Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

US: Not Enough Sunshine, Too Much Rain In Midwest Corn

7 day precip
© StormX

Corn ratings are expected to drift lower on the June 12 USDA report, due to worsening wetness in the Central Midwest and insufficient sunlight in the week.

The Midwest Corn Belt experienced another wet week due to recurring showers along a horizontal front. The wettest areas where at least 2 inches of rainfall occurred were in the southern half of the Corn Belt. At least .75 inch of rainfall occurred on 85% of Midwest farms. It was too wet for corn development with prevailing cool temperatures.

Bizarro Earth

US Winter Wheat Production Lower In Virtually Every State

United States winter wheat production would shrink 376 million bushels and 20% from 2008, according to USDA's June crop production estimates. Virtually every state is expected to produce less wheat.

The steepest production cut is predicted in soft red winter wheat, down 32% from 2008, due primarily to sharply reduced crop acreage. Soft red winter wheat is used for cakes, cookies, crackers and snack foods and is produced heavily in the Midwest and Mid South.

The major "breadbasket" states in the Great Plains will produce 16% less wheat than last season. Output is predicted sharply lower in Oklahoma and Texas, where a drought and freeze exacted a heavy toll on wheat. The top US wheat state Kansas is expecting average production similar to 2008. Likewise Nebraska's outlook is little changed from last year. Colorado is expecting a much larger harvest compared with a poor crop in 2008.


Southeastern Missouri farmers try to overcome wet spring, soggy crops

Bloomfield, Missouri - Southeastern Missouri's Mike Bell is among area farmers struggling to get crops planted after a wet spring.

Bell, of Bloomfield, usually has about 2,000 acres of corn planted by now. This year, he's has only 1,100 acres finished. Bell expects he'll face a harvesting date nearly a month late this fall. He was also behind on his soybean crop.


Canadian Wheat Output May Fall on Dry, Cool Weather

Canada's wheat production may fall 18 percent this year as dry, cool conditions in the western Prairies slow crop development and wet weather in Manitoba delays seeding, the Canadian Wheat Board said today in a report.

The harvest may include 16.4 million metric tons of non- durum wheat, down from 20 million tons a year earlier, and 4.4 million tons of durum varieties, down from 5.5 million tons, the CWB said in a preliminary forecast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday predicted a Canadian crop of 25 million tons.

Cooler temperatures for the past four to six months may curb yields to 33.4 bushels an acre, the lowest initial projection in seven years, Bruce Burnett, the director of weather and market analysis at the CWB, said today in a conference call.

"Cold weather across the Prairies this spring has had a detrimental effect on planting and early crop development in most growing regions," Burnett said. "Soil moisture levels are dangerously low in parts of Alberta and western Saskatchewan, where dry conditions have persisted since fall."

Cloud Lightning

US: Strong storms soak Plains states

Strong thunderstorms pounded the Kansas City, Mo., area, overnight, downing trees, filling waterways and leaving thousands powerless, officials said Tuesday.

The line of storms packed hurricane-force, straight-line winds that uprooted trees, damaged foundations and tossed cars across the road, KMBC-TV, Kansas City, reported. Utility companies along the storms' path reported thousands of customers were without electrical power.

In Tonganoxie, Mo., at least 6 inches of rain fell, while Olathe got 2 inches of rain in a 45-minute period, running off quickly into creeks, streams and rivers, KMBC said.


Ash plumes from Russian volcano prompt Air Canada travel advisory

Vancover, B.C. - A remote volcano on Russia's central Kuril Islands is affecting air travel between Vancouver and Asia.

Air Canada has issued an advisory warning that its flights between Vancouver and Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong could be disrupted by volcanic activity at Sarychev Peak.


Spain warns of summer jellyfish invasion on Mediterranean beaches

Portuguese Man-of-War
© Jim Simmen Portuguese Man-of-War Jellyfish

Holidaymakers are being warned to be vigilant when they take to the water and beware of the stinging menace in the shallows.

For the first time in a decade the potentially deadly Portuguese Man o' War, which are not strictly jellyfish but floating colonies of microscopic hydrozoans, has been spotted close to the beaches of the Costa del Sol.

With tentacles sometimes more than 30 yards long, which are barbed with a sting 10 times stronger than an ordinary jellyfish, it presents a more dangerous threat than the annual jellyfish invasion of Mediterranean beaches.

In extreme cases, the sting can cause heart failure in victims who are allergic to it.

Scientists fear the creatures could spread along the coast of Spain and invade waters around the Balearic Islands after venturing away from its north Atlantic habitat and through the Strait of Gibraltar.

Bizarro Earth

Typhoons take the pressure off earthquake zones

© NASASatellite captures typhoon Jangmi as it heads towards the coast of Taiwan
Can storms prevent nasty earthquakes? That's the suggestion of study showing that typhoons can trigger benign, "slow" quakes that ease the stress between tectonic plates.

Beneath Taiwan, a tectonic plate is diving under its neighbouring plate at one of the world's fastest rates. "You can almost watch them," says study co-author Alan Linde of the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC. Yet the island has had fewer big rumbles than you'd expect from such movement.

One explanation is that Taiwan undergoes slow earthquakes, in which crustal faults slip over hours or days, rather than seconds, creating no seismic judders.

Better Earth

Alaska's Rat Island rat-free after 229 years

© NASARat Island (26.7 km² in area) is one of the smaller islands to be found within the Rat Islands group which run along the central portions of the Aleutian arc for around 180 km.
Alaska's Rat Island is finally rat-free, 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents onto the remote Aleutian island, decimating the local bird population.

After dropping poison onto the island from helicopter-hoisted buckets for a week and a half last autumn, there are no signs of living rats and some birds have returned, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rats have ruled the island since 1780, when they jumped off a sinking Japanese ship and terrorized all but the largest birds on the island. The incident introduced the non-native Norway rat -- also known as the brown rat -- to Alaska.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.4 - Central Peru

© US Geological Survey
Monday, June 15, 2009 at 13:04:37 UTC
Monday, June 15, 2009 at 08:04:37 AM at epicenter

13.576°S, 75.993°W

53.2 km (33.1 miles) set by location program

20 km (15 miles) SE of Chincha Alta, Peru

55 km (35 miles) NNW of Ica, Peru

185 km (115 miles) SSW of Huancayo, Peru

200 km (125 miles) SE of LIMA, Peru