Earth ChangesS


Study Finds Chimps Die From Simian AIDS, Dispelling Widely Held Belief

For the first time, scientists have shown that chimpanzees in the wild become sick and die from the simian version of AIDS.

The finding upsets a widely held scientific belief that chimpanzees, the closest relatives to humans, can get the virus that causes simian AIDS but without harm.

It also suggests that an outbreak of AIDS is contributing to the declining chimpanzee population in Africa, said the leader of the research team, Dr. Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Met Office winter 'forecast' 2009-10 attacked as 'reckless misleading nonsense

"It should be ignored absolutely. The opposite to whatever the Met Office says in long range has been what happened for the last three years!" Piers Corbyn, astrophysicist of WeatherAction said today, 23 July:

"The Met Office long range forecast attempts at seasonal and world developments totally failed to predict ANY of the 5 notable weather developments since 2007. They predicted the opposite to what occurred for the wet summers 2007, 2008, and 2009, the icy snowy winter 2008/09, and world temperature decline over recent years. On the other hand our WeatherAction Solar Weather Technique predicted all these major situations correctly and did it ahead of the Met Office prognoses.

Their score of zero out of five is lamentable. It could not be worse. They should stop issuing these reckless 'forecasts' which only serve to mislead the public, commerce and emergency authorities and cause unnecessary misery, danger and possible death.

Their forecast for a mild winter in 08/09 disarmed the emergency services and Councils and led directly to the UK running out of road salt, transport chaos and extra road accidents when the snow deluges predicted by us at WeatherAction hit Britain and Ireland. The Met Office stupidity cost the economy billions of pounds. "The recent heavy rains and weather prospects spell failure for the Met Office forecast of a 'barbecue summer' which we advised our own forecast users would fail. For how much longer will government, 'opposition' and much of commerce continue to follow failed methodology which is without scientific basis?


Pacific Northwest Snow Pack - the True Story

Snow ack PNW
© Mark Albright, University of Washington

Washington Governor Gregoire recently sent a letter to the Washington House delegation in which she stated that the snow pack has declined 20% over the past 30 years: "Last month, a study released by the University of Washington shows we've already lost 20% of our snow pack over the last 30 years."

Actual snow pack numbers show a 22% INCREASE in snow pack over the past 33 years across the Washington and Oregon Cascade Mountains.


Welcome to Solar Minimum

Much to the chagrin of President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats in Washington pushing for massive taxes on greenhouse gas emissions, the Midwest and Northeast United States has been experiencing uncooperatively cold temperatures this past summer.

New York City did not top 85 degrees last month for only the third time ever, Chicago just had its coolest month of June in 40 years, and Boston is already predicting the coming winter to be the snowiest in at least 8 years.

We've all heard the stories about the coming carbon dioxide caused global warming disaster that was going to melt the ice sheets, transform much of the surface of the earth into uninhabitable desert, and raise the oceans by 50 feet in the next 100 years or so.

And yet it is July and many Americans are already referring to this as the "year without true summer". Regardless of what Al Gore says, it's kind of hard to ignore your own senses that tell you that temperatures are definitely not rising.


Hundreds battle wildfire in Spain that killed four firefighters

© Agence France-PresseFiremen try to extinguish a blaze near the eastern Spanish village of Ures de Medina, close to Medinaceli on July 23, 2009.
Horta De Sant Joan -- Some 500 people were battling Wednesday a wind-fuelled wildfire in northeastern Spain which claimed the lives of four firefighters and seriously injured two others, Defence Minister Carme Chacon said Wednesday.

"We are working against the clock with all the human and material means which are capable of working in an area of difficult access," she told public radio RNE from the site of the blaze in Els Port national park near Tarragona.

The four veteran firefighters were killed Tuesday when the direction of the wind suddenly changed, whipping up the blaze and surrounding the men by flames.

It was the worst tragedy in Spain involving firefighters battling a wildfire since 11 were killed in 2005 as they fought a blaze that destroyed about 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of pine forest near the central city of Guadalajara.

One of the two firemen is in "very serious condition" in hospital with kidney failure, the head of the health service in Catalonia, Marina Geli, told reporters. The 31-year-old suffered burns to 50 percent of his body.


Flashback Giant Shark Mystery Solved: Unexpected Hideout Found

How do you lose track of the world's second largest fish?

© National Geographic
For decades, that's what scientists have been doing each winter, when basking sharks mysteriously disappear from the cool waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Now the baffled experts have at least part of the answer: Giant basking sharks from New England take tropical vacations.

Previously thought to inhabit only temperate waters, a new study shows that the sharks, which grow up to 32 feet (10 meters) long, make vast migrations to deep, warm-water hideouts.

Before the annual winter disappearance, scientists tagged 25 basking sharks off New England with floating, timed-release satellite transmitters.


Giant Basking Shark Stranded on Long Island

© Unknown
A reportedly 20-foot-long (6-meter-long) basking shark that washed ashore on a beach on New York's Long Island on Tuesday appears to have died from some kind of illness.

New York State Parks official George Gorman said researchers will examine the basking shark to determine a cause of death. After that, it will be buried in nearby sand dunes on the beach.

Basking sharks are common in the waters off Long Island. The giant washed ashore on a town beach a few miles east of Jones Beach State Park, a popular recreation area for New York City-area residents.


Historic winter storm in South America

Argentina satellite image
© unknownArgentina satellite image.

A major and historic winter storm is underway at this Wednesday morning in Argentina. Snow is falling in many parts of the country and in many areas not used to winter precipitation. Local news reports indicate snow already have been observed in the provinces of Mendoza, San Luis, San Juan, Cordoba, La Pampa and Buenos Aires.

In Bahia Blanca, a coastal city in the Southern part of the Buenos Aires, the snow storm is heavy and local authorities describe it as the worst snow event in 50 years. Roads are already blocked by snow and ice in the regional. TN news channel reports some areas of the Sierra de La Ventana could pick up even 3 feet of snow, unimaginable to the region.


English apples make earliest appearance in stores

apples early
© Geoff PughDiscovery apples on tree: English apples make earliest appearance in stores. The apples have arrived a good six weeks before their traditional launch at the end of August.
English apples are making their earliest ever appearances in shops after a harsh winter followed by a warm spring hastened their growth.

English apples are making their earliest ever appearances in shops after a harsh winter followed by a warm spring hastened their growth.

Created in what producers have called near-perfect growing conditions, the crop of Discovery apples - traditionally the season's first - are considered high quality by experts.

The apples have arrived more than a week earlier than the previous record set three years ago and a good six weeks before their traditional launch at the end of August, according to Tesco.

UK shoppers will today get to taste the result when the crop goes on sale at Tesco stores in the Sevenoaks area of Kent, near to where they were grown.

Tesco apple buyer David Croxson said: "What for most of us was one of the worst winters in recent memory turned out to be the start of a perfect growing season for English apple growers.


Denver metro-area storm left trails of debris, distress

Denver storm
© Joe Amon, The Denver PostMichelle Ziporin holds daughter Emily, 2, as she and husband Eric await an evaluation of damage to their Lakewood home.

The storm that spawned two tornadoes, uprooted trees, damaged vehicles and downed power lines in the Denver area Monday night may not get in the record books.

But it was a doozy.

"We have had storms where we lost some branches, but I never have seen anything like this, and I have been here since 1955," said Mary Stephens, who had to shovel hail away from a sliding door at her Wheat Ridge home.

Arvada, Lakewood, Englewood and Wheat Ridge were hardest hit, said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

Tornado sirens blasted in some areas as a line of severe thunderstorms bore down on Denver's western suburbs.

Lakewood officials decided not to trigger the alarms because no tornadoes or funnel clouds were nearby, police spokesman Steve Davis said.

"Today, looking over the extent of the damage from the storm, the feeling is we wish we would have set them off," he said.

Sirens blared in Englewood, but in Arvada there is no outdoor warning system.

"We opted to go with the option of not utilizing sirens, and instead using the media, the emergency alert system and coordinating closely with the National Weather Service and their broadcast warnings," said Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina.

Along West 32nd Avenue off Kipling Street, reminders of the storm were everywhere Tuesday morning: thick drifts of hail, shredded leaves, uprooted trees and downed limbs jutting from lawns.