Saturday, April 6, 2013

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: NOAA Declares Unusual Mortality Event For Sea Lions - 1,100 Sea Lions Have Beached So Far This Year In America?!

April 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - There have been seven times the number of sea lions that have beached themselves in San Diego County compared to the same time period last year.


Malnourished sea lions pups line the floors of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach in March. An epidemic of sick sea lions has prompted lifeguards to help rescuers tend to the ill marine mammals.
AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Eugene Garcia
There have been significant increases throughout beaches from Santa Barbara County to San Diego, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. They said 214 sea lions from beached themselves in San Diego County from Jan. 1 – March 31 this year. Over the same time period last year, there were 32 of the mammals found on San Diego’s shoreline.

The greatest increase is in Los Angeles County, where the number went from 36 last year, to an astounding 395 beaches sea lions so far this year.

There has been a been 1,100 beached sea lions in the five coastal counties stretching from Santa Barbara to San Diego, according to Sarah Wilkin, NOAA Fisheries Southwest Regional Stranding Coordinator. There has been an additional 83 sea lions in the rest of the state. They are predominately pups, according to Wilkin.


Sick sea lions rest at San Pedro marine mammal facility.

So the big question is, “Why?” It’s a question that still has not been answered. But because of the high number of beached sea lions, NOAA has been granted an official declaration of what’s called an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). The status allows for the establishment of a panel of experts to convene to look for answers and will also provide for extra funding.

Right now, the leading hypothesis the panel of experts is looking at focuses on a lack of food source. Most of the seal pups have shown signs of starvation and dehydration. Other potential causes that will be studied will include possible infectious diseases, or pollutants in the ocean.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Wilkin said there has been a shortage of food sources such as sardines and anchovies. She also said pups are being affected in greater numbers than adults because they are limited in how far they can travel and are unfamiliar with the environment.

Wilkin also says many rescue centers are at capacity (though SeaWorld San Diego says it is still accepting sea lions) and many of the sick sea lions are being kept on the beach for observation. - NBC San Diego.

WATCH: NOAA Declares That Sea Lions Dying At Unusual Rate.



FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Fireball Explodes In The Morning Sky Over Norway; Whitish Green Fireball Over Denmark, Norway And Sweden; Fireball Meteor Over Hermosillo, Mexico; Very Bright Long Path Meteor Over Japan; Bright White Fireball Over 3 Eastern American States; Meteor Sighting Over New Zealand; Greenish Fireball Over Ontario / Quebec, Canada!

April 06, 2013 - SKY - Paper Deliverer witnessed the fireball that flew over southern Norway very early Wednesday morning. - Very interesting, says Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard about the pictures she took.

Tove Haveland is still exhilarated by the experience very early on Wednesday morning. While most of Norheimsund was asleep, the paperboy was out driving today's deliveries. Then she saw something in the morning sky.

- It was a little before half past five and I saw the moon in the top right corner of the eye. Then it happened: It was as if something exploded in the sky.


Fireball Explodes In The Morning Sky Over Norway.

Tove Haveland took these pictures in the sky over Hardanger. She had just seen a fireball breaking atmosphere above Norway. © Tove Haveland

- Then it was just like a ball of fire fell from the sky, it fell straight down and slid slowly down. The color was the same as the moon, but it is not lit up in the same manner, says Haveland.

Flames

It all lasted several seconds, and was far bigger than a star.

- Fireball was like a squid with arms trailing behind them. I saw flames all over it and it was an awesome sight, depicting Haveland.

Newspaper round was not quite as common.

- My heart was beating very afterwards and I do not know if I remembered to put all the papers in mailboxes later. When I got home, I almost felt like I had dreamed it all, says Norheimsund woman.

When she got home she still visible in the sky for the phenomenon: Two long and wide lines that showed how fireball had dropped, which lingered for several hours afterwards.


The son of Tove Haveland took this picture at sunrise, an hour after the fireball was visible. It shows clear traces where the meteor was visible in the sky.© Private

Viewed all over southern Norway


Paper boy took pictures of the white streaks in the sky, and sent them to astrophysicist Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard. After seeing the pictures, he can tell that it was not just a newspaper carriers in Norheimsund who saw the fireball. - We've researched this a bit and it turns out that there is a fireball that was seen over large parts of southern Norway. We have received reports from Gudbrandsdalen East and the North, he says to NRK.no.

A fireball is a powerful meteor that breaks the atmosphere before it starts to burn. The tracks Tove Haveland photographed is most likely ash clouds fireball leaves.

- It is very interesting pictures, he says.

Traveled towards Sweden
Sandefjord: The meteor was visible across southern Norway and passed over to Sweden. Joakim Evensen took this photo from the airplane market in Sandefjord. The picture shows a strange skymonster, showing possibly remnants from smoke strip after the fireball.© Joakim Evensen

He could tell that the fireball could be seen throughout southern Scandinavia at 05.24 or 05.25.

- It says something about how violent it has been. Observations from Sweden shows that the bullet fell from east to west, and went across the border to Sweden.

So far there's been no reports of audio or boom from the meteor, which means it probably burned up before it hit the ground.

- These things happen in fits and starts. Previous fireball over Norway was 31 March, whereas before it was several months since the last time, he says.

He posted a message on astroevents.no the fireball today, and want more tips on the meteor to find out where it may have fallen.


It may look like contrails, but is probably dust clouds after the powerful meteor.© Tove Haveland

I feel small when I experience such

The paper boy is surprised when she hears what she has seen. Especially that it crossed the border in the east.

- I thought it landed in the mountains here in Hardanger. When I think of the enormous size it has had, it looked like it was close, says Tove Haveland.

She is often alone out at night and see things in the sky the rest of us do not get with us.

- When I see the northern lights I think often it can be scary. For when I experience such great natural phenomenon makes me feel very small here on earth. - NRK.


Whitish Green Fireball Over Denmark, Norway And Sweden.
Image: Lunar Meteorite Hunters / Google Earth.

Initial Meteor Sighting Reports -
April 03, 2013 - Leif Nielsen Lysabild, Denmark 5:22 AM CET 1-2 seconds Traveling E, I was facing ENE Whitish green - No sound/traveling in car! As moon, but smaller No fragmentation Hard to estimate distance, could be far since it was a quite clear morning sky!

April 03, 2013 - per andersen Humlebaek, Denmark About 5.20 Am local time 2-4 seconds facing north direction of travel: East white, yellow, green,red no sound moon maybe looked like a piece of paper on fire

- Lunar Meteorite Hunters.


Fireball Meteor Over Hermosillo, Mexico.

WATCH: Fireball over Mexico.





Bright Long Path Meteor Over Japan.

(-2.9mag), a duration of 1.6 seconds meteor somewhat long path of emergence 1:49:22 JST on April 4, 2013,
4mm camera facing north.Osaka Prefecture, the photographer: Masayoshi Ueda Location

(-4.0mag), scattered fireball appearance 22:34:44 JST on March 31, 2013, a small explosion at the end,
West-facing camera, 4mm.Osaka Prefecture, the photographer: Masayoshi Ueda Location

(Eg -0.7), sporadic meteors, meteor 3.4 seconds duration of emergence 1:02:00 JST on March 17, 2013
South-facing camera, 6mm F0.8.Osaka Prefecture, the photographer: Masayoshi Ueda Location

(Eg -4.2), scattered, twice explosion fireball appearance 23:14:56 JST on March 19, 2013
North-facing camera, 3mm F0.95.
Osaka Prefecture, the photographer: Masayoshi Ueda Location

- Meteor Chicappa. [Translated]

WATCH: Meteor over Japan.





Bright White Fireball Over 3 Eastern American States.
Image: Lunar Meteorite Hunters / Google Earth.

Initial Meteor Sighting Reports -
April 02, 2013 - Eric Arntson Chester, VA  USA 5:45 EST 2 sec NW-SE White/ no sound Moon no From my location it was SE of me

April 02, 2013 - Mark S. Laurel, MD 5:45:00 2-3 sec It was headed in a Western direction Bright White Moon no I was headed south on Rt295 to DC and over Laurel, MD there was a bright white fireball in the sky that vanished quickly.

April 02, 2013 - Dereck Adams Henrico,VA.  USA 5:45:00 3 seconds SE white with tail that had a orange reddish streak following it moon no fragments or noise none

April 02, 2013 - SHERRY BOSLEY Approaching WDC on 29S 5:44:00 Few seconds W-E Green Rapid, evanescent It disappeared but no fragments seen No photo. Like a HUGE green shooting star which just disappeared in the sky "mid flight.

- Lunar Meteorite Hunters.


Meteor Sighting Over New Zealand?

WATCH: A reader sent in this video filmed from Te Atatu Peninsula.


- NZ Herald.


Greenish Fireball Over Ontario / Quebec, Canada.
Image: Lunar Meteorite Hunters / Google Earth.

Initial Meteor Sighting Reports -
April 02, 2013 - Julie Caouette Laval, Québec, Canada 05:00 EDT 5 seconds from west to east, I was looking north greenish tail bright like a full moon fragmentation seen nothing more to add

April 02, 2013 - Amelia Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 5:01-5:03 7-8 seconds N-E Bright Green Ball with a tale end falling moon no it looks like it may have landed somewhere

April 02, 2013 - Richard McLaughlin Ottawa, ON Canada 457 3-4 seconds west to east bright orange/red close to sun brightness no very bright with long trail

- Lunar Meteorite Hunters.




EXTREME WEATHER: Major Storm Next Week - Plains Storm To Bring Big Rain, Snow And Severe Weather To The United States!

April 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A major storm next week is poised to bring much needed rain, heavy snow and dangerous thunderstorms to the Plains.


The timing and location of the severe weather will be periodically adjusted as more information become available. The severe weather outbreak will unfold early in the week from the central Plains to Texas and will shift eastward over time through the remainder of the week reaching parts of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

The main storm will be preceded by a lesser system with spotty rain, snow and thunderstorms during late Sunday into Monday. However, the main event over the Plains will begin Monday night and Tuesday and will sprawl eastward as the week progresses.

Snow

Depending on how quickly cold air is utilized on the northern flank of the storm, there could be a swath of heavy snow from large areas of Colorado and Wyoming to parts of Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Denver, Cheyenne, Wyo., and North Platte, Neb., are a few cities that could receive snow from the storm, depending on its track.

Enough snow could fall in some areas, combined with strong wind to lead to significant travel delays.

Severe Weather
Farther south and east, in the storm's warm sector, a severe weather outbreak is bound to unfold. There is a possibility of violent thunderstorms in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Louisiana.




While it is a bit too early to say with certainty the exact coverage, nature and timing of the thunderstorms, the risk includes the full spectrum of severe weather ranging from large hail and damaging wind gusts to flash flooding, frequent lightning strikes and even tornadoes.

Rain
In between the snow to the north and severe thunderstorms to the southeast, a zone of drenching rain is likely.

The exact swath of the heaviest rainfall, like the snow and severe weather area, will depend where and how the storm negotiates the high country of the West. However, states that could receive some of the drenching rainfall include Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota.

Part of this area could receive two inches of rain with the potential for much more.




Drought Relief

According to Agricultural Weather Expert Dale Mohler, "The storm with its rain, snow and thunderstorms next week could bring some relief to a significant portion of severe and exceptional drought areas of the Plains."

Mohler cautioned that the storm's beneficial moisture will not reach all areas in need, citing that the northern Plains may miss out.

"It does appear that a rapid thaw accompanied by heavy rain will be avoided with this particular storm over the Red River Basin (of the North)," he said.

Concerns have been raised by officials for the deep snow pack over the region, which is lingering longer into the spring than usual, due to late-season cold weather.

The northern Plains will receive some moisture from moderate snow and rain from the preliminary storm Sunday into Monday.

West Impact
The storm will first impact portions of the West late in the weekend and the start of next week with areas of high winds, blowing dust, thunderstorms with hail and areas of rain and heavy snow after moving inland from the Pacific Ocean.

More moisture will be pumped into the storm east of the Rockies as the system enters into a zone of great temperature contrast from south to north. At the same time, the storm will get extra energy from the jet stream, high velocity winds high above the ground. - AccuWeather.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: H7N9 Virus - Bird Flu Scare Spreads In China, Government Closes Poultry Sale In Third City After Bird Flu Outbreak!

April 06, 2013 - CHINA - Nanjing became the third city in China to suspend live poultry trading in the wake of an unusual strain of bird flu that has so far killed six people in the country, state-run media outlet Xinhua reported Saturday

Jiangsu's provincial capital of Nanjing joined Shanghai and Zhejiang's provincial capital of Hangzhou in shuttering the markets, Xinhua said.


A public park worker catches a dove in People's Square in downtown Shanghai on Saturday, April 6. The Shanghai municipal government has ordered workers to remove pigeons from public areas to prevent the spread of H7N9 bird flu to humans, local media reported.

 A masked security guard stands outside Taipei Hoping Hospital on April 6, where new isolation units have been set up to treat potential new avian influenza cases.

Four deaths occurred in Shanghai and two in Zhejiang, the agency said.

Chinese authorities have killed more than 20,000 birds from a live-poultry trading zone in Shanghai in an effort to deal with the issue.

The cull at the Shanghai poultry trading zone came as researchers in the United States said they had started work on developing a vaccine for H7N9.

The H7N9 avian flu virus had been found in pigeons. The virus had not previously been found in humans until a series of cases were reported in China this week.


Cabin attendants are seen on a thermographic imaging device after their arrival from Shanghai at the quarantine station at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo on April 5.

 Health workers gather dead chickens at the Huhai poultry wholesale market, where the H7N9 bird flu virus was detected in pigeon samples, in Shanghai on April 5.

Men wear face masks at a shopping mall in downtown Shanghai on April 5.

As of Saturday evening, China had confirmed 18 human infections of the H7N9 avian flu virus, Xinhua reported. The World Health Organization confirmed 16.

One victim, a 64-year-old man, died Thursday hours after doctors had confirmed he had been infected with the virus, Chinese officials said.

Two other men, ages 66 and 74, developed flu symptoms late last month and were diagnosed with pneumonia over the past two days, Chinese officials said. A total of 11 people who had close contacts with the two have not shown flu symptoms, officials said.

No cases of human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus have been confirmed.


Staff members from Taiwan's Center for Disease Control stand at the entrance of Sungshan Airport in Taipei.

A woman cleans a birdcage at a store in Taipei, Taiwan, on Thursday, April 4.

A passenger has her temperature checked by a CDC staff member at the entrance of Sungshan Airport in Taipei.

"We don't know yet where the humans got their virus from," said Dr. Joseph Bresee, who heads the epidemiology and prevention branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza division.

The virus has not been shown to spread easily between humans, he said.

The CDC, based in Atlanta, is working closely with Chinese authorities trying to find the source of the human infections. - CNN.

WATCH: China on high alert over bird flu.


WATCH: Deadly H7N9 Bird Flu Breaks Out in China.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For April 06, 2013 - Updates On Santa María, Santiaguito, Shiveluch, Sakurajima, Taal, Batu Tara, San Miguel, Raung, Tambora, Paluweh, Popocatépetl, Pacaya, Fuego, Telica, Reventador And Tungurahua!

April 06, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.


The Caliente lava dome of Santiaguito this morning.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala)
: Light ash fall from occasional small explosions has been reported in Finca Faro, Finca Florida and until San Felipe Reu. The lava dome otherwise has been very calm over the past days.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity and weak shallow earthquakes were registered. Hot avalanches (collapse of parts of the growing dome) and possibly explosions accompanying this process produced a plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude yesterday. Strong degassing and steaming are continuous.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Vulcanian explosion-type eruptions have been relatively infrequent recently (only 0-2 per day), but some of them produced ash plumes rising as high as 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Recently, the number of earthquakes has dropped to low (normal) levels of 0-3 on average. Still, some inflation in parts of the caldera and slightly elevated CO2 emissions are present and PHILVOLCS maintains yellow alert level.


Current seismic recording from San Miguel (VSM station, SNET).

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia)
: An ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) was spotted again yesterday, indicating ongoing explosions at the remote volcano in the Flores Sea.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Volcanic earthquakes embedded in weak tremor remain frequent.

Raung (East Java): VSI has lowered the alert level of the volcano down to 2 out of 4 (Waspada) after Raung had been on orange since October. The seismic activity has gradually decreased and currently, there is only degassing, sometimes intense, from the crater.

Tambora (Sumbawa): VSI raised the alert level to 2 (Waspada) on a scale of 1-4, but does not specify the reason (likely increased seismic activity). No further details are known for the time being.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome continues to produce explosions and avalanches. An ash plume rose to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude today and drifted 25 nautical miles to the west.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes have occurred recently, but the volcano has been a bit calmer again yesterday and today, with an average of 1-2 weak emissions per hour.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reports no changes during the last week. Mild strombolian activity continues, and is visible especially at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity remains low, with only few strombolian explosions reported.


Telica seismogram this morning (TELN station INETER).

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm continues with again increased strength. Especially the amplitudes of (shallow) volcanic quakes have been bigger than before. This volcano remains a good candidate for a next eruption in Central America.


Current seismic signal from Reventador (CONE station, IG).

Reventador (Ecuador): A slowly decreasing trend of activity is visible, but there are still occasional small explosions and strong degassing. Volcanic earthquakes and tremor fluctuates between low to moderate levels.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Seismic activity has again diminished.


Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for April 6, 2013.
Photo of the Day:

Shield volcano Isla Zapatera in Lake Nicaragua (Photo: WNomad)

- Volcano Discovery.

WORLD WAR III: Escalation Towards Armageddon - North Korea Could Trigger Nuclear Strike By April 10, Loads Missiles Onto Launchers, Tells Diplomats To Get Out; United States Sends Spy Drones To Korean Region For Surveillance; North Korea Releases Footage Of Dictator Supervising "Drone Drill" Attack!

April 06, 2013 - KOREAN PENINSULAAs tensions remain high on the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang has released footage showing its leader Kim Jong-un supervising a 'drone drill' attack.  The Communist dictator is seen watching a rocket-launched small aircraft blowing up in the sky after being intercepted by anti-aircraft missile - yesterday he was seen brandishing a gun in a video.   The footage broadcast by North Korea's state television comes amid reports the U.S. has deployed an unmanned spy plane to Japan for surveillance following reports the rogue state has moved missile launchers to its east coast.  


Pyongyang has released footage showing its leader Kim Jong-un watching a rocket-launched small aircraft blowing up in the sky after being intercepted by anti-aircraft missiles.

The Global Hawk will be stationed at the U.S. airbase in Misawa, northern Japan - it was due to be deployed between June and September, but it has now been bought forward according to the Sankei Shimbun. Yesterday Western nations, including Britain, were deciding whether to pull diplomats out of North Korea after being told that their safety  cannot be guaranteed beyond Wednesday.  But today staff appeared to be staying in embassies across the rogue state despite the appeal. 


Tension: The footage broadcast by North Korea's state television comes amid reports the US has deployed an unmanned spy plane to Japan to boost its surveillance.

Whitehall has been told it should consider evacuating its embassy in Pyongyang.  Several aid organisations were also given the warning, as the North Koreans moved more mid-range Musudan missiles to their east coast – where they could directly threaten Japan and America’s Pacific bases.  The Foreign Office last night said it had ‘no immediate plans to withdraw’ Britain’s embassy in Pyongyang and condemned ‘provocations’ by the North Korean regime.  


Show of strength: To increase fear in the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang has released footage of Kim Jong-un joining in with some target practice during a military drill.

Get out: All government embassies have been instructed to evacuate staff from Pyongyang after dictator Kim Jong-un warned he could not 'guarantee the safety of foreigners'.

But contingency plans have been drawn up to help Britons escape from the Korean peninsula.  Airborne troops are said to have been put on standby to oversee any evacuation of the region.  Officials have stressed the plans are a ‘precaution’ but said the situation is ‘fast-moving’.  Britain has had an embassy in Pyongyang focusing on nuclear counter-proliferation and human rights for more than a decade.  The Foreign Office website says the embassy supports ‘small-scale projects aimed at improving the lives of the most vulnerable’.  There is also a consular section serving the needs of the handful of British citizens working in the Communist dictatorship.  


Spy plane: A US Global Hawk like the one which has been deployed to Japan amid fears about the intentions of North Korea.

The US does not have an embassy in Pyongyang. Russia said yesterday that it was considering airlifting its workers out of the country and had been in discussions with China – North Korea’s closest ally.  Minister Sergey Lavrov was quoted Friday during a visit to Uzbekistan as saying that Russia is in touch with China, the United States, Japan and South Korea - all members of a dormant talks process with North Korea - to try to figure out the motivation.  'We are very perturbed about the supercharged tensions, which for now are verbal. We want to understand the causes of this proposal,' Lavrov said, according to the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti.  A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said the Pyongyang regime had responsibilities to protect embassies under international conventions and claimed the latest move was 'part of their continuing rhetoric' that the United States poses a threat. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supervises 'drone attack', army and navy drill.


 




EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Outrage In England At New Drought Alert - Water Firms Are Forcing Cut Back Despite Wettest Year?!

April 06, 2013 - ENGLAND - With many areas still recovering from last year’s record rainfall, water firms called for “wise” usage to prevent restrictions.

One company said that people should show caution as Britain is “never more than 18 months away” from a drought.

The warnings sparked outrage with ­campaigners branding the comments “weird” and “insensitive” just months after England’s wettest summer on record last year.


Full sail ahead as the same reservoir brims with water after a year of record rainfall in England.

And they came days after millions of households, already struggling with soaring energy bills, were hit with hikes in water tariffs.

Consumer groups last night reacted furiously to the calls from water companies Thames, South East and Anglian. Environment consultant Fred Pearce said: “This does seem very odd, it has been incredibly wet over the past year and there is more rain on the way next week. I don’t understand what the problem is. Many people are still drying out from the floods of last summer – this is going to sound very strange to them.

“It is a bit insensitive, and extremely disingenuous when prices have just gone up, and it is a bit weird they should start asking us to be wise with water when huge amounts are lost through leaks.”

Marc Gander, founder of Consumer Action Group, said the comments could be a prelude to another round of price hikes.

He said: “I thought the water companies were also supposed to manage water wisely. Shouldn’t they be fixing leaks which waste millions of gallons of water?

“It sounds to me as if the water companies are preparing us for bad news, and another round of price hikes around the corner.”

The average annual water bill rose to £388 after price rises, approved by water regulator Ofwat, took effect on Easter Monday.

Comments from the water firms came a year after customers were threatened with a £1,000 fine for watering their gardens as widespread hosepipe bans were issued by seven firms.

Shortly after, the UK endured months of persistent and heavy rain causing rivers to overflow and triggering devastating floods. Further deluges at the end of the year and last month led to more misery with homes evacuated and millions of pounds worth of flood damage.

Met Office figures show 2012 was England’s wettest year and Britain’s second, it was the third wettest for Wales and Scotland’s 17th.

Although the water companies said reserves were healthy, they did not rule out restrictions this year.

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “The past year has been England’s rainiest, leaving our natural underground storage basins brim full and set to sustain river flows throughout the year – a very different picture from last April.

“While water use restrictions this year are highly unlikely, we would ask everyone to continue using water wisely, because we are never more than 18 months of very dry weather away from a drought.” Lee Dance, head of water resources at South East Water echoed his comments, saying “the need to use water wisely continues”.


The parched Bewl Reservoir in Kent was at its lowest level for years last winter.

He said: “Last year the reservoirs were at seriously low levels and we had no option but to introduce temporary water use restrictions.

“We were thankful to our customers who made a real effort to save water.” An Anglian Water spokeswoman said supplies were healthy but encouraged people to use water wisely. Southern Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water and Affinity Water (formerly Veolia Central and Veolia South East) said reserves are healthy.

Greg Smith, deputy leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council, which falls under Thames Water’s catchment, said: “Thames Water is a failed monopoly that couldn’t get wet in a waterfall. While customers face massive price hikes, Thames Water bosses are trying to limit the amount of water we use with patronising lectures.”

Forecasters have warned more wet weather is on the way next week and the Environment Agency has issued 13 flood alerts for much of the South. - Express.




GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Iceland Lava Analysis - Icelandic Volcanoes Found to Be More Dangerous Than Previously Believed?!

April 06, 2013 - ICELAND - The eruption of the Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 may be an omen of things to come, with volcanoes in Iceland found to be more dangerous than previously believed.



According to British researchers, Iceland volcanoes have the capability to erupt with explosions as great as those from volcanoes in the Pacific Rim, complete with dangerous ash clouds.

It was previously thought that volcanic magma in Iceland was less "fizzy" than that found in volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean, which were thought to contain more volcanic gases such as carbon dioxide. However, researchers from Lancaster University and The Open University in Britain say they have discovered Icelandic magma that is two times as "fizzy" as once thought.

This means that eruptions like that seen from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 might not be a rare event, but part of a growing trend. The Eyjafjallajokull eruption formed ash clouds that jammed air traffic across much of Europe.

The researchers came to their conclusion by analyzing lava and pumice from an eruption of the Torfajokull volcano in Iceland about 70,000 years ago.

"I was amazed by what I found," Lancaster University doctoral student Jacqui Owen said. "I measured up to five percent of water in the inclusions, more than double what was expected for Iceland, and similar in fact to the values for explosive eruptions in the Pacific 'Ring of Fire.' "

"We knew the Torfajokull volcanic eruption was huge — almost 100 times bigger than recent eruptions in Iceland — but now we also know it was surprisingly gas-rich."

The researchers concluded that volcanoes in Iceland can emit the type of fine ash capable of causing mass disruption throughout Europe. In tandem with increased volcanic activity in the region, the new study may suggest a potentially dangerous future for Iceland and its surrounding areas. - iTechPost.




MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: 3,120 Livestock Dead From Snowfall In Northern Ireland!

April 06, 2013 - IRELAND - Over 3,000 farm animal carcasses have been collected in a state funded disposal scheme after a blizzard engulfed Northern Ireland.

The Stormont Executive has agreed to pay for the recovery operation as part of an aid package for the farmers who were worst hit by last month's snow storm.


3,000 farm animals have been collected so far.
Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images

3,120 dead livestock have been disposed of so far, with officials predicting that more collections will be required.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "This immediate work is very important for a range of animal health and environmental impact factors. Also, the final hardship package will be linked to verifiable losses.

"The department will get this necessary information as farmers have stock removed and disposed of by the approved renderers. We have made it clear that farmers in affected areas will have these collection and disposal costs met by the department." - ITV.


PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mass Bird/Fish Die-Off In China - 20,000 Birds Killed Due To Bird Flu In Shanghai And 20 TONS Of Dead Fish Found Floating On A River In Shaoxing?!

April 06, 2013 - CHINA - Chinese authorities slaughtered over 20,000 birds at a poultry market in Shanghai on Friday as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu mounted to six, spreading concern overseas and sparking a sell-off in airline shares in Europe and Hong Kong.  The local government in Shanghai said the Huhuai market for live birds had been shut down and 20,536 birds had been culled after authorities detected the H7N9 virus from samples of pigeons in the market. Other live poultry markets in the city will be closed down from Saturday, it said. 


Technicians wearing protection suits begin to cull poultry at a poultry wholesale market, where H7N9 bird flu virus was detected in pigeon samples, in Shanghai, April 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Stringer

20,000 Birds Killed Due To Bird Flu In Shanghai.
All the 14 reported infections from the H7N9 bird flu strain have been in eastern China and at least four of the dead are in Shanghai, a city of 23 million people and the showpiece of China's vibrant economy.  The latest death was of a 64-year-old man in Zhejiang province, state news agency Xinhua said on Friday, adding that none of the 55 people who had close contact with him had shown symptoms of infection.  Shanghai authorities stressed the H7N9 virus remained sensitive to the drug Tamiflu and those who were diagnosed early could be cured.    "We currently have enough reserves of Tamiflu to meet with the current outbreak," Wu Fan, director of the Shanghai Center for Disease Control & Prevention, told a news conference. 

Tamiflu is made by Roche Holding AG.  Airline shares tumbled in European markets on fears the outbreak could become widespread. The STOXX Europe 600 travel and leisure sector index fell as much as 1.6 percent, the biggest laggard among European sectors.  "The sector is reacting to fears of a new pandemic of bird flu in China, which would hurt air traffic," said a Paris-based airline sector analyst.  In Hong Kong, the overall index closed at a four-month low, led by falls in airline shares over fears of diminished demand for air travel. Air China slumped 9.8 percent, its worst single-day loss in nearly four years. 


An employee wearing a protection suit sprays disinfectant on chickens at a poultry market in Hefei, Anhui province April 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Stringer

A woman wears a face mask inside a subway station in Shanghai, April 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

"The bird flu issue is at the top of people's minds now," said Alfred Chan, chief dealer at Cheer Pearl Investment in Hong Kong.  In Shanghai, the rising death toll prompted some residents to stay away from markets with live chickens and ducks.  "I'm only getting my groceries at the large supermarkets now because I don't think it is safe to visit the wet markets anymore," said 38-year-old Shao Linxia, adding she had also stopped buying poultry since news of the bird flu surfaced.  "We all remember SARS and how quickly it could spread, so we are obviously worried."

SHADOW OF SARS 
The 2002-2003 epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) started in China and killed about one-tenth of the 8,000 it infected.  Still, there were few signs of panic in Shanghai with shops remaining open and not many people wearing face masks in public.  The strain does not appear to be transmitted from human to human, but Hong Kong authorities said they were taking extra precautions.  Additional staff would be deployed at immigration points to make random temperature checks of visitors in addition to the infrared full-body scanners already in place, Ko Wing-man, Hong Kong's food and health secretary, told reporters.  Vietnam banned imports of Chinese poultry.  In Japan, airports have put up posters at entry points warning all passengers from China to seek medical attention if they have flu-like symptoms.  In the United States, the White House said it was monitoring the situation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had started work on a vaccine if it was needed. It would take five to six months to begin commercial production. 

With the fear that a SARS-like epidemic could re-emerge, China said it was pulling out the stops to combat the virus.  "(China) will strengthen its leadership in combating the virus ... and coordinate and deploy the entire nation's health system to combat the virus," the Health Ministry said in a statement on its website (www.moh.gov.cn).  China "will continue to openly and transparently maintain communication and information channels with the World Health Organization and relevant countries and regions, and strengthen monitoring and preventative measures", the ministry said.  The virus has been shared with World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centers in Atlanta, Beijing, London, Melbourne and Tokyo, and these groups are analyzing samples to identify the best candidate to be used for the manufacture of vaccine - if it becomes necessary.  Any decision to mass-produce vaccines against H7N9 flu will not be taken lightly, since it will mean sacrificing production of seasonal shots. 


A technician shows the test reagents for the H7 influenza infection (L) and the N9 influenza infection at the centre for diseases control and prevention in Hefei, Anhui province April 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Stringer

Doves rest on a tree at a park in Shanghai April 5, 2013.
REUTERS/Aly Song

That could mean shortages of vaccine against the normal seasonal flu which, while not serious for most people, still costs thousands of lives.  Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest flu vaccine manufacturer, said it was in continuous contact with the WHO through the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), but it was too soon to know the significance of the Chinese cases.  Other leading flu vaccine makers include GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis  Preliminary test results suggest the new flu strain responds to treatment with Roche's Tamiflu and GSK's Relenza, according to the WHO.  Other strains of bird flu, such as H5N1, have been circulating for many years and can be transmitted from bird to bird, and bird to human, but not generally from human to human. 

So far, this lack of human-to-human transmission also appears to be a feature of the H7N9 strain.  "The gene sequences confirm that this is an avian virus, and that it is a low pathogenic form (meaning it is likely to cause mild disease in birds)," said Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist at Britain's Imperial College London.  "But what the sequences also reveal is that there are some mammalian adapting mutations in some of the genes." - Reuters.


20 TONS Of Dead Fish Found Floating On A River In Shaoxing.
"It's worse! Fish noodle floating on a river of White's death, there are 20,000 kg, losses at 150,000 yuan. So many fish died, what shall I do? "Yesterday morning, strong aquaculture Ltd, shangyu Admin Qian Guoyao give this news to call.

Qian Guoyao Shaoxing people as early as in 2007 have come to Tideland in shangyu, contracted outside Yokogawa River River fish. "Dead fish River area of 140 MU, I also contracted more than 1600 acres next to the pond, Penaeus vannamei. "Qian Guoyao, told reporters," the main culture crucian carp and a white silver carp in these waters, is designed specifically for fishing places for tourists. White silver carp primarily plays a role of purifying water, the dead fish are mainly the upper flowers of silver carp, what worries me most is, deep crucian carp if I died, it would ' destroy '."

Yesterday, shangyu city environmental and fishery sectors has involved investigation after receiving the report, water quality test results come out to determine the cause of death of fish. - Shuichan. [Translated]



MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Hundreds of Sea Birds Wash Up Dead On Kirkcaldy Beach In Scotland?!

April 06, 2013 - SCOTLAND - A LARGE number of dead seabirds have been washed up on Seafield beach as a result of the recent cold weather.

Puffins, and guillemots were among the species found as hundreds of birds all along the east coast of the UK are thought to have died of starvation.

Andrew McCubbin of Kinglassie made the discovery on Monday as he went to the beach to check if any birds in the latest wreck - the death of a large number of birds in a single incident - had come ashore in Kirkcaldy.



A dead seabird on Seafield Beach, Kirkcaldy.

Mr McCubbin, a member of the British Trust for Ornithology and a wildlife photographer described what he found as “grim”. He said: “I counted 56 puffins, 54 guillemots, 24 razorbills and three shags all dead.

“Seabirds that come and breed on the Inner Forth Islands and coastline in the area have been starving to death because of the recent cold weather.

Feed

“They can’t feed because the sea is too stormy for them to dive into. Also in the cold weather fish will go deeper so these types of birds can’t dive down far enough to get to them. The large numbers are due to the fact that it’s the start of the breeding season so they begin to come inshore.”

An RSPB Scotland spokesman said it could be the worst puffin wreck for almost 50 years.

He said: “Despite their small stature puffins are fairly hardy birds, adept at coping with the harsh conditions of life at sea.

“To hear that so many have been discovered dead is unusual and worrying.




“We are in close contact with experts from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to learn more about what is happening, but it appears that the prolonged and unprecedented weather is making life extremely difficult for this species.

“We are fast-approaching the start of the seabird breeding season where tens of thousands of seabirds return to their colonies to raise their young.

“The recent events could have an impact on the success of this year’s puffin breeding season, a species already suffering population declines.”

The spokesman added that th RSPB will closely monitor the fortunes of seabirds throughout the summer months. - Fife Today.




PLANETARY TREMORS: State Of Uncertainty Continues In North Iceland - Constant Seismic Activity Near Grimsey Island!

April 06, 2013 - ICELAND - There has been continuous seismic activity in North Iceland since a 5.5 earthquake hit near Grímsey island on April 2.


Earthquakes on April 2, 2013.

After a quiet afternoon and evening yesterday, the activity picked up again last night following two earthquakes 15 kilometers northeast of Grímsey.

Last night's earthquakes measured 3.4 and 3.6 and hit around midnight. Both of them could clearly be felt by the island's inhabitants, where the earth has trembled for five days now.

The seismic activity is currently highest to the northwest of the epicenter of the 5.5 earthquake, ruv.is reports.


Grímsey.© Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.

Earth scientist Benedikt Ófeigsson at the Icelandic Met Office said all of the earthquakes originate in the Grímsey seismic belt.

They might move closer to land as the belt extends into Öxarfjörður fjord, he said. However, there are no indications that the seismic activity is relocating to other fissure zones. - Iceland Review.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "Marine Graveyard" - Thousands More Starfish Wash Ashore Dead In Cleethorpes, England; The Fourth Time This Year?!

April 06, 2013 - ENGLAND - ONCE again Cleethorpes beach has been carpeted with starfish. These pictures were snapped by reader Louise Riley as she was walking along the beach on Friday.


Picture by Geoff Peck.

Picture sent in by Louise Riley.

This is now the fourth time this year the area has become a marine graveyard, full of dead crabs, starfish and razorfish that have been washed up onto the shore. - Grimsby Telegraph.



RATTLE & HUM: Loud Booms Heard Across America - Flint, Michigan Isn't The Only Place With Mysterious Explosions?!

April 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The cause of the mystery booming noises Flint residents had complained about may be explained by the secret bomb range Flint police recently confirmed.


For months, years even, residents have reported random loud noises, like thunder or fireworks.




Flint isn't the only place where people have reported noises like this. All over the country are reports of strange noises and loud booming sounds. Usually, nobody seems to know where they're coming from.


Let's take a look.


Utah


In January, a television station out of Salt Lake City reported that "hundreds of people from Weber County to Utah County, and some as far north as Rock Springs, Wyoming reported that they felt shaking or heard loud booms." Experts reported seismic activity in the area, but there was no record of any earthquakes.


Massachusetts


Last November, reports out of Salem, Mass., indicated that "police responded to a report of loud explosions in the area of Bridge Street."


Oklahoma


In January, a local Oklahoma City television station reported that residents in the town of Guthrie had been reporting a mysterious noise around town.


"Everyone seems to have their own theory behind the boom," read the report.


Wisconsin


In March 2012, residents in the town of Clintonville reported "five loud, mysterious booms thundered through the town at approximately two-hour intervals starting at around 8 p.m. They occurred again the following night, and, much to the sleepless residents' relief, finally stopped Tuesday night," according to this report.


It seems the cause of these noises was uncovered, when the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a 1.5-magnitude earthquake in the area.


West Virginia


In Kanawha County, there were reports of mystery booms. The mystery, however, was quickly solved.


"The Keystone surface mine, which is in the Rush Creek area east of Charleston, apparently caused the boom when it used a controlled explosion, referred to in the industry as a "mine shot," to extract coal, a state Department of Environmental Protection official said," according to this report.


California


Residents in San Diego reported a mystery boom earlier in the year. "News 8 began receiving reports at about 10 a.m. from people in the South Bay and downtown San Diego. A local naval base also confirmed they heard the noise," according to the local CBS station. - MLive.



More than 30 calls coming into the Branch County 911 Dispatch Center this weekend about mysterious booms. All from the northwest part of the county.

Many residents in the area thought someone was breaking into their home. While others were speculating that the booms were coming from the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek. We reached out to the base and they told FOX 17 that they don’t know where the booms are coming from and that it isn’t them.

Officials are looking into these reports and say they don’t have any idea where the booms are coming from or what the sound could be. - FOX17.