Earth ChangesS

Evil Rays

Best of the Web: A climate change reality check

global cooling
One year ago, I believed that man-made global warming was true, with temperatures rising dangerously due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere.

I also believed that a consensus of the international scientific community supported these conclusions.

I based these beliefs on information from the popular press, television and political leaders.

Then I began some real research on the topic.

I quickly discovered three critical things:
  • First, the Earth has experienced significant warming over the past 18,000 years that has nothing to do with human activity.
  • Second, more recent temperature variations demonstrate that there is little or no correlation between levels of atmospheric CO2 and temperature.
  • And third, there is no "consensus" among scientists on climate change.
To understand the science of climate change, you must first know that very accurate historic temperature data going back thousands of years are available through analysis of dead corals in ocean sediments as well as ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica.

You must also understand what the Earth was like 18,000 years ago. Back then, our planet was at the peak of its most recent major ice age. At 18 degrees Celsius, average ocean surface temperatures were 5 degrees lower than they are today. Half of North America and Eurasia were covered by massive ice sheets thousands of feet thick and sea level was more than 400 feet lower than today. Then, the Earth began a dramatic warming and the ice age ended.

Cloud Lightning

US: 5 Killed as Ice Storm Hits Midwest and South

A winter storm stretched from Texas into Midwest on Monday, knocking out power to hundreds, making roads treacherous and leading to at least five traffic deaths.

As the storm moved across Oklahoma and sections of Texas, highway and emergency crews braced for icy conditions in Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and the southern slices of Indiana and Illinois.

A truck driver died in Oklahoma when his semi skidded off an icy stretch of turnpike near Chandler, authorities said. The victim's name wasn't immediately released. Another deadly accident also occurred on Interstate 44 near Afton.

Better Earth

Earthquake Rocks Indonesia

An intense earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale rocked the southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia at 1939 GMT Monday, the Hong Kong Observatory said in a news bulletin here early Tuesday morning.


Study finds troubling pattern of Southern California quakes

The southern stretch of the San Andreas fault has had a major temblor about every 137 years, according to new research. The latest looks to be overdue.

Large earthquakes have rumbled along a southern section of the San Andreas fault more frequently than previously believed, suggesting that Southern California could be overdue for a strong temblor on the notorious fault line, a new study has found.

The Carrizo Plain section of the San Andreas has not seen a massive quake since the much-researched Fort Tejon temblor of 1857, which at an estimated magnitude of 7.9 is considered the most powerful earthquake to hit Southern California in modern times.

But the new research by UC Irvine scientists, to be published next week, found that major quakes occurred there roughly every 137 years over the last 700 years. Until now, scientists believed big quakes occurred along the fault roughly every 200 years.

The findings are significant because seismologists have long believed this portion of the fault is capable of sparking the so-called Big One that officials have for decades warned will eventually occur in Southern California.

Better Earth

New weather warning after storms kill 21 in France and Spain

As hundreds of thousands are left without power, forecasters fear floods will follow worst weather for a decade

Emergency services struggling with the aftermath of Saturday's storms in France and Spain faced a new spate of victims as four people died and more than 100 were hospitalised after inhaling carbon monoxide from electricity generators.

With 680,000 people still without electricity in France and 50,000 in Spain, families have been using their own generators to power their homes, businesses and farms

But Michèle Alliot-Marie, the French Interior Minister, warned of the dangers today as hospitals dealt with victims poisoned by generators they had installed without proper ventilation.

"People must be more vigilant," she said as officials called for private power generation units to be placed outside.

Bizarro Earth

5.0-magnitude earthquake jolts NW China

An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at 9:47 a.m. Sunday, according to the state earthquake authority.

The earthquake occurred in Xibe Autonomous County of Qapqal, 700 kilometers from the regional capital Urumqi. The epicenter was at 43.3 degrees north latitude and 80.9 degrees east longitude at a depth of 10 kilometers, the China Earthquake Administration said Sunday.

Better Earth

An Earthquake Occurred in the Republic of Yakutia

An earthquake measuring 5.3 points occurred in the Republic of Yakutia (Sakha) on Tuesday morning, at 06:30 local time.

According to the Yakutsk seismic station, the earth jolts were felt in the city of Tynda. However, there were no negative consequences. The shifts of the Earth's crust occurred at a depth of ten kilometers in a thinly populated area.


Tasmania: Sympathy for the Devil

Tasmanian devil with tumors
© Menna JonesTasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease
Efforts to save the endangered Tasmanian Devil have been boosted by the raising of $13,200 at a charity dinner in New York last week. The money was raised as part of Tourism Tasmania's G'DAY USA 2009 Activities in the United States according to a Tasmanian Government press release.

Speaking from New York, Tasmanian tourism minister Michelle O'Byrne told reporters the money was raised from gifts and the holding of a silent auction. She added the cause for the devils was supported by messages from over 300 high-profile wildlife lovers who attended the event.

Better Earth

Earthquake Felt in Aleutian Islands

An earthquake with a 5.6 magnitude was felt in the middle of Alaska's Aleutian Islands chain.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports no damage to the town of Nikolski, which sits about 927 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The center says the quake struck shortly after 10 a.m.


Volcano: Natural Cause For West Antarctica's Warming?

There might be a possible natural explanation for West Antarctica's warming. In 2008, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey reported a layer of volcanic ash and glass shards frozen within an ice sheet in western Antarctica. The volcano punched a hole right through due to its heat and force.

This geologic event may prove to be the source of the recent warming seen in West Antarctica in what has otherwise been reported as a 50-year cooling trend seen in East Antarctica. This seems to be the first time scientists see a volcano beneath the ice sheet punching a hole through the ice sheet.