Saturday, November 19, 2016

Weird Winter

Puzzling over Northern Hemisphere air flow. Just weird this winter, just like it was weird last winter. The polar vortex is displaced far from the pole, being closer to the Bering Sea and eastern Siberia. That displacement opens up a highway for the air. Warm air is funneling from the North Atlantic right over the pole into western Canada. Too much low pressure over Western Europe and unbelievably high pressure over Russia.

Story of Survival in the Desert

It happens:
Mitkova and Morganstein spent five days walking in the desert without food and with little water.

“In order [to] conserve their water they also drank their own urine,” Gonzales’ email states. “They saw helicopters flying, and actually were able to light a fire to get attention but no one was able to see them.”

The couple is said to have walked to a cellphone tower, where they saw maintenance workers who contacted the Border Patrol.

Mitkova “said that they were nearly dead, exhausted, dehydrated and thought that they were gonna die and then they ran into someone,” said Gonzales’ email, citing Mitkova’s cousin.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Paper Towel Roll Totem Poles

Last year, I saved bunches of paper towel rolls for Stacy, a kindergarten teacher in Davis, for an autumn totem pole classroom project.

Here they are!

All The Dead Trees in California

Just too many:
The California drought has killed more than 102m trees in a die-off of forests that increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires and other threats to humans, officials said on Friday.

The latest aerial survey by the US Forest Service shows there are 36m more dead trees since May in the state and there has been a 100% increase since 2015.

“These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur and pose a host of threats to life and property,” the US agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a statement.

The Arctic is Insanely Warm

Second winter in a row:
"It's about 20C (36 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia," Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday.

"The Arctic warmth is the result of a combination of record-low sea-ice extent for this time of year, probably very thin ice, and plenty of warm/moist air from lower latitudes being driven northward by a very wavy jet stream."

Francis has published research suggesting that the jet stream, which travels from west to east across the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-latitudes, is becoming more wavy and elongated as the Arctic warms faster than the equator does.

"It will be fascinating to see if the stratospheric polar vortex continues to be as weak as it is now, which favors a negative Arctic Oscillation and probably a cold mid/late winter to continue over central and eastern Asia and eastern North America. The extreme behavior of the Arctic in 2016 seems to be in no hurry to quit," Francis continued.

Interesting Article on Power Line Dispute in Northern New Mexico

Filling in a hole, apparently:
At a BLM hearing in Hernandez north of EspaƱola on Wednesday night, many non-pueblo speakers expressed sadness or anger over Pojoaque, Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh taking unspecified payments from Hunt to allow the line to cross their lands.

...Jan Brooks of Santa Fe said, “I’m dismayed that the pueblo community would capitulate to something so obscene” in return for money for rights of way or leases from Hunt. “This is a corridor to Bandelier (National Monument)” and the route runs near San Ildefonso Pueblo’s landmark and sacred Black Mesa, she said, although it would not cross San Ildefonso land.

Santa Clara Pueblo Gov. J. Michael Chavarria, speaking late in the evening, noted what he called “the negative energy” in the room at Hernandez Community Center.

He said the Santa Clara tribal council has supported the project for five years and that it was important for his pueblo to engage in economic development to benefit social services, education for its children and elder programs.

“We understand that there will be visual consequences,” he said, to some gasps among the crowd. But he asked, “How much have we (the pueblo) lost? Who has been here first? What have we given up? Talk about fences – we only have 55,000 acres that we can call home.”

Recent New Zealand Quakes

From Geonet: They don't call them the Shaky Islands for nothing.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just Wow!

The shoreline near Kaikoura changed in an instant:

Dramatic aerial pictures reveal the scale of the devastation caused on the coastline north of Kaikoura, on the country's South Island.

Scientists say the seabed lifted an estimated two metres on the foreshore and admit they have never seen anything like it.

It comes as rain and strong winds battered central New Zealand on Thursday, threatening further damage - just days after the quake killed two people and sparked with huge landslides.

More than 1,000 tourists and residents have since been evacuated from the small seaside town by a fleet of helicopters and a naval vessel since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck early on Monday.

Only Opposition Works

The lesson of the Republican opposition to Obama is, obstruction absolutely works in today's Washington. It's the only thing that works. That is why it is important to obstruct every single thing Trump attempts, no matter how small. Because only that approach will work:
One of the saddest things about this election is that it thoroughly vindicated Mitch McConnell’s strategy of massive obstruction. Obama had a general faith that the Republicans would be punished for this tactic. In one sense Obama was right: the approval rating for Congress is 15 percent. But the Republicans who brought us this dysfunctional Congress just got much stronger.

Trouble Navigating

Interesting to crowd-source an experiment on the onset of dementia.
The game anonymously records the player's sense of direction and navigational ability as they work their way through the levels.

Some require them to weave through waterways and fire a flare back home, while others challenge them to memorise a sequence of buoys and then sail round them.

Data harnessed from the flare levels is the first to have been analysed, by scientists at University College London.

And it suggests the sense of direction declines consistently after the teenage years.

Players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the flare back home, but accuracy fell year by year until it reached 46% at age 75.

Dr Hugo Spiers told the BBC: "What we're able to announce to the world is it does decline across the lifespan, the ability to shoot the flare back to the target - that sense of direction."

The data also suggests men have a slight better sense of direction than women and that the Nordic nations outperform the rest in the world, although it is not yet clear why.

The Trump Administration Will Be For WHITES Only

I have to agree with this. The Trump administration is WHITES only. There is no role for anyone who isn't COMPLETELY WHITE, and there is no reason for anyone else to cooperate with them on any level:
Warren and Sanders are wrong, and in a way that signals a significant misreading of the landscape on the part of the most influential Democrats. The simple truth is that Trump’s use of explicit racism—his deliberate attempt to incite Americans against different groups of nonwhites—was integral to his campaign. It was part and parcel of his “populism” and told a larger story: that either at home or abroad, foreigners and their “globalist” allies were cheating the American worker, defined as a white working-class man with a factory job. To claw back the dominion he once enjoyed—to “make America great again”—Trump promised protectionism and “law and order.” He promised to deport immigrants, register Muslims, and build new infrastructure. This wasn’t “populism”; it was white populism. Writes historian Nell Irvin Painter for the New York Times: “This time the white men in charge will not simply happen to be white; they will be governing as white, as taking America back, back to before multiculturalism.”

Nothing To Look At, Move Along

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stress in Kaikoura

I didn't realize the quakes were happening all the way up to Wellington. That's a long way! That whole northeast corner of the South Island is a mess. The land rose out of the water 2 to 2.5 meters north of Kaikoura. The earthquake altered the South Island's shape!
Early indications are that this is one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land. This complexity means we have had to take extraordinary efforts to determine the magnitude, depth, and locations …

Due to the size of the quakes, we’ve gathered data from our entire network of seismic stations. All of these stations would not normally need to be included in magnitude estimates.

Further, our techs at GeoNet went out to several sites which we lost communication with and we have now been able to upload this information, so we have a more complete understanding of the ground deformation and strong-motion data.

Finally, our science teams have been working tirelessly, going up and down the affected areas and measuring the length of faults and how much they moved. Their efforts have provided us with a clearer picture as to the size and length of the ruptures.

Based on all these ongoing efforts, we can say with some confidence that the earthquake was an M7.8.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Mountain Lion in Corrales?

The damndest thing:
Barker said a Game and Fish employee told her they are aware of a male mountain lion from the Socorro area who roams up and down the Bosque monthly.

“They're guessing it was him that had made it up along the Bosque and had crossed over into Corrales," she said.

New Mexico Game and Fish did not return calls for comment.

Tammy Schmidt, the curator of animals at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, said male mountain lions are known to roam in areas from 10 to 300 square miles, usually hunting their preferred meal: deer.

Unusual Canadian Warmth

Warm everywhere, it seems:
North America’s most astonishing warmth this week has focused in Canada, where temperatures have been up to 30 degrees warmer than normal.

“On Wednesday, Winnipeg blasted through a 93-year-old weather record,” reported the Winnipeg Free Press. “Environment Canada recorded 25 other places in Manitoba that basked in warmth, toppling records like dominoes.”

In McCreary, about 150 miles northwest of Winnipeg, the mercury rose to 72 degrees (22 Celsius), obliterating the previous record of 52 (11 Celsius), the Winnipeg Free Press added.

Vancouver set a record high just two days before CBC News reported, and said much of British Columbia had been “extraordinarily warm” in November.
Areas in red indicate those which normally have snow on Nov. 9 but do not this year. (Rutgers University Global Snow Lab) Areas in red indicate those which normally have snow on Nov. 9 but do not this year. (Rutgers University Global Snow Lab)

Many areas of Canada which normally have snow at this time of year have bare ground.

As Canada is the source region for cold air over the Lower 48, it’s no surprise snow is lacking there as well.

Bella on Defense

The cheeky squirrel went rifling through the trash again, so I brought out my last line of defense. Bella is a shambles of a dog these days, but she's stationed by the trash, and so now there's a wary standoff between her and the much-more nimble squirrel.

The Siren Song of Temptation

The good news is Andrew no longer lives near Christchurch, NZ, so was unaffected by the quake. The better news is he's invited me to visit him again in Australia. He was so generous back in 2006 - 'here, borrow my car for a week' generous. Go back and play with the most lethal wildlife on Earth. Need to make a plan.

Winter's Coming

George R. R. Martin makes a forecast.


New Zealand cows contemplate their next move after the earthquake triggered a landslide.

Moon Trivia

Regarding the Supermoon, I was just perusing a 1995 article in the AGU's EOS newsletter from 1995, where ASU climatologists Balling and Cerveny examined a satellite data set and determined the full moon increases Earth surface temperatures 0.02 degrees C compared to new moon.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Entire Region Around Kaikoura is Reeling

Best Interactive Map Going of the Christchurch-Area (and North) Quakes

The best interactive map going of today's NZ quakes is here. The biggest shallow quake was near Waiau, with numerous, deeper aftershocks near the Kaikoura coast.

Most of the recent Christchurch quakes, since 2010, have been in an arc, like a diabolic smile, running west to SW to SE to east of town, but this quake was NNE of town, in a previously-quiet area near the Alpine Fault.

That whole elliptical chunk of land, the northern part of the Canterbury Plain, has been rotating in violent counterclockwise jerks since 2010. It was just about inevitable that the fault on the north side would have to break too.

Violent Quake NNE of Christchurch, NZ

Oh no, a very powerful earthquake hit north of Christchurch, NZ. Widely varying estimates of magnitude, from 6.6 to 7.5. It's a dangerously-shallow quake (of course - all these quakes have been). They felt it strongly up in Wellington too, and even as far north as Auckland.

I hope Andrew is OK. I hope there's no tsunami.

Most of the recent Christchurch quakes have been in an arc, like a diabolic smile, running west to SW to SE to east of town, but this quake was NNE of town, in a previously-quiet area near the Alpine Fault.

That whole elliptical chunk of land, the northern part of the Canterbury Plain, has been rotating in violent counterclockwise jerks since 2010. I knew the fault on the north side would have to break eventually.

Residents in Christchurch coastal suburbs are evacuating and moving to higher ground.

Heavy traffic volumes are coming from low-lying coastal suburbs following Civil Defence tsunami warnings.

In the CBD, hotels and occupied buildings have been evacuated.

Many people are standing around in the middle of the street, away from buildings, calling people to let them know they're fine.

Some people are venturing back inside, because nobody seems to be enforcing the evacuations.

People around city centre have been let back in to hotels.

Couples were seen hugging and calling relatives, grabbing towels for blankets.

Part of the Heritage Christchurch building on Worcester St was heard crumbling by a nearby road-worker.

Christchurch student April Clarke said she was unable to get hold of friends in Waiau, close to the quake's epicentre.

"There are six people in Waiau nobody can get hold of."

Despite calling and messaging, nobody could get hold of them, she said.

Power and phone lines were believed to be out for the small town, only a few kilometres east of earthquake's epicentre.