Earth ChangesS


Cool May, June in New Zealand near 50 year record

Forecasters last night withdrew warnings of thunderstorms.

MetService had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty, valid until 10am today but that was dropped last night.

It has also issued a severe weather watch for Otago and Canterbury, as it expects snowfall in these areas.

Weather ambassador Bob McDavitt said a howling wind from the Tasman Sea was moving across northwestern parts of the North Island last night and was expected to reach Bay of Plenty this morning.

"This active front will bring squally showers, which includes the possibility of dangerous gusts, maybe tornadoes, on the northern coasts."

The front is expected to move quickly over the North Island before clearing East Cape by noon today. Some sun may peak through the gloomy weather this afternoon, but bouts of rain are expected throughout the weekend.

Bizarro Earth

Colfax County site of another earthquake

A minor earthquake was recorded in western Colfax County shortly before 1 a.m. June 27, the second such quake to be triggered in the area in the last two months.

The June 25 quake of 3.0 magnitude was recorded as having its epicenter 19 miles north of Cimarron, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center. The center also placed the quake as being 23 miles northeast of Eagle Nest and 30 miles southwest of Raton.

On April 30, an earthquake of 3.5 magnitude was recorded 19 miles west of Raton.


Earthquakes hit West Sumatra and N. Sulawesi

An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale jolted Padang and several neighboring towns in West Sumatra at 3:51 p.m. on Thursday.

The quake caused panic among residents at the affected areas, the local Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said.

It said the quake was recorded around 10 kilometers (km) under the sea off Bungus Teluk Kabung district in Padang.

Earlier in the day, a 5.9 earthquake rocked several parts of North Sulawesi. There were no immediate reports of casualties or material damage.


South Africa: Honey bee disease may be countrywide - survey

Preliminary survey results of bee colonies released on Tuesday point to the unabated spread of a disease, American foulbrood (AFB), throughout the Western Cape and beyond.

AFB is an infectious disease found in honey bees which attacks their larvae and is capable of destroying entire colonies in a year. Early results showed that more than 80 percent of the 45 samples tested came back positive for the disease. Officials are still waiting for more than 450 samples to be tested.

"It's looking increasingly unlikely that eradication and containment will be possible. It's looking increasingly likely that we have a regionwide, even countrywide, problem," said Mike Allsopp, a honeybee researcher with the Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) in Stellenbosch.


US: Earthquake shakes up Delaware and New Jersey

Delaware was shaken up by an earthquake Wednesday morning that rattled some homes in New Jersey too!!

The tremor hit at 9:44 a.m. weighing in on the Richter scale at a 2.8 magnitude, according to Associated Press. A quake of that level means people could feel the quake, but did not experience any severe damages from it.

The United States Geological Survey's Web site located the start of the earth quake around two miles from Pennsville, N.J., after reports originally placed its epicenter in Wilmington by the Delaware River.

Its epicenter spread out about three miles deep making it approximately 30 miles away from Philadelphia.


Strong earthquake shakes Greek island of Crete

© ReutersIsland of Crete as seen from space
An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale, felt as far afield as Cairo, Egypt, has been recorded on the Greek island of Crete, according to

The exact epicentre has been triangulated at 125 km SSE of Iraklion, Crete, 195 km SE of Hania, Crete, 275 km NNE of Tobruk, Libya and 445 km SSE of Athens.

Conflicting media reports claim that the earthquake was as high as 6.7 in magnitude, whereas the Associated Press has given its strength as 5.9.

Cloud Lightning

US: July makes a thunderous arrival in Rhode Island

Rhode Island rains
© The Providence Journal / Kris CraigRushing water flows down Congdon Street in Providence during Wednesday’s heavy rains.
Welcome to the first day of July - - which brought more rain than the entire month of June.

Severe thunderstorms rumbled into Southern New England beginning at daybreak on Wednesday and continuing at 11 a.m. for a second round, clustering together over the southernmost tip of Rhode Island with wave after wave of heavy rain and lightning strikes.

Roads flooded and left motorists stranded in their swamped cars. Lightning struck houses from Westerly to Coventry. Torrential downpours - - at times about an inch an hour - - overwhelmed drainage systems, forcing street and highway closures in parts of South County. The rain gauges used by engineers at the Department of Transportation showed 4 inches of rain fell in just two hours in Charlestown - - approaching levels of a hundred-year storm, said department spokesman Charles St. Martin.

Evil Rays

No climate debate? Yes, there is

In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama saluted the House of Representatives for passing Waxman-Markey, the gargantuan energy-rationing bill that would amount to the largest tax increase in the nation's history. It would do so by making virtually everything that depends on energy - which is virtually everything - more expensive.

The president doesn't describe the legislation in those terms now, but he made no bones about it last year. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008, he calmly explained how cap-and-trade - the carbon-dioxide rationing scheme that is at the heart of Waxman-Markey - would work:

"Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket . . . because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas, you name it . . . Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money, and they will pass that [cost] on to consumers.''


Sunspot Minimum Moves to At Least December; June in Northeast like 2008 in UK

solar flux
© Jan Alverstad

Despite an active start to the month and a rather steady stream of cycle 24 microdots, the official sunspot number for June came in at 2.6 below the 3.5 needed to make November 2008 the solar minimum. This means it can't be earlier than December, 2008. It seems unlikely unless the sun goes back into a deep slumber as it did last summer and July stays at or below 0.5 (the value of the month it will replace in the 13 month average), December 2008 won't be the sunspot minimum with a 13 month mean of 1.7. Only three minima since 1750 had official minima below 1.7 (1913 1.5, 1810 0, 1823 0.1). Of course modern measurement technologies are better than older technologies so there is some uncertainty as to whether microdots back then would have been seen.

Bizarro Earth

US: The Irish Potato Famine Fungus Is Attacking Northeast Gardens And Farms Now

© Cornell UniversityLeaf lesions due to late blight
Home gardeners beware: This year, late blight -- a destructive infectious disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840s -- is killing tomato and potato plants in gardens and on commercial farms in the eastern United States. In addition, basil downy mildew is affecting plants in the Northeast.

"Late blight has never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S," said Meg McGrath, associate professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.

One of the most visible early symptoms of the disease is brown spots (lesions) on stems. They begin small and firm, then quickly enlarge, with white fungal growth developing under moist conditions that leads to a soft rot collapsing the stem.