Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Record temperatures, rainfall baste Northern California coast

Record temperatures and rain are basting the northern coast of California, a region known for brisk ocean breezes and chilly nights all year long.

In Crescent City, a coastal town just south of the Oregon border, the mercury dipped to 60 degrees early Monday morning - 3 degrees higher than the previous overnight low-temperature record, which stood for 15 years. The overnight record is also known as the "maximum minimum."

Cloud Lightning

Disastrous cold snap in Peru

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) is releasing 50,000 euros for the victims of the devastating cold snap in the Andean regions of Peru. The money will provide warm clothing, medicine, food and blankets for around 6,000 people within the week.

Shaded areas show where emergencies have been declared.

South America is experiencing unusually low temperatures, even for the winter season in the southern hemisphere. The result is snowfall -exceptional for this time of year - of up to 50cm. "The people here are resilient. They even wear sandals in winter," explains Jeanette Weller, Welthungerhilfe's Regional Director in Lima. "But they can't cope with temperatures like this."

Bizarro Earth

Cricket Invasion Hits Texas

Many parts of Texas are under siege by crickets. They congregate on patios, slip into stairwells -- and, if they're crunched underfoot, they make the fanciest surroundings smell like a bait shop.



Nevada among states with biggest temperature increases

Nevada is among the states with the most dramatic increase in average temperatures the last 30 years, according to a new study that examines the impact of global warming across the country.

The average temperature in Reno from June through August last year was 75.6 degrees, almost 7 degrees above the 30-year average, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported. The gap was the biggest measured nationally.

Comment: People can make their own choices. If you really believe Greenhouse Gases are responsible for all the warming then cut back on your consumption now. To think that you can continue with your present lifestyle and cutback on CO2 without making any sacrifices is wishful thinking. In the meantime, here's some food for thought. Every Ice Age has been preceded by accelerated warming. As written in a previous SOTT focus, The Younger Dryas Impact Event and the Cycles of Cosmic Catastrophes - Climate Scientists Awakening:
Just a quick look at the bottom plot from the wiki site (reproduced below) shows that if recent warm periods (or interglacials) are a guide, then we may soon slip into another glacial period and that whatever brings it about is due right about now as at least four cycles coincide to bring down global temperatures a few notches. The hype about global warming, (which preceded every glacial cycle for the past million years), is just mere distraction by comparison, because the bigger surprise is yet to come.


Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after strong quake

A strong undersea earthquake hit North Maluku province in eastern Indonesia on Thursday, triggering panic among frightened residents and a brief tsunami warning.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties after the quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey put at magnitude 6.7 and the epicentre at a depth of 45 km (28 miles).

The agency had initially put the quake at magnitude 7.4 and a depth of 88 km.

"We have lifted the warning. After monitoring, there were no signs of tsunami," Fauzi, the head of the seismology centre in Indonesia's meteorology agency, told Reuters.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre also said on its Web site that it did not expect a "destructive Pacific-wide" tsunami but said quakes of this magnitude can sometimes create local tsunamis.

Life Preserver

Megafishes Project to Size Up "Real-Life Loch Ness Monsters"

This is the first in a continuing series on the Megafishes Project. Join National Geographic News on the trail with project leader Zeb Hogan as he tracks down the world's largest freshwater fishes.

A thick, polluting haze envelops the Three Gorges Dam, blurring the view of the world's largest hydroelectric station.

But for Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist with the University of Reno, in Nevada, seeing the 1.5-mile-wide (2.5-kilometer-wide) dam from the banks of the Yangtze River brings into sharp focus the threats facing the animals he has set out to study: the world's largest freshwater fishes.

"From the point of view of the fish, there's nothing worse than a dam," he said.

"Dams block upstream migration, destroy spawning habitat, and can turn large stretches of river into ecological wastelands."


Falling Mice Population Concerns Experts

Some might think fewer rodents would be a good thing, but scientists are concerned about the dwindling populations of two small fury creatures on New Mexico's list of endangered mammals.

The state Department of Game and Fish says recent surveys show the number of New Mexican meadow jumping mice has dropped by at least two-thirds - and possibly as much as 90 percent - throughout the state. Surveys also show the Arizona montane vole is found only in a very small region of Catron County and in east-central Arizona.

"The thing in common between both is the loss of riparian habitat along streams and rivers in the Southwest," said Jim Stuart, a non-game endangered species mammalogist with the Game and Fish Department. "There's a combination of factors. Grazing is often jumped on as a reason, but there have also been climate factors involved like the dewatering of streams and rivers and the lowering of groundwater."

Cloud Lightning

US: Peak of hurricane season looming. Worst to come, forecasters predict

Nearly eight weeks have passed since the last tropical storm in the Atlantic-Caribbean region faded away, but banish any notion that the 2007 hurricane season has been unusually slow and beware the coming months, specialists say.

The peak of the six-month season is just around the corner and forecasters are still predicting a busy one.

"There's absolutely nothing out of the ordinary," Gerry Bell, a hurricane forecaster for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said of the Atlantic season's first two months. "It's not slow. It's not fast."

On average, June and July produce zero to two named storms or hurricanes. So far this year there have been two. Andrea formed in early May, Barry on June 1.

There's plenty of evidence the first two months are meaningless as an indicator for the rest of the season.


More Flooding As England Battles Power Cuts And Water Shortages

Further water surges were expected in southern England Wednesday as Britain's worst floods in 60 years saw evacuations, the threat of power cuts and a lack of fresh water for thousands. Tributaries feeding the River Thames engulfed several areas in the university city of Oxford overnight. Some 250 homes were evacuated and residents given emergency shelter at a nearby football stadium.
But despite fears that an electricity substation supplying the historic city centre would be submerged, police said widespread blackouts were not now expected, although there had been localised power cuts.

Downstream, the London commuter town of Reading, the royal castle city of Windsor and Henley, famous for its annual rowing regatta, were among other places threatened as river levels were expected to peak in the next 48 hours.

Officials said six severe flood warnings remained in place, but weather forecasters predicted more rain particularly on Thursday, which could further increase river levels.


M7.0 quake hits off Indonesia's eastern Malukus

Indonesia issued a tsunami warning, lifted later, after a 7.0 earthquake hit off the Maluku Islands at about 2:40 p.m. Thursday.