Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 09 Feb 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes
Map

Igloo

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

Image
© 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.

Attention

Australia: Kangaroos victims of factory fluoride

Scores of starving and pain-ridden kangaroos have been culled after developing tooth and bone deformities from breathing and ingesting fluoride emissions.

Many more are believed to be suffering from growths that will kill them.

The affected kangaroos are living near the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Portland, in the state's south-west, and the Austral Bricks factory at Craigieburn.

Autopsies performed at Melbourne University on 49 kangaroos culled at Alcoa on a single day last year found all but one were suffering from flurosis, which leads to excessive bone growths, or lesions, on joints in the paws, ankles and calves.

It can also cause tooth and jaw deformities that hinder eating and foraging.

Fish

Climate Scientists Withdraw Journal Claims of Rising Sea Levels

Image
© Reinhard Krause/Reuters
In spite of the journal's retraction casting doubt on the IPCC's claim that sea levels will rise, the Guardian posted this image with the article along with the following caption: "The Maldives is likely to become submerged if the current pace of climate change continues to raise sea levels."
Study claimed in 2009 that sea levels would rise by up to 82cm by the end of century - but the report's author now says true estimate is still unknown

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.

The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

At the time, Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol, said the study "strengthens the confidence with which one may interpret the IPCC results". The IPCC said that sea level would probably rise by 18cm-59cm by 2100, though stressed this was based on incomplete information about ice sheet melting and that the true rise could be higher.

Bizarro Earth

Bees Hurt by Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Frankfort, Kentucky - Mountaintop mining has obliterated flowering trees and plants that honeybees need for food in the central Appalachians, and some Kentucky lawmakers are asking coal companies to plant pollen-producing vegetation when they finish digging.

A nonbinding measure passed Thursday in a House committee.

Before the vote, Tammy Horn, a bee researcher at Eastern Kentucky University's Environmental Research Institute, exhorted lawmakers to approve the measure that would "encourage" coal companies to plant a variety of nectar- and pollen-producers on mountains that have been deforested by mining.

Heart - Black

Preserve Kituwah Valley: Mother Town of the Cherokee

Duke Energy is developing a large electrical substation within shouting distance of Kituwah, Mother Town of the Cherokee. Please call the NC Utilities Commission at 1-866-380-9816 to protest Duke Energy's destruction of this environmentally sensitive Sacred Site.


Comment: A new field of science called solastalgia attempts to explain the profound psychological damage that is done when people's connection to the land they love is broken. According to the article "Is there an ecological unconscious", people's minds are inexorably linked to their surroundings:
"solastalgia," a combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root - algia (pain), ... defined as "the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault...
Unfortunately, this experience has relentlessly repeated itself in the history of indigenous peoples around the world and continues unbroken, as we see, today.


Magnify

Plants Are Actively Intelligent: What Does This Mean For Vegetarians?

Most vegetarians believe that by not eating animals, they are preserving life. Everyone knows that plants are alive but they are not viewed with the same level of intelligence as animals are. As science continues to uncover the complex nature of plants, it is becoming more apparent that plants are actively intelligent life that pursue their continued existence in similar ways as do animals.

Research on the subject naturally flies in the face of strict vegetarianism which often insists that eating animals is murder but eating plants is just fine. Yet the facts illustrate that the characteristics of animals used to argue that eating them is murder also apply to plants. In other words, in order for strict vegetarians to be consistent in their beliefs, they would also have to stop eating fruits and vegetables.

Plants are very sensitive to environmental changes and they have many built-in mechanisms to ward off attackers. They strive to find the best resources and have been observed to actually anticipate hurdles to survival and work to overcome them in advance.

Cowboy Hat

Australia - Feral camels clear in Penny Wong's carbon count

Image
© Unknown
There are many ways to skin a camel, but none, it seems, that count towards reducing Australia's carbon footprint.

Scientists have found camels to be the third-highest carbon-emitting animal per head on the planet, behind only cattle and buffalo. Culling the one million feral camels that currently roam the outback would be equivalent to taking 300,000 cars off the road in terms of the reduction to the country's greenhouse gases.

But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told The Australian there was little point doing anything about Australia's feral camels as only the CO2 of the domesticated variety is counted under the Kyoto Protocol. That equates to only a small number of the beasts, the sort found lugging tourists around Cable Beach in Broome and at Monarto Zoo, southeast of Adelaide.

It is one of the many quirks of international carbon accounting standards, but one that has been sufficient to stop the Rudd government from stepping in to address the camel problem.

Comment: This article helps demonstrate the absurdity of the proposed carbon cap and trade schemes. It highlights how completely artificial and nonsensical the measures are. Wild camel emissions do not count, but domestic camel emissions do. A fire started by an arsonist counts for carbon emission, but a fire in the same area started by lightning does not.

Fortunately, the recent revelations about the IPCC, the manipulation of data used to justify global warming and the absurdity of man-made climate change will likely see these ideas abandoned in due course.


Better Earth

The troglodyte bat bird of South America

Image
© The Lilac Breasted Roller
Batty
Species name: Steatornis caripensis

Habitat: Caves, in woodland areas in the north of South America

"Raucous shrieking and frightful retching... which might express the sufferings of sea-sick demons." Not a passage from Milton, though this description by the early 20th-century zoologist John Golding Myers does describe his entry to a kind of earthly hell: a cave of roosting oilbirds.

This split-personality, cave-dwelling oddity, known to North Americans as the guacharo, doesn't seem to know whether it is bat or bird. It echolocates like a bat to perceive its surroundings, but as well as this crude form of sonar, the oilbird has the most sensitive eyes of any vertebrate.

It has feathers and a wingspan of 90 centimetres. It sports a menacing hooked beak. OK - it's a bird, though a weird one. And new evidence suggests that it plays a major role in preserving the forests where it lives.

As Myers noted, oilbirds spend much of their time squabbling in caves, in colonies numbering up to 20,000 birds. Because of the immense numbers living there, the floor is carpeted with guano, which supports a host of insects and other small animals. The birds also put the guano to good use during the breeding season: they build nests with it.