Friday, October 7, 2011

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Staggering Arctic Map Shows The Once Impassable Northwest Passage, Opening Up As Ice Caps Melt!

The following image shows the staggering cracks in the ice, that appeared across the Arctic. Large enough for ships to sail through.

The near-record summer ice melt in the region has seen shipping channels of the Northwest Passage carved open. And scientific climate predictions have suggested that the Arctic could lose almost all of its summer ice cover by 2100 - forcing polar bears to swim more than they walk. On September 9 the ice covering reached its lowest point this year with 1.67million square miles of snow and ice - down by 110,000sq miles on the average for September. Joey Comiso, senior scientist at Nasa, said the continued thawing fits into the large-scale decline that scientists have watched unfold over the past three decades.

He said: ‘The sea ice is not only declining, the pace of the decline is becoming more drastic. ‘The older, thicker ice is declining faster than the rest, making for a more vulnerable perennial ice cover.’ Scientist Walt Meier explained: ‘Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were not as conducive to ice loss this year, but the melt still neared 2007 levels, which were the worst on record. ‘This probably reflects loss of multi-year ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas as well as other factors that are making the ice more vulnerable.’ The Northwest Passage connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and snakes through dozens of islands on the far north coast of North America known as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. - Daily Mail.

EXTREME WEATHER: La Nina Pattern - AccuWeather Forecasts That Winter 2011-2012 Will Be Brutally Cold & Snowy for American States!

"People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter."

The Long-Range Forecasting Team is predicting another brutally cold and snowy winter for a large part of the country, thanks in large part to La Niña... yet again.

La Niña, a phenomenon that occurs when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific are below normal, is what made last year's winter so awful for the Midwest and Northeast. Monster blizzards virtually shut down the cities of New York and Chicago. Last winter was one of New York City's snowiest on record. La Niñas often produce a volatile weather pattern for the Midwest and Northeast during winter due to the influence they have on the jet stream. The graphic below shows the position the jet stream typically takes over the U.S. during La Niña.

The way the jet stream is expected to be positioned during this winter's La Niña will tend to drive storms through the Midwest and Great Lakes. Last year, the jet stream steered storms farther east along the Northeast coast, hammering the Interstate 95 corridor. Therefore, instead of New York City enduring the worst of winter this year, it will likely be Chicago. "The brunt of the winter season, especially when dealing with cold, will be over the north-central U.S.," stated Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the Long-Range Forecasting Team. Chicago, which endured a monster blizzard last winter, could be one of the hardest-hit cities in terms of both snow and cold in the winter ahead. Long-Range Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg even went so far as to say, "People in Chicago are going to want to move after this winter."

While winter's worst may not be focused over the major cities of the Northeast this year, the region will not get by unscathed. Pastelok warns there could be a few significant snow and ice storms that could pack a punch. Ice events could also be a problem for areas farther south from the southern Plains to the southern Appalachians this season, while a significant severe weather threat develops in the Lower Mississippi Valley in February. This threat is extremely concerning for the areas in Mississippi and Alabama that were devastated by tornadoes in the spring. The West is expected to be split between mild and dry conditions in the Southwest and highly-variable, frequently-changing weather elsewhere. Chances that Texas pulls out of its epic drought this winter are extremely slim with below-normal precipitation predicted for a large portion of the state. - AccuWeather.

EARTH CHANGES: Nebraska Wildfire Destroys 20,000 Acres of Land!

Weary Nebraska firefighters battled wind-swept grass fires that devoured more than 20,000 acres of farmland and caused millions of dollars in estimated crop and property damage.

At least one home was destroyed near the central Nebraska town of Stapleton, a farm-and-ranch community about 30 miles north of North Platte. Authorities said one landowner was hospitalized in North Platte for smoke inhalation and flown to a hospital in Lincoln for further treatment. Fire Chief Frank Kramer said more than 50 departments helped fight the blaze, with some traveling from more than two hours away. He said area departments have contained much of the blaze, but firefighters remain concerned it may flare again because of dry conditions and gusting winds.

Kramer said it's too early to know an exact dollar figure, but the fire hit as local farmers were harvesting and storing crops for winter. "That's what we're focusing on now — protecting structures and trying to hold the fire line," Kramer said. "This is going to be a million-plus dollar deal." Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency for Stapleton and surrounding Logan County to help local responders. State emergency officials said early damage estimates had reached $4 million.

At least 12 pivot irrigation systems were damaged in the fire, and four homes sustained varying levels of damage, said Al Berndt, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. Berndt said air operations dropped 14 loads of water on the fire — about 3,000 gallons total — before high winds forced them to stop. Kramer said the fire has scorched between 20,000 and 23,000 acres. Local pilots dumped water on the blaze from crop-duster planes, but had to stop by Wednesday afternoon because of the wind.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.1 Quake Hits South of Kermadec Islands!

Map of the earthquake's epicentre.
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake has struck South of the Kermadec Islands at a depth of 34.6 km (21.5 miles). The quake hit at 08:58:29 UTC Friday 7th October 2011 and was located at 32.389°S, 178.902°W. The earthquake was originally listed by U.S. Geological Service (USGS) as a magnitude 6.5.

Kermadec Islands earthquake seismicity.
The epicentre was 106 km ( 65 miles) south of L'Esperance Rock, Kermadec Islands; 359 km (223 miles) southwest of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands; 762 km (473 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand; and 1136 km (705 miles) northeast of Wellington, New Zealand.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

This is the second magnitude 6.0 or over earthquake since the start of October, following the 6.2 tremor that struck Jujuy in Argentina yesterday.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: 2 Weeks of Autumn Snowfall Hits Russia in 1 Day - Authorities Turn Heating on Early for the First Time in History!

Wintry weather has caught a number of large cities off guard in Russia's Far East and southern Siberia.

Cars are stuck in a traffic jam during heavy snowfall.
In the Chita and Magadan regions, heavy snow and strong winds paralyzed road traffic and left entire districts without electricity. Municipal services today managed to clear the Kolyma motorway connecting the Magadan region with the Republic of Yakutiya, but several large roads remain closed due to poor visibility. Some schools have been closed, while several small villages have been cut off from the rest of the region because of poor visibility on the roads.

The heavy snowfall has also disrupted the largest regional airports. Meteorologists say the last two days have seen enough snow for two weeks. The weather in the Russian capital got so cold that Moscow authorities - for the first time in history - decided to turn heaters on in before the temperatures dropped below eight degrees Celsius, like it always was. This year's winter is expected to be cold and long. Russia's utility service says it is ready to withstand all the weather caprices the country's citizens are going to face. Meanwhile, meteorologists are predicting a few more days of Indian summer in October. They say temperatures could reach 20 degrees Celsius next week.
- Russia Today.
WATCH: Heavy snowfall hits Russia.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: U.S. Gov't Probes Mysterious Seal Deaths?!

Federal officials have joined an investigation into the mysterious deaths of young harbor seals on beaches across three New England states as the number of dead seals rose to 49.

Seals began washing up on the beaches of northern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and southern Maine last week, said Maggie Mooney-Seus, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office in Gloucester, Massachusetts. "Some of them have been decomposed," she told Reuters on Wednesday. "We're hoping we're not going to see a lot more. We don't know at this point what's caused it." The densest cluster of seal deaths has been along New Hampshire's 18-mile (30-km) coast, where 17 seal carcasses have been recovered since Friday, said Tony Lacasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium in Boston.

The aquarium has conducted autopsies on three of the least-decomposed seals and found that they all had an adequate layer of blubber to survive. That suggests the young seals did not die because of a failure to develop hunting skills, which causes the natural deaths of about 30 percent of harbor seals after they are weaned from their mother, Lecasse said. "The results were a little surprising to us," Lecasse said. "We're doing tissue sampling and have sent those out to labs across the country." Results are expected next week, and could indicate whether seals died because of disease, toxins or another cause, he said. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine are home to large populations of harbor seals, which occasionally draw great white sharks and other predators to their breeding grounds. - Reuters.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: EXTREME WEATHER - The Australian Gov't Wants Farmers To Cut Water Usage Due To The Severe Climate!

"The ecology is pretty wrecked compared to what it used to be - there's not much life. The fishing industry is all but gone."

"They have just, I don't know, gone off their rockers haven't they?”

Over the last year or so, I have been documenting the rampant Earth changes and weather anomalies in Australia, and now it seems that the effects from these climatic extremes are forcing governmental officials to execute drastic measures for the survival of the people and their livestock.

The Murray-Darling Basin, in south-east Australia, is the country's breadbasket. But following more than a decade of drought, the government wants farmers there to cut their water usage drastically - proposals that have provoked a furious reaction. Australian farmer John Ward says he has one thing on his mind as he drives around parts of New South Wales these days. Like many other farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin, Mr Ward is worried there won't be enough to continue farming when his children get older. "I introduce myself from time to time as John Ward, New South Wales Farmers' Association spokesman, and parent of children that need employment", he says. Australia's recent 12-year drought, which finally ended last year, hit rural communities hard. Now the Australian government wants farmers, like Ward, to cut their water consumption by 30-40% to conserve the region's water resources. "We're talking about the heart and lungs of our nation," says Mike Neville, the Mayor of Griffith - a local farming community producing wheat, vegetables, and wine. "You can't take the heart and lungs out of a person and expect them to survive," he says.

The Murray-Darling Basin became Australia's major food-growing region through intensive management of its rivers. In the 1920s, the government began building large-scale dams and diverted watercourses to provide irrigation. Local farmers say those engineering projects performed miracles, turning the largely parched nation of Australia into a food exporter. "Why would we want to limit the production capacity of an area like this? It just doesn't make sense," says Neville. The proposed cuts to water usage, he says, will destroy farm communities at the whim of politicians and city-dwellers. But others disagree, saying limits are needed to secure the region's future. "The Darling river is running dry," says Richard Eckard, director of the Climate Challenges Centre at the University of Melbourne. "You can't extract that volume of water and have anything downstream," he says. "The ecology is pretty wrecked compared to what it used to be - there's not much life. The fishing industry is all but gone."

The Australian government says it must take urgent measures to re-balance the distribution of water among farms, cities, and the environment. For some, the government's proposals don't go far enough. Tim Stubbs is a member of Australia's Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. "I'm an engineer, so I see the river as a functional machine," he says, "and just like, say, your body, we need a certain amount in the river so it can be healthy, so we can continue to use it for irrigation in the long-term. At the moment, we're using it in a way that will mean it won't be useful for irrigation at all in the not-too-distant future." - BBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: Worst Drought in a Decade in Afghanistan!

Afghanistan is appealing for $142m (£92m) to feed 2.6 million people this winter as it faces the worst drought for a decade.

The agriculture minister described the situation as extremely serious, with 14 provinces - about half the country - in the north and east hit by drought. Many farmers have sold their livestock and will now depend on food aid to keep alive during winter. The World Food Programme has issued an urgent appeal for assistance. Agriculture Minister Mohammed Asif Rahimi said that Afghanistan had not been able to develop the systems necessary to deal with shocks like this on its own. "Lower harvests due to drought, and rising food prices world-wide, have created an emergency for Afghans in the north," he said, adding that food support would be needed for the next six months.

An extra 2.6 million hungry people would bring Afghanistan's total to nearly 10 million. The World Food Programme says it is already facing a shortfall in food aid as an earlier appeal was not answered in full. Farmers in villages in the northeast told the BBC's international development correspondent David Loyn that it was worse than 2001 - the last very dry year. In many areas wells have dried up, and people will have to move off their land to survive. The Taliban and other insurgents have been making strong gains in recent years in the drought-affected areas, particularly in the north-east, which is likely to affect the delivery of food supplies to those who need them, our correspondent says. Mr Rahimi listed the drought-hit provinces as Balkh, Samangan, Takhar, Saripul, Herat, Badghis, Faryab, Jowzjan, Baghlan, Kunduz, Badakshan, Bamiyan, Daikundi and Ghor. - BBC.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: 15 Horses at Kooralbyn in Australia!

Fifteen horses have now died at a property at Kooralbyn, in the Gold Coast hinterland, Australia - and authorities don't yet know why.

The devastated owner of the horses, Steve Hogno, and the large Beaudesert equine community were anxiously awaiting word from Biosecurity Queensland about the possible cause of the mass death. An emotional Mr Hogno said he only moved 25 quarter-horses to the Kooralbyn property 10 days ago from Oakey near his Toowoomba home. They were to be part of a planned multimillion dollar sprint racing facility in the Kooralbyn area. Mr Hogno made an urgent dash from Western Australia, where he is working in the mines, when he heard about the first horse deaths yesterday afternoon. "I left straight away when I heard the news and got here at 5.30 this morning," he said.

Five horses have died and another three are seriously ill in a paddock near Beaudesert. "It's very sad - my partner and I have breed them and cherish them. "They have a few ticks on them but I don't think, and the vets agree, that it's enough to do the damage that's been done." Kooralbyn resident and horse owner Doug Wilson said he and wife Lisa watched helplessly yesterday morning as some of the horses died in apparent agony. "It's just distressing to watch a beautiful horse die in front of you - choke to death - and there's nothing you can do," he said. "They were thrashing around and not in a good way."

Mr Wilson said several locals risked their safety to comfort the stricken animals, ignoring the threat of Hendra virus. He said while it was a relief Hendra had been ruled out, "let's hope there hasn't been an intentional poisoning or something stupid like that". One of the surviving horses appeared to collapse when it was moved into a temporary holding yard this afternoon. Mr Hogno said Biosecurity Queensland had ruled out Hendra virus as a cause but the deaths of the horses remained a mystery. "The Hendra tests have come back clear which still leaves it as a mystery, but at least it will put the local community's mind at rest that there's no Hendra in the area," he said. Mr Hogno said post-mortems would be carried out on some of the dead horses to try to solve the mystery.
- News Australia.
WATCH: Horse deaths at Kooralbyn.