Elaine Meinel Supkis
It has been beautiful, almost spring-like here on my mountain. Normally, it is as cold as Siberia. Usually, when it is warm here in winter, this means the earth balances everything by giving everyone else really miserable weather. Vicious storms and cold weather are hammering warm climes to the West of us, as the world turns. China and California are getting my normal weather which is often well below zero and blizzards. Also, an asteroid is passing very near the earth, in AU, that is. Reminds us of what the real dangers are: destruction from the Gods.
hinese workers and army soldiers were racing to sweep snow-covered highways and unclog railway routes for millions of travelers trapped by cold weather.
More than 67 million people have been affected by the weather and economic losses are expected to reach as much as $3 billion, Chinese officials say.
Blizzards have snapped power lines and destroyed houses and farmland, prompting fears of food and energy shortages. Twenty-four people have died and some 827,000 people have been evacuated in 14 different provinces, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday.
Russia has had a very cold winter in Siberia. For some capricious reason, Mother Earth has decided to move the jet stream on the opposite side of the planet far to the south while on my side, has let it rise well above Hudson Bay! Storms track this vital air stream so when it dips over oceans, it picks up moisture and drops it on the nearest landmass. Which is California. The moisture from the warm waters in Asia are being sucked northwards along this same jet stream and this creates snow, deep snow in southern China which, like southern California, is not normally snow-clad.
My mountain hasn't had any snow in over two weeks! It all melted some time ago. This is most unnerving. We should be under at least 3 feet of snow! Instead, I was running around with the dogs and the horse and narry some frost in the forest. We even ran into a dozen deer grazing openly in the warm sun. My bees are out of the hive, wondering why there are no flowers. The birds in the forest are singing spring love songs. Very queer indeed. And tomorrow it is going to rain! This is January?
Well, the Chinese are getting our nasty weather. Southern California and Southern China don't have snow plows. Or the other many, many snow tools I take for granted. Nor are the building built for snow! Switzerland and my mountain both can take quite a lot of snow. But we are not getting it for some bizarre reason.
The jet stream is very fast and very powerful with a particularly tight flow where the Himalayan mountains hit the edge of Southeast Asia.
Note the La Nina cold upwellings next to Peru and extending across the Pacific. At the top of the globe, see how there are two cold spots in the center of very warm waters. These two are fueling these huge storms, most likely.
"About 60,000 passengers have been relocated to these venues, and it is estimated 200,000 people will need to be accommodated when more passengers arrive in Guangzhou to take trains back home," said Yu Desheng, a local transportation official.
Meanwhile, free bus services were provided to take migrant workers back to their work sites if they choose not to travel home for the holiday.
Guangzhou stopped selling railway tickets and announced that tickets previously purchased could be returned without a service charge. However, most passengers have been reluctant to return their tickets, hoping that railway operations would resume soon.
Traffic on the Beijing-Guangzhou line likely won't be normalized within the next three to five days as snow is persisting in central China, Guangdong railway authorities said.
I hope Americans feel sympathy for the Chinese. These storms are hitting very hard. Also, the Chinese government had to admit this week that workers died building the Olympic stadiums, etc. Few Americans know how many died BUILDING the WTC, for example. But then, as someone who has done hazardous building in the past, I think one death is one too many. I have seen some very nasty accidents, myself.
The world is always one storm away from food disasters. These storms ravaging the Chinese farmlands will, like the floods in California, raise food prices. On the other hand, this is why we must have global concern about the increasing dynamism of the globe's weather due to global warming. It is getting warmer on the poles but this doesn't mean it won't snow in Saudi Arabia. Quite the contrary.
Skies were clearing Monday over waterlogged California after a week of downpours and heavy snowfall that led to avalanche and traffic deaths but only minor flooding and slides.
Highways closed because of heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada were reopened Monday, including a nearly 130-mile stretch of U.S. 395 just north of Bishop to the Nevada state line, state officials said.
Interstate 80 through the Sierra between Sacramento and Reno, Nevada, also was reopened Monday but chains were required, according to a Department of Transportation Web site.
The storm produced wind approaching 40 mph during the night in the mountains east of Los Angeles, said Penny Dodge, a desk clerk at the mountain resort community Big Bear Lake. It was the worst she has seen in her seven years in the area.
I have had lots of wind here this winter: nearly all of it from the south. That is too weird for words. Another effect of global warming, I would guess. Now on to more cheerful things:
A asteroid some 250m (600ft) across is about to sweep past the Earth.
There is no chance of it hitting the planet, but astronomers will train telescopes and radar on the object to learn as much about it as they can.
The asteroid - which carries the rather dull designation 2007 TU24 - will pass by at a distance of 538,000km (334,000 miles), just outside Moon's orbit.
It will even miss the moon. This is merely a reminder that we are one asteroid away from total death. So we should cease playing stupid games on earth and turn our attention to where it really matters: the rest of the Universe. We are so busy trying to grab a piece of the action on earth, we won't look upwards to see what is flying overhead. Indeed, the stupid spy satellite that is now menacing us should have focused its cameras on these asteroids flinging themselves around the sun. Each one is far worse than a nuclear bomb!
A colossal collision in space 160 million years ago set the dinosaurs on the path to extinction, a study claims.
An asteroid pile-up sent debris swirling around the Solar System, including a chunk that later smashed into Earth wiping out the great beasts.
Other fragments crashed into the Moon, Venus and Mars, gouging out some of their most dominant impact craters, a US-Czech research team believes.
The University of Arizona runs a web page where we can figure out what sort of effect today's asteroids in the news would cause if they landed here instead of passing by:
Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins
Welcome to the Earth Impact Effects Program: an easy-to-use, interactive web site for estimating the regional environmental consequences of an impact on Earth. This program will estimate the ejecta distribution, ground shaking, atmospheric blast wave, and thermal effects of an impact as well as the size of the crater produced.
Please enter values in the boxes below to describe your impact event of choice and your distance away. Then click "Calculate Effects" to learn about the environmental consequences.
I entered some data based on the information above. Note that the distance away from impact point is 100km.
Yup. And this one is a small asteroid. Note the 450+mph wind gusts. The one that hit 63 million years ago was far bigger. Far worse than a thousand nuclear bombs. After this, we can colonize other planets. A constructive thing to keep us busy. I would love to see that begin.