Thursday, March 1, 2012

EXTREME WEATHER ALERT: VIOLENT STORMS - Large, Dangerous Tornado Outbreak Forecast For Friday; Setup Similar to 1974 Super Outbreak!

The setup and aftermath on Friday for the Ohio and Tennessee valleys could be similar to the weather pattern during and following the 1974 Super Outbreak.

Spanning April 3-4, 1974, a swarm of tornadoes tore through areas from Illinois and southern Michigan to northern Alabama and Georgia. The outbreak produced 148 confirmed tornadoes, six of which were F-5 intensity. The most powerful of these storms slammed into Xenia, Ohio. Every weather pattern no matter how similar always has its differences, and this outbreak will have its own characteristics. However, according to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "In the case of the end of this week and back in early April of 1974, it appears strong upper-level winds and cool air approaching from the west could hit a zone of advancing warm, moist air in just the right manner to produce monsters of thunderstorms." This is not to say communities that were hit by the tornadoes in 1974 will be hit again, as the atmosphere is much more random than this. "There will be a strengthening storm system tracking to the northeast from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes," Margusity said. Former West Lafayette, Ind., resident Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews recalls that outbreak. "Having one of the super cell thunderstorms pass right over my town was the scariest moment of my life," Andrews said. Fortunately, Andrews' town was spared any major damage. This outbreak is not likely to extend as far north into the Great Lakes region as that of 1974. We pray the storms are far less intense and hope they avoid places where people live. We do urge that people take this threat seriously, as there is a risk of violent storms sweeping through population centers and rural communities. Also similar to 1974, a sweep of cold air in the wake of the tornado outbreak will yield areas of snow. Most of any snow that falls this weekend in the wake of severe weather will tend to be focused near the Great Lakes into the central Appalachians, the cold and/or spotty snow. The pattern could add to the misery of cleanup operations from the midweek event and, woefully, from Friday into Saturday. It is possible some snow showers dip as far south and west as portions of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys by early Monday. According to Severe Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "At least the weather pattern in the wake of the storms Friday into Saturday will be much less volatile in these areas and others for many days." Drier, more stable air will settle over the region through much of next week. - Accu Weather.
Tornadoes are forecast to swarm Friday through a very large and populated area of the nation, stretching from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio to Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and other states. After a brief reprieve from severe weather today, a storm system emerging from the Rockies late this afternoon will act as the trigger for another round of dangerous storms in portions of recently hard-hit states and others late tonight through Friday. Although residents in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys will have dry but breezy weather for clean-up efforts today, the tranquil weather will not last long. Late tonight, storms are expected to erupt across eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Hail will be the greatest threat from this initial round of thunderstorms. In light of less than perfect atmospheric conditions in the tornado and severe weather outbreak Tuesday night and Wednesday, it seems this potential event may have many key ingredients coming together. Warm, moist air will combine with strong winds aloft in such a way to generate powerful thunderstorms that may spawn tornadoes. - Accu Weather.
WATCH: Accu Weather forecast for Friday.


MARK OF THE BEAST NOW: The Creation of a "Monster Entity" - Monumental Step Towards Achieving the New World Order Blueprint; United Nations to Propose Planetary Regulations of Water and Food?!

"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 7And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." - Revelation 13, Verse 15-17, The Bible.

An environmental report issued by an agency of the United Nations last month has some critics sounding the alarm, saying it is a clarion call for "global governance" over how the Earth is managed. The report, “21 Issues for the 21st Century,” from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Foresight Process, is the culmination of a two-year deliberative process involving 22 core scientists. It is expected to receive considerable attention in the run-up to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Rio, Brazil, in June.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Foresight Process report, titled "21 Issues for the 21st
Century," suggests global regulations of food and water to deal with impending shortages and threats.
The scientists who wrote the report say it focuses on identifying emerging issues in the global environment, and that it is not about mandating solutions. But its critics see an agenda lurking in its 60 pages, which call for a complete overhaul of how the world's food and water are created and distributed -- something the report says is “urgently needed” for the human race to keep feeding and hydrating itself safely. “This is more utopianism, pie-in-the-sky pleading for ‘global governance,’ including what they acknowledge as ‘novel governance arrangements,’ including, ‘alliances between environmentalist and other civil society groups,’” charged Chris Horner, author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, and a senior fellow for energy and environment at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in Washington, D.C. The Foresight Report suggests actions to save humanity from starvation, the overheating planet and the collapse of the world’s oceans -- options that include new “constitutional frameworks,” “international protocols” and a “shared vision” for land and water management that essentially rewire existing treaties and governments.

But the group insists it’s not a call for global governance. “We are not talking about a world government,” said Dr. Oren Young, professor of institutional and international governance and environmental institutions at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and one of the scientists who issued the report. He said the panel’s conversations included questions like, “How do we resolve these problems without creating this monster entity?” Young said the panel wasn’t tasked with finding all the answers. “We realize that government can be part of the problem,” he told “But we can’t close our eyes and say, ‘oh well, everything will work out,’ without us even looking at it.” Even environmentalists don’t believe that planet-wide accords are particularly popular. “I don’t think there is a global appetite right now for new institutions … or a world environmental organization like we have, say, with the World Trade Organization,” said Janet Redman, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the progressive Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. “There are a lot of places -- especially the oceans and food security -- where everyone is saying that doing this piecemeal is not going to address the bigger sense of these environmental issues.” But on the whole, she said, global government probably won’t work.

“I think everyone agrees this is not the right time,” Redman told - FOX News.

NOTE: Special thanks to Joann Chan-McKeon for contributing to this post.

SOLAR WATCH: Farside Explosions - Coronal Mass Ejections; Chance For Isolated Minor Solar Flares!

The Earthside of the Sun may be quiet, however the farside appears to be a different story.

FARSIDE EXPLOSIONS: The Earthside of the sun is quiet, but the other side is not. On Feb. 29th, a farside sunspot erupted multiple times, hurling three CMEs over the sun's western limb. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the expanding clouds. The odds of more farside eruptions today seem high. The odds of Earthside eruptions, however, are just the opposite. NOAA forecasters say the chances of M- and X-class solar flares are no more than 1%. - Space Weather.

SOLAR WIND INCREASE: Solar activity was very low on Wednesday, however a C-Class solar flare (C3.3) just took place at 15:26 UTC Thursday morning around Sunspot 1423 in the northern hemisphere. There will continue to a chance for isolated minor solar flares during the next 24 hours.  The solar wind has shown a gradual increase to near 550km/s today and combined with a predominantly south tilting Bz, could help trigger Aurora at very high latitudes. - Solar Ham.

WATCH: Farside Solar Flares and CMEs.

A new study published in the journal Space Weather analyzed the frequency of the solar storms that cause auroras and found that there's a one in eight chance that by 2020 the Earth will be affected by a major solar flare.

WATCH: Catastrophic solar flares.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Mass Animal Die-Off, Mutations and Rare Sightings!

Dozens of dead marine mammals, turtles in Gulf this year, NOAA says.
Reports of dozens of stranded dolphins, whales, and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico continue to pile up in the first two months of 2012, with federal officials tallying 48 marine mammals, mostly dolphins, and 87 sea turtles. Only a handful of marine mammal strandings were of live animals that may have been saved. None of the turtles were alive. There continues to be concern that the high numbers of dead animals, especially the dolphins and whales, may be linked in some way to health problems either caused or exacerbated by toxic chemicals left behind by the BP Gulf oil spill. - NOLA.
Mutated, two-headed trout found in Idaho, United States.

Examples of unusual deformities.
I'm not a scientist -- I don't even play one on TV. But even with my limited knowledge of the scientific world, I know enough to say without fear of reprisal that two-headed fish are not generally an indicator of a healthy watershed. The two-headed fish in question is a trout and was just one of many abnormal fish that were regulated to an appendix of a scientific study commissioned by the J.R. Simplot Company. Despite the presence of fish with two heads and fish with facial, fin, and egg deformities, the mining company's report concluded that the waters it is accused of polluting in southern Idaho are fairly safe. So safe in fact that the company feels it would be just peachy to allow the water's high selenium (a metal byproduct of mining that is toxic to wildlife) levels to remain as is, even though they are higher than are permitted under regulatory guidelines. - Outdoor Life.
100 animals die of unknown disease, India.
Hundreds of animals have reportedly died of an unknown disease in the past one week, at many villages of Tandiki panchayat under Korukonda Panchayat Samiti. So far, 100 animals, including cows and goats, have died, said Unga Podiami, Korukonda-I Zilla Parishad member. Nuabandiki, Bandiguda, Dhangadgata, Gurageta, Chidipalli, Danguda, Tentuliguda, Damaguda, Tandki, Pujariguda, Burdhi, Bahalguda, Jamguda, Titang and Gutamgida are the worst-hit villages. There could be more deaths if the veterinary doctor teams do not reach the village, take appropriate measures to check and ascertain the cause of the deaths, Podiami said. - IBN Live.
Fourth monkey death reported at Harvard research center.
Harvard Medical School has suspended new experiments at the New England Primate Research Center after a cotton top tamarin monkey died Sunday, the fourth monkey death at the lab in less than two years, Carolyn Y. Johnson reported in today’s Globe. The death occurred the same day the US Department of Agriculture released an inspection report highlighting three other deaths at the center and further deficiencies in care of the animals. - Boston.
32 Carlsbad dogs euthanized due to rabies exposure.
The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting that 32 pet dogs from the Carlsbad area have been euthanized since December 2011 because they were exposed to known rabid animals. They were never vaccinated against rabies, a NMDOH spokeswoman said. Aimee Barabe said with the exception of puppies that were too young to be fully vaccinated, all of these animal deaths could have been prevented. Barabe said rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law. In addition to dogs, a number of livestock and at least one cat have also been euthanized due to rabies exposures. - Current Argus.
Rare whale caught on film for first time.

A Shepherd's beaked whale.
Australian scientists have captured what they believe to be the first video of an extremely rare whale, the Shepherd's beaked whale, which has been spotted for sure only a handful of times since its discovery a little over 70 years ago. A pod of the unusual cetacean, which can grow as long as a bus (7 metres or 21 ft) and weigh as much as a sedan car (up to 3 tonnes) was spotted frolicking amongst dolphins and pilot whales in the Eastern Bass Strait, off the coast of Victoria and Tasmania, in January. "What is so unique about this sighting is, we got so many photographs and HD video, so really it's indisputable," said Mike Double, a research scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division, a government research unit for Antarctica. - Mirror.
Koala, young deaths tally rises.
IN reporter Megan Gorrey's excellent feature article, "Future's bright for koalas", in last week's Advertiser, I am quoted as saying: "We've only had two [koalas] which have died of less than old age". That quote applied only to the 23 Campbelltown koalas that we have put radio-collars on. Our wider study of another 140 ear-tagged koalas includes many animals that died prematurely. Tristan Lee is currently sorting out all of these records as part of his PhD studies, but most of the premature deaths are due to dog attacks and roadkills. - McCarthur Advertiser.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Polar Depression - Jordan hit by Rare Snow Storm!

Jordan's capital, Amman, experiences heavy snow as rare weather conditions hit the gulf region. More than half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian desert, and winter temperatures average around 13°C. But the region is being affected by a polar depression, and experts say the cold weather is expected to continue. - Guardian.
WATCH: Rare snowfall in Jordan.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Island Off the West Coast of Scotland Shaken by Five Tremors!

More small earthquakes have hit the island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland.

Five tremors shook the island between 07:04 and 09:32. One resident described a very deep, loud rumble. The British Geological Survey recorded the strongest at a magnitude of 2.8. A spokeswoman said there were no reports of any damage.

A further four small earthquakes have already affected the area this month, reaching up to a magnitude of 2.6. Maha Rangafamy, 28, who lives in Port Charlotte, felt one of the tremors on Wednesday morning.

She said: "I felt a vibration in the house and heard a rumbling noise. In the quake last week there was a thundery, rumbling noise." The BGS spokeswoman said: "Globally speaking it is not a big one. It is a typical UK earthquake, though Islay is not especially prone to earthquakes.

"We've had quite a lot of reports of it being felt." A small tremor was also recorded around Mull at 03:00. - BBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: The Season of the Wind - 18 Deadly Tornadoes Ripped Through the American Midwest; 170 mph EF4 Twister Winds Devastates Harrisburg, Second Most Severe Level; Weather Alert for Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio!

At least 15 tornadoes are confirmed to have touched down Wednesday in the Midwest, including one twister preliminarily rated an EF4 - the second most severe on the National Weather Service's scale - which killed six people in southern Illinois. The storm that battered Harrisburg, IL, had winds estimated at 170 mph. The sheriff's office said the tornado touched down at 5:56 a.m. ET, injuring 100, and damaging or destroying 250 to 300 houses and 25 businesses. Many people are still missing, 12 are reported dead and at least 200 were injured in several states, CNN reported.

In addition to the six deaths in Illinois, three people were killed in Missouri and three in Tennessee. Tractor-trailers flipped over, power lines down, mattresses hanging from trees and windows and doors blown out at businesses were reported in Harrisburg. Damage at Harrisburg Middle School led to the cancellation of classes for the rest of the week. Harrisburg Medical Center was severely damaged, with its south wall succumbing to the winds around 10 a.m. ET. "Going out - and again - after looking at the debris field and looking at everything in the darkness, it was horrifying, but even more so when the sun came up," Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg told CNN. "You got a picture and you got your hands around what the track of this terrible storm did to the city of Harrisburg. We just hope that we never have to experience anything like this again." The Illinois tornado was part of a dangerous storm system that roared through the Ohio River Valley region, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100 across several states, including Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska and Indiana. Kentucky took several hits from the storm, which produced five tornadoes that touched down in the western part of the state between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ET. Illinois saw three tornadoes, while Missouri and Indiana each faced one. The NWS is keeping a list of storm damage across the Midwest on its website.

In Buffalo, MO, a small town 35 miles north of Springfield, MO, one person was killed in a trailer park, and 13 people were injured. The Associated Press reports another person was killed south of Springfield in Cassville, MO. The storm continued east, slamming into downtown Branson, MO, at about 2 a.m. ET, hitting that city's entertainment and theater district, according to the AP. "The theater next to me kind of exploded. It went everywhere. The hotels on the two sides of me lost their roofs. Power lines are down. Windows are blown out," John Moore told the AP. "There's major, major destruction. There has to be millions dollars of damage all down the strip." The AP also reports that 32 people were treated in Branson's Skagg Regional Medical Center, mostly for cuts and bruises. No one was killed. In Stoddard County, MO, Sheriff Cark Hefner told KFVS that several mobile homes were destroyed – displacing one about 200 feet - and two people were airlifted to a hospital in Cape Girardeau, MO, where one man died.

Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas
The storm then moved into the Ohio River Valley, with sightings of funnel clouds in Kentucky and reports of storm damage. Homes have been damaged in Madisonville, KY, according to WFIE. The NWS confirmed a tornado had touched down in Hardin County near Elizabethtown in addition to more tornadoes in Grayson County and LaRue County, according to WAVE. In Newburgh, IN, the historic downtown received some damage, but no one was injured. The severe weather also took a swipe at northern Oklahoma, where trailers were flipped and a wall cloud was sighted; as well as hail in northern Arkansas, the AP reports.
Many states in the region also reported large hail and strong winds. In the upper Midwest, snow and wintry conditions are blanketing cities in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Michigan.

The storms first took shape Tuesday when nine tornadoes touched down in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, according to the NWS. At least 40 percent of one Kansas town was damaged by the powerful storms. Emergency officials are assessing damage in Harveyville, KS, after the storm plowed through around 9 p.m. Tuesday, injuring at least nine people. KCTV reports that numerous homes, a church and an apartment building were damaged. The wreckage caused Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to declare a State of Emergency for the town. The threat of severe weather has not ended. While there are currently no tornado warnings in effect right now, watches have been issued through northern Alabama, northern Mississippi and southern parts of Tennessee until 10 p.m. ET. The NWS predicts that severe weather – which includes the possibility of tornadoes – is expected over portions from the Tennessee Valley to the South Appalachians today through early tonight. The areas that will most likely be affected include northern parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, southern and eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina and most of Tennessee.
The National Weather Service has updated the total number of tornadoes to 18, based on reports from severe weather across the seven states of Tennessee, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. According to Reuters, forecasters said there was no relief in sight as the stormy weather headed east to the Mid-Atlantic states and parts of the Southeast. "We have a number of strong, severe storms ongoing from the Appalachian Mountains through the Southeast, said meteorologist Jared Guyer of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. There were tornado watches issued for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.
WATCH: Tornadoes rips U.S. Midwest.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines - Russian Mogul’s Plan to Plant Our Brains in Robots, Keeping Them Alive Forever?!

The Pentagon’s new Avatar project, unveiled by Danger Room a few weeks back, sounds freaky enough: Soldiers practically inhabiting the bodies of robots, who’d act as “surrogates” for their human overlords in battle. But according to Dmitry Itskov, a 31-year-old Russian media mogul, the U.S. military’s Avatar initiative doesn’t go nearly far enough. He’s got a massive, sci-fi-esque venture of his own that he hopes will put the Pentagon’s project to shame. Itskov’s plan: Construct robots that’ll (within 10 years, he hopes) actually store a human’s mind and keep that consciousness working. Forever.

“This project is leading down the road to immortality,” Itskov, who founded New Media Stars, a Russian company that runs several online news outlets, tells Danger Room. “A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.” Itskov’s project, also called “Avatar,” actually precedes the Pentagon’s. He launched the initiative a year ago, but recently divulged more details to a group of futurists — including Ray Kurzweil — at a three-day conference, called Global Future 2045, held in Moscow. Until now, most of the work on Itskov’s Avatar has taken place in Russia, where he claims to have hired 30 researchers — all of them paid out of his own deep pockets. Now, Itskov plans to take the mission global. “I want to collaborate with scientists from around the world,” he says. “This is a new strategy for the future; for humanity.” So how would Itskov’s “Avatar” work? Well, he anticipates developing the program in stages. Within the next few years, Itskov plans to deploy robots that can be operated by the human mind. That’s actually not too wild a proposition: Pentagon-backed research has already demonstrated a monkey controlling a robotic arm using some nifty mind-meld tech, for example. And one study on human patients, out of Johns Hopkins, is using brain implants to control artificial limbs.

After phase one of “Avatar,” however, Itskov’s ambitions arguably eclipse even those of the Pentagon’s maddest mad scientists. In 10 years, he anticipates “transplanting” a human mind into a robotic one. After that, Itskov wants to do away with surgical procedures and instead upload the contents of the mind into its brand new, artificial robo-body. And, last but not least, within 30 years Itskov anticipates developing hologram-type bodies — instead of tangible robotic ones — that can “host” human consciousness. “Holograms give plenty of advantages. You can walk through walls, move at the speed of light,” he says. “Remember in Star Wars, Obi-Wan’s hologram? That was pretty amazing.” Amazing, yes. Scientifically feasible? Certainly not right now, and maybe not ever. “I understand these are some very big challenges for scientists,” Itskov acknowledges. “But I believe in something you call ‘The American Dream.’ If you put all your energy and time into something, you can make it a reality.” Itskov, who plans to open two American offices this year, even hopes to collaborate with Darpa on the agency’s ‘Avatar’ program. And he’s keen  to talk to agency scientists about the next, more far-out stages of brain-machine interfaces that he plans to develop. “I’m sure someone at Darpa is interested in taking this further,” he says. So far, at least, Danger Room hasn’t come across any Darpa-funded ventures to develop immortal hologram-brain interfaces. But the agency just might find a little extra blue-sky inspiration in Itskov, who likens Avatar to Darpa’s best-known innovation: The internet. “Years ago, people didn’t believe the internet could work,” he says. “I think of Avatar in the same light. Right now, the idea is new and radical. It won’t always be that way.” - WIRED.
WATCH: Global Future 2045.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: "A Potential Catastrophe" - Mysterious and Incurable Virus Cases Reach 83 in Britain; Farmers Fear Virus is Being Under-Reported?!

The number of farms affected by the Schmallenberg virus, a new animal disease which causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock, has increased to 83, the latest figures show.

An update from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) today said that Schmallenberg virus had now been detected in 78 cases in sheep and five in cattle, on farms across southern and eastern England. The virus first emerged in the Netherlands and Germany last year, causing mild to moderate symptoms in adult cattle, including reduced milk yield and diarrhoea, and late abortions and birth deformities in newborn sheep, goats and cattle. It is thought the virus is spread by midges, and has crossed the Channel from the Continent. The AHVLA said that so far none of the affected farms has reported importing animals during 2011 from the affected areas in mainland Europe. The largest number of cases have been reported in eastern counties - in Suffolk, Norfolk, East Sussex and Kent - but the disease has been found as far west as Cornwall. Positive cases have recently been identified on the Isle of Wight and in Wiltshire, West Berkshire and Gloucestershire, while other counties including Essex, West Sussex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire have also seen cases. The increase in cases had been expected by the industry as lambing and calving gather pace. - Telegraph.
A farmer who has suffered an outbreak of the Schmallenberg virus on his farm is concerned that the disease is under-reported.  Andrew Foulds, who farms near Mildenhall, Suffolk, has lost 75 lambs to the virus, a loss rate of about 4%, on his first early lambing flocks of 1,000 ewes. The estimated cost to his business so far is around £7,000. His shepherds are due to lamb another 1,200 ewes, so he is expecting further losses.Mr Foulds, regional chairman of the National Sheep Association (NSA), wants more farmers with animals affected by the Schmallenberg virus to speak out. "Our big concern is that farmers with the Schmallenberg virus on their farms are not reporting it so that DEFRA can report a true picture of what's happening on farms," he said. "As long as farmers keep on reporting cases and the ministry works as hard as they can with scientists across Europe, we'll get some answers to this disease." Mr Foulds believes his flock was infected by midges in early October, six weeks after the rams started running with his 1,000 Mule x Suffolk ewes in mid-August. "We had a few lambs which were deformed and we put it down to a rogue tup," he said. "We had a few more so we called in the vet and had tests done for Schmallenberg, which came back positive." The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in adult cattle, including reduced milk yield, and stillbirth and birth deformities in sheep, cattle and goats. Mortality rates of up to 25% have been recorded in newborn lambs. Scientists believe the virus is spread by biting midges and it first appeared on the continent before crossing the Channel. - Farmers Weekly.
WATCH: Mystery virus killing thousands of lambs in Britain.

NOTE: Special thanks to Jacqui Chasson for contributing to this post.

DOOMSDAY 2012: New World Order Preparations - Doomsday Seed Vault's Birthday Brings 25,000 Gifts!

This week, the Doomsday Seed Vault in Norway is scheduled to receive nearly 25,000 samples of seeds from around the world, including those of grains that grow on one of the world's highest mountain ranges and a plant whose stems redden an Ecuadorean drink on the "Day of the Dead."

The Global Seed Vault opened in 2008 on Svalbard, Norway, above the Arctic Circle.
With these additions the now four-year-old vault, formerly known as the Svaldbard Global Seed Vault, would house more than 740,000 samples in an Arctic mountain on the Svaldbard archipelago.  "Our crop diversity is constantly under threat, from dramatic dangers such as fires, political unrest, war and tornadoes, as well as the mundane, such as failing refrigeration systems and budget cuts. But these seeds are the future of our food supply, as they carry genetic treasure such as heat resistance, drought tolerance or disease and pest resistance," Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, one of the entities responsible for the vault, said in a news release.  The vault is intended to act as a backup for living crop collections around the world; a fire in January destroyed unique varieties of bananas, yams, sweet potatoes and taro being duplicated at the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory in the Philippines, according to the trust.

The new samples arriving for the vault's birthday, include: Grains from Tajikistan's Pamir Mountains, including wheat that grows across a wide range of elevations, in hot summers, and harsh, snowy winters. Diversity like this is important now because scientists are looking to develop a strain of wheat that is resistant to wheat stem rust, a fungal disease.    A variety of wheat, known as Norin-10, which is the source of genes that have given modern wheat plants strong, short stems capable of supporting more grain, contributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.  Amaranth collected from a family farm in Ecuador in 1979. Amaranth seeds once provided grain to the Aztecs and Incas, and its stems still supply red pigment for "colada morada," a traditional South American beverage used in Ecuador's "Day of the Dead" celebration.  •  Several subspecies of barley imported to the U.S. from Poland, and grown in the Pacific Northwest; these subspecies gave rise to modern varieties, including one malting barley called "Klages" that is popular among craft beer brewers.   The vault, which officially opened on Feb. 26, 2008, is dug into the Plat√•berget mountain ("plateau mountain") located near the village of Longyearbyen, Svalbard - a group of islands north of mainland Norway. The arctic permafrost offers natural freezing for the seeds, while additional cooling brings the temperatures down to minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius). It has the capacity to hold 4.5 million seed samples - and since each sample contains about 500 seeds, a maximum of 2.25 billion seeds would fit into the vault. - Live Science.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From February 22-28!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.

Cleveland volcano.

CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that satellite observations of Cleveland during 22-28 February revealed that the growth of the lava dome continued at a slow rate. Cloud cover over the volcano prevented views of the lava dome during 22 and 25-28 February. On 23 February a thermal anomaly was detected in partly cloudy satellite images. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange. No current seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network. Map

KANAGA Andreanof Islands 51.923°N, 177.168°W; summit elev. 1307 m
AVO reported that no unusual activity was detected in seismic data or in partly-cloudy satellite images of Kanaga during 22-24 and 26-28 February. Low-level volcanic tremor was detected on 25 February. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow. Map

RINCON DE LA VIEJA Costa Rica 10.830°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m
OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismic data revealed two eruptions on 19 and 20 February from Rincón de la Vieja's active crater. Two more eruptions also occurred on 23 February. Explosions were heard in Guachipelin (11 km SW) between 0400 and 0430. Map

TUNGURAHUA Ecuador 1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
IG reported moderate activity at Tungurahua during 22-28 February. Steam plumes with some ash content rose to altitudes of 1-2 km (3,300-6,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W during 22-24 February. Ash fall was reported in Palitahua (6 km SSW), Choglontus (13 km WSW), and Manzano (8 km SW) on 23 February, and in the Mapayacu (SW) and Achupashal (NW) gorges on 24 February. Strombolian activity was observed on 24 February, and incandescence material that rose as high as 500 m above the crater fell on the W and NW flanks. Ashfall was reported to the SW in Manzano again on 25 February. A steam-and-ash plume rose as high as 800 m above the crater and drifted W on 26 February. Crater incandescence was observed on 23 and 27 February. Map

For ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE.

ICE AGE NOW: Monumental Snowfall in Podgorica, Montenegro - "Unprecedented and Unknown Event" of Snow in the Last Half Century!

Podgorica is the capital and largest city of Montenegro. Montenegro is situated on the southern Balkan Peninsula connected with the Adriatic Sea.

In Podgorica, we have modified Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and mild winters. Podgorica is particularly known for its exceptionally hot summers: temperatures above 40 ° C. The highest recorded temperature of 45.8 ° C measured on 16 August 2007. The snow is almost an unknown event in Podgorica. This winter the situation is completely different in Podgorica and especially the Northern part of Montenegro is blocked by snow, unprecedented in the last half century. - Zeljko Mihajlovic.

WATCH: Ice Age cometh in Podgorica.

EXTREME WEATHER: "Untypical Year" - Snow Storm Blasts From Seattle to New York, Creating Tough Travel Conditions!

Late winter storms forced school and road closures from Seattle to upstate New York on Wednesday, but the snow was welcomed in California as it suffers through one of the driest winters in history.  The blast from the Gulf of Alaska was expected to bring up to 5 feet of snow at the highest elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada, delighting skiers and the 28million Californians who depend on snowmelt to meet their water needs.

'It's a pretty typical storm, it's just not typical this year,' said Johnnie Powell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. Officials issued avalanche warnings in the high Sierra mountains as the storm that began in earnest just after midnight was supposed to keep hammering the Lake Tahoe area, the northeast part of the state and the counties surrounding Yosemite National Park well into Thursday. High winds, intense snowfall and a weak snowpack combined to create dangerous conditions, the Sierra Avalanche Center advisory said. It urged skiers to stay out of avalanche terrain and off some steep slopes. In Shasta County, a truck slid off a hail-covered highway early Wednesday, killing a firefighter and injuring an officer responding to previous accidents. Snow also created havoc across the northern U.S. Albany, N.Y., saw its first significant snowfall of the season on Wednesday, forcing schools to send students home early ahead of a storm expected to dump a foot or more through Thursday. Snowy conditions were blamed for an accident that killed one person and injured at least four others in the Hudson Valley town of Newburgh. In the Dakotas, a winter storm shut down schools and roads, led to cancelled flights and caused scattered power outages. Blizzard and winter weather warnings and advisories were in effect. As much as a foot of snow was expected in southeast North Dakota and northeast South Dakota. Winds were gusting near 40 mph in some areas. 

A snow storm that could drop more than 10 inches of snow in parts of northern New England was moving into the region, and the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for a dumping that could bring 8 inches to the snow-starved Boston and North Shore areas by Thursday. Avalanche forecasters warned of dangerous conditions in the backcountry of southwestern Colorado after some areas received as much as two feet of snow with the potential of one more foot.In western Washington, snow showers turned into rain. Up to 5 inches of snow were expected in the eastern part of the state. Nowhere was the deluge more fast and furious than the mountains of Northern California, where falling snow and drifts blown by gusting winds cut visibility to a quarter-mile or less on Interstate 80, the main highway from San Francisco to Nevada. The California Department of Transportation required chains for 4-wheel drive vehicles without snow tires, imposed lower speed limits and closed isolated stretches of several mountain passes due to heavy snow.

The National Weather Service said the snow level dropped to 3,000 feet in the northern Sierra Nevada. An inch of snow was falling each hour, and forecasters expected at least eight more inches into Thursday. Although sunny skies were forecast for the weekend, the storm was expected to pick up strength overnight before bringing another two feet of snow and the possibility of 100 mile per hour wind gusts to the northern Sierra during Thursday's morning commute. With white-out conditions expected on some highways, the National Weather Service warned motorists who had grown accustomed to clear winter roads to stock their vehicles with blankets, food, water and flashlights.  'Skiers can go have all of the fun they want on the weekend. It worked out perfectly,' said weather forecaster Mr Powell.  'It should be plowed out and there should be plenty of fresh powder.'  Strong winds and heavy rain made for difficult driving conditions on San Francisco Bay area roads. At least two bridges - the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge - were under a high-wind advisory. Caltrans said travel wasn't recommended for big-rigs, motorhomes and drivers pulling trailers. The National Weather Service also issued a high surf advisory for the San Francisco and Monterey bay areas, warning that the turbulent weather could produce waves up to 15-feet high and strong rip currents. The Northern California storm could ease fears among the 29 agencies that depend on snowmelt delivered through the State Water Project. Some farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley already have been told to expect just half of the water they requested for the spring and summer growing seasons. - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Activity Update Report For the Santiaguito Volcano in Guatemala - Moderate Explosions at 15 Minute Intervals!

Santiaguito volcano in Guatemala has been displaying a slightly elevated state of activity in recent days.

INSIVUMEH reports moderate explosions about every 15 minutes that eject plumes of gray ash tot 600 and 800 meters above the crater, and producing an ash plume drifting to the west and SW until dissipating at about 15 km distance.

Light ash falls from these eruptions frequently occur in the villages San Marcos, Buena Vista and Palajunoj and the El Faro, Florida, and Monte Claro Fincas.

Crater glow at the summit of the lava dome is well visible at night, and a blocky lava flow with constant avalanches of blocks rolling down to tits base continues to be active, raising secondary ash plumes. The monitoring network records the explosions on seismic signals. - Volcano Discovery.

DELUGE: Floods in Northwestern Tunisia - Waters Reached Rooftops in Some Areas!

A combination of melting snow, overflowing rivers, and heavy rains flooded parts of northwestern Tunisia in late February 2012. The Tunisian Army evacuated residents of multiple towns in the region of Tunis, according to Tunisia Live. Flood waters reached rooftops in some areas, and at least one vehicle was swept away by fast-moving water. As of February 23, at least two people were confirmed dead, and one person had been reported missing.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on February 28, 2012. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same region on February 19, 2012. Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is bright green. Bare ground and urban areas are earth-toned. Clouds are pale blue-green.

These images show the coastal region of northwestern Tunisia and northeastern Algeria. Multiple water bodies appear enlarged on February 28, and two lakes—one near the city of Tunis and the other west of the Tunisia-Algeria border—are clearly higher. The electric blue of the Algerian lake suggests the presence of sediment, perhaps carried there by flood waters. NASA image courtesy LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.
- Earth Observatory.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Japanese Earthquake Anomaly - Aftershocks of 2011 Mega-Quake Still Hitting Japan!

It's been almost one year since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami devasted eastern Japan, but major aftershocks continue to occur. The original "undersea megathrust" quake just off Japan's coastline on March 11, 2011, was a magnitude 9.0, one of the worst ever recorded.

At about 8:30 a.m. today, Central time, a magnitude 5.7 quake ocurred near the island of Honshu, 77 miles east southeast of Tokyo , according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Geological Survey's PAGER earthquake risk site indicates this most recent tembler may have been perceived as moderate shaking by 962,000 people in Japan, and may have caused some moderate damage to vulnerable buildings.

The 201 earthquake caused a tsunami that produced waves as high as 133 feet in the coastal city of Miyako, north of Tokyo, and damaged several nuclear power plants, including the Fukushima Dai Ichi reactors, which experienced fuel meltdowns that resulted in the release of radiation.  There have been hundreds of earthquakes near Japan's Honshu Island since 1990, and 44 quakes in the Japan area since Feb. 1. - NOLA.
WATCH: Japan Earthquakes 2011 Timeline.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Merapi in Indonesia’s West Sumatra Briefly Erupts!

Mount Merapi, a volcano located in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra, briefly erupted on early Wednesday morning, officials said. It comes after activity was also reported at the volcano in August 2011. The 2,891-meter (9,485 feet) tall volcano, which is located near the cities and town of Bukittinggi, Padang Panjang and Batusangkar in West Sumatra, began erupting at around 7:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, according to the Antara news agency.

Merapi's initial eruption lasted around fifteen minutes and spewed out volcanic ashes which reached some 200 meters (656 feet) to the south from its crater. A second eruption took place moments later, lasting about ten minutes and bringing thick white smoke about 100 meters (328 feet) up. Suparmo of the Volcanological and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) in Bukittinggi told the Antara news agency that Mount Merapi will remain at a Level II alert status as it is still prone to eruptions and other kinds of activity. In addition, he called on locals to remain alert.

Since August 2011, Mount Merapi, the most active volcano on the island of Sumatra, has shown increased volcanic activity. The PVMBG has installed seismometers and digital analogs at an altitude of 2,000 meters (6.560 feet) at Nagari Batu Palano and at an altitude of 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) at Nagari Lasi in order to monitor the activity. Dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, known for frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes is Mount Merapi, which is located on the island of Java near Jogjakarta, the country's second-most visited area after Bali. Last year, more than 300 people were killed in a series of eruptions between October and November which also displaced over 300,000 people.
- Channel 6.

EARTH CHANGES: Brahmaputra River Dries up in Arunachal, Tibet!

The Siang (Brahmaputra) river originating from Tibet was suddenly found to have almost dried up at a town in Arunachal Pradesh, a state government spokesperson said on Wednesday night.

People of century-old Pasighat town in East Siang district found that the water level of the river receded so much this evening that it almost dried, Tako Dabi said. Dabi, also the political advisor to Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, expressed apprehension that China could have diverted the water of the river, which is known as Yarlong Tsangpo in Tibet, or there could be some artificial blockade due to which this has happened.

On June 9, 2000, the water level of Siang rose suddenly by 30 m and inundated almost the entire township causing widespread destruction to property besides claiming seven lives following the collapse of a hydropower dam in Tibet, said Dabi, who himself inspected the dried bed of the river. Dabi suggested that the Centre and its agencies like the Central Water Commission should immediately conduct a study in collaboration with the state government to find the crux of the problem.

The panic of the people cannot be simply brushed off, he said. Yarlung Tsangpo, the highest river in the world, is a watercourse that originates at Tamlung Tso Lake in western Tibet, southeast of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. It later forms the South Tibet Valley and Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, before entering India at Tuting in Arunachal as Siang, takes the name of Brahmaputra in Assam and enters Bangladesh and is known as Megna. In the Upper Mekong Basin in Yunnan Province, China has planned to construct eight cascade hydropower dams, the first of which, the Manwan Dam, was completed in 1996. - Deccan Chronicle.

NOTE: Special thanks to Joann McKeon-Chan for contributing to this post.