Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.

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Earth Day: What BP and TEPCO Don’t Want You to Know

Earth Day: What BP and TEPCO Don’t Want You to Know


aaaDeepWater(Photo: Louisiana GOHSEP)The Tragic Consequences: BP Five Years Later…

On my way home from the market, I happened to tune in to an interview on a program that airs on our NPR station called Making Contact. The topic of discussion was titledBP Five Years Later: Deepwater Horizon and the Cost of Oil…

Journalists, scientists and residents were interviewed about how BP’s Deep Horizon, (“Deep” is a reference to offshore deepwater drilling) that exploded into raging flames on April 20th 2010, the largest and most devastating oil catastrophe in history, created a crisis of Biblical proportions. Beneath the Gulf’s seafloor is one of the most dangerous places to drill. BP has done more to establish that fact than any other oil company.

The blowout literally transformed an ocean that was teeming with life into a toxic, dead zone. BP is not the only oil company to blame. The oil industry, with the help of their paid-off political officials, has committed egregious crimes of pollution, and irreparable damage with their oil pipes and spills to rich habitats, pelican and turtle sanctuaries, marshes, wetlands and coastal ecosystems since the 1930s. But BP’s blowout was by far the last deadly nail to the Gulf’s coffin.

Layers of oil, like a huge bathtub ring, have settled on the seafloor, the size of Rhode Island, with no signs of recovery. This thick blanket of oil has prevented regeneration of life that begins at the most basic level of the Gulf’s ecology, such as plankton—minute plants and animals that are the foundation of the ocean’s food chain. The plankton cannot survive as waters become hypoxic i.e. depleted of oxygen due to microbes digesting oil and methane gas. Once the foundation of the food chain is contaminated, nothing can survive.

(Please click the link below to read this article on Buzzflash-


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Mysterious Martian ‘plumes’ baffle scientists – CSMonitor.com

Mysterious Martian ‘plumes’ baffle scientists

Spotted by amateur astronomers, the huge plumes erupting from the surface of Mars have left scientists bewildered.


By Calla Cofield, SPACE.com / February 17, 2015

Scientists are puzzled by a mysterious plume that erupted off the surface of Mars in 2012. On the right, the location of the plume is identified in the yellow circle. On the left, close-up views of the changing plume morphology in images taken by W. Jaeschke and D. Parker on March 21, 2012. The background is a region on Mars known as Terra Cimmeria, where the plume formed. (Image source NOAA).

Grupo Ciencias Planetarias (GCP) – UPV/EHU

A mystery is brewing onMars: Amateur astronomers spotted enormous plumes erupting off the Red Planet’s surface, leaving scientists puzzled.

More than 155 miles (250 kilometers) high and hundreds of miles across, the baffling plumes were spotted by amateur astronomers in the spring of 2012. The plumes reflect sunlight, which means they could be made of water ice, carbon dioxide ice or dust. But clouds made of those materials would be hard to explain with current models of the Martian atmosphere, scientists say.

Images of Mars from the last 20 years reveal that shorter plumes, reaching heights of about 62 miles (100 km), occasionally flare up from the planet’s surface. An image by the Hubble Space Telescope from 1997 revealed another abnormally high plume, similar to the one seen in 2012, according to a statement from theEuropean Space Agency (ESA). [7 Biggest Mysteries On Mars]

Scientists at the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spainstudied the images of the plumes and confirmed that they reach heights of more than 155 miles (250 km) above the surface, and cover an area of up to 310 by 620 miles (500 by 1,000 km).

“At about 250 km, the division between the atmosphere and outer space is very thin, so the reported plumes are extremely unexpected,” says Agustín Sánchez-Lavega of the Universidad del País Vasco, lead author of the new research.

The features developed in less than 10 hours and remained visible for about 10 days, but changed their structure from day to day, ESA officials wrote in a statement. None of the spacecraft orbiting Mars were in a position to see the plumes, due to their locations around the planet and light conditions at the time.

Analysis of the images from 2012 and of past images of plumes erupting from the surface of Mars haven’t helped the researchers determine what caused the plumes or what they are made of.

(Please click the link below to read full article on Christian Science Monitor-

http://m.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0217/Mysterious-Martian-plumes-baffle-scientists?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Science_final&utm_campaign=04_Newsletter%3AScience_Sailthru&cmpid=ema%3Anws%3AScience%2520Weekly%2520%2802%2F19%2F2015%29 )

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Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog : California’s Sierra Snowpack Only 12% of Average, a Record Low | Weather Underground

I know it is fashionable in the new age and a lit if the blogosphere to pretend global climate change is a plot, or simply natural variations etc but I have not yet seen even one discussion of this with a tiny little but if valid, logical scientific support or references.

I’m an empirical girl- I don’t believe anything because an authority said so. I test it, I check references, I look at the data.

In 1985 I thought global warming was a silly distraction from toxics and radiation pollution. I didn’t understand why I should care. In college I was exposed to more of the science involved and set out to understand it better.

Yes it is partly natural variations but what science means by “forcing” is that substances we release ( primarily carbon but also methane and others) push that variation to go further faster than it would normally.

Heat per se is not the problem. Its the effects of that increase in heat on systems we depend on to be stable for our survival.

If you’ve ever seen water boil you can understand the instability that added heat csn bring to a system.

I highly recommend the book “Cadillac Desert” for a better understanding of the hydrology and human carrying capacity of the American west.

Be forewarned tho-you will be angry when you read it and you will distrust government management of resources as much as you probably already distrust corporations management of same.

And you might start wanting to dismantle dams. But the information in that book shatters the illusions so many of us have had about society, humanity and our dependence on nature.

Denial doesn’t solve anything. If you disagree with a proposed solution to a problem that doesn’t make the problem unreal.

Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:32 PM GMT on January 31, 2014 +37

California’s first significant snow storm of 2014 hit the Sierras on Wednesday and Thursday, dumping up to 2 feet of snow, with a melted water equivalent of up to two inches. However, this modest snowstorm was not enough to keep the Sierra snowpack from recording its lowest snow amounts in more than 50 years of record keeping during Thursday’s Sierra Snow Survey. The survey found a snow pack that was only 12% of normal for this time of year. Until Thursday, the lowest statewide snowpack measurement at this time of year was 21% of average, in 1991 and 1963, according to the Los Angeles Times. Since snowpack in the Sierras forms a crucial source of water for California, the dismal snow survey results are a huge concern.

Figure 1. Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey Program for the Department of Water Resources, walks leaves a snow covered meadow after the second snow survey of the year near Echo Summit, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Despite the overnight snow storm the survey showed the snow depth at 12.4 inches with a water content of only 1.4 inches for this location at this time of the year. Gehrke said that while the recent snow fall will help, it is not enough to impact the water supply.(AP Photo)

The forecast: little drought relief in sight
One of the most persistent and intense ridges of high pressure ever recorded in North America has been anchored over the West Coast since December 2012. While the ridge has occasionally broken down and allowed low pressure systems to leak though, these storms have mostly brought spotty and meager precipitation to California, resulting in California’s driest year on record during 2013. January 2014 could well be its driest January on record. The ridge inevitably builds back after each storm, clamping down on any moisture reaching the state. Since rain-bearing low pressure systems tend to travel along the axis of the jet stream, these storms are being carried along the axis of the ridge, well to the north of California and into Southeast Alaska, leaving California exceptionally dry. The latest runs of the GFS and European models show that the ridge is now building back, and it appears likely that California will see no significant precipitation until at least February 7. A weak upper level low will move along the coast on Sunday and spread some light rain along the immediate coast, but this precipitation will generally be less than 0.25″–too little to have any significant impact on the drought. The ridge will not be as intense when it builds back, though, which gives me some hope that a low pressure system will be able to break the ridge by mid-February and bring the most significant rains of the winter rainy season to California.

Figure 2. One of the key water supply reservoirs for Central California, Lake Oroville, as seen on January 20, 2014. Image credit: California Department of Water Resources.

Worst California drought in 500 years?
UC Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram, author of “The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow”, said in an interview, “this could potentially be the driest water year in 500 years.” Her research on tree rings shows that California has not experienced such an extreme drought since 1580. “If you go back thousands of years, you see that droughts can go on for years if not decades, and there were some dry periods that lasted over a century, like during the Medieval period and the middle Holocene. The 20th century was unusually mild here, in the sense that the droughts weren’t as severe as in the past. It was a wetter century, and a lot of our development has been based on that.” It’s no wonder, then, that the overall agricultural impact of the drought could reach $1 billion this year, according to the Fresno-based Westlands Water District.

California’s drought woes are part of an on-going 14-year Western U.S. drought that began in 2000, and peaked between 2000 – 2004. A 2012 study titled,Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America, found that the 2000 – 2004 drought was the most severe Western North America event of its kind since the last mega drought over 800 years ago, during the years 1146 – 1151. The paper analyzed the latest generation of climate models used for the 2013 IPCC report, which project that the weather conditions that spawned the 2000 – 2004 drought will be the new normal in the Western U.S. by 2030, and will be considered extremely wet by the year 2100. If these dire predictions of a coming “megadrought” are anywhere close to correct, it will be extremely challenging for the Southwest U.S. to support a growing population in the coming decades.

Megadroughts in the Western U.S. can develop from natural causes, as well, and the current pattern of cooler than average ocean temperatures in the Eastern Pacific and warmer than average ocean temperatures in the Atlantic increase the odds of drought conditions like the ones we have seen during the current megadrought. Edward Cook, director of the Tree Ring Laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., said at a presentation last month at the American Geophysical Union meeting that tree ring data show that the area of the West that was affected by severe drought in the Medieval period was much higher and much longer than the current drought. It is “indeed pretty scary,” Cook said. “One lasted 29 years. One lasted 28 years. They span the entire continental United States.” Two megadroughts in the Sierra Nevada of California lasted between 100 and 200 years. Bobby Magill at Climate Center has more on Dr. Cook’s presentation in a post, Is the West’s Dry Spell Really a Megadrought?

Figure 3. Normalized precipitation over Western North America (five-year mean) from 22 climate models used to formulate the 2013 IPCC report, as summarized by Schwalm et al., 2012, Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America. The horizontal line marks the precipitation level of the 2000 – 2004 drought, the worst of the past 800 years. Droughts of this intensity are predicted to be the new normal by 2030, and will be considered an outlier of extreme wetness by 2100. The paper states: “This impending drydown of western North America is consistent with present trends in snowpack decline as well as expected in-creases in aridity and extreme climate events,including drought, and is driven by anthropogenically forced increases in temperature with coincident increases in evapotranspiration and decreases in soil moisture. Although regional precipitation patterns are difficult to forecast, climate models tend to underestimate the extent and severity of drought relative to available observations. As such, actual reductions in precipitation may be greater than shown. Forecasted precipitation patterns are consistent with a probable twenty-first century megadrought.” Image credit: Schwalm et al., 2012, Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America,Nature Geoscience 5, 551-555, Published online 29 JULY 2012, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1529, http://www.nature.com/naturegeoscience.

Related posts
Unprecedented Cut in Colorado River Flow Ordered, Due to Drought, my August 2013 post.

Lessons from 2012: Droughts, not Hurricanes, are the Greater Danger, my November 2012 post.

How Two Reservoirs Have Become Billboards For What Climate Change Is Doing To The American West, August 12, 2013 climateprogress.org post by Tom Kenworthy.

Scientists Predicted A Decade Ago Arctic Ice Loss Would Worsen Western Droughts. Is That Happening Already?, June 2013 post by Joe Romm at climateprogress.org.

Twenty Cities At Risk of Water Shortages, August 14, 2013 wunderground news post by Nick Wiltgen

‪If There’s Global Warming…Why Is It So Cold?‬
It’s been top-ten coldest January on record in the Upper Midwest, and much colder than average over much of the Eastern U.S. However, the that isn’t the case over other portions of the globe, including the Western U.S. and Alaska. Wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt analyzes the situation in his latest post, How Cold has this January been in the U.S.? He concludes, “this January’s average temperature nationally has probably been close to normal since the western half of the nation has been almost as much above average as the eastern half was below average. The only region that will most likely have experienced a TOP 10 coldest January will be the Upper Midwest.” In the U.S., only four stations set all-time low minimum temperature records in January, compared to 34 that set all-time high maximum temperature records. I’ve been monitoring global temperatures this month, and it appears likely that January will rank between the 5th and 15th warmest January since record keeping began in 1880. Of particular note were the amazingly warm January temperatures in the Balkans. According to weather record researcher Maximiliano Herrera, “over 90% of all stations in the Balkans from Slovenia to Croatia to Bosnia to Serbia To Montenegro to Kosovo etc., have DESTROYED their previous record of warmest January ever (many locations have 100 – 200 years of data.) In many cases the monthly temperatures were 7 – 9°C (13 – 16°F) above average, and the new records were 3 – 4°C above the previous record. This is for THOUSANDS of stations, almost all of them. In Slovenia, for example, Mount Kredarica is the only station in the whole country not to have set its warmest January on record.”

Video 1. ‪If There’s Global Warming … Why Is It So Cold?‬ The latest video from climate videographer Peter Sinclair on the Yale Climate Forum website demonstrates that while it was a very cold January in the Midwest, this has been counterbalanced by record warmth over the Western U.S. and Alaska, caused by an unusually extreme kink in the jet stream.

Another Unexpected Disaster That Was Well Forecast. Based in Atlanta, TWC’s Bryan Norcross concludes that “WARM GROUND + VERY COLD AIR + SNOW + WORKDAY = CHAOS. If the decision-makers understood the formula above, this information should have been sufficient to trigger a proper response.”

Jon Stewart Lays Into Georgia’s Snowpocalypse

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Crystallized Beauty

Ice in the swamp


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Mimosa Plants Have Long Term Memory, Can Learn, Biologists Say

Thank you for sharing this!

I’m so glad to see people finally catching up to the fact that all life is smarter and more aware than western culture believes.

The mycelium in the forest transmits for miles the information that someone steps on it entering the edge of the forest. Aside from the faces, talking and walking around perhaps Tolkien’s Ents are not really that far off from reality after all:-)

Family Survival Protocol - Microcosm News

Jan 16, 2014 by Sci-News.com

By using the same experimental framework normally applied to test learnt behavioral responses in animals, biologists from Australia and Italy have successfully demonstrated that Mimosa pudica – an exotic herb native to South America and Central America – can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals.

Mimosa pudica at the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. Image credit: H. Zell / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Mimosa pudica at the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. Image credit: H. Zell / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Mimosa pudica is known as the Sensitive plant or a touch-me-not. Dr Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia and her colleagues designed their experiments as if Mimosa was indeed an animal.

They trained Mimosa‘s short- and long-term memories under both high and low-light environments by repeatedly dropping water on them using a custom-designed apparatus.

The scientists show how Mimosa plants stopped closing their leaves when they learnt that the repeated disturbance had no…

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NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center CME Arrives at 2:32pm Eastern Thursday January 9, 2014

2014-01-09 20:02 UTC CME Has Arrived


The coronal mass ejection (CME), originally expected to arrive around 0800 UTC (3:00 a.m. EST) today, January 9, was observed at the ACE spacecraft just upstream of Earth at 1932 UTC (2:32 p.m. EST). It’s too early to see much with respect to the magnetic structure of this CME, but short-term, high-confidence warnings will be issued as this event plays out. The original forecast continues to be for G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity on January 9 and 10. Aurora watchers may be in luck for tonight. The ongoing Solar Radiation Storm, currently at S2 (Moderate) levels, is seeing a modest enhancement with this shock passage but remains below S3 (Strong) threshold at this time. Updates here as this event unfolds.

New Space Weather Education and Outreach Resources – NOW AVAILABLE! Followthis link.
Sign up for Emails of Space Weather Alerts, Warnings, Watches, and Forecasts.

Current Space Weather Conditions

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Dr Jeff Masters Cyclone Lehar November 25, 2013

Dr Masters blog and the Wundergound Tropical page are both very helpful in understanding and tracking these dangerous storms.
Dangerous Category 1Cyclone Lehar is intensifying as it heads west-northwest at 8 mph towards India’s Bay of Bengal coast. Satellite images show that Lehar–which is the Hindustani word for “wave”–has developed a large Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds over its center, which is characteristic of intensifying tropical cyclones approaching hurricane strength. With wind shear a moderate 10 – 20 knots and ocean temperatures a very warm 28 – 29°C, Lehar is expected to continue to intensify to a major Category 3 storm until just before landfall, which is expected to occur near 03 UTC Thursday, November 28 in the Andhra Pradesh state of India. This is the same portion of the coast that Cyclone Helenhit on Friday as a tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Helen’s heavy rains killed elevenpeople, caused widespread severe agricultural damage, and left the soils saturated, which will make the rains from Lehar doubly dangerous. Also of concern is the storm surge, which will impact a portion of the coast that is heavily populated and low-lying. The India Meteorological Agency (IMD) is predicting that Lehar will generate a storm surge of up to 1.6 – 2.9 meters (5.2 – 9.5 feet) to the right of where the eye makes landfall.

Figure 1. Cyclone Lehar over the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal at 04:25 UTC November 25, 2013. At the time, Lehar was at Category 1 strength with top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

An unusually active tropical cyclone season for India
In addition to Cyclone Helen, India’s Bay of Bengal coast also was hit this year by Tropical Cyclone Phailin, a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds, which killed 44 people and did $1.1 billion in damage on October 12, 2013. It’s unusual for India to get hit by so many named storms in one year; the last time three or more named storms did so was in 1996, when six storms of at least tropical storm intensity hit. Only four Bay of Bengal tropical cyclones have hit India at hurricane strength since 2000, if we include Cyclone Phailin from 2013. The others were:

Category 1 Cyclone Ailaof May 25, 2009, which hit near Kolkata, killing 96, causing $553 million in damage.
Category 1 Cyclone Thane, of December 30, 2011, which hit Southeast India, killing 48, causing $376 million in damage.
Category 1 Cyclone 05B, which hit Southern India on November 29, 2000, killing six.

The last major tropical cyclone to hit the portion of the coast that Lehar is threatening occurred on June 14 1996, when Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 07B struck, killing 731 people. Wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post onIndia’s tropical cyclone history. During the past two centuries, 42 percent of Earth’s tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27 percent have occurred in India (Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, “Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas,” J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.)

You can read the rest of this post at- http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2587

Dr Masters blog is here-http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

The details and up to date info on Cyclone Lehar csn be found at-http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/northern-indian/2013/tropical-cyclone-Lehar

The Tropical Weather page is here-http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/

Please share info with those in the danger areas and stay safe if you are there!

As always, for everyone who prays, lets join together in praying for the safety and support of all in the path of Cyclone Lehar.