Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Magnets Help Explain Rain Patterns

Idaho thunderstorm
© Timothy EberlyMultiple bolts of lightning strike the mountains surrounding Coeur d'Alene on Monday night.
If someone said you can understand rain patterns and the dynamics of the atmosphere by studying magnets and magnetism - and therefore make better predictions of the effects of global warming - would you think he's crazy? Brilliant? The atmosphere spans the entire globe, while a magnet fits easily in your hand; can they really be so similar?

Ole Peters, a 27-year-old physicist with expertise in "critical phenomena" and "self organized criticality" - which he acknowledges is "a bit of a rogue field" - doesn't sound the least bit crazy.

In the June issue of the respected journal Nature Physics, he and J. David Neelin, UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, report that the onset of intense tropical rain and magnetism share the same underlying physics.

Peters and Neelin analyzed statistical properties of the relationship between water vapor in the atmosphere in the tropics and rainfall, using remote sensing from a satellite over the tropical oceans.

"We studied properties of that relationship that are also observed in equivalent quantities for systems with 'continuous-phase transitions' like magnets," said Peters, a research scientist with UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics and a visiting scientist at the Santa Fe Institute.

"The atmosphere has a tendency to move to a critical point in water vapor where the likelihood of rain dramatically increases. The system reaches a point where it's just about to rain; it's highly susceptible. Any additional water vapor can produce a large response."


President Bush Says Climate Change Is A Serious Problem

Washington - US President George W. Bush on Monday said it was time to move past a debate over whether human activity is a significant factor behind global warming and into a discussion of possible remedies. "I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused," Bush told reporters.

"We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives: One, be good stewards of the environment; two, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil, for economic reasons as for national security reasons," he said.

Bush cited "clean-coal technology," efforts to develop automobiles powered by hydrogen or ethanol, and his push for the United States to develop significant new nuclear energy capabilities.

"The truth of the matter is, if this country wants to get rid of its greenhouse gases, we've got to have the nuclear power industry be vibrant and viable," he said.

Cloud Lightning

Death toll in India rains, floods tops 200

Lucknow, India - Another 11 people have died from lightning strikes and heavy rains in India, officials have said, taking the death toll since the monsoon began lashing the country last month to 215.

"At least 11 people died of rain-related incidents in the past 24 hours. Two died due to house collapse while the rest died of lightning," government official Manish Awasthi told AFP in Lucknow, capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state.

At least 80 people have died in the state as annual summer monsoon rains tore through India earlier than usual.


Aggressive Peacocks Ruffle Texas Feathers

ARLINGTON, Texas - With attacks reported on people and cars, residents of an Arlington neighborhood say a flock of peacocks has become uncharacteristically aggressive as four males seek the attention of one hen.

Dorothy Nelson, a longtime resident, said the behavior is a classic symptom of having "too many men."

The city's Community Service Department called a neighborhood meeting last week to discuss what to do about the flock.

"What happens sometimes is the peacock male will see its reflection in the car's paint and think it's another male peacock, then move to protect his territory," said Mike Bass, the department's assistant director.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning Sparks New Wildfires in Nevada

Reno, Nevada - Lightning bolts sparked another half dozen new wildfires that were burning around Reno and Carson City early Tuesday, worsening the damage from blazes that already have consumed about 50,000 acres of northern Nevada.

More than two dozen fires remained active, many out of control, reaching from the heavily timbered western front of the Sierra Nevada near Reno to the sage- and grass-filled rangeland near Elko, 300 miles east.


Heavy Rains Flood Highways Around D.C.

WASHINGTON - More than a foot of rain washed out highways around the nation's capital Monday, toppled a 100-year-old elm tree on the White House lawn and caused flooding that closed major government departments and the National Archives, where the Declaration of Independence is kept under glass.

Motorists were stranded during the morning rush hour, commuter trains were halted and emergency crews used boats to rescue dozens of people marooned by high water.

Many government employees were told to stay home, and tourists found that some of the major landmarks that had drawn them to Washington were closed.


Top U.S. court to hear global warming case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case on whether the Bush administration should be forced to regulate carbon dioxide to fight global warming.

The decision comes after a federal appeals court ruled against the plaintiffs, which consist of states, cities and environmental groups.

At issue is the responsibilities of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3

An asteroid possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter is rapidly approaching the Earth. There is no need for concern, for no collision is in the offing, but the space rock will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon's average distance from Earth.

Astronomers will attempt to get a more accurate assessment of the asteroid's size by "pinging" it with radar.

And skywatchers with good telescopes and some experience just might be able to get a glimpse of this cosmic rock as it streaks rapidly past our planet in the wee hours Monday. The closest approach occurs late Sunday for U.S. West Coast skywatchers.


Greenland's Ice Sheet is Slip, Sliding Away

JAKOBSHAVN GLACIER, Greenland - Gripping a bottle of Jack Daniel's between his knees, Jay Zwally savored the warmth inside the tiny plane as it flew low across Greenland's biggest and fastest-moving outlet glacier.

Greenland is losing 52 cubic miles of ice each year, more than anyone anticipated. The amount of freshwater ice dumped into the Atlantic Ocean has almost tripled in a decade. Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.

Comment: Comment: Despite all the "expert" claims about climate change, it is clear from this article that the so-called "experts" really have no idea what they're talking about since they neglected to account for many of the variables involved.


Floods force evacuations on Md. shore

FEDERALSBURG, Md. - Heavy rains caused serious flooding Sunday in parts of Maryland's Eastern Shore, washing out roads and forcing evacuations.

Federalsburg Mayor Betty Ballas declared an emergency for the town of about 2,600 on Sunday morning after 10 to 12 inches of rain fell overnight. About 30 people had to evacuate, police said.