Earth ChangesS


Ladybug

US: Colorado wages battle with bark beetles

As sunset softens the vast Colorado sky into warm shades of pink and blue, the sound of chainsaws jars the stillness of this remote and rugged wilderness.

A forest service team works quickly, felling dozens of dead or dying lodgepole pines, the majestic trees that have towered over this region for generations. They are locked in a race against the mountain bark beetle, a tiny insect the size of a rice kernel, which is devouring unprecedented swathes of woodland across the US and Canadian north-west.

"It has reached a level where we cannot do anything to stop the bark beetle," said Clint Kyhl, a bark beetle incident commander for the US Forest Service. "So now our main focus is mitigating the impact of all these dead and dying trees."

Bizarro Earth

US: Wells in New England tested for uranium

The U.S. Geological Survey has begun a survey of private wells in New England to determine how many contain dangerous levels of uranium.

John Colman is leading the investigation, working with the Massachusetts departments of public health and environmental protection, The Boston Globe reported Friday. Next week, 1,600 residents of three counties in eastern Massachusetts will get letters with two plastic bottles asking for samples of their water.

Life Preserver

Australia: Queensland cyclone upgraded to category five

Tropical Cyclone Hamish has intensified off the coast of Queensland and is now a category five storm. It is bringing destructive winds, rising sea levels and large waves to the Whitsundays.

SkyNews correspondent Meecham Philpott says winds have exceeded 280 kilometres an hour in some places. But he says the good news is the eye of the storm is not expected to go through the Whitsundays.

Bizarro Earth

India: Mysterious disease affects potato cultivation in West Bengal

Potato cultivators in Hooghly district of West Bengal are facing a crisis with the outbreak of a mysterious disease.

Farmers in Singur, which had caught the global limelight over agricultural land acquisition for the Tatas proposed Nano factory, are worrying about their uncertain future.

The farmers are very nervous. If the crops are good, they find surplus production on hand with no avenues for marketing. If the crops are poor, they do not have any other alternative to sustain their livelihoods.

Question

US: Mysterious Hole Appears in Laurens, Baffles Homeowner

Every evening when Donnie Graham arrives home from work, he hops on his golf cart and makes his way to his horse pasture.

However, last Wednesday, Graham stopped dead in his tracks.

"I looked over there and wondered 'what IS that?' " said the Turkey Creek Circle resident. "I could tell it was a hole, but I didn't realize until I got right up on it just how big it was."

There, only a few yards from the fence containing his horses, was a hole in the ground. Yet, the word "hole" doesn't adequately describe what Graham saw.

"It is maybe 10 to 12 feet wide," said Graham, "and easily 40 to 45 feet deep. All I know is it wasn't here yesterday!"

Bizarro Earth

2.5 Earthquake Jolts Landhi, Korangi

Low intensity earthquake jolted areas of Karachi including Landhi and Korangi on early Saturday, Geo News reported.

The magnitude was recorded at 2.5 on Richter scale while its epic center lies between Karachi and Thatta, said metrological office.

Tremors sparked panic among people as they came out of their homes being terrified but no loss of life or property was confirmed according to preliminary reports, sources said.

Bizarro Earth

2.3 Earthquake Rattles Al-Baidha'a, Yemen

A small earthquake rattled the Thi Naem district of the province of al-Baidha'a on Friday, the Security Media Center reported.

People in the district felt the magnitude 2.3 quake but there was no damage at all and there were no immediate reports of casualties and injuries.

The district police contacted the National Center of Seismic Monitoring which monitored the quake which left no repercussions.

Bizarro Earth

4.3 Earthquake Hits Southeastern Iran

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale jolted the town of Zarand in Kerman province, southeastern Iran, on Saturday.

The Seismological center of Kerman province affiliated to the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake at 10:17 hours local time (0647 GMT).

The epicenter of the quake was located in an area 56.75 degrees in longitude and 30.90 degrees in latitude.

There are yet no reports on the number of possible casualties or damage to properties by the quake.

Iran is criss-crossed with fault lines and is regularly hit by earthquakes, experiencing at least one slight tremor every day on average.

The worst in recent times hit Bam in southeastern Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people - about a quarter of its population - and destroying the city's ancient mud-built citadel.

Better Earth

Lake Superior frozen over in cold winter

Lake Superior frozen
© NOAADue to the recent cold spell and below normal temperatures for much of the winter of 2008-2009, ice covers nearly all of Lake Superior. Only small areas of open water remain. This image was taken on Tuesday, March 3rd.

Hancock - There hasn't been much snowfall in the Houghton/Hancock area recently, and according to Steve Fleegel, that's due in large part to the condition of Lake Superior.

"It's pretty much frozen over," said Fleegel, who is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township. "There's a few little breaks here and there."

Because the lake is frozen, Fleegel said when cold air passes over it, lake effect snow isn't created as when the relatively warmer water is open.

Despite the colder-than-normal December and January, Fleegel said there was an area of open water east of Marquette. After the colder-than-normal temperatures in the last week of February and so far in March, that area finally froze over.

"(December and January) kind of set the stage," Fleegel said.

Comment: Three of the Great Lakes are frozen over. While this happens once or twice a decade it is still shows the strength of this current winter's severe cold.

Graphics of the Great Lakes ice coverage can be seen here:

West Composite March 05, 2009

East Composite March 05, 2009


Attention

US: Blizzard Coming Early Next Week

The eastern half of the country is experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, and there will not be any snow the next 24-36 hours east of the Mississippi River. The exception is northern New England where there can be just a few snow showers Friday night.

Storm forecast March midwest US
© AccuWeatherThe big ticket items early next week will be a powerful winter storm over the Central states and all the bitter cold air coming down on the western side of that disturbance. It will be a wild scene for sure. And let's not forget the potential for a large outbreak of severe thunderstorms through the Mississippi River Valley.