Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jelly-like blue balls fall from the sky - Mysterious blue balls that fell from the sky on to a yard in southern England are to be analysed by scientists, as theories abound as to exactly what the strange objects are. The jelly-like spheres, which are about 3cm in diameter, and rained down on a backyard last Friday during a brief hailstorm. "They were almost impossible to pick up, they were very jelly-like. I had to get a spoon and flick them into a jam jar. They had an exterior shell with a soft inside. They only landed in our garden in an area of a couple of hundred square metres. It is the most peculiar thing I have ever seen - there must be about 20 complete spheres. They don't smell and they don't float. I've been an aircraft engineer for many years and I've never seen anything like it." Theories have sprung up ever since the mysterious find was reported, with some suggesting the balls were crystals that are used in floral displays and others claiming they were ammunition for a toy gun. The UK Meteorological Office has said the transparent, marble-sized objects were "not meteorological". He is keeping the balls in his fridge and has accepted an offer from local university scientists to analyse them. "I think it is some kind of atmospheric pollution. Pollution forms into spheres and fell like the hailstones". ( Researchers at Bournemouth University have speculated that the small blue balls may be marine invertebrate eggs which could be transferred from the feet of birds. Photos )

**In politics you must always keep running with the pack.
The moment that you falter and they sense that you are injured,
the rest will turn on you like wolves.**
R.A. Butler

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
1/30/12 -

More than 100 reported injured as magnitude-6.3 quake strikes central Peru - The powerful earthquake has injured scores of people, buckled buildings and caused power outages on the coast south of Lima. The quake struck at 11 minutes after midnight (0511 GMT), nine miles (15 kilometers) southeast of Ica. The city was badly damaged by a magnitude-8 earthquake in August 2007.

Haiti, DR may be facing big quake period - Haiti and the neighbouring Dominican Republic could be in for a period of periodic powerful earthquakes, according to a scientific study released Thursday. The study says Haiti's 7.0-magnitude earthquake two years ago is likely to be the first of several quakes of a similarly powerful magnitude. The Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake caused widespread damage in the Haitian capital and surrounding cities. The disaster killed 314,000 people and toppled thousands of crudely built homes.
"The 2010 Haiti earthquake may mark the beginning of a new cycle of large earthquakes on the Enriquillo fault system after 240 years of seismic quiescence. The entire Enriquillo fault system appears to be seismically active; Haiti and the Dominican Republic should prepare for future devastating earthquakes."
A series of four major earthquakes of magnitude 6.6 and higher struck Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The phase began in 1701, near the site of the 2010 quake, and ended in 1770. There was no evidence of significant earthquake activity on the Enriquillo fault system in the 240 years from 1770 until the 2010 disaster, except for an earthquake in 1860 that likely occurred offshore. Moderate quakes have struck the Dominican Republic in recent weeks but there were no reports of damage.


ICELAND - Glacial Outburst Flood from Grímsvötn Volcano. It is believed that a glacial outburst flood (jökulhlaup) occurred in the Grímsvötn volcano in Vatnajökull Sunday as the river Gígjukvísl was dark in color in the afternoon and commuters smelled sulfur in the air by the bridge across the Ring Road in south Iceland. However, the glacial outburst is not considered to be a matter of concern. Heavy rain and high temperatures in the past days after excessive snowfall caused snow to melt, damaging parts of the Ring Road between Núpsvötn and Gígjukvísl in Skeiðarársandur, as well as to the east of Gígjukvísl.

GREECE - Santorini volcano strong seismic swarm continues. The highly unusual swarm of earthquakes SW of Santorini on the main fault zone that also defines the volcanic vents of the region continues with about 10 quakes larger than magnitude 2 during the past 24 hours. 2 of the quakes were magnitude 4 and 4.7, respectively. Greek media start to pick up the story and become increasingly interested.
From 1993 until 2010 there was deflation in the caldera of about 1cm/year. Since the beginning of 2011 that has changed to inflationon the north part of the caldera, rapid episodes of inflation have been recorded at intervals that coincide with bursts in seismic activity. Since August the intensity of the phenomenon warranted a rise to alert level 4 (red), where it has remained ever since. A displacement of 10 million cubic meters has been located 1km north of the central island of Nea Kameni at a depth of 4 km, it is hypothesized that it is a magma intrusion, located right at the center of the most seismicity active part of the caldera. Co2 levels have jumped to 39 tonnes/day along with the emission of other gasses, a rising gas column has been observed outside the port of Thirassia in the caldera (the island on the west rim). The rise in sea water temperature in the caldera has been confirmed.
Most of the Greek scientists have brushed any concerns saying that conditions are normal and that has happened before. A geologist from Athens University even said on TV that there is no danger even of a large earthquake in the vicinity of the island - the next day there were 3 earthquakes magnitude 5 and above, 50 km to the SW at the other end of the fault line. Foreign geologists have a very different opinion. A geologist from Oxford mentioned that the evidence points to something important, there is volcanic activity and the volcano is now potentially active at depth.

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 09s (Iggy) was located approximately 260 nm west of Learmonth, Australia.

Tropical Cyclone Iggy triggered Indonesian tornadoes - An area of developing low pressure, which eventually developed into Tropical Cyclone Iggy, triggered tornadoes across the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia. The tornadoes damaged nearly 1000 houses.

Tropical cyclone Iggy is forecast to strike Australia as a tropical storm at about 08:00 GMT on February 3.

Flood-hit Fiji braces for cyclone - Fiji is bracing for a cyclone which could reignite the country's flood crisis, as the clean-up from last week's flooding continues. A tropical depression is heading towards Fiji and meteorologists say it could become a cyclone.


Deaths in Ukraine and Poland in freezing Europe weather - Emergency shelters have been set up in the Bulgarian capital Sofia after days of freezing weather At least 18 people have died in Ukraine and 10 in Poland after heavy snow fall and a sudden drop in temperatures across east Europe. Three deaths were also reported in Serbia and one in Bulgaria.
Ukrainian officials said nearly 500 people had sought treatment for frostbite and hypothermia in just three days. And over that time, more than 17,000 people had sought refuge in some 1,500 shelters. Temperatures have plunged to -16C (3F) during the day and -23C (-10F) at night.
Poland had been having a relatively mild winter, until temperatures dropped last Friday from just below freezing to -26C (-15F). Polish forecasters have warned that temperatures could fall further during the week, to below -20C during the day and -30C at night. In Serbia, police reported that the snowy conditions had led to the deaths of a woman and two elderly men. Two other men, in their 70s, are believed to be missing in the south of the country. The freezing conditions also claimed a life in neighbouring Bulgaria. Emergency shelters offering food and heat are being set up in the Bulgarian capital Sofia and the Czech capital Prague.

Quake efforts blamed for rise in snow mishaps in Japan - This winter's heavier snowfall in Japan has seen more than 500 people across seven prefectures die or be injured in snow-related accidents, including cases in which they had been trying to remove snow. People are trying to remove snow themselves using shovels and other tools because of delays in municipal-led snow removal. The delays have been caused by a shortage of dump trucks - many of which are being used in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake for reconstruction work - to transport snow. The death toll from such snow-related accidents had reached 31 as of Wednesday, while 479 people had sustained injuries. In Aomori City, the municipal government recently conducted intensive snow removal in residential areas. But the snow removal was five days behind schedule and much of the snow had compacted. Construction companies have reduced the number of dump trucks in their fleets to save costs due to downsized public works projects. Many dump trucks, mainly from independent truckers, are also being used in the disaster-hit Tohoku region. Thus fewer trucks remain in other areas of the nation.Snow dumping sites measuring about 11,250 square-meters in Akita City have reached capacity 15 days earlier than the previous year. The municipal government has decided to create a new snow dumping site next to the original sites.


New USDA plant zones clearly show climate change.

Australia - Extreme weather hits east and west. Australia's two largest states are being challenged by remarkably different
weather patterns, with summer storms flooding parts of Queensland as the hot and dry conditions in Western Australia fuel dangerous bushfires.


Forget global warming - it's Solar Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again). Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years. The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new United Kingdom temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists said that after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food. Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak. We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century. Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.
There is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C. However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid. Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C. Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’ These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.
In 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to ‘come roaring back’. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998. So far there is no sign of any of this happening. ‘If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories." As the Met Office model attaches much greater significance to CO2 than to the sun, it was bound to conclude that there would not be cooling. ‘The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate." It is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years . Some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans – not CO2 – caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun – which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.
‘Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment. Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.’ Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific. ‘We’re now well into the second decade of the pause. If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.’