Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

Inconvenient Eisdicken - "surprising results" from the Arctic

This is a news story from Germany outlining another Arctic ice measurement expedition. This one was conducted by flying the scientists across the north polar ice cap using the WWII era workhorse Douglas DC-3 airplane equipped with skis, and towing an airborne sounder twenty meters above the ice surface. It makes the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey look rather pointless, but then we knew that. BTW "Eisdicken" translates to "ice thickness". - Anthony

From Radio Bremen. Translated from German by Google web page translator: Original | Translated

Cloud Lightning

The Pacific Ocean's Influence on Climate Change: How Low Will the PDO Go?

Long-term variations in ocean circulations produce pronounced patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies that directly impact weather and climate. The most influential long-term oceanic cycle is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a large-scale phenomenon in the North Pacific that produces inter-decadal oscillations of cool and warm SST anomalies, with each phase typically lasting 20 to 30 years. During the cool (negative) phase of the PDO, a large horseshoe-shaped area of cooler than average SST extends from the central equatorial tropics northeastward to the Mexican and U.S. coastlines, then northward along the Canadian and Alaskan coastlines. During the warm (positive) phase the pattern is reversed with warm SSTs replacing the cool SSTs. The Atlantic Ocean experiences a similar oscillation known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) which has profound impacts on the number and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes as well as Arctic sea ice extent.


NBC Affiliate Meteorologist Rips MSNBC for Apocalyptic Global Warming Special

Future Earth MSNBC program
© unknown

Michigan affiliate's chief meteorologist slams disingenuousness of MSNBC's 'Future Earth' special; GE's financial stake in cap-and-trade passage.

NBC Universal and its networks have been criticized for the global warming alarmism it parades on a regular basis. However, now the criticism is coming from its own affiliates.

Prior to its April 26 airing on MSNBC, shows on NBC had been promoting the first part of the climate special "Future Earth" - an MSNBC program that used computer animation to show the possibilities of a polar icecap melting. That prompted Bill Steffen, a meteorologist for NBC's Grand Rapids, Michigan affiliate, to call out MSNBC for that special.


New Australian continent wide low temperature record set for April

Charlotte Pass, Australia
© unknownCharlotte Pass, 1,837m, Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia

A new Australian record was set early this morning, a temperature of minus 13 degrees, at Charlotte Pass on the Snowy Mountains.

This is the lowest temperature recorded anywhere in Australia in April and is 13 below the average. Nearby at Perisher it dipped to minus 11 degrees and at the top of Thredbo it dipped to minus 10.

Across the border, on the Victorian Alps April records were broken at Mt Hotham where it chilled to minus eight degrees and Mt Buller and Falls Creek where it got as low as minus seven.


US: Bats' homes off-limits because of disease

Affected states with white-nose syndrome
© Bat Conservation International/The Clumbus Dispatch
Thousands of caves and old mines in national forests, including the Wayne National Forest in Ohio, have been closed to people as the government tries to slow a mysterious disease that's wiping out bats.

Abandoned mines in the Wayne are well-known among biologists as winter havens for hibernating bats. Banning visitors could help keep white-nose syndrome from extending into Ohio, officials say. Discovered in New York in 2006, the disease has spread to eight other Eastern states, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The syndrome is named for a white fungus that grows on bats' faces, ears, wings and feet.

Nearly 500,000 bats have died.

Arrow Down

Fifty percent of Honeybees gone in Japan

For the first time, Japan has been hit with a large-scale collapse of honeybee populations like that experienced in other countries around the world.

"There have been small-scale honeybee losses for many years, but a massive collapse like they had in the U.S. is very unusual," said Kiyoshi Kimura of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science. "We must investigate the situation in Japan."


Russia: Kamchatka volcano Shiveluch emissed a 7-km column of ash

Kamchatka volcano Shiveluch has emissed a column of ash. Its height reaches 7 km above sea level. According to satellite observations an ash plum caused by last emission extendes 325 km southwestwards from the top of the mountain.

Shiveluch is one of the largest and most active Kamchatka volcanoes. It belongs to the Kliuchevskaya volcano group and is about 65,000 years old. Shiveluch is erupting during the last year being observated by Volcano logy Institute of Kamchatka. Volcano consists of two cones called Maliy and Bolshoy Shiveluch. Maliy Shiveluch is erupting now. The mountain grows constantly because of volcanic materials rising from the depths throughout crater.

Better Earth

Why freeing Willy was the wrong thing to do

© Sam Barcroft/Rex FeaturesKeiko, star of Free Willy, in playful mood
Willy was never really free. The killer whale star of the Hollywood movie Free Willy had to be cared for by humans even after he was released and he never successfully integrated with his wild kin. Researchers now say attempts to return him to the wild were misguided.

"We believe the best option for [Willy] was the open pen he had in Norway, with care from his trainers," says Malene Simon of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, who participated in efforts to reintegrate the cetacean in the wild and is lead author of the study. "He could swim as much as he wanted to, had plenty of frozen herring - which he was very fond of - and the people that he was attached to kept him active."

The killer whale, whose real name was Keiko, died in December 2003, at about 26 years old. Despite efforts to integrate him with wild killer whales in Iceland towards the end of his life, he proved unable to interact with them or find food.

"While we as humans might find it appealing to free a long-term captive animal," the researchers say in the paper, "the survival and well-being of the animal may be severely impacted in doing so." The only cetaceans that have successfully been returned to the wild have been young and only kept in captivity for short periods.


Orchard Losses 'Threaten Species'

Use of few or no chemicals makes orchards good wildlife habitat
Traditional fruit orchards are vanishing from England's landscape - with serious consequences for wildlife, conservationists have warned.

The National Trust says 60% have disappeared since the 1950s, putting local varieties of apples, cherries, pears, plums and damsons under threat.

It is launching a £536,000 drive to reverse the decline of the orchards.

Their trees provide important habitats for species such as the noble chafer beetle and lesser spotted woodpecker.

The orchards - some with as few as five trees - also offer sources of pollen and nectar to bees, which are thought to be declining partly because of a lack of suitable food.

Pressure from commercial fruit growers has led many small-scale producers to develop their orchards or convert them to other uses.

Bizarro Earth

Update: Guerrero, Mexico: Earthquake Magnitude 5.6

© US Geological Survey

* Monday, April 27, 2009 at 16:46:28 UTC

* Monday, April 27, 2009 at 11:46:28 AM at epicenter

* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 17.069°N, 99.386°W

Depth 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program

Distances 55 km (35 miles) SSE of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico

60 km (40 miles) ENE of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

140 km (90 miles) S of Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico

260 km (160 miles) S of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico