Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hurricanes: A perfect storm of chance and climate change?

[BBC] The succession of intense and deadly tropical cyclones that have barreled across the Atlantic in recent weeks have left many people wondering if a threshold of some sort has been crossed. Is this chain of hurricanes evidence of some significant new frontier in our changing climate?
The answer is mostly no, but with worrying undertones of yes.
The first thing to note about this season is that it shows the power of science and weather forecasting.
Every year, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) puts out a hurricane forecast for the season that runs from 1 June to 30 November for the north Atlantic, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
In August, Noaa updated its predictions, stating that there would be 14-19 named storms and of these, 5-9 would become hurricanes.
To date, we've had seven cyclones that have gained category three status or stronger. So this season is unusual but not unprecedented. The bigger picture shows that between 1981 and 2010 the average was six hurricanes per season. 
What has happened this year is that a number of natural variable factors have come together and helped boost the number and power of these cyclones. In the background, climate change has loaded the dice.  
This season has been particularly warm in the region of the Atlantic where hurricanes form with temperatures 0.5 to 1.0C above average, according to Noaa.
A wetter and stronger monsoon in West Africa and a natural cycle called the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) have also helped boost the energy available for the massive, swirling heat engines that hurricanes become.
Another factor that has helped so many storms form is the lack of wind shear.
Some scientists believe that because this is a neutral El Niño year, there has been less wind shear which tends to break these storms apart.
"There haven't been the upper-level wind flow or lower pockets of moisture that can often erode these storms; all these factors have come together this year," said Prof Richard Allan from the department of meteorology at the University of Reading, UK.
"It relates primarily to the weather, but also the slower fluctuations in the ocean that you get from year to year have produced an unusually strong hurricane season."
That view is echoed by Kerry Emanuel, an eminent atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US.
"The number of hurricanes in the Atlantic varies a great deal from year to year for reasons that have to do with natural climate fluctuations like El Niño and also just plain random variability," he told BBC News.  Read More

Hurricane Maria Live Updates: In Puerto Rico, the Storm ‘Destroyed Us’

[New York Times] Puerto Rico remained in the throes of chaos and devastation Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Maria continued to dump rain on the island — up to three feet in some areas.
Flash flood warnings persisted, according to the National Hurricane Center, with “catastrophic” flooding “especially in areas of mountainous terrain.”
The strikingly powerful storm had rendered an estimated 3.4 million people without power, and with the territory’s energy grid all but destroyed, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló predicted a long period of recovery. Anxious relatives in the mainland United States and elsewhere took to social media in an effort to find news of their loved ones.
Puerto Rico faces numerous obstacles as it begins to emerge from the storm: the weight of an extended debt and bankruptcy crisis; a recovery process begun after Irma, which killed at least three people and left nearly 70 percent of households without power; the difficulty of getting to an island far from the mainland; and the strain on relief efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other groups already spread thin in the wake of several recent storms.
“Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us,” said Edwin Serrano, a construction worker in Old San Juan.
The storm churned off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic as a Category 3 hurricane on Thursday, and the National Hurricane Center repeated hurricane warnings for late Thursday and early Friday morning for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos. Read More

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Did California's small earthquakes cause Mexico's big one?

[USA Today] A series of earthquakes plagued Southern California in the past 30 days. Then on Tuesday, a 7.1-magnitude temblor rocked Mexico City. Does this mean The Big One could hit the Golden State next? Experts say no, reiterating that earthquakes happen without warning and it is still impossible to predict the big one. "(Magnitude 3) quakes happen somewhere in the world every few mins. 6 in SoCaL last week. No connection to Mexico," seismologist Lucy Jones said in a barrage of tweets following Mexico's earthquake. It was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City. At least 226 were killed in the earthquake, which occurred exactly 32 years after the 1985 quake that ravaged the city. The quake followed the Sept. 7 magnitude 8.1 earthquake that destroyed a large part of Juchitan and killed dozens of people.
Tuesday's earthquake was preceded by about 12 hours by a magnitude 3.6 earthquake that was centered west of Los Angeles in Westwood.  In the past 30 days, there have been about 10 small earthquakes near the Coachella Valley. They were as far southeast as the Salton Sea's southern end and as far northeast as Big Bear. Read More

New Zealand Rocked by Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake: New Zealand has been rocked by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake which struck southwest of Invercargill, followed by a 5.1 magnitude quake northeast of Seddon. The quake caused 'moderate shaking' reported Geonet. Initial classifications called it a strong quake, hitting 585km southwest of Invercargill at a depth of 10km. Tremors may have been felt in Balclutha, Gore, Invercargill, Lumsden, Roxburgh, Te Anau and Tuatapere, while the Seddon quake was felt strongly in Wellington. New Zealand authorities have issued a reminder to 'drop, cover, and hold' in the event of an earthquake. Read More

Magnitude 5.7 hits Eastern Taiwan: A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck eastern Taiwan at 10:29 p.m. Wednesday, creating intensity-five jolts in Taitung County's Changbin and intensity-four quakes in Guangfu, Hualien County, according to the Central Weather Bureau. The bureau data showed that the epicenter of the temblor lied at a depth of 15.3 km in the Pacific Ocean 74.6 km east-southeast of the Hualien City Hall. Read More

7 Stages of Spiritual Ascension ~ Revealing The Ascension Path

[Love Has Won] The ascension process is what you go through as you transition from being solely focused on the physical as a 3D limited physical being into full awareness of your spiritual nature, power and light. As you progress through the levels of ascension, you reconnect with your open heart, gain a greater sense of purpose and awakening, and merge with your higher selves. This stepping back into complete oneness and connection with divine source light is truly beautiful.
The 7 Different Stages of Ascension:
Self-Examination: The first ascension stage is self-examination. This is where you begin to question the external world around you. You ask questions like “Who am I really? Is there more going on here than meets the eye? Is there more to physical reality than society, the media, and maybe even my family are telling me? Why am I really here? There must be something more.”
Spiritual Study: After reflection comes study. You begin to ask questions and search for the answers which carries you into stage two, which is spiritual study. Diving into spiritual books, research on the internet, enrolling in courses, or going through guided meditations, channelings, or programs. You use what you are learning to answer the questions, “Who am I really. Why am I really here? What is really going on?”
Stepping Into Being of Service Toward Others: You’re beginning to understand more of who you really are and how you can give back to the world. You’re beginning to gain a mastery of some spiritual concepts and ideas. You’re then sharing them with others. This is where the cycle of learning and teaching unfolds. As you step into service on your path, you’re still learning, growing, meditating, looking inward, and doing what you can to reconnect with your light. You realize that serving others is a very large part of why you are really here. This service comes from the heart. It’s not an attempt to get anything from others. It’s simply because you’re waking up, you’re on fire, and your heart is opening. You want to serve, assist, and guide others as you continue to progress on your path.
Heart Illumination: Through your service to others and your continued clearing away of limiting beliefs, emotions, and past negative patterns, your heart actually opens. It becomes illuminated and filled with divine light. You literally become awakened through your heart center. When your heart is open, that light is able to rise upward, opening your throat as well as your ability to listen to divine guidance and hear in the realms of spirit. It continues to rise into your third eye, opening your psychic sight or intuition. It continues up to your crown so that you can experience your direct connection with source and begin living life with the heart-based intention to continue to be of service, shine your full light, fully awaken, and embody all that you are.
You are now living life in a state of love. You are flowing forth forgiveness, tuning into gratitude and choosing love in every moment. This means turning away from fear, from the lower vibrational emotions and experiences, and embodying love. Through this, you embody the full light that you are. Read More

Animation reveals the global sea level 'fingerprints' that show how climate change is affecting Earth

[Daily Mail] NASA researchers have reported the first detection of sea level 'fingerprints' that show changes in sea level variability around the world.
They result from changes in water storage on Earth's continents and in the mass of ice sheets. .
The ocean observations, called sea level 'fingerprints,' allow researchers to determine how much the sea level will rise at any point on the global ocean due to glacier melt. 
The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, was conducted by researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
As ice sheets and glaciers undergo climate-related melting, they change the Earth's gravity field, leading to sea level changes that are not uniform around the planet. 
For example, when a glacier melts and loses ice mass, its gravitational attraction is reduced. 
As such, ocean waters nearby move away, causing sea level to rise faster far away from the glacier. 
This resulting pattern in sea level change is known as a sea level fingerprint - and certain areas, particularly in Earth's middle and low latitudes, are hit even harder, and Greenland and Antarctica contribute differently to the process. 
For example, sea level rise in California and Florida caused by the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is up to 52 per cent greater than its average effect on the rest of the world.
To calculate these sea level fingerprints associated with melting ice sheets, glaciers and changes in land water storage, the team used gravity data data collected by the twin satellites of the US/German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) between April 2002 and October 2014. 
During that 12-year period, the loss of mass from land ice and from changes in land water storage increased global average sea level by approximately 0.07 inches (1.8 millimeters) per year. 
Sea level 'fingerprints,' are patterns of sea level variability around the world resulting from changes in water storage on Earth's continents and in the mass of ice sheets. 
As ice sheets and glaciers undergo climate-related melting, they change the Earth's gravity field, leading to sea level changes that are not uniform around the planet. 
For example, when a glacier melts and loses ice mass, its gravitational attraction is reduced. Read More

Mysterious lights in the sky seen after Mexico’s huge earthquake

[New Scientist] After an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Mexico on 7 September, videos of fuzzy green smears in the night sky went viral online.
Earthquake lights are a phenomenon so unusual that they border on myth. The first known reports of them are from 89 BC, with spotty descriptions over the centuries.
Recently, they’ve been seen during foreshocks and the main earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2009, and as flashes of blue lightning over Wellington, New Zealand, in 2016.
Earthquake lights are electric discharges that come out of the ground and can rise up to 200 metres in the air, says Freund. Lights are sometimes observed in the days and hours leading up to an earthquake, and at other times during or after it. But how they work is still mysterious.
Part of the challenge in getting to the bottom of this is that earthquake lights have been described in so many ways: as glowing globes, flickering flames from the ground, or even branching lightning that sparks from Earth instead of the sky.
And in many instances, they could be explained by other phenomena, such as volcanic flames from fissures, streaking fireball meteors or auroras.
“It’s a little bit difficult to ferret out what is a real one and what is not,” says Troy Shinbrot at Rutgers University in New Jersey. But what’s happening at those times when nothing else makes sense? Read More

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Will Rebuilding After Harvey and Irma Make More Flooding Inevitable?

[The New Yorker] The aim of the National Flood Insurance Program, which was created by Congress, in 1968, in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy, is to provide “affordable insurance to property owners.” The program offers what amounts to subsidized coverage, and according to its critics, and also to some of its supporters, the N.F.I.P. has had the perverse effect of encouraging rebuilding in areas where homes and businesses probably shouldn’t have been built in the first place.Many homes enrolled in the program have been flooded and repaired more than once. These are known as “repetitive-loss properties.” Then there are homes that have been flooded and repaired at least four times. These are known as “severe repetitive-loss properties.” Into this latter category falls a Mississippi house valued at sixty-nine thousand dollars. The house has flooded thirty-four times, resulting in a total of six hundred and sixty-three thousand dollars in claims.
“It’s basically lather, rinse, repeat,” Steve Ellis, the vice-president of the non-partisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense, recently told Politico.Perhaps not surprisingly, the National Flood Insurance Program, which was supposed to pay for itself, is deeply in debt; it owes nearly twenty-five billion dollars to the federal government. Authorization for the program was set to expire on September 30th, but then, last Friday, with Houston still flooded from Hurricane Harvey and Florida bracing for Irma, President Trump signed a bill extending the authorization for three months.
Figuring out how to fix the N.F.I.P. is a real and urgent task. (In 2012, Congress approved a measure that was supposed to raise N.F.I.P. premiums, to better reflect the actuarial risk of the policies; then, in 2014, lawmakers reversed themselves, approving a second measure that effectively countermanded the first.) It might also be seen as a metaphor. The response to a disaster can reduce the damage from future calamities, or it can exacerbate it. As Houston and the battered cities of Florida start to look toward rebuilding, obviously decisions ought to be made with an eye toward reducing future risks. But, given who’s running the country and the states most affected, it’s hard to imagine they will be.
Consider the situation in Florida. In many parts of the state, owing to climate change and the accompanying sea-level rise, rain is no longer a prerequisite for flooding. All that’s needed is an unusually high tide. Floridians call this “sunny-day flooding.” A study published in 2016 in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management found that in Miami Beach the frequency of such flooding had increased by a remarkable four hundred per cent over the previous ten years.
Scientists studying this phenomenon have exhorted Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, to acknowledge the problem and try to figure out how to deal with it. Instead, Scott has prohibited state officials from even talking about climate change.
“It’s more than an absence of leadership,” Eric Buermann, the former board chairman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, who is also the former general counsel to the state’s Republican Party, told the Washington Post last week. “There’s harm being done by denying the problem.”
(As it happens, much of Irma’s destruction was caused by wind, rather than by flooding, but here again government policy may have put more people at risk. In Florida, after Hurricane Andrew, which struck in 1992, it became so difficult to get insurance against wind damage that the state formed its own insurance company and offered incentives to induce private companies to enter the market. Now no one is sure whether those private companies will be able to pay out.) Read More

Biblical Precipitation Mediumship

[Otherside Press] Over 2,000 years ago, three mystical stories began to play out, ultimately were written down and are now a part of the formalized book of letters known as the Bible. Within the stories we find “clues and concepts” that support the core belief of Divine Metaphysicians, Spiritualists and Spiritists worldwide – mainly that of the “continuity of life after the change called death.” This core concept is supported within these old stories through the aspects detailed that many have come to call “precipitation mediumship”, “spirit writing” and by Spiritists as “pneumatography” (spirit writing independent of a medium’s hand.)
The first biblical account of spirit writing is actually the most famous. In 1445 BCE the story speaks of Moses being guided up Mount Sinai where he received (twice actually) the Ten Commandments of God’s moral and spiritual laws for the Jews. While some biblical translations detail how “the finger of God” (Spirit) wrote them, there is no clear proof that these writings were engraved/carved into each tablet or precipitated onto the tablets. What is the most likely consideration is that these writings in either form of manifestation were materialized through an intelligent (thinking) spirit mind.
Moving forward through the sacred text to the book of Daniel’s chapter 5, we find a story set in the year 539 BCE in the famed city of Babylon (located now in modern day Iraq). King Belshazzar was reveling in his recent victory and ransacking of Jerusalem’s Holy Temple by drinking and eating (basically by defiling) from the stolen relics. A hand materialized and (again through intelligent spirit control) began “to write upon the temple wall in a strange and foreign tongue” (precipitation and spirit writing). The king’s best seers and mediums were all unable to interpret the writings. The queen suggested another seer praised by prior kings for his spiritual wisdom and known as Daniel. Daniel successfully interpreted these writings which predicted the king’s death and an attack on Babylon within one day. And such came true.
The final interesting account of precipitation and spirit writing in the Bible we find in the book of 2nd Chronicles chapter 21, verse 12. The time period is estimated to be around 850 BCE. The story’s location suggests this account occurred in the region south of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. The Bible details how a letter was received by Jehoram, the King of Judah, yet it was written by the Prophet Elijah who had “ascended into the Heavens” many years prior.
There was no mention of a person delivering said letter leading one to conclude the letter materialized when it needed to be delivered to Jehoram. This materialized letter contained “intelligently written guidance” from the mind of Elijah who was then in the spirit world. These spirit writings clearly had precipitated forth onto said materialized letter.
And now you know the “holy trinity” of the Bible’s history of precipitated spirit writings. These are surely not the only such accounts among the world’s various religions and philosophies of life. One can only imagine what other writings detailing similar psychic phenomena lay hidden among the scrolls, tablets, manuscripts and books tucked quietly away in a dark corner of a sacred house of worship. Read More