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Sat, 24 Jun 2017
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Drought


Sun

South Africa's Cape Town contends with worst drought in over a century

The worst drought in a century is forcing the most stringent water restrictions ever implemented for South Africa's second largest city. Cape Town has less than 10% of its useable water remaining for its nearly 4 million residents.The city is implementing Level 4 water restrictions, which ask residents to limit daily usage to 100 liters (26 gallons) per person.

The measure is meant to reduce demand and conserve what little water is still available, and means significant sacrifices for residents.For Cape Town resident Suzanne Buckley, the restrictions mean adapting to a new lifestyle. "We have buckets in our shower and bathroom sink to save excess water," Buckley said. "The gray water is then used to flush our toilets."

The restrictions are in effect across the city in an aggressive effort to preserve its remaining drinking water, but it may not be enough. South Africa ranks as the 30th driest country in the world and is considered a water-scarce region. A highly variable climate causes uneven distribution of rainfall, making droughts even more extreme.

Speaking to CNN, Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille explained her concerns about the growing water crisis."Climate change is a reality and we cannot depend on rainwater alone to fill our dams, but must look at alternative sources like desalination and underground aquifers."

Eye 1

Saudi Arabia arms sales 'good for industry' says Tory Amber Rudd in UK election debate

© Stefan Rousseau / AFP
Amber Rudd has suggested arms sales to Saudi Arabia are good for British industry.

The Tory Home Secretary said during the live BBC Debate in Cambridge on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia "has the right" to purchase weapons.

Amid questions about the arms deal from both Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, Rudd said: "I will make no apology for being a government that wants to defend this country.

"We will make sure that our defence budget is well-funded and we will do that by having a strong economy and make sure we can do that by having a strong industry."

Sun

Food bills set to rise as drought threatens to wipe out UK crops: Farmers warn lack of rain is hitting barley, wheat and sugar beet


Bone-dry conditions are wiping out crops which could hit shoppers with higher food prices, farmers have warned. Spring crops of barley, wheat and sugar beet are all suffering damage from a lack of water after driest winter in two decades
Bone-dry conditions are wiping out crops which could hit shoppers with higher food prices, farmers have warned.

In the latest stark warning, farmers have said that spring crops of barley, wheat and sugar beet are all suffering damage from a lack of water.

If the dry conditions continue over the coming month, shoppers could be facing higher food bills, according to the National Farmers Union.

Yesterday the Daily Mail revealed more than four fifths of the country's rivers are running drier than their long term average, following the driest winter in the past two decades.

The latest warning comes as:

Arrow Down

The 'March to Silence' - Shots fired at building housing leading climate skeptic scientists

© Image via Google Maps Street View
National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building.
A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy's office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. It doesn't matter that we don't "deny global warming"; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvement in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.

Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday's march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

Maybe the "March For Science" should have been called the "March To Silence".

Campus and city police say they believe the shots were fired from a passing car, based upon the angle of entry into one of the offices. Shell casings were recovered outside. The closest distance a passing car would have been is 70 yards away.

This is a developing story. I have no other details.

Info

7 notable weather events observed across United States this April

© NASA
This photo composite shows the snow water equivalent-- water content of snow -- in the Tuolumne River Basin in 2015 and 2017. White and the lighter blue indicates less snow, while deeper blue represents more snow. NASA reports: "The 2017 snow water equivalent was 21 times greater than 2015, which was the lowest snowpack on record."
Spring can bring interesting weather conditions to the U.S. and this year is no exception, with several impressive records having already been set so far this April.

While not setting records, a few other unusual and notable weather occurrences have caught our eye this month.

1) California's Northern Sierra Nevada Set Record For All-Time Wettest 'Water Year'

On April 13, California's northern Sierra Nevada set a new record for its all-time wettest water year with an accumulated average of 89.7 inches of water. The previous record of 88.5 inches was set during the 1982-83 water year. To put it in perspective, the average water year sees 50 inches of precipitation.


The water year runs from October through September, but most precipitation falls from November through March. By April, the storm track typically shifts reducing the chance for additional precipitation. This year, however, has been different with rain and mountain snow continuing to fall this month, allowing records to topple.

Comment: According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) there have been 5,372 preliminary reports of severe weather across the United States in 2017 (up to April 8), which is more than double the average.

For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the entire planet, check out our monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Info

Indigenous peoples around the world tell myths which contain warning signs for natural disasters - Scientists are now listening

© Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket/Getty
Native knowledge - A Moken woman stares out to sea.
Shortly before 8am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay. The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the 'wave that eats people', had stirred from his ocean lair. The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure. To heed the Laboon's warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground.

The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Final totals put the islands' death toll at 1,879, with another 5,600 people missing. When relief workers finally came ashore, however, they realised that the death toll was skewed. The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands. Part of the reason was the area's geography, which generated a higher wave. But also at the root was the lack of a legacy; many residents in the city of Port Blair were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.

Humanity has always courted disaster. We have lived, died and even thrived alongside vengeful volcanoes and merciless waves. Some disasters arrive without warning, leaving survival to luck. Often, however, there is a small window of time giving people a chance to escape. Learning how to crack open this window can be difficult when a given catastrophe strikes once every few generations. So humans passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. These stories were fodder for anthropologists and social scientists, but in the past decade, geologists have begun to pay more attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could ultimately help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.

Anyone who has spent time around small children gets used to the question 'why?' Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why does thunder make such a loud noise? A friend's mother told us that thunder was God going bowling in the sky. Nature need not be scary and unpredictable, even if it was controlled by forces we could neither see nor understand.

The human penchant for stories and meaning is nothing new. Myths and legends provide entertainment, but they also transmit knowledge of how to behave and how the world works. Breaking the code of these stories, however, takes skill. Tales of gods gone bowling during summer downpours seems nonsensical on the surface, but know a little about the sudden thunderclaps and the clatter of bowling pins as they're struck by a ball, and the story makes sense.

Arrow Up

Severe weather reports in U.S. tally 5,000+ so far this year; more than double the average

© YouTube/the Weather Channel (screen capture)
Weather Disasters Costing U.S. Billions. The first three months of 2017 have proven to be very costly, after a series of weather disasters ranging from tornadoes to floods to crop-killing freezes.
The U.S. has endured a destructive start to 2017 from the multiple severe weather outbreaks since January.

There have been 5,372 preliminary reports of severe weather across the United States in 2017 through April 8, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). That figure includes reports of tornadoes, large hail and wind damage.

This is more than than double the average of 2,274 for the same period of time during the past 10 years (2007-2016). In that decade, only 2008 had about the same number of severe weather reports by this point in the year with 5,242.

The animation below shows how the occurrences of wind damage, large hail and tornadoes have piled up month-by-month this year. Portions of the South have been hit the hardest, but the Midwest has also seen a high concentration of severe weather reports.

Comment: For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the entire planet, check out our monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Fireball

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Planetary environmental chaos continued unabated this month. Several spectacular fireballs were seen from one end of the world to the other. Wildfires ravaged several mid-West states while unusually strong winds hit Illinois and New York. Madagascar got slammed by a ferocious storm as did Brazil, New Zealand and France.

Severe flooding hit several parts of the globe, but the worst affected was Peru where dozens of people died and hundreds of thousands have been left with no homes. With freak tidal waves from Iran to South Africa, strange 'gas' explosions in the UK and methane gas leaks in Russia, not to mention snow off the coast of Africa and lightning scoring direct strikes on cars, March was a pretty intense month for the planet and its inhabitants.

Arrow Down

Drought fake news update - It's all about money and power

A few months ago, the fake news New York Times and fake governor Jerry Brown announced the California Permanent Drought.
California is having their second wettest year on record, and precipitation has increased slightly over the last 120 years.


Sun

Hundreds of hippos dying from sunburn amid drought in Kenya


An urgent rescue operation has been launched to save hundreds of hippos trapped in dried-up mud baths due to a crippling drought in Lamu, Kenya
An urgent rescue operation has been launched to save hundreds of hippos trapped in dried-up mud baths due to a crippling drought.

Shocking photos show the Mkunumbi and Lake Kenyatta hippos suffering sunburn after getting stuck in former watering holes under the blistering sun in Lamu, Kenya.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has been frantically ferrying water to lakes, dams and rivers to avoid any more deaths - after more than 30 hippos perished in the mud.

The charity Care for the Wild Kenya released horrifying pictures of the suffering mammals to highlight the need for action.

They told of the urgent need for water pumps, diesel and labour to get water pumping to rescue the trapped hippos.

'This is an appeal with regard to the Mkunumbi and Lake Kenyatta hippos in Lamu,' the charity wrote on Facebook.