Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 DOOMSDAY: Solar Maximum - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Admits That it is Monitoring Earth's Magnetic Field to Prepare Citizens for Coming Magnetic Storms?!

WATCH: End scene from the film "Knowing".

Everyone is familiar with weather systems on Earth like rain, wind and snow. But space weather – variable conditions in the space surrounding Earth – has important consequences for our lives inside Earth’s atmosphere.

Solar activity occurring miles outside Earth’s atmosphere, for example, can trigger magnetic storms on Earth. These storms are visually stunning, but they can set our modern infrastructure spinning. On Jan. 19, scientists saw a solar flare in an active region of the Sun, along with a concentrated blast of solar-wind plasma and magnetic field lines known as a coronal mass ejection that burst from the Sun’s surface and appeared to be headed for Earth. When these solar winds met Earth’s magnetic field, the interaction created one of the largest magnetic storms on Earth recorded in the past few years. The storm peaked on Jan. 24, just as another storm began.

“These new storms, and the storm we witnessed on Sept 26, 2011, indicate the up-tick in activity coming with the Earth’s ascent into the next solar maximum,” said USGS geophysicist Jeffrey Love.” This solar maximum is the period of greatest activity in the solar cycle of the Sun, and it is predicted to occur sometime in 2013, which will increase the amount of magnetic storms on Earth.
The arc of light heading towards the Earth is a coronal mass ejection, which
impacts the Earth's magnetic field (shown in purple), causing magnetic storms.
Magnetic storms, said Love, are a space weather phenomenon responsible for the breathtaking lights of the aurora borealis, but also sometimes for the disruption of technology and infrastructure our modern society depends on. Large magnetic storms, for example, can interrupt radio communication, interfere with global-positioning systems, disrupt oil and gas well drilling, damage satellites and affect their operations, and even cause electrical blackouts by inducing voltage surges in electric power grids. Radiation from solar storms also affects airline activity — as a result of last weekend’s  storm, both Air Canada and Delta Air Lines rerouted flights over the Arctic bound for Asia as a precautionary measure. Although the storm began on the 19th of January, it did not peak until January 24th.

While this particular storm had minor consequences on Earth, other large storms can be crippling, Love said. He noted that the largest storm of the 20th century occurred in March, 1989, accompanied by auroras that could be seen as far south as Texas, and sent electric currents into Earth’s crust that made their way into the high-voltage Canadian Hydro-Quebec power grid. This caused the transformer to fail and left more than 6 million people without power for 9 hours. The same storm also damaged and disrupted the operation of satellites, GPS systems, and radio communication systems used by the United States military.

While large, the 1989 storm pales in comparison to one that occurred in September 1859 and is the largest storm in recorded history. Scientists estimate that the economic impact to the United States from a storm of the same size in today’s society could exceed $1 trillion as a result of the technological systems it could disrupt.

The USGS, a partner in the multi-agency National Space Weather Program, collects data that can help us understand how magnetic storms may impact the United States. Constant monitoring of Earth’s magnetic field allows us to better assess the impact of these phenomena on Earth’s surface. To do this, the USGS Geomagnetism Program maintains 14 observatories around the United States and its territories, which provide ground-based measurements of changes in the magnetic field. These measurements are being used by the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center and the US Air Force Weather Agencyto track the intensity of the magnetic storm generated by this solar activity.
Absolutes, variations and proton buildings at Cayey magnetic observatory, Puerto Rico.

In addition to providing data to its customers, the USGS produces models of the Earth’s magnetic field that are used in a host of applications, including GPS receivers, military and civilian navigational systems, and in research for studies of the effects of geomagnetic storms on the ionosphere (a shell of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules surrounding Earth), atmosphere, and near-space environment. - USGS.
In light of this revelation from the USGS, one must be reminded of the warning from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) about disaster preparedness.

WATCH: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden declares emergency plans.

EXTREME WEATHER: Thick Smoke From Marsh Fire and Heavy Fog Causes Massive and Fatal Highway Pileup - At Least 9 Dead, 18 Wounded in "Devastating" Crashes on I-75 in Florida!

A series of deadly crashes on a Florida highway overnight killed at least nine people, and officials say the death toll may rise.

Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Patrick Riordan says heavy smoke from a nearby marsh fire hampered visibility on Interstate 75 in Gainesville and led to the pileups in the early morning hours today. “That smoke combined with some fog that moved into the area and kind of settled into this area of this interstate and made visibility an issue,” Riordan said. “It definitely had an effect in a very bad way.” Both I-75 and U.S. 441 had been closed before the crashes because of limited visibility. The highways were later reopened because conditions had improved, according to Riordan. Crashes because of the smoke also were reported on U.S. 441, according to The Gainsville Sun.

Riordan said the crash site was a devastating scene. “It’s tragic. It’s not something new to us, but it’s a little unusual to have this many vehicles and this many people killed in one spot,” Riordan said. Alachua County Sheriff’s Sergeant Todd Kelly said five large commercial vehicles were involved, along with six to eight passenger cars. “Those crashes resulted in at least nine fatalities. Those numbers are expected to possibly rise depending on how things unfold,” Kelly said. “Very sad. I mean it’s just a devastating day up there to see the loss of life and just a mangled mess, lots of debris on the roadway, lots of vehicles on the roadway, it was a very very dangerous scene up there last night with zero visibility,” Kelly said. The crashes left only the burned shells of vehicles, sprawled out for more than half a mile. “The smell, the sight, those sort of things, you just can’t shake those images out of your head, what those people went through, during the moments, probably just sheer terror up there for a while,” he said. I-75 remained closed as of 10:30 a.m., and is expected to remain closed into the afternoon. U.S. 441 reopened around 11 a.m. this morning. - ABC News.

WATCH: Fatal 1-75 crashes.

WATCH: 18-car pile-up on Interstate 75 in Florida.

EXTREME WEATHER: Cyclone Iggy Kills 14 in Indonesia - 60 Injured, 2,000 Homes Damaged in 35 Different Towns or Cities!

Fourteen people were killed and another 60 were injured in Indonesia over a four-day period as a result of Cyclone Iggy, according to the country's National Disaster Management Agency.

Most of those who died were struck by falling trees or debris from strong winds, said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. More than 2,000 homes were also damaged in 35 towns or cities in Java and Bali between Wednesday and Sunday, he said.

The government has provided food and aid to the areas affected, the agency said.

As of Sunday, Iggy was off the northwestern coast of Australia, said Tom Sater, meteorologist for CNN International.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued a cyclone warning for the coastal area from Onslow to Coral Bay, including Exmouth. Iggy is currently classified as a Category 1 cyclone and is near stationary, according to the warning.

Iggy is forecast to stay offshore and avoid the coast of Western Australia, said Sater. The effects of Iggy, however, may create high sea conditions, he said.

In anticipation of the storm, Australia has shut down some of its coastal oil operations, according to Sater.

Iggy is "expected to continue to move very slowly overnight before taking a more southwesterly track during Monday," the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in a Sunday advisory. - CNN.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Dolphin and Seal Deaths Plague New England - 77 Dolphins and 162 Harbor Seals Since Fall; Scientists Are Puzzled?!

Whether they got lost, sick or swam astray chasing food, 77 dolphins that beached on Cape Cod in recent weeks have died, the second time in three months New England has seen a mass of marine mammal deaths.

Two stranded common dolphins wait to be transported to a waiting vehicle by a team from the
International Fund for Animal Welfare at Herring River in Wellfleet, Mass., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.
Now, scientists are trying to figure out why. They're also researching whether there's any connection to a die-off this fall of 162 harbor seals, whose carcasses were found between northern Massachusetts and Maine. Scientists later determined the seal deaths were linked to an influenza virus similar to one found in birds but never before seen in seals. In a letter earlier this month, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Rep. William Keating asked Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to investigate "any common cause" between the dolphin and seal deaths

"That is a big question," said Mendy Garron, regional marine mammal stranding coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of NOAA. The initial indications are that there is no link, she said, but it's too early for a definitive answer. Necropsies are under way to determine the causes of death, and that can take a few weeks. The strandings stretch along 25-mile stretch of Cape Cod from Wellfleet, approaching the tip of the cape, south around the curve of Cape Cod Bay to Dennis.

The first was reported in Wellfleet on Jan. 12. Five more reports followed the next day. On Jan. 14, 30 more animals got stuck on Wellfeet and reports remained steady, then trailed off in the past week. As of Saturday, 63 of the dolphins have been found dead and 11 died later, included at least one that was euthanized. Another 24 were released into the ocean, though three of those have died, said A.J. Cady of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The group is leading the rescue efforts. The total strandings are unprecedented, and two and half times the annual average of 37 common dolphin strandings over the past 12 years, Cady said. Wellfleet harbormaster Michael Flanagan said he's seen several pods of more than 100 animals in his 14 years on the job. "But you never really see that many strandings," he said.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), monitors the breathing of a stranded common dolphin while
a team behind her prepares to move anther dolphin to a waiting vehicle at Herring River in Wellfleet, Mass.,
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The dolphin is one in the latest batch of dolphins found, bringing a total of over
80 stranded on Cape Cod shores in the last week.
The affected dolphins appear to be linked by little besides their species. Their conditions range from healthy to sick, and they aren't all a particular age or sex. "Nobody really knows for sure yet whether it's one particular thing," Cady said. There are several possibilities. For instance, the dolphins are social animals, and some could be following a sick fellow animal to shore, researchers theorize. Changes in water temperature are a possible factor leading them into the bay, but it's unclear how. Some dolphins could be chasing prey into Cape Cod Bay, and essentially getting lost in the geographic features of Cape Cod's inner coastline. For instance, dolphins headed north along the inner Cape's coastline looking for open ocean can get trapped in Wellfleet, which juts out like a tiny hook. Then, the area's quickly receding tides can beach them in local marshes.

Rescuers try to guide lost animals to open water, either by keeping a boat between them and the coastline, or repelling them from land with unpleasant sounds, Cady said. Once stranded, a dolphin's own weight can damage its organs. Hypothermia and sunburn are also a danger, and Flanagan said seagulls looking for a meal turn savage and pick at the mammal's eyes and organs. After rescuers reach a dolphin, often through major muck, they quickly assess whether it's strong enough to be moved. If so, workers slip a stretcher underneath and carry the 8-foot-long, 300-pound animals into rescue trailers for a trip to the Cape's outer coastline for release. On the way, scientists perform tests to better assess the health of the animals. Just a few years ago, it was commonly believed to be too risky to move the stranded animals, Cady said. But, he said, tracking devices placed on some rescued dolphins have shown them moving far from where they were released.

The effort and expense is considerable — the dolphin strandings have cost between $50,000 and $60,000, Cady said. But it's well worth the cost on several levels, he added. Their health tells us about the health of the ocean, which affects everyone, Cady said. It's also simply the humane things to do, he said. People don't have to be prodded to assist dolphins. Flanagan said he gets "a million" volunteers every time an animal is stranded. "People can relate to these mammals, because they go and see them at Sea World. ... They can see how intelligent they are," he said. "They're such gentle animals, you can't help but feel sorry for them when they're stranded and they're out of their element and there's nothing you can really do for them." - KJ Online.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors and the Australian Shark Attacks - 3 Swimmers Attacked in Unusual First 3 Weeks of 2012?!

There have been an increased number of shark attacks in Australia this year, with three attacks occurring in the first three weeks of 2012. David Pickering, a 26-year-old snorkeling guide, was the latest victim of a shark attack on Thursday.

Pickering was leading a group of snorkelers, a couple and their two children, in a lagoon at Western Australia's Coral Bay, when he was attacked. A 10-foot tiger shark swam up to the snorkeling guide and sunk its teeth into his arms. "I turned around and boom, there he was," Pickering told The Associated Press. "[The force] was enough to actually bring me forward and under him because I scraped my knee on his belly." After the shark bit him, Pickering punched the animal with his other arm. The creature quickly backed off. The AP reports Pickering warned the other snorkelers to get out of the water and then swam 300 feet back to shore. "I'm pretty stoked that it happened to me and not one of those kids," he told the AP. The attack left Pickering with severe lacerations to his arm, but the injuries were non-life-threatening. "I'll definitely be back in the water - as soon as this bad boy is healed up," he said with a laugh. Pickering's shark attack was the third of its kind this month in Australia, a nation which rarely sees more than three shark attacks each year.

Another victim, tattoo artist Glen Folkard, 44, was surfing Wednesday off Redhead Beach when a 6.5 foot shark attacked him in front of hundreds of swimmers. The shark dragged Folkard under water after taking a large bite of his thigh and board. "It was kind of like Jaws, you know, the scene at the start... where everybody's pulled out of the water and it's a hot day and the water's inviting," a witness told the Sydney Morning Herald. "My son actually said he saw the shark leap out of the water and grab a fish. The word is it was a bull shark," he said. Reports estimate that 500 people were on the beach at the time with approximately 100 swimmers in the water. Another surfer was attacked by a shark at North Avoca beach in New South Wales on Jan. 3. The man, whose name has not been released, was bitten on his arm and wrist at approximately 8 p.m. Following the attack, the man swam to shore and was treated successfully by paramedics.

Although sharks are common in Australian waters, shark attacks are not. According to statistics from the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there have only been 417 total attacks documented in Australia's history up until 2010, with 131 of the attacks being fatal. Shark attacks are far more common in the U.S. where there have been over 1,000 recorded shark attacks. On average, there are around 60 shark attacks each year worldwide, but only a few of them result in fatalities. In 200, the year with the most documented shark attacks, there were 79 shark attacks reported worldwide, 11 of them fatal. Nonetheless, a person's chance of getting attacked by a shark is slim. The likelihood of being attacked by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million and the chance of getting killed by one is less than 1 in 264.1 million. While over 3,000 people drown annually in the U.S., only 1 person on average is killed by a shark attack. - IB Times.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Sinking of Singapore - Government Raises Sea Defenses Against Rising Sea Levels Linked to Climate Change!

A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore's campaign to defend its hard-won territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change.

Stone breakwaters are being enlarged on the low-lying island state's man-made east coast and their heights raised. Barges carrying imported sand top up the beach, which is regularly breached by high tides. Singapore, the world's second most densely populated country after Monaco, covers 715 square km (276 sq miles). It has already reclaimed large areas to expand its economy and population -- boosting its land area by more than 20 percent since 1960. But the new land is now the frontline in a long-term battle against the sea. Every square meter is precious in Singapore.

One of the world's wealthiest nations in per-capita terms, it is also among the most vulnerable to climate change that is heating up the planet, changing weather patterns and causing seas to rise as the oceans warm and glaciers and icecaps melt. Late last year, the government decided the height of all new reclamations must be 2.25 meters (7.5 feet) above the highest recorded tide level -- a rise of a meter over the previous mandated minimum height. The additional buffer was costly but necessary, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told Reuters in a recent interview. "You are buying insurance for the future," he said during a visit to a large flood control barrier that separates the sea from a reservoir in the central business area.

The decision underscores the government's renowned long-term planning and the dilemma the country faces in fighting climate change while still trying to grow. It also highlights the problem facing other low-lying island states and coastal cities and the need to prepare. A major climate change review for the Chinese government last week said China's efforts to protect vulnerable coastal areas with embankments were inadequate. It said in the 30 years up to 2009, the sea level off Shanghai rose 11.5 centimeters (4.5 inches); in the next 30 years, it will probably rise another 10 to 15 centimeters.


Since it was created by the British as a trading port in the early 19th century, Singapore has turned to the sea to expand and has become one of the world's fastest-growing countries in terms of new land area. More land is being regularly reclaimed. In this pocket powerhouse, there is much to protect. Singapore's recipe for success is to be a city of superlatives to keep ahead of competitors. It is a major Asian centre for finance, shipping, trading, manufacturing, even gambling, with giant casinos as glitzy as those in Las Vegas or Macau. Much of the city centre is on reclaimed land, including an expanding financial district, a new terminal for ocean liners and a $3.2 billion underground expressway, part of which runs under the sea.

The industrial west has one of Asia's largest petrochemical complexes, much of it on reclaimed islands. The wealth generated from these sectors has created a $255 billion economy. Per-capita GDP stands on a par with the United States at nearly $50,000, though opposition politicians complain about growing wealth gaps within the island's society. The U.N. climate panel says sea levels could rise between 18 and 59 centimeters (7 to 24 inches) this century and more if parts of Antarctica and Greenland melt faster. Some scientists say the rise is more likely to be in a range of 1 to 2 meters.

Singapore could cope with a rise of 50 cm to 1 m, coastal scientist Teh Tiong Sa told Reuters during a tour of the East Coast Park, the city's main recreation area. "But a rise of two meters would turn Singapore into an island fortress," said Teh, a retired teacher from Singapore's National Institute for Education. That would mean constructing more and higher walls to protect against the sea. Indeed, between 70 and 80 percent of Singapore already has some form of coastal protection, the government says. The dilemma Singapore faces is mirrored by other coastal cities, such as Mumbai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New York, though not all have Singapore's financial muscle.

The threat underscores the limits on Singapore's physical growth in terms of further reclamation, costs and managing long-term growth of its population, which has risen from 3 million in 1990 to nearly 5.2 million in 2011. Topping up reclamation levels "does not fundamentally change the way we approach reclamation -- while we reclaim to meet our development needs, we are cognisant that there is a physical limit to how much more land we can reclaim," a spokesman for the National Climate Change Secretariat told Reuters. To make more efficient use of existing land, a government agency floated the idea this month of building a science city 30 stories underground.


Climate change presents a host of other challenges. More intense rainfall has caused embarrassing floods in the premier Orchard Road shopping area. And the government says average daily temperature in tropical Singapore could increase by 2.7 to 4.2 degrees Celsius (4.9 to 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from the current average of 26.8 deg C (80.2 F) by 2100, which could raise energy use for cooling. Here lies another dilemma. The country is already one of the most energy intensive in Asia to power its industries and fiercely airconditioned malls and glass office towers -- a paradox in a country at such risk from climate change. The government has focused on energy efficiency, such as strict building codes and appliance labeling to curb the growth of planet-warming carbon emissions and has steadily switched its power stations to burn gas instead of fuel oil.

It has also invested heavily in slick subway lines and promoted investment and research in the clean-tech sector. But electricity demand is still set to grow. Consumption doubled between 1995 and 2010, government figures show, and long-term reliance on fossil fuels for energy is unlikely to change, given limited space for green energy such as solar. Balakrishnan said the government is keen to do its part in any global fight against climate change and that pushing for greater energy efficiency made sense anyway in a country with virtually no natural resources. But there was a limit to how fast it would move, opening the way for criticism from some countries that Singapore was hiding behind its developing country status under the United Nations, which obliges it to take only voluntary steps to curb emissions.

"What we want is a level playing field and unilateral moves are not feasible, not possible, for a small, tiny island state that actually is not going to make a real difference at a global level to greenhouse gases," Balakrishnan said. Singapore's emissions, though, are forecast to keep growing, having roughly doubled since 1990. The government is looking at putting a price on carbon emissions and perhaps setting up an emissions trading market. "We're already half way there in the sense we are already pricing everything according to the market," said Tilak Doshi, head of energy economics at the Energy Studies Institute in Singapore. He pointed to Singapore being the world's largest bunkering port.

"Bunkering is huge in terms of carbon emissions and Singapore can play a key role in how to handle global shipping emissions," he said. "How to handle bunker fuels -- do we tax it, do we cap-and-trade it, do we get bunkering companies to start trading emissions certificates?" The government has a number of levers to adjust energy policies over time. Against rising sea levels, it is a campaign in progress to tame the tides. In some cases, it might be better to let the sea reclaim the land in a managed retreat, said Teh, the coastal scientist. "It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Some areas you keep, others you let go." For land-limited Singapore, that could prove a tough decision to make. - Reuters.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Snowy Owls Soar South From Arctic in Rare Mass Migration; "The Most Significant Wildlife Event in Decades"!

"What we're seeing now -- it's unbelievable," said Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana.

Bird enthusiasts are reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration that a leading owl researcher called "unbelievable."

Thousands of the snow-white birds, which stand 2 feet tall with 5-foot wingspans, have been spotted from coast to coast, feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts. A certain number of the iconic owls fly south from their Arctic breeding grounds each winter but rarely do so many venture so far away even amid large-scale, periodic southern migrations known as irruptions.

"What we're seeing now -- it's unbelievable," said Denver Holt, head of the Owl Research Institute in Montana.

"This is the most significant wildlife event in decades," added Holt, who has studied snowy owls in their Arctic tundra ecosystem for two decades.

Holt and other owl experts say the phenomenon is likely linked to lemmings, a rodent that accounts for 90 percent of the diet of snowy owls during breeding months that stretch from May into September. The largely nocturnal birds also prey on a host of other animals, from voles to geese. An especially plentiful supply of lemmings last season likely led to a population boom among owls that resulted in each breeding pair hatching as many as seven offspring. That compares to a typical clutch size of no more than two, Holt said.

Greater competition this year for food in the Far North by the booming bird population may have then driven mostly younger, male owls much farther south than normal. Research on the animals is scarce because of the remoteness and extreme conditions of the terrain the owls occupy, including northern Russia and Scandinavia, he said.

The surge in snowy owl sightings has brought birders flocking from Texas, Arizona and Utah to the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, pouring tourist dollars into local economies and crowding parks and wildlife areas. The irruption has triggered widespread public fascination that appears to span ages and interests. "For the last couple months, every other visitor asks if we've seen a snowy owl today," said Frances Tanaka, a volunteer for the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Olympia, Washington.

But accounts of emaciated owls at some sites -- including a food-starved bird that dropped dead in a farmer's field in Wisconsin -- suggest the migration has a darker side. And Holt said an owl that landed at an airport in Hawaii in November was shot and killed to avoid collisions with planes.

He said snowy owl populations are believed to be in an overall decline, possibly because a changing climate has lessened the abundance of vegetation like grasses that lemmings rely on. This winter's snowy owl outbreak, with multiple sightings as far south as Oklahoma, remains largely a mystery of nature. "There's a lot of speculation. As far as hard evidence, we really don't know," Holt said. - Yahoo.

ICE AGE: Forget Global Warming - It's Solar Cycle 25 We Need to Worry About!

The supposed 'consensus' on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a 'grand minimum' in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak. We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call 'Cycle 24' - which is why last week's solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona - derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun's surface - suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.

According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the 'Dalton minimum' of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.

However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the 'Maunder minimum' (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the 'Little Ice Age' when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.

Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible - because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun's output is likely to decrease until 2100, 'This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.' Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: 'Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.'

These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts. 'World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,' said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark's National Space Institute. 'It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.'

He pointed out that, in claiming the effect of the solar minimum would be small, the Met Office was relying on the same computer models that are being undermined by the current pause in global-warming.

CO2 levels have continued to rise without interruption and, in 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to 'come roaring back'. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998.

She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. 'They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,' said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle 'flipped' back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .

Pal Brekke, senior adviser at the Norwegian Space Centre, said some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans - not CO2 - caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun - which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.

'Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,' he said. 'Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.' Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold 'La Nina' effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.

'We're now well into the second decade of the pause,' said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. 'If we don't see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.'
- Daily Mail.

RATTLE & HUM: "Sounds Of the Apocalypse" - The Mysterious Humming Noise Phenomena Continues; More Videos From Across the World!

Here are the latest videos of strange sounds heard across the world.

Cambridge, England.

London, England.

Alberta, Canada.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - The Latest UFO Sightings And Aerial Anomalies Around the World?!

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

Some kind of triangular-shaped UFO was recorded in the skies above Lima in Peru on the 22nd of January, 2012.

WATCH: Daytime UFO over Lima, Peru 22-Jan-2012

This daytime UFO video was recorded in Tijuana, Mexico on Friday, the 27th of January, 2012.

WATCH: UFO above Tijuana.

A UFO fleet over Ciudad, Mexico. This was filmed, stabilized and edited on the 27th of January, 2012.

WATCH: UFO over Ciudad.

On January 23rd, Halit Safin, a famous photographer in Ufa (the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia), filmed an unusual glow.

WATCH: Strange UFO over Ufa.

Jaime Maussan and Yohanan Diaz from "The Third Millennium" presents information on the UFO sighting in Kuban, Russia from November 2011.

WATCH: TV report about UFO activity over Kuban.

This fleet of bright unidentified flying objects was filmed over Pune, the eighth largest metropolis in India. This was recorded on Thursday, the 26th of January, 2012.

WATCH: UFO fleet over Pune.

These two bright UFOs or orbs were seen and recorded over Pontypridd, a principal town of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, UK. This was recorded on Wednesday, the 25th of January, 2012.

WATCH: UFO activity over Pontypridd.

This daytime footage of some kind of triangle formation hovering in the sky, was recorded in Ireland in January, 2012.

WATCH: Daytime UFO activity over Ireland.