Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

Earliest 'human footprints' found

Laser scanning was used to plot the exact dimensions of the prints
The earliest footprints showing evidence of modern human foot anatomy and gait have been unearthed in Kenya.

The 1.5-million-year-old footprints display signs of a pronounced arch and short, aligned toes, in contrast to older footprints.

The size and spacing of the Kenyan markings - attributed to Homo erectus - reflect the height, weight, and walking style of modern humans.

The findings have been published in the journal Science.

The footprints are not the oldest belonging to a member of the human lineage. That title belongs to the 3.7 million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis prints found in Laetoli, Tanzania, in 1978.

Better Earth

UK Met Office: Coldest Winter in over a decade

Mild weather is expected to see out what remains of winter. Despite this, it is expected to be the coldest UK winter since 1995/96, according to provisional Met Office figures.

The low temperatures have also been accompanied at times by heavy snow. During early February, the heaviest snowfall for 18 years was experienced over many areas of the UK.

Comment: It is apparent that the UK Met Office employees have gotten their orders from headquarters.

How many times can the psychological reinforcement of "Global Warming" be injected into the minds of the reader?

It would have been a really bad winter if it wasn't for all that man made global warming!

Natural variability means we can still have cold weather but you should continue with the expectation we have told you to have that winters are going to become milder and milder.

Don't expect to have a really severe winter for at least a thousand years.

How many times can the psychological reinforcement of "Global Warming" be injected into the minds of the reader?


Ice Age or global warming?

Norway Newspaper dumping snow at sea
© unknown
It looks more like an Ice Age than global warming.

There is so much snow in Oslo, where I live, that the city authorities are resorting to dumping truckloads of it in the sea because the usual storage sites on land are full.

That is angering environmentalists who say the snow is far too dirty - scraped up from polluted roads - to be added to the fjord. The story even made it to the front page of the local paper ('Dumpes i sjøen': 'Dumped in the sea').

In many places around the capital there's about a metre of snow, the most since 2006 when it was last dumped in the sea. Extra snow usually gets trucked to sites on land, where most of the polluted dirt is left after the thaw. Those stores are now full - in some the snow isn't expected to melt before September.


Australian MP: Humans not causing climate change

An opposition MP says humans are not causing climate change, and pointed to Adolf Hitler as an example of how scientists can be wrong.

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen's comments come days after his leader Malcolm Turnbull promised a greener climate change policy than the government's.

Dr Jensen cast doubt on the apparent scientific consensus that humans are affecting the climate.

"Albert Einstein was very much criticised by Hitler, and Hitler actually had a group of 100 top scientists in Germany write a book called 100 scientists against Einstein," Dr Jensen told reporters in Canberra.


Japanese scientists: Global warming isn't man-made

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan's native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

Bizarro Earth

4.8 Earthquake Rattles Surigao del Sur

Residents of Surigao del Sur, a province in Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean, went into panic when a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck Wednesday afternoon, raising fears of a tsunami.

But Officials of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) reported yesterday that no one was reported hurt and that the tremor caused no damage in the province.

State seismologists reported that what struck at 3:51 p.m. Wednesday was an undersea quake located some 80 kilometers east-northeast of Butuan City with a depth of 80.7 kilometers.

Bizarro Earth

4.1 Earthquake Rattles Nerves in Southwest Oregon

An early morning earthquake measuring 4.1 in intensity rattled nerves from Williams to Gold Beach to south of Coos Bay Thursday.

The USGS reported the earthquake at 1:52 a.m. with an epicenter 23 miles below ground about 30 miles west-northwest of Grants Pass. According to USGS Web sites, it was most strongly felt in a cluster around Grants Pass from Glendale to Williams and Rogue River. Reports also came in from Brookings, Gold Beach and Coquille.

The epicenter was in a remote mountainous area of few residents. No damage or injuries have been reported.

Bizarro Earth

Effects of Tambora Volcanic Eruption on Iberian Peninsula Studied for First Time

An international team of scientists has presented the first-ever evaluation of the impact of the 1816 eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia on the Iberian Peninsula. Historical documents and observations by Spanish and Portuguese stations have shown that emissions of gas and particulates from the volcano limited the effect of solar radiation in Spain, where temperatures that summer did not rise above 15 C.

The Tambora volcano in Indonesia erupted in April 1815, but North America and Europe did not notice its effects until months later. In 1816, known as 'the year without a summer,' gases, ashes and dust arrived over the Iberian Peninsular and reached the stratosphere, where they remained long enough to create 'an enormous sun filter.'

These are the findings of a study by an international team, with Spanish participation, which have been published in the latest issue of the prestigious International Journal of Climatology.

Bizarro Earth

Study Finds Hemlock Trees Dying Rapidly, Affecting Forest Carbon Cycle

New research by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists and partners suggests the hemlock woolly adelgid is killing hemlock trees faster than expected in the southern Appalachians and rapidly altering the carbon cycle of these forests. SRS researchers and cooperators from the University of Georgia published the findings in the most recent issue of the journal Ecosystems.

"The study marks the first time that scientists have tracked the short-term effects hemlock woolly adelgid infestations are having on the forest carbon cycle," said Chelcy Ford, SRS ecologist and co-author of the paper.

Eastern hemlock, a keystone species in the streamside forests of the southern Appalachian region, is already experiencing widespread decline and mortality because of hemlock woolly adelgid (a tiny nonnative insect) infestation. The pest has the potential to kill most of the region's hemlock trees within the next decade. As a native evergreen capable of maintaining year-round transpiration rates, hemlock plays an important role in the ecology and hydrology of mountain ecosystems. Hemlock forests provide critical habitat for birds and other animals; their shade helps maintain the cool water temperatures required by trout and other aquatic organisms in mountain streams.

Better Earth

Yellowstone Park geology remains mysterious

When Hank Heasler first visited Yellowstone National Park as a little boy, he stared at the bubbles rising up from green- and orange-ringed mud pots, colored by heat-loving bacteria that thrive in water recycled through deep underground aquifers.

"I just remember being fascinated," he said. "I always wanted to know more."

Heasler is now Yellowstone Park's geologist, one of the primary scientists responsible for tracking movement around one of the largest volcanos in North America.

It's a constant challenge, figuring out the park's ever-shifting geological puzzle, he said.

"I'm still excited," he said.

Comment: Though Heasler admits that "science can't yet explain all of the park's geological quirks" and that there so many things they don't yet understand about Yellowstone's geology, he is quick to reassure the reader that "a volcanic eruption doesn't appear to be imminent". Is this an attempt to sooth people's fears after the recent swarm of earthquakes in the area?