Sunday, October 14, 2007
3) The 'Old' Consensus?
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY [William O'Neil] - Editorial - September 21, 2007Climate Change: Did NASA scientist James Hansen, the global warming alarmist in chief, once believe we were headed for --- an ice age? An old Washington Post story indicates he did.On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming."
It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man's use of fossil fuels.The Post reported that Rasool, writing in Science, argued that in "the next 50 years" fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun's rays that the Earth's average temperature could fall by six degrees.
Sustained emissions over five to 10 years, Rasool claimed, "could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."Aiding Rasool's research, the Post reported, was a "computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen," who was, according to his resume, a Columbia University research associate at the time.So what about those greenhouse gases that man pumps into the skies? Weren't they worried about them causing a greenhouse effect that would heat the planet, as Hansen, Al Gore and a host of others so fervently believe today?"They found no need to worry about the carbon dioxide fuel-burning puts in the atmosphere," the Post said in the story, which was spotted last week by Washington resident John Lockwood, who was doing research at the Library of Congress and alerted the Washington Times to his finding.Hansen has some explaining to do.
The public deserves to know how he was converted from an apparent believer in a coming ice age who had no worries about greenhouse gas emissions to a global warming fear monger. This is a man, as Lockwood noted in his message to the Times' John McCaslin, who has called those skeptical of his global warming theory "court jesters." We wonder: What choice words did he have for those who were skeptical of the ice age theory in 1971? People can change their positions based on new information or by taking a closer or more open- minded look at what is already known. There's nothing wrong with a reversal or modification of views as long as it is arrived at honestly.
But what about political hypocrisy? It's clear that Hansen is as much a political animal as he is a scientist. Did he switch from one approaching cataclysm to another because he thought it would be easier to sell to the public? Was it a career advancement move or an honest change of heart on science, based on empirical evidence?If Hansen wants to change positions again, the time is now. With NASA having recently revised historical temperature data that Hansen himself compiled, the door has been opened for him to embrace the ice age projections of the early 1970s.Could be he's feeling a little chill in the air again.
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4) 1922 edition of WASHINGTON POST: 'Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt'
THE WASHINGTON TIMES - Inside the Beltway, By John McCaslin - August 14, 2007D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared.""This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all." - - - -
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5) Researcher: Global Warming Began 250 Years Ago
DAILY TECH - By Michael Asher - October 8, 2007Siberian warming predates the industrial era; does the trend apply to the entire world?Siberia's Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake. By water volume, its also the largest freshwater lake, containing more water than all five of the North America's Great Lakes combined.
Fed by over 300 rivers, Baikal is a barometer for the entire Siberian region. Due to the lake's depth (over a mile deep in many places), it contains the northern hemisphere's most pristine, uninterrupted sedimentary record, allowing highly accurate reconstructions of past temperatures. Baikal's great distance from the moderating effects of any ocean also makes it an ideal site for detecting global warming.Researcher Anson Mackay, of the Environmental Change Research Centre, University College, London, has done just that -- reconstructed the climate history of Lake Baikal over the past 800,000 years. The result is the most accurate high-resolution temperature record of Siberia ever constructed. And it contains several surprises.The record clearly demonstrates the region has often been considerably warmer than it is at present. More stunning is the most recent data, which shows Siberia first began warming around 250 years ago -- long before the industrial revolution, and its resultant greenhouse gas emissions.Mackay concludes, "[Changes] started as early as c. 1750 AD, with a shift from taxa that bloom during autumn overturn to assemblages that exhibit net growth in spring (after ice break-up) ...
Warming in the Lake Baikal region commenced before rapid increases in greenhouse gases, and at least initially, is therefore a response to other forcing factors such as insolation changes." Siberia is, of course, not the entire world. However, the global warming signal is, even today, strongest there. Also, Mackay's paper is not the only research to demonstrate the current warming trend predates the industrial era -- for instance, Bräuning's research in Turkey, Hallert in Canada, or Vollweiler, et al, in Austria/Germany.
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6) Study finds CO2 didn't end ice age
WORLDNETDAILY - September 29, 2007A new peer-reviewed scientific study counters a major premise of global warming theory, concluding carbon dioxide did not end the last ice age. The study, led by University of Southern California geologist Lowell Stott, concluded deep-sea temperatures rose 1,300 years before the rise in atmospheric CO2, which would rule out the greenhouse gas as the main agent of the meltdown.
"There has been this continual reference to the correspondence between CO2 and climate change as reflected in ice core records as justification for the role of CO2 in climate change," said Stott. "You can no longer argue that CO2 alone caused the end of the ice ages." The study will be published in the next issue of Science magazine.
Another new study published in Science refutes the "Hockey Stick" temperature graph, used by man- made global warming theorists such as former Vice President Al Gore to argue for a recent spike in average global temperature after centuries of relative stability. Stott's new study suggests the rise in greenhouse gas likely was a result of warming.
It may have accelerated the meltdown, he says, but was not its main cause. He cautioned that the study does not discount the role of CO2. "I don't want anyone to leave thinking that this is evidence that CO2 doesn't affect climate," he said. "It does, but the important point is that CO2 is not the beginning and end of climate change."Stott's collaborators were Axel Timmermann of the University of Hawaii and Robert Thunell of the University of South Carolina.
Stott, an expert in paleoclimatology, was a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.- commissioned group that has published reports blaming warming on human sources. Stott's study found a correlation between melting Antarctic sea ice and increased springtime solar radiation over Antarctica, suggesting this might be the energy source.
The authors' model also showed how changed ocean conditions could have been responsible for the release of CO2 from the ocean into the atmosphere, also accelerating the warming. The scientists derived their results from a study of a unique sediment core from the western Pacific composed of fossilized surface-dwelling and bottom- dwelling organisms. The organisms incorporate different isotopes of oxygen into their shells depending on the temperature, enabling the researchers to reconstruct deep and surface ocean temperatures over time. If CO2 caused the warming, surface temperatures should increase before deep-sea temperatures. But the scientists found the water used by the bottom- dwelling organisms began warming about 1,300 years before the water used by the surface-dwelling ones.
"The climate dynamic is much more complex than simply saying that CO2 rises and the temperature warms," Stott said. The complexities "have to be understood in order to appreciate how the climate system has changed in the past and how it will change in the future."
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7) Red faces at NASA over climate-change blunder
Agency roasted after Toronto blogger spots `hot years' data fumbleTOTONTO STAR - By Daniel Dale - August 14, 2007In the United States, the calendar year 1998 ranked as the hottest of them all - until someone checked the math. After a Toronto skeptic tipped NASA this month to one flaw in its climate calculations, the U.S. agency ordered a full data review.
Days later, it put out a revised list of all-time hottest years. The Dust Bowl year of 1934 now ranks as hottest ever in the U.S. - not 1998. More significantly, the agency reduced the mean U.S. "temperature anomalies" for the years 2000 to 2006 by 0.15 degrees Celsius.NASA officials have dismissed the changes as trivial. Even the Canadian who spotted the original flaw says the revisions are "not necessarily material to climate policy." But the revisions have been seized on by conservative Americans, including firebrand radio host Rush Limbaugh, as evidence that climate change science is unsound. Said Limbaugh last Thursday: "What do we have here? We have proof of man-made global warming. The man-made global warming is inside NASA --- is in the scientific community with false data.
"However Stephen McIntyre, who set off the uproar, described his finding as a "a micro-change. But it was kind of fun." A former mining executive who runs the blog ClimateAudit.org, McIntyre, 59, earned attention in 2003 when he put out data challenging the so- called "hockey stick" graph depicting a spike in global temperatures. This time, he sifted NASA's use of temperature anomalies, which measure how much warmer or colder a place is at a given time compared with its 30- year average. Puzzled by a bizarre "jump" in the U.S. anomalies from 1999 to 2000, McIntyre discovered the data after 1999 wasn't being fractionally adjusted to allow for the times of day that readings were taken or the locations of the monitoring stations.
McIntyre emailed his finding to NASA's Goddard Institute, triggering the data review. "They moved pretty fast on this," McIntyre said. "There must have been some long faces."
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8) Newsweek v. Newsweek on global warming denial
MEDIA BIAS: Editor thrashes magazine's current cover story as 'highly contrived,' 'fundamentally misleading'WORLDNETDAILY - August 12, 2007WASHINGTON - This week's cover story in Newsweek reports a "denial machine," bought and paid for by big industry, is preventing critical government action to stop global warming. Meanwhile, next week's issue of Newsweek contains a scathing report by longtime contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson characterizing the previous cover story as "highly contrived" and "fundamentally misleading." "We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades," writes Samuelson in a report that will hit newsstands next week.
"Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week's Newsweek cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It's an object lesson of how viewing the world as 'good guys vs. bad guys' can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it."Among the criticisms leveled by Samuelson against his own magazine: Newsweek used discredited allegations about an ExxonMobil grant to a think tank to pay academics to write articles critical of global warming. The alleged cabal of deniers does not seem to be so effective as to warrant a scary cover story.
Meanwhile, he points out how the mainstream media have promoted catastrophic, manmade global warming as fact rather than theory. The article was full of "self-righteous indignation," which he said "can undermine good journalism. Samuelson concludes: "But the overriding reality seems almost un-American: we simply don't have a solution for this problem. As we debate it, journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale - as Newsweek did - in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society." The Newsweek cover story, written by Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein, Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips, was also attacked by Marc Morano, Republican staffer on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
"This week's 'news article' in Newsweek follows the magazine's Oct. 23, 2006, article, which admitted the error of their ways in the 1970s when they predicted dire global cooling," he writes on his blog. Morano also takes Newsweek to task for use of the word "denier" being attached to global-warming skeptics. He says it's an attempt to equate climate- change skeptics with Holocaust deniers. He quotes Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research as saying: "Let's be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust. This allusion has no place in the discourse on climate change. I say this as someone fully convinced of a significant human role in the behavior of the climate system." Morano also points out his office provided Newsweek staffer Conant with data showing the skeptics in the global warming debate being far outspent to the tune of $50 billion in the last decade to $19 million.
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9) Sun still main force in climate change
Rebuts widely publicized study this summer by UK scientistsWORLDNETDAILY - October 3, 2007Despite the claim of a heavily publicized recent study, the sun still appears to be the main agent in global climate change, according to new research by Danish scientists. The study by the Danish National Space Center rebuts a July study by UK scientists who allege there has not been a solar-climate link in the past 20 years. The Danish researchers, Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen, contend the UK study erroneously relies on surface air temperature, which, they say, "does not respond to the solar cycle."
Over the past 20 years, however, the Danes argue, the solar cycle remains fully apparent in variations both of tropospheric air temperature and of ocean sub- surface water temperature. "When the response of the climate system to the solar cycle is apparent in the troposphere and ocean, but not in the global surface temperature, one can only wonder about the quality of the surface temperature record," Svensmark and Friis-Christensen say.The surface air temperature, they argue, is "a poor guide to sun-driven physical processes that are still plainly persistent in the climate system."
The researchers explained it's "customary to attribute to greenhouse gases any increase in global temperatures not due to solar changes." "While that is reasonable," they say, "one cannot distinguish between the effects of anthropogenic gases such as carbon dioxide and of natural greenhouse gases." Increased evaporation, for example, means "infrared radiation from water vapor, by far the most important greenhouse gas, will tend to provide positive feedback for any global warming, whether driven by anthropogenic or solar forcing." "In any case," they emphasize, "the most recent global temperature trend is close to zero." - - - -
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10) Another Nobel Peace Prize Awarded On The Basis Of Lies
Gore says prize must spur action* [*Original Title of Article]BBC NEWS [PSB operated by BBC Trust] - October 13, 2007Al Gore says his Nobel Peace Prize is an "honour" and a chance to "elevate global consciousness" about the threat posed by climate change. The former US vice-president was awarded the prestigious prize jointly with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The White House congratulated Mr Gore but said it would not change its policies on global warming. Mr Gore's film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, won an Oscar. He said he accepted the Nobel award on behalf of scientists - like those in the IPCC - who had worked tirelessly for years to get the message about global warming out."This is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced," he said, speaking in Palo Alto, California.
"I will be doing everything I can to try to understand how to best use the honour and recognition of this award as a way of speeding up the change in awareness, and the change in urgency. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it wanted to bring into sharper focus the "increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states" posed by climate change. Mr Gore, 59, was praised as "probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted", through his lectures, films and books. He said he would donate his half of the $1.5m prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection. - - - -
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11) CNN Meteorologist: 'Definitely Some Inaccuracies' in Gore Film
NEWS BUSTERS - By Paul Detrick - October 4, 2007CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Finally," in response to a report that a British judge might ban the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" from UK schools because, according to "American Morning," "it is politically biased and contains scientific inaccuracies."
"There are definitely some inaccuracies," Marciano added. "The biggest thing I have a problem with is this implication that Katrina was caused by global warming."Marciano went on to explain that, "global warming does not conclusively cause stronger hurricanes like we've seen," pointing out that "by the end of this century we might get about a 5 percent increase.
"The case stems from a father's claims that the film is brainwashing propaganda, who told The Telegraph, "I am determined to prevent my children from being subjected to political spin in the classroom."The Business and Media Institute has extensively critiqued the media's coverage of global warming in Fire & Ice, which covers a hundred years of coverage of global warming. While journalists have warned of climate change for more than 100 years, the warnings switched from global cooling to warming to cooling and warming again.UPDATE: Marciano also sarcastically said, "the Oscars, they give out awards for fictional films as well."Paul Detrick is a Researcher at the Business and Media Institute.
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12) Think tank: Withdraw Gore film's Oscar
Citing court ruling, compares situation to sports stars found to be 'cheats'WORLDNETDAILY - October 12, 2007On the eve of Al Gore's award of the Nobel Peace Prize, a think tank wrote the president of the Academy Awards asking that the Oscar given to his film "An Inconvenient Truth" be taken back in response to a British High Court ruling that found 11 serious inaccuracies in the documentary.
Muriel Newman, director of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, told Academy President Sid Ganis and Executive Director Bruce Davis "the situation is not unlike that confronting sports bodies when their sports stars are found to be drug cheats." "In such cases, the sportsmen and women are stripped of their medals and titles, with the next place- getter elevated," she said, according the Australian Associated Press. "While this is an extremely unpleasant duty, it is necessary if the integrity of competitive sport is to be protected. British High Court judge Michael Burton ruled Wednesday Gore's documentary should be shown in British schools only with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination. The decision followed a lawsuit by a father, Stewart Dimmock, who claimed the film contained "serious scientific inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush.
"The Nobel panel announced today Gore won the peace prize along with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their efforts to spread awareness of "man-made climate change" and to lay the foundations for fighting it. But Newman, the AAP reported, pointed to the British ruling, which requires teachers to tell students of 11 inaccuracies in Gore's film. "The truth, as inconvenient as it is to Al Gore, is that his so-called documentary contained critical distortions that are quite contrary to the principles of good documentary journalism," Newman said. "Good documentaries should be factually correct. Clearly this documentary is not." "An Inconvenient Truth" won Oscars in 2006 for best documentary and best original song. Dimmock took the British government to court after then-Environment Secretary David Miliband launched a plan to send "An Inconvenient Truth" to all British schools, announcing the scientific debate over man- made global warming "is over." The judge, however, sided with Dimmock, who alleged the documentary breached the Education Act of 1996 by portraying "partisan political views." The court ruled the Guidance Notes to Teachers must make clear that:
The film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument.
If teachers present the film without making this plain they may be in breach of section 406 of the Education Act 1996 and guilty of political indoctrination.
Eleven inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of school children. The inaccuracies, according to the court, are:
The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government's expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.
The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The court found that the film was misleading: Over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.
The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.
The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that this was not the case.
The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr. Gore had misread the study: In fact four polar bears drowned, and this was because of a particularly violent storm.
The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream, throwing Europe into an ice age: The Claimant's evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.
The film blames global warming for species losses including coral ref bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.
The film suggests that the Greenland ice covering could melt, causing sea levels to rise dangerously. The evidence is that Greenland will not melt for millennia.
The film suggests that the Antarctic ice covering is melting; the evidence was that it is in fact increasing.
The film suggests that sea levels could rise by seven meters, causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact, the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40 centimeters over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.
The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.
At a news conference today, Gore said he would accept the Nobel Prize on behalf of all global warming activists and donate 100 percent of the cash award to the non-profit Alliance for Climate Protection, "focusing on changing the way people think about the urgency of the climate crisis." "This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face now," he said. Gore pointed to a report two weeks ago that claimed melting of the polar ice cap is accelerating. "It truly is a planetary emergency, and we have to respond urgently," he said.
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13) Bush Seeks New Image on Global Warming
ASSOCIATED PRESS [Cooperative] - By John Heilprin - September 28, 2007WASHINGTON - President Bush called on the world's worst polluters Friday to come together to set a goal for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the climate to heat up. He didn't exempt his own country from the list."By setting this goal, we acknowledge there is a problem, and by setting this goal, we commit ourselves to doing something about it," Bush said in a speech that capped two days of talks at a White House-sponsored climate change conference.
"We share a common responsibility: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while keeping our economies growing."He said each nation should establish for itself what methods it will use to rein in the pollution problem without stunting economic growth.The gathering drew representatives from 16 nations, including big producers from the developing world like China and India as well as the European Union and United Nations. Bush's emphasis is on using green technologies and other voluntary efforts to tackle global warming.
The president said the reduction goal should be finalized by next summer, along with ways to measure progress toward it.He also proposed the creation of an international fund to finance research into clean-energy technology, announcing that U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would coordinate the effort and would be in touch with other governments soon about moving forward."Each nation must decide for itself the right mix of tools and technology to achieve results that are measurable and environmentally effective," Bush said.
In his speech, Bush acknowledged that climate change is real and that human activity is a factor.But he refuses to sign onto mandatory emission- reduction obligations, preferring to encourage the development of new technologies and other voluntary measures, and won't participate in any talks toward a global agreement that do not include energy guzzlers from the developing world. - - - -
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14) Global Dimming: Asia's brown clouds 'warm planet'
BBC NEWS - August 1, 2007Clouds of pollution over the Indian Ocean appear to cause as much warming as greenhouse gases released by human activity, a study has suggested.
US researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the effects of the "brown clouds" on the surrounding area. - - -The warming could be enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the scientists proposed. The clouds contain a mixture of light absorbing aerosols and light scattering aerosols, which cause the atmosphere to warm and the surface of the Earth to cool. The main sources of the pollutants came from wood burning and fossil fuels, the team added. - - -While this process, known as "global dimming", is fairly well understood, the effect aerosols have on the surrounding atmosphere is still unclear. - - -
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15) China's Weather Modification Program: Ready, aim, fire and rain
Ed. Note: At least the Chinese admit what they are doing. Here in America we see the strange sites in the sky and the reports have even made it onto mainstream news broadcasts in the Western US where the majority of the tampering exists, but those claiming something strange is going on still have to endure the "conspiracy theory" label that works so well in shutting up peoples minds and mouths.
ASIA TIMES [Hong Kong] - By Pallavi Aiyar - July 13, 2007
BEIJING - After weeks of watching the mercury soar, hardening the already cracked earth of their wilting orchards and farms, a group of farmers on the outskirts of Beijing gather in the Fragrant Hills that line the western fringe of China's capital city. Unlike their ancestors, they do not assemble to perform a rain dance or gather in a temple to pray to the Lord Buddha to bring the rain. Instead, they grab rocket launchers and a 37- millimeter anti-aircraft gun and begin shooting into the sky. What they launch are not bullets or missiles but chemical pellets. Their targets are not enemy aggressors but wisps of passing cloud that they aim to "seed" with silver-iodide particles around which moisture can then collect and become heavy enough to fall. The farmers are part of the biggest rain-making force in the world:
China's Weather Modification Program. According to Wang Guanghe, director of the Weather Modification Department under the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, each of China's more than 30 provinces and province-level municipalities today boast a weather-modification base, employing more than 32,000 people, 7,100 anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 special rocket launchers and 30-odd aircraft across the country. "Ours is the largest artificial weather program in the world in terms of equipment, size and budget," Wang said, adding that the annual nationwide budget for weather modification is between US$60 million and $90 million. It is no coincidence that the world's biggest such project is in China.
The country's leadership has never been cautious about harnessing nature, taking on a slew of what were once thought impossible engineering challenges, such as the Three Gorges dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's longest highland railroad. For a largely agrarian country like China, the weather was thought of as far too important to be left to the whim of gods or nature. As a result, Chinese scientists began researching man-made rain as far back as 1958, using chemicals such as silver iodide or dry ice to facilitate condensation in moisture-laden clouds.
In the beginning, the idea was to ease drought and improve harvests for Chinese farmers, but over the decades other functions have evolved such as firefighting, prevention of hailstorms, and replenishment of river heads and reservoirs. Artificial rain has also been used by some provinces to combat drought and sandstorms.
In 2004, Shanghai decided to induce rain simply to lower the temperature during a prolonged heat wave to bring relief to an increasingly hot and sweaty urban populace. And now China's weather officials have been charged with another important task: ensuring clear skies for the Summer Olympic Games next year. Zhang Qiang, the top weather-modification bureaucrat in Beijing, said her office has been conducting experiments in cloud-busting for the past two years in preparation for the Games' opening ceremony on August 8, 2008.
She said that according to past meteorological data, there is a 50% chance of drizzle on that day. To ensure blue skies, the Beijing Weather Modification Office is busy researching the effects of various chemical activators on different sizes of cloud formations at different altitudes. The aim is to catch pregnant clouds early and induce rainfall ahead of the big day so that during the opening ceremony the sky is cloud-free. Wang said similar efforts in the past have already helped to create good weather for a number of international events held in China, including the 1999 World Horti-Expo in Yunnan and the 1993 East Asian Games in Shanghai. However, Zhang warned that her cloud-fighters will only be effective in the event of the threat of a drizzle: "A heavy downpour will be impossible to combat." Her caveat goes to the heart of the primary criticism leveled against weather-modification efforts worldwide:
doubts about their effectiveness. Wang himself admits that it remains notoriously difficult to establish how much real impact cloud-seeding has, since there is no foolproof way to establish how much rain might have fallen without intervention. The United States, which pioneered cloud-seeding techniques in the 1940s and 1950s, has long cooled in its enthusiasm for the science behind artificial rain. However, Israel and Russia continue to have substantial weather-modification programs and Wang said experiments conducted in these countries reveal that cloud-seeding can increase rainfall by between 6% and 20%. Zhang said reservoirs in Beijing have shown an increase of 10-13%, one directly attributable to the efforts of her rainmakers. Despite some international skepticism, the Chinese authorities remain convinced of the merits of attempting to alter weather. China's state news agency Xinhua recently reported that between 1999 and 2006, 250 billion tonnes of rain was artificially created, enough to fill the Yellow River several times over. Moreover, China's 11th Five Year Plan, which kicked off last year, calls for the creation of about 50 billion cubic meters of artificial rain annually.
While declining to provide specifics, Zhang said her office's budget has seen sharp spikes in recent years and she expects it to continue to grow given northern China's extreme water shortages, which are exacerbated by the impact of climate change. Indeed, the annual per capita water supply for China is only 2,200 cubic meters, just 25% of the global average, according to the World Bank. Artificial rain, however, is not controversy-free even within China. City dwellers have raised concerns about environmental pollution, though both Wang and Zhang insist that silver iodide is used in such tiny quantities that it brings no negative health consequences. Cloud-seeding shells and rockets have also sometimes gone astray, damaging homes and injuring inhabitants. Only last year a passer-by in the municipality of Chongqing was killed by part of a rain cannon that flew off during firing in May.
Wang says training programs and licenses have sharply curbed accidents in recent years, and the 135 farmers who comprise the on-call rainmaking force in Beijing go through intensive training, lasting several weeks, before they are let loose on the artillery. The farmers are paid about US$100 a month for their cannon and rocket-launching duties, which they perform about 40 times a year. The person who gives the shooters the green signal to launch their cloud attacks is none other than Zhang, China's modern-day equivalent of Zeus, Indra, or the Chinese rain god Xuantian Shangdi. However, the businesslike bureaucrat is modest when it comes to describing her role: "We try our best, but there are no guarantees of success." Could the rain gods have claimed differently? Pallavi Aiyar is the China correspondent for The Hindu.
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16) Russian atomic stockpile at risk of 'uncontrolled chain reaction'
Predicted worst-case explosion 'will at least, at a careful estimate, hit Northern Europe'WORLDNETDAILY - June 2, 2007Scientists from a Norwegian environmental group say they have obtained a leaked report by the Russian government's highest nuclear authority warning of imminent risk of explosion in the enormous tanks holding discarded submarine fuel rods at its Andreeva Bay facility on the Arctic Ocean.
According to the Rosatom report, obtained by researchers at Bellona, an environmental group that has monitored the Russian site near the year-around ice-free naval port of Murmansk for evidence of leakage from radioactive wastes, three large cement tanks, built to house used fuel rods that began leaking in 1982, have begun to deteriorate due to cold and contact with seawater, creating conditions that could lead to an explosion. Andreeva Bay, on the Kola peninsula of north-western Russia, is the nation's primary spent-nuclear-fuel and radioactive-waste storage facility for its Northern Fleet. Currently, the facility holds 21,000 spent-nuclear-fuel assemblies and about 12,000 cubic meters of solid and liquid radioactive wastes.
Whereas uranium used in civilian nuclear plants is normally enriched to only three percent, Russian military uranium is often enriched to levels between 20 and 40 percent, the Scotsman newspaper reported, making the fuel rods at Andreeva Bay particularly toxic.
- - - -RelatedGas
May Have Harmed Troops, Scientists Say NEW YORK TIMES - By Ian Urbina - May 17, 2007WASHINGTON, May 16 -
Scientists working with the Defense Department have found evidence that a low- level exposure to sarin nerve gas - the kind experienced by more than 100,000 American troops in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 - could have caused lasting brain deficits in former service members. - - - Previous studies had suggested that exposure affected the brain in some neural regions, but the evidence was not convincing to many scientists.
The new report is likely to revive the long-debated question of why so many troops returned from that war with unexplained physical problems. - - -In March 1991, a few days after the end of the gulf war, American soldiers exploded two large caches of ammunition and missiles in Khamisiyah, Iraq. Some of the missiles contained the dangerous nerve gases sarin and cyclosarin. Based on wind patterns and the size of the plume, the Department of Defense has estimated that more than 100,000 American troops may have been exposed to at least small amounts of the gases. - - - -Read Full Report
Rare Blood Cancer Hits 9/11 Responders ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Amy Westfeldt - May 31, 2007The head of the largest program tracking the health of World Trade Center site workers said several have developed rare blood cell cancers, raising fears that cancer will become a "third wave" of illnesses among those exposed to toxic dust after Sept. 11. Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said researchers who have screened 20,000 of the estimated 40,000 ground zero workers are "most concerned" about lymphatic and blood cancer cases.
- - - "The kind of thing that worries us is that we know we have a handful of cases of multiple myeloma in very young individuals, and multiple myeloma is a condition that ... almost always presents later in life," she added. "That's the kind of odd, unusual and troubling finding that we're seeing already."The city's health commissioner said Thursday there was no evidence of a link to cancers and trade center dust exposure. - - -
Mount Sinai published research last year that said about 70 percent of the workers they screened had developed various respiratory illnesses. - - - -Read Full Report
NYC steam blasts raises health fears ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Verena Dobnik - July 20, 2007NEW YORK - New Yorkers are still questioning their air's safety after a steam pipe eruption spewed dirt and debris into the sky over midtown. Many remember the cover-up after the last major pipe rupture and the illnesses ground zero workers faced years after officials assured them lower Manhattan was safe.Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday declared the air free of asbestos, saying "every single test" showed no asbestos in the air. Other city officials were unwavering in that assessment, as well. - - - -Read Full Report
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17) Japan Nuke Plant Leak Worse Than Thought Radioactive water spill into Sea of Japan
ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Eric Talmadge - July 18, 2007KASHIWAZAKI, Japan - An earthquake-wracked nuclear power plant was ordered closed indefinitely Wednesday amid growing anger over revelations that damage was much worse than initially announced and mounting international concern about Japan's nuclear stewardship.Toyota and other Japanese automakers, meanwhile, suspended production at factories across the country because a major parts supplier sustained damage from Monday's magnitude-6.8 quake, which killed 10 people and left tens of thousands without power or water.
- - -Officials at Tokyo Electric, operator of the plant, said damage caused by the quake posed no danger to people or the environment.But damage was widely visible on the site, from cracked roads and buckled sidewalks to the charred outside wall of an electrical transformer building that caught fire."To be honest, it's a mess," said company President Tsunehisa Katsumata, but he insisted fears of radioactive contamination were unfounded.That did little to calm anger over the company's slow revelations of damage at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which generates 8.2 million kilowatts of electricity. The plant, like much of the nuclear industry in Japan, has been plagued with mishaps, such as a radioactive leak in a turbine room in 2001.
On Tuesday, the utility shocked the nation by releasing a list of dozens of problems triggered by the quake, after earlier reporting only the transformer fire and a small leak of radioactive water.The new list of problems included the transformer fire, broken pipes, water leaks and spills of radioactive waste. It also said the leak of radioactive water into the Sea of Japan was 50 percent bigger than announced Monday night.
- - - -AlsoEarthquake Shakes Japan's Northwest Coast NEW YORK TIMES - By Norimitsu Onishi - July 17, 2007TOKYO, Tuesday, July 17 - A powerful earthquake shook Japan's northwestern coast on Monday morning, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 900, flattening hundreds of buildings and leaving thousands homeless.The earthquake also caused a small fire at a nuclear power plant, the world's largest, which later leaked a small amount of water containing radioactive materials into the Sea of Japan. - - -The earthquake was centered off the cost of Niigata, a prefecture that was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2004. Skyscrapers here in Tokyo, about 130 miles southeast of Niigata, swayed for almost a minute.Japan's meteorological agency said the magnitude was 6.8; the United States Geological Survey put it at 6.6. - - - -Read Full Report
UN to inspect Japan radiation site AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE - July 22, 2007Japan will let UN inspectors visit its largest nuclear plant in hopes of easing international concern after an earthquake caused a radiation leak, officials said Monday. The government has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) it can send a mission to the plant around 250 kilometres (150 miles) northwest of Tokyo. - - - -Read Full Report
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18) Earthquakes in Various Places
At Least 450 Killed in Big Peru Quake ASSOCIATED PRESS - By JEANNETH VALDIVIESO - August 16, 2007PISCO, Peru - The death toll rose to 450 on Thursday in the magnitude-8 earthquake that devastated cities of adobe and brick in Peru's southern desert. Survivors wearing blankets walked like ghosts through the ruins.Dust-covered dead were pulled out and laid in rows in the streets, or beneath bloodstained sheets at damaged hospitals and morgues. Doctors struggled to help more than 1,500 injured, including hundreds who waited on cots in the open air, fearing more aftershocks would send the structures crashing down.
Destruction was centered in Peru's southern desert, at the oasis city of Ica and the nearby port of Pisco, about 125 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.The United Nations said the death toll was expected to rise beyond the 450 reported by Peru. - - -"The earth moved differently this time. It made waves and the earth was like jelly," said Antony Falconi, 27, trying to find a bus to take him home.Scientists said the quake was a "megathrust" - a type of earthquake similar to the catastrophic Indian Ocean temblor in 2004 that generated deadly tsunami waves. "Megathrusts produce the largest earthquakes on the planet," said USGS geophysicist Paul Earle. - - - The last time a quake of magnitude 7.0 or larger struck Peru was in September 2005, when a 7.5- magnitude earthquake rocked the country's northern jungle, killing four people. In 2001, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck near the southern Andean city of Arequipa, killing 71. Read Full Report
Quake Triggers Tsunami in IndonesiaASSOCIATED PRESS - By Robin McDowell - September 12, 2007 JAKARTA,
Indonesia - A powerful earthquake shook Indonesia on Wednesday, killing 10 people, injuring scores and triggering a small tsunami that hit one city on the island of Sumatra, authorities said.The 8.4-magnitude quake off Sumatra damaged homes, mosques and shopping malls along the coast and could be felt in at least four countries, with tall buildings swaying as far as 1,200 miles away.It was followed by a series of aftershocks, the strongest of which registered at a magnitude of 6.6 and triggered a second tsunami alert for Indonesia, which was lifted about an hour later, said Suhardjono, an official with Indonesia's meteorological agency, who goes by only one name. - - -A tsunami about 3 feet high was reported to have struck Padang about 20 minutes after the initial quake, Suhardjono said, adding that severed phone lines made it hard to get details. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also reported that a small tsunami hit Padang. - - - -Read Full Report
Island ripped apart by massive volcano eruptionTHE DAILY MAIL [DMGT] (LONDON) - October 1, 2007
A massive volcano eruption triggered by an earthquake has ripped apart a tiny island in the Red Sea. Terrified witnesses reported lava spewing hundreds of yards into the air with plumes of volcanic ash also rising from the site. Officials said today that part of Jazirt Mount al-Tair, which is about 80 miles from Yemen, had collapsed after the eruption at around 5.30pm on Sunday.A huge rescue operation was still underway for survivors with at least four soldiers reported dead and another five still missing. - - -
On Sunday evening, Canadian Navy spokesman Ken Allen told reporters in an e-mail that the entire island was "aglow with lava and magma as it pours down into the sea. "The lava is spewing hundreds of feet into the air, with the volcanic ash also 1,000 feet in the air." The Yemeni defence ministry said that there had been considerable seismic activity around the island ahead of the eruption, adding that an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale had been recorded on Friday. The volcano last erupted in the 19th century. Search and rescue teams, alongside the Canadian navy, were still hunting for survivors today.Read Full Report
19) Dustbowl II? Drout in the U.S.
Atlanta: Mayor Begs Residents To Conserve WaterASSOCIATED PRESS [Cooperative] - October 11, 2007ATLANTA -- The commissioner of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management made a plea for conservation today because of the severe drought that has forced restrictions on 61 counties in north Georgia.Robert J. Hunter called it a drought "of historic magnitude." He said everyone must come together to protect and conserve limited water resources.The storage for Atlanta's water supply is Lake Lanier, located north of the city. Hunter said it provides water for one-third of the residents of Georgia.He said that now there is enough water in Lanier to serve the area for 121 days. - - -
U.S. Drought Monitor Survey Released The latest U.S. Drought Monitor survey released today shows the drought is getting worse. Basically, the eastern half of Alabama remains under the worst drought conditions on the scale -- that's approximately 58 percent of the state under D-4 condition. All the state is under D-1 status or worse.61 percent of Tennessee is under D-4 or exceptional condition. In Georgia, 27 percent of that state is under the worse category. Other states under D-4 classification includes parts of Kentucky, North and South Carolina and Virginia.The long range forecast calls for the drought to persist in much of the region through December.Read Full Report
Drought Threatens Alabama City's Water ASSOCIATED PRESS [Cooperative] - By Bob Johnson - September 28, 2007MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Officials coping with a severe drought in eastern Alabama and western Georgia issued sweeping bans Friday on outdoor watering and scrambled to secure a dwindling supply of drinking water to more than 50,000 people. - - - "The water is so low the pumps are shutting down on us," said Eugene Mahan, superintendent of water treatment for the system, which provides drinking water to about 50,000 to 60,000 people in east central Alabama,
including to about 15,100 residents of Alexander City. - - -The yearlong drought has exposed piers around marinas and pulled the shoreline far from lakeside homes. - - -Georgia's top environmental official issued an outdoor watering ban covering parts of north and west Georgia, including Atlanta, after climatologists presented data showing how soaring temperatures and light rainfall have sunk parts of the state into the driest conditions in decades. The drought has exacerbated a long-standing feud between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over how the Army Corps of Engineers manages water rights. Earlier this month, lawmakers from Alabama and Georgia briefed Army Secretary Pete Geren on the dispute involving one water basin. - - - -Read Full Report
Clock is Ticking on Las Vegas' Water Supply KLAS-TV 8 CBS LAS VEGAS, NEVADA [Landmark Communications] - By Edward Lawrence - August 17, 2007The news coming from the Southern Nevada Water Authority Thursday about the valley's future water supply is worrisome. Unless we act quickly, there will be no water for hundreds of thousands of Las Vegas Valley residents in just three years.Eyewitness News looked deeper into the problem and why time may not be on our side. Not only is this a race against time, but it's going to cost valley residents dearly. SNWA data shows drought conditions getting worse, not better forcing the general manager of the water authority to ask the board to spend more than $45 million to upgrade water pumps at Lake Mead.Those pumps would be attached to the second drinking water intake at the lake and double its capacity to pump drinking water.
At the current rate, the water level will drop below the first intake in less than three years drastically cutting the supply of drinking water to Las Vegas. Then, there's a three to five year gap before drinking water can be pumped through a proposed pipeline from White Pine County, which means the new pumps at Lake Mead need to be quickly installed.It also means General Manager Pat Mulroy is getting more aggressive in plans to pipe in drinking water from sources other than the Colorado River. Mulroy said, "The point I was making today is that we have run out of options. We have run out of time to wring our hands about it and try to delay it. If we do that we are putting our own families and our own security in jeopardy." Any water projects delays like building a pipeline, or adding the pumps could mean Las Vegas may run out of water anytime after 2010. - - - -Read Full Report
Las Vegas Water Supply Needs Alternative KLAS-TV 8 CBS LAS VEGAS, NEVADA [Landmark Communications] - By Edward Lawrence - August 17, 2007There is a serious problem with the future of our water supply. New data shows the drought worsening, and proposed water projects falling short of the future needs.The warmest July on record in Las Vegas with an average of 107 degrees and half of the normal rainfall for the month didn't help. This is a race against the worsening drought. A race against population growth and a race against running out of water in Las Vegas.As the water levels at Lake Mead drop to half of what they were seven years ago, Southern Nevada Water Authority general manger Pat Mulroy says the time for talking about water solutions has ended."Let me put it to you this way. We have to assume that this drought will continue. Any other premise for planning would be irresponsible at this point, said Mulroy.She convinced the water board to spend an extra $45 million for new pumps, doubling the capacity of the second water intake drawing our drinking water from Lake Mead. If nothing changes, the lake's water level will drop below the first drinking water intake in less than three years -- making it useless. The water board also decided to aggressively move forward with piping in groundwater from White Pine County. In the fall, the Water Authority will hire a pipe designer, then buy enough land to store 50 miles of pipe so it's ready when the project starts construction. Still, the shortages are likely to start in 2010. The first water will not come through the pipeline until two years after that. - - - -Read Full Report
20) Dean Was 3rd-Most Intense Hurricane
ASSOCIATED PRESS - By John Pain - August 21, 2007MIAMI - Hurricane Dean was the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall since record keeping began in the 1850s, based on its central atmospheric pressure, forecasters said. The pressure in a hurricane's eye is often used to compare storms throughout history because in the past, wind gauges were often damaged or destroyed by powerful hurricanes. Now, technology exists to more accurately measure winds, said Jamie Rhome, a hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center. - - -Dean was a top-scale Category 5 storm at landfall Tuesday on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Its maximum sustained winds were near 165 mph and gusts reached 200 mph. Just before landfall, a Global Positioning System device dropped from a hurricane hunter aircraft found it had a central pressure of 906 millibars, forecasters said. The only other storms that hit land with a lower pressure were the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys and Hurricane Gilbert, which hit Cancun, Mexico, in 1988, forecasters said. - - -
Only eight other Category 5 storms have been known to hit land in the Atlantic basin, including Gilbert, the 1935 hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew had top sustained winds of 165 mph at landfall. It was the second-most expensive hurricane in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Wilma is the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded in terms of pressure: It was at 882 millibars when it was in the Caribbean before it weakened ahead of landfall in the Yucatan. The lowest pressure ever recorded in a tropical cyclone was 870 millibars in Typhoon Tip in the northwest Pacific Ocean in 1979.Up to 67 killed in worst Vietnam floods in decades REUTERS [Thomson-Reuters] - October 7, 2007
THANH HOA, Vietnam - At least 67 people were killed or missing after a typhoon, floods and landslides cut power and closed roads in what officials in two Vietnamese provinces on Sunday described as some of the worst flooding in decades.Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces in north-central Vietnam were hit hardest by torrential rains and strong winds in the aftermath of typhoon Lekima, which slammed into several provinces on Wednesday. - - - - Read Full Report
China Evacuates 1 Million As Storm Hits ASSOCIATED PRESS [Cooperative] - October 7, 2007BEIJING - A powerful storm drenched China's southeast coast Sunday after killing five people on Taiwan and prompting the mainland to evacuate more than 1 million people, the government said. In Vietnam, the bodies of more people killed in an earlier typhoon were recovered, bringing that country's toll to 55.Krosa, which earlier was a typhoon, roared into China's densely populated Zhejiang and Fujian provinces at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the Zhejiang weather bureau reported on its Web site. There was no immediate word of injuries or damage. - - -Krosa killed five people in Taiwan on Saturday as it knocked out power to 2 million homes and drenched the island, according to Taiwan's Disaster Relief Center. - - - - Read Full Report
Humberto surprised forecasters ASSOCIATED PRESS - September 13, 2007HIGH ISLAND, Texas - Meteorologists are baffled by the rapid, 16-hour genesis of the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since 2005.Specialist James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center says before Humberto developed, satellite imagery "showed virtually nothing there." Franklin says Humberto "really spun up out of thin air, very, very quickly." As he puts it, "We've never had any tropical cyclone go from where Humberto was to where Humberto got."Forecasters say it may have been a blessing the storm didn't linger longer over the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters. That could have given it time to get even stronger.Humberto hit the Texas-Louisiana coast early today with 85-miles per hour winds and heavy rain. The storm has knocked out power and left at least one person dead.Read Full Report
Nicaraguans Survey Hurricane's Wreckage NEW YORK TIMES - By Marc Lacey - September 6, 2007TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Sept. 5 - Hurricane Felix spared much of Central America, but residents of the poor coastal communities of Nicaragua, where the storm struck land at full force, picked through the wreckage of their wooden huts on Wednesday and lamented losing the little they had. The Nicaraguan government's estimates of the death toll varied Wednesday, with one official saying at least 18 people had died since the storm hit Tuesday and another saying the figure was at least 38, according to wire services. Scores more were missing, the wire services said. - - -Aid workers pointed out that the indigenous people who suffered the most damage are descendants of Indians, Europeans and Africans known as the Miskitos and are among the poorest people in the region. - - - -Read Full Report
South Asian monsoons displace millions ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Biswajeet Banerjee - August 4, 2007LUCKNOW, India - Havoc from monsoon rains killed another 12 people in India, including two children swept away by floods and a man attacked by a rhinoceros forced out of its inundated habitat, officials said Saturday. Helicopters dropped food to hundreds of thousands of frightened villagers perched on rooftops. - - -The South Asian monsoon season runs from June to September as the rains work their way across the subcontinent. It's always dangerous - last year more than 1,000 people died, most from drowning, landslides or house collapses. - - -Some 14 million people in India and 5 million in Bangladesh have been displaced or marooned by flooding, according to government figures. At least 144 people have died in India and 54 more in Bangladesh. India's Meteorological Department said unusual monsoon patterns this year have led to heavier than normal rains.Read Full Report
Death toll in China flooding rises as nation braces for more AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE - July 21, 2007- - - In eastern Shandong province, the toll rose to 40 dead and nine missing as of Friday night, following a week of record rains that deluged the provincial capital of Jinan and surrounding areas, Xinhua news agency said. A record 180 millimetres (7.2 inches) of rain pummelled the city on Wednesday, snarling traffic and cutting off electricity and water supplies in the fiercest storms to hit the capital since 1916, meteorologists said. - - -By Saturday more than 559,000 people had been affected by flooding in Shandong and 112,600 evacuated as water-levels on the nearby Yellow River and in surrounding reservoirs remained above warning lines, the report said. - - -Meanwhile, the death toll in Chongqing municipal in China's southwest rose to 42 people and 12 missing from torrential downpours that have affected up to 6.8 million people since Monday. More than 292,000 people have been evacuated in the mountainous region along the Yangtze river, with over 100,000 homes damaged and crops on about 175,000 hectares (432,000 acres) of farmland destroyed, Xinhua said in a separate report. - - - -Read Full Report
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21) Europe's Summer of Wild, Wild Weather
Fires, Droughts and Floods Leave Wake of DestructionTHE WASHINGTON POST - By John Ward Anderson - August 2, 2007PARIS -- Thousands of tourists and residents were forced to flee ahead of raging wildfires that have engulfed parts of the Canary Islands since the weekend, the latest in a string of bizarre, weather- related calamities to hit Europe this summer.Local officials said that at least 13,000 people evacuated homes, hotels, campgrounds and other areas of the seven Canaries, Spanish territory in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of southern Morocco. More than 86,000 acres have been burned or otherwise affected by the fires since Friday, mostly on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, according to a spokeswoman for the islands' government who was not allowed to be quoted by name.The fires, which were "stable" but still not under control Wednesday, were stoked by winds in excess of 40 mph and temperatures over 104 degrees, the spokeswoman said.
Residents of the islands, a popular European tourist destination, told the BBC that the thermometer in some spots had topped 120 degrees."These are the biggest fires on the archipelago in the last 10 years," Paulino Rivero, head of the regional government, told reporters. Because of the volcanic islands' rugged landscape, the fires had to be fought mostly from the air, he said, but high winds and temperatures had forced the grounding of many helicopters.The Canary fires are the latest offspring of strange weather patterns that have buffeted Europe this summer, from unusually severe floods in England to chilly, fall-like weather in Paris, to searing heat waves, drought and wildfires in Southern and Eastern Europe.At one extreme, six mountain climbers reportedly died of exposure in three incidents last week when temperatures in the Alps unexpectedly plunged from 50 [10 C] degrees to 5 [-15 C] degrees, French and Italian officials said.
Earlier in July, torrential rains drenched England, flooding hundreds of homes and forcing thousands of people to seek safety in shelters.In Hungary, officials said extreme heat may have contributed to the deaths of as many as 500 elderly and infirm people in mid-July, while 30 people reportedly have died from heat-related causes in Romania, officials there said.Dozens of houses were reportedly destroyed by forest fires in Macedonia, where President Branko Crvenkovski ordered the army to assist firefighters in battling the blazes.
Two people were killed in a heat wave that struck Bulgaria, where 57,000 acres of forest and farmland burned in the last 10 days.In Greece, where 14 people have died this summer from heatstroke, officials on Tuesday declared a drought emergency on the Cyclades Island chain, which includes the resort islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Parts of Greece have been hit by blackouts this summer as demand for electricity soared but the rivers that run hydroelectric plants dried up. Blackouts also struck Albania, Montenegro and the Kosovo region.Hundreds of fires have swept Greece in recent weeks, burning about 150,000 acres of forest, as temperatures climbed above 110 degrees. Five firefighters have been killed in the infernos, including two pilots who died July 23 when their CL-415 Canadair firefighting plane crashed into a hillside during a water-dumping operation over the island of Evia, which hugs the eastern coast of central Greece. - - -
Recent NASA satellite photos show huge plumes of smoke streaming southwest over the Atlantic Ocean from fires in the north of Tenerife Island, where 100 homes were destroyed and 8,400 people were evacuated, and blazes in south-central Gran Canaria Island, where 50 houses burned and 5,000 people were evacuated. Fires also hit the smaller islands of La Gomera and La Palma but were under control on Wednesday, the Canaries government spokeswoman said. - - - -
AlsoOfficial: Worst Floods In Modern History SKY NEWS [News Corporation/Murdoch] - July 23, 2007There have been mass evacuations across central and southern England as Britain suffers its worst flooding in living memory. - - -The floods have been described as the worst in modern history.An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We have not seen flooding of this magnitude before. The benchmark was 1947 and this has already exceeded it." - - - -Read Full Report
Looting, panic buying - and a water shortage THE TIMES of LONDON [News Corporation/Murdoch] - July 23, 2007Food and drinking water shortages, panic buying and the threat of looting have followed the worst flooding to hit England in 60 years. Amid concerns that the government-run Environment Agency acted far too slowly in responding to serious flood alerts from the Met Office, parts of the West Country woke up this morning to another day under water and the Thames Valley now faces being inundated. - - -The Times has learnt that the Ministry of Defence was unwilling to supply lorries and drivers without being guaranteed payment for their services. As a result there appear to have been delays in securing the use of high-sided vehicles that could deliver sleeping bags and flood parcels to the stricken communities. - - - -Read Full Report
Central and southern Europe sizzling ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Veronika Oleksyn - July 20, 2007VIENNA, Austria - A heat wave sweeping central and southeastern Europe killed at least 13 people this week, with soaring temperatures sparking forest fires, damaging crops and prompting calls to ban horse- drawn tourist carriages.In Romania, where temperatures reached 104 degrees Friday, the Health Ministry said at least nine people had died since Monday due to heat. - - -The extreme heat and lack of rain was also a concern for farmers.In Romania, an industry group estimated the agriculture sector had suffered more than $2 billion in damages due to severe drought. The government has declared a state of disaster in 34 out of 42 counties so far and is paying farmers some compensation. - - - - Read Full Report
Death Toll From Greek Fires Reaches 44 ASSOCIATED PRESS - By PETROS GIANAKOURIS - August 25, 2007ZAHARO, Greece - Forest fires sweeping uncontrolled across southern Greece have killed 44 people, some found Saturday in the charred homes of mountain villages reached too late by rescue crews hampered by powerful winds. New blazes erupted across the country, including a fire on the fringes of Athens.The deadliest fire was in the western Peloponnese region of southern Greece, where at least 38 people were killed in mountain villages near the town Zaharo, the fire department said. A massive fire whipped by strong winds continued to burn out of control. - - -Since Friday morning, more than 170 blazes have raged from the western Ionian islands to Ioannina in northwest Greece, and down to the south. A recent three-day heat wave, in which temperatures have touched 104 Fahrenheit, has left forests and shrubland parched. - - - -Read Full Report
Scores die as Greek fires rage FINANCIALTIMES of LONDON - By Kerin Hope in Athens - August 26 2007More than 30 forest fires raged out of control across southern Greece for a third day on Sunday, forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages and threatening ancient Olympia, site of the first Olympic Games. The death toll reached 58 and was expected to rise as firefighters reached isolated mountain settlements in the western Peloponnese, the hardest-hit region. Most victims died trying to protect their homes or were trapped in cars as they fled from the blaze, police said. - - -Strengthening winds brought flames within a few hundred metres of the ancient Olympic stadium and the archaeological museum, residents said."So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence. The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them," he said.Arsonists seeking to clear land for development are believed to cause most fires. While building in forest areas is banned, land may be re-classified after a fire, letting developers move in.Read Full Report
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22) Once again God is speaking to the British, They are not listening
THE GOLDEN REPORT - By Jerry Golden - July 24, 2007Today's Jerusalem Post had headlines that said British Lords' report: EU should avoid "undesirably rigid" approach toward Hamas. Europe is said to be a Godless Europe and Christianity is hard to find there these days, but Mosques can now be found everywhere. There was a time just over 66 years ago (1939) when these British Lords' said that there were to many Jews trying to immigrate into what was then called "Palestine" and under British control, it was a time that Jews were running for their lives to escape the Nazi murders who killed over 6,000,000 of us including most of my family. It's also interesting to note that it was over 60 years ago since such flooding and destruction by floods has occurred in the UK. I heard today on CNN that it has been over 60 years since Britain has seen floods like this, and the worse is yet to come. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and evacuated. Many thousands of businesses have been shut down and the economy has come to a standstill. When you consider the headlines of the Jerusalem Post today it should bring to memory something called the British White Paper that caused so many Jews to be sent back to Germany and other places to be put in Hitler's death camps. Because the British said only 10,000 Jews a year would now be allowed to enter the Holy Land in order to protect the Arab population. The White Paper Declaration canceled the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and stopped Jewish immigration to their home land.It is most interesting to note that 60 years has passed, 6 being the number God deals with mankind. That as soon as the British Government passed the White Paper they had the worse flooding in their history and now with the British Government once again turning on Israel and the Jews they once again are faced with the same flooding and destruction of 66 years ago, and the weather forecast says the worse is yet to come. Gen. 12:3 is a lesson the British haven't learned but God is not finished with His lesson yet.As anti-Semitism rises its ugly head again in Europe and the Islamic murders take more and more control by threat and terrorism the general public comes closer every day to blaming the Jews and the nation of Israel for all their terrorist problems. Not unlike the same propaganda Hitler used in the 30's and 40's to turn the people against the Jews while the most important factor always being left out, God and His promises in regards to His people the Jews, Gen. 12:3. - - - -
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23) The Heat Wave Continues; The Historic Perspective
WSFA-TV12 NBC MONTGOMERY, AL [Raycom Media] - By Chris Holmes - August 16, 2007This heat wave is officially one for the record books.Some people have already noticed the historic nature of the last 11 days of record breaking heat.But when they look back, they will discover something; we have seen something like this before. Nealy Barrett has seen a lot in 50 years of cattle farming, but this is a new one; his daughter just tossed out 50 pounds of food and the cattle stayed put underneath some shade trees.Even the least brightest of the animals knew already what the instruments told us; Thursday brought another hot, 100 degree day. At eleven days long, even a man who works outside can't remember a heat wave like it."I don't remember ever being up in the 100 something degrees. I just don't remember it being that hot," Barrett said.The National Weather Service says Montgomery sweated through three week long 100 degree periods in 1881, 1990, and one more:"We had a drought in '54, but that was just peanuts compared to what this is," an 80 year old farmer remarked. - - - -AlsoHeat Wave Kills 41 in South, Midwest ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Beth Rucker - August 16,
2007NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - - In all, 41 deaths in the South and Midwest have been confirmed as heat-related, and other deaths are suspected, authorities said. The Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest public utility, shut down one of three units at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Athens, Ala., on Thursday because water drawn from the Tennessee River was exceeding a 90-degree average over 24 hours. "We don't believe we've ever shut down a nuclear unit because of river temperature," said John Moulton, spokesman for the Knoxville, Tenn.- based utility. - - - In north-central Arkansas, the temperature reached 112 degrees on Wednesday in a place called Evening Shade. - - -Last summer, a heat wave killed at least 50 people in the Midwest and East. California officially reported a death toll of 143, but authorities last month acknowledged the number may have been far higher. A 1995 heat wave in Chicago was blamed for 700 deaths.Read Full Report
RelatedArctic August: NYC Sets Record For Coldest Day High Of 59 Degrees Ties Chilliest August High Set In 1911WCBS-TV 2 NEW YORK CITY - CBS News - August 21, 2007NEW YORK - - -The city along with the rest of the tri- state region is feeling the chilly effect of a cold front sweeping through the region, accompanied by cool rain showers. Tuesday's high temperature in Central Park was just 59 degrees. The normal high for today is 82 degrees. The normal low is 67."This unusual blast of cold air smashed our previous record for the coldest high temperature on August 21, which is 64 degrees, set back in 1999," CBS 2 meteorologist Jason Cali told wcbstv.com.In fact, the 59-degree high tied the record for the coldest high temperature ever for the month of August in New York City, when it reached just 59 degrees in 1911. - - - -Read Full Report
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24) US Floods and Weather Extremes
More Flooding Possible in Soaked Midwest ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Dan Strumpf - August 25, 2007CHICAGO --- Powerful storms rolling through the Upper Midwest over most of the past week caused disastrous floods from southeastern Minnesota to Ohio that were blamed for at least 17 other deaths. - - - In southern Michigan, more than 100,000 customers were without power Saturday, utilities said. Powerful storms a day earlier spawned at least one tornado that destroyed several homes and barns in Fenton, and minor injuries were reported. Most of the city's 10,000 residents lost power Friday.As many as three to five tornadoes may have hit southeastern Michigan, the weather service said. The region also had flooded highways and fallen power lines and trees.Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator R. David Paulison surveyed damage Friday in Rushford, Minn., especially hard hit by this week's flooding. Mayor Les Ladewig said about half of Rushford's 760 homes were damaged, including 248 that were destroyed and 91 with serious damage. About 1,500 homes were damaged around Minnesota. Paulison said FEMA recovery centers should be running early next week in the three counties where President Bush declared disasters Thursday.Paulison also visited Wisconsin, where flooding destroyed 44 homes and damaged more than 1,400, most of them in the southwestern part of the state. - - - About 600 residents of DeKalb and nearby Sycamore were displaced, said DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki. Northern Illinois University's flooded DeKalb campus was closed. - - - -Read Full Report
More Than 1,000 Displaced By Midwest Flooding ASSOCIATED PRESS - By John Seewer - August 24, 2007Water from the worst flood in nearly a century in this northwest Ohio city began receding Thursday, as it did elsewhere in the Midwest, allowing some of the more than 1,000 homeowners who had been displaced to get a look at the soaked photo albums, boxes of clothes and furniture in their basements.With the flooding and more storms moving through, the death toll across the Upper Midwest and from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin that swept Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri over the past week also rose to at least 26. In one Ohio county alone, the tally of damaged homes was more than 700. - - -Storms rattled and soaked northern and west-central Illinois, splitting trees and damaging buildings and adding to the rising water in several rivers, which crews rushed to sandbag. A roof collapsed at the dock area of an industrial building in the suburbs, injuring 40 people but none seriously, police said. - - -Even in spots where the storms had passed, the intense sun prompted a heat advisory, with temperatures expected to hit the upper 90s throughout Ohio. Cincinnati schools closed because of the heat for the first time in at least 10 years. - - - - Read Full Report
6 Killed In SE Minnesota Floods, 2 Identified ASSOCIATED PRESS - August 20, 2007Heavy rains that swelled rivers by as much as a foot washed away houses and roads, killed at least six people and led to the evacuation of several hamlets in the southeastern corner of Minnesota on Sunday. - - - "This is the worst disaster that's hit southeast Minnesota in a lifetime," state Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes said. - - -With more rain in the forecast, the Houston City Council ordered an evacuation of the town of 995 people. Stockton, with 803 residents, was evacuated, as well, and evacuations also took place in Pickwick and Elba and parts of Winona, which sits on the Mississippi River.Houston County Sheriff's dispatcher Dwayne Beckman said 14 roads and highways had been closed, bridges were washed out and mudslides were reported countywide. Grassy areas near Highway 16 outside Caledonia had been reduced to muddy lakes. Trees had slid toward stretches of Highway 44 between Caledonia and Hokah. - - - National Weather Service Meteorologist Tod Rieck in La Crosse, Wis., said a storm system that parked over southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin dumped 6 to 8 inches of rain on Saturday, with some areas receiving as much as a foot. - - - -Read Full Report
Tornado Touchdown Confirmed in Brooklyn ASSOCIATED PRESS - August 8, 2007NEW YORK -- High wind, torrential rain and a tornado at the dawn of a stiflingly humid Wednesday caused widespread chaos for morning commuters, delayed flights at the region's three major airports and were blamed for at least one death. The National Weather Service confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that the wild weather had included a tornado that touched down several times in Brooklyn.The cyclone ripped off roofs as it dipped into the borough's Bay Ridge and Sunset Park neighborhoods at around 6:30 a.m. Meteorologists classified it as an EF-2 Tornado, with estimated wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph. - - -By afternoon, the weather had delivered a double- whammy: temperatures in the 90s, with humidity pushing the predicted heat index over 100. - - - -Read Full Report
Hail storm buries Mexican town just over the border KVOA-TV NBC4 TUCSON, AZ [Cordillera Communications/Evening Post Publishing Co.] - July 20, 2007These are pictures of a fierce hail storm that pounded the town of Cananea Sonoroa, Mexico, last night."I was talking with my mother this morning," writes international viewer Ing. Hctor Manuel Germn Gardner, "and she says that in her whole life she didn't remember something like yesterday ever happening in Cananea, and she's almost 80 years old!!!"You can see, hail the size of golf balls and bigger fell upon the town, along wth flooding rain."There was a lot of damage caused by the hailstorm," writes Ing. Gardner. "It lasted more than one hour and it was really scary. Lots of cars got their windshields broken and many houses were flooded." - - - -Read Full Report
25) Virus Is Seen as Suspect in Death of Honeybees
NEW YORK TIMES - By Andrew C. Revkin - September 7, 2007Scientists sifting genetic material from thriving and ailing bee colonies say a virus appears to be a prime suspect - but is unlikely to be the only culprit - in the mass die-offs of honeybees reported last fall and winter.The die-offs, in which adult bees typically vanished without returning to hives, were reported by about a fourth of the nation's commercial beekeepers. The losses captured public attention as rumors swirled about causes, like climate change, cellphone signals and genetically-modified crops. Scientists have rejected those theories.Now, one bee disease, called Israeli acute paralysis virus, seems strongly associated with the beekeeping operations that experienced big losses, a large research group has concluded, although members of the team emphasized that they had not proved the virus caused the die-offs. "I hope no one goes away with the idea that we've actually solved the problem," said Jeffrey S. Pettis, an entomologist with the Department of Agriculture and co-director of a national group working on the puzzle, which has been given the name colony collapse disorder. - - -The research was described yesterday in Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science.
Details are available at eurekalert.org/bees. - - - The new study found evidence of the virus in some Australian bee samples, although that country has not reported die-offs like those seen in the United States.Dr. Pettis said that even if the virus was involved, it was likely that more than one factor had to align for a hive to collapse, with another possible influence being poor nutrition. Most of the colonies that had big losses last winter were in areas that experienced drought a few months beforehand, and thus a lack of nectar in flowers, he said. Another factor, Dr. Pettis said, could be the stress that comes from the increasingly industrial-style beekeeping operations in the United States, in which truckloads of hives crisscross the country to pollinate California almonds or Florida orchards each season. But the virus stands out as a top suspect. While seven viruses and a host of bacteria and parasites were identified in the genetic screening, only the Israeli bee virus, first identified in 2004, was strongly tied to the samples taken from keepers who reported the collapse disorder.While the virus was first identified by scientists in Israel, it appears to exist in many parts of the world, said W. Ian Lipkin, an author of the new study and director of the Center for Infection and Immunology of Columbia University. In Israel, the virus also seems to produce bee symptoms not reported in the United States, including a pattern of finding dead bees near hives. - - - -
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