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Tue, 26 May 2020
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Cloud Lightning

A golden age halted by climate change

Freak January thaws, thunder storms in March; it is predicted that this year will go down as the hottest since modern record-keeping began, thanks not only to greenhouse-gas climate change but also to the El Nino cyclical warming of the Pacific Ocean. The weird-weather factor makes the story of South America's Pacific coast Sican people and their rise and fall, all the more chilling. The Sican are the subject of Ancient Peru Unearthed: Golden Treasures of a Lost Civilization, a major exhibition organized by Peru's Sican National Museum and Calgary's Nickle Arts Museum, which opens in expanded form today at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

North Americans are more familiar with the Sican than we think. Because Spanish conquistadors melted down most of the gold treasures of the Inca (the Sican's successors), 80 per cent of "Incan" gold artifacts in museums are in fact of Sican workmanship.

The Sican people fished, farmed, traded, mined, built temples and sacrificed other humans in the worship of a bird-faced god 1,100 years ago in the Lambayeque region of northern Peru. They buried their priest-leaders in shaft tombs, some 10 to 20 metres underground, where they remained relatively safe from European predators.

Wolf

Pets need extra care in extreme weather

It's an issue that is sometimes overlooked when harsh winter weather blows in as it did last week.

It's the well being of pets.

"This weather is not good for man or beast," said Stacey Robertson, the chief animal control officer for Pottawattamie County.

Apparently, however, pet owners in the county and in Council Bluffs have taken care of their animals during the latest winter blast.

"We haven't had a lot of calls to collect stray animals, which is good," Robertson said. "People have pretty much kept them in."

Bulb

Surprising New Arctic Inhabitants: Trees

Rising temperatures fueled by global warming are causing forests of spruce trees to invade Arctic tundra faster than scientists originally thought, evicting and endangering the species that dwell there and only there, a new study concludes.

Tundra is land area where tree growth is inhibited by low temperatures and a short growing season. In the Arctic, the tundra is dominated by permafrost, a layer of permanently frozen subsoil.

The only vegetation that can grow in such conditions are grasses, mosses and lichens. Forests of spruce trees and shrubs neighbor these tundra areas, and the boundary where they meet is called the treeline.

In summer, the permafrost thaws, and the tundra becomes covered in bogs and lakes, allowing a unique habitat for plants. Climate change, meanwhile, has extended the summer warming season and promoted tree growth, causing the treeline to encroach on the tundra.

Stop

Dolphin massacre in Japan

Life on planet earth. Anyone want off?


Bizarro Earth

4.7 earthquake rattles eastern Sierra Nevada

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck in the mountains of Central California Thursday evening, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

Bizarro Earth

Strong earthquake hits seas off Japan's eastern coast

A strong earthquake today with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 occurred in Pacific Ocean waters off Japan's eastern coast, but there was no tsunami danger, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

Battery

Deep Sea, Arctic May Hold World's Largest Fuel Supply, Experts Say

The energy source of the future may lie beneath the ocean floor and under Arctic permafrost, scientists say.

Both places are sources of gas hydrates, strange icelike substances that trap methane-the primary component of natural gas.

"It's not frozen gas," explained Timothy Collett of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver. "It's [formed] from the interaction of gas and water."

The hydrates were discovered in 1983, and no one knows how many of them exist.

But there appear to be enough hydrates to represent a larger energy source than all of the word's gas, oil, and coal combined, Collett said at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Denver, Colorado, on March 5.

Bizarro Earth

Silence! Memos Tell Officials How to Discuss Climate

Internal memorandums circulated in the Alaskan division of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.

Bizarro Earth

Pollution in Asia triggers intense Pacific storms

Researchers reported on Tuesday that pollution generated in Asia alters the chemistry of the atmosphere and causes a change in the pattern of the Pacific storm track, a major weather event in the northern hemisphere during winter.

The findings was published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Renyi Zhang and colleagues from Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University analyzed cloud measurement data spanning 1984-2005 and found that deep convective clouds of the Pacific storm track arise in connection with pollution emission from Asia.

Better Earth

Ecuador Evacuates Villagers From Slopes of Erupting Volcano

QUITO, Ecuador - Authorities evacuated about 100 families from the slopes of a volcano in central Ecuador which began showering villages with flaming rocks and ash last month.

Firefighters, police and civil defense officials conducted a voluntary evacuation because of the Tungurahua volcano's intensifying activity, Jorge Arteaga, director of Ecuador's Red Cross rescue squad, told Radio Quito on Monday.