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Mon, 06 Feb 2023
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Mammoth Iceberg May Alter Ocean Circulation: Study

Paris - An iceberg the size of Luxembourg knocked loose from the Antarctic continent earlier this month could disrupt the ocean currents driving weather patterns around the globe, researchers said Thursday.

While the impact would not be felt for decades or longer, a slowdown in the production of colder, dense water could result in less temperate winters in the north Atlantic, they said.

The 2550 square-kilometre block broke off on February 12 or 13 from the Mertz Glacier Tongue, a 160-kilometre spit of floating ice protruding into the Southern Ocean from East Antarctica due south of Melbourne, researchers said.

Some 400 metres thick, the iceberg could fill Sydney Harbour more than 100 times over.

It could also disturb the area's exceptionally rich biodiversity, including a major colony of emperor penguins near Dumont d'Urville, site of a French scientific station, according to the scientists.

Bizarro Earth

Kalush an Environmental Disaster in Waiting

Toxic Dump
© Ukrinform
A man walks on a chemical waste storage dump in the Ivano-Frankivsk city of Kalush on Feb. 18. Outgoing President Victor Yushchenko declared Kalush and surroudning villages an environmental disaster zone.
Ukraine - Chemical waste from years of salt mining endangers western Ukraine's water arteries that could potentially reach the Black Sea.

Ivan Debych stands at the snowy edge of a tailings dam outside of this town in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, observing what looks like a large frozen lake, but in reality is a lurking danger for millions of people in the region.

"If the dam breaks or overflows, its deposits will get into the river system, and contaminate the drinking water in the entire region," said Debych, who heads Kalush's department of emergency services. "The dam is our immediate concern."

The problem, Debych explained, is that this particular tailing dam is filled nearly to capacity with industrial deposits from the nearby mining enterprise at the Kalush-Holynsky potassium salt and potassium ore field. The 48-acre dam, known as Number Two, can hold another 100,000 cubic meters of matter before it spills over into the fields below. The situation is particularly critical in a year like this one, when large amounts of melting snow can quickly fill the dam to overflowing.

"If the dam breaks, it will flood the factories and homes in the area," Debych said, gesturing toward a field that is home to an oil refinery, a carpet factory and another plant producing window blinds. "It would take only seven, eight hours."

The dam is just a part of the problem, though. Because of decades of mining and the region's geography, pockets of ground occasionally cave in around Kalush. Many homes and elements of municipal infrastructure are facing collapse.


Another Cold, Wet Blanket Covers US Northeast

Snow here, rain there, and in many places a heavy mix of the two: nature threw another cold, wet blanket over the Northeast on Thursday, for the third time this month.

Travel was disrupted at major airports from Philadelphia to Boston, with more than 1,100 flights canceled in the New York area alone by 5 p.m. Officials said that number would probably grow as the winds pick up and temperatures drop into evening.

By late afternoon, the thermometer was still hovering just above freezing in Philadelphia and New York City, and thick flakes signaled what was to come - and what forecasters say will keep coming until Saturday morning.

Bizarro Earth

5.1 Earthquake Hits Southwestern China

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck China's southwestern province of Yunnan on Thursday, injuring 11 people and damaging many houses, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

The quake struck at 12:56 p.m. (0456 GMT) in Chuxiong prefecture, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of the provincial capital of Kunming, the national earthquake monitoring center reported.

The U.S. Geographical Survey gave the quake's magnitude as 5.0.

Xinhua cited a spokesman for the Yunnan Provincial Seismological Bureau as saying a large number of rural homes were badly damaged.

Black Cat

Leopard savaging a crocodile caught on camera

© Hal Brindley/SOLO Syndication
The astonishing spectacle of a leopard savaging a crocodile has been captured for the first time on camera.
A series of incredible pictures taken at a South African game reserve document the first known time that a leopard has taken on and defeated one of the fearsome reptiles.

The photographs were taken by Hal Brindley, an American wildlife photographer, who was supposed to be taking pictures of hippos from his car in the Kruger National Park.

The giant cat raced out of cover provided by scrub and bushes to surprise the crocodile, which was swimming nearby.

A terrible and bloody struggle ensued. Eventually, onlookers were amazed to see the leopard drag the crocodile from the water as the reptile fought back.

With the crocodile snapping its powerful jaws furiously, the two animals somersaulted and grappled. Despite the crocodile's huge weight and strength, the leopard had the upper hand catching its prey by the throat.


Croat scientist warns ice age is overdue, could start in five years

© National Geographic May 2005 issue
Tick, tock, tick, tock...
A leading scientist has revealed that Europe could be just five years away from the start of a new Ice Age.

While climate change campaigners say global warming is the planet's biggest danger, renowned physicist Vladimir Paar says most of central Europe will soon be covered in ice.

The freeze will be so complete that people will be able to walk from England to Ireland or across the North Sea from Scotland to northern Europe.

Professor Paar, from Croatia's Zagreb University, has spent decades analysing previous ice ages in Europe and what caused them.

"Most of Europe will be under ice, including Germany, Poland, France, Austria, Slovakia and a part of Slovenia," said the professor in an interview with the Index.hr.

"Previous ice ages lasted about 70,000 years. That's a fact and the new ice age can't be avoided.

Alarm Clock

The Ice Age Cometh

last ice age
© http://wattsupwiththat.com/
A new ice age is due now, but you won't hear it from the green groups, who like to play on Western guilt about consumerism to make us believe in global warming.

The Earth's climate is changing in a dramatic way, with immense danger for mankind and the natural systems that sustain it. This was the frightening message broadcast to us by environmentalists in the recent past. Here are some of their prophecies.
The facts have emerged, in recent years and months, from research into past ice ages. They imply that the threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.
(Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, in International Wildlife, July 1975)

The cooling has already killed thousands of people in poor nations... If it continues, and no strong measures are taken to deal with it, the cooling will cause world famine, world chaos, and probably world war, and this could all come about by the year 2000. (Lowe Ponte, The Cooling, 1976)


Record Snowfall Blankets Moscow Again

Heavy Snowfall
© Vladimir Filonov / MT
A woman walking past a car surrounded by towering heaps of snow in a courtyard on Ulitsa Narodnogo Opolchenia in northwestern Moscow on Tuesday. Thousands of snow-removal vehicles hit the streets after three days of snowfall dumped a record 67 centimeters of snow on the city.
Thousands of snow-removal vehicles hit Moscow's streets Tuesday after a record snowfall dumped 67 centimeters of snow on the city over the extended holiday weekend.

The heavy snowfall convinced residents to stay at home for the four-day Defender of the Fatherland holiday, leaving many streets eerily empty and halving the usual number of traffic accidents.

Three days of snow flurries had covered the city with 67 centimeters of snow by Tuesday morning, which dawned bright and clear, the Moscow weather bureau said, Interfax reported. Meteorologists have not counted such a large amount of snowfall since they started keeping records in the capital.

The previous record of 65 centimeters was set on Feb. 18, 1966, the weather bureau said.

The most snowfall previously recorded on Feb. 23 was 60 centimeters in both 1970 and 1902, it said.

Snowfall reached 63 centimeters on Monday morning, passing a 1966 record of 62 centimeters for Feb. 22, it said.

Bizarro Earth

Caribou bones tell tale of 1000 year-old volcanic activity in Canadian North

© J. Taillon, University of Laval
The Peary caribou are so scarce in Canada's high arctic that scientists want the creature listed as an endangered species.
Scientists studying ancient caribou bones recovered from melting ice patches in the Yukon have shed new light on the ecological impact of a massive volcanic eruption that blanketed much of northwest Canada with ash 1,000 years ago.

The ancient explosion at Mount Churchill, a U.S. peak just west of the Yukon-Alaska border, left a layer of debris up to 30 centimetres thick across a fallout zone that extended into parts of British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Alberta.

Already known to have affected the First Nations cultures of the time, the blast is shown in the new Canadian-led study to have been the likely cause of major changes in Yukon caribou populations that are still seen today - and which, according to the researchers, must be factored into efforts to save the "iconic" species pictured on Canada's quarter from further endangerment or extinction.

"In North America, the outlook for caribou is grim, in particular for the forest-dwelling woodland caribou . . . almost exclusively found in Canada," the team of Canadian, British and American researchers, led by Simon Fraser University biologist Tyler Kuhn, write in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Ecology.

Alarm Clock

US: Pelican deaths caused by storm-linked food scarcity

A shortage of food is largely to blame for the hundreds of sick or dead brown pelicans that have appeared in recent weeks along California's coastline, wildlife researchers confirmed yesterday.

A series of winter storms since late January has driven anchovies and sardines deeper into the ocean - too deep for the birds to catch, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said. Some pelicans they studied had little to no body fat and unusual foods in their digestive tracts.