Earth ChangesS

Meteor

Forget global warming, there's a space rock with our name on it

The year is 2109. Celebrations continue as mankind's heroic, century-long, quintillion-dollar effort to lower the global mean temperature by 1 degree has paid off: It's just as hot as it was in 2009. Few can contain their jubilation.

But even as the carbon-neutral champagne corks fly, the sky darkens. A projectile of a different kind is coming our way. An asteroid streaks across the skies, giving the media just enough time to spread the word. The New York Times, now beamed directly into subscribers' brains via digital-neural networks, fulfills ancient prophecy and warns that women and minorities will be hardest hit by the incoming object.

Bizarro Earth

Hydrocarbons In The Deep Earth?

Image
© A. Kolesnikov and V. KutcherovThis artistic view of the Earth's interior shows hydrocarbons forming in the upper mantle and transported through deep faults to shallower depths in the Earth's crust. The inset shows a snapshot of the methane dissociation reaction studied in this work.
The oil and gas that fuels our homes and cars started out as living organisms that died, were compressed, and heated under heavy layers of sediments in the Earth's crust. Scientists have debated for years whether some of these hydrocarbons could also have been created deeper in the Earth and formed without organic matter. Now for the first time, scientists have found that ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be synthesized under the pressure-temperature conditions of the upper mantle - the layer of Earth under the crust and on top of the core.

The research was conducted by scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues from Russia and Sweden, and is published in the July 26, advanced online issue of Nature Geoscience.

Methane (CH4) is the main constituent of natural gas, while ethane (C2H6) is used as a petrochemical feedstock. Both of these hydrocarbons, and others associated with fuel, are called saturated hydrocarbons because they have simple, single bonds and are saturated with hydrogen. Using a diamond anvil cell and a laser heat source, the scientists first subjected methane to pressures exceeding 20 thousand times the atmospheric pressure at sea level and temperatures ranging from 1,300 F° to over 2,240 F°.

Butterfly

There is More to Bats' Vision Than Meets the Eye

Bat 1
© Cornelia Hagemann, Goethe University Frankfurt/M, Germany.Flying Carollia perspicillata bat photographed at its breeding colony at the Goethe Universtiy Frankfurt/M.
The eyes of nocturnal bats possess two spectral cone photoreceptor types for daylight and colour vision. Reporting in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt and the University of Oldenburg have detected cones and their visual pigments in two flower-visiting species of bat.

With electroretinographic recordings, they found an increased sensitivity to UV light in cone-stimulating light conditions. The researchers conclude that bats' eyes are adapted for both daylight and UV vision. The UV-sensitive cones may yield a number of advantages for bats, including improved visual orientation at twilight, predator avoidance and de tection of UV-reflecting flowers (a benefit for those that feed on nectar).

Bats are mammals in the order Chiroptera, which has two suborders: fruit bats (Megachiroptera) and microbats (Microchiroptera). Microbats (see images 1 and 2), also called 'true bats,' echolocate, while fruit bats do not. Microbats have small eyes and well developed visual centres in the brain. In bats, vision plays an important role in predator avoidance during foraging and homing and, in some species. in prey detection. Moreover, bats are exposed to different levels of ambient light during the day, depending on their roosting situation.

Info

Risk Of Huge Pacific Ocean Tsunami On West Coast Of America Greater Than Previously Thought

Sitka, Alaska
© iStockphoto/Brandon LaufenbergThe city of Sitka, Alaska. The potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study of geological evidence along the Gulf of Alaska coast
The potential for a huge Pacific Ocean tsunami on the West Coast of America may be greater than previously thought, according to a new study of geological evidence along the Gulf of Alaska coast.

The new research suggests that future tsunamis could reach a scale far beyond that suffered in the tsunami generated by the great 1964 Alaskan earthquake. Official figures put the number of deaths caused by the earthquake at around 130: 114 in Alaska and 16 in Oregon and California. The tsunami killed 35 people directly and caused extensive damage in Alaska, British Columbia, and the US Pacific region*.

The 1964 Alaskan earthquake - the second biggest recorded in history with a magnitude of 9.2 - triggered a series of massive waves with run up heights of as much as 12.7 metres in the Alaskan Gulf region and 52 metres in the Shoup Bay submarine slide in Valdez Arm.

Bulb

The new global warming spin: 'Global warming made it less cool'

The year 2009 is proving to be a yet another very inconvenient year for the promoters of man-made global warming fears. As the "year without a summer" continues, the U.S. in July alone has broken over 3000 cold temperature records, and global temps have fallen .74F since Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" was released in 2006. In addition, meteorologists are predicting more record cold and snow this winter. (See: Brisk July portends 'heavy snowfalls and bitter cold this winter along Eastern Seaboard')

But man-made climate fear promoters have finally constructed an explanation for the recent record cold temperatures.

The explanation? According to climate activists: "Global warming made it less cool."

Cow

Rare Angolan Antelope Tracked by Research Team

Angolan antelope
© UnknownOne of the last remaining images of Angola's elusive giant sable antelope, last seen 30 years ago before the country's civil war.
A rare Angolan antelope feared to have been killed off during a 27-year civil war has been located, giving hope for the future preservation of the species, a government official said Monday.

Scientists at the weekend spotted three giant black sable antelope -- endemic to Angola where they are the country's national symbol and known in Portuguese as the Palanca Negra -- in two northern reserves.

"This is a huge step for us and it really pushes the project forward," Vladimir Russo, Angola?s national director of environmental management, told AFP.

"We were able to put a collar on one of the females which contains a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker so we can follow her to find the rest of the herd. It's really great news, we are all very excited."

Better Earth

India: Black Spotted Deer, Uhm, Spotted

Black spotted deer
© Unknown
Indian news services are reporting on Sunday, July 26, 2009, in the Sakaal Times of Pune, India, and in The Hindu of an intriguing example of melanism in a deer.

Needless to say, this may be a rare mutation or a new color morph seen near Coimbatore, India, but it is doubtful, as the article states in the Sakaal Times headline, that it is a "New species of deer spotted." (Since it seems to be a black spotted deer, I am not unaware that the Indian headline writer may have been attempting a bit of a pun here.)

Phoenix

Kamchatka volcano spews ash to 5,000 meters in Russia's Far East

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Russia's northernmost active volcano churned out ash to a height of some 5,000 meters (23,000 feet) in the country's Far East late on Saturday, the local geophysics service said on Sunday.

The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula last erupted in December 2006 and has been active ever since.

The service reported registering over 170 tremors within the area in the past 24 hours. "Some of them were followed by powerful ash bursts and avalanches," a spokesman for the service said.

Attention

US: 3,000 Low Temp Records Set This July!

Here are some stats and maps regarding the unusually cold July that is happening over a large portion of the U.S., especially the Northeast quadrant (yes, it's been unusually hot in the SW, see below). Note: Since I am on vacation at the end of the month, I will not be able to update these but AccuWeather.com will be running news articles about how cool July was in these areas, come the first week in August.

First, some stats. 1,044 daily record low temperatures have been broken this month nationwide according to NCDC -- count record "low highs" and the number increases to 2,925, surely to pass 3,000 before the end of the month. Some thoughts on the 'low highs" below.

Arrow Down

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.