Earth ChangesS


Wagging the "Fat Tail" of Climate Catastrophe

How much should we pay to avoid the tiny risk of total destruction?

How much should we pay to prevent the tiny probability of human civilization collapsing? That is the question at the center of an esoteric debate over the application of cost-benefit analysis to man-made climate change. Harvard University economist Martin Weitzman raised the issue by putting forth a Dismal Theorem arguing that some consequences, however unlikely, would be so disastrous that cost-benefit analysis should not apply.


Australia: Shark attacks Navy diver in Sydney Harbour

Navy Seal Gets Bitten 1
© Defence DepartmentAttacked: Clearance diver Paul Degelder fought off the shark this morning
A Navy diver has undergone emergency surgery after fighting off a shark off Woolloomooloo in Sydney Harbour this morning.

The 31-year-old was brought to St Vincent's Hospital in a critical condition about 7:00am (AEDT), with severe injuries to his right hand and right thigh. The hospital has not confirmed reports that the man lost his hand. It says he is in a serious but stable condition in intensive care.

The Navy says the specialist clearance diver was rushed to hospital from Woolloomooloo Bay, in Sydney's inner east, after being bitten off the naval base at Garden Island.

Bad Guys

Moderate quake hits eastern Indonesia

Jakarta -- An earthquake with magnitude of 5.4 rocked eastern parts of Indonesia on Tuesday, meteorology agency said here.

The quake struck in the morning and at epicenter at 103 kilometers northwest Ternate of North Mauku province and at 99 kilometers in depth.

There was no report of damage or casualty.

Bizarro Earth

NASA's Terra Captures Australia's Forest Fire Horror From Orbit

© NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, MODIS Rapid Response Team.

Bushfires in southeastern Australia turned deadly over the first weekend of February 2009. Out-of-control fires raced into small communities and towns in Victoria, and more than 100 people had died as of February 9, according to news reports.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News) reported that many of those who died had remained to protect their homes.

Among the most devastated communities were those in the Kinglake area and Marysville. As of February 9, firefighters were expressing concern about the increased activity of the fire around the town of Dederang, southwest of Lake Hume.

Bad Guys

Small quake strikes Mexicali, Mexico

A small earthquake has struck the sprawling border city of Mexicali, Mexico. There are no immediate reports of injury or damages.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the magnitude-3.7 quake struck nine miles southwest of Mexicali shortly before 2 p.m. today.


Watching Bat Disease

Iron Mountain Bat Cave
© Theresa Peterson/Daily News PhotoBill Scullon of the Department of Natural Resources replaces a sign at the Iron Mountain Bat Cave. DNR officials are watching the spread of a new disease affecting bats in the eastern U.S.

Approximately 50,000 bats that make their home in the Millie Hill mine could be in danger if a deadly disease, called white-nose syndrome, makes its way to the Midwest.

The disease's name comes from the distinctive white smudges that appear on the noses and wings of infected bats. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey's Wildlife Health Center discovered that the smudges are actually a previously unknown fungus that thrives in the cold of winter caves.

However, no one seems to know whether the smudges are the cause of the disease or just a symptom.

White-nose syndrome causes bats to rouse more than usual and deplete their stores of body fat that they need during hibernation, said Bill Scullon, wildlife biologist at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) office in Escanaba.

Cloud Lightning

The U.K. Needs A Glacier To Stop This

The soft tyranny of utopia continues... Imaginary heroes fighting imaginary demons, yet affecting other peoples' lives as they do.

The length of the solar cycle continues to grow. Let me clue the energy czar in on something he might want to look at besides whatever it is he believes now. Within 20 years, the climate of Scotland can be into London and Scotland more like Scandinavia. This can happen a lot quicker than man's imaginary effect on the planet that he fears. How so?

The solar max is in 5 years, yet there has been no rebound from the min yet. As this cycle grows longer, it is becoming more apparent the Russian scientists are right about their solar theories as they were predicting it to happen as we see it. They also said because of this we will be in a mini ice age, much like back in the 1700s by around 2030. The U.K. energy czar, refusing to look at history, probably has no clue about this, nor would he even listen to the idea that solar cycles have affects on climate, something the commoner must know since it's warmer when the sun is up than when it's down.

But here is the problem, decreased solar radiation leads to more cosmic dust, which in turn has an effect of increasing the speed of the Earth's rotation, creating a negative global atmospheric angular momentum. Take a look at what is going on with that. Notice how negative it has been during this time of reduced radiation.

Comment: Joe's blog post is in response to reading this article:

UK environment czar looking at limiting holiday trips to save CO2

Cloud Lightning

US: Tornado damages homes - 14,000 without power in Oklahoma

© AP Photo/The Oklahoman, David McDanielUtility poles block part of an intersection after they were blown over in Oklahoma City, Tuesday , Feb. 10, 2009. A series of storms, with at least one tornado reported, swept through central Oklahoma Tuesday afternoon.

Oklahoma City - A tornado damaged homes and knocked down power lines Tuesday afternoon as severe storms moved through central Oklahoma.

Six homes were damaged or destroyed near Edmond, a suburb north of Oklahoma City.

"We are trying to dodge our storms and keep responders safe, so it is taking some time to get confirmation of damages," city spokeswoman Claudia Deakins said. No casualties were immediately reported.

Schoolchildren were being kept in locked down schools until the storm passed. Structural damage was also reported in northwest Oklahoma City.


All-Time Record low for Maine and New England -50 below confirmed

Santa Cold
© unknown

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey and Maine State Climate Office announced today that a minus-50 reading in northwestern Maine held up to scientific scrutiny. That beats Maine's old record of 48 below zero set in 1925 in Van Buren, and ties the record for coldest temperature recorded in New England. That reading was made in 1933 in Bloomfield, Vt.

The record on New Hampshire's Mount Washington is minus -47. Maine's minus-50 reading was made on Jan. 16 at a remote site along the Big Black River near the Quebec border as the region was in the grip of a blast of arctic air.

By the way after a thaw this week, cold air will return starting Friday to the nation. Watch for lots of cold and snow probably the rest of the month.

Bizarro Earth

Unexpected Discovery Could Impact on Future Climate Models

© NASA/NOAADust plumes blowing off the coast of Western Sahara over the Atlantic Ocean.
Astronomers have made an unexpected find using a polarimeter (an instrument used to measure the wave properties of light) funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), that has the potential to affect future climate models.

University of Hertfordshire astronomers were making observations of the stars in search of new planets after mounting the 'PlanetPol' (polarimeter they designed and constructed to take extremely sensitive readings) on the William Herschel Telescope (part of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes) in La Palma in the Canary Islands, when their measurements became affected by a layer of dust.

The presence of the dust itself, which satellite images and modelling of the dust's movement show had originated from the Sahara and the Sahel, was not a surprise, but its behaviour was. Scientists normally assume that aerosols, including mineral dust, have random orientation in the atmosphere, but the team members say the polarizing affect the dust was having on the light could only be the result of dust particles being vertically aligned.