Friday, May 17, 2013

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Dark And Massive Asteroid To Fly By Earth On May 31st; Asteroid 1998 QE2 Is Covered In A Mysterious Sooty Substance; Will Come Within 3.6 Million Miles Of Earth; Has The Potential For Mass Destruction; Similar In Size To The Asteroid That Killed Off The Dinosaurs!

May 17, 2013 - SPACE - It's 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sticky black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT.

The space rock's name is not an homage to England's Queen Elizabeth II, or to the famous 12-deck ocean liner that was retired from service in 2008. It's just the moniker assigned by the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., which names each newfound asteroid according to an established alphanumeric scheme that lays out when it was discovered.

Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.

We will know more after the asteroid zips closer to Earth and scientists using the Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif., and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico can get a better look at it. Astronomers at both observatories plan to track it closely from May 30 to June 9, according to a JPL release.

The orbit of asteroid 1998 QE2. (NASA / JPL / Caltech).

At its closest approach the asteroid will still be 3.6 million miles from our planet (about 15 times the distance between the Earth and the moon), but it will be close enough for these powerful radar antennas to see features as small as 12 feet across.

"With radar we can transform an object from a point of light into a small world with its own characteristics," Lance Benner, JPL's principal investigator for Goldstone radar observations, said in a statement.

NASA leads the global effort to identify potentially dangerous asteroids. Our planet has been pummeled by space rocks throughout its 4.5-billion-year history, and more strikes are in our future.

The planet got a dramatic reminder of this reality this past Feb. 15. On that day, a 55-foot (17 m) object exploded without warning over Russia, just hours before the 130-foot asteroid 2012 DA14 gave Earth a close shave, missing our planet by just 17,200 miles (27,000 km).

There is no chance that asteroid 1998 QE2 could collide with Earth this go-around, and its next close approach won't be until 2119.

The asteroid, like the one pictured, will not pass earth again for two centuries. Photo: EPA

Still, Mainzer said the size of the asteroid, and its potential for mass destruction, should remind us that there are some scary things flying around in space.

"This is a really big asteroid, similar in size to the one that killed off the dinosaurs, and it's getting very close to us," she said. "Fortunately we've been tracking its orbit very carefully so we know with great certainty it won't hit us.

"We don't need to panic, but we do need to pay attention," she said. 

The orbit of asteroid 1998 QE2.

SOURCES: LA Times | Space.

SOLAR WATCH: Sunspot 1748 Unleashes M3.2 Solar Flare - Coronal Mass Ejections To Hit Earth 's Magnetic Fields From May 17 To 19; X-Flare Threat Continues As The "Complex" Sunspot Faces Earth More Directly!

May 17, 2013 - THE SUN - A moderate solar flare reaching M3.2 was detected around Sunspot 1748 at 08:57 UTC Friday morning.

SDO Composite (Early Friday) - SDO.

The latest solar flare event was associated with a 10cm Radio Burst (TenFlare) measuring 450sfu, along with Type II and IV Radio Emissions (Sweep Frequency Events). The sunspot is facing Earth more directly than before. The active region is now in a geoeffective position for Earth directed Coronal Mass Ejecitons. 

Images from the M3.2 solar flare:

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is visible within the latest STEREO Behind COR2 imagery. There does appear to be an Earth directed component. The latest CME Prediction Model released by the Goddard Space Flight Center shows a possible impact by late on May 19th. The Coronal Mass Ejection was the result of the M3 solar flare event from this morning. Minor geomagnetic storming at high latitudes may be possible if the plasma cloud sweeps past our planet.

Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the M3.2 solar flare.

The latest CME Prediction Model released by the Goddard Space Flight Center shows a
possible impact by late on May 19th.

WATCH: M3.2 Solar Flare - May 17, 2013.

To illustrate the scale of the sunspot, photographer Göran Strand of Frösön, Sweden, inserted Earth into a picture of AR1748 he took on May 16th:

The sunspot's primary dark cores are nearly as big as our planet. However, that doesn't make this a big sunspot. Other 'spots on the sun today are larger. AR1748 is not explosive because it is large, but rather because it has a complex magnetic field. Lines of magnetic force twisting above the spot are criss-crossing and re-connecting. That's how you make an X-flare.

All by itself, AR1748 has produced more X-flares than every other sunspot of the past year combined. In summary, AR1748 has given us an X1.7-class flare (0217 UT on May 13), an X2.8-class flare (1609 UT on May 13), an X3.2-class flare (0117 UT on May 14), and an X1-class flare (0152 on May 15).

POSSIBLE CME IMPACT ON MAY 17: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hurled into space by the X1-flare of May 15th might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on May 17th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight.

Visible Solar Disk (Friday) - Sunspot AR1748 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors
energy for X-class solar flares.  Credit: SDO/HMI

Proton levels streaming past Earth remain elevated above the minor radiation storm threshold. This could persist over the next 24-48 hours, up until a glancing blow CME impact from the X1.2 solar flare on May 15 possibly sweeps past Earth on Friday May 17. There will be a slight chance for minor geomagnetic storming at very high latitudes. 

ALERT: Proton Event 10MeV Integral Flux exceeded 10pfu
Begin Time: 2013 May 15 1335 UTC
NOAA Scale: S1 - Minor Radiation Storm
Potential Impacts: Radio - Minor impacts on polar HF (high frequency) radio propagation resulting in fades at lower frequencies.

Stay tuned for the latest and most up to date information.

SOURCES: Solar Ham | Space Weather.

DISASTER IMPACT: "IT WAS LIKE HELL" - Massive Tornado Devastates Granbury, Texas; Winds Up To 200 Miles An Hour; 6 Dead; One Of 12 Tornadoes To Hit North Texas; Search Is On For Survivors; Some Victims Are "Not Even Near Their Homes"; More Severe Weather Outbreak Possible This Weekend!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - With six people already confirmed dead, rescue crews in a northern Texas town continued their search for victims Friday after a wave of 16 tornadoes crashed through the region, ripping homes to pieces and laying waste to large swaths of the area.

In Granbury, seven people were still missing after an EF4 tornado packing winds up to 200 mph destroyed a neighborhood late Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds told reporters that the search for victims had to be expanded because "two of these people that they found were not even near their homes, so we're going to have to search the area out there."

A series of tornadoes ripped across northern Texas, killing six and injuring dozens more.

Nearly 100 damaged homes remained off limits Thursday night as crews in the hardest-hit areas continued to a search for survivors and victims.

Hundreds of people had checked in with authorities to say they had survived.

The violent twisters flattened homes, uprooted trees, tossed trailers onto cars and left hundreds homeless in morth Texas. About 100 people were injured.

WATCH: The tornado that devastated Granbury, Texas, had winds up to 200 miles an hour and killed at least six people. It was one of 12 tornadoes that hit North Texas Wednesday night. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.

All of the dead – confirmed to all be adults — were from the Rancho Brazos neighborhood on the outskirts of Granbury where most of the homes were built in the past five years by residents themselves and the Christian charity group Habitat for Humanity. Granbury is a town of 8,000 people about 65 miles southwest of Dallas.

Officials on Thursday night released the names of the dead: Jose Tovas Alvarez, 34, Robert Whitehead, 60, Tommy Martin, 61, Marjari Davis, 82, Leo Stefanski, 83, and Glenda White, whose age wasn't known. The identities of the missing were not made public.

“We’re going to keep on looking, we’re not going to give up until every piece of debris is turned over and we know that we’re good to go” Deeds said at a news briefing Thursday evening.

WATCH: Devastating tornadoes hit Texas.

He said that 97 homes sustained damage, from slight to total destruction. Electricity and water were still out to those homes and he said it could be days before residents could return.

“With the gas and electricity hazards we’re not going to take a chance in the area,” he said.

“It's rough, very rough. Everything's demolished," a resident told KXAS as she rushed away from the neighborhood with her arms around a child. "It was like hell."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, along with other state and local officials, will visit Granbury on Friday.

The National Weather Service in Dallas-Fort Worth said 16 tornadoes were confirmed to have ripped through north Texas.

The tornado that hit Granbury Wednesday night was rated an EF-4 by the National Weather Service, meaning that winds reached between 160 and 200 miles per hour.

WATCH: Tornado Threat for Friday.

WATCH: Severe Weather Threat Into Weekend.

It was the first EF-4 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area since 1994, National Weather Service spokesman Mark Fox said.

The tornadoes seemed to have caused less damage in Cleburne, where Mayor Scott Cain told KXAS. The town did “have the potential for some injuries,” Cain said.

Some witnesses have said the tornado that swept through Johnson County may have been as much as a mile wide. While that twister that hit Granbury was smaller, but it struck a more populated area, according to Fox.

People in the affected areas had a little more than the national average of 13 minutes warning before the tornadoes struck, according to the National Weather Service.

“The warning came well before the tornadoes,” Fox said. Residents of Montague County were alerted about 15 to 30 minutes before the storm struck, and in Hood County a warning was issued 25 minutes before the tornado touched down. - NBC News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For May 17, 2013 - Updates On Sakurajima, Pavlof, Popocatépetl, Telica, San Cristobal, Masaya And Galeras!

May 17, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): It seems that the latest cycle of increased activity has ended: after several days of intense activity, culminating in larger explosions on 14 and 15 May, the volcano has been "taking a rest" lasting about 2 days. This morning, only a small explosion was recorded.

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues with lava fountaining at the summit that feeds a lava flow now over 100 m long and produces a continuous ash, steam, and gas plume extending downwind from the volcano for 50 to 100 km at an altitude of about 20,000 ft above sea level. This morning the cloud was carried to the southeast. Satellite images show persistent elevated surface temperatures at the summit and on the northwest flank.

MODIS hot spot data (past 7 days) for Pavlov volcano (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii)

Seismic activity remains elevated with nearly continuous tremor recorded on the seismic network.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity remains intense. Last night at 22:14 and this morning at 00:29 h local time, two strong explosions occurred and ejected incandescent fragments on all the volcano´s flanks to distances of up to 1,500 m from the crater. The explosions triggered an eruption plume rising at least 3 km above the volcano, drifting northeast.

Eruption from Popo this morning (CENAPRED webcam).

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has returned (for now) to relatively low levels today. This follows many small earthquake swarms that occurred during the past week.

Seismic recording from Telica this morning (TELN station, INETER).

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has generally remained weak recently.

Current seismic recording from San Cristobal volcano (CRIN station, INETER).

Masaya (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has remained at normal, generally low levels during the past weeks. Occasionally, phases of weak increased tremor are visible.

Seismic recording from Masaya 16 May (MASN station, INETER).

Galeras (Colombia): A small series of ash emissions occurred in the morning of 16 May, following a weak increase in seismic activity during the past week.

Ash emissions from Galeras on 16 May (INGEOMINAS).

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for May 17, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up In America - Sinkhole Shuts Down Scenic Georgia Highway Lanes!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The Georgia Department of Transportation has repaired a sinkhole that closed a lane of Scenic Highway in Snellville.

The sinkhole formed just south of Henry Clower Boulevard Wednesday night and was about 6 feet deep.

A turn lane was closed while crews spent the day repairing the hole in the road. - WTEV.

WATCH: New wave of 'superbugs' poses dire threat, says chief medical officer.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Unusually Severe Declines" - The Warmer Springs Are Causing The Loss Of Snow Cover Throughout The Rocky Mountains?!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Warmer spring temperatures since 1980 are causing an estimated 20 percent loss of snow cover across the Rocky Mountains of western North America, according to a new study.

The research builds upon a previous snowpack investigation by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that showed that, until the 1980s, the northern Rocky Mountains experienced large snowpacks when the central and southern Rockies experienced meager ones, and vice versa. Yet, since the 1980s, there have been simultaneous snowpack declines along the entire length of the Rocky Mountains, and unusually severe declines in the north, the earlier investigation showed.

A new study of the Rocky Mountains finds that, since 1980, warmer spring temperatures have reduced snow cover throughout the range. Credit: Jeremy Littell.

Now, the new study, also by USGS scientists, has teased apart and quantified the different influences of winter temperature, spring temperature, and precipitation on historic snowpack variations and trends in the region. To distinguish those varying influences, the researchers implemented a regional snow model that uses inputs of monthly temperature and precipitation data from 1895 to 2011.

"Each year we looked at temperature and precipitation variations and the amount of water contained within the snowpack as of April," said Greg Pederson of the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman, Mont., who is the lead author of the study.

"Snow deficits were consistent throughout the Rockies due to the lack of precipitation during the cool seasons during the 1930s - coinciding with the Dust Bowl era. From 1980 on, warmer spring temperatures melted snowpack throughout the Rockies early, regardless of winter precipitation. The model in turn shows temperature as the major driving factor in snowpack declines over the past thirty years."

Pederson and his colleagues present their new findings in an article in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Runoff from Rocky Mountain winter snowpack accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the annual water supply for more than 70 million people living in the western U.S., and is influenced by the snowpack's water content, known as snow water equivalent, and the timing of snowmelt.

The timing of snowmelt affects not only when water is available for crop irrigation and energy production from hydroelectric dams, but also the risk of regional floods and wildfires. Earlier and faster snowmelt could have repercussions for water supply, risk management, and ecosystem health in western watersheds.

Regional snowpack accumulation is highly sensitive to variations in both temperature and precipitation over time. Patterns and sources of these variations are difficult to discern due to complex mountain topography, the different influence of Pacific Ocean climate, like La Nina and El Nino, on winter precipitation in the northern versus southern and central Rockies, and the brevity and patchiness of detailed snow records.

In the new study, the regional snow model used by Pederson and his USGS colleagues Julio Betancourt, and Greg McCabe allows estimation of snow water and cover variability at different latitudes and elevations during the last century regardless of the absence of direct and long-term observations everywhere.

Recent snowpack variations also were evaluated in the context of snowpack evidence from tree-rings, allowing the scientists to compare recent observations to measurements from the past 800 years.

McCabe explains that "recent springtime warming also reduced the extent of snow cover at low to middle elevations where temperature has had the greatest impact."

"Both natural variability in temperature and anthropogenic warming have contributed to the recent snowpack decline, though disentangling their influences exactly remains elusive," Betancourt said.

"Regardless of the ultimate causes, continuation of present snowpack trends in the Rocky Mountains will pose difficult challenges for watershed management and conventional water planning in the American West." - Terra Daily.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Two Alaska Volcanoes At Risk For Exploding - Lava Flows Cause Concern!

May 17, 2013 - ALASKA - Two volcanoes in Alaska are at risk of exploding with little to no warning. After lava flowed from the two volcanoes yesterday (Tuesday), authorities placed both locations on the second-highest alert levels.

Two volcanoes in Alaska are at risk of exploding with little to no warning. After lava flowed from the two volcanoes yesterday (Tuesday), authorities placed both locations on the second-highest alert levels.
(Photo : Flickr/NOAA/Mandy Lindeberg/NMFS/AKFSC.)

The two volcanoes are named Pavlof and Cleveland. Both stratovolcanoes are located in the Aleutian island range, which is southwest of mainland Alaska. While both are active, though, Pavlof Volcano has been far more active than Cleveland. Since 1980, it's had eruptions recorded every few years and possesses a threat score of 95 for future eruptions.

On May 15, Pavlof experienced an increase in seismic activity and the presence of intense elevated surface temperatures. This was followed by eruptive activity, including a spatter-fed lava flow that has advanced about a third of a mile down the north flank of the volcano. Cleveland similarly experienced elevated surface temperatures and a 300-foot-wide lava flow that breached the southeast rim of the summit crater and then extended about a mile down the southeast flank of the volcano.

These lava flows aren't necessarily worrisome. What does have officials concerned, though, is the possibility of explosive behavior. Cleveland in particular is at risk for sending massive clouds of ash swirling into the air about 20,000 feet above sea level. This could potentially cause air traffic delays.

Yet air traffic delays aren't the only cause for concern. People could also be in the line of fire if these volcanoes erupt. Many visitors seek out the dangerous locales as tourists.

"We think of the Aleutian Islands as being remote and desolate," said John Power, a scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey, in an interview with CNN. "But when you come up with 30,000 feet, we are talking about 20 to 30,000 people there every single day."

Further complicating matters is the fact that while Pavlof is monitored with ground instruments, Cleveland isn't. This will mean that it will take longer for scientists to realize that the volcano has erupted--if it does indeed erupt.

In order to get further updates on the status of the two volcanoes, check out the Alaska Volcano Observatory. - Science World Report.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Where Did That Come From - Chinese Family Car Swallowed Up By Monster Sinkhole?!

May 17, 2013 - CHINAThis is the bizarre moment a family of five got the shock of their lives when a giant sinkhole opened up and swallowed their car.

Oops: The Chinese family's car tumbles into the giant sinkhole (Rex Features/Rex).

The Chinese family had been driving in Hetian, western China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, when the road suddenly collapsed and the front of the car fell in.

Father Alimu, whose wife and three children were also in the car, was unable to open the door as the sinkhole got bigger over the next 30 minutes until their vehicle almost completely disappeared.

The Chinese family managed to scramble from their car despite the predicament (Rex).

A Chinese traffic official looks on in bemusement at the sinkhole (Rex).

Unable to open his door, Alimu and his wife were forced to clamber into the back and escape that way with their children.

It was eventually pulled out using a crane, covered in mud and with a crumpled front.

According to authorities there used to be an air raid shelter below the road and heavy rain caused the cave-in. - Yahoo.

GLOBAL COASTAL EVENT: Geological Upheavals - World's Melting Glaciers Making Large Contribution To Sea Rise!

May 17, 2013 - EARTHWhile 99 percent of Earth's land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world's glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.

Melt from Alaska's Columbia Glacier and other glaciers around the world contributed as much to global
sea rise as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets combined from 2003 and 2009.
(Credit: Photo courtesy Tad Pfeffer, University of Colorado)

The new research found that all glacial regions lost mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.

The study compared traditional ground measurements to satellite data from NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, missions to estimate ice loss for glaciers in all regions of the planet.

"For the first time, we've been able to very precisely constrain how much these glaciers as a whole are contributing to sea rise," said geography Assistant Professor Alex Gardner of Clark University in Worcester, Mass., lead study author. "These smaller ice bodies are currently losing about as much mass as the ice sheets."

A paper on the subject is being published in the May 17 issue of the journal Science.

"Because the global glacier ice mass is relatively small in comparison with the huge ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, people tend to not worry about it," said CU-Boulder Professor Tad Pfeffer, a study co-author. "But it's like a little bucket with a huge hole in the bottom: it may not last for very long, just a century or two, but while there's ice in those glaciers, it's a major contributor to sea level rise," said Pfeffer, a glaciologist at CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

ICESat, which ceased operations in 2009, measured glacier changes using laser altimetry, which bounces laser pulses off the ice surface to determine changes in the height of ice cover. The GRACE satellite system, still operational, detects variations in Earth's gravity field resulting from changes in the planet's mass distribution, including ice displacements.

GRACE does not have a fine enough resolution and ICESat does not have sufficient sampling density to study small glaciers, but mass change estimates by the two satellite systems for large glaciated regions agree well, the scientists concluded.

"Because the two satellite techniques, ICESat and GRACE, are subject to completely different types of errors, the fact that their results are in such good agreement gives us increased confidence in those results," said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, a study co-author and fellow at the university's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Ground-based estimates of glacier mass changes include measurements along a line from a glacier's summit to its edge, which are extrapolated over a glacier's entire area. Such measurements, while fairly accurate for individual glaciers, tend to cause scientists to overestimate ice loss when extrapolated over larger regions, including individual mountain ranges, according to the team.

Current estimates predict if all the glaciers in the world were to melt, they would raise sea level by about two feet. In contrast, an entire Greenland ice sheet melt would raise sea levels by about 20 feet, while if Antarctica lost its ice cover, sea levels would rise nearly 200 feet. - Science Daily.

MASS BEES DIE-OFF & THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Peak Pollination - Global Collapse Of Food Supply Approaches As 30% Of Bee Colonies Wiped Out In The Last Year

May 17, 2013 - EARTH - With seven billion people on the planet energy and food resources are already highly strained, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of the world’s population lives on just scraps a day.

It wouldn’t take much to send us over a cliff. The last several years have not only reduced food reserves significantly because of widespread droughts, but have led to price inflation in essential grains necessary to feed ourselves as well as the livestock on which millions of Americans depend.
The reality is that we’re just one major calamity away from a catastrophic impact on our ability to feed the people of earth.

And, according to recent data published by the Bee Informed Partnership, that calamity could come in the form of a totally unexpected event: Peak Pollination.
According to the latest survey results, an astounding 31.3 percent, or roughly one-third, of all managed bee colonies in the U.S. were wiped out during the most recent 2012/2013 winter season, a rate that represents a 42 percent increase compared to the number of colonies lost during the previous 2011/2012 winter season.

U.S. beekeepers on average lost more than 45 percent of their colonies during the 2012/2013 winter season, a 78.2 percent jump in losses over the previous season.

And overall, more than 70 percent of respondents, most of whom were backyard beekeepers, experienced losses beyond the 15 percent “acceptable” threshold, illustrating a monumental problem not only for bee survival but also for the American food supply.
many are worried that this year-after-year compounded increase will very soon make it impossible for grow enough food.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” says Dennis vanEngelstorp, an entomologist at the University of Maryland who led the survey. “If we want to grow fruits and nuts and berries, this is important.
One in every three bites [of food consumed in the U.S.] is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.
Via: Natural News
The bee population has been diminishing at an astounding 30% per year over the last decade, a decline that is often overlooked or ignored by central planners.

Bees are absolutely essential to the cycle of life. In the United States they pollinate about 90% of flowering crops, including those used as feed for cattle.

Take away the bees and the majority of the world’s population will be dead within a year because there will be no way to pollinate the billions of pounds of fruits, vegetables and other plants required to keep all of us alive.

The most frightening thing about the destruction of bee colonies is that we have absolutely no idea what is causing it. It could be contaminants in the air such as industrial pollutants or radiation. Some have surmised that it’s electro-magnetic and radio signals from millions of internet-wired devices. Or, perhaps it’s the very plants the bees are pollinating, most of which are now genetically modified to serve corporate business interests.

Whatever the cause, we have no solution, which means we can expect this trend to continue.

Nature has struck a very delicate balance on our planet. From the thermo-halene circulation of our oceans to the oxygen and carbon dioxide in our air, even tiny changes make for significant global impacts.

At this pace it is only a matter of time before the population of bees on our planet falls below the threshold necessary to produce enough food required to meet global demand.
Adee Honey Farms of South Dakota, the largest beekeeping business in the country, lost 28,000 of its 70,000 hives. That’s about a billion bees gone missing. “It’s off the charts,” said Bret Adee. It’s not a sustainable thing, what’s happening now. (link)
How long before we go critical is anybody’s guess, but peak pollination is coming unless we can reverse the trend (something that doesn’t look very promising).

At current rates about half of the world’s bee population is being destroyed every two years.
These are massive numbers.

With bees responsible for pollinating about 35% of the food produced for global consumption, it’s easy to see how serious of a crisis we’ll face if Colony Collapse Disorder can’t be stopped.

Couple this with all of our other problems, both natural and man-made, and things could go very badly, very quickly. - SHTF Plan.

PLANETARY TREMORS: "It Was Like A Massive Explosion" - Strong 5.2 And 4.2 Earthquakes Rattle Quebec And Ontario Regions In Canada; Seismologist Expects Tens To Hundreds Of Tremors To Follow!

May 17, 2013 - CANADATwo earthquakes shook eastern Ontario and Quebec Friday morning, rattling buildings and nerves as far away as Barrie and Toronto.

5.2-magnitude quake 21 kilometres northeast of Shawville, Que. ((CBC/Google Earth))

A 5.2 magnitude quake hit about 20 kilometres northeast of Shawville, Que., at 9:43 a.m., according to Earthquakes Canada. Ten minutes later, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake shook Braeside, Ont., near Arnprior.

“The windowsill, the walls seemed to shift up and down,” Mayor Albert Armstrong told The Canadian Press. “My cabinet behind me was shaking and twisting.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never witnessed one like that before.”

'It was like a massive explosion'

Dan Duggan owns the Pontiac Home Bakery in Shawville, Que.

When the quake hit at 9:43, he was with staff in the bakery making sandwiches.

"It was like a massive explosion that went off it just started shaking and the walls of the bakery were moving," said Duggan.

"I thought it was my propane tanks exploding we were evacuting employees out of the building. It lasted for about 25 seconds and it went on for about another minute," he said.

"I've lived throurgh earthquakes before but never anything like that."

'I booted it out of the house' says one resident

Fellow Shawville resident Jonathan Essiambre was renovating his home when he felt the rattling.

"It kind of made me a little nervous and I booted it out of the house as quick as I could. It certainly got my heart racing," said Essiambre.

Essiambre said that while his dishes rattled during the quake, he did not see any damage.

Steve Brown in Blacks Corners, Ont. — a town about 50 km southwest of Ottawa — said the floors of his store shook when the quake began.

"You could see everyone was stunned to feel such shaking," said Brown.

The minor earthquake “started in a pretty unpopulated area . . . we don’t expect there to be much damage,” said seismologist John Adams of Earthquake Canada. He says the quake was felt as far as Waterloo.

Braeside is located roughly 75 kilometres west of Ottawa.

Quake felt in Toronto, Cleveland

The quake could be felt as far away as Toronto and Cleveland, Ohio.

CBC producer Brenda Murray was in her 22nd-floor condo in downtown Toronto.

"I was sitting on my couch when it started to shake slightly forward and back. I looked over at a floor lamp, and the shade was moving."
Buildings in Ottawa and Toronto were evacuated, including the offices of the National Post. The quake touched off an eruption of reaction on Twitter as users reported buildings shaking in Ottawa for several seconds.

“If you put ‘and then there was an earthquake’ in a piece of fiction about this week, the editor would cut it out as unbelievable,” noted Star politics reporter Susan Delacourt on Twitter.

The current data was automatically detected and seismologists are now working to confirm the specifics of the earthquake’s magnitude, said a spokesperson from Natural Resources Canada.

The earthquake forced building evacuations throughout Toronto, including at the National Post's offices.

“Sometimes there are minor adjustments made. It could have been a 5.1 or a 5.0, that kind of thing,” he said.
Ontario Provincial Police in Arnprior, Ont., not far from the epicentre, say they have received no reports of damage.

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake is rarely powerful enough to cause any major damage.

Adams expects tens to hundreds of tremors to follow the earthquake, mostly felt close to the epicentre in the Quebec side of the Ottawa Valley. There is a 2 per cent chance that a larger earthquake will follow, he said.

The last earthquake in the area was a 5.0 magnitude in June 2010.

“For Ottawa to be shaken twice in about three years is a little unusual,” said Adams, who says such earthquakes happen in Western Quebec about once every 10 years.

SOURCES: National Post | The Star | Globe And Mail | CBC.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The Planetary Cycles Of Glacial Advance And Retreat - Scientists Find Evidence That Earth's Mantle Affects Sea Level Rise Estimates!

May 17, 2013 - EARTHA prehistoric shoreline runs along the eastern edge of North America; scientists have pointed to it as evidence that much of Antarctica melted 3 million years ago. But new research suggests this shoreline is actually about 30 feet (10 meters) lower than previously thought, meaning less ice melted than suspected.

The East Coast shoreline as it appeared 3 million years ago. The shoreline has been adjusted 82 feet (25 meters) relative to today.  CREDIT: David Rowley/Science Express

The shoreline, which should be flat, also swoops up and down the East Coast like a set of wave crests, reflecting tugging and pushing by Earth's mantle, the layer of viscous rock leisurely oozing underneath the crust, according to the study, published today (May 16) in the journal Science Express.

The finding shows that scientists have to be careful when looking at Earth for evidence of past sea level changes from the planet's cycles of glacial advance and retreat.

"You simply can't go somewhere and look at the height of the shoreline and infer anything about the amount of water in the oceans or the height of sea level without already knowing an awful lot about what the mantle is doing," said David Rowley, lead study author and a geologist at the University of Chicago.

This interplay between the surface elevation of the Earth and the mantle is called dynamic topography. The cliffs of the Great Australian Bight and the tall height of the African continent are also attributed to the mantle's effects on topography. Even the Appalachian Mountains may owe their enduring height to the mantle.

'Magic carpet' crust

Past sea-level changes leave a record on land, in the form of shorelines carved by waves when sea level was higher. Researchers are searching every continent for this 3-million-year-old coastline to predict future sea level rise.

The coastline's height can indicate how much of Greenland and Antarctica melted in the mid-Pliocene, when average global sea-surface temperatures were about 3.6 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 3 degrees Celsius) warmer and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide — the dominant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere — were comparable to those measured in 2011.

Based on the height of shorelines found so far, as well as other geologic evidence, many scientists think that Greenland, West Antarctica and even the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet melted during the mid-Pliocene warm period.

But Rowley's lower estimate means East Antarctica was untouched by melting, he said. More importantly, scientists seeking to model past climate from prehistoric coastlines need to consider changes wrought by the mantle in their calculations, he said.

"The height of sea level in the past is being deformed and distorted," Rowley told OurAmazingPlanet.

The mantle distorts the crust because some parts are more cold and dense, and pull on the surface, and others are hotter and more buoyant, giving the crust a boost. "The surface is sort of a magic carpet riding on the mantle, which is telling the surface to either go up or down," Rowley said. For instance, a cold blob depresses Georgia and a hot lump lifts the mid-Atlantic's Chesapeake Bay.

The warped shoreline, called the Orangeburg Scarp, was shifted as much as 196 feet (60 m) by the mantle, the researchers found. The team used a computer model to account for the mantle effects on topography, as well as changes from piles of sediments building up offshore and glaciers retreating in the North.

This gravity model of Earth reflects density differences in the mantle and crust.

Appalachians rising

Evidence for the mantle's imprint on the East Coast goes back even further, according to a study published online May 11 in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

The Appalachian mountain range was formed between 325 million to 260 million years ago. There hasn't been any significant tectonic activity in the region since then — the East Coast is what's called a passive margin, with no boundary between two of Earth's tectonic plates.

But about 15 million years ago, streams started cutting steeply back into the range in the Susquehanna River basin, in the Northeast. The rivers incised more than 300 feet (100 m). The simplest explanation for the uplift that triggered the erosion is dynamic topography, said Scott Miller, lead study author and a geomorphologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

"There's no such thing as a passive margin," Miller said. "If you go to every passive margin in the world, there's likely some contribution from dynamic topography." - Live Science.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Ash Dieback In Mature Trees In Wales As Disease Spreads - Could Wipe Out All Of The United Kingdom's 92 MILLION Ash Trees!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOMThe deadly tree disease, that first appeared in the UK last autumn, was until now confined mostly to the east coast and newly planted sites.

Of the 500 cases spotted so far, 295 are newly planted and the most far east infection was in established woodland in Kent.

Ash dieback or Chalara Fraxinea is now in 500 sites across the UK.© ALAMY

But in a worrying development the infection was found for the first time in mature trees in the seaside town of Ferryside in Carmthenshire, Wales.

As trees start to burst into bud it is expected a lot more infected trees will be discovered by people spotting the tell-tale signs of curled, blacked leaves rather than spring green.

It was hoped the disease might be contained to newly planted sites or the eastern seaboard, where the fungus could have blown in from the Continent.

But the first case in mature trees in Wales suggests it is taking hold across the country via imports and the Government has admitted it is too late to stop the spread.

Members of the public are now being asked to keep an eye out for further cases by looking for trees with blackened leaves.

The first infected trees in Wales were discovered in Carmarthenshire by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) staff last week.

Martin Ward, of the Food and Environment Research Agency, said the trees were infected by nearby nursery sites two or three years ago.

"The most likely is it has spread from newly planted sites," he said.

The mature trees will not be destroyed, although action will be taken to stop the spread of the disease and the infection will be closely monitored.

The spread of the disease into mature trees via imports will raise questions once again over whether the Government has done enough to stop the disease coming into the UK.

It will also raise fears the disease will spread fast into new areas of Britain as once trees are infected it is difficult to stop the fungus growing on leaf litter and blowing on the wind to infect other trees.

Mr Ward said that the Government policy is to try and develop resistance rather than try and stop the disease, since spread is inevitable.

"The management plan is intended to slow the spread and stop the damage it is not intended to stop ash dieback because with this particular disease we cannot stop the spread across the country. What is in the question is the timescale."

Ash dieback has infected 90 per cent of trees in Denmark and could kill all of the UK's 92 million ash trees just as Dutch Elm Disease wiped out elm.

Austin Brady, Head of Conservation at the Woodland Trust, said the discovery of chalara in mature trees in the west is extremely worrying as it suggests the disease is spreading into established woodland across the country.

"This news is extremely concerning given that not only is it the first outbreak in mature trees in Wales, but the first anywhere in the west of the UK. Once again, it brings into sharp focus the ongoing threat our trees and woods are facing."

Dr John Morgan, head of the Forestry Commission's Plant Health Service, said more infections are expected to be spotted now the buds have burst.

He said the public are key to monitoring the spread of the disease. Videos have been made available to teach people how to spot the signs and phone apps or online forms make it easier to register sightings.

"Ash trees are flushing with new leaves now. The public can then help us monitor the progress of the disease by accurately reporting suspected cases, using our Tree Alert app or online form. We are particularly interested in suspected cases in counties where it hasn't been found so far." - Telegraph.

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Electric Universe, Solar Flares And Cometary Impacts - Surprising Disconnection Event In The Tail Of Comet Lemmon?!

May 17, 2013 - SPACEComet Lemmon (C/2012 F6), which is receding from the sun not far beyond the orbit of Earth, has just experienced a "disconnection event." A cloud of dusty plasma is propagating down the comet's tail, shown here in a photo taken by amateur astronomer Paul Mortfield on May 15th:

RCOS 16 f/8.9, STL11K, 5x2minutes
Sierra Remote Observatories, California MPC: G80

"I was pretty surprised to see this disconnection event when I processed the images," says Mortfield. "The comet is a challenge to photograph because it is so low in the sky at the start of morning twilight."

Disconnection events can be caused by CME impacts. A famous example is that of Comet Encke in 2007. Comet Lemmon, however, is not on the same side of the sun as active sunspot AR1748.

It's hard to see how the recent X-flares can be responsible. Nevertheless, solar activity is high, so now is a good time to monitor comet tails. They are very sensitive to stormy space weather.

Comet Lemmon is a pre-dawn object for observers in the northern hemisphere. It is currently gliding alongside the Great Square of Pegasus in the eastern sky before sunrise.

The 7th-magnitude comet is too faint to see with the naked eye, but it is visible in medium-to-large backyard telescopes. Observers with computerized GOTO 'scopes should point their optics here.

More about Comet Lemmon:
3D orbit, ephemeris, light curves.

- Space Weather.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Local Ground Squirrel Test Positive For Plague in The Palomar Mountain, San Diego - Hikers And Campers Warned To Take Precaution!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATESA ground squirrel that tested positive for plague on Palomar Mountain has led San Diego County health officials to warn campers and hikers to take precautions.

Ground Squirrel

"The big thing is to avoid contact with squirrels and the fleas that they can carry," Department of Environmental Health director Jack Miller said.

“Campers should set up tents away from squirrel burrows, never feed squirrels and warn children not to play with squirrels.” Miller said.

A squirrel trapped at Cedar Grove Campground on Palomar Mountain was the first reported case of plague in San Diego County this year.

Plague is a bacterial disease of wild rodents that is transmitted to people by fleas that feed on the blood of a sick animal and then bite humans.

For more information about plague call the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888 or visit the website at - 10News.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - Rare May Snow In Anchorage, Alaska Could Rank In The Top-Five Snowiest Of All Time!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A snowstorm expected to hit Anchorage, Alaska, Friday night could put this May into the top-five snowiest of all time.

"Rain will change to snow Friday night, piling up 1 to 3 inches of snow for Anchorage," Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said.

"The hillsides surrounding the city can observe up to a half a foot of snow by Saturday," Samuhel added.

Scenes similar to this can be scene in Anchorage by Saturday morning. A woman walks amid the newly fallen snow in downtown on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Juneau, Alaska. An arctic blast has given Juneau its first snow of the season. Meteorologist Nikki Becker says the snow is the result of a cold arctic front that hit the city this week. Thursday's high of 34 was 7 degrees below normal for that day. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Rain began falling Thursday night and will continue into Friday before a surge of Arctic air is sent south across the state, helping to change any rain to snow.

"Snow may persist into Saturday as the storm moves slowly over southern Alaska, potentially bringing an even greater snowfall to Anchorage," Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

"Either way, this May will place in the top five snowiest of all-time for the city if they get at least 1 inch from this storm," Pydynowski added.

Anchorage has already recorded 0.9 of an inch of snow on May 4, already tying them for the 7th snowiest May. This places them easily within range of breaking into the top five.

Snowiest May Records for Anchorage

The unusually snowy May is in stride with a record-setting cold May for Alaska. Expert Senior Meteorologist recently noted that during the prior winter, Anchorage set a seasonal snowfall record with 134.5 inches. The old record was 132.6 inches during the winter of 1954-55, according to the National Weather Service. - AccuWeather.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: 1,665 Chickens Killed Due To Avian Flu In Kathmandu, Nepal!

May 17, 2013 - NEPAL - A rapid response team comprising vet officials and technicians on Wednesday evening culled 200 chickens following confirmation of avian flu (H5N1) in a poultry farm owned by Bhim Prasad Lamichhane of Kirtipur -1 Tyanglaphant, Kathmandu.

The Directorate of Animal Health (DoAH) said that it is the second outbreak over the last two days.

Earlier on Monday evening, vet technicians had culled 1,465 chickens in a poultry farm owned by Amar Karki of Mulpani-3, Kathmandu following detection of bird flu virus. DoAH said the chickens in Lamichhane´s farm tested positive for bird flu on Tuesday evening.

Dr Bijaya Kant Jha, Director General (DG) at DoAH said that the office could not deploy rapid response team immediately to Lamichhane´s farm as they were all busy in disinfecting Karki´s farm at Mulpani. "We will complete disinfection by Wednesday evening,” said Dr Jha. He said Lamichhane brought samples of dead chicken for laboratory examination after chickens stopped eating feed and started dying.

Bol Raj Acharya, chief of district veterinary office, Kathmandu said that surveillance has been intensified across the country. He said surveillance officer deployed by DoAH have been collecting suspicious samples.

DoAH has urged all poultry farmers to take proper care of their chickens. The office has urged poultry farmers to immediately inform vet officials if chickens demonstrate suspicious behavior. Chickens infected with bird flu virus avoid feed, stand still with their head down and drool.

Meanwhile, DoAH has said that people can consume chicken and eggs without fear. They claimed that all the infected chickens and eggs have been destroyed. The office has also appealed to the locals to cook their chicken properly before eating and also to wash their hands with soap after contact with chickens.

DoAH said over 70 bird flu cases have been detected in poultry farms across the country since 2009. - Republica.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Increasing Numbers Of Dead Seabirds Found On North Carolina Coast?!

May 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Three wildlife conservationists have noticed increases in the amount of dead and sick birds found on local beaches.

While scouting the beach for sea turtle nests, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project coordinator Nancy Fahey noticed several dead birds along the beach strand.

Dovekies (Little Auks)

These reports appear to be part of a larger trend of an increase of dead and sick birds along the North Carolina coast.

On May 1, Fahey reported 13 dead dovekies, three dead common loons and one dead green heron found along the Wrightsville Beach strand to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter website,

"I have found more dead birds during these two weeks of monitoring than I've ever noticed on Wrightsville Beach," Fahey said. "And I think primarily those little dovekies added to that number or that observation, because it is a rare event for them to be down here."

Typically dovekies are found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fahey also found three live common loons from May 3 to May 9.

"I've never found three live loons in a two-week timeframe before, ever," said Fahey, who has been a WBSTP volunteer since 1995 and coordinator since 2004.

WBSTP volunteers are aware of Fahey's findings and what to watch out for when they scout the beach from mid-May through the end of August.

The sick birds Fahey found were transported to the SkyWatch Bird Rescue facility in Wilmington, where birds are rehabilitated.

"I definitely have noticed an increase in dead birds, not just Wrightsville Beach, all of the beaches locally, especially loons," said SkyWatch director Amelia Mason."We've received a lot more loons than usual And of course, until recently when the weather was cooler, we received all of those dovekies. Almost daily dovekies were coming in. ... I usually receive one or two dovekies a year, which is pretty normal. But this past year I've received nearly 30, so definitely a huge increase than the last five years I would say."
Lindsay Addison, Audubon North Carolina coastal biologist, said specimens from the local beaches have been collected and sent to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for testing to determine why there seems to be an increase in birds washing up dead or sick.

"Since there is no monitoring of Wrightsville Beach for dead birds, there's no way to say if there's been an increase or not," Addison said. "People have been noticing more dead birds here and elsewhere around the state, so that's likely true, but to say that there is an increase is not possible with the fact that there's no monitoring. ... The dovekies were an interesting phenomenon, because they do not usually wash up on the beach. So probably, they, like the razorbills, which we saw in extra large numbers this winter, probably had to do with a lack of food in their normal wintering ground, and they came down here and why they were not doing well, why they washed up is not yet known."

The dovekies that were transported to the SkyWatch facility weighed about one-quarter of their normal weight, Mason said.

Many of the dovekies had organ failure, because they had been starved and dehydrated for a long period of time.

"All we can do for them really is supportive care and keep them comfortable," Mason said. "Some do really well. Some die the first night after intake, but really most of them die. We have not released one yet."

In 2012, Mason said the facility received about 600 birds. So far this year, the facility has already received about 200 with summer months being the busiest months.

Currently, about 45 baby songbirds and 25 adult birds are being rehabilitated in the facility.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission did not respond for comment before press time.

Finding an injured bird

No North Carolina or local agencies rehab birds, so citizens can transport sick birds to a rehabilitation facility, such as SkyWatch Bird Rescue in Wilmington.

"Members of the general public are not allowed to possess the birds, except as they need to in order to transport them to a rehabber," Addison said. "But people should exercise caution if they want to try to help one of these birds that washes up. Make sure that you keep your eyes away from the bill. Simply tossing a towel or blanket over the bird, wrapping it up in that and dropping it off to SkyWatch is the best thing you can do for a bird that you find that's alive."

For more information, visit

Bird rehab, disposal process

Once the birds are transported to the rehabilitation facility, they are tube-fed, hydrated and given supportive care by two to three volunteers from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Many of the birds die, because their organs are already shutting down before they reach the rehab facility, said Amelia Mason, SkyWatch director.

"There's a couple of things you can do with dead birds," she said. "You can bury them. You can incinerate them. A lot of times I'll give them to the vet to add into their load of carcasses that they have removed by service. Legally, you can dispose of them in the trash. But I don't like to do that. I prefer to bury them."

Sometimes the birds are also shipped off for research by request.

Finding a dead bird

Dead bird sightings can be reported to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter website, WHER is a component of the Wildlife Health Monitoring Network. The reports include the location, date and some images of the findings.

Lindsay Addison, Audubon North Carolina coastal biologist, said typically the bird carcasses decompose. She said there is no need for the public to pick up the dead birds as they are not particularly sanitary. It is also illegal for members of the public to possess parts of dead birds. - LUMINA News.