WEIRD WORLD PT 1/JAN 2011
- Fri, 04 Feb 2011 13:33 CST
THUNDER SNOW-There was a lightning flash and I almost dropped my camera. Who knew thundersnow existed?
- Tue, 01 Feb 2011 15:27 CST
MYSTERIOUS ODOR IN L.A.-People were trying Tuesday to determine the cause of a ”widespread and mildly irritating” odor in East Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods, a city fire spokesman said. Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department said his department had been getting 911 calls, mostly from people in the Boyle Heights area, while County firefighters were receiving the same reports in the larger area of East Los Angeles.
- Fri, 04 Feb 2011 00:01 CST
US AFTER THE STORM SKIES-US skies are clearing in the aftermath of this week’s monster winter storm. But “clear” is not the same as “empty.” Sky watchers are seeing an unusual number of sundogs. Doug Koehler photographed these yesterday in Davenport, Iowa: Brilliant rainbow-like sun pillars in the early morning, sub-zero fog in Davenport, Iowa, just off the Mississippi river. They lasted about 20 minutes before fading away as the sun rose. Sadly, the camera doesn’t do justice to how colorful they were. Taken with a GE A1251 in auto exposure mode. Image taken: Feb. 3 2011″These brilliant sundogs appeared in the early morning sub-zero fog just off the Mississippi river,” says Koehler. “They lasted about 20 minutes before fading away. The camera doesn’t do justice to how colorful they were.” Sundogs and their cousins, sun pillars, are caused by ice crystals in the air. And if there’s one thing North Americans have a lot of, it’s icy air. Indeed, the dog and pillar show is likely to continue for at least six more weeks.
- Tue, 01 Feb 2011 14:41 CST
SNOW SPIRALS-As a winter storm of historic proportions prepares to sweep across the USA later this week, midwesterners should be alert for some unaccustomed sights. One of them is snow spirals. Michael French photographed this specimen in Frederick, Maryland, on Jan. 29th.
- Mon, 31 Jan 2011 15:18 CST
DOME OF THE ROCK UFO-At 1 am Israel time (UTC+2) on the 28th of January 2011, two videos were recorded in central Jerusalem. Both videos appear to have filmed the same event from different positions: A white ball of light descends from the sky and hovers over and slightly to the East of the Dome of the Rock, approximately over the garden of Gethsemane. After about 30 seconds, the ball of light shoots off into the sky at high speed.
- Tue, 01 Feb 2011 14:27 CST
DISTURBANCE IN INTERPLANETARY MAGNETIC FIELD-According to the official forecast, the odds of geomagnetic activity on Jan. 31st were less than 10%. That was good enough for Kjetil Skogli of Troms, Norway. “We went out to look in spite of the low expectations–and there it was!” An aurora-burst was in progress directly overhead.
- Thu, 27 Jan 2011 06:44 CST
GHOSTLY FIGURE IN CLOUDS-Phenomenon: The Brocken Spectre figure was captured in the Chatyr-Dag, a mountainous region in Crimea near the Ukraine by university lecturer Mikhail Baevsky At first glance it may look like a ghostly shape silhouetted against a rainbow. But this is the Brocken Spectre phenomenon, an optical illusion created when low sun shines behind someone looking down into fog from a ridge. The atmospheric conditions throw the person’s shadow forward, creating this spectral apparition. On this occasion, the image was captured by 59-year-old Mikhail Baevsky. Handily, he teaches Organic Chemistry at a university and realised the phenomenon was probably caused by the weather. Mr Baevsky was in the Chatyr-Dag, a mountainous region in Crimea near the Ukraine, when he took the shot. ‘I had only read about this phenomenon before in books but had never seen it before myself,’ he said. ‘I was scanning the horizon for a good shot and while turning my head I noticed the dark ghostly figure – so I quickly reached for my camera. ‘I took as many shots as possible before it disappeared. It does look amazing.’
- Thu, 27 Jan 2011 13:49 CST
V-TOPPED LIGHT PILLARS-Light pillars are a common sight around cities in winter. Urban lights bounce off ice crystals in the air, producing tall luminous columns sometimes mistaken for auroras. But the light pillars Mike Hollingshead saw last night near a corn mill in Nebraska were decidely uncommon. “They had V-shaped tops,” he explains, “and some of the Vs were nested.” Here is what he saw: “These light pillars are not just rare, they are exceptional!” declares atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. “Ordinary pillars are produced by plate-shaped ice crystals roughly half way between you and the light source. These ones are different. Their rarely seen flared tops show that they were made by column-shaped crystals drifting slowly downwards and aligned horizontal by air resistance.”
- Thu, 27 Jan 2011 17:41 CST
A DAY OF NIGHT SHINING CLOUDS-Scientists have a good reason to track noctilucent or polar mesospheric clouds: they are a pretty good gauge of even the tiniest changes in the atmosphere. These “night-shining clouds,” as they are sometimes called, are thin, wavy ice clouds that form at very high altitudes and reflect sunlight long after the Sun has dropped below the horizon. To look for changes in the atmosphere, scientist Matthew DeLand (of Science Systems and Applications Inc. and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) has been monitoring polar mesospheric clouds with instruments that were actually designed to study ozone, including the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. OMI provides more detailed and frequent observations than previous instruments, giving DeLand a way to refine his previous measurements of a long-term trend towards more and brighter noctilucent clouds linked to rising greenhouse gases. These images show OMI measurements of polar mesospheric clouds on July 10, 2007. The clouds, detectable because they are the only things that reflect light in this part of the atmosphere, are shown in white and pink. The Aura satellite travels in a polar orbit, circling from south to north as the Earth turns beneath it. As a result, the satellite gets several opportunities to image the poles every day. This series of images shows the clouds over six consecutive orbits between 7:16 and 15:52 Universal Time. Throughout the day, a wide area of polar mesospheric clouds developed over northern Greenland and Canada, peaking around 10:30 UTC (the third orbit).
- Wed, 26 Jan 2011 01:43 CST
GREEN SNOW-”Last night (Jan. 25th) was amazing. It was the first time in my life I have seen auroras so bright and clear,” reports Bjarki Mikkelsen from a little Arctic village in northern Sweden. The display was so intense, even the snow turned green. “I also thought I could hear a strange sound coming from the Northern Lights,” he adds. “I’ve decided to stay here to get another chance to experience this again.” Another chance is in the offing. A coronal hole in the sun’s eastern hemisphere is spewing a stream of solar wind, due to hit Earth about a week from now. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Feb 1st or 2nd.
- Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:02 CST
GOOEY” NEW MUD VOLCANO-There’s a new island in the azure waters off Pakistan, but you might want to hold off on vacation planning: The tiny dot is a mud volcano that will likely disappear before it sees 1,001 Arabian nights. Pakistani fishers reported the new mud volcano in the Arabian Sea in late November, and NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite snapped a picture of it (above) on January 11. The volcano was not in a satellite picture of the same region taken last February. According to NASA, mud volcano “islands” have appeared in the Arabian Sea before, and most have washed away within a few months. In fact, the January picture shows tan sediments steaming from the new mud volcano, suggesting it is eroding and will soon vanish. Mud volcanoes, which can appear on land or underwater, form when underground layers of silt or clay become pressurized either by tectonic activity or by a buildup of hydrocarbon gases.
- Wed, 26 Jan 2011 20:47 CST
After the Sun sets on a summer evening and the sky fades to black, you may be lucky enough to see thin, wavy clouds illuminating the night, such as these seen over Billund, Denmark, on July 15, 2010. Noctilucent or polar mesospheric clouds, form at very high altitudes – between 80 and 85 kilometers (50 – 53 miles) – which positions them to reflect light long after the Sun has dropped below the horizon. These “night-shining” clouds are rare – rare enough that Matthew DeLand, who has been studying them for 11 years, has only seen them once in person. But the chances of seeing these elusive clouds are increasing. DeLand, an atmospheric scientist with Science Systems and Applications Inc. and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has found that polar mesospheric clouds are forming more frequently and becoming brighter. He has been observing the clouds in data from Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet instruments that have been flown on satellites since 1978. The graph shows how the brightness of the clouds has changed in the Northern Hemisphere. For reasons no one fully understands, the brightness wiggles up and down in step with solar activity, with fewer clouds forming when the Sun is most active. The biggest variability is in the far north. Underlying the changes caused by the Sun, however, is a trend toward brighter clouds. The upward trend in brightness, says DeLand, reveals subtle changes in the atmosphere that may be linked to greenhouse gases. Polar mesospheric clouds are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric water vapor and temperature. The clouds form only when temperatures drop below -130 degrees Celsius (-200 Fahrenheit), when the scant water freezes into ice clouds. This happens most often in far northern and southern latitudes (above 50 degrees) in the summer when, counter-intuitively, the mesosphere is coldest.
- Sun, 23 Jan 2011 19:55 CST
WEIRD WEATHER PATTERNS-Without doubt, the winter weather that began and ended 2010 was remarkable. Judging by the weather, the world seems to have flipped upside down. For two winters running, an Arctic chill has descended on Europe, burying that continent in snow and ice. Last year in the United States, historic blizzards afflicted the mid-Atlantic region. This winter it is the Deep South that has endured unusual snowstorms and severe cold, and a frigid Northeast is bracing for what could shape into another major snowstorm at midweek. Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted. Iqaluit, the capital of the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut, had to cancel its New Year’s snowmobile parade. David Ell, the deputy mayor, said that people in the region had been looking with envy at snowbound American and European cities. “People are saying, ‘That’s where all our snow is going!’” he said. The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the past two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north. The deeper issue is whether the pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is. But many others are doubtful, saying the recent events are unexceptional, or that more evidence over a longer period would be needed to establish a link.
- Sat, 22 Jan 2011 15:04 CST
INDIA MYSTERIOUS GAS LEAK-More than 12 hours after a gas leak led to a scare in many parts of central Mumbai on Saturday morning around 8.30am, fire and civic authorities are still looking for the source of the gas leak which left many complaining of itchy eyes, coughing and nausea. While admitting that the symptoms pointed strongly to the possibility that the leaked gas was ammonia, none of the authorities were willing to go on record saying so. In the past seven months this is the fourth gas leak in the metropolitan region, which has thrown light on the casual attitude of authorities regarding gas leak incidents. In July 2010, there was a chlorine leak at Haji Bunder in Sewri which sent 123 people to the hospital. In the same month, a chlorine gas leak occurred in Bhivandi. On Saturday morning, people residing in Matunga, Dadar and Mahim complained of a burning sensation in the eyes as well as sore throats. A fire brigade rushed to the spot to find the source of gas leak, but failed.
- Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:40 CST
CHINA GIANT HOLE-A Chinese family had to leave their home after a giant sinkhole suddenly opened up in their backyard overnight. The hole is nearly 70ft wide and nobody has so far even been able to measure how deep it is. Zhang Fengrong, 58, of Leshan, Sichuan province, said he suddenly heard a roaring sound at 2am. He stepped outside and was amazed to see the giant hole opening up, and getting closer and closer to his house.
- Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:19 CST
SUPERSTORMS-A group of more than 100 scientists and experts say in a new report that California faces the risk of a massive “superstorm” that could flood a quarter of the state’s homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. Researchers point out that the potential scale of destruction in this storm scenario is four or five times the amount of damage that could be wrought by a major earthquake. It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic action movie, but scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey warned federal and state emergency officials that California’s geological history shows such “superstorms” have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters to worry about in the Golden State. The threat of a cataclysmic California storm has been dormant for the past 150 years. Geological Survey director Marcia K. McNutt told the New York Times that a 300-mile stretch of the Central Valley was inundated from 1861-62. The floods were so bad that the state capital had to be moved to San Francisco, and Governor Leland Stanford had to take a rowboat to his own inauguration, the report notes. Even larger storms happened in past centuries, over the dates 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605, according to geological evidence.
- Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:34 CST
YELLOW FOAM ON BOURNEMOUTH SHORE-A strange substance found on Bournemouth shore is similar to that washed up on Hayling Island beaches. The bright yellow foam, which tests reveal is 80 per cent castor oil, caused several beach closures in Hampshire and Sussex. Seafront Development Manager Chris Saunders said: “Our Seafront Cleansing team spent yesterday removing a majority of the material. “We are working closely with the Environment Agency, and Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
- Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:43 CST
STRANGE BEAMS-Light pillar over Gatineau Park early Tuesday morning. If you saw funny lights in the sky before dawn Tuesday, you were looking at light from the ground filtered through millions of tiny airborne ice crystals. People across Ottawa and up into Gatineau Park reported seeing beams of light shooting straight up from the ground about 6 a.m., and some said the effect was like hundreds of searchlights. Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist from Environment Canada, says there was nothing unusual about the lights. The unusual part was the atmosphere.
- Thu, 13 Jan 2011 21:01 CST
GREENLAND SUN RISES 2 DAYS EARLY-The sun has arrived two days early in Greenland according to KNR Radio. It usually rises on January 13th but for some reason rose on 1/11/11 this year. Inhabitants from the area appeared worried when witnessing the strange phenomenon. “The sun is not supposed to be here until January 13th, something isn’t right” a 74 year old local reported to KBR radio. Some scientist believe the melting of ice sheets is what caused the phenomenon. “The constellation of the stars has not changed and if it did the data of Earth’s axis and rotation would be monitored minute by minute all over the world,” said Wolfgang Lenhardt, head of the geophysics department at the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG).
- Wed, 12 Jan 2011 15:13 CST
MYSTERIOUS SUBSTANCE-A beach has been closed after the discovery of a mysterious substance. An “unidentified foam-like substance” has been found along part of the southern coastline, causing Chichester District Council to close East Wittering beach until further notice. Beaches controlled by West Wittering Estate and Cakeham Manor have also been closed. A council spokesperson said: “We are closing the beach as a precaution. The unidentified foam-like substance was discovered earlier today. The Environment Agency has taken samples to test. We should know the outcome of these tests within the next 48 hours. “Following this time, we will decide on what action to take.”
- Sun, 09 Jan 2011 17:12 CST
TRIPLE PUNCH HOLE CLOUDS-”I’ve lived by the sea for many years, but never seen anything like this,” reports Wesley Tyler of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. “On Friday, Jan. 7th, there were three punch hole clouds in the same place.” He grabbed his camera and recorded the phenomenon. Considered a mystery for many years, punch hole clouds appear on rare occasions all over the world, sometimes attracting widespread attention, e.g., the famous Moscow UFO cloud of 2009. Recently meteorologists have penetrated the mystery: punch holes form when airplanes fly through thin layers of high altitude clouds. If water droplets in the cloud are supercooled (below freezing but still liquid), they can suddenly turn to snow when shocked by the passage of the plane. This mini-snowstorm occurs over a circular area much wider than the airplane itself.
- Fri, 07 Jan 2011 18:38 CST
MAGNETIC NORTH SHIFTS 10 DEGREES-Following up on The Tampa Tribune’s report that the Tampa, Florida airport authority had its runway landing sights repainted to reflect Magnetic North’s lurch into Siberia, mainstream TV news has picked up on the story and ponders whether the planet is due a complete polar reversal.
- Sun, 09 Jan 2011 00:00 CST
CHEMTRAILS? STRANGE SKIES-A few things that should be considered when talking about so-called “chemtrails”:
1) Obviously, there is some “spraying” that goes on and it’s not for the benefit of humanity. I’ve heard a few stories from people about very low flying planes dispersing stuff that lands all over everything or makes people sick. And I do mean LOW flying.
2) Spraying that actually affects a designated area beneath the sprayer (the plane in question) must be at a fairly low altitude otherwise what is sprayed will not come down on the area beneath the spraying. This is due to the fact that our atmosphere has a number of layers and each layer has its own temperature and wind speed and direction, and very often, things in one layer take a very long time and distance to mix or mingle with other layers, IF they mix at all. Usually, the wind speeds in the upper layers are such that anything deposited there might only penetrate to lower, weather, layers, after many thousands of miles of travel. It’s a very nonlinear situation and highly, impossibly, unpredictable.
3) So, if you are talking about chemical spraying that you can see above in the sky, that then falls on the area below it, you must be talking about low altitude spraying.
4) Therefore, trails that are very high in the sky that have no hope of ever interacting with the ground below them cannot properly be called “chemtrails” except, perhaps, if a chemical is being sprayed that is supposed to affect the weather (and even that is done fairly low). Cloud seeding is done by dispersing elements such as dry ice crystals or silver iodide in the atmosphere with an airplane or even ground based stations. Seeding clouds is believed to promote condensation of water droplets, thus, rain.
- Fri, 07 Jan 2011 12:56 CST
NACREOUS CLOUD ALERT-Auroras aren’t the only colors in the polar sky. Observers around the Arctic Circle are reporting vivid, iridescent nacreous clouds, which form in the stratosphere during the coldest months of northern winter. “Once seen they are never forgotten,” says Marketa Stanczykova who photographed these specimens outside Reykjavik, Iceland, on Jan. 4th. Another onlooker in Reykjavik, Albert Jakobsson, describes how “the beautiful colors played in the clouds and kept going for about one and half hour after sunset.”
- Thu, 30 Dec 2010 09:34 CST
GREEN RIVER-The water in Goldstream River, at Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, flows a bright green, Dec. 29, 2010.Victoria, British Columbia – Horrified nature-lovers at Goldstream Provincial Park watched as the Goldstream River turned bright green late Wednesday afternoon. The fluorescent green colouring appeared to start about 500 metres on the Victoria side of the entrance to the park and, over the course of an hour, the substance flowed down into the environmentally sensitive estuary. By 5:30 p.m. the river, known for its dramatic salmon runs, eagles and other wildlife, was back to its normal colour.
- Mon, 03 Jan 2011 21:23 CST
AURORAS & METEORS-”Wow!” exclaims Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway. “Tonight Earth’s upper atmosphere got hit full force both by the solar wind, producing some amazing coronas in purple and green, and every now and then by a fragment from shattered comet 2003 EH1, source of the Quadrantid meteor shower.” He took this picture using his Nikon D3:”Bitter cold weather here in northern Norway made the photo-session a bit shorter than I hoped–indeed, my lens was completely covered in ice crystals–but I managed to catch some of the beauty of this cold night,” says Broms.
- Jan 1, 2011 14:19-UK
Coldest in 120 years! If you thought December was the coldest you could remember, you were right… unless you are more than 120 years old. The benchmark Central England Temperature plunged to an average of -0.6c (30.9f) over the month, making it the second harshest December since records began in 1659. It was beaten only by the -0.8c (30.5f) average for December 1890, weather historian Philip Eden said last night. It was also the chilliest individual calendar month since February 1986.