Here's the mix: Climate change, solar flares, political
mismanagement, and the pivotal, prophetic year of 2012 getting closer with each passing day. All these elements
point to a world that is drastically being changed and perhaps even coming to the brink of collapse. Mass extinctions have become commonplace. Dispite these signs of global breakdown we continue to extract and plunder world resourses
in the name of progress and profit.
Personally, I do not agree with Al Gore and his cohorts. I do not believe that car fumes and
farting cows have any effect on the ice caps of Mars, yet the Martian ice caps are melting along with ours. What I believe
is happening is cyclical in nature; it has happened in the past and will continue to occur in the future, regardless of the
imposition these changes might create to human needs or wants. An excellent book on this is Fractal Time by Gregg Braden. It explains what 2012 is about and why seemingly strange changes in weather and other global
matters are happening around the world at this particular time in history.
Here's a site that pinpoints the most dire aches and pains the planet is enduring on any given day.
And here's a chart that indicates recent earthquakes of 6 and 8 magnitudes have been on the increase in a big way.
The following message from StopGlobalWarming.org comes a little too late and completely off the mark. Notice how they focus on terrestrial offenders and
leave the sun completely out of the picture. They fail to recognize that even without human imput it would still be
happening simply because we are in that cycle:
This might be an old article, but California, my home state, is still feeling it between the legs...
U.S. EXPERIENCING DROUGHT FOR THE AGES By Patrick O'Driscoll USA TODAY
June 8, 2007
Drought, a fixture in much of the West for nearly a decade, now covers more than one-third of the continental USA. And
As summer starts, half the nation is either abnormally dry or in outright drought from prolonged lack of rain that could
lead to water shortages, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Welcome rainfall last weekend from Tropical
Storm Barry brought short-term relief to parts of the fire-scorched Southeast. But up to 50 inches of rain is needed to end
the drought there, and this is the driest spring in the Southeast since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National Climatic
California and Nevada just recorded their driest June-to-May period since 1924, and a lack of rain in the West could
make this an especially risky summer for wildfires.
Coast to coast, the drought's effects are as varied as the landscapes:
- In central California, ranchers are selling cattle or trucking them out of state as grazing grass dries up. In Southern
California's Antelope Valley, rainfall at just 15% of normal erased the spring bloom of California poppies.
- In South Florida, Lake Okeechobee, America's second-largest body of fresh water, fell last week to a record low --
an average 8.89 feet above sea level. So much lake bed is dry that 12,000 acres of it caught fire last month. Saltwater intrusion
threatens to contaminate municipal wells for Atlantic coastal towns as fresh groundwater levels drop.
- In Alabama, shallow ponds on commercial catfish farms are dwindling, and more than half the corn and wheat crops are
in poor condition.
Dry episodes have become so persistent in the West that some scientists and water managers say drought is the "new normal"
there. Reinforcing that notion are global-warming projections warning of more and deeper dry spells in the Southwest, although
a report in last week's Science magazing challenges the climate models and suggests there will be more rainfall worldwide
later this century.
"It seems extremely likely that drought will become more the norm" for the West, says Kathy Jacobs of the Arizona Water
Institute, a research partnership of the state's three universities. "Droughts will continue to come and go, but higher temperatures
are going to produce more water stress." That's because warmer temperatures in the Southwest boosts demands for water and
cause more to evaporate from lakes and reservoirs.
"The only good news about drought is it forces us to pay attention to water management," says Peter Gleick of the Pacific
Institute, a think tank in Oakland that stresses efficient water use.
This drought has been particularly harsh in three regions: the Southwest, the Southeast and northern Minnesota.
Severe dryness across California and Arizona has spread into 11 other Western states. On the Colorado River, the water
supply for 30 million people in seven states and Mexico, the Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs are only half full and unlikely
to recover for years. In Los Angeles County, on track for a record dry year with 21% of normal rain downtown since last summer,
fire officials are threatening to cancel Fourth of July fireworks if conditions worsen. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa urged residents to voluntarily cut water use 10%, the city's first such call since the 1990s.
In Minnesota, which is in its worst drought since 1976, the situation is improving slowly, although a wildfire last month
burned dozens of houses and 115 square miles in the northeastern part of the state.
The Southeast, unaccustomed to prolonged dry spells, may be suffering the most. In eight states from Mississippi to the
Carolinas and down through Florida, lakes are shrinking, crops are withering, well levels are falling and there are new limits
on water use. "We need 40-50 inches of rainfall to get out of the drought," says Carol Ann Wehle of the South Florida Water Management
Despite a recent storm, water hasn't flowed in Florida's Kissimmee River, which feeds Lake Okeechobee, in 212 days. The
district has imposed its strictest water-use limits ever in 13 counties, cutting home watering to once a week and commercial
use by 45%.
The drought also has provided an occasional benefit: Okeechobee's record low level allowed crews to clean out decades
of muck and debris.
And some stricken areas are recovering. Texas and Oklahoma, charred by wildfires in the dry winter of 2005-06, are drought-free.
Even in California, where winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada range was only 27% of normal this year, plentiful runoff
from last year's snows filled many reservoirs, so shortages are unlikely this year. But another dry winter would tax supplies.
Gleick says water managers are not reacting forcefully enough to the drought: "The time to tell people that we're in
the middle of a drought and to institute strong conservation programs is today, not a year from now." The Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California is doing that. Last month, it began a "Let's Save" radio campaign.
After nearly a decade of drought in parts of the West, the nation's fastest-growing region wrestles with rising water
demands and declining supply.
Donald Wilhite of the National Drought Mitigation Center says the Southwest and Southeast are "becoming gradually more
vulnerable to drought" because the rising population will need more water. "We think of water as an unlimited resource," he
says. "But what happens when you turn on the tap and it's not there?"
WORLD PERCEIVES CLIMATE PROBLEM AS GREATEST THREAT By Susan Page USA Today June
WASHINGTON - Environmental problems
such as global warming increasingly are seen as the leading threat the world faces, according to a massive survey of global
public opinion released Wednesday. The United States is given much of the blame for those problems and the responsibility
to respond to them.
The Pew Research Center poll,
taken in 46 countries and the Palestinian territories, found that people in countries as diverse as Canada, Peru, Ukraine,
China and India identified environmental degradation as the greatest world danger, outranking concerns about nuclear weapons,
ethnic hatred and AIDS.
The study, the largest sampling of global public opinion ever taken, also
shows the United States in general and President Bush in particular as increasingly isolated in the world, especially over
the war in Iraq. In 43 of the 47 countries -- including the United States -- a majority favored the withdrawal of U.S. troops
from Iraq as soon as possible.
In 34 countries, the proportion
of those who said they had "a lot of confidence" in Bush to "do the right thing" was in single digits.
Electing a new president next
year won't automatically ameliorate the world's concerns, says Andy Kohut, director of the non-partisan Pew center.
"People will look at the United
States and say 'what next?'" Kohut says. "Discontent with our policies has changed opinions about America's power."
Bush, speaking Wednesday at the
Islamic Center of Washington, blamed religious extremists in the Middle East for fueling anti-American attitudes.
"This enemy falsely claims that
America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith," he said, "when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam's true enemy."
Nukes worry Americans
The survey found that positive
attitudes toward the United States had plummeted since 2002, when the first in a series of Pew Global Attitudes surveys was
taken. Those with favorable views of the United States have fallen from 60 percent to 30 percent in Germany, 61 percent to
29 percent in Indonesia and 30 percent to 9 percent in Turkey.
More than 45,000 people were
interviewed by phone or face-to-face for the survey, which used nearly 60 languages or dialects.
The poll found sharply rising
concern about environmental problems as the world's biggest threat. Majorities or pluralities in 34 of 37 countries where
the question was asked identified the U.S. as the chief culprit.
In the United States, pollution
was ranked lower as a concern than in any other industrialized nation. Thirty-seven percent in the U.S. identified environmental
issues as the top global threat, compared with 70 percent in China, 55 percent in Peru and 52 percent in France. Americans
were more likely to call nuclear proliferation or religious and ethnic hatred as leading dangers to the planet.
Global concerns varied by region.
The spread of nuclear weapons was an increasing concern in the Middle East while AIDS and other diseases continued to be seen
as the dominant threat in Africa.
The study found growing concern
about China's economic and military might, mixed views of Russia and wide suspicion of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Here's an interesting piece:
HURRICANE CENTER CHIEF ISSUES FINAL WARNING By Carol J. Williams
Los Angeles Times January 3, 2007
MIAMI - Frustrated with people and politicians who refuse to listen or learn, National Hurricane
Center Director Max Mayfield ends his 34-year government career today in search of a new platform for getting out his unwelcome
message: Hurricane Katrina was nothing compared with the big one yet to come.
Mayfield, 58, leaves his high-profile job with the National Weather Service more convinced
than ever that U.S. residents of the Southeast are risking unprecedented tragedy by continuing to build vulnerable homes in
the tropical storm zone and failing to plan escape routes.
He pointed to southern Florida's 7 million coastal residents.
"We're eventually going to get a strong enough storm in a densely populated area to have
a major disaster," he said. "I know people don't want to hear this, and I'm generally a very positive person, but we're setting
ourselves up for this major disaster."
More than 1,300 deaths across the Gulf Coast were attributed to Hurricane Katrina, the worst
human toll from a weather event in the United States since the 1920s.
But Mayfield warns that 10 times as many fatalities could occur in what he sees as an inevitable
strike by a huge storm during the current highly active hurricane cycle, which is expected to last another 10 to 20 years.
His apocalyptic vision of thousands dead and millions homeless is a different side of the
persona he established as head of the hurricane center.
Mayfield attained national celebrity status during the tempestuous 2004 and 2005 seasons,
appearing on network television with hourly updates as hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Frances and Wilma bore down on the Caribbean
and the Southeast. His calm demeanor and avuncular sincerity endeared him to millions of TV viewers seeking survival guidance.
And he argues that his dire predictions don't have to become reality.
The technology exists to build high-rise buildings capable of withstanding hurricane-force
winds and tropical storm surge more powerful than those experienced in the last few years. Much of Hong Kong's architecture
has been built to survive typhoons, and hotels and apartments built in Kobe, Japan, after a 1995 earthquake devastated the
city are touted as indestructible, he said.
What is lacking in the United States is the political will to make and impose hard decisions
on building codes and land use in the face of resistance from the influential building industry and a public still willing to
gamble that the big one will never hit, he said.
"It's good for the tax base" to allow developers to put up buildings on the coastline, Mayfield
said in explaining politicians' reluctance to deter housing projects that expose residents to storm risks.
"I don't want the builders to get mad at me," he said, "but the building industry strongly
opposes improvement in building codes."
Consumers also have yet to demand sturdier construction, Mayfield added. A builder gets a
better return on investment in upgraded carpet and appliances than for safety features above and beyond most states' minimal
requirements, he said.
As a senior civil servant, Mayfield was prohibited from making job inquiries in the private
sector while still in the government's employ. But he said on Tuesday, his last day in office, that he hoped to launch a second
career as a consultant in emergency planning and disaster response. He has particular interest in a potential public-private
initiative to mine natural disaster scenes for their educational value.
He envisions a natural disaster assessment service like the National Transportation Safety
Board, which probes the causes and consequences of aviation and other transport accidents.
"If the NTSB finds some structural problem is the cause of an air crash, you would never
see that plane continue to be built with the same problems," he said.
With natural disasters, though, the same mistakes that put lives at risk are repeated year
after year in unsafe construction and inadequate planning, he said.
Mayfield said he also was pondering collaboration with advocates of tougher building standards
and land use rules.
"It's not just about the forecasting. Whatever I do, I want to help change the outcome,"
he said, conceding frustration with persistent public disregard of federal and local government campaigns to boost hurricane
awareness and preparation.
Even after the devastating hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, he said, fewer than 50% of
those living in storm-prone areas have a hurricane evacuation plan.
While he has been critical of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response to Katrina's
devastation of New Orleans, he warns against depending on the federal government after natural disasters. He was dismayed
to see federal agencies handing out water and ice in South Florida after Hurricane Wilma hit in October 2005, when stores
were open and tap water was usable.
"You don't want the federal government to be your first-responders," he said. "The government
can't do everything for people and it shouldn't, or else you create a culture of dependence."
Mayfield praises the Florida state government for its well-oiled disaster-response program
and steps toward improving building safety, in contrast with other states along the Gulf of Mexico that he says still have
no statewide building standards.
Though Mayfield's name and face recognition are the envy of some presidential hopefuls, he
laughs out loud at the notion of running for office.
"Oh, good gosh, no! That is just not my thing," he says.
At the hurricane center on the Florida International University campus, Mayfield will be
succeeded by Bill Proenza, the National Weather Service's director for the Southern region. Home to 77 million, the region
has "the most active and severe weather in the world," according to the weather service's parent agency, the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration.
Proenza, 62, began his meteorological career at the Miami office as an intern in 1963. As
director of 50 regional offices and 1,000 employees in the Southern region for the last eight years, he has long experience
collaborating with the hurricane center staff on forecasts and tracking.
"That's why I don't have any problem walking out the door," said Mayfield, declaring himself
fearful that the mild 2006 hurricane season left those in the storm zone ever more complacent.
GREENLAND'S ICE CAP IS MELTING AT A FRIGHTENINGLY FAST RATE By David Perlman
San Francisco Chronicle Friday, August 11, 2006
The vast ice cap that covers Greenland nearly three miles thick is melting faster than ever before on record,
and the pace is speeding year by year, according to global climate watchers gathering data from twin satellites that probe
the effects of warming on the huge northern island.
The consequence is already evident in a small but ominous rise
in sea levels around the world, a pace that is also accelerating, the scientists say.
According to the scientists'
data, Greenland's ice is melting at a rate three times faster than it was only five years ago. The estimate of the melting
trend that has been observed for nearly a decade comes from a University of Texas team monitoring a satellite mission that
measures changes in the Earth's gravity over the entire Greenland ice cap as the ice melts and the water flows down into the
"We have only been watching the ice cap melt during a relatively short period," physicist Jianli Chen
said Thursday, "but we are seeing the strongest evidence of it yet, and in the near future the pace of melting will accelerate
The same satellites tracking Greenland's ice cap also are monitoring the melt rate of Antarctica's ice
cover, and there too the melting is adding to the global rise in sea level, according to another team of scientists.
to Antarctica, Greenland, a self-governing Danish territory, is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth and holds about
10 percent of the world's supply. The increasing flow of fresh water -- most of it from glaciers melting on Greenland's eastern
coast -- is already beginning to change the composition of the ocean's salt water currents flowing past Northwestern Europe,
the scientists say.
The result could be a critical change in the composition of the main ocean current that flows past
Europe's northern edge, blocking off warmer waters that normally flow there and -- ironically -- making Northern Europe's
weather colder than normal, at least temporarily, while the rest of the globe continues warming.
The report on Greenland
is being published today in the on-line edition of the journal Science by the University of Texas scientists at Austin, including
Chen, aerospace engineer Byron Tapley and geologist Clark Wilson.
According to the researchers, surface melting of
Greenland's ice cap reached 57 cubic miles a year between April of 2002 and November of 2005, compared to about 19 cubic miles
a year between 1997 and 2003.
"The sobering thing is to see that the whole process of glacial melting is stepping up
much more rapidly than before," said Tapley in a statement.
If the Greenland ice cap ever melted completely -- a highly
unlikely event, at least in the foreseeable future -- the scientists estimate it would raise world's sea level by an average
of 6.5 meters, or about 21 feet, more than enough to drown all the world's low-lying islands and even some entire nations,
The possibility of future sea level rises becomes even more evident when Antarctica's huge ice sheets
Only last March two University of Colorado physicists used the same satellite system to measure melting
of ice on the Antarctic continent. Although earlier evidence using other techniques appeared to show that the East Antarctica
ice sheet was actually thickening, satellite data gathered by Isabella Velicogna and John Wahr at Boulder found that melting
-- primarily from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet -- had turned at least 36 cubic miles of ice to fresh water each year from
2002 to 2005.
A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- known as the IPCC -- estimated
that during all of the past century worldwide melting ice from global warming had raised sea levels by only two-tenths of
a millimeter a year, or about 20 inches for the entire century.
But, according to Chen and his Texas team, the melting
of Greenland's ice cap is already raising global sea levels by six-tenths of a millimeter each year, and the Colorado group
estimates that melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet alone is adding up to four-tenths of a millimeter of fresh water to
sea levels each year. In other words, the global sea level, due to melting of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica combined,
is already rising 10 times faster than the IPPC's tentative estimates, the two analyses indicate.
Both the Texas and
Colorado groups have been obtaining their data from two satellites known as GRACE, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment,
which fly in orbit 137 miles apart and determine with extraordinary accuracy just how the mass of even small regions of the
Earth change as ice melts and flows away from the land to the sea.
The GRACE satellite mission is due to end next year,
but the Texas team is awaiting NASA approval for a new and improved satellite system to continue the work, using laser beams
rather than microwaves to measure ice cap melting, Chen said.
In a recent summary of the ice cap melting problem and
its effect on sea levels reported by Richard Kerr in Science, geoscientist Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton said, "The time
scale for future loss of most of an ice sheet may not be millennia," as glacier models have suggested, "but centuries."
ICE SHEET IS MELTING FASTER, STUDY SAYS By John Roach National Geographic News August 10, 2006
Greenland ice sheet is melting three times faster today than it was five years ago, according to a new study.
adds to evidence of increased global warming in recent years and indicates that melting polar ice sheets are pushing sea levels
higher, the authors report.
According to the study, Greenland ice loss now amounts to more than 48 cubic miles (200
cubic kilometers) each year.
"Significant melting has a significant impact on sea level rise," said Jianli Chen, a
research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin wholed the study.
The finding, reported today by the
online edition of the journal Science, closely agrees with another study on the rapid wasting of Greenland's glaciers
published in the journal in February.
Both studies suggest the shrinking ice sheet now contributes about 0.02 inch
(0.5 millimeter) a year to global sea level rise.
"That's a very big number," Chen said.
Global sea levels have risen by about 0.1 inch (2.8 millimeters) a year over the past decade.
all the ice on Greenland were to melt into the North Atlantic Ocean, global sea levels would rise by about 21.3 feet (6.5
Thus scientists are keen to understand if the Danish-owned Arctic island (Greenland map) is losing more ice
mass through melting and discharge of glaciers than it is gaining from fresh snowfall.
Richard Alley is a glaciologist
at Pennsylvania State University in University Park who was not involved with the study.
He says the new study fits
well with other recent studies showing a Greenland meltdown.
"It really does appear that the ice sheet is losing mass,"
he said in an email.
"Looking at the history of these measurements, the ice sheet was probably near balance a couple
of decades ago and has begun shrinking recently," he continued.
"This parallels recent warming."
The new study is based on an analysis of gravity measurements collected by a pair of twin wedge-shaped
satellites that orbit the Earth in tandem.
The satellites are part of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE),
which was launched in March 2002 and is run by a team of experts in the U.S. and Germany.
GRACE measures landmass based
on its gravitational pull. The denser a region is, the stronger its pull and the faster the satellites will move above it.
satellites are separated by a distance of 137 miles (220 kilometers) when they are in stable orbit. As the front satellite
crosses over an area of strong gravity, it speeds up, increasing the distance between the two satellites.
tiny change in the distance can be used to infer the surface mass change," Chen said.
Liquid water is generally
denser than ice and so has a stronger gravitational pull.
Chen and his University of Texas colleagues analyzed the
gravity measurements over Greenland between April 2002 and November 2005, separating the mass change from other signals.
team found that Greenland is now losing between 52 and 63 cubic miles (216 and 262 cubic kilometers) of ice mass each year.
current wasting is about three times the rate gleaned from an earlier study of the first two years of GRACE data.
Zwally is a glaciologist with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
He agrees that Greenland
ice loss has accelerated in recent years.
But based on he and his colleagues' unpublished analysis of the latest GRACE
data, he believes the current ice loss rate is less than half what Chen's team reports.
Nevertheless, he says, Greenland
does appear to be losing more ice mass than it gains.
"I would say Greenland now is beginning to contribute significantly
to sea level rise," Zwally said. "There's been a significant change in a relatively short period of time."
for analyzing GRACE data are refined and combined with other techniques, scientists will reach agreement over just how quickly
the continent is wasting away, Zwally adds.
GRACE has only been orbiting
Earth for three and a half years, not long enough to determine if the increase in melting is due to global warming or natural
variability, the University of Texas's Chen says.
Longer term trends, and confidence in data interpretation, must wait
until several more years of data are collected, he says.
According to Alley, the Pennsylvania State glaciologist, increasing
snowfall, increasing melting, and increasing flow of glaciers into the ocean are all expected to result from global warming.
analyses indicate that Greenland shrank when changes in Earth's orbit gave more summer sunshine to the island a few thousand
years ago and about 130,000 years ago, he says.
"History and physics and recent observations tie warming to ice shrinkage," he
And projections of future climate change indicate continued warming over Greenland if greenhouse gas emissions
"So shrinkage seems likely," Alley said.
July 29, 2006, 2:15AM: Killer heat waves here
to stay, global warming researchers say. Phenomenon not solely to blame but is contributing to the deadly
SETH BORENSTEIN Associated Press
In Fresno, Calif., the morgue is full of victims from
a California heat wave. A combination of heat and power outages killed a dozen people in Missouri. And in parts of Europe,
temperatures are hotter than in 2003 when a heat wave killed 35,000.
Get used to it.
•For the next
week, much of the nation should expect more "extreme heat," the National Weather Service predicts. •In
the month of August, most of the United States will see "above normal temperatures," forecasters say. •For
the long term, the world will see more and worse killer heat waves because of global warming, scientists say. The
July burst of killer heat waves around the world can't be specifically blamed on global warming.
A persistent high-pressure system in the upper atmosphere
prevents cooler jetstream air from making it into the West, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.
"You can't tie global warming into one single event,"
But global warming has made the nights warmer in general
and the days drier, which help turn merely uncomfortably hot days into killer heat waves, said Kevin Trenberth, climate-analysis
branch chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Much of global warming science concentrates on average
monthly and yearly temperatures, but studies in the past five years show that climate change is at its most dangerous during
extreme events, such as high temperatures, droughts and flooding, he said.
"These (heat) events always occur. What global warming
does is push it up another notch," Trenberth said.
And the computer models show that soon, we'll get many
more — and hotter — heat waves that will leave the old Dust Bowl records of the 1930s in the dust, said Ken Kunkel,
director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Illinois State Water Survey.
The way to really judge will be when scientists look
back a decade from now, not at a single heat wave but at the frequency and extremes of all of them, said Mike Wallace, a professor
of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. That's when scientists likely will see a statistically significant
increase in heat waves and their severity, he said. In fact, he said, that can be seen a bit now.
In the past 25 years, most of the world has seen summer
nights getting much warmer with far less evening heat relief, according to a study published earlier this year in the peer-reviewed
Journal of Geophysical Research.
George Luber, an epidemiologist who studies heat-wave
deaths for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the situation is on track to be "the most active one
that I can recall" in terms of heat deaths.
A new analysis by Luber this week shows that between
1999 and 2003, the United States averaged nearly 900 heat-related deaths each year. This year, with 132 reported in central
California alone, could be worse, he said.