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Wed, 22 Mar 2023
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Earth Changes


Alaska: It's Not Rudolph, But Dang, Is He Cute

© AP Photo
Honey the reindeer, left, keeps a close eye on her newly born calf at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Fairbanks, Alaska.
With wobbly legs but no red nose, the first of 19 expected reindeer calves has been born at an Alaska farm that's the only reindeer research facility in North America.

Workers discovered the 17-pound newborn calf Thursday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks research farm. The other 18 pregnant does are expected to give birth within a week or so.

The newcomers don't have names yet, but that'll soon change. The research program hosts an annual contest to name its new calves, with the winners receiving birth certificates for the reindeer they've named.

Bizarro Earth

21st century global cooling trend debunks United Nations computer climate models

Computer models that have figured prominently into the climate studies organized through the United Nations show that the warming trend evident in the latter half of the 20th century would continue and even accelerate into the new millennium. But the climate has not cooperated and in fact the newest research shows that a cooling trend has taken hold that could persist for decades.

Dr. Don Easterbook, a geologist and professor emeritus at Western Washington University, has concluded that sea surface temperatures will experience a drop that could last for the next 25 to 30 years based on his observations of the Pacific Decadal Oscilliation or PDO, a weather phenomenon that reverts between warm and cool modes. He's not alone.

Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics with the National Autonomous University of Mexico sees evidence that points to the onset of a "little ice age" in about 10 years that could last for much of the 21st Century. The U.N. computer models are not correct because they do not take into account natural factors like solar activity, he said in a lecture.

This view is also advanced in a paper published by the Astronomical Society of Australia. The authors anticipate that sun's activity will diminish significantly over the next few decades.

In reality, the main arguments underpinning man-made global warming have been unraveling for quite some time Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), has observed.

"The alarmists have a problem," Cohen explained. "The climate isn't doing what they theory says it should be doing. The temperature is not rising in a linear fashion, which the man-made global warming theory says it should be doing. Instead there has been virtually no warming over the past 10 years, which is insignificant in geological terms, but very significant when you consider the alarmist theory."

Better Earth

Hostile volcanic lake teems with life

It looks peaceful, but Laguna del Diamante's waters are deadly.
Argentinian investigators have found flamingos and mysterious microbes living in an alkaline lagoon nestled inside a volcano in the Andes. The organisms, exposed to arsenic and poisonous gases, could shed light on how life began on Earth, and their hardiness to extreme conditions may hold the key to new scientific applications.

In 2009, a team led by María Eugenia Farías, a microbiologist at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Tucumán, Argentina, discovered living stromatolites in the Socompa and Tolar Grande lagoons high in the Andes (see 'High window on the past'). Stromatolites - collections of photosynthetic microorganisms and calcareous concretions - are thought to have been common more than 3.5 billion years ago.

After that discovery, scientists in Argentina decided to look at lakes and lagoons in the Puna de Atacama, a desert plateau that sits more than 4,000 metres above sea level, in an attempt to understand what life might have looked like on the early Earth.

Better Earth

Mountaintop mining takes hit: New EPA rule against 'valley fill' could kill practice

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced new pollution limits that could sharply curtail "mountaintop" mining, a lucrative and controversial practice that is unique to Appalachia.

The decision, announced by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, is expected to end or significantly cut the use of "valley fills." At these sites, mining companies fill valleys to the brim with rock and rubble left over when peaks are sheared off to reach coal seams inside.

"Minimizing the number of valley fills is a very, very key factor," Jackson said. "You're talking about no, or very few, valley fills that are going to meet this standard."

Both supporters and opponents of the practice said that, because large valley fills are such a common part of mountaintop mines, the move could curtail the mines in general.

Mountaintop mining provides about 10 percent of U.S. coal, but it is a much larger part of the economy in some sections of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

"It could mean the end of an era," said Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association.


Changes in Earth's atmosphere? Controlled burns in Kentucky, US cause mysterious and unnaturally thick haze


A look at the smoke from the Mammoth Cave required burn on Thursday. A second burn was planned for Friday
A mysterious and unnaturally thick haze of smoke blanketed counties throughout north central Kentucky on Thursday afternoon, raising curiosity and causing at least three fire departments to respond to places in Hardin County where people feared wildfires had sparked.

According to Kentucky Division of Forestry's Elizabethtown spokesman Steve Gray, the smoky haze seen throughout the region was caused by a prescribed burn of about 2,600 acres at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Winds from the southwest blew the plume northward into Hardin County.


Arctic Sea Ice about to hit 'normal' - what will the news say?


Melted by 2013? At this rate it'll cover all North America and Europe
Forecasting The NSIDC News

Barring an about face by nature or adjustments, it appears that for the first time since 2001, Arctic Sea ice will hit the "normal" line as defined by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) for this time of year.

NSIDC puts out an article about once a month called the Sea Ice News. It generally highlights any bad news they can find about the disappearance of Arctic ice. Last month's news led with this sentence.
In February, Arctic sea ice extent continued to track below the average, and near the levels observed for February 2007.
But March brought good news for the Polar Bears, and bad news for the Catlin Expedition and any others looking for bad news. Instead of ice extent declining through March like it usually does, it continued to increase through the month and is now at the high (so far) for the year.

If it keeps this trend unabated, in a day or two it will likely cross the "normal" line.

Bad Guys

British parliamentary whitewash: "Fragile" Phil Jones cleared of manipulating the data after just one day

A first investigation into e-mails leaked from one of the world's leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved -- although it was based on just a single day of testimony.

London - A first investigation into e-mails leaked from one of the world's leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved -- although it was based on just a single day of testimony.

Comment: Wow, they investigated the thousands of emails detailing evidence of fraud in just one day! This must set a new speed-reading record?

The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they'd seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming -- two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.

In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, "the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact," adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that "global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity."

Comment: And that report will no doubt vindicate Jones et al also.

Bizarro Earth

NASA Data Worse Than Climate-Gate Data, Space Agency Admits

Maps from NASA's GISS reveal temperatures where no data exist, thanks to mathematical extrapolation of data.
NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can't tell you what the temperature was when it did. By its own admission, NASA's temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.

E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) -- the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails -- and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA's data "was more accurate" than other climate-change data sets, NASA's Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said "the National Climatic Data Center's procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate," admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.

"My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC's data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means," Ruedy told the reporter.


Gulf Stream is Not Slowing Down, Says NASA

Fears that global warming will shut down the Gulf Stream and plunge Britain into a mini-ice age are unfounded, a study shows.

There is no evidence the phenomenon - which brings a constant flow of warm water and mild weather to northern Europe - has slowed down over the past 20 years, climate scientists say.

'The changes we're seeing in overturning strength are probably part of a natural cycle,' said researcher Josh Willis, from Nasa.

Cloud Lightning

300 rescued from blizzards in Ireland

Heavy snow and winds caused overnight chaos in parts of the North with up to 300 people rescued from a mountain road after conditions overwhelmed vehicles.

The blizzard cut electricity to around 50,000 homes, while snowdrifts and fallen trees closed a large number of roads.

The police, coastguard, mountain rescue and Department of Environment launched a joint rescue operation after motorists became stranded when 3ft-high snowdrifts swept across the mountainous Glenshane Pass, a main route between Belfast and Derry.

Two evacuation centres were set up in Maghera and Dungiven in Co Derry to house the stranded, including schoolchildren whose bus had to be abandoned.