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World facing 'arsenic timebomb'

About 140 million people, mainly in developing countries, are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water. This will lead to higher rates of cancer in the future. South and East Asia account for more than half of the known cases globally. Eating large amounts of rice grown in affected areas could also be a health risk. It's a global problem, present in 70 countries, probably more. Arsenic consumption leads to higher rates of some cancers, including tumours of the lung, bladder and skin, and other lung conditions. Some of these effects show up decades after the first exposure. "In the long term, one in every 10 people with high concentrations of arsenic in their water will die from it. This is the highest known increase in mortality from any environmental exposure." The metal is present naturally in soil, and leaches into groundwater, with bacteria thought to play a role.

Giant spider web spurs sticky debate

Photo: Lake Tawokoni State Park rangers monitor a giant spider web at the park near Willis Point, Texas. The web has been formed in the park over the past several weeks.
(Associated Press)

Texas, USA
Entomologists are debating the origins of a massive spider web, which runs more than 180 metres and covers several trees and shrubs, found in Texas. The web has been formed in the park over the past several weeks. Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park, near Willis Point, find the web both amazing and somewhat creepy. "It's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs." Experts are debating whether the web is the work of social cobweb spiders working together, or a mass dispersal where the arachnids spin webs to move away from one another.

The looming food crisis

Breaking Earth News
The surge in demand for agrofuels such as ethanol is hitting the poor and the environment. A "perfect storm" of ecological and social factors appears to be gathering force, threatening vast numbers of people with food shortages and price rises. The era of cheap food is over. World commodity prices of sugar, milk and cocoa have all surged, prompting the BIGGEST INCREASE IN RETAIL FOOD PRICES IN THREE DECADES in some countries. "Meat, too, will cost more because chicken and pigs are fed largely on grain." The world price [of maize] has doubled. 850m people around the world are already undernourished. There will soon be more because the price of food aid has increased 20% in just a year. In the US, where nearly 40 million people are below the official poverty line, the Department of Agriculture recently predicted a 10% rise in the price of chicken. The prices of bread, beef, eggs and milk rose 7.5 % in July, the HIGHEST MONTHLY RISE IN 25 YEARS. Reports suggest that one-third of ocean fisheries are in collapse, two-thirds will be in collapse by 2025, and all major ocean fisheries may be virtually gone by 2048. 15% of the world's present food supplies, on which 160 million people depend, are being grown with water drawn from rapidly depleting underground sources or from rivers that are drying up. In large areas of China and India, the water table has fallen catastrophically. In Britain, the recent floods will result in a shortage of vegetables such as potatoes and peas, and cereals such as wheat. This comes on top of a 4.9% rise in food prices in the year to May and a 9.6% hike in vegetable prices. Rain-dependent agriculture could be cut in half by 2020 as a result of climate change. "Anything even close to a 50% reduction in yields would obviously pose huge problems." "The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists, who want to maintain their mobility, and its two billion poorest people, who are simply trying to survive, is emerging as an epic issue." It is not going to get any better. The UN's World Food Organisation predicts that demand for biofuels will grow by 170% in the next three years. A separate report from the OECD, the club of the world's 30 richest countries, suggested food-price rises of between 20% and 50% over the next decade. This time last year, there were fewer than 100 ethanol plants in the whole United States, with a combined production capacity of 5bn gallons. There are now at least 50 more new plants being built and over 300 more are planned. If even half of them are finished, they will help to rewrite the politics of global food.

Climate change could be causing cougar attacks


CANMORE, Alta. -- A combination of warm winters and Alberta's population boom is causing a recent jump in cougar attacks, says a spokesman for the government agency that collects cougar-related data.

The province's cougar population has jumped this year because recent warm winters have pushed up the population of deer, elk and moose -- the cougars' natural prey, said Darcy Whiteside with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

Record 30 Days of Excessive Heat

PHOENIX (AP) - A heat advisory has been posted for Phoenix, which Wednesday broke its record for most days during a calendar year of temperatures of at least 110.

Phoenix has had 29 days this year where the mercury has hit at least 110. The old mark, set in 1970 and tied in 2002 and again Tuesday, was 28 days.

It was 113 Wednesday, which tied the record high for an August 29.

The National Weather Service forecast a high of 110 for Thursday Aug 30

Arborists grapple with oakworm outbreak

SANTA CRUZ — This summer’s outbreak of oakworms, is the most severe in years. Mature worm larvae are found on the Central Coast from May to June and adults emerge June to July. The worms quickly go to work feeding on oak trees. They have a hefty appetite for leaves, and in no time a healthy oak tree can be left practically naked. The worms don’t kill trees, but defoliation can leave them looking sickly. Lack of rain in the winter and spring created ideal conditions for an eruption in the oakworm population. Normally, this area sees two life cycles of oakworms, but the warm dry weather has spawned a recent third generation, which is EXTREMELY RARE, according to arborists. Photo: Oakworms have devastated oak trees throughout the county including this tree on Jose Avenue in Live Oak. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

Fire ban - in winter

Breaking Earth News
THE EARLIEST TOTAL FIRE BANS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIAN HISTORY are in force days before the end of winter, as the state prepares for a dangerously hot and windy day today. Bans came into force at midnight for the West Coast, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Lower Eyre Peninsula and Mt Lofty Ranges, just four months after last summer's fire bans were lifted in April. The bans are in force until midnight tonight, when much of the state will have baked in unseasonal temperatures up to 30C and been lashed by winds gusting up to 120km/h. The previous earliest ban was October last year. "It's not the highest risk conditions I've seen, but it's certainly the highest (fire risk) I can remember at this time of the year. That's in 20-plus years. The number one issue we've got is the ground is so dry on the West Coast and the Mt Lofty Ranges." Predictions of hot winds also have the state's farmers on edge and such conditions have the potential to financially "devastate" some. "It will ruin crops if it is of the nature we're told (with) strong winds, high temperatures and a very, very drying and crop-destroying day. It's giving rise to many, many concerns...(it will be) absolutely devastating to some and to the economy of the state as well. Who would have predicted two days like this (in one week), and this is going to be worse than the one we had a couple of days ago and we're not even into spring yet." "The stress of a long, dry period on our trees means we're getting a significant number of trees down. This weather pattern, this whole thing is something we expected in summer, certainly not winter. We get storms all year round, we can't dispute that, (but) the weather patterns certainly appear to us to have changed because we don't seem to get as many winter storms now."

Climate flooding risk 'misjudged'

Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought. Researchers say efforts to calculate flooding risk from climate change do not take into account the effect carbon dioxide (CO2) has on vegetation. Higher atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and "breathe" out the excess. Plants expel excess water through tiny pores in their leaves. Their reduced ability to release water back into the atmosphere will result in the ground becoming saturated. Areas with higher predicted rainfall have a greater risk of flooding. But this effect also reduces the severity of droughts. The findings suggest computer models of future climate change may need to be revised in order to plan for coming decades. "It's a double-edged sword. It means that increases in drought due to climate change could be less severe as plants lose less water. "On the other hand, if the land is saturated more often, you might expect that intense rainfall events are more likely to cause flooding."

Hurricane Dean Damage Puts Thousands At Risk For Disease In Belize

Belize, C.A.
Aid workers in Belize are calling for international support after the effects of Hurricane Dean have put thousands at risk for contracting deadly diseases. The country is now a breeding ground for potentially life-threatening cases of diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. "The scarcity of drinking water and water for sanitation has led many people to use poor quality water from previously abandoned wells and being exposed to an increased risk of water-borne diseases." Over 10 percent of the country is still without electricity, leaving an estimated 30,000 people without power. Further estimates say about 275 homes were destroyed, and about 2,000 people have been displaced as a result of the storm. Crops and fields have been ruined, leaving over 20,000 people unemployed.

Ancient Sudbury meteorite blasted debris into Michigan

Map: Locator map showing the site of a meteorite hit near Sudbury about 1.85 billion years ago (starred) and the location - hundreds of kilometres away in northern Michigan - of some of the debris from that collision. The impact left behind the second-largest crater ever found - up to 200 kilometres across. Scientists say it may have shaped the evolution of life. Handout photo. CanWest News Service

A mountain-sized meteorite appears to have created Sudbury's gigantic crater and sent a tsunami racing though ancient oceans, say scientists who have uncovered a thick layer of debris the extraterrestrial interloper hurled all the way into Michigan. The two-to-four-metre-thick layer of "ejecta," which they found south of Lake Superior, bears the clear signature of a meteorite. Perhaps even more intriguing, they say the "ejecta" appears to have been stirred up by a "mega-tsunami," possibly two, that swept through the ancient oceans after the space rock hit. "The material blown out of the crater was reworked during deposition by a tsunami." Shock waves generated by the impact of the meteorite, believed to have been about the size of Mt. Everest, would have been powerful enough to generate giant waves in near-by oceans. "We also get beautiful rock preserved in tear drops just as you'd expect if you had molten rock flying through the atmosphere and it cooled." The Sudbury crater, the second largest ever found, was formed 1.85 billion years ago and is much bigger than the one linked to the demise of the dinosaurs. Some have suggested a comet carved out the crater, which originally measured up to 280 kilometres in diameter. But the material uncovered in northern Michigan points to a meteorite, since it contains an unusually high concentration of iridium, which occurs in low amounts in icy comets but in high levels in space rocks. The "ejecta layer," which the geologists found buried a kilometre underground south of Lake Superior, builds on similar evidence uncovered near Thunder Bay, Ontario, a few years ago. The newly found material not only contains high levels of iridium and "melt drops" but also "shocked" crystals deformed by the intense energy, and evidence of reworking by a tsunami, the team reports. The impact of the meteorite would have been felt globally but most of the evidence has eroded away over time. The huge cloud of gas and molten rock hurled into the atmosphere would have put photosynthesis on hold for an extended period and may be linked to a "long lull" in the evolution of early life.

Extreme Conditions: What's happening to our weather?

Skywatch-Media Newsletter
August 29, 2007

This summer is set to be the wettest ever. It's the latest in a series of broken records which suggest climate change is here already.

To Read More Visit the Newsletter Archives

The Great Red Comet
Issue 77, Volume 8

©2007, Skywatch-Media. All Rights Reserved

World 'dodged bullet' in bird flu spread

Breaking Viral News
A mathematical analysis has confirmed that H5N1 avian influenza spread from person to person in Indonesia in April, US researchers reported today. They said they had developed a tool to run quick tests on disease outbreaks to see if dangerous epidemics or pandemics may be developing. Health officials around the world agree an influenza pandemic is overdue, and are most worried by the H5N1 strain of avian influenza that has been spreading through flocks from Asia to Africa. It rarely passes to humans, but since 2003 it has infected 322 people and killed 195 of them. Most have been infected directly by birds. But a few clusters of cases have been seen and officials worry most about the possibility that the virus has acquired the ability to pass easily and directly from one person to another. That would spark a pandemic. "We find statistical evidence of human-to-human transmission in Sumatra, but not in Turkey. This does not mean that no low-level human-to-human spread occurred in this outbreak, only that we lack statistical evidence of such spread." In Sumatra, one of Indonesia's islands, a 37-year-old woman appears to have infected her 10-year-old nephew, who infected his father. DNA tests confirmed that the strain the father died of was very similar to the virus found in the boy's body. "It went two generations and then just stopped, but it could have gotten out of control. The world really may have dodged a bullet with that one, and the next time, we might not be so lucky." The researchers estimated the secondary-attack rate, which is the risk that one person will infect another, was 20 per cent. This is similar to what is seen for regular, seasonal influenza A in the United States.

First, high and dry... now, wet and wild

Minnesota, USA
Photo: Totino-Grace football players take to the field for a pre-season practice near their high school. Many high schools were forced to practice indoors due to the rain. Photo by Elizabeth Flores , Star Tribune

First, high and dry... now, wet and wild. What's up with the weather? A couple of weeks ago lawns were brown and Minnehaha Creek was running dry. Then on Tuesday the Twin Cities BROKE THE RAINFALL RECORD FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST. Less than three weeks ago, fish were dying in what was left of metro rivers and creeks. The recent rains were fueled by an UNUSUAL channel of moisture coming from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, plus the customary summer moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that was stalled by an east-west flow of air about 12,000 feet above the ground. A weather front that hasn't moved out of the Midwest - the same one that caused the major flooding across southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin and parts of Illinois and Ohio - has poured 5.39 inches of rain on the Twin Cities over the past two weeks through Tuesday afternoon. That's more than fell in June and July together. Throw in the 3.93 inches that fell in the first half of the month and you get 9.32 inches, exactly .01 more than the monthly record set in 1977. The storms also brought damage from heavy rains, high winds and hail. Many locations from the Twin Cities across southern Minnesota are now above average for yearly rainfall. North of the metro area, most of Minnesota is still struggling through drought for the second straight summer. Alexandria may wind up with only about an inch of rain for July and August together. Duluth has been well below average since May 1. Even after recent rains, many of the state's rivers are still running low. The rain hasn't improved the state's crop outlook, either. On Monday, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service rated 40 percent of the state's corn crop as good or excellent. Soybeans were 59 percent good or excellent Monday. Rains are also not likely to revive much of the state's forests. Healthy trees across much of Minnesota have pulled into crouch as a defense against drought, dropping leaves early and signaling a drab fall. Some roadside pines and spruce that struggled to find moisture last winter have already died after a second drought season, while weakened oaks are under attack from beetles.

Scientists ask: Where have all the dolphins gone?

Sightings by marine scientists of dolphins in the north Atlantic's Bay of Biscay have dropped off by 80 percent compared to the same period in 2006, a wildlife conservation group said Wednesday.

The alarming drop in numbers of the Bay's three most common species of dolphin -- the striped, bottlenose and common -- can be attributed to one or both of two causes, Clive Martin, senior wildlife officer for the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme, told AFP.

"We know for a fact that by-catch is killing thousands of dolphins every year," he said, referring to commercial fishing operations in the bay, which is formed by the northern coast of Spain and the eastern French seaboard up to the tip of Brittany.

Lunar Eclipse Amazes Observers

Photo by Jonathan Dael,
Sydney, Australia
Aug. 28, 2007

Observers described the Moon as "dark and coppery," and there was a beautiful flash of turquoise at the onset of totality caused by the filtering effects of Earth's ozone layer.

Video: Hurricane Katrina Two Year Anniversary

Breaking Earth News Video
New Orleans, La. USA

Long-term increase in rainfall seen in tropics

NASA scientists have detected the first signs that tropical rainfall is on the rise with the longest and most complete data record available.

Using a 27-year-long global record of rainfall assembled by the international scientific community from satellite and ground-based instruments, the scientists found that the rainiest years in the tropics between 1979 and 2005 were mainly since 2001. The rainiest year was 2005, followed by 2004, 1998, 2003 and 2002, respectively.

Climate scientists predict that a warming trend in Earth's atmosphere and surface temperatures would produce an accelerated recycling of water between land, sea and air. Warmer temperatures increase the evaporation of water from the ocean and land and allow air to hold more moisture. Eventually, clouds form that produce rain and snow.

"A warming climate is the most plausible cause of this observed trend in tropical rainfall," says co-author Robert F. Adler, senior scientist at Goddard's Laboratory for Atmospheres. Adler and Gu are now working on a detailed study of the relationship between surface temperatures and rainfall patterns to further investigate the possible link. The study appears in the Aug. 1, 2007, issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate.

Image Above:
Over the 27 years between 1979 and 2005 some areas of the tropics experienced an increase in rainfall of as much as 0.5 millimeters per day per decade (red areas). Overall, tropical rainfall increased 5 percent during this period. For an animation of pulsing month-to-month rainfall totals from 1979 to 2005 please go here. Credit: Guojun Gu, NASA

Why the Weather Went Mad in August

Satellite picture of sky in East Asia by Japanese weather satellite NTSAT. The ordinary east-west cloud belt is seen in the picture taken on Aug. 27, while clouds are stretched north-south in the picture on Aug. 14.

Breaking Earth News

Explanation for Extreme Weather Events According to Meteorologists
The weather has been fickle this month and will continue that way. Two major reasons are cited for the unexpected weather changes. A hot and humid North Pacific anticyclone collided with cold air from China and that made air above Korean peninsular unstable, causing the fickle weather. Experts also pointed to an ABNORMAL CLOUD BELT that formed in the air above the Korean Peninsula. "The most extraordinary phenomenon this summer was that the cloud belt aligned north-south instead of east-west." The reason was a massive inflow of hot and humid air from subtropical regions while the rim of North Pacific anticyclone was aligned north-south. "The fact that hot air from the equator flowed into the Korean Peninsula indicates that the climate in Korea is now becoming subtropical." In Seoul, it rained almost every day in early and mid-August, but the average temperature until Aug. 26 was counter-intuitively one degree Celsius higher than the previous year. "Another UNUSUAL weather phenomenon is that it has rained often but the precipitation in this summer was less than last year." That has also meant an increase the number of tropical nights, when the nocturnal low does not fall below 25 degrees. In Seoul, as of Sunday, there had been 11 tropical nights in August, four times more than the average number of 3.2, between 1971 and 2000. In Daegu, there were a whopping 15 tropical nights, up from the average 4.2, and in Seogwipo 23 while the average was 10.8. In addition, experts said it rained more in early August than in the actual rainy season, and the average temperature was higher in the end of August than the middle of the month

Paracas National Reserve Sea Lions Disappear After Earthquake

Peru. S.A.
The Natural Resources Institute has reported that since the earthquake which struck Peru's southern coast and devastated most of the Ica Region, 60 percent of the sea lion population, which lived on Paracas Bay, has disappeared. "We can only see 50 sea lions where there used to be 150." Paracas Bay is part of an ecological reserve that was near the epicenter of the magnitude-8 earthquake that destroyed most of Peru's Ica Region. Only 2 sea lions were found dead after the earthquake. Therefore the Institute does not discard the fact that the creatures could have migrated. Peruvian authorities have begun evaluating the impact the earthquake has had on Peru's fauna, researching whether it has affected other species, such as birds which live on nearby cliffs.

Gigantic Lightning-like Jets over Oklahoma

Oklahoma, USA
On August 20th, an amateur astronomer in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was hunting for meteors using a low light video camera when instead he caught two Gigantic Jets. Gigantic Jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They are enormous and powerful. "They were much brighter than a typical meteor - more like a fireball." To appreciate the size of these things, consider the following: "They ca
me from a thunderstorm more than 100 miles away in Missouri. "This means the Jets were about 48 miles tall measured upward from the top of the thundercloud." "Gigantic Jets are RARE. The first one was discovered in 2001 in Puerto Rico. Since then fewer than 30 jets have been recorded - mostly over open ocean and on only two occasions over land." Because they connect thunderstorms directly to the ionosphere, Gigantic Jets play some role in the global flow of electricity around our planet, but how big is that role? "No one knows."


'Extroardinary Event' Hits State

This image provided by the Oklahoma Mesonet shows the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin as it moved across Oklahoma just before 6 a.m. Sunday.
provided by Oklahoma's Mesonet

The radar screen confirmed what the torrential rain was suggesting Sunday morning: Tropical Storm Erin had confused Oklahoma for the Gulf Coast.

In what the National Weather Service termed "an extraordinary event,” the storm re-intensified just south of the Red River and developed sustained winds greater than tropical storm magnitude.

The result: Numerous towns and cities received 5 inches or more of rain, and a several volunteer observers for the Oklahoma Climatological Survey reported 10-plus inches.

Summer Thunderstorm in Socal

California, USA
DEAN LASHES OUT: The remains of hurricane Dean spawned a lightning show, a water spout, power outages, and the evacuation of beach visitors Sunday morning in San Clemente. This image was captured shortly after 10 a.m. as lifeguards combed the beach recommending swimmers leave the area: KHRISTIAN SNYDER, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Sunday morning, residents of coastal Orange County were met by an UNUSUAL summer thunderstorm that moved north from the Pacific Ocean, possibly due to leftovers from Hurricane Dean. A hail storm and rain fall went through the Big Bear area Saturday. At least two bands of storms were poised to hit the Los Angeles basin. The storms are tropical moisture fed up from the tropics by the low pressure system once known as category 5 Hurricane Dean, and the system still has a center, currently 140 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. The system caused a FREAK downpour in Escondido, dropping almost 2 inches of rain in barely an hour. Thunderstorms rarely flow west of the Santa Ana Mountains because the air here is typically too stable to support such systems. That wasn't the case Sunday. Unstable air rolled in off the ocean, from the west coast of Mexico, whipping up thunderheads that were about 40,000 feet high, or roughly 40 times taller than the Eiffel Tower.

Video: Watch for the Lunar Eclipse

Earth News Video
Total Eclipse on Aug 28
The Earth is all set to witness a rare total lunar eclipse this Tuesday when the Earth's shadow will fully cover the moon early morning. This eclipse is rare because it is due to occur just before daybreak.

Weather permitting the eclipse will be fully visible in North and South America. Additionally East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will also be able to see the total eclipse provided the sky is clear just before dawn.

The moon will appear as a reddish-tinted ball with a dim view as it heads toward the western horizon, according to scientists. The eclipse, which will initially be partial, is set to begin at 4:51 a.m. ET. The complete eclipse will occur at 5:52 a.m ET. The eclipses expected to last for about 90 minutes.

People interested in seeing the eclipse may use a binoculars although they do not need to use glasses or other special equipment meant for viewing solar eclipses. There is also no need to use a telescope.

The last total eclipse was seen on March 3 this year.

West Nile takes heavy toll on bird population

Click the Image to Enhance


Forestry Farm Park and Zoo staff have confirmed the deaths of four beloved owls at the zoo were caused by West Nile virus.

Test results received this week confirmed three snowy owls and one great grey owl died from the virus -- which is spread by virus-carrying Culex tarsalis mosquitos -- at the facility two weeks ago.

Zoo manager John Moran said the results add to a collection of evidence that points to the summer of 2007 being one of the worst in history for West Nile cases.

"It's been in the city for a number of years now and this is the hardest that we've ever been hit. I think you can see there is a direct correlation, we're seeing a higher number of human cases of West Nile virus this year in the city and the province than last year," Moran said. "Wildlife has always been the sentinel species out there, and primarily birds. They're the ones who would succumb to it faster than humans."

Are B.C.'s bee colonies the latest to die off?

British Columbia, Canada
Photo: Jean-Marc Le Dorze is confounded by all the honeybees vanishing from his Mission apiary.
Kevin Statham photo.

One likely cause of the bee die-off are pesticides, particularly a new class of powerful chemicals called neonicotinoids (or neonics), which are an artificial form of nicotine. "My theory something has broken down their immune system. The only thing that's new is the increased usage of neonicotinoids. Three years ago, you started really seeing it. Now, it's everywhere. It's the pesticide of choice in this country - and yours too. You can't get away from the stuff." This link is fuelling controversy because neonics have become widespread, mostly through their frequent use in treating genetically engineered seeds. If neonics were to blame for CCD, it would make bees the first known species to become a casualty of the biotechnology era. Last March, the Sierra Club called on the U.S. government to fund emergency research into the neonic connection and, if GM crops are found to be responsible for CCD, to ban the plants. "You look at what's new exposure, and this is the new exposure. This is big. We're talking about the food supply." Findings of the world's largest-ever field trial of GM crops, done for the British government in 2003: The three-year study, which involved 4,000 visits to fields and the counting of 1.5 million insects and birds, found that powerful chemicals used in conjunction with GM crops were highly harmful to bees, butterflies, and birds. Fields of biotech canola and sugar beets had dramatically fewer bees than conventional farms. Studies have shown neonics degrade the immune systems of bees, making them more susceptible to disease. The working group singled out neonics, because CCD made its appearance shortly after the new chemical became widespread in genetically engineered crops in 2000 and 2001. "Something is going haywire." The truth may be made of many things. "We're probably looking at multiple factors that came together in the past season in a perfect storm."

A quake lull, but for how long?

Click the Image to enhance

California, USA

Southern California over the last century killed more than 200 people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Scientists argue that when the lull ends, metropolitan Los Angeles will experience significantly bigger and more frequent temblors - up to 15 times larger than the destructive Northridge earthquake of 1994. That could be soon - or 500 years from now. Even more dramatic is the geologists' explanation - welcomed by some scientists and questioned by others - of why the lull is occurring. They theorize that two of the region's most active fault zones are essentially taking turns producing earthquakes, with faults in the Mojave Desert producing bigger and more frequent quakes, while faults under Los Angeles take a break, and vice versa. High-tech monitoring devices show that the region's earthquake faults are building up high amounts of energy, yet the historical record shows that, as an average over time, seismic activity has been much lower. Once the lull ends, the quakes experienced in the region could be significantly larger than the ones we have experienced during the last 1,000 to 1,500 years. These quakes will not only be bigger, but they will likely produce large, slow seismic waves, which can be very damaging to tall buildings and large structures like dams and bridges. Such a quake "is going to pump enormous amount of energy into the L.A. Basin, causing it to resonate. We're going to have a metropolitan area-wide disaster on our hands." Even a seismic lull period has its risks - "Even if we believe Southern California is in a lull, we still had Long Beach and Northridge and Sylmar. If it's quiet, it's not dead."

Part of Yellowhead Highway may be moved after cave-in

Highway officials say it will take at least a month to fix the damage to Highway 16.
The Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Transportation said a portion of Highway 16 may have to be relocated because of flood damage. Severe thunderstorms earlier in the week caused part of Highway 16, known as the Yellowhead, to cave in. The side slope of the roadbed on part of the highway has dropped approximately two metres. "It has formed a large depression on the highway. We've also got deep cracks that have formed on the highway surface, and there's a three-metre-diameter sinkhole near the shoulder."

Dean Whips Up Some Tasty Waves at Gulf Coast Beaches

Florida, USA

Florida's Gulf Coast continues to feel the aftermath of what was Hurricane Dean.

The Category 5 storm which struck Mexico earlier this week has resulted in extremely dangerous rip-tides from Apalachicola Bay to Pensacola.

Red-flags and double red-flags have been flying along Panama City Beach.

Word of four-to-seven foot surf swells has brought out surfers from across the country.

The normally tranquil Gulf waters appear more like the Pacific Ocean.

In several cases, surfers have helped save the lives of people who have gotten caught in the rip-tide.

Authorities warn people to be extremely cautious of going into the water.

Peruvian quake causes wave of fleeing refugees

A week after the disaster, a daily stream of families with their belongings in cars, trucks and tricycles leaves town on the Panamerican highway


Friday, Aug 24, 2007

The giant quake that wrecked this Pacific coastal town last week has set off a wave of refugees, driving up to 40 percent of its people to quit their ruined homes and move away, the Peruvian government said on Wednesday.

"Between 30 and 40 percent of the inhabitants have been forced to leave" Pisco, which formerly had a population of 130,000 people, Social Development and Women's Affairs Minister Virginia Borra said.

"There are no official figures that identify the scale of the problem," she said, stressing her number was an estimate.

A census is under way of the towns affected by the 8.0-magnitude earthquake -- of which Pisco was worst hit.

The quake killed 540 people in the area, according to an official toll, and destroyed around 85 percent of Pisco, leaving residents camping amid the ruins as the threat of disease and the stench of bodies under the rubble grew.

"It's definitely no longer possible to find any survivors," fire chief Alberto Marticorena said as teams continued combing the wreckage.

At least two more bodies were pulled form the rubble of a hotel on Wednesday.

More bodies were believed to be under the ruins of the Embassy hotel, frequented by backpackers, which buried an unknown number of people when it collapsed.

A week after the Aug. 15 disaster, a daily stream of families with their belongings packed into cars, trucks and tricycles heads out of town on the Panamerican highway.

Many have relatives in the capital Lima, some 240km up the coast, or in nearby towns.

WHO warns of global epidemic risk

Breaking Earth News
Infectious diseases are spreading faster than ever before, the World Health Organization annual report says. With about 2.1 billion airline passengers flying each year, there is a high risk of another major epidemic such as Aids, Sars or Ebola fever. The WHO urges increased efforts to combat disease outbreaks, and sharing of virus data to help develop vaccines. Without this, it says, there could be devastating impacts on the global economy and international security. In the report, the WHO says NEW DISEASES ARE EMERGING AT THE "HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED" RATE OF ONE PER YEAR. Since the 1970s, 39 new diseases have developed, and in the last five years alone, the WHO has identified more than 1,100 epidemics including cholera, polio and bird flu. Not only are diseases emerging more quickly around the globe and spreading faster, they are also becoming increasingly difficult to treat. Global efforts to control infectious diseases have already been "seriously jeopardised" by widespread drug resistance, a consequence of poor medical treatment and misuse of antibiotics. Although the H5N1 bird flu virus has not mutated into a form that passes easily between humans as many scientists had feared, the next influenza pandemic is "likely to be of an avian variety" and could affect some 1.5 billion people. "The question of a pandemic of influenza from this virus or another avian influenza virus is still a matter of when, not if."

Solar waves make Earth ring like a bell

SOHO image of the Sun and an artist's impression of Earth's magnetosphere.

Credit: NASA/ESA

Sounds generated deep in the fiery depths of the Sun make Earth, its atmosphere, and even its magnetic field ring like many cosmic bells. There are distinct tones that are thought to be generated by energy and pressure waves in the Sun. Now, researchers have identified these same tones in the Earth's seismic data, and even in induced voltages in ocean cabling. The vibrations in the Sun have two causes: pressure waves and gravity waves, which are referred to as p-mode and g-mode, respectively. Scientists hope to use the g-mode waves to study the interior of the Sun, in the same way that seismic data can provide an insight into the inner workings of Earth. Data from the Ulysses mission provides clues as to how the sounds reach Earth.The vibrations are picked up by the magnetic field at the Sun's surface. The solar wind then carries the field into interplanetary space, where space probes like Ulysses can pick up the signal. The solar wind also interacts with the Earth's magnetic field, causing it to vibrate in sympathy. From our magnetic field, the signal is picked up by our many technological systems, as well as the planet itself. The tones are far beyond the edge of human hearing, some 12 octaves below the lowest detectable note. While orchestras tune up to the A above middle C, at around 440 Hertz, the Earth rings at a much more stately 100-5000microHz. That is one vibration every 278 hours, or 11.5 days.

Cold summer forces earliest French wine harvest on record


Cold summer forces EARLIEST FRENCH WINE HARVEST ON RECORD. The first bunches of grapes for the manufacture of champagne were to be snipped in north-eastern France Wednesday - one of the earliest wine harvests ever recorded. Despite miserable weather across much of France in June, July and August - which will greatly reduce the amount of wine produced - the 2007 vendanges, or grape-picking, will be two to three weeks ahead of the normal timetable in most of the country. The mild winter and the hot weather in April and May gave the grapes a flying start. The wet summer, which produced savage attacks of mildew in some vineyards, has not prevented an early harvest. Even the reduction in yields - likely to be down 5 to 6 per cent on an average year - is good news, for producers. Vineyards growing the cheapest table wines, in huge surplus worldwide, have been worst affected by the mildew and the wet, cold summer. French production of low-quality wines is expected to fall by almost one quarter at a time when the world market is still swamped by unsold cheap barrels and bottles from last year and from 2005. There were also poor harvests last winter (the southern hemisphere summer) in Australia, South Africa and Argentina. French growers - and the French government - hope that the combined effect will be an easing of the overproduction "crisis" and an increase in the wholesale prices of table wines for the first time in a decade. In some parts of Languedoc, the first grapes were picked three weeks ago. In Champagne, which always starts ahead of some more southerly areas, the vendanges are said to be THE EARLIEST FOR A CENTURY, apart from the heat-wave year of 2003. The date of the vendanges in France has been creeping forward for decades: a symptom, according to some meteorologists, of climate change. Widespread attacks by vine mildew, a form of fungal infection, appeared to threaten the 2007 harvest in some areas in early July. Regular treatment and a slackening of the rain has saved the crops of most middle-rank and better vineyards. Some lower quality producers have been devastated. Wine producers insist that the quality of the 2007 vintage will be good or excellent.

Hurtling Toward Mars

August 21, 2007

By the time you finish reading this sentence, you'll be 25 miles closer to the planet Mars.

Earth and Mars are converging, and right now the distance between the two planets is shrinking at a rate of 22,000 mph--or about 25 miles per sentence. Ultimately, this will lead to a close approach in late December 2007 when Mars will outshine every star in the night sky.

150 Fishermen in Callao, Peru Victims of Tidal Wave after Earthquake

Peru-Approximately 150 fishermen in the districts of Chucuito and La Punta, located in the Province of Callao, were affected by a tidal wave that struck the shores of the province west of Lima. The tidal wave occurred on Thursday August 16, one day after the magnitude-8 earthquake hit Peru. Fishermen were extremely affected by the tidal wave after it destroyed most of their boats which were sunk or completely destroyed. The fishermen's nets were damaged and are useless. In addition, most of the tools which they used to fish were dragged away into the ocean when it returned to its normal level. The wharf, which had been used by the fishermen for 15 years, also was completely destroyed. They are requesting that loans be approved so that the fishermen can purchase new boats and tools to begin working again. Presently the ocean is calm and would be adequate for fishing, which can not be done because of the lack of equipment

Storms wreak havoc across US

Breaking Storm News
Midwest, USA
Residents in Minnesota City look on after gardens and homes collapsed into the Garvin Brook

Twenty people were killed and thousands left homeless as powerful storms battered America's Midwest and southern states yesterday, causing severe flooding.

In Rushford, Minnesota, residents who had fled severe weather at the weekend returned to find orange Xs marked on buildings that had been searched for survivors, while mud several inches deep covered the town's streets and pavements had collapsed.

"Some people had to cut holes in their roofs to get out, the water was so deep," said Jack O'Donnell, chief deputy at the sheriff's office.

Minnesota's Extreme Weather

Minnesota weather? Call it variable. Massive rainstorms soak one part of the state. Extreme drought grips another. And in the middle, the Twin Cities swings between the extremes. Weekend storms left southern Minnesota aghast at up to 17 inches of rain. Weather experts were amazed by the scale of the deluge, which covered a quarter of the state.
"It's a very large area of heavy rain, so this is a UNIQUE EVENT in its geographic extent and also in its intensity. Five inches or greater fell over thousands of square miles - hundreds of square miles would be much more common for such an intense rainfall." The state's official rainfall record for a single day is 10.84 inches, set on July 22, 1972. Several Minnesota sites had much higher rainfall totals [over 17 inches] Sunday. But those weren't official weather stations, so they won't officially count. Meanwhile, northern Minnesota has pined for rain, yet received almost none. Drought indexes are as bad as they've been in 30 years. Only a lack of strong winds tempers the worry. Otherwise, "We've NEVER HAD CONDITIONS BEING THIS PRIMED for forest fires before." Weather experts see Minnesota's extremes as unrelated - and UNUSUAL. The weekend rains were fueled by several factors, including a stationary front stuck over the Iowa-Minnesota border, plus warm and moist air pouring north from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin and from the Pacific Ocean. Together, it formed these thunderstorm complexes over and over that kept falling on the same terrain, so there was a conveyor belt. "(Tuesday), the rain machine will start again, and it will be affecting the same area. There are some areas that can expect an inch or two," and in scattered spots, 3 or 4 inches are forecast. Across vast parts of southern Minnesota, the sheer size of the crops helped protect the topsoil from the heavy rains. "You have a complete canopy with the corn and the soybeans, so you don't get as much erosion." But in central Minnesota, the hay crop is gone and dairy farmers are scrambling. "We've got farmers that are buying hay in August, and that's MOSTLY UNHEARD OF." Last week, the town of Pierz got some rain - and a 22-minute hailstorm that damaged thousands of acres of crops and laid waste to a mobile home park. "Here we are in the middle of a drought, and you see this storm damage, and you're like, what the heck is going on?" In east central Minnesota, Mille Lacs Lake is roughly 20 inches below its normal level. So as one part of the state prays for rain, another prays for it to stop.


WISCONSIN - Janesville has gotten a RECORD 14.7 inches of rain this month so far. Photo: Water from a roadside drainageway has risen to the edge of Highway 14 at the intersection of Emerald Grove Road east of Janesville. Heavy rains, with more on the way, have caused headaches for many area residents.
Bill Olmsted/Gazette Staff

Oklahoma City set a RECORD FOR DAILY RAINFALL amount and for calendar day rainfall for the month of August. The 3.82 inches of rain record at Will Rogers World Airport beat a daily record for Aug. 19 of .87 set in 1977. The 3.82 inches also set a record for any calendar day in the month of August in Oklahoma City. The previous mark was 3.17, set Aug. 22, 1934. Weather records for Oklahoma City date back to November 1891.

Dean Slams Mexico

Breaking Storm News Video
Cancun, Mexico

Earth Frenzy Radio: Program Note

Skywatch-Media News

Public Announcement

August 20, 2007

Our Special Guest on the Earth Frenzy Radio Network, will be Nancy Lieder of Zetatalk. Nancy who claims to be an envoy for the Zeta-Reticuli, has the uncanny ability to relay messages to citizens of planet Earth through extra-sensory communications with Alien Beings. Her telepathic communication with the external world has astounded scores of listeners during her many talk show appearances and media lectures.

During this program segment, Nancy will discuss the dramatic earth and climate changes we are now encountering, and give our listeners a better understanding of why she believes that a Rogue Planet is the real menace behind the sudden changes we are now experiencing on earth, as a result of this incoming planet.

She will also give listeners some survival techniques and safe locations for impending disasters in these troubled times.

View the Video Clip: Nibiru:Planet of the Crossing

This is your opportunity to hear and learn much more than what is being told by the mainstream media or world governments.

Earth Frenzy Radio
The program is scheduled to air live tomorrow, August 21st at 4:00 CST.

Special Note
* Those listeners wishing to pose questions to Nancy must use the viewer call-in number (646) 478-5297 prior to 4:45 CST

You may listen to the live segment here

For Additional Information click here

To Listen to the Podcast(rss) feed click here

To Visit Zetatalk click

Copyright © 2007-Skywatch-Media

Hurricane Dean Pummels Jamaica

(AP) KINGSTON, Jamaica August 19, 2007 · Hurricane Dean pummeled Jamaica with gusting winds and torrential rains Sunday after the prime minister made a last-minute plea for residents to abandon their homes and head for shelter. Many residents ignored the call, however, while tourists holed up in resorts with hurricane-proof walls.

Dean, which had already killed eight people on its destructive march across the Caribbean, triggered evacuation calls from the Cayman Islands to Texas, and forced the Space Shuttle to cut short its mission. Cruise ships changed course to avoid the storm, but some tourists in Jamaica could not get away before the island closed its airports late Saturday.

Photo Above: High waves crash in the beach along the road from the airport to Kingston, Jamaica, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, as the powerful Hurricane Dean approaches.

Torrential rains and gusting winds pound Jamaica as the island receives the full brunt of Hurricane Dean. Many island residents ignored pleas from officials to abandon their homes and seek shelter.

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