly formed volcanic island have now been well documented by a variety of reliable sources including NASA.

The images in the email were taken from a post on the blog operated by Fredrik Fransson and the crew of the yacht 'Maiken'. In August 2006, the Maiken was sailing in the South Pacific near Tonga when it came across a large area of floating volcanic stones (pumice). When lava with a high gas and water content erupts from a volcano and then cools it can produce pumice, a very light rock material filled with gas bubbles. Pumice is the only kind of rock that can float on water. A large mass of pumice floating on the ocean surface is known as a "pumice raft".

Comment: We covered this story in 2006 and are reposting it now along with these eyewitness photographs. As we outlined in our recent installment of Connecting the Dots, this undersea activity, including the birth of a whole new island, does not bode well for our planet because increased undersea volcanism means that the ocean water is being heated. This heating of the water can lead to increased evaporation and heat pockets of the lower atmosphere. At the same time, the upper atmosphere is cooling due to increased comet dust (or other cosmic dust entering the solar system from who knows where?) - the evidence for which is the increasing number of fireball sightings being reported over the past dozen years or so, not to mention reports of colourful snow and high-altitude noctilucent clouds. The cosmic dust is electrically charged and tends to create drag on the Earth's rotation, slowing it down marginally. This affects the magnetic field which then increases earthquakes and volcanism, and a feedback loop gets going.

When the increased moisture in the lower atmosphere hits the cooling upper atmosphere, the result is torrential rains and/or increased snowfall depending on location and season of the location. It can also produce odd effects like falling chunks of ice, extraordinary hail storms in the middle of summer, and so on. There have been many reports of these phenomena over the past dozen years or so.

In short, we are witnessing the process of the initiation of an ice age and while the drama reported in the above story is entertaining, it is also a grim reminder of what is really going on in our solar system.


Devastating Non-Trends in US Climate

If one wonders why the climate alarmist movement is suffering from a credibility problem, one only needs to read this:
Climate change is already having "pervasive, wide-ranging" effects on "nearly every aspect of our society," a task force representing more than 20 federal agencies reported Tuesday.

"These impacts will influence how and where we live and work as well as our cultures, health and environment," the report states. "It is therefore imperative to take action now to adapt to a changing climate."

Indeed, climate change has begun to affect the ability of government agencies to fulfill their missions, reports the White House Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.

The group is led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It is made up of representatives from more than 20 federal agencies, departments and offices, including the Department of Commerce, the National Intelligence Council, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Pentagon. That's diverse - and it's definitive.
Seriously? I love how the author says "it's definitive." If the Bush White House had gotten all the same groups together 8 years ago to say that Islamic terrorism was the greatest threat ever faced by every Federal Agency, would that have been "definitive" too? (In fact, exactly this happened, as every department made a pitch for why they needed new security funds).


Medieval Warm Period seen in western USA tree ring fire scars

Here is just one more indication that despite what some would like you to believe, the Medieval Warm Period was not a regional "non event".
© Unknown
From a University of Arizona press release,
Giant Sequoias Yield Longest Fire History from Tree Rings

California's western Sierra Nevada had more frequent fires between 800 and 1300 than at any time in the past 3,000 years, according to a new study led by Thomas W. Swetnam, director of UA's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.