Friday, February 3, 2012

**A man is rich in proportion to the number of things
which he can afford to let alone.**
Henry David Thoreau

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/2/12 -

Canada - A small earthquake rippled through Saskatchewan and western Manitoba just before 2:30 am on Wednesday, with the temblor reportedly being felt in some parts of the province. "It's significant, mostly because it's in an UNUSUAL place."


Second Icelandic volcano is NOT erupting - Geologists and volcanologists around the world got a brief jolt at 1:20 EDT Thursday when news sites began reporting that Hekla, Iceland's most active volcano, had started erupting. However the rumor was quickly quashed.

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 09s (Iggy) was located approximately 170 nm northwest of Perth, Australia.

Cyclone Iggy loses intensity as it nears Australian coast - Cyclone Iggy is moving towards the Mid West coast but authorities expect it to have little impact. The Weather Bureau now believes the system will weaken below tropical cyclone intensity before it reaches the coast.

Dry Spell Caused by Tropical Cyclone Funso Devastates Zimbabwe Crops - Drought in Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Manicaland and parts of Midlands is due to dry continental air being
pushed by cyclone Funso into Zimbabwe. Tropical cyclone Funso, which has been dumping heavy rains on the coastal regions of Mozambique and Swaziland, has ironically brought misery to the southwest of Zimbabwe where villagers say their crops have wilted due to a lack of rain. The dry conditions are likely to be causing havoc in these regions where some fields have been turned into dust bowls. Villagers said they are now appealing for food aid following the ruin of their crops. Cyclones can devastate crops in various ways."They can either bring heavy rains or dry weather conditions leading to the destruction of crops." Crops are almost a write-off at this point. "The situation is hopeless in all parts of Matobo."


Queensland, Australia, floods officially declared disaster - RECORD-BREAKING FLOODS have sparked a disaster declaration in Queensland's southwest, with the premier warning the region has entered dangerous new territory, as floodwaters continue to rise across the region.
Flood towns cut off by 'inland sea' - The New South Wales Premier has compared the flood-ravaged streets of Moree to the canals of Venice.


Death toll rises in Europe cold snap - The cold snap has claimed 164 lives, as countries from Ukraine to Italy struggle with temperatures that have plunged to RECORD LOWS.
Even London is braced for snow as Britain shivers - Forecasters warned that extreme cold will grip the country over the next few day with the possibility of snow even in London and the south. The Met Office has upgraded its cold weather alert to level three, which means 'severe'.
Europe freeze: Serbia snow strands thousands - Heavy snow has left at least 11,000 villagers cut off in remote areas of Serbia amid the European cold snap. At least six people have died in Serbia, with emergency services expressing concern for the health of the sick and the elderly in particular. Temperatures are below -30C (-22F) in parts of Europe and 63 people have died in Ukraine and 29 in Poland. In Italy, weather experts say it is THE COLDEST WEEK FOR 27 YEARS. Emergency services in Serbia have described the situation, close to the country's south-western borders with Kosovo and Montenegro, as very serious. In places, the snow has reached a depth of 2m (6ft 6in). Fourteen municipalities are affected. Helicopters have helped move several people to safety, and food and medicines have been airlifted to isolated areas.
Snow began falling in Serbia on 7 January and has hardly stopped since. Serbian media say further snow is expected in the coming days.Ukraine has seen the highest number of fatalities, many of them homeless. Over a 24-hour period, as many as 20 people died. Food shortages have been reported in the capital, Kiev, because lorries have been unable to transport supplies. Heavy snow has also caused widespread disruption in northern and central Italy. More than 600 passengers were trapped on an unheated train in the Apennine mountains for seven hours on Wednesday night, when the brakes and electrical cables froze.
The coldest temperatures have been recorded in Russia and Kazakhstan. Snow is piled high in parts of the country. In the Urals and Siberia, the temperature fell to -40C (-40F) while in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, the wind-chill factor meant the real temperature was down to -52C, even though the air temperature was -35C. In southern Russia, cars and lorries became stuck in snow drifts between Novorossiisk and Krasnodar.
Heavy snow has also hit Turkey, with 50cm falling in Istanbul on Wednesday. An avalanche in the south-east of the country killed a woman in her home. Another avalanche blocked a main road connecting the provinces of Bitlis and Diyarbakir. Rescuers in Germany were unable to save an elderly woman after she had gone swimming in the frozen waters of a gravel pit in Lower Saxony. Reports said she had often swum in the lake.

The streets of Seoul, South Korea are covered in SOME OF THE HEAVIEST SNOW ON RECORD. The snow caused traffic jams all over the city which deployed more than 200 police officers to control traffic. Streets will turn to ice as temperatures drop below freezing.


The Year That Winter Forgot: Is It Climate Change? - 2012 is shaping up to be the year that winter forgot in the U.S. December and the first week of January have seen atypically mild temperatures throughout much of the country — especially in the usually harsh states of the far north and parts of the plains. Fargo, N.D. saw temperatures of 55°F on Jan. 5, breaking a more than century-old record for the warmest day in January. High temperatures in Nebraska at the end of last week were more than 30°F above normal, and in December at least half the U.S. had temperatures at least 5°F above normal.
Nor is the unseasonable warmth confined to the U.S.; Europe had mild temperatures as well [until this week]. When cold goes missing, snow does too and it's been an unusually green (or brown) winter. At the end of 2011, less than 20% of the continental U.S. was covered with snow, compared with more than 50% at the end of 2010. Ski resorts from California to Vermont are panicked about the possibility of a dry, warm winter leaving slopes bare and skiers looking into beach vacations. The unseasonable weather is doing weird things to nature too. In Washington, at the end of December, early spring flowers are responding to the warmth and blooming months early in the National Arboretum. New England lost most of its fall foliage, as heavier than usual rain and unusually warm nights kept trees green until the leaves suddenly fell. "It's a weird kind of fall blending right into spring."
The winter of 2012 may see precious little snow, but the winters of 2011 and '10 saw unusually heavy snowfall — record-breaking in some parts of the U.S. Britain experienced some of the coldest temperatures in its history last winter — and just last fall, parts of the U.S. were hit by the celebrated October Snowmageddon, leading people to predict a ferocious winter was coming. The fact that things have, so far, been so mild is due in part to some extenuating circumstances. The jet-stream pattern in December was the most extreme on record, which kept cold Arctic air from pushing into the U.S. Those kinds of factors can — and do — change fast. Truly cold temperatures are becoming less and less common in the U.S. To take one example, since 1996, there have been 48 high-temperatures records set in New York City's Central Park — and one just one record low. Since 1980, nearly every year in the U.S. has seen annual average temperatures higher than the long-term average. Confusion and uncertainty still exists over the exact impact of climate change on extreme-weather events like hurricanes or tornadoes, but there's one thing we can be pretty sure of: it will be less cold.
To many people that's probably not a bad thing. Extreme cold isn't just uncomfortable and inconvenient — it's also dangerous, particularly for older or poorer people who can't protect themselves from the elements as well as others. But warmer winters can change nature in dangerous ways as well. Western bark beetles — which have ravaged the pine trees of the west — are thriving because they're no longer being knocked out by very cold winters. Dry warm weather can worsen the risk of forest fires, and short winters can end up intensifying the spring-allergy season. A decline in mountain snowpack in the west can mean less water for dry states that are accustomed to meltwater runoff in the spring. Climate change disrupts the rhythm of the seasons, that regular passage of time and temperature we assumed was fixed. It turns out we may be wrong, and winter as we know it could one day be a season of the past.


TEXAS FIREBALL - 2/1/12 - Wednesday night, a spectacular fireball appeared in the skies of eastern Texas and Oklahoma. As is often the case for unexpected night-sky phenomena, few pictures are available. The best so far comes from a police dash-board camera in the small town of Little River-Academy. : "At approximately 756pm CST, over Abilene, Texas, I saw an object falling from the sky much brighter and long-lasting than anything I've seen. [The fireball] lasted close to 8 secs before completely burning out. At first, it was bright white, and then started slowing down and getting brighter. Then it exploded like a firecracker artillery shell into several pieces, flickered a few more times and then slowly burned out... awesome!!!" Another observer in Coppell, Texas, reported a "double boom heard at 8:00:30 CST. [The object appeared to be] 1/2 the size of the waxing moon, and broke into two major chunks with many smaller pieces. It had a 'white plasma' (sun-colored) look with a long golden tail."
This was probably a natural object - a small asteroid about the size of a car or bus - not a decaying satellite or other manmade space debris. The fireball, which disintegrated in the general vicinity of Dallas-Fort Worth, was bright enough to be seen on NASA cameras located in New Mexico more than 500 miles away. It was about as bright as the full Moon (astronomical magnitude -13). (video)