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Thu, 02 Feb 2023
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Earth Changes


Sightings of 2 rare owls in Maine may be an omen

This great gray owl was spotted in October in Aro
© Colin Jandreau
This great gray owl was spotted in October in Aroostook County.
It's starting to look like an interesting winter ahead. Northern birds are departing Canada faster than Patriots fans leaving at halftime. Some of the more common birds have already washed over Maine, including blue jays, black-capped chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches.

It appears likely that Maine will enjoy another finch-filled winter. The Finch Research Network, a group of inspired biologists based mostly in Ontario, has noted a shortage of berries and cones across the eastern provinces.

The network's 2022-23 finch forecast predicts that fruit-eaters, like pine grosbeaks and Bohemian waxwings, will drop south in search of berries this winter. White-winged crossbills will likely come down in search of a better crop of spruce cones, though some may head farther west where the crop will be more robust this winter.

Comment: Britain set for a 'Waxwing Winter' with huge numbers of berry-loving birds heading our way from Scandinavia

Cloud Precipitation

Hailstorm causes massive damage to plane in Paraguay

Shocking pictures show state of plane that flew through massive storm

Shocking pictures show state of plane that flew through massive storm
Passengers on a flight to Paraguay have faced a terrifying journey after a storm caused massive damage to their plane.

The LATAM A320 flight was on its way to the capital Asunción from Santiago in Chile when bad weather forced the pilots to perform a go around and divert to Foz de Iguacu Airport in Brazil.

After waiting on the ground for more than three hours, the aircraft took off again for Asunción and flew into the hailstorm.

Unverified video from on board the plane shows passengers screaming and being thrown around.


Female humpback whale found dead off Malcolm Island, British Columbia

The body of a dead humpback whale floats off Malcolm Island.
The body of a dead humpback whale floats off Malcolm Island.
Scientists are investigating the death of a juvenile humpback whale discovered off the north side of Malcolm Island.

The female whale has been identified as BCX1847, also known as Spike. First documented in 2018, the humpback has been seen in the area around Port Hardy and Port McNeill every year since, says Jackie Hinderling of the Port McNeill-based Marine Education and Research Society.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and volunteers from the society helped to secure the severely bloated body to shore to ensure the animal and any evidence of its death didn't wash away with the tides.

Malcolm Island residents Andrew and Lori Pinch discovered the dead whale on Sunday while walking their dog.

The cause of death isn't immediately known. A necropsy scheduled for this week by Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists is expected to determine circumstances around the whale's death.


Britain set for a 'Waxwing Winter' with huge numbers of berry-loving birds heading our way from Scandinavia

A waxwing feeds on berries in London in January 2019, as strong northerly winds blew the rare birds off course from Scandinavia

A waxwing feeds on berries in London in January 2019, as strong northerly winds blew the rare birds off course from Scandinavia
Large numbers of waxwings are heading towards Britain in what could be the first major arrival for a decade.

Ornithologists say the berry-loving birds, which breed in coniferous forests from Scandinavia to eastern Russia, usually spend the winter further south.

However, this year there are signs of a poor crop of berries in Sweden and Finland. Exerts say that without the vital resource, waxwings have to move further afield, reaching the UK and other western European countries as they search for food.

The last time that happened was in 2015/16 - but Britain hasn't experienced a good 'Waxwing Winter' since 2012/13, according to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Cloud Precipitation

Cyclone 'Sitrang' wrecks havoc in Bangladesh - 28 dead, millions without electricity (UPDATE)

Residents search for their belongings amid the
© Rabin Chowdhury/AFP
Residents search for their belongings amid the debis of their collapsed huts in Chittagong.
As cyclone Sitrang battered parts of Bangladesh on Monday, at least nine people lost their lives, including three members of a family in Cumilla, two in Bhola and one each in Narail, Shariatpur, Barguna and Dhaka. Most deaths were reported after uprooted trees fell on them. Following the casualties, a monitoring cell by the Fire Service and Civil Defence was made functional.

Roads remained cut off for a couple of hours due to the falling of uprooted trees and light poles. However, with strong winds subsiding, the roads were cleared. Mobile networks and internet services in coastal areas were also affected during the landfall of the Cyclonic storm.The network was restored later. The power supply was affected in Pirojpur and Madaripur districts.

Comment: Update October 26

AFP reports:
Cyclone Sitrang leaves millions without electricity in Bangladesh, 28 dead

Bangladesh rescue workers found the bodies of four missing crew of a dredger boat, taking the death toll from Cyclone Sitrang to 28 as millions remained without power, officials said Wednesday.

Cyclones -- the equivalent of hurricanes in the Atlantic or typhoons in the Pacific -- are a regular menace in the region but scientists say climate change is likely making them more intense and frequent.

Cyclone Sitrang made landfall in southern Bangladesh on Monday but authorities managed to get about a million people to safety before the monster storm hit.

With winds of 80 kilometres (55 miles) per hour, it still left a trail of devastation in the country's densely populated, low-lying coastal region, which is home to tens of millions of people.

The government said nearly 10,000 tin-roofed homes were either "destroyed or damaged" and crops on large swathes of farmland were wrecked at a time of record-high food inflation.

Fire department divers found the bodies of four crew of a dredger boat that sank during the storm in the Bay of Bengal.

"We found one body on Tuesday night and three more this morning. Four crew are still missing," Abdullah Pasha from the fire department told AFP.

Nearly five million people were still without power on Wednesday, Rural Electrification Board official Debashish Chakrabarty told AFP.

Nearly a million people who were evacuated from low-lying regions have now returned to their homes.

Trees were uprooted as far away as the capital Dhaka, hundreds of kilometres from the storm's centre.

Heavy rains lashed much of the country, flooding cities such as Dhaka, Khulna and Barisal -- which took on 324 millimetres (13 inches) of rainfall on Monday.

About 33,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, controversially relocated from the mainland to a storm-prone island, were ordered to stay indoors but there were no reports of casualties or damage, officials said.

In recent years, better forecasting and more effective evacuation planning have dramatically reduced the death toll from such storms.

The worst recorded, in 1970, killed hundreds of thousands of people.


At least 26 injured in magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Philippines

At least 26 people were injured by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rocked the northern Philippines, forcing the closure of an international airport, sending panicked residents into the streets and causing substantial damage to a hospital.

The earthquake, which struck at about 10:59pm on Tuesday (14:59 GMT) near the upland town of Dolores, was felt as far away as the capital Manila, more than 330km (205 miles) to the south.

Police and civil aviation officials said that at least 26 people were injured in Ilocos Norte, the home province of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, where the international airport in the capital city of Laoag was ordered to close temporarily on Wednesday due to damage from the earthquake.


Amazon delivery driver dead after apparent dog attack in Excelsior Springs, Missouri

dog attack
An Amazon delivery driver was found dead in Missouri after he was apparently attacked by dogs, authorities said.

Deputies were called to a home in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, about 35 miles northeast of Kansas City, on Oct. 24 after neighbors reported an Amazon van had been sitting in front of a house for several hours, Ray County Sheriff Scott Childers said.

The van had been running with its lights on, NBC affiliate KSHB reported.

When deputies arrived, they found the delivery driver's body in the yard, along with two aggressive dogs, according to Childers.

The dogs ran inside of the home, and Childers said deputies found blood on the doggie doors on the property, KSHB reported. The owners of the residence were not home and appeared to be out of town, Childers said.


China's "Snow Town" embraces first snow of the season


Shuangfeng Forest Farm in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, known as China's "Snow Town," saw its first snow of the season on Sunday. Click and check the breathtaking view there.

Snowflake Cold

Russian scientists forecast cooling, thicker ice over coming years

arctic ice
Russian scientists, in the relevant fields, have long predicted cooling due to low solar activity. Russia knows where global temperatures are headed. It could be argued that their recent geopolitical maneuverings are tied to this.

"The Sun defines the climate, not carbon dioxide," so says eminent Russian space scientist, Habibullo Abdussamatov (Dr. Sc. - Head of Space research laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory).

Observations of the Sun show that carbon dioxide is "not guilty" for the steady increase in temperature observed over the past few decades, he continues, and that what lies ahead in the coming years is not warming but a global and very prolonged bout of cooling.

"We should fear a deep temperature drop — not catastrophic global warming," warns Abdussamatov, who was one of the researchers featured in the 2009 U.S. Senate Report of More Than 700 Dissenting Scientists Over Man-Made Global Warming.

"Humanity must survive the serious economic, social, demographic and political consequences of a global temperature drop, which will directly affect the national interests of almost all countries and more than 80% of the population of the Earth."


Heavy snowfall advisory issued for Gangwon's Mountainous Areas in South Korea

A heavy snowfall advisory has been issued for mountainous regions of northern Gangwon Province, as 12 centimeters of snow at Mount Seorak prompted an entry restriction.

According to the Seoraksan National Park Office, entry to Daecheongbong Peak and other high altitude areas have been prohibited since the advisory was issued at 8:10 a.m. on Monday.

The morning low near the mountain's Juncheong shelter plunged to minus three-point-four degrees Celsius as of 6 a.m.

An official from the park office urged visitors to prepare supplies and equipment for safety and protection from the cold as the winter season has arrived in mountainous areas.