Earth ChangesS


Signs that the Mainstream Climate Debate has Lost Touch with Reality

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
Speaking in Korea at the World Environment Forum 2009 UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has given a speech that is remarkable for its over-the-top rhetoric and also its disconnect from anything resembling reality. He starts with an apocalyptic warning:
If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters.

Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest - even violence - could follow.

The damage to national economies will be enormous. The human suffering will be incalculable.


Skywatchers set for meteor shower

The tails of the Perseids point back to a "radiant" in the constellation Perseus
They can appear anywhere in the sky
Composed of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle
Skygazers are getting ready to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on Wednesday.

The Perseid shower occurs when the Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

As this cometary "grit" strikes our atmosphere, it burns up, often creating streaks of light across the sky.

This impressive spectacle appears to originate from a point called a "radiant" in the constellation of Perseus - hence the name Perseid.

Bizarro Earth

Update: Big quake hits off India's Andamans, no tsunami

Andaman Islands map
© Reuters/GraphicsA massive magnitude 7.6 quake struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands, triggering a tsunami watch for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Monday.
Port Blair, India - A major earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck in the Indian Ocean off India's Andaman Islands early on Tuesday, but a tsunami alert for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh was later canceled.

There were no reports of a tsunami or of any casualties from the tremor, officials said. It coincided with a 6.5 magnitude earthquake that jolted Tokyo and surrounding areas of Japan. There were no reports of major casualties from that quake either.

"We all ran out as fast as possible and have not gone back inside, fearing another quake. Everything was shaking, we are all very, very scared," Subhasis Paul, who runs a provision store in Diglipur island in North Andaman, told Reuters by telephone.


July's weather: Chilly USA, torrid globe

July 2009 US cold records

Oh, the humanity.

As if global warming proponents don't have enough to worry about already, with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Fox News and the Heartland Institute, now Mother Nature has thrown them yet another curve: July 2009 was officially the coldest July on record in six U.S. states, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Specifically, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Not one of the coldest, mind you, but the absolute, rock-bottom, chilliest on record. Records go back to 1895. Meanwhile, four others - Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kentucky - had their 2nd-coldest July ever recorded.

What does this mean for global warming? Does this confirm it's a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi? Well, Fox News ran a headline last week that the cold summer is putting a damper on global warming fears. Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute is sponsoring another conference next May in Chicago.

But "Whoa Nellie" as Keith Jackson used to say. While the Northeast USA was indeed chilling out in July, take a look at these statistics, courtesy of the University of Alabama - Huntsville: For the world as a whole, July was the 2nd-warmest ever recorded, the Southern Hemisphere had its 2nd-warmest month ever (compared to seasonal norms), and it was the 2nd-warmest month ever recorded in Antarctica (again compared to seasonal norms).


US: Tomato fungus appears in Wisconsin

tomato blight
© Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer ProtectionThis blighted tomato plant is from a home garden in Dane County. Late blight has also been found at a Rock County vegetable farm.

Wisconsin potato growers are on alert for a highly contagious fungus that has been found on tomato plants throughout the state. Officials worry that the fungus - which caused the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century - could make the leap to potatoes and threaten the local crop.

As of Friday, Wisconsin had at least eight confirmed cases of the late blight fungus on tomatoes in Dane, Rock, Portage and Langlade counties - including at least one commercial vegetable farm, said Amanda Gevens, a plant pathologist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin Extension. An additional 20 to 30 suspected cases are being investigated in several counties, she said.

The fungus first appeared earlier this summer in the Northeast, possibly carried by infected seedlings at garden centers. It has spread to other parts of the country since, rapidly killing tomato plants in its path. Spores are carried by wind, rain, people, machinery and wildlife.

In other states, the fungus quickly made the leap to potatoes, which is why Gevens met with Wisconsin potato growers this week to explain the signs and to prepare growers for a potentially devastating crossover. Wisconsin - the nation's third largest potato producer behind Idaho and Washington - last year harvested 2.3 billion pounds of potatoes.

"It has now landed in the center of commercial potato production in Wisconsin, so the risk is great," Gevens said.


US: Nebraska tomatoes over a month late ripening

green tomatoes
© unknownThis year, the prize of gardening — a juicy tomato, ripe by the Fourth of July — has remained stubbornly green and hard.

Talk about frustration.

By now, many vegetable gardeners would be layering fat slices of tomatoes on a plate and eating them like watermelon.

But not this year.

The prize of gardening - a juicy tomato, ripe by the Fourth of July - has remained stubbornly green and hard.

"This is as slow as I've seen it, and I've been growing tomatoes since 1972," said Bob "The Tomato Man" Green.

A Sarpy County farmer, master gardener and longtime competitor at the county fair, Green has 67 plants - 27 varieties - this year at his farm outside Springfield, Neb. And they just aren't ripening.

Blame it on the cool weather, he said. Tomatoes need warm days and warm nights to ripen. So far, though, much of eastern Nebraska is running about 4 to 6 degrees below normal for July.


China landslide buries unknown number of residents

Beijing - A massive landslide triggered by a deadly typhoon toppled at least six apartment buildings burying an unknown number of residents in eastern China, a state news agency said Tuesday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the landslide in the town of Pengxi, in Zhejiang province's Wenzhou city, was triggered by heavy rains carried by the storm Morakot, which has already killed six people and left three missing in mainland China.

Cloud Lightning

Earthquakes shake Tokyo area, Indian Ocean

© AFP/FileA quake reading on a seismograph. A major 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Japan early Tuesday, …
A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 hit Tokyo and nearby areas shortly after dawn Tuesday, halting trains and forcing two nuclear reactors to be shut down for safety checks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said another, unrelated quake with a 7.6 magnitude hit the Indian Ocean about 160 miles (257 kilometers) north of Port Blair in India's Andaman Islands. A tsunami watch was called for India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh. The caution was later lifted without any tsunami being recorded.

The Andaman Islands quake was reported to be 20.6 miles (33.15 kilometers) deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said. On Dec. 26, 2004, about 230,000 people were killed in a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 7.6 - Andaman Islands, India Region

© US Geological Survey

Monday, August 10, 2009 at 19:55:39 UTC
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 01:55:39 AM at epicenter

14.013°N, 92.923°E

33.1 km (20.6 miles)

260 km (160 miles) N of Port Blair, Andaman Islands, India

365 km (225 miles) SSW of Pathein (Bassein), Myanmar

825 km (510 miles) W of BANGKOK, Thailand

2295 km (1420 miles) SE of NEW DELHI, Delhi, India

Cloud Lightning

Update 2: Typhoon Morakot - 600 missing in mudslide, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan -- A typhoon-spawned mudslide engulfed a mountain village in southern Taiwan, burying up to 600 people, a police official and a rescued villager said Monday.

Typhoon Morakot dumped up to 80 inches (two meters) of rain on some communities over the weekend before moving on to China, where it forced the evacuation of nearly 1 million people along the east coast and left at least six dead. Earlier it had struck the Philippines, leaving at least 22 dead.