Earth ChangesS


Ancient sponges leave their mark

© D. FikeThe rocks date to a time of dramatic glaciation on Earth.
Traces of animal life have been found in rocks dating back 635 million years.

The evidence takes the form of chemical markers that are highly distinctive of sponges when they die and their bodies break down in rock-forming sediments.

The discovery in Oman pushes back the earliest accepted date for animal life on Earth by tens of millions of years.

Scientists tell Nature magazine that the creatures' existence will help them understand better what the planet looked like all that time ago.


Deadly H5N1 avian flu found in Hong Kong birds

Scientists check ducks
© AFP/deHK officials check ducks for avian bird flu.
Hong Kong: A dead goose and two dead ducks found on a Hong Kong island last week have tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, officials said on Wednesday.

The birds were found on January 29 and 31 on a beach on Lantau island and preliminary tests showed they had tested positive for H5 avian influenza.

Further tests confirmed it was the H5N1 strain of the virus, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement.


China's Drought May Make Birds More Susceptible to Avian Flu

A drought in northern China that has limited drinking water to almost 4 million people may also be making birds more susceptible to the deadly H5N1 avian-flu strain.

The lack of rainfall in Shandong, Shaanxi and other northern provinces since October causes stress for local fowl, said Hong Kong Veterinary Association President Veronica Leong, who specializes in birds. "Any sort of stress would make birds more susceptible to disease," she said by e-mail today.

Bird flu killed five people in China last month, three of whom were from regions experiencing drought. Lo Wing-Lok, a health adviser to the Hong Kong government, said yesterday China has an outbreak of bird flu among poultry that its government hasn't reported.

Cloud Lightning

No rain in Beijing for 100 days

Drought Reservoir
© Xinhua PhotoPhoto taken on Feb. 2, 2009 shows the droughty reservoir in Yiyang County of Luoyang city, central China's Henan Province
Beijing -- It has not rained in Beijing since October 26, a period of 100 days, making this the longest drought on record since 1971. The meteorological department says the dry weather will continue through early February but in the second half of the month the capital may see 4 or 5 millimeters of snow.

The drought has seriously affected the growth of winter wheat in areas round the capital. In the worst hit areas the fields are cracked and dry and the wheat has withered. The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) says the drought is the worst for many years in terms of duration and the area affected.


Propaganda Alert: California farms, vineyards in peril from warming, U.S. energy secretary warns

'We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California,' Steven Chu says. He sees education as a means to combat threat.

Reporting from Washington - California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Tuesday.

In his first interview since taking office last month, the Nobel-prize-winning physicist offered some of the starkest comments yet on how seriously President Obama's cabinet views the threat of climate change, along with a detailed assessment of the administration's plans to combat it.

Comment: As said at the end of the article, a large amount of real-world data, increasing number of studies, a growing chorus of scientists are showing global warming for what it is: a hoax. And the fact that the new energy secretary of the Obama administration is spreading that lie does not exactly help to inspire our confidence.

Bizarro Earth

Australia Battles Floods in North as Crocodiles Enter Towns

Emergency services in northern Australia are battling the worst floods in three decades as residents report shortages of supplies and crocodiles swimming through towns inundated by water.

Almost 3,000 homes have been flooded and 30 people evacuated in the northwest of Queensland state, the Department of Emergency Services said. Supplies are being airlifted to towns cut off by rising waters in the region west of Cairns, it said.

"It's like looking out into an ocean," Donna Smith, acting manager of the Albion Hotel in Normanton, a town inland from the Gulf of Carpentaria, said by telephone today. "There is a 5-meter crocodile swimming by, but the biggest problem is that we're running out of beer."

Magic Wand

West Antarctica warming data flawed and manipulated

Professor Eric Steig last month announced in Nature that he'd spotted a warming in West Antarctica that previous researchers had missed through slackness - a warming so strong that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica. Whew! Finally we had proof that Antarctica as a whole was warming, and not cooling, after all. Global warming really was global now.

The paper was immediately greeted with suspicion, not least because one of the authors was Michael Mann of the infamous "hockey stick", now discredited, and the data was reconstructed from very sketchy weather station records, combined with assumptions from satellite observations. But Steve McIntyre, who did the most to expose Mann's "hockey stick", now notices a far more embarrassing problem with Steig's paper.

Comment: Foot in Mouth disease is becoming an epidemic in the Global Warming community.

Another research paper latched onto by the global warming promoters, published in Nature, articles broadcast on NASA's website, PhysOrg, Science Daily, Live Science,, all the news agencies, all the online news sites. 1.7 million pages on the Internet with references to the work of Steig and his bad and falsified data.

Does anyone think that all these sites and organizations will now publish this new information? Remember how the global warming promoters work. The hack job by George Monbiot of Christopher Booker mentioned in the above article is a classic example of the pathology in action. If you are not sure how it works, take a look at all the links in the above article. When you read george Mobiot's hack blog, scroll down the page to the comments of 'geoffchambers'.

geoffchambers comment:
Claims 4 5 and 6:
There are no satellite data before 1979. The West Antarctica warming which Steig claims to have found exists in data from just one out of six surface stations used in the study. This station is given the wrong longitude and latitude coordinates by Steig. Some of the data is wrong, and some is infilled from a different station without acknowledgement. When Steve McIntyre revealed this on ClimateAudit, Gavin Schmidt closed comments on the RealClimate blog, and the British Antarctic Survey removed the faulty data from their site without explanation.
Global Warming in Action!

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake recorded in southeastern Oklahoma

Oklahoma City - Geologists say three small earthquakes in less than a week in Oklahoma is no cause for concern.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a magnitude 3.2 earthquake at 5:23 this morning about 25 miles east of Ada. The epicenter is about two miles northwest of the junction of State Highway 3 and U.S. 75.


US: Bat-killing syndrome spreads in Northeast

A mysterious and deadly bat disease discovered just two winters ago in a few New York caves has now spread to at least six northeastern states, and scientists are scrambling to find solutions before it spreads across the country.

White-nose syndrome poses no health threat to people, but some scientists say that if bat populations diminish too much, the insects and crop pests they eat could flourish. Researchers recently identified the fungus that creates the illness' distinctive white smudges on the noses and wings of hibernating bats, but they don't yet know how to stop the disease from killing off caves full of the ecologically important animals.

"The cause for concern is that this is going to race across the country faster than we can come up with a solution," said Alan Hicks, a wildlife biologist with New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

Bizarro Earth

Timing of Seasons is Changing

The Earth's seasons have shifted back in the calendar year, with the hottest and coldest days of the years now occurring almost two days earlier, a new study finds.

This shift could be the work of global warming, the researchers say.

To figure this out, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard studied temperature data from 1850 to 2007 compiled by the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit in the United Kingdom.