Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for April 12th, 2015

Disastrous: Western U.S. Snowpack

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

 Western U.S. Snowpack Shrinks to Record Low

Well-below-average precipitation and abnormally warm temperatures over most of the Intermountain West including nearly all mountain areas have left Western US snowpack at record lows. “Most mountain areas received 25–75% of average precipitation, with the Wasatch Range seeing yet another very dry month with 25–50% of average,” according to Intermountain West Climate Dashboard.

30-day Precip as % Avg  (HPRCC)

Current Snowpack as % Median

Highlights [from Intermountain West Climate Dashboard]

  • March was disastrous for the region’s snowpack and the expected spring–summer runoff. Snow conditions and forecast runoff are now similar to 1977, 2002, and 2012 in many parts of the region, particularly in Utah.
  • Since early March, the snowpack has significantly declined relative to normal conditions across the region. Most basins are now reporting less than 70% of median snow water equivalent (SWE), and the majority of individual SNOTEL sites are below the 5th percentile for SWE.
  • The April 1 spring-summer runoff forecasts are lower or much lower than the March 1 forecasts across the region. Most forecast points are now expected to see much-below-average (50–69%), far-below-average (25–49%) or extremely low (<25%) runoff, with Utah seeing generally lower forecasts than Colorado and Wyoming.

Mountain Snowpack as of April 1, 2015. (WCC/NRCS/USDA)

Related Links

Posted in News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Drought Crop Disaster Declared in Texas

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

Drought destroys crops in 30 Texas counties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared 30 additional counties across Texas as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the worsening drought.

The drought disaster designations are for the following areas:

  • Atascosa, Burnet, Lampasas, San Saba and Van Zandt counties, as well as
    Bell, Henderson, McCulloch, Travis, Bexar, Hunt, McMullen, Williamson, Blanco, Karnes, Mason, Wilson, Brown, Kaufman, Medina, Wood, Coryell, La Salle, Mills, Frio, Live Oak, Rains, Hamilton, Llano and Smith counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 1,025 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on April 8, 2015 and posted on USDA website on April 11, 2015 in a  separate declarations.

U.S. Drought Continues Spreading

drought population  impact
U.S. Drought Population Data. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 – Moderate Drought || D2 – Severe Drought|| D3 – Extreme Drought || D4 – Exceptional Drought

California plagued by fourth consecutive year of drought

With temperatures averaging more than 10°F above normal for the week, snowpacks continued to dwindle; as of April 1, the state’s total snowpack stood at a meager 5 percent of average. Indicative of the virtually non-existent snowpack, stream flows have dropped into the 5th percentile or lower over much of California. In addition, the 2014-15 Water Year has ended on an abysmal note, with precipitation over the past 30 days totaling a mere 10 percent of normal or less from Redding southward.  Continued dryness resulted in an expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4) in northwest California. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

National Drought Summary – issued April 7, 2015

This week saw warmer than normal temperatures impacting roughly two-thirds of the nation. A significant storm brought abundant rain to the Ohio Valley and severe weather through that region and the Central Plains. The storm brought tornados, hail, and strong winds to over 15 states. Most of the rest of the country experienced continued dryness. Strong winds and warmer than average temperatures added short-term insult to the long-term drought impacting the Southern Plains. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

Related Links

Posted in News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Largest Extinction Event” Caused by “Acid Oceans”

Posted by feww on April 12, 2015

Earth’s “worst die-off” caused by “drop in ocean pH” —Report

Massive amounts of carbon dioxide released during colossal volcanic eruptions in Siberia may have turned the world’s oceans dangerously acidic 252 million years ago, causing a global environmental catastrophe that killed more than 90 percent of all species, according to a new study published Thursday.

“The largest mass extinction in Earth’s history occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary 252 million years ago. Several ideas have been proposed for what devastated marine life, but scant direct evidence exists,” says the study.

“Now, locked in limestone that was formed in shallow seawater offshore of the supercontinent Pangaea, scientists [say they have] have found an isotopic signal to support a sharp drop in pH,” according to a report summary.

The volcanoes spewed trillions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, some of which was dissolved in the oceans, lowering the pH and dangerously acidifying the water and weakening marine creatures’ ability to form calciferous shells.

“It appears that, although the oceans buffered the acidifying effects of carbon release from contemporary pulses of volcanism, buffering failed when volcanism increased during the formation of the Siberian Traps. The result was a widespread drop in ocean pH and the elimination of shell-forming organisms.”

The eruptions, thought to be the most powerful explosions occurred over the past 500 million years, lasted for a million years, spanning the boundary between the Permian and and Triassic Period, and resulting in the extinction event that occurred over a period of 60,000 years, said the researchers.

Permian-Triassic extinction event supposedly exceeded even the K-T extinction [officially, Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event] that occurred 66 million years ago and that allegedly erased the dinosaurs and many other animals, i.e, 75% of all species.

‘Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction’


Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota.

M. O. Clarkson, S. A. Kasemann, R. Wood, T. M. Lenton, S. J. Daines, S. Richoz, F. Ohnemueller, A. Meixner, S. W. Poulton, E. T. Tipper
Science 10 April 2015:
vol. 348 no. 6231 pp. 229-232
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0193

Posted in News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »