Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Toxic Substance Allows Birds to "See" Magnetic Field

Owl Eyes
© Tim Laman/NGSAn African goshawk is seen on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Low amounts of a toxic substance give birds the ability to "see" Earth's magnetic field as they navigate on long journeys.
A toxic substance plays a key role in helping birds migrate, a new study says.

Previous research had shown that birds seem to have an internal compass that allows them to "see" Earth's magnetic field. This magnetic vision guides them on long journeys.

Scientists have also studied a protein molecule, called cryptochrome, that drives the chemical processes behind the birds' magnetic abilities.

But what the molecule was reacting with to create birds' special sight has been a mystery - until now.

Due to a laboratory mishap, scientists have discovered that toxic superoxides may be the previously missed ingredient.

Bizarro Earth

US: Hairless Mystery Animal Photographed

The following animal jumped into the trunk of someone's car in Goodhue, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, and was driven home (allegedly) before being photographed.

Hairless animal
© Unknown
Hairless animal II
© Unknown

Life Preserver

Boston has Sixth Coldest June on Record

As you are well aware, June was unseasonably cold. The mean temperature for June was 63.3°F, which ties it with June 1982 as the sixth coldest June on record in Boston since records began in 1872. Average temperatures of various sorts are often reported by meteorologists, such as the average high or low for a particular day of the year. A statistical quantity that is often overlooked is the standard deviation. That is, when a record occurs, how statistically unlikely is that event compared with the mean?

Your intuition tells you that the standard deviation for Boston temperatures is probably high, since the weather varies greatly from day to day. In places like Los Angeles, California, or Phoenix, Arizona, however, the temperature is fairly constant on a day-to-day time scale, and so the standard deviation is low. Even from month to month, the standard deviation of temperature may vary. For example, in Boston the standard deviation is higher in January than in July.

Alarm Clock

Tasmania as cold as ice: Temperatures plummet eight below average

Bitterly cold weather has been gripping Tasmania as temperatures plummet as much as eight below average.

Widespread frost has affected much of the state in the last few mornings and has been severe in central and eastern parts. Liawenee has had minimum temperatures of minus seven degrees in the last two days, six degrees below average.

Some valley locations, such as Bushy Park and Ouse, which dipped to minus four on Wednesday morning, failed to get within seven degrees of the average maximum. Bushy Park only reached three degrees and Ouse four. Fog and a lack of wind were the main culprits, hampering any warmth from the sun. For Bushy park this is likely to be its coldest day in more than two years and coldest July day in at least eight years.

Binoculars

Top Physicist: Global Warming a Dangerous Belief

Despite alarmist claims of dangerous global warming there's nothing to worry about - it's really getting cooler says Laurence Gould, a professor of physics at the University of Hartford and one of the seven signers of a letter to Congress warning against passage of the so-called cap and trade legislation now awaiting Senate action after being enacted by the House of Representatives last week.

Professor Gould told Newsmax that the evidence on cooling is being ignored by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) upon whose specious reports the cap and trade bill relied.

Gould explained that both "global cooling and global warming have happened throughout much of the earth's climate history," adding that "there have, for example, been the great ice ages as well as the more recent little ice age - all this taking place well before the large buildup of 20th century human industrialization - an industrialization that resulted and continues to result in the increase in the standard of living and in the increased life expectancy of people around the globe."

Bizarro Earth

NASA report of thinning arctic ice is deceiving

NASA Ice report
© NASA ICESatNASA ICESat shows ice thinning. Report ignores where it is thicker.

When looking at arctic ice reports, the most important thing to remember is that we have only been studying the arctic since the end of 1978. That's only three decades, which is a small data set to truly identify a trend for long-term climate. We must look closely at the reports themselves, such as the most recent one from NASA/JPL. The analysis does take time, but that could also mean old data is shown, ignoring current trends. Also, many of these ice reports are released in the summer, when it is 'expected' to be hot, and ice in the arctic is at its lowest point all year. So gloabal warming or climate change aside, the time of year can be misleading.


Bizarro Earth

Freak Summer Storm Dumps Snow On Yonkers

snow yonkers july 2009
© Janice HoganSnow piles seen in Yonkers.

It was Christmas in July for some Westchester County residents.

A wintry mix of hail and heavy thunderstorms downed trees and utility poles in Yonkers last night -- causing mountains of slush and ice to build up in parking lots and on grassy areas.

Police said at least two homes were damaged by falling sleet, which hit the area at 11:30 p.m.

Snow plows were called in early this morning to help remove the snow, while extra fire trucks were on hand to help with the unseasonal cleanup.

Igloo

Frost in July hits Prince Edward Island



Temperatures dropped to a record low in Prince Edward Island overnight Tuesday, with reports of frost throughout the province.

An official record low of 3.8 C was set early Wednesday morning at Charlottetown airport.

The previous record for that date was 5.1 C, set in 2005.

Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said that to his knowledge, frost has never been reported before in July in P.E.I.

"That 3.8 we got last night kind of sticks out as being lower than some of the other records for anytime in early July," Robichaud told CBC News on Wednesday.

Compass

US: Where's The Heat?!

Good Monday everyone and welcome to a the post 4th of July holiday week. Many of you are probably confused by the weather as it has been anything other than July-like. This has been one of the coldest starts to July on record and a lot of people are asking one simple question... WHERE'S THE HEAT?

That reminds me of the old Wendy's commercial from the 1980s. You know the one I am talking about...
Where's the beef
© unknown

To put it all in perspective... most areas have not recorded a 80 degree temp since one week ago today. Many record low high temps have fallen over the past several days with Sunday seeing more added to the list. Take a look at this graphic I put together for you guys...

Cloud Lightning

Flash floods and power cuts (even at the Queen's garden party) in Britain's heaviest downfall since records began in 1865

torrential rain Buckingham palace
© Press AssociationTorrential downpours forced guests to abandon tables and chairs and head for cover at the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

The band at Buckingham Palace played on - but the rest of the country was ducking for cover.

Britain was battered with three months' worth of rain yesterday, with some parts suffering the heaviest downpours on record.

The flash floods, hail and electrical storms in the South of England made last week's 31.8C heatwave a distant memory.

And England cricket fans were braced for a severely delayed start to the first Test match of the Ashes in Cardiff against Australia as showers swept across the country.