- by Beth Buczynski
- March 24, 2013
All around the world, bee colonies are dwindling thanks to a phenomenon scientists call Colony Collapse Disorder. After several studies linked the mysterious deaths to a class of pesticides known as “neonicotinoids,” major nations took action by suspending or banning their use. But not the United States.
Appalled by the EPA’s apparent disinterest in protecting both the bees and our food supply, four beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against the agency for its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides. The bees, it seems, will finally get their day in court, although it never really should have come to this.
A year ago, the Center for Food Safety and a coalition including 25 prominent beekeepers filed an Emergency Petition with the EPA asking the agency to suspend the use of certain neonicotinoids until they are proven safe to pollinators, the environment and future food security. The agency indicated it will not finish its Registration Review for these substances until 2018, the bureaucratic equivalent of a shoulder shrug. But the bees and those who depend on them (that’s you, by the way) wouldn’t be silenced that easily.
“America’s beekeepers cannot survive for long with the toxic environment EPA has supported. Bee-toxic pesticides in dozens of widely used products, on top of many other stresses our industry faces, are killing our bees and threatening our livelihoods,” said plaintiff Steve Ellis, a Minnesota and California beekeeper. “Our country depends on bees for crop pollination and honey production. It’s time for EPA to recognize the value of bees to our food system and agricultural economy.”
The coalition that filed the suit seeks suspension of the registrations of insecticides that have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder. The suit challenges EPA’s ongoing handling of the pesticides as well as the agency’s practice of “conditional registration” and labeling deficiencies.
The case also challenges the use of so-called “conditional registrations” for these pesticides, which expedites commercialization by bypassing meaningful premarket review. Since 2000, over two-thirds of pesticide products, including clothianidin and thiamethoxam, have been brought to market as conditional registrations.
Independent scientists have assessed the effects of clothianidin and thiamethoxam on honey bee colony health and development, examining both sub-lethal exposure effects and acute risks. Scientists have also identified massive data gaps that prevent accurate assessments as to their continued safety, not just for honey bees but for ecosystem integrity on the whole. A major new report issued recently by the American Bird Conservancy sounds dire warnings about EPA’s failures to assess threats to birds and to the aquatic ecosystems many species depend upon.
“Beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups have demonstrated time and time again over the last several years that EPA needs to protect bees. The agency has refused, so we’ve been compelled to sue,” said Center for Food Safety attorney, Peter T. Jenkins. “EPA’s unlawful actions should convince the Court to suspend the approvals for clothianidin and thiamethoxam products until those violations are resolved.”
Are these mega-fires in any way related to methane expulsion in the environment? Massive wildfires in Russia that burned out of control two summers ago occurred within a couple years after Russian scientists reported witnessing a massive methane expulsion in the Siberian Arctic, where gigantic fountains of methane protruded into the atmosphere’ surface.
“We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some of the plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal,” he said.
This release was discovered in 2008, scientist’s estimate yearly it’s releasing 8 million tons of methane into the atmosphere!
Massive wildfires blamed on the summer drought are prompting lawmakers to rethink Nebraska’s approach to fire safety.
Lawmakers will consider a bill this week that would add new firefighting resources in some of the most remote corners of Nebraska. The measure by Sen. Al Davis of Hyannis would station single-engine air tankers near Chadron and Valentine to help fight fires in the Panhandle and the Sandhills.
The bill would also require the Nebraska Forest Service to thin its forests and expand training programs for residents and volunteer firefighters.
State Forester Scott Josiah says Nebraska will likely see a “new normal” of mega fires because of heat, climate change and the spread of highly flammable pine trees.
Davis will present the measure Friday to the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee.
Sun, 06 Jan 2013
A police road block at Forcett cuts access to the Tasman Peninsula this morning
Thousands of people are stranded and about 100 are still unaccounted for as out of control bushfires continue to burn in Tasmania.
The threat for the state’s most destructive fires has been downgraded, but residents are being warned to remain vigilant.
More than 100 properties have been destroyed since the bushfires broke out in extreme heat on Friday, and police have warned that bodies may be found as teams go door-to-door in the devastated communities.
Thousands of people have been stranded on the Tasman Peninsula since the huge Forcett bushfire cut it off from the rest of the state, and this morning residents said food was beginning to run out.
It is understood the peninsula’s main access road will open partially this morning, to allow a convoy of stranded people and supplies to get through.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will tour the worst-hit town of Dunalley, south-east of Hobart, where more than 85 properties were destroyed, later today.
The Tasmanian Fire Service has downgraded the threat for the Forcett fire and another at Lake Repulse to ‘watch and act’.
But fire crews say the drop in temperature and dew on the ground made it difficult to create containment lines around the Forcett fire overnight.
The Forcett fire has been the most destructive of more than 40 bushfires that are burning across the state.
Tasmania’s chief fire officer Mike Brown says residents in Taranna and other Tasman Peninsula communities are being affected.
“There’s a huge line of fire that’s moving through the mountain regions on the Tasman Peninsula at the moment,” he said.
“It’s moving very slowly, but as the wind speed and wind direction moves around we may get the spotting activity that may impact on communities.”
Tasmania’s Emergency Services Minister David O’Byrne says a lack of rain in the coming week will worsen conditions.
“[That] will mean that not only the existing fires but other bushfire prone areas of Tasmania will be under threat,” he said.
The Tasman peninsula is without power, with about 300 power poles destroyed by bushfires, and it will be at least a week before it is restored.
Stranded residents like John Hamilton say they are in urgent need of food and supplies.
“It’d just be good if we could get food through to the general populace. I understand a convoy has come through to the emergency centre at Nubeena, but a lot of families are just about run out of food now,” he said.
“We need to feed the shops, we need to feed thousands of local people.”
Mr Hamilton says there is also growing anger about emergency services maintaining road closures that have isolated the peninsula.
“We’ve just had people here in our car park and that’s where the police sent them and they’ve just all gone back to their houses. The road needs to be open urgently. We’re pretty frustrated, I assure you,” he said.
Police say the roads will remain closed until they are safe and clear of debris.
Boats have been ferrying stranded residents and tourists from the peninsula to Hobart over the weekend, where an emergency centre had been set up at the City Hall.
Accommodation has now been found for everyone at the centre and it has been closed.
The Federal Government has activated emergency relief payments for affected residents and the Red Cross has set up a bushfire appeal.
Acting Police Commissioner Scott Tilyard told reporters on Sunday there are about 100 people with whom authorities have not had confirmed contact.
“That’s not to say that those people necessarily have come to any harm, but obviously we can’t totally eliminate that until we’ve had confirmed contact with those individuals,” he said.
“We are still concerned about people. The premises that we’ve been through and checked so far, we haven’t found any deceased people. We hope certainly that that continues.
“We also have to brace ourselves for the fact that we may locate one or more deceased people before we end the process.”
Commissioner Tilyard says police are continuing to search buildings in the devastated communities of Dunalley, Boomer Bay and Marion Bay.
“We have teams on the ground now … going through the process of having to go door-to-door on every fire-damaged property,” he said.
“Some are shacks, some are houses, some are outbuildings. [We need to confirm] there are no people who have lost their lives at that particular location.
“That does take time and needs to be done properly.”
Two wildfires in the south forced the evacuation of around 1,000 residents, making this the worst summer in a decade for countryside devoured by flames, authorities said Sunday.
A fire started near Bedar, 85 kilometres (about 50 miles) north of Almeria, where residents spent the night in a sports centre, regional officials said. Residents and army personnel have collaborated with firefighters in combating the flames, Bedar Mayor Maria Gonzalez said.
Another fire was being brought under control late Sunday near the Mediterranean beach resort of Estepona, about 35 kilometres (20 miles) west of Marbella.
This year, Spain has lost 149,300 hectares (577 square miles) of forest and countryside in more than 11,650 wildfires, compared to around 107,000 hectares (415 square miles) for the whole of 2002, according to official statistics.
Seven people, three firefighters and four civilians, have died as a result of wildfires during the year, and parts of Spain’s most precious forests have been burned. Among areas charred is the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site located in La Gomera in the Canary Islands
Diana Colomina of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund said experts has estimated it would take the 800 hectares (3.1 square miles) of Garajonay that had burned at least 150 years to recover.
Colomina said experts had also calculated it will cost Spain about €450 million ($562.8 million) to recover the woodland and other landscapes lost, a sum that did not include the compensation that needs to be paid to residents who lost homes or businesses in the conflagrations.
Very low rainfall and searing summer temperatures have made much of Spain tinder dry in recent months, conditions that have coincided with harsh spending cutbacks by both regional and central governments.
Spain is in a double-dip recession and burdened with nearly 25 per cent unemployment. The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has introduced stinging austerity measures to try and convince EU partners and world markets that it is serious about getting its finances in shape to avert a full sovereign bailout like those required by Greece, Portugal and Ireland.
One of Rajoy’s biggest tasks is to reduce swollen government deficits, and this has led to major cutbacks in spending by regional governments, which are chiefly responsible for fighting forest fires.
Earlier this month, the cash-strapped central region of Castilla-La Mancha announced plans to cut the number of its firefighters by almost a third.
Labour unions and the leading opposition Socialist party have also highlighted how cutbacks in firefighting efforts in the regions of Catalonia and Galicia have coincided with large blazes there.
Spanish authorities say arson and fires caused by carelessness are on the rise in the country compared to previous years.
Sonia Ferrer Tesoro, Interior Ministry spokeswoman for Andalucia, said investigators were looking into evidence which could point to the fire in Bedar having been caused by an arsonist.
From a source [some info deleted to protect identities]:
Since this is Ultra Classified material, I will leave it up to you to Publish or not.
* Colorado Fire. I had to press a bit with an old friend I had mentioned earlier who worked for N*A and had only two tiers clearance remaining above him when he retired. That’s twenty four levels above the President! A little scary.
* Denver: Can be seen with the naked eye, discerning observers note there is a Plasma energy system in the sky emanating from the direction of DIA.
* This is a field generation system that powers the Intercontinental Underground Transit System (IUTS) that connects South America, Europe, Asia and several other Continents, which all converge under DIA. As I understand it, the facility is the size of a small city.
* This is how it was explained to me. They needed to move some extremely large pieces of equipment (Several miles in Diameter) into the DIA area , (ships, and other large items) and the Dimensional Window for that transfer was in the middle of the day. As you are aware the larger material remains visible for several minutes after a dimensional transfer (Ships & such). Since the transfer window time could not be changed, a distraction was needed to get everyone in the state looking west. Obviously it worked quite well, not to mention enough smoke to cover several states. No Satellite Pictures.
* After the tenth fire broke out in Southern Colorado and the last of the large equipment had been brought in near DIA, suddenly, or within two days, the fires became over 40% contained. Then, out of nowhere, a four day rain storm flooded the entire state. HAARP was mentioned.
* He also stated. Quote “They’re running out of time and you will see more Bold moves like this more often” UN-Quote.
* London was also mentioned. My Contact asked if I had ever heard of using forty five thousand active Military troops to cover a sporting event before? He stated that when anti-nuclear military teams move into a International City, Look Out!
* He flatly refused to discuss anything about BIS or the Banking sector.
* When I brought up Nibiru and her system, he laughed and shook his head. He then became more serious, stating. Quote “Make sure your away from any major City and you can make it on your own for several years. You don’t think I moved by chance do you?” UN-Quote
* I thought it best to stop with the questions at this point.
Since your post of my discussion with my Retired N*A contact, I have had several requests to explain the reasons and structure of the transfer. I don’t feel this is necessary considering the series of events that have transpired since this incident, however I did ask for a more detailed explanation of how and why they are doing this.
* As Follows: The necessity for the equipment to be transferred within our atmosphere is a defensive move by the Elite. It places an incredibly powerful device into the center of our Continent for intimidation and control. This has recently taken place on all 7 Continents.
* To move a technical device of this magnitude from the Asteroid Belt (where it has been kept in a suspended state) to a location within an atmosphere of a planet (living space or being) is moving mass from space (dark energy) through a system of energetic transfers to a life generating system. The frequency change takes much more time than moving a ship from one point in space (outside an atmosphere) to another. Earth to the Pleiades system for example. Gravitational acceleration is required when the ship or object is transferred from one point in space to another. In actuality the space, or point in space, is extended, or pulled to the object and once acquired, is released, thus creating a spiderweb, or slingshot effect, transferring the ship or object to it destination instantaneously. This is one of many techniques of dimensional travel.
* To complete a transfer of a technical object from outside an atmosphere to within an atmosphere is very different, not only technically, but dimensionally. A doorway is required of the magnitude not to disintegrate it’s material (already in an suspended state) to an atmospheric condition, or life generating system. In essence, the object to be transferred must be in a suspended state, thus to retain all memory systems held suspended within a fluid state. This includes all life forms and technical liquid memory systems.
* The Jump room Technology used between Mars and Earth is a system of separating an established energy system (which is actually never separate) to a different location thus creating a tunnel or Einstein Rosen bridge. So when you walk in one door and out the other, your there! This is within a atmospheric life generating system to another atmospheric life generating system.
* However Jump room tech does not apply when moving a large technical object from the Kuiper Belt (dark energy or space) to a specific location within our atmosphere (pressurized life generating system). A dimensional doorway is needed and thus acquired (dimensionally copied). Let’s say for example, surrounding DIA area, (or wherever the location may be) it is then woven or materialized (projected) in front of the object to be transferred. (I know this is a bit staggering for the mind) The ship or object is then slowly moved through the gateway to it’s new location. The reason for it’s visibility for a short period is the systems to be transferred cannot engage its holographic systems until the transfer is complete and it systems brought back on-line. In essence, the ship or object is briefly visible. Thus the need for a major distraction west of the Denver International Airport during transfer.
Bellvue, Colorado – More people evacuated by the most destructive fire in Colorado history are set to return home today.
It’s the second wave of evacuees allowed back in two days as firefighters ramp up their attack on the wildfire that’s burned over 100 square miles and destroyed at least 189 homes.
Fire managers say the blaze is 55 percent contained.
Meanwhile, firefighters are making progress against another blaze in central Colorado, which may have been caused by a meteor. The 2-square-mile wildfire near Lake George is 39 percent contained.
The county sheriff says his office received multiple reports, including one from a person who thought a meteorite might have landed in a wooded area north of Buena Vista. He says officials could not confirm that report.
The National Weather Service says the Colorado sightings correspond with a report of a possible meteor filed by the crews of two commercial aircraft over Kansas and another over New Mexico, near the Colorado State line.
Source: Associated Press
Fire observations from around the world taken over nearly 10 years are shown in this visualization of NASA satellite data
Credit: NASA”What you see here is a very good representation of the satellite data scientists use to understand the global distribution of fires and to determine where and how fire distribution is responding to climate changeand population growth,” said Chris Justice of the University of Maryland, College Park, a scientist who leads NASA’s effort to use MODIS data to study the world’s fires.One of the new visualizations takes viewers on a narrated global tour of fires detected between July 2002 and July 2011. The fire data is combined with satellite views of vegetation and snow cover to show how fires relate to seasonal changes. The Terra and Aqua satellites were launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
“What you see here is a very good representation of the satellite data scientists use to understand the global distribution of fires and to determine where and how fire distribution is responding to climate change and population growth,” said Chris Justice of the University of Maryland, College Park, a scientist who leads NASA’s effort to use MODIS data to study the world’s fires.
One of the new visualizations takes viewers on a narrated global tour of fires detected between July 2002 and July 2011. The fire data is combined with satellite views of vegetation and snow cover to show how fires relate to seasonal changes. The Terra and Aqua satellites were launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
The tour begins by showing extensive grassland fires spreading across interior Australia and the eucalyptus forests in the northwestern and eastern part of the continent. The tour then shifts to Asia where large numbers of agricultural fires are visible first in China in June 2004, then across a huge swath of Europe and western Russia in August. It then moves across India and Southeast Asia, through the early part of 2005. The tour continues across Africa, South America, and concludes in North America.
Multiple fires burned in northern India near the Pakistan border in early October, 2011, as the end of the monsoon season brought drier conditions that prompted farmers in the region to begin to clear land for the dry season crops. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on October 15, 2011 as it passed overhead.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Jeff Schmaltz
The global fire data show that Africa has more abundant burning than any other continent. MODIS observations have shown that some 70 percent of the world’s fires occur in Africa. During a fairly average burning season from July through September 2006, the visualizations show a huge outbreak of savanna fires in Central Africa driven mainly by agricultural activities, but also driven by lightning strikes.
Fires are comparatively rare in North America, making up just 2 percent of the world’s burned area each year. The fires that receive the most attention in the United States — the uncontrolled forest fires in the West — are less visible than the wave of agricultural fires prominent in the Southeast and along the Mississippi River Valley. Some of the large wildfires that ravaged Texas this year are visible in the animation.
NASA maintains multiple satellite instruments capable of detecting fires and supports a wide range of fire-related research. Such efforts have yielded the most widely used data records of global fire activity and burned area in the world. NASA-supported scientists use the data to advance understanding about Earth’s climate system, ecosystem health, and the global carbon cycle.
Pagami Creek Fire in northern Minnesota: Nearly two months after being ignited by lightning, the Pagami Creek Fire in northern Minnesota was nearly contained when Landsat-5 acquired this image on October 10, 2011. Since August 18, the fire has been burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Superior National Forest. As of October 11, the fire had burned 92,682 acres and was 82 percent contained. Apart from a faint hint of smoke, there is little sign of current fire activity in the image. The burned forest, however, is charcoal-colored, in contrast to the green forest around it.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
NASA’s Applied Sciences Program seeks out innovative and practical benefits that result from studying fires. For example, the program has found ways to integrate space-based wildfire observations into air quality models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that help protect public health.
NASA will extend the United States’ capability to monitor and study global fires from space with the launch this month of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, known as NPP. The satellite is the first mission designed to collect data to increase our understanding of long-term climate change and improve weather forecasts.
One of NPP’s new, state-of-the-art science instruments will provide scientists with data to extend the long-term global fires data record. The satellite is targeted to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Oct. 28. The mission is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
MODIS data are processed by the MODIS Advanced Processing System at Goddard. The algorithm and product validation is done by scientists at the University of Maryland. The visualizations were created at Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio. The fire, vegetation and snow data all come from the MODIS instruments on Terra and Aqua.
To watch the global tour of the world’s fires, visit:
For regular updates on fires and their effects worldwide, visit: www.nasa.gov/fires
Contacts and sources:
Uploaded by NibiruMagick2012 on Jul 15, 2011
House blasts Yucca Mountain nuclear waste decision
“Put simply, the Administration’s anti-Yucca Mountain stance has no scientific basis, is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, and may be illegal. The Committee rejects the Administration’s plans to shut down the Yucca Mountain license application process and includes funds in the recommendation to continue the process. Once the full merits of this site are understood, and not before, the nation should determine whether to move forward with full construction of the site.”
Video of forest fire inferno as hundreds flee blaze in Croatia
Severe Typhoon Ma-on Japan Threat
The Dam Weather Report 7/15/2011
7/15/2011 Past 24 – Earthquake Activity
TWO LARGE EARTHQUAKES Chile and Sandwich Islands 16/07/2011
15/07/2011 – Real-time Magnetosphere Simulation
Fukushima Gas Leak from # 3 Reactor & update 7/15/11
Hardscrabble Oil Field Spill in North Dakota
We Love Japan
Eric Whitacre – Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2.0, ‘Sleep’
Smoke rises around the Lee Valley Recreational area in the Apache National Forest during back burn operations as the Wallow Fire continues to burn in Big Lake, Arizona on June 12. Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather.
The human and economic toll over just the past few months has been staggering: hundreds of people have died, and thousands of homes and millions of acres have been lost at a cost estimated at more than $20 billion.
And the United States has not even entered peak hurricane season.
“This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we’ve seen in the last century since we’ve had good records,” said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
While it’s not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring’s extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future.
“In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods,” he told AFP.
“We are seeing an increase in the amount (of rain and snow) that comes at once, and the ramifications are that it’s a lot more water to deal with at a time, so you see things like flooding.”
More than 6.8 million acres in the central United States have been swamped after record spring rainfall overwhelmed rivers already swollen from the melting of a heavy winter snow pack.
Some levees burst under the pressure as the mighty Mississippi River swelled to more than three miles (nearly five kilometers) in width. Others were intentionally breached in order to ease pressure and protect cities downstream.
The latest flooding along the Missouri River has forced mass evacuations and threatened to inundate two nuclear power plants in Nebraska.
Meanwhile, the southern United States is dealing with one of the most extreme droughts since the dust bowl of the 1930s, and the dry conditions have led to massive and uncontrollable wildfires.
More than 4.7 million acres have been burned in some 32,000 separate fires so far this year, which is more than twice the annual average over the past decade, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have lost the most land, and one fire even spread to the grounds of the top US nuclear research lab on Monday.
As with the plants in Nebraska, officials said the nuclear material stored inside is safe and that no contaminants have been released.
While most people have been able to escape the slow-moving floodwaters and wildfires unharmed, the spring’s violent storms have unleashed scenes of apocalyptic destruction.
Tornadoes have killed 542 people so far this year, making 2011 the deadliest tornado season since 1936 and the fourth worst on record, according to the National Weather Service.
Two bad days accounted for nearly all the deaths: an outbreak of dozens of tornadoes that killed 314 people in five southern states on April 27, and a nearly mile-wide twister that cut a six-mile (nearly 10 kilometer) swath of destruction through Joplin, Missouri on May 22, killing 146 people.
Climate change could bring less tornadoes, because while a warmer atmosphere will absorb more precipitation, causing more storms, it could also reduce the wind shear that builds storm intensity when cold and warm fronts collide.
However, the intensity of future droughts, heat waves, storms and floods is expected to rise drastically if greenhouse gas emissions don’t stabilize soon, said Michael Mann, a scientist at Penn State University.
“Even a couple degree warming can make a 100-year event a three-year event,” Mann, the head of the university’s earth systems science center, told AFP.
“It has to do with the tail of the bell curve. When you move the bell curve, that area changes dramatically.”
More extreme weather is expected in the coming months, said Jon Gottschalck, head of forecast operations at NOAA’s climate prediction center.
“We’re expecting warmer than normal conditions to continue across much of the south. The drought is probably going to continue in many areas,” he said.
“We also expect wetter than normal conditions to continue for the next season or two in the northern Rockies…and an active hurricane season.”
|Posted by: JeffMasters, 1:32 PM GMT on June 24, 2011|
Every year extraordinary weather events rock the Earth. Records that have stood centuries are broken. Great floods, droughts, and storms affect millions of people, and truly exceptional weather events unprecedented in human history may occur. But the wild roller-coaster ride of incredible weather events during 2010, in my mind, makes that year the planet’s most extraordinary year for extreme weather since reliable global upper-air data began in the late 1940s. Never in my 30 years as a meteorologist have I witnessed a year like 2010–the astonishing number of weather disasters and unprecedented wild swings in Earth’s atmospheric circulation were like nothing I’ve seen. The pace of incredible extreme weather events in the U.S. over the past few months have kept me so busy that I’ve been unable to write-up a retrospective look at the weather events of 2010. But I’ve finally managed to finish, so fasten your seat belts for a tour through the top twenty most remarkable weather events of 2010. At the end, I’ll reflect on what the wild weather events of 2010 and 2011 imply for our future.
Earth’s hottest year on record
Unprecedented heat scorched the Earth’s surface in 2010, tying 2005 for the warmest year since accurate records began in the late 1800s. Temperatures in Earth’s lower atmosphere also tied for warmest year on record, according to independent satellite measurements. Earth’s 2010 record warmth was unusual because it occurred during the deepest solar energy minimum since satellite measurements of the sun began in the 1970s. Unofficially, nineteen nations (plus the the U.K.’s Ascension Island) set all-time extreme heat records in 2010. This includes Asia’s hottest reliably measured temperature of all-time, the remarkable 128.3°F (53.5°C) in Pakistan in May 2010. This measurement is also the hottest reliably recorded temperature anywhere on the planet except for in Death Valley, California. The countries that experienced all-time extreme highs in 2010 constituted over 20% of Earth’s land surface area.
Figure 1. Climate Central and Weather Underground put together this graphic showing the nineteen nations (plus one UK territory, Ascension Island) that set new extreme heat records in 2010.
Most extreme winter Arctic atmospheric circulation on record; “Snowmageddon” results
The atmospheric circulation in the Arctic took on its most extreme configuration in 145 years of record keeping during the winter of 2009 – 2010. The Arctic is normally dominated by low pressure in winter, and a “Polar Vortex” of counter-clockwise circulating winds develops surrounding the North Pole. However, during the winter of 2009 – 2010, high pressure replaced low pressure over the Arctic, and the Polar Vortex weakened and even reversed at times, with a clockwise flow of air replacing the usual counter-clockwise flow of air. This unusual flow pattern allowed cold air to spill southwards and be replaced by warm air moving poleward. Like leaving the refrigerator door ajar, the Arctic “refrigerator” warmed, and cold Arctic air spilled out into “living room” where people live. A natural climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and its close cousin, the Arctic Oscillation (AO) were responsible. Both of these patterns experienced their strongest-on-record negative phase, when measured as the pressure difference between the Icelandic Low and Azores High.
The extreme Arctic circulation caused a bizarre upside-down winter over North America–Canada had its warmest and driest winter on record, forcing snow to be trucked in for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but the U.S. had its coldest winter in 25 years. A series of remarkable snow storms pounded the Eastern U.S., with the “Snowmageddon” blizzard dumping more than two feet of snow on Baltimore and Philadelphia. Western Europe also experienced unusually cold and snowy conditions, with the UK recording its 8th coldest January. A highly extreme negative phase of the NAO and AO returned again during November 2010, and lasted into January 2011. Exceptionally cold and snowy conditions hit much of Western Europe and the Eastern U.S. again in the winter of 2010 – 2011. During these two extreme winters, New York City recorded three of its top-ten snowstorms since 1869, and Philadelphia recorded four of its top-ten snowstorms since 1884. During December 2010, the extreme Arctic circulation over Greenland created the strongest ridge of high pressure ever recorded at middle levels of the atmosphere, anywhere on the globe (since accurate records began in 1948.) New research suggests that major losses of Arctic sea ice could cause the Arctic circulation to behave so strangely, but this work is still speculative.
Figure 2. Digging out in Maryland after “Snowmageddon”. Image credit: wunderphotographer chills.
Arctic sea ice: lowest volume on record, 3rd lowest extent
Sea ice in the Arctic reached its third lowest areal extent on record in September 2010. Compared to sea ice levels 30 years ago, 1/3 of the polar ice cap was missing–an area the size of the Mediterranean Sea. The Arctic has seen a steady loss of meters-thick, multi-year-old ice in recent years that has left thin, 1 – 2 year-old ice as the predominant ice type. As a result, sea ice volume in 2010 was the lowest on record. More than half of the polar icecap by volume–60%–was missing in September 2010, compared to the average from 1979 – 2010. All this melting allowed the Northwest Passage through the normally ice-choked waters of Canada to open up in 2010. The Northeast Passage along the coast of northern Russia also opened up, and this was the third consecutive year–and third time in recorded history–that both passages melted open. Two sailing expeditions–one Russian and one Norwegian–successfully navigated both the Northeast Passage and the Northwest Passage in 2010, the first time this feat has been accomplished. Mariners have been attempting to sail the Northwest Passage since 1497, and have failed to accomplish this feat without an icebreaker until the 2000s. In December 2010, Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest winter extent on record, the beginning of a 3-month streak of record lows. Canada’s Hudson Bay did not freeze over until mid-January of 2011, the latest freeze-over date in recorded history.
Figure 3. The Arctic’s minimum sea ice extent for 2010 was reached on September 21, and was the third lowest on record. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Excellent read with video’s, interactive maps and more, and it’s all continued here:
CNN)— One of the largest wildfires in Arizona history threatened mountain retreats and spread ash and smoke as far away as Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than 200 miles away, officials said Saturday.
Across the state, blazes have burned more than 250,000 acres.
More than 1,000 personnel were battling a large wildfire near Alpine in the east-central part of the state. The fire, of undetermined origin, had burned 140,000 acres by Saturday and prompted the evacuation of nearly 2,500 people.
It was completely uncontained Saturday afternoon.
“The fire is burning pretty fast and it’s pretty large,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who visited the area Saturday. “It’s a big fire and we hope that we get more encouraging news in the morning.”
She said officials have so far spent some $3 million on efforts to put out the blaze and that she would consider asking the state or federal governments for help if the situation gets worse.
The fire, which began last weekend, has destroyed several log outbuildings and remained a large threat to vacation homes and other properties in Alpine and Nutrioso, said Sgt. Richard Guinn of the Apache County Sheriff’s Office. Residents in those communities and a subdivision were evacuated.
“It looks like fog in St. John’s right now,” Guinn said.
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