Forest fires force hundreds to evacuate in Appalachia

Dozens of wildfires ravaging forests in Appalachia are prompting mass evacuations — including an entire town in western North Carolina, a state official said. The Party Rock Fire, which has consumed about 2,000 acres, was headed toward Lake Lure, a community of about 1,200 people, beside a lake by the same name in Chimney Rock…

via Forest fires force hundreds to evacuate in Appalachia — myfox8.com

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VIDEO: Stunning drone video of Oregon sinkholes

Drone footage gives a bird’s eye view of the massive sinkhole in Harbor, Oregon.

VIDEO: Stunning drone video of Oregon sinkholes

HARBOR, Ore. (AP/WATE) – Transportation officials say a massive sinkhole has opened near a highway along the coast of southern Oregon.

Kyle Rice, posted a YouTube video of drone footage of the massive sinkhole from a bird’s eye view. Oregon. The Oregon Department of Transportation says the sinkhole off Highway 101 has been plaguing the Curry County town of Harbor since heavy rains last month.

A contractor was working on it Thursday when the erosion started to accelerate on a nearby road. Officials say the sinkhole didn’t swallow any vehicles, and there were no injuries. Signs have been placed along the highway directing traffic to a detour. ODOT spokesman Jared Castle says drivers can expect delays of five to 10 minutes.

The agency plans to get bids from contractors so repairs can start quickly, but repairs could be upwards of $4 million according to ODOT. Castle says ODOT wants the road partially opened within a week, but the entire repair could take eight weeks.

Source: VIDEO: Stunning drone video of Oregon sinkholes

Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

Africa promises one of the best safari experiences in the world, enabling you to see the five big wild animal groups: the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the rhino and the buffalo. Capturing a good photo of these beautiful animals is not always easy, and very often, it comes down to being at the right place at the right time. But, the pictures below are pretty incredible. So, get ready to enjoy some animal watching with this great photo series!

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Male lion ignoring a group of Thomson’s Gazelles.

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‘One day I’ll be tall like mommy’.

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Young male leopard watching the setting sun.safari animals

Black-face Vervet monkeys as seen on safari in Tanzaniasafari animals

The ‘painted wolf’, also known as the African wild dog, is Africa’s most endangered predator.

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Two male lions relaxing in the sun.safari animals

Elephants playing in the red soil. Taken at Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi National Park in Kenya, Africa.

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A male lion getting some sun at the Serengeti Nati

Source: Images of the Day…Animals on safari !!!

No one hurt when Jeep cracks through icy Indiana lake

It happened Tuesday night on Tamarack Lake at the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area.

Source: No one hurt when Jeep cracks through icy Indiana lake

The “Driest place on Earth” is covered in pink flowers after rain

The Atacama Desert in Chile, known as the driest place on Earth, is awash with color after a year’s worth of extreme rainfall.

In an average year, this desert is a very dry place. Arica, Chile, in the northern Atacama holds the world record for the longest dry streak, having gone 173 months without a drop of rain in the early 20th century. In another Atacama neighbor to the south of Arica, the average annual rainfall in the city of Antofagasta is just 0.07 inches.

But strong El Niño years can be a rainy boom for the region, located just to the east of the warmest ocean water on the globe. In March, heavy thunderstorms brought 0.96 inches of rain in one day to parts of the Atacama Desert. This doesn’t seem like that much, but it was a huge rainfall event for the desert — over 14 years of rain in one day. The torrent caused the typically dry Copiapo River to swell far beyond its banks. Flooding killed at least nine people that day.

As El Niño strengthens, so does the rainfall increases across South America. As areas of low pressure swing east into the Andes Mountains, the usually warm waters off the coast provide more than enough water vapor to fuel extreme rainfall events.

The malva (or mallow) flowers on the floor of the Atacama desert bloom every five to seven years, usually coinciding with El Nino. But they have been taking advantage of this year’s particularly rainy conditions, leading to the “most spectacular blossoming of the past 18 years.”

Interestingly, Death Valley has also been overflowing this month. The official weather station at Death Valley National Park recorded 0.55 inches of rain on Oct. 5. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s a bucket-load for the world’s hottest location — enough to tie the wettest 24-hour period on record in the month of October.

“A series of unusual storms in October caused large amounts of damage throughout Death Valley National Park,” park officials wrote on Facebook. “Flash floods destroyed significant portions of multiple roads and heavily damaged several historic structures at Scotty’s Castle and deposited debris in Devils Hole.”

The Death Valley National Historic Association has set up a fund to help restore some of these damaged historic locations.
via: The Washington Post.

Source: The ‘driest place on Earth’ is covered in pink flowers after rain

It is Difficult to measure Global Warming Erosion due to “Shifting” Weather Patterns

According to NASA, Antarctica is actually gaining ice.368c648c-546b-4ed2-b9c1-838a2afeb85b-2060x1236

Antarctica is currently gaining more ice than it’s losing, according to a recent study by NASA.

 The surprising findings, detailed in the Journal of Glaciology, doesn’t deny that glaciers are melting at an increased rate as a result of global warming, but suggests current gains outweigh the losses in other areas. Using satellite data, researchers estimate the Antarctic ice sheet had a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice per year from 1992 to 2001. This net gain eventually slowed between 2003 and 2008 to 82 billion tons of ice per year.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said lead researcher Jay Zwally from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica—there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”

 The study challenges previous research, including the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 report (pdf), which attributed 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise to a melting Antarctica.

But if Antarctica is not losing land ice overall, then where is this sea-level rise coming from? Researchers aren’t sure, suggesting there is another contribution to sea level rises that has yet to be accounted for.

The findings show just how difficult it is to measure changes in Antarctica. Researchers analyzed variations in the surface height of the Antarctic ice sheet using radar instruments on two European Space Agency satellites from 1992 to 2001, and by laser sensors on a NASA satellite from 2003 to 2008. While other scientists had also observed gains in elevations in East Antarctica, they had wrongly attributed it to recent snowfall. Researchers used meteorological data dating back to 1979 to show the ice cores in the area had in fact been thickening.

Antarctica may not be contributing to sea level rises, but researchers caution against celebrating as the current trend could reverse within a few decades. Courtesy of: Quartz. http://qz.com/538902

Palau Island transforms almost all its coastal waters into a marine sanctuary

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Via: Sesame St. / Islander’s Ocean Defense Team

TOKYO (AP) — Lawmakers in the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau passed a law Thursday to make almost all its coastal waters a marine sanctuary in the latest move to expand ocean protections.

A news release said Palau’s president plans to sign the legislation next week. Friday is a national holiday in Palau.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act designates 80 percent of the nation’s maritime territory as a fully protected marine reserve in which no extractive activities, such as fishing or mining, can take place.

At 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), or slightly larger than the U.S. state of California, the sanctuary will be the sixth-largest fully protected marine area in the world.

The measure also seeks to prevent illegal fishing by tightening rules for vessels passing through Palau’s waters.

About 20 percent of Palau’s waters will be reserved as a domestic fishing zone for local fishermen and small-scale commercial fisheries with limited exports. There will be a five-year transition as the number of commercial licenses issued to foreign commercial fishing vessels will be reduced and phased out.

President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. described the measure as essential.

“We want to lead the way in restoring the health of the ocean for future generations,” he said in a statement.

The country created the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, but until recently had only one patrol boat to help protect its great hammerheads, leopard sharks and more than 130 other species of shark and rays from extinction.

Earlier this year, the government set fire to several vessels caught fishing illegally to underscore its commitment to protecting its seas.

Palau, about 600 miles (970 kilometers) miles east of the Philippines, is one of the world’s smallest countries, its 20,000 people scattered across a tropical archipelago of 250 islands that is a biodiversity hotspot.

The Pew Charitable Trusts provided technical support for establishing the shark sanctuary and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

New commitments made this year would protect more than 2.5 million square kilometers of the world’s ocean territory.

Britain plans to establish the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in the South Pacific. On Sept. 28, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced plans for a fully protected ocean sanctuary in the Kermadecs, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northeast of his country’s North Island.

Earlier this month, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet promised to support efforts by the indigenous Rapa Nui community of Easter Island to create a fully protected marine park. Pic courtesy of: memenews.me. 10551019_10150447078559943_1504885407715968207_n

Article courtesy of:  AP

Related: Observer: Goals of High Achievers