28th July - Today's News

This almost slipped under the weather radar, but as predicted earlier this month, last Friday saw the century's tallest waves lash Mumbai
Huge tidal waves measuring 5.5 metres high hit the Mumbai coastline from the Gateway of India to Juhu on Friday afternoon but they caused little or no damage during the ''no-showers'' day
(they weren't actually tidal waves, by the way)

Those (like Christopher Booker) who continue to question where global warming got to because parts of N America have been colder than usual just lately might care to note that there are sizzling temperatures in Washington State this week and in Seattle they're saying the heatwave could break record.

Elsewhere, 'polar frost' leaves 40 dead in Argentina - but stories of extreme cold or snow seem to come out of Argentina most winters so I'm not sure how unusual this really is. Certainly not unusual is the news from China where heavy rains hits SW Sichuan, 22 dead, 7 missing. Such events somewhere or other in China seemingly an almost weekly occurrence. I guess in such a massive country and with poor rural infrastructure it's inevitable. And really no more newsworthy than a small tornado in the USA - though no less tragic for those affected.

Bad weather continues in Japan with the south of the country being hit and Four killed in new landslides, floods.

In California, Scientists plot and prepare for Noah's Ark-like floods whilst newly discovered faults illuminate earthquake hazard along San Andreas fault.

Climate study puts Incas' success down to 400 years of warm weather
According to new research, an increase in temperature of several degrees between AD1100 and 1533 allowed vast areas of mountain land to be used for agriculture for the first time. This fuelled the territorial expansion of the Incas, which at its peak stretched from the modern Colombian border to the middle of Chile.
Interesting, because by 1350AD the Viking settlements in Greenland had already been wiped out by the onset of the Little Ice Age. So this adds further weight to the argument that the LIA was a North Atlantic phenomenon which only later spread to other parts of the world (as I personally believe is the case will full glacials). And of course, it wasn't climate change but the Spanish Conquistidors that destroyed the Incan civilisation.

Rather controversial this, but of great significance to our dependence on 'fossil fuels' and the development of 'clean' and 'renewable' technologies for generating power and fueling vehicles. Are there hydrocarbons in the deep Earth?
Scientists have debated for years whether some of these hydrocarbons could also have been created deeper in the Earth and formed without organic matter. Now for the first time, scientists have found that ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be synthesized under the pressure-temperature conditions of the upper mantle —the layer of Earth under the crust and on top of the core.
The theory of abiogenic petroleum origin - ie that it does not originate from dead animal/plant matter deposited on the Earth's surface, but comes from hydrocarbons formed in the early period of the Earth's formation - was popularised in the West by Thomas Gold. Only time will tell if it is correct. But if true it means there is greatly more reserves of oil and gas than anyone dared imagine. Mind, such news could affect the prices of oil and gas too - something I guess neither the Arabs nor the Russians would be too keen on seeing happen?

Down in Cheddar Caves, new dating of bones helps us to better determnine when humans returned after the last ice age - and if you don't want to read the article, I can tell you our ancestors were in Somerset 14,700 years ago.

And finally fore today, it must be at least a couple of weeks if not more since we had one of these: new predictions for sea level rise
Fossil coral data and temperature records derived from ice-core measurements have been used to place better constraints on future sea level rise, and to test sea level projections.

The results are published in Nature Geoscience and predict that the amount of sea level rise by the end of this century will be between 7- 82 cm – depending on the amount of warming that occurs – a figure similar to that projected by the IPCC report of 2007.
But expect the next report to say something different!

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