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Report contradicts study on Great Lakes water drop

A new report says that a joint U.S.-Canadian study exploring lower water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron has significantly underestimated the amount of water the lakes have lost due to erosion on the St. Clair River.

A study released in the spring by the International Joint Commission said the water loss was four inches. But the report prepared by the coastal engineering consultants Baird & Associates says the water loss was actually more than nine inches.

Bizarro Earth

US: Drought turning Texas as dry as toast

Dallas - Off-duty police officers are patrolling streets, looking for people illegally watering their lawns and gardens. Residents are encouraged to stealthily rat out water scofflaws on a 24-hour hot line. One Texas lake has dipped so low that stolen cars dumped years ago are peeking up through the waterline.

The nation's most drought-stricken state is deep-frying under relentless 100-degree days and waterways are drying up, especially in the hardest-hit area covering about 350 miles across south-central Texas. That's making folks worried about the water supply - and how long it might last.


Mediterranean rim battles to contain wildfires

© AFP/Stephan AgostiniA volunteer from Olivese, a village nearby Aullene in Corsica, cuts off a bush with a chainsaw, helping firefighters to prevent the fire in la Vacca mountain from crossing the other side of the valley. Firefighters battled blazes in five countries along the northern Mediterranean rim Sunday, slowly gaining the upper hand after an exhausting week that left eight people dead.
Rome - Firefighters battled blazes in five countries along the northern Mediterranean rim Sunday, slowly gaining the upper hand after an exhausting week that left eight people dead.

Tens of thousands of hectares of countryside have been devastated mainly in Italy, Spain, France and Greece with initial estimates suggesting that the insurance bill may already run into hundreds of millions of euros

New fires were sparked Sunday in some of the worst hit areas, but also in Croatia, with the latest again blamed on arson following recriminations over criminal fire-starting elsewhere.

On the scorched Italian island of Sardinia, as many as 25,000 hectares (60,000 acres) have been razed by a flaming inferno fanned by high temperatures and an extra-strong Mistral, a fast and dry northerly wind.


Poaching Crisis As Rhino Horn Demand Booms In Asia

© iStockphoto/Hilton KotzeEndangered black rhinoceros. Twelve rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, according to new research.
Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns, according to new research. Poachers in Africa and Asia are killing an ever increasing number of rhinos - an estimated two to three a week in some areas - to meet a growing demand for horns believed in some countries to have medicinal value, according to a briefing to a key international wildlife trade body by WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and their affiliated wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

An estimated three rhinos were illegally killed each month in all of Africa from 2000-05, out of a population of around 18,000. In contrast, 12 rhinoceroses now are being poached each month in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, the three groups told the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee this week in Geneva.


Population of nearly extinct frogs found in California

© Adam Backlin, U.S. Geological SurveyUSGS scientists found this adult mountain yellow-legged frog on June 10 in Tahquitz Creek, a rediscovered population of the endangered frog in the San Jacinto Wilderness, San Bernardino National Forest, California.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, a population of a nearly extinct frog has been rediscovered in the San Bernardino National Forest's San Jacinto Wilderness. Biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessing suitability of sites to re-establish frogs and scientists from the San Diego Natural History Museum retracing a 1908 natural history expedition both rediscovered the rare mountain yellow-legged frog in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Idyllwild, Calif.

This re-discovery - along with the San Diego Zoo's first successful breeding of the frog in captivity, and successful efforts by California Department of Fish and Game to restore frog habitat - renews hope of survival for this Southern California amphibian.

Globally, amphibians are on the decline because of habitat loss, effects of climate change and the spread of a deadly pathogen called the chytrid fungus. The mountain yellow-legged frog is one of three frogs or toads on the federal Endangered Species List in Southern California. Prior to this recent discovery, USGS researchers had estimated there were about 122 adult mountain yellow-legged frogs in the wild.


New York City may miss 90ยฐF for second time in history

NYC Central Park
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More from the "weather is not climate" department. While our economy cools, so do apparently our cities. Cincinnati has a similar problem, and does Traverse City, and the cool weather doesn't "play in Peoria".

Taken by themselves it doesn't mean much, but it is interesting.


US: A flood of cold weather and climate data

First of all, I want to thank the hundreds of readers coming here every week! Because of you, the writers for the Examiner can continue their work, and the more you visit, the more we will write for your enjoyment and information.

Secondly, as a lifelong weather lover, my goals have always been to take the complex science of meteorology and make it easier to understand for the general public. That's what I did for 23 years in television and continue to do on MAX FM radio in Cincinnati (97.7 and 99.5 FM), which you can listen to online anywhere. I'll be doing a weekly segment on MAX FM highlighting the current research and observations involving weather and climate so you can better understand where we're heading. Our first installment, if all goes well (it's "live"), is Friday morning at 9:40 am (eastern time) and we'll be doing that every Friday at 9:40 am, for 20 you'll get some good information. We'll even be taking a few phone calls if you have questions.

You won't see me doing detailed research because that's not my specialty, nor do I have the time to do the thorough job that is done by paid researchers. It's their job, and many do it well, although we're always looking at who is paying for the research to ascertain potential biases. What I like to do, and apparently you like to read, is bring the big news and research stories together here and add my own experience and expertise in a plain-language story that everyone from children to the elderly can understand.

Control Panel

Is the Climate Science Debate Over? No, It's Just Getting Very, Very Interesting

How many times have you been told that the debate on the science of climate change is "over"? Probably almost as many times as Al Gore has traveled in private jets and limousines to urge audiences to repent of their fuelish ways.

Although tirelessly intoned by politicians, major media, advocacy groups, academics, and even some Kyoto critics, the "debate is over" mantra is just plain false. The core issues of climate-change attribution, climate sensitivity, and even anthropogenic detection remain very much in play.


The Summer of '09: What global warming?

The family and I were supposed to go on vacation in northern Saskatchewan in mid-June. A few days before we were to fly out we received a phone call from the camp's owner who said we'd have to postpone the trip. The lake was covered by four feet of ice!

So, we went there a couple of weeks back. Not surprisingly, the lake still had mammoth sheets of ice floating on it on July 11. Mind you, this was not the tundra. It's a lake that's normally ice-free by the end of May.

That delay to the start to the summer is reminiscent of what has happened on the home front. After a lengthy, very cold winter, most Western New Yorkers were suffering from cabin fever and looking forward to getting outside and enjoying those oh-so-few months of sun and warmth. For many, 2009 has been a real letdown. Our summer has often seemed nonexistent and just a run-off of our spring. By any standard it has been unusually cool with nippy nights and temperate days.

Personally, you won't hear me complaining about 50-degree sleeping weather or daytime highs around 70, but most folks don't dig that. Professionally, though, I don't either; it's hurting my business. Those who find it a little too frigid haven't opened their swimming pools or invested in a hot tub, which in turn has prevented Confer Plastics from selling the products they need to enter those watery retreats from the summer heat. Day-in and day-out we hear from pool and spa professionals in the Northeast and Midwest that this has been one of the coldest summers in recent memory. Because of that, our pool/spa-related sales are down about 7 percent versus last year.


Debunking the Claims Heat Waves are Becoming More Common

Although there has been some high heat in the southern Plains and most recently the southwest, for many areas of the lower 48 states, unless August turns around big time, it may be remembered as "a year without a summer." After some early heat with 92F in April, Central Park peaked at 86F in May, just 84F in June and so far in July 86F.

June was below normal in the southwest and all across the northern tier. July for the first three weeks was exceptionally cold, in many places ranking among the top 5 coldest. More seasonable temperatures the last week of the month (especially in the east) will diminish the anomalies a little but the month will end up cold.
US mean temp 7/2009
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