Monday, January 2, 2012

SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE: Farside Eruption on the Sun - Magnetic Filaments Snaking Over the Horizon Towards the Earthside of the Solar Disk!

As Sunspot 1389 decays, posing a declining threat for M-class solar flares, a new development is occurring on the farside of the sun.

FARSIDE ERUPTION: Departing sunspot AR1384, currently located just behind the sun's western limb, erupted today around 14:45 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the debris flying over the edge of the solar disk. The eruption appears to be connected to magnetic filaments snaking over the horizon to the Earthside of the sun. Will this event affect our planet? Probably not. It is located too far from disk center. Stay tuned, however, to see what kind of CME the blast produced. - Space Weather.   
WESTERN LIMB EXPLOSION: A large explosion on the western limb was captured today and a CME will almost certainly be associated with this event. It registered as a long duration C2.4 flare, however because of the location of this blast, it will not be Earth directed. Watch the nice movie below. UPDATE: This event produced a full halo CME, however it is directed to the west and not towards Earth. STEREO Ahead captured the cloud and a movie is now shown below. - Solar Ham.
WATCH: Western Limb Explosion. 

WATCH: Full Halo CME.

WATCH: SOLAR ACTIVITY UPDATE - C2.4-Class Flare/Farside Eruption/CME.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Landslide Rips Through Trondheim, Norway - Over Half-A-Kilometer of Farmland, Forcing Mass Evacuations and Widespread Loss of Power!

More than 50 persons were evacuated from their homes when a large landslide ripped through a rural area outside Trondheim on Sunday. It was a brutal start to the New Year, following a string of storms that also forced evacuations in western Norway earlier in the week.

Geologists said it was too early to determine exactly what caused the landslide at Byneset in Trøndelag, which extended over around half-a-kilometer of farmland. One geologist told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the ground in the area was characterized by unstable clay and that the stormy weather of the past week may have contributed to the landslide.

Catastrophe alarm.

It set off full catastrophe alarms Sunday morning but by the end of the day, no homes had been destroyed and no lives lost. The evacuations were made because of the unstable groundmass.

"We're not at all certain that the slide is over," Kari Øvrelid of the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) told NRK. "We need to keep monitoring this."

She said the danger of more landslides had been reduced, but 22 persons remained under evacuation orders Sunday night. Police, civil defense personnel, geologists and local government officials were using special equipment to monitor ground movement in the darkness. There were also concerns that the huge volumes of earth would clog local creeks and set off flooding.

Many still lack power.

The latest emergency outside Trondheim followed a week of severe storm damage that climaxed with the hurricane known as Dagmar that swept through western and north-central Norway and also hit Trondheim hard. Farther to the west, in Stryn, some families remained without power or telephone connections for the seventh day in a row.

"This is really like being back in the good old days," Anne Sølvi Sande Hoem told NRK. She and her three children haven't had electricity since Christmas Day, but she considers herself lucky. The house next door in Lodalen was all but destroyed in the hurricane.

Sande Hoem said the long-term power outage created practical challenges, not least with three small children in the house. "Things you take for granted, like washing clothes in the washing machine or having an internet connection, suddenly disappear," she said. A generator has helped save food in the freezer and refrigerator, and wood-burning stoves are keeping the house warm. As in most Norwegian homes at this time of year, they also had lots of candles on hand.

More storms coming.

Stryn Energi was hoping to restore power in the area by Tuesday. Justice Minister Grete Faremo, in charge of emergency response in Norway, toured the hardest hit areas last week and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg planned a visit early this week, with state aid on the way.

Around 600 homes in western Norway (Vestlandet) also remained without land-based telephone service because of storm damage. Mobile phone service also remained disrupted in the counties of Sogn og Fjordane, Møre og Romsdal, and Sør-Trøndelag because of storm damage to as many as 20 base stations.

Meanwhile, officials were bracing for even more severe weather this week. New storms that hit on Thursday and Friday halted ferry traffic once again along with the long-distance service between Norway and Denmark. Waves were estimated at nine-meters high off the coast of Rogaland. Storm damage was estimated at half-a-billion kroner (USD 85 million) by Friday. - NIE.
WATCH: Dozens evacuated after massive landslide in Trondheim, Norway.

2011 REVIEW: Record-Breaking Year For Natural Disasters - 2 Hours Visual Presentation of Monumental Earth Changes!

From tsunamis to tornadoes, from droughts to floods, from earthquakes to volcanoes, 2011 was a particularly nasty year for natural disasters. While some parts of the globe were flooded by water, other parts were in dire need. Across the Horn of Africa, twelve million people were affected by the severe drought, which still grips the region, while many parts of the world were swept away by heavy downpour. As the year is coming to an end, the weather struck once more. Tropical Storm Washi hit the Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people. And with the La Nina conditions still present, 2012 is promising to start just where 2011 left off.

Here's a look back at the top five natural disasters that rocked the world in 2011 and the cost as tabulated by the World Bank.

1. Japan: Earthquake and tsunami. Cost: $235 billion.

So far, 8,649 people have been confirmed dead and another 13,262 are missing since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast near Sendai, Japan, on March 11, 2011. The degree of damage caused by the earthquake and resulting tsunami was enormous. Videos show that almost no parts of any structures were left standing in the worst affected areas. Failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant intensified the situation, resulting in evacuation of about 200,000 people residing around the plant. The World Bank on March 21 said that damage might reach $235 billion, while Japan’s government had a higher estimate of $309 billion. The damage estimate could go even higher as it does not include losses in economic activity from planned power outages or the broader impact of the nuclear crisis, making the disaster world’s most expensive on record.

2. Rio de Janeiro: floods and mudslides. Cost: $1.2 billion.

A series of floods and mudslides took place in January 2011 in several towns of the Mountainous Region (RegiãoSerrana), in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Casualties occurred in the cities of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis, Petrópolis, Sumidouro and São José do Vale do Rio Preto. The floods caused at least 903 deaths. While local media claims that the combination of floods, mudslides and landslides in Rio de Janeiro became the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian history, some contend that a similar weather-related tragedy that took place in the same state in 1967 was much deadlier, and that an estimated 1,700 people lost their lives on the occasion.

3. Chile: Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption. Cost: disruptions to airlines at $21 million for Qantas and $11 million for Virgin Australia.

The 2011 Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption is a volcanic eruption that began in the Puyehue-CordónCaulle volcanic complex in Chile on June 4, 2011.The eruption from the Cordon Caullefissure.At least 3,500 people were evacuated from nearby areas,while the ash cloud was blown across cities all around the Southern hemisphere, including Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Stanley, Porto Alegre, Cape Town, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of international and domestic flights and causing travel chaos. By 18 June the ash cloud had completed its first circle of the globe. An estimated one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice were ejected – requiring power equivalent to 70 atomic bombs.

4. Texas: Wildfires. The 2011 Texas wildfires are an on-going series of destructive wildfires in Texas, United States that have occurred in the 2011 fire season.

Statistics on the fires have been recorded since the current fire season began November 15, 2010.From the beginning of the fire season to October 31, around 27,976 fires had burned 3,959,040 acres (about double the previous record), 2,862 homes,1,939 of which were destroyed over the Labor Day weekend, and over 2,700 other structures.47.3% of all acreage burned in the United States in 2011 was burned in Texas. The fires have been particularly severe due to the on-going 2011 Southern US drought covering the state, and exacerbating the problem is rapid desertification, the unusual convergence of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and low humidity.

5. World wide: Tornadoes. Cost: Damages (USA) $20-25 billion (Estimate as of July 1).

Extremely destructive tornadoes form most frequently in the U.S., Bangladesh and Eastern India, but they can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Tornadoes also appear regularly in neighbouring southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season, and somewhat regularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.As of December 9 2011, there have been 1,836 tornadoes reported in the US in 2011. This has been an exceptionally destructive and deadly year for tornadoes; worldwide, at least 576 people perished due to tornadoes. Time span: January 2011 – ongoing.

Maximum rated tornado: EF5 tornado Philadelphia; Mississippi on April 27; Hackle burg, Alabama on April 27; Smithville, Mississippi on April 27; Rainsville, Alabama on April 27; Joplin, Missouri on May 22; Piedmont, Oklahoma on May 24

Fatalities (USA): 552 fatalities (5,370 injuries) (Worldwide): 576

WATCH: Natural Disasters of 2011.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Earthquake Swarm Rattles Christchurch, New Zealand - 48 Tremors in Less Than 24 Hours!

Christchurch's sunny summer evening has been disturbed by a magnitude-4.8 quake hitting just before 7pm.

Residents try to free a car stuck in a liquefaction sink hole in
Christchurch after a series of quakes hit the city a week ago.
According to Quake Live, the 15km-deep aftershock is the 48th of a nasty swarm of earthquakes to rock the city today. Power was restored this morning for about 10,000 Christchurch homes that lost electricity in an earlier 5.5 quake - one of the dozens to hit the city today. The largest quake - 5.5 - struck 5.45am and was centred 20km north east of Lyttelton at a depth of 15km and followed just five minutes later by a 4.2 and then two 4.1s at 5.54am and 6.06am, a 3.9 at 6.49am, a 3.8 at 7.33am, a 4.1 at 9.01am, a 3.7 at 10.04am and another 3.7 at 10.18am.

Since midday there has been a magnitude 3.3, at 1.49 pm, with a depth of 11 km, and a 3.9 which was 15 km deep. Both were centred 20 km east of the city. The 5.5 shake took out power to thousands of Christchurch homes in the Shirley, Dallington, Burwood, Spencerville and Richmond areas. Power distribution company Orion said the tremor caused a transformer at its Dallington substation to trip. Teams had worked to restore power to the affected area as quickly as possible, while Transpower also checked equipment at its Bromley substation. Power was restored to the affected areas before 8am.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton said that despite the loss of power there did not seem to be any significant further damage. Everyone just wanted a good night's sleep, he said. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said he had not received reports of any significant liquefaction from the shakes overnight. He said he had heard that because several of the latest quakes were offshore, some people were concerned about the possibility of a tsunami. "I'd like to reassure them that this is highly unlikely. The advice we have received from GNS is that the faults offshore are short in length and not likely to generate a significant tsunami," Parker said. "The sea inundation to land is low risk, probably not more than a storm surge."

In Christchurch the quakes were mainly felt as a strong rolling motion, rather than the short, sharp jolts that tended to do more damage. Residents needed to remind themselves they should expect more aftershocks, following the 5.5 magnitude shake. "So just prepare yourself for one of those shaky Canterbury days." Quakelive has ranked the 5.5 at 5.45am as the 11th largest shake to hit the city. The city was initially shaken awake today at 1.27am with a 5.1 magnitude quake, again centred 20km north of Lyttelton. Just four minutes later there was a 4.3 at a depth of 12km and then a 3.5 at 2.20am and a 3.8 at 5.03am. These were all 20km north-east of Christchurch and at depths of 12km, 20km and 8km respectively.

One Twitter user described the 5.1 event as ''like a violent train going through''. Other Twitter comments included: "Restless night. These are some serious earthquakes." "Not laying in bed listening to the birds, laying bed listening to the aftershocks." "Found myself outside after that one. Don't remember why I ran." "I can't stopshaking now so I can't tell if the earth's moving or it's just me. Got teens out of bed and under a table - so it must have been big!" There were no immediate reports of further damage or liquefaction, but one Twitter user reported they had lost power. This morning's shakes followed a magnitude 4 aftershock at 10.05pm yesterday and a 3.5 shake at 7.38pm. - Stuff.

MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - The Latest UFO Sightings And Aerial Anomalies Around the World?! UPDATE: Massive Triangular-Shaped UFO Headed For Earth Seen on NASA's STEREO Images?!

Here are several of the latest unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen recently across the globe.

Triangular-shaped object seen on video images taken from NASA's STEREO space observatories, seemingly headed towards the Earth.

WATCH: Massive triangle UFO on NASA's STEREO images.

See original images HERE.

A fast-moving unknown bright light was seen flying over Taipei in Taiwan. The videos were recorded on New Year's Eve, Sunday, the 1st of January, 2012.

WATCH: Unknown object descends over Taiwan.

This footage of strange activity in the sky was recorded in Paita, Peru on Thursday, the 29th of December, 2011.

WATCH: UFO over Peru.

Strange bright glowing orbs were recorded over Krylatskoye in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, the 28th of December, 2011.

WATCH: UFO phenomenon Russia.

Unidentified flying objects were recorded in Cooloongup in Australia on Thursday, the 29th of December, 2011.

WATCH: UFO activity over Australia.

Strange triangle-shaped craft was seen and recorded in the night sky above Moscow in Russia, on Thursday, the 29th of December, 2011.

WATCH: Triangle UFO over Moscow.

Video compilation of UFOs recorded in the skies above New York in December 2011.

WATCH: UFO sightings over New York.

Bright unknown object flying in the sky above North Hollywood in California. This was recorded on Wednesday, the 28th of December, 2011.

WATCH: Daytime UFO activity over California.

UFO captured on film during an airshow in Lethbridge, Alberta in Canada. The recording was done, prior to the crash of the plane. This video is from 2010.

WATCH: UFO during Alberta airshow.

Glowing object was seen dancing in the night skies over Barcelona, Spain. This was recorded on December 20th, 2011.

WATCH: UFO over Spain.

Five UFOs in the city of Omsk in Russia, during New Year's Eve celebrations.

WATCH: UFOs over Omsk.

Strange UFO shape over Madeira Island, captured on film on the 31st of December, 2011.
Eye-witness: Me and my friends saw an UFO yesterday (31-12-2011) but unfortunately we didn't have any type of video recorder at the time. But today we came across the same flying object while driving and this time we had a camera. Its shape and size invalidates any logical assumption of already known existing flying objects made by humans. It was travelling relatively fast, taking different directions, and the first time we saw it, it fell into the sea.
WATCH: UFO over Madeira Island.

A wildly pulsating UFO over Penn Township, Jeannette, Pennsylvania - right near the Murrysville border (22 miles east of Pittsburgh).

WATCH: Strange UFO activity in Pennsylvania.

Here are some UFO videos recorded on Saturday, the 31st of December, 2011 and Sunday, the 1st of January, 2012.

WATCH: New Year's Eve 2012 UFO sightings.

Bangkok, Thailand.

Baltimore, Maryland, America.

EXTREME WEATHER: Victoria, South Australia Face Fire Warning as Temperatures Soar - Over 100 Bushfires Across Victoria, No Relief as South Braces For More Severe Heat!

Southwestern parts of the Australian state of Victoria face an extreme risk of bush and grassfires today as temperatures surge as high as 43 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Emergency services are being kept busy in Victoria and South Australia as temperatures remain high through the night, putting fire crews on high alert in parts of both states. There have been about 100 small fires across Victoria today, as residents sweltered in temperatures as high as 43 degrees in some parts, including at Warrnambool and Port Fairy. And in South Australia it is the second day temperatures have been in the low 40s. High winds have also sparked fire threats on the state's south coast. Paramedics have treated more than 35 people who collapsed in the Melbourne heat today; 13 people were seriously affected.

Emergency services were also forced to rescue children locked in two hot vehicles on the Mornington Peninsula. Weather bureau spokesman James Taylor says the temperature in Melbourne is likely to stay around the mid to late 30s until as late as midnight, but relief is on the way. "We do have a south-westerly change forecast to move through later tonight," he said. But the mercury is expected to rise to the mid to high 30s again tomorrow.

Bushfires spread.

Meanwhile, firefighters are using a water-bombing helicopter to put out a blaze south of Rosedale in Gippsland in Victoria's east. The bushfire is about five hectares in size and moving slowly. No homes are under threat. This afternoon crews battled two grassfires just outside of Geelong which are no longer posing a threat. CFA spokesman Steven Warrington says crews have managed to keep on top of the fires, but grass levels are high. "These are fast-moving, high-impact fires and we need to get on them quite quickly," he said.

Electricity shut off.

In South Australia, authorities shut down power after there were winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour in parts of the south coast. The power was cut to reduce the risk of fires starting from overheating appliances. Nearly 3,500 residents on the south coast had to put up with soaring temperatures without air conditioning for a couple of hours, but electricity has almost been fully restored. ETSA cut power to properties in Middleton, Port Elliot, Victor Harbor and Hindmarsh Island. ETSA spokesman Paul Roberts says the laws were introduced in response to the Ash Wednesday bushfires. "It's our role through that legislation really to ensure the safety of the public and property on these sort of days," he said. Some residents in the affected areas say they were given no warning. - ABC.
WATCH: Summer Scorcher.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Birders Surprised by Unusual Sightings of Snowy Owls - Arctic Birds Mysteriously Driven South of Normal Range!

"This clearly is a huge movement compared to some years," he said.

The appearance of three snowy owls at Smithville Lake has surprised birders unaccustomed to seeing so many of the Arctic birds.

The sightings so far south of the birds' normal range does not bode well for the white owls popularized in the Harry Potter books and movies. Food shortages in the tundra are likely the cause of the movement. Snowy owls feed on lemmings in the tundra. They rarely appear as far south as Missouri and when they do it's because lemming populations have crashed and they're forced to move south to look for food, said Mark Robbins, an ornithologist at the University of Kansas who also does bird studies in Missouri. Lemming populations rise and fall in three- to five-year cycles. Even during down years for lemmings, though, it's unusual to see several snowy owls in one area this far south. Missouri is on the southern edge of their winter range.

Bird watchers in recent weeks have watched and photographed three snowy owls in the Smithville Lake area north of Kansas City. One was spotted earlier this winter at the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge and at the Nodaway Valley Conservation Area. At least eight have been seen in Kansas and several in Iowa, Robbins said. "This clearly is a huge movement compared to some years," he said. It's not out of the question for snowy owls to move further south, Conservation spokesman Jim Low said. "It's not impossible they could end up in southern Missouri," said Low.

Conservation agents are checking a report that the carcass of a snowy owl was found near Monett, agency spokesman Francis Skalicky said Friday. No other details were available, he said. As their name indicates, snowy owls are distinct in appearance. While adult snowy owls are described as having very white plumage, juvenile birds are marked by black barring or spots on their body and head. Mature birds are 20 to 25 inches long, and have wingspans of 4-feet, 6 inches to 5 feet. Snowy owls perch on the ground, on fence posts and on hay bales. The outlook isn't good for the migrating owls, Low said. Juvenile snowy owls tend to migrate further south than adult birds, he said. That means that younger birds with no experience hunting rodents prevalent in Missouri could starve by next spring, he said. - News-Leader.

DELUGE: Torrential Rains Lashes Southern Kerala, India - Five Persons, Including Two Children Have Been Killed!

Five persons, including two children, were reported dead and one person missing from Thiruvananthapuram district as torrential rain lashed the southern districts of the State from Friday evening.

Adityan, 4, was reportedly swept away by the swirling waters of a canal at Vayalikkada in the capital city. His father, Kalesh, 35, who tried to save the boy is reported missing. At Manamboor in Chirayanakeezhu taluk, three-year-old Ammu and her grandmother Lalithambika, 70, were electrocuted in the compound of their house. The capital city soaked in 18 cm of rain till 8.30 a.m. on Saturday and 22 cm of rain till 5.30 p.m. As storm water canals that crisscross the city and the Killi and Karamana rivers were in spate, low-lying areas were inundated early on Saturday morning. Five hundred families were shifted to nine relief camps. While 48 houses were partially damaged, three were destroyed in the rain. In Kollam, there was power supply disruption in many parts. The district experienced heavy rainfall beginning Friday afternoon. The heavy rain continued till Saturday afternoon.

Incessant rains in the forests of Pathanamthitta district caused much hardship to Sabarimala pilgrims on Saturday. The Pampa river swelled with heavy inflow from the catchment areas upstream. The police issued warnings to pilgrims and shopkeepers at the Pampa Manalpuram on Friday evening about possible flash floods in the event of landslides in the forests. No vehicle was permitted at the parking lots on the river banks at the Pampa-Triveni on Friday and Saturday.

Pilgrims trekked the hills of Neelimala and Appachimedu braving the downpour. The police periodically blocked the pilgrims at Pampa, Sabaripeedhom, Marakkoottom, and Saramkuthy. The pilgrims had little option but to wait in the rains with the drenched bundle ‘Irumudikkettu' inside the packed iron barricades for hours together. Many pilgrims were stranded at the Sannidhanam owing to shortage of sufficient shelters. Most shelters at Sabarimala were occupied by Friday afternoon itself. Accumulation of waste, and stench emanating from it, was another problem at Sabarimala as waste removal too was affected by the incessant rains. In Kochi, unexpected rain held up traffic and temporarily hit the annual, year-end, Cochin Carnival on Fort Kochi beach on Saturday. A spokesman for the Cochin Carnival said that swimming, a favourite among competitions, was cancelled.  - The Hindu.