Friday, January 2, 2015

RATTLE & HUM: "All I Heard Was A Big Bang,... Like An Explosion,... Everything Was Vibrating,... Cows And Pigs Took Cover,... " - Mysterious Boom In Luzerne County, Philadelphia?!

- Call it the case of the mysterious boom.  Folks in the back mountain heard a loud rumble, some even saying it shook their home.

It takes a lot to wake up 12-year-old Kendra Steltz of Lake Township.

“I was sleeping and all I heard was a big bang,” she said.

A big bang heard by more than just her. Many of you let Newswatch 16 know you heard the loud boom as well.

Police and emergency officials say several fire departments were dispatched to try to locate what the caused the boom in the back mountain but they had no luck locating it. They couldn’t find any damage either.

“Afterwards me and my daughter got into the car, and drove around the neighborhood to check out people’s houses and we saw nothing else so it was a mystery to us what it possibly could have been,” said Alice Steltz.

People in Lake Township say what’s even more surprising, is that no one has been able to figure out what exactly it was

Beatrice Price of Lake Township heard it and she felt it too.

WATCH: Mysterious Boom In Luzerne County.

“Everything vibrated,” explained Price. “It was short, it was a couple of seconds. Everything was vibrating.”

Vibrating so much, that her cows and pigs took cover. And that’s something she’s says she’s never seen happen like this before.

“We have people that hunt, and target practice. There’s guns, fireworks and it was way louder than that,” Price added.

There’s been plenty of accounts of what people thought they saw like a smoke trail in the sky. Nothing has been confirmed at this time. So for now, everyone is left to their ideas on what it could possibly be.

“It sounded like an explosion,” explained Price. “We have a gas place down the road. We thought maybe the gas place exploded but there’s no smoke or anything like that. So that was definitely not it.” - WNEP.

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: Mystery At The Sun's South Pole - NASA Reveals Huge "Coronal Hole" On The Solar Surface Where Winds Reach 500 MILES PER SECOND!

Coronal holes are regions of the corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface
- and eject solar winds far faster than other parts of the sun.

January 2, 2015 - SPACE
- There were no fireworks on the sun to welcome in the New Year - and in fact, scientists say the end of the year was relatively quiet on the solar surface.

However, the sun has started 2015 with a mysterious event - a huge hole has appeared.

Known as a coronal hole, the phenomenon occurred near the south pole - and is seen as a dark area covered all of its base in these stunning images.

The incredible image was captured on Jan. 1, 2015 by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows the coronal hole as a dark region in the south.

Coronal holes are regions of the corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface.

Particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun rather than being trapped near the surface. Those trapped particles can heat up and glow, giving us the lovely AIA images.

In the parts of the corona where the particles leave the sun, the glow is much dimmer and the coronal hole looks dark.

Coronal holes were first seen in images taken by astronauts on board NASA's Skylab space station in 1973 and 1974.

They can be seen for a long time, although the exact shape changes all the time.

The polar coronal hole can remain visible for five years or longer.

Each time a coronal hole rotates by the Earth we can measure the particles flowing out of the hole as a high-speed stream, another source of space weather.

Charged particles in the Earth's radiation belts are accelerated when the high-speed stream runs into the Earth's magnetosphere.

The acceleration of particles in the magnetosphere is studied by NASA's Van Allen Probes mission.

As Solar Cycle 24 fades, the number of flares each day will get smaller, but the coronal holes provide another source of space weather that needs to be understood and predicted.

Coronal holes are a typical feature on the sun, though they appear at different places and with more frequency at different times of the sun's activity cycle.
Coronal holes are regions of the corona where the magnetic field reaches out into space rather than looping back down onto the surface.

Particles moving along those magnetic fields can leave the sun rather than being trapped near the surface.

In the parts of the corona where the particles leave the sun, the glow is much dimmer and the coronal hole looks dark.
The holes are important to our understanding of space weather, as they are the source of a high-speed wind of solar particles that streams off the sun some three times faster than the slower wind elsewhere.

While it's unclear what causes coronal holes, they correlate to areas on the sun where magnetic fields soar up and away, failing to loop back down to the surface, as they do elsewhere.

The material constantly flowing outward is called the solar wind, which typically 'blows' at around 250 miles (400 km) per second.

When a coronal hole is present, though, the wind speed can double to nearly 500 miles (800 km) per second.

Late last year one of Nasa's most powerful space telescopes has turned its gaze on the Sun for the first time to capture this stunning image.

Nasa's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has produced the most sensitive solar portrait ever taken in high-energy X-rays.

The mission is primarily designed to look at black holes and other objects far from our solar system.

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken
by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission
(green shows energies between 2 and 3 kiloelectron volts, and blue shows energies between 3 and 5 kiloelectron volts).

'NuSTAR will give us a unique look at the sun, from the deepest to the highest parts of its atmosphere,' said David Smith, a solar physicist and member of the NuSTAR team at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Solar scientists first thought of using NuSTAR to study the sun about seven years ago, after the space telescope's design and construction was already underway, but before the telescope launched into space in 2012.

Smith had contacted the principal investigator, Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who mulled it over and became excited by the idea.

'At first I thought the whole idea was crazy,' says Harrison.

'Why would we have the most sensitive high energy X-ray telescope ever built, designed to peer deep into the universe, look at something in our own back yard?' Smith eventually convinced Harrison, explaining that faint X-ray flashes predicted by theorists could only be seen by NuSTAR.

While the sun is too bright for other telescopes such as NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, NuSTAR can safely look at it without the risk of damaging its detectors.

The sun is not as bright in the higher-energy X-rays detected by NuSTAR, a factor that depends on the temperature of the sun's atmosphere.
This first solar image from NuSTAR demonstrates that the telescope can in fact gather data about sun.
The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission (green shows energies between 2 and 3 kiloelectron volts, and blue shows energies between 3 and 5 kiloelectron volts).

The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees.

The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO at wavelengths of 171 angstroms, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.

This image shows that some of the hotter emission tracked by NuSTAR is coming from different locations in the active regions and the coronal loops than the cooler emission shown in the SDO image.
And it gives insight into questions about the remarkably high temperatures that are found above sunspots -- cool, dark patches on the sun.

Future images will provide even better data as the sun winds down in its solar cycle.

'We will come into our own when the sun gets quiet,' said Smith, explaining that the sun's activity will dwindle over the next few years.

With NuSTAR's high-energy views, it has the potential to capture hypothesized nanoflares -- smaller versions of the sun's giant flares that erupt with charged particles and high-energy radiation.

Nanoflares, should they exist, may explain why the sun's outer atmosphere, called the corona, is sizzling hot, a mystery called the 'coronal heating problem.'

The corona is, on average, 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius), while the surface of the sun is relatively cooler at 10,800 Fahrenheit (6,000 degrees Celsius). It is like a flame coming out of an ice cube. Nanoflares, in combination with flares, may be sources of the intense heat.

The new telescope (right) offers deeper, crisper images of the sky - and will help Nasa hunt down 'hidden' objects such as black holes which could help unravel the mysteries of the universe.

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, NuSTAR X-Ray telescope is 100 times more sensitive than any previous telescope operating in the same energy range

'We will see the hottest, densest and most energetic objects with a fundamentally new high-energy X-ray telescope that can obtain much deeper and crisper images than before,' said Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR's principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who first conceived of the mission 20 years ago.
The telescope has more than 10 times the resolution, and more than 100 times the sensitivity, of its predecessors operating in a similar energy range.

Studying black holes that are big and small, far and near, NuSTAR will endeavor to answer questions about the formation and physics behind these wonders of the cosmos.

The observatory will also investigate how exploding stars forge the elements that make up planets and people, and it will even study our own Sun's atmosphere.
If NuSTAR can catch nanoflares in action, it may help solve this decades-old puzzle.

'NuSTAR will be exquisitely sensitive to the faintest X-ray activity happening in the solar atmosphere, and that includes possible nanoflares,' said Smith.

What's more, the X-ray observatory can search for hypothesized dark matter particles called axions. Dark matter is five times more abundant than regular matter in the universe. Everyday matter familiar to us, for example in tables and chairs, planets and stars, is only a sliver of what's out there. While dark matter has been indirectly detected through its gravitational pull, its composition remains unknown.

It's a long shot, say scientists, but NuSTAR may be able spot axions, one of the leading candidates for dark matter, should they exist.

The axions would appear as a spot of X-rays in the center of the sun.

Meanwhile, as the sun awaits future NuSTAR observations, the telescope is continuing with its galactic pursuits, probing black holes, supernova remnants and other extreme objects beyond our solar system.

This 04 November, 2003 image shows giant sunspot 486 (lower-R) 486 unleashing another powerful solar flare. Ionizing radiation hit Earth's atmosphere
soon after the explosion and caused a severe radio blackout, which radio listeners noticed across North America.

Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost.

Astronauts are not in immediate danger because of the relatively low orbit of this manned mission. They do have to be concerned about cumulative exposure during space walks.

The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth's magnetic field.

Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies.

A positive aspect, from an aesthetic point of view, is that the auroras are enhanced.

Geomagnetic storms are more disruptive now than in the past because of our greater dependence on technical systems that can be affected by electric currents.
The images comes weeks after warnings that Earth could be hit by a series of damaging solar flares after the largest sunspot to be seen on the star for 24 years aligns with our planet.

The sunspot, previously known as Active Region 12192, began facing Earth in October but did not produce any coronal mass ejection (CMEs).

CMEs are the most energetic events in our solar system, involving huge bubbles of plasma and magnetic fields being spewed from the sun's surface into space.

The region, renamed Active Region 12192, has now rotated around to face Earth again, and is likely to create CMEs, Nasa scientist Holly Gilbert told during a video interview.

'This time around, it's more likely to have some coronal mass ejections associated with it, even though the solar flares might be smaller,' she said.

'We have a good idea, based on the structure of that magnetic field and the sunspot, that it's very possible that it will create some mid-level flares.'

Magnetic fields in sunspots can store vast amounts of energy, but looping magnetic field lines can get tangled up and snap, releasing their energy as explosions called flares.

According to Dr Gilbert, the sunspot is still large enough for 10 Earths to fit inside it, and is believed to be the 33rd largest of 32,908 active regions recorded since 1874.

The Jupiter-sized sunspot produced six eruptions in October and early November, before disappearing for two weeks.

 Earth could be about to be hit by a series of damaging solar flares as a huge sunspots aligns with the planet

Earlier this year, Ashley Dale, who is a member of an international task force, dubbed Solarmax, warned that solar 'super-storms' pose a 'catastrophic' and 'long-lasting' threat to life on Earth.

A solar superstorm occurs when a CME of sufficient magnitude tears into the Earth's surrounding magnetic field and rips it apart.

Such an event could induce huge surges of electrical currents in the ground and in overhead transmission lines, causing widespread power outages and severely damaging critical electrical components.

Mr Dale, carrying out doctoral research in aerospace engineering at Bristol University, said it is only a 'matter of time' before an exceptionally violent solar storm is propelled towards Earth.

He says such a storm would wreak havoc with communication systems and power supplies, crippling vital services such as transport, sanitation and medicine.

Without power, people would struggle to fuel their cars at petrol stations, get money from cash dispensers or pay online,' he said.

'Water and sewage systems would be affected too, meaning that health epidemics in urbanised areas would quickly take a grip, with diseases we thought we had left behind centuries ago soon returning.'

The largest ever solar super-storm on record occurred in 1859 and is known as the Carrington Event, named after the English astronomer Richard Carrington who spotted the preceding solar flare.

This massive CME released about 1022 kJ of energy - the equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima bombs exploding at the same time - and hurled around a trillion kilos of charged particles towards the Earth at speeds of up to 3000 km/s.

However, its impact on the human population was relatively benign as our electronic infrastructure at the time amounted to no more than about 124,000 miles (200,000 km) of telegraph lines.

Mr Dale says these types of events are not just a threat, but inevitable.

Nasa scientists have predicted that the Earth is in the path of a Carrington-level event every 150 years on average.

This means that we are currently five years overdue - and that the likelihood of one occurring in the next decade is as high as 12 per cent. - Daily Mail.


EXTREME WEATHER: Infrastructure Collapse - Snow Squalls Cause Massive Car Pileup In New Hampshire! [PHOTOS]

Massive pileup involving 50 to 100 cars on I-93 northbound in Ashland, NH. Photos via Ben Baldwin.

- At least 35 cars got into a massive pileup in New Hampshire on Friday due to a fast-moving morning storm that induced snow squalls and icy slick.

The crash at Interstate 93 took place in Ashland at around 10 AM local time, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation said. According to some reports, up to 100 cars could be part of the massive crash.

The pileup happened in the northbound lanes, which were closed to traffic by the road police.

"We had a snow squall go through around 9:45 a.m. ET this morning, which typically will reduce visibility,"
said State Police Lieutenant Jerome Maslan.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images / AFP

Snow squalls lead to massive pileup on New Hampshire highway

Aerial shot of some of the cars involved in the Ashland, NH pileup on I-93

Massive pileup involving 50 to 100 cars on I-93 northbound in Ashland, NH. Photos via Ben Baldwin.

Massive pileup involving 50 to 100 cars on I-93 northbound in Ashland, NH. Photos via Ben Baldwin.

Massive pileup involving 50 to 100 cars on I-93 northbound in Ashland, NH. Photos via Ben Baldwin.

The police said that were reports of multiple injuries, without specifying their numbers and character. At this point, no fatalities have been reported in the chain reaction crash.

The highway remained closed as of midday on Friday, though crews were working to reopen it.

WATCH: 40-car pileup in New Hampshire.

It’s not the first time Interstate 93 is being paralyzed by a snow related crash as five people were injured in a 20-vehicle pileup in 2012.

Back in 2009, a 59-vehicle crash led to a dozen people being hurt. - RT.

MONUMENTAL FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - The Latest NASA Space Data Reveals Scores Of GIANT ASTEROIDS On Course To Hurtle Past Earth This Month; Up To 68 Asteroids; Around 100 METRES WIDE; Any Impact Would Be "CATASTROPHIC, Destroying Cities..."!

The asteroids are around 100 metres wide.

January 2, 2015 - SPACE
- Some are more than 1km wide and threaten devastating consequences if they were to strike our planet.

Of almost 70 asteroids on the radar most are around 100 metres wide, the size of a double decker bus, and would be capable of causing significant damage.

Experts warn if one of these monsters, some of which travel at up to 70,000 miles an hour, were to hit Earth it could “alter life as we know it”.

Plumes of debris thrown into the atmosphere would change the climate making the planet inhabitable for all life including humans.

An impact would still be catastrophic destroying cities and knocking out transport and communication networks.

According to NASA’s Near Earth Object Programme, there are 68 ‘close approaches’ forecast before the end of next month

The next, due on January 3, is the 490-metre wide 2005 YQ96 asteroid currently hurtling through space at more than 30,000 miles per hour.

The biggest to skim the planet will be the mile-wide 2007 EJ asteroid due to throttle past on January 12th at 34,500 miles per hour.

Experts say although it is unlikely any of these will hit the Earth, there is always a chance they may veer off course or explode showering the planet with debris.

Bill Napier, professor of astronomy at the University of Buckinghamshire, said: “If you are talking about a real major impact you are looking at one every few centuries, these are the real show stoppers and in history have sometimes been described as fire from the heavens.

“However the smaller collisions happen more frequently, asteroids of 2km (1.2 miles) can cause a global catastrophe which would exterminate around two thirds of the human race, mainly due to the heat produced.

“There is also the hazard brought by comets, and these occur on much shorter timescales.

“It the Earth passes through the tail of a comet it will generate a massive plume of smoke, and this could be a civilization-stopper.”

The next asteroid is hurtling through space at more than 30,000 miles per hour

"It just takes one asteroid to completely destroy life, not just humanity, but all species."

- Grigorij Richters, co-founder of Asteroid Day

The warnings come after scientists from around the world converged at the end of last year  to raise the alarm that there are around one million undetected asteroids currently flying through space.

They said without better technology and means of deflection one could hit the Earth and trigger a disaster similar to the collision which killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Launching Asteroid Day, designated the 30th of June, co-founder of the initiative Grigorij Richters said: “There are thousands of asteroids that we know nothing about, we take this threat very seriously.

“It just takes one asteroid to completely destroy life, not just humanity, but all species.

“Asteroid Day is all about raising awareness, understanding there’s a threat and dealing with it.

Scientists reckon of all the asteroids blasting through space and capable of wiping out our planet they are aware of just one per cent of them.

Space expert Bill Nye, who has backed the project, said if the Tunguska asteroid which hit Siberia on June 30, 1908 had arrived just hours later it would have “changed the path of civilisation”.

He said: “If the event had taken place 6.5 hours later Berlin would have been in the object’s path and that would have changed the path of civilisation.

“Our challenge is to find these things but it is looking like a piece of charcoal in the dark.

“We have technology to deflect asteroids using lasers, this is the real deal, perhaps the reason we haven’t heard from other civilisations in space is because they didn’t pass the asteroid test.

“Dinosaurs were almost certainly killed off by an asteroid.”

NASA said it is aware of 1,552 “potentially hazardous” asteroids (PHAs) in outer space which show an orbit dangerously close to swiping Earth.

A spokesman said: “Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.

“This ‘potential’ to make close Earth approaches does not mean a PHA will impact the Earth.

“It only means there is a possibility for such a threat.

“By monitoring these PHAs and updating their orbits as new observations become available, we can better predict the close-approach statistics and thus their Earth-impact threat.” - Express.

ICE AGE NOW: More Evidence Of Global Cooling - Southern California Cold Snap Breaks Record; Coldest New Year's Eve On Record In Fort Collins; Record Cold New Year's In Tucson; Record-Low -13.5°C In Bulgaria's Veliko Tarnovo; Global Sea Ice Area Second Highest On Record!

January 2, 2015 - EARTH - Despite global warming alarmism, climate change models seems to be generating one false prediction after another, as evidence of global cooling continues to accumulate. Check out the latest stories of record cold temperatures across the planet.

Southern California cold snap breaks record

Temecula residents found palm trees and swimming pool decks coated in snow on Wednesday. Terri Hubbard / For the Times

A cold front from Canada brought snow and chilling winds to Southern California, but forecasters said it only brought one record-setting temperature Thursday — and it wasn't at the Rose Parade.

There was a record low recorded at Los Angeles International Airport, according to Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service. The temperature at LAX dropped to 36 degrees, breaking the Jan. 1 record of 38 set in 1972.

And despite concerns that the 126th Rose Parade might be the coldest since 1952 -- when the thermometer dropped to a brisk 32 degrees in Pasadena -- Seto said the weather on New Year's Day wasn't as chilly as anticipated.

The official low in Pasadena on Thursday was 36, Seto said.

Extreme cold weather blasted the Southland this week, bringing freezing temperatures, snow at lower-than-normal elevations and powerful winds that left two people dead on Catalina Island.

The front also brought heavy snow to mountain areas, stranding hundreds of drivers.

Freezing temperatures were reported overnight in numerous locations. According to the weather service, temperatures were in the 30s in Long Beach, Van Nuys, Fullerton, Riverside and Burbank. Lancaster was an icy 16 degrees.

Seto said temperatures Thursday were expected to rise to about 60 degrees, kicking off a warming trend later this week that should bring temperatures back to normal. - LA Times.

Coldest New Year's Eve On Record In Fort Collins

The coldest New Year’s Eves on record in Fort Collins were -22F in 1898 and 1900.  It isn’t even 11 PM and we are already down close to that, with clear skies and no wind.


- Real Science.

Record cold New Year's Day in Tucson

Bitterly cold temperatures settle into southern Arizona tonight following New Year's Eve cold front.

Tucson only managed to top out at 41 degrees this afternoon making it the coldest daytime high ever recorded on a New Year's Day in the city. The previous record low maximum temperature for a January 1st was 43 degrees set back in 1960.

Lows overnight plummet below the freezing mark for southern Arizona. A Hard Freeze Warning is in effect for Pima and southern Pinal Counties Friday from 3 AM until 9 AM. Metro Tucson drops to the low to mid 20's, with teens across portions of Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties.

A repeat performance is expected for Friday with highs in the mid 40s and another overnight freeze into early Saturday.

In true Arizona fashion, temperatures rebound fast as high pressure builds in next week. A warming trend will bring highs back into the 70s by the first workweek of 2015.  - KVOA.

Record-low -13.5°C measured in Bulgaria’s Veliko Tarnovo

Picture: Focus Information Agency

Record-low temperature of -13.5°C has been measured in the Bulgarian town of Veliko Tarnovo this morning.

The local Hydro-meteorological Observatory announced the information for Radio FOCUS.

This is the lowest temperature measured in the town on January 2 since 2002, breaking the previous record of -10.6°C.

Another record was broken yesterday – January 1, when the thermometers hit -15.1°C, breaking the previous record of -14.5°C measured back in 1973.

“The low temperatures will remain for the next days, too. The weather will be cold and we do not expect a warmer spell for the next week,” the observatory said, adding that snowfall was possible during the weekend. - FIA.

Global Sea Ice Area Second Highest On Record

December 26 global sea ice area is second highest on record. The exact opposite of what experts both predicted and report.

- Real Science.

GLOBAL COASTAL EVENT: Washing Away The United Kingdom - Rising Sea Levels Will Claim 7,000 Homes And Cost Over ONE BILLION POUNDS!

Reuters/Darren Staples

January 2, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM
- Some 7,000 homes, totalling £1 billion, will be lost to the seas around the UK during the next 100 years. Analysis from the Environment Agency claimed that the buildings would be sacrificed as building the requisite defences would be too expensive.

The research,obtained by theGuardian,also predicts that more than 800 buildings will be lost during the next two decades.

There is not, however, currently any compensation scheme for those who will lose their properties.

Coastal community campaigner Chris Blunkell told the Guardian that the government needed to learn from the “overwhelming” impact of last year’s storms.

“Last winter’s storms saw the eastern seaboard overwhelmed,”
he said.

“If government won’t defend all people living on the coast, then it must make sure that they can move elsewhere, and that means compensating them for their loss. It’s wrong that the costs of climate change should be borne by the most vulnerable”
he added.

The coastline most likely to lose homes over the next 20 years is Cornwall, which is expected to surrender 76 to the sea.

Blunkell criticised the government for being too London-centric, saying that the discrepancies between protection in London and the rest of the UK were too wide.

“During last year’s tidal surge, the biggest since 1953, some people on the east coast were evacuated from their homes and given a biscuit in the church hall".

“Yet Londoners could sleep easy protected by the Thames Barrier. A biscuit for some and a barrier for others is unjust, and such injustice will grow with rising sea levels"
he said.

AFP Photo/Paul Faith

A further six local authorities are predicted to lose more than 200 properties each, over the course of the next century: Great Yarmouth (293), Southampton (280), Cornwall (273), North Norfolk (237), East Riding of Yorkshire (204) and Scarborough (203).

Coastal erosion expert Professor Rob Duck from Dundee University, told the newspaper the issue of protection was “difficult”.

“It is a very difficult issue, but we can’t defend everything at all costs. There are just not the resources to do it and keep on doing it. But it is not just about money, often people have lived in places for generations and there is a lot of history and memories.”

A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) spokesperson said the current government had increased spending on coastal defences.

“We are spending more than £3.2bn over the course of this parliament on flood management and protection from coastal erosion – half a billion more than in the previous parliament”
she added.

The research is based on the assumption that current levels of funding remains stable over the course of the century. Otherwise, the report warns, the number of properties lost could increase ten times to 74,000.

The revelation of the unpublished analysis comes only a month after the Royal Society warned that coastal populations are hugely at risk from extreme weather conditions due to global warming and rising sea levels.

The research claimed that if governments fail to tackle climate change by the year 2100, Britain’s heatwaves will increase three-fold. At present, approximately 2,000 people perish annually in the UK as a result of high temperatures, with the nation’s elderly population most at risk. - RT.

TWILIGHT ZONE: "Bordering On The Edge Of Logic" - Stricken AirAsia Plane Soared "As Fast As A Fighter Jet" At "Unprecedented" Rate And Then Dropped Almost Vertically Into The Java Sea, As If Being Thrust Down By A GIANT HAND, Crash Experts Revealed Today?!

January 2, 2015 - JAVA SEA,  INDONESIA
- The AirAsia jet which plunged into the Java Sea rose up as fast as a fighter jet and then dropped almost vertically into the water as if being thrust down by a giant hand, crash experts agreed today.

Their conclusion is that the Airbus 320-200 was in the grip of weather so freakishly extreme that there was nothing the pilots could have done to save the jet and all 162 people on board.

The plane behaved in ways ‘bordering on the edge of logic,’ Indonesian aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman said after examining figures leaked from the official air crash investigation team.

The news came as the first victim of the crash was identified and handed back to her family, and rescuers pulled two more bodies from the ocean, bringing the total recovered to nine.

 Analysts agreed the aircraft had been buffeted by 'freakishly extreme' weather making it impossible to save any of the 162 people on board
(pictured, rescue workers recover a body today bringing the total to nine)

Experts examining flight data leaked from the AirAsia crash investigation said the plane behaved in ways 'bordering on the edge of logic'
after rising thousands of feet into the air before falling almost vertically

The fresh analysis came as the first victim of the crash was identified as Hayati Lutfiah Hamid and her remains were handed
over to her family in emotional scenes at a hospital in Surabaya

The body of Hayati Lutfiah Hamid was identified by medical workers from surgical scars, a necklace bearing her initials, her fingerprints, and a red name badge pinned to her clothes.

Officials have yet to speculate on what caused AirAsia flight A320-200 to plunge into the sea 40 minutes into a flight from Surabaya to Singapore.

Efforts by dive teams to recover the plane's black box, which will contain vital data on how the tragedy unfolded, have been hampered by poor weather as search teams warn it could be a week before the device is located and brought to the surface.

But today Mr Soejatman said the jet climbed at a speed that would have been impossible for the pilot to have achieved - and then plunged straight down ‘like a piece of metal being thrown down.'

‘It’s really hard to comprehend…the way it goes down is bordering on the edge of logic.’

Australian aviation expert, Peter Marosszeky, from the University of NSW, told the Sydney Morning Herald that, in contrast, he was baffled by the extremely low speed of the descent - as low as 61 knots - which would suggest the plane was heading almost straight down, explaining why it has been found in water just 10km from its last point of radar contact.

It is the peak of Indonesia's rainy season, meaning high winds, rough seas and driving rain have forced search teams to call off operations several times

While more bodies have been recovered today, workers said it could be a week before the plane's black box is
located as poor weather was making the task of finding it extremely difficult

It is the peak of Indonesia's rainy season, meaning high winds, rough seas and driving rain have forced search teams to call off operations several times

Both experts are in agreement that the jet went down almost vertically - and also concluded that a freak weather pattern that placed the aircraft under extraordinary forces was to blame for its plight.

Earlier in the week, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes - who vowed today to fly home with the body of 22-year-old stewardess Khairunnisada Haidar once she has been formally identified - suggested the jet had encountered ‘very unique weather.’

Mr Soejatman meanwhile remains convinced that the reason for the crash, while officially a mystery, is possibly because the aircraft was caught in a severe updraft, followed by an equally severe ground draft.

He said that leaked figures showed the plane climbed at a virtually unprecedented rate of 6000ft to 9000ft per minute and ‘you can’t do that at altitude in an Airbus 320 with pilot action.’

The most that could normally be expected, he said, would be 1000ft to 1500ft on a sustained basis, gaining 3000ft in a burst.

But then the aircraft fell at an even more incredible rate of 11,000ft a minute, with extraordinary bursts of up to 24,000ft a minute - figures higher than the Air France A330 Airbus that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, killing 228 passengers after attaining baffling ascent and descent rates.

Mr Marosszeky agreed that a climb rate of at least 6000ft a minute would indicate a ‘severe weather event,’ because that rate of climb was a ‘domain for jet fighters.’

In total seven victims of the crash have been found so far, as dive teams have promised an 'all out effort' to find more
bodies today (pictured, bodies arrive at Surabaya police hospital)

Rescue workers have identified a large 'shadow' on the bottom of the ocean which they believe could be the plane, but dive
teams have so far been unable to reach it due to dire weather conditions

A minesweeping vessel and private search craft have identified a large object which is likely to be the plane, but have yet to pick
up any 'pings' emitted by the black box recorder

Officials say it is likely that there are still scores of bodies trapped inside the plane wreckage as passengers were
likely told to fasten their seatbelts due to the stormy weather

Howwever, Dudi Sudibyo, a senior editor of aviation magazine Angkasa, disagreed with that analysis, claiming that the pilot managed to land on the sea before the craft was overwhelmed.

Mr Sudibyo said that emergency locator transmitters on board the aircraft would be set to go off after automatically after a heavy impact. Because these is no evidence these devices triggered, he claims, the pane must have landed safely.

However due to the stormy conditions on the day, the craft was swamped before disappearing below the waves, The Mirror reported.

In a fascinating, yet worrying, comment earlier in the week, Mr Fernandes suggested that climate change was making weather worse and flying riskier, particularly in the tropics.

Meanwhile today Mr Fernandes promised that he would fly with the family of flight QZ8501 and the body of stewardess Ms Khairunnisa to her home town in Palembang, Indonesia, once her body has been positively identified.

The body of one of the two stewardesses, still in her red AirAsia uniform, has been recovered.

In a Tweet today, Mr Fernandes said that ‘if our beautiful and wonderful crew (member) is identified, we will go from Surabaya to Palembang with her parents. Heartbreaking soul (destroyed).’

Ms Khairunnisa’s father, Mr Haidar Fauzie, told The Star newspaper of Malaysia that he hoped the body found in a flight attendant’s uniform was that of his daughter so that he could lay her to rest. - Daily Mail.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: Omen – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Mass Animal Die-Offs, Appearance Of Rare Creatures And Warnings From Mother Nature!

January 2, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

15,000 birds killed due to avian flu in Hong Kong, China

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department staff dispose of culled chickens at Cheung Sha Wan market. Photo: Felix Wong

Fresh chicken could be off the menu for at least 21 days after the city's latest bird flu scare sparked a row between wholesalers and the government over delivery arrangements for live poultry.

The dispute broke out yesterday, as health officials carried out the grim task of culling all 19,000 birds at Cheung Sha Wan wholesale market, the second mass cull of the year. The cull, along with a three-week ban on imports, was announced in a dramatic 1.30am press conference by health minister Dr Ko Wing-man after samples from a farm in Huizhou , Guangdong, tested positive for the deadly H7N9 strain of the virus.

All trade in live chickens will be halted for several days as health officials inspect local farms, although no cases of bird flu have been found in locally bred chickens so far.

But the nine local poultry wholesalers are threatening to cease trading until imports resume unless the government rethinks an arrangement under which all local chickens are gathered for inspection at Ta Kwu Ling while the Cheung Sha Wan market is disinfected.

They say the arrangement, set up after a previous cull in January, is "too time-consuming" and "will not work". But Dr Leung Siu-fai, deputy director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said the question of whether to supply chickens via the new checkpoint was "a matter of their commercial decision".

The problem lies with the fact that all chickens taken to the new checkpoint in the northern New Territories will stay on the same truck for distribution to wet markets across the city. At Cheung Sha Wan, they are offloaded and placed on separate trucks for Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

"This will not work. The wet markets will be closed by the time the truck reaches its last destination," said Lin Tak-hing, chairman of a live poultry wholesalers association.

But Ko said the size of the site made it impossible to unload chickens there.

"It is also important that the birds are being moved directly from the farm to the retailers without mixing with other chickens, so the government can trace the supply chain," Ko added.

Meanwhile, shoppers looking to serve fresh chicken for the holiday were left frustrated yesterday and retailers feared for their livelihoods.

"I am a bit disappointed as the soup might not taste as good," said a shopper at a Wan Chai market who could only find frozen chicken. A vendor at the same market said the 15 live chickens she had left were snapped up quickly, after which her business fell by 80 per cent.

In January, 20,000 birds were culled and all live chicken sales banned for three weeks after a sample from a Guangdong supplier tested positive for bird flu. Chicken imports from the mainland resumed only in September after months of wrangling and legal challenges on the question of how to keep locally bred and imported chickens apart.

The government paid out more than HK$10 million in compensation to affected breeders and wholesalers, and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the affair raised questions over whether live poultry sales could continue in the city.

The mainland usually supplies 7,000 birds per day, with another 12,000 bred locally.Meanwhile a 68-year-old woman, the first confirmed bird flu patient in the city this winter, remained in a critical condition at Tuen Mun Hospital yesterday. - SCMP.

Toddler savaged by dog in public park in India

A 15-month-old girl was attacked by a German Shepherd while playing with her 10-year-old brother in a public park in Ahmedabad, India. Although the toddler sustained minor injuries, the boy managed to protect his sister from the worst of the dog's attack.

WATCH: Toddler savaged by dog.

- RT.

Rare deep sea Ocean Sunfish found for the first time in Pakistan's waters

An extremely rare breed of fish called the Ocean Sunfish was found by fishermen in Pakistan’s waters for the first time

The fishermen released it back into the sea upon realising the special rarity and uniqueness of the breed.

According to WWF Pakistan, it was caught in a net by fishermen in Ormara town in Gwadar District of Balochistan.

The fish was a common 'mola' (Mola mola), that was seen in Pakistan's waters for the first time ever. According to experts, it is supposed to be the heaviest known bony fish in the world.

This particular fish was measured to be about 1.8 meters in length and weighed about 450Kg. The fishermen released it back into the sea after 20 minutes.  - The News.

Hundreds of dead sea birds washing ashore along the coast of Oregon, United States

About 50 dead Cassin’s auklets such as this one washed up on the shore at Seaside, Ore. Dec. 21. (Photo: Tracy Loew / Statesman Journal)

Many visitors to Oregon's coast over the holidays were greeted with the disturbing sight of dead seabirds.
On Dec. 21, on the beach at Seaside, more than 50 dead birds washed ashore, most of them Cassin's auklets.

On Dec. 26, Robert Ollikainen, of Tillamook, found 132 dead birds on the beach there, including 126 Cassin's auklets.

"It was pretty dramatic," Ollikainen said.

On Dec. 27, Dave Miller counted 15 dead Cassin's auklets on the beach near William Tugman State park. The next day, he found more at Beverly Beach.

"I estimate there were probably 30 to 50 per mile," said Miller, who grew up in Newport and now lives in Camas, Wash. "I've never seen that many before."

It's normal for some seabirds to die during harsh winter conditions, especially during big storms like the one that occurred Dec. 21, said Julia Burco, wildlife veterinarian for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But a mass die-off of Cassin's auklets — a "wreck" in birding lingo — has been going on along the entire West Coast since October, and no one knows exactly why.

Mass die-offs of the small, white-bellied gray birds have been reported from British Columbia to San Luis Obispo, Calif.

But Oregon's north coast seems to be the epicenter, said Phillip Johnson, executive director of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.

"We've been receiving a lot of reports in the last couple weeks," Johnson said.

There also have been reports of live but struggling Cassin's auklets on beaches since November.

Oregon State University tested some of the dead birds from Seaside. Preliminary reports indicate they starved to death, Burco said.

"It doesn't look like a toxin," she said. "It's more likely due to weather and food supply."

But why are the birds starving?

Some experts speculate the die-off is the result of a successful breeding season: If the population grows rapidly, a certain percentage of young won't survive.

Others point to climate change:

Unusually violent storms may be pushing the birds into areas they're not used to, or are preventing them from foraging.

Or, a warming and more acidic ocean could be affecting the tiny zooplankton, such as krill, the birds feed upon.

"The suggestion is that the ocean for some combination of reasons is less abundant for their food sources," Johnson said.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin is conducting additional necropsies on dead Cassin's auklets, Johnson said.

And the University of Washington's Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is studying the die-off."To be this lengthy and geographically widespread, I think is kind of unprecedented," Johnson said. "It's an interesting and somewhat mysterious event." - Statesman Journal.

Moose charges at ski patrolman on the slopes in Colorado, United States

A moose charges a ski patrolman on the slopes of Steamboat Springs in Colorado

As if there weren't already enough potential perils on the slopes, skiers in Steamboat Springs in Colorado had to contend with a charging moose this week.

In footage shot on Sunday, December 28, a moose wandered onto the popular ski fields of Routt County and took aim at a red jacket-wearing ski patrolman.

Luckily for the patrolman, who was not on skis, he was fleet of foot enough to evade the largest member of the deer like a matador.

WATCH: Moose charging ski patrol.

Moose are commonly found in the area after being introduced in the late 1970s.

Run-ins between the creatures and people aren't entirely uncommon. A woman walking her dogs in February was injured when charged.

In this case, however, no-one was harmed. - Daily Mail.

Bulls 2 Matadors 0: Female bullfighters gored and spectators attacked, Mexico

 Two female Mexican bullfighters, one a single mother competing for the first time in three years, have been gored in a bloody annual festival.

The two fighters, Karla de los Angeles and Lupita Lopez, were taking part in an all-women event called the "festejo de damas", alongside Hilda Tenorio. The event was staged at one of the world's biggest bullrings, Plaza Mexico.

De los Angeles, one of Mexico's best-known female bullfighters, was fighting for the first time since she withdrew from the sport in 2011 to look after her young daughter.

Before the fight, she had spoken of her dream of becoming a matador - a master bullfighter - and made national headlines by saying "being a mother is not an impediment".

WATCH: Female bullfighter is gored TWICE by bull.

During her fight, the 25-year-old was struck twice by the bull, known as Gamusino. The first injury came when the animal tossed the fighter over its head as she went for the killer blow. Despite the injuries, De los Angeles managed to resume the battle, only to be badly gored once again shortly after the resumption.

The horns of the bull - which reportedly weighed around 495kg - pierced De los Angeles' thigh to the depth of 12cm as well as leaving her with a 10cm cut across her gluteal muscles.

According to the BBC, one of the fight assistants, Federico Dominguez, was also attacked by the bull while attempting to help De los Angeles. The severity of Dominguez's injuries remains unknown but they are not thought to be life-threatening.

Lopez, meanwhile, was injured while going for the kill in her own fight. The bull gored her in the right thigh, leaving her to require hospital treatment. Again, it is not known how severe her injuries are.

A spectator was also injured by another bull inside the stadium. It is thought the animal jumped over the wooden barrier, which shields the crowd from the fight arena, and charged at those watching. - IBT.

Hawk flies into Bradenton Walmart, Florida, United States

A hawk swooped into a Walmart in Manatee County Wednesday, SNN reported.

The bird of prey was flying around the aisles of the store in Bradenton. A wildlife rescue worker was called in to trap the bird and get it out safely.

WATCH: Hawk flies into Bradenton Walmart.


He set up a trap with a live mouse inside. When the hawk got hungry it flew right into the trap.

The rescuer managed to carefully grab the bird and even pose for pictures with it. He said the bird looked very emaciated and he will take care of it nursing it back to good health. - WFLA.

DELUGE: Uruguay Suffers Severe Flooding With Much Of Montevideo Under Water - Worst Flooding In Almost A Century; Thousands Of Homes And Businesses Damaged!

Torrential rain left much of Montevideo under water. © EPA 

January 2, 2015 - URUGUAY - Montevideo suffers its worst flooding in more than 50 years.

Several days of torrential rain has led to widespread flooding across Uruguay. Among the worst hit is the capital city, Montevideo, much of which has been left under water.

Thousands of homes and businesses have been damaged in the process. This has been described as the worst flooding in almost a century.

Friday saw an incredible amount of rainfall with 63mm of rain falling in around half an hour. The average rainfall for the entire month of December is 78mm.

WATCH: Worst flooding in over 50 years in Montevideo.

The deluge left vehicles floating across the inundated streets. Meanwhile, trees were downed by the strong and gusty winds.

Power outages also affected much of the country.
Montevideo's Emergency Committee received over 100 calls for help in less than an hour.

The Director for Environmental Development, Juan Canessa noted that 'we're 23mm short of 2014 becoming the year with the most rain in the last 100 years.'

The rains have eased but that total may well be surpassed before the year ends. The Uruguayan Meteorological Institute has issued warnings for the entire country because further showers are expected over the next few days.  - Al Jazeera.

ICE AGE NOW: Mini-Ice Age 2015-2035 - Freezing Temperatures And Heavy Snowfall In Greece, Turkey, The Mediterranean, The Balkans And Russia! [VIDEO]

January 2, 2015 - EUROPE
- Cold air has made its way across much of Europe over the past week bringing snow to many parts.

The snow was probably most welcome when it made its way across the Alps, finally allowing the long awaited ski-season there to get underway.

The wintry weather has since dug further south. It now extends across the Balkans into Greece, Turkey and the Hungarian Plain.

There has been widespread travel disruption in Greece with snow forcing the closure of several roads, especially in the north and over the central mountains.

Athens hasn't been as badly affected, but there has been a healthy dusting of snow across the nation's capital.

The chilly conditions set in on Monday prompting the National Observatory of Athens to issue coldness alerts. Since then temperatures have struggled to reach 5 Celsius by day with overnight lows around 2 degrees.

Athens usually has top temperatures nearer 15 Celsius in December. Night time values normally fall back to around 8 degrees.

The number of people living on the streets has increased by around 25 per cent in the last two years due to the economic crisis and government austerity policy.

This extreme cold has prompted the Greek government to open 24-hour heated shelters for the homeless.

The cold snap, which has also brought gale-force winds to the north of the Ionian and Aegean seas, is expected to begin abating by the start of the New Year. Temperatures should creep back up to around 12 or 13 degrees by the weekend.  - Al Jazeera.

WATCH: Southern Mediterranean Snowstorms.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Earth Changes In California - Deadly Winter Storm Kills At Least 5 Across The State And Freak "Tornado" Tore Through A Pasadena Music Festival!

A stretch of Interstate 17 in northern Arizona seen with an unaccustomed blanket of snow on December 31, 2014.

- A severe winter storm across the western United States has taken five lives in the state of California.

The New Year in the US has started with a winter system bringing very cold temperatures, heavy snow and freezing rain from southern California through the southern Plains, the National Weather Service reported Thursday.

Strong gusts toppled trees in Northern California, killing two people in the town of Paradise on Tuesday. Another person was killed by a tree early Wednesday in Redding.

Two other people died and a third was missing after storm winds up to 40 miles an hour broke boats loose from moorings at Santa Catalina Island off the Southern California coast Tuesday night.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby has identified one of the victims as a harbor patrol officer.

The storm forced residents in some usually sunny cities to experience an icy New Year's Eve.

More than 180 motorists had to be rescued after being stranded in the snow on mountain highways northeast of Los Angeles.

Weather forecasts show that freezing rain will develop over parts of the Southern High Plains Thursday into Friday.

The National Weather Service said the storm was moving across California into the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas, dropping snow on parts of northern Arizona and Utah along the way.

Snow will also develop over parts of the Southern High Plains on Friday evening.

Ice and snow also affected roads and highways in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. - Press TV.

Freak 'tornado' hits Pasadena festival

Gust: A large gazebo is sent flying through the air in Pasadena, Northern California

Four people were injured as tents and marquees were sent flying through the air when a freak tornado-like wind tore through a US music festival.

The violent gust was caught on camera at Fan Fest, in Pasadena, as terrified crowds ran for cover near The Rose Bowl outdoor athletic stadium.

WATCH: Freak tornado hits Pasadena music festival.

People can be heard screaming shortly after a black gazebo is whipped up into the air.

It spirals in the wind, surrounded by smaller pieces of debris - and then smashes into a parked car.

The festival tent is then followed into the skies by much larger marquees, including one inflatable which flies around 30ft into the air. - Daily Mirror.