Sunday, March 8, 2015

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - World Record Snowfall Set In Italy?!

Snow in Abruzzo

March 8, 2015 - ITALY
- Italian website says "yes," but official measurements are needed.

"The latest updates of the dramatic situation that occurred in Abruzzo and Molise are clear," says this Italian website. "But official measurements are needed!"

In Capracotta, Isernia, more than 2 meters of snow fell in 24 hours, compared to the historical 193 cm in 24 hours measured in 1921 in Silver Lake, Colorado.

The Capracotta phenomenon occurred between yesterday afternoon and tonight, so with a duration of just 16-17 hours, it could set a real world record of intensity!

The area of ​​Roccacaramanico may have also surpassed that number, and in the area of ​​Passo San Leonardo, snowfall should have exceeded the limit of two meters in 24 hours.

Dear friends of weather news in Abruzzo, if you want to get hold of the official world record for snowfall in 24 hours, it takes official data on measurements of snow, issued by some statutory body, or measurements made and documented in person through photos."
Note: I don't quite understand how two meters of snow in any way surpasses 193 cm, but the Google translation may leave a lot to be desired. (Don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that part of the note. Obviously, I WASN'T thinking.) One other problem is that Google translates the word "metres" to "feet," which is way, way off. A meter is 39 inches, whereas a foot is only 12 inches.
Thanks to H.B. Schmidt for this link

- Ice Age Now.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors And Warnings From Mother Nature – The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior, Migratory Patterns, Attacks, Deaths, And Appearance Of Rare Creatures!

March 8, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Dead Humpback whale washes ashore in Monterey, California, United States

A young humpback whale carcass is washed ashore at Sunset Beach in Monterey, March 6, 2015.  © CBS

A dead humpback has whale washed ashore on a Monterey beach close to where a second whale was seen swimming near the shore.

The whale turned up Friday morning at Sunset State Beach after being seen floating offshore Thursday night.

A marine biologist said it was a young whale about 45 feet long. It had no apparent signs of trauma on the carcass and was in the beginning stages of decomposition.

Biologists say it's not uncommon to see a humpback wash ashore. "It kind of comes in waves. Last year we had one humpback whale. Few years before that we didn't have any, one year we had two or three," said Robin Duncan, UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Lab operations manager.

WATCH: Young humpback whale carcass washes ashore in Monterey.

An adult humpback whale was also spotted swimming near the shore in the same area. It was not known whether there is a relation to the dead whale.

The cause of death won't be known until results of a necropsy are available, likely in a couple of days.

Monterey Bay has often been a feeding area for humpback whales almost year round. This time of year is the start of spring migration for humpback whales as they head north from tropical breeding waters. - CBS San Francisco.

10,000 Band-tailed pigeons die over the winter in California, but cause remains unexplained

Band-tailed pigeon

An unexplained epidemic ravaging band-tailed pigeons in California has resulted in more than 10,000 of the bird's deaths this winter.

Dead birds have been found in 21 counties in California, including in the Sacramento region, marking one of the largest die-offs recorded. It's particularly troubling because the species reproduces at a lower rate than similar birds.

Researchers are at a loss to explain the cause, but they suspect that the multiyear drought and changes in acorn supply may be to blame.

The band-tailed pigeon is a common, medium-size, gray-feathered bird known for a white crescent on its neck and a long tail that sports a pale band at its tip. The bird is a relative of the passenger pigeon - a species once as common as the band-tailed pigeon, but now extinct.

The band-tailed pigeon population has been known to ebb and flow. However, seven of the last 10 years have seen an unusually high number of deaths, said Krysta Rogers, avian scientist with the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Two years ago, Rogers began to investigate the historical record to establish mortality events over time and try to detect a pattern. She found the distant and recent past has not been kind to band-tailed pigeon populations.

Records date back to 1941, showing that the bird's population has been declining, Rogers said.

"I found that mortality had been reported at least since 1945 in California," Rogers said. "Up until probably the last 10 or 15 years those mortality events were fairly sporadic - you could go three years, sometimes five or 10 years without one."

In the winter of 2011-12, there were eight events that led to approximately 1,500 band-tailed pigeon deaths, according to data reported by UC Davis project scientist Yvette Girard , Rogers and others in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

The culprit is a disease called trichomonosis, which is spread when the parasite Trichomonas gallinae is readily passed between bird species wherever they congregate in large numbers. But researchers don't know why the parasite is spreading so quickly.

One theory blames climate change and the current multiyear drought, said Rogers. The situation has led to more birds flocking to scarce water sources.

In the Sacramento Valley, rice farmers have let their normally flooded fields lie fallow because of reduced water allocations. That has caused a similar situation where avian botulism is spreading among birds that congregate in whatever remaining wetland can be found along the Pacific Flyway.

"Band-tailed pigeons like to drink water daily and they will fly great distance for that," said Rogers. "When you have less natural sources available, this brings a lot of birds into potentially close contact."

The availability of the acorn, the bird's favorite food, is also a factor.

Researchers believe that less acorn availability overall will bring many birds to one area as opposed to many.

"Preliminary results indicate that wherever you have high concentrations of food like trees that bear acorns you're more likely to have mortality events in those locations," said Rogers.

The decline in band-tailed pigeon populations over time may be related to a decline in oak habitat or acorn scarcity, said Walter Koenig, bird population specialist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. In the last 60 years, the oaks that supply acorns for band-tailed pigeons have steadily disappeared.

Some of those declines have been natural, like sudden oak death, identified in 2000, which killed millions of oaks in California. Forest fires also have hurt acorn supply and bird habitat. The 2013 Rim fire burned 257,314 acres in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, which is band-tailed pigeon habitat.

Other oak declines are man-made. An estimated 18,000 acres of oak woodland was lost each year due to conversion to subdivisions, roads or vineyards between the 1990s and early 2000s, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In California, band-tailed pigeons are typically found in the coastal mountains and foothills to the west and in the Sierra foothills to the east. But this winter, acorns were not available at higher elevations, and this may have forced the birds to find food at lower elevations, Rogers said.

As a result, the band-tailed pigeon has been seen in unlikely places, especially on the Central Valley floor. Bird deaths have occurred in places like Granite Bay and the pigeon has been spotted where it was once rare - along the American River Parkway, in Oroville and within Yolo County.

Some avid birders, like Sacramento resident Chris Conard, are seeing the bird close to home for the first time.

"I've spotted a flock of 200 birds around Folsom and also in the Rancho Murieta area," Conard said, calling it "unprecedented."

"I do not see the birds every year. I've seen one or two, here and there, and maybe a flock of 10 or 15," he said.

Rogers said that mortality numbers are in the rough estimate stage and being culled from birders, game wardens, wildlife biologists and the public, as well as from her field research and work being done at UC Davis.

"Birds are dying in locations where people are not encountering them," she said. "So, we're likely underestimating mortality."

Researchers must still determine if drought or climate change is spurring mortality events. They are also examining habitat loss as well as the band-tailed pigeon's low reproductive rate.

The band-tailed pigeon reproduces, on average, one chick per year. Similar species, like the mourning dove, can produce from two to six chicks a year.

"When you have high mortality it can take the population years to get back up to its prior levels," Rogers said. "If we keep having these mortality events year after year, there is concern it could cause a significant decline in their population."

Also troubling is that band-tailed pigeon die-offs can spill over into other bird species, said Girard.

"There is a risk of parasite spillover from band-tailed pigeons to raptor species that regularly prey on doves and pigeons," Girard said.

There have been no incidences of the Trichomonas gallinae parasite infecting humans, she said.  - The Sacramento Bee.

Man killed by wild boar and 9 injured in India

The boar which was shot dead with the help of residents.
Abdul Salam who was killed by the wild animal
A man died and nine others sustained injuries in a wild boar attack near Koodaranji here on Friday. The deceased has been identified as Keelath Abdul Salam, 50, alias Abdu, a farmer and a resident of Kalpur. The wild boar was later shot dead with the help of the local residents.

According to the police, the wild boar attacked Abdul Salam at his farm land, around 9 am. Though he was rushed to the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, he succumbed to injuries, the officials said.

The injured - Haseena, Vasu, Lalitha, Kunjumon, Sabu, Abu, Najeed and Abdullah - have been admitted to the hospital and their condition has been reported to be not serious.

Eye-witnesses said the animal first attacked Haseena on a road and later went on the rampage, attacking Abdul Salam and others.

Later, the boar was shot dead. "We received a call informing us of a wild boar attack at Karassery, bordering Mukkam and Thiruvambadi panchayats. We rushed to the spot and the animal was shot dead by a local resident using his licensed gun, by around 11 am," said Thiruvambadi Sub-Inspector P E Kunhahammed Kutty.

Meanwhile, the forest officials with the Thamarassery range said the carcass of the boar was taken to the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pookkode, Wayanad, for postmortem.

"In normal cases there is no need to conduct a postmortem after an animal is shot dead for causing human loss and damage. In this case, it is suspected that the wild boar was rabid. We do not want to take any chances and have decided to conduct the postmortem examination," the official added.

Sources said the next of kin of the deceased would be given Rs 5 lakh as compensation by the state government. Top police and forest department officials also visited the place.  - The New Indian Express.

Coyotes seen attacking large dogs in Stamford, Connecticut, United States

Coyote chasing dog. © Karen Hart
Coyotes were attacking in Connecticut this week, with three reports of the animals hunting down dogs.

Luckily, all the dogs survived. But as CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported, animal control officials said there is a big reason some big dogs are becoming prey.

At least one coyote has been making the rounds in suburban Stamford - looming dangerously close to homes and setting its sights on several family dogs.

"There was something following (my dog); chasing her," said Stamford resident Karen Hart.

Hart snapped a photo of her 2-year-old shepherd mix, named Kylie, running for her life.

"She got into the house and I slammed the door just as the coyote was approaching the front door," Hart said.

There were four attacks in a period of one week.

All the dogs got away with minor cuts and scratches. But several owners have decided to keep their pets inside, alarmed at the coyotes' brazen tactics.

"This is very odd, because three of the dogs — a shepherd mix, a golden retriever and a German short-haired pointer - all obviously much larger than this coyote,"
said Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin.

Police said coyote attacks are so prevalent this winter because of the extremely harsh weather conditions - so much so that coyotes have even started living under people's decks.

WATCH: Coyotes brazenly chase big dogs in Stamford.

"This one was right under me with my deck, and when animal control came out here, they said that he was making a home," said Judy Klym.

Klym heard the yelps of her dog under attack and jumped in to help.

"I ran out there, and made enough noise to have them break and grabbed Bricksy and brought him inside," Klym said.

With the attacks this week, police have been warning pet owners to keep an eye on their dogs. They have also warned homeowners to be aware of what might be building a den just feet away.  - CBS New York.

Elephant returns to Nepal after trampling six to death

Charging elephant

The wild elephant, which trampled six persons to death and seriously injured four others in Sitamarhi and Madhubani districts of Bihar over the last two days, returned to its natural habitat in Nepal during the wee hours today.

Additional Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) S S Chaudhari said, "We successfully managed to send the wild tusker back to Nepal. It crossed the Royal Canal at the international border near Jainagar in Madhubani district at around 2.30 AM. We verified this with its footprints."

The elephant had strayed from its herd based at Parsa Wildlife Sanctuary in the neighbouring country during the ongoing mating season, after perhaps losing in a fight with some other tusker and entered Sitamarhi district on Tuesday last.

It trampled four persons to death in Sitamarhi and entered Madhubani district yesterday, where it crushed two others.

"Environment and forest department Principal Secretary Vivek Kumar Singh led our teams, while the district administration of Sitamarhi and Madhubani also cooperated in our efforts to drive away the tusker," Chaudhary said.

"Two attempts to tranquilise the animal by shooting medicine-laced darts were unsuccessful. The elephant just calmed down for a few minutes and then again started moving helter-skelter. Finally, the police fired a bullet at one of its legs," he added.

The CWW said it was not clear whether the bullet hit the tusker's leg or not, but soon after that it crossed over to Nepal.

Chaudhary said the wild tusker would have peacefully returned to its habitat, had the villagers not disturbed it by creating noise and chasing it. - The Times of India.

Dolphins continue to die 5 years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster


A new government-funded study attributes the high rate of marine mammal deaths in part to the BP oil spill.

Dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico continue to die at high rates five years after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a new government-funded study.

The report, published in the journal PLOS One, could have a significant impact on how money the petroleum giant must pay to restore the Gulf will be used to save imperiled dolphins.

The study "indicates that the current multi-year marine mammal unusual mortality event (UME) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico has multiple groupings of high bottlenose dolphin mortalities and may be due to different contributing factors, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said in a statement.

"It's been fairly clear that the oil played a role in this situation, and obviously more science is always needed, but I don't know that this study will change the strategy for BP," said Lacey McCormick, communications manager at the National Wildlife Federation. "I think they will continue to dig in their heels and deny the science the whole way through."

The study nonetheless can help scientists determine how to proceed from here, McCormick said.

"BP will have to pay billions of dollars under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act, and it raises the question of what do we do with this money," she said. "We need to use science to determine how to use this money effectively on ecosystem restoration for dolphins and other species in the Gulf."

The report, which was prepared by the National Marine Mammal Foundation and funded by NOAA, analyzed data from four groupings of dolphin deaths in the Gulf, three of which took place after the spill.

From February 2010 through the present, 1,305 dolphins stranded on Gulf shores, about 94 percent of which were found dead,
making it the longest marine mammal die-off in the Gulf in recorded history.

Still, BP is repeating its long-held contention that the dolphin die-off prior to the spill is proof that the company is not to blame.

"The study on the Gulf's 'unusual mortality event' (UME) reiterates what other experts, such as NOAA, have stated: the UME started three months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, and the cause or causes have not been determined," BP said on its State of the Gulf website. "The study does not show that the accident adversely impacted dolphin populations."

BP claims that various other factors likely caused all four die-offs, including cold water temperatures, freshwater runoff in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain, bacterial infestations, "and the increased public awareness and number of wildlife observers in the Gulf after the spill."

But McCormick noted in a blog post that the study found that the 26 dolphins that died in Lake Pontchartrain prior to the spill had "tell-tale skin lesions" caused by freshwater and they were also exposed to unusually cold weather. "Therefore," she wrote, "there is no reason to connect these earlier deaths with the ongoing deaths."

NWF Gulf restoration scientist Ryan Fikes said in a statement: "BP executives need to quit bashing the science—and the scientists—and accept the company's responsibility. It's time for BP to quit stalling so we can get started restoring the Gulf." - Take Part.

Dead pygmy sperm whale found in waters off Karachi, Pakistan

This specimen of the one of the smallest whales species, pygmy sperm, was found by fishermen around 120 nautical miles southwest of Karachi. 
© WWF - Pakistan

One of the smallest whales species, pygmy sperm, was found around 120 nautical miles southwest of Karachi. The fishermen caught the whale on Wednesday while they were fishing in the deep sea but the whale was already dead.

This is one of the smallest whales found in the outer continental shelf and considered to be very rare. Known to exist in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, this species is usually found dead on the shores.

The captain of the boat alFahim, Saeed Zaman, caught the pygmy sperm in gillnet used for catching tuna while they were fishing off the shelf area. The whale was enmeshed in the net and died when it was hauled onto the boat.

According to officials of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan), the whale was 8.2 feet long and weighed about 400kg. "It is the first authentic record of its presence in our waters," said Muhammad Moazzam Khan, WWF-Pakistan's technical adviser.

Previously, there were two unconfirmed records of this whale's presence in Pakistan after they were found stranded on Sonmiani beach in December, 1985, and dubious observations of a small school off Churna Island, added Khan.

According to him, whales and dolphins are sensitive animals and, in most cases, they die as soon as they become enmeshed in the fishing nets as they are unable to come to surface to breathe. He further pointed out that the pygmy sperm whale feeds on deep water squids and crabs.  - The Express Tribune.

Sinkhole swallows dog in Arlington, Virginia

Sinkhole in Rockwell Park. © Chris Timura

A dog fell into a sinkhole that opened up right under its tiny feet in Rockwell Park on Wednesday, according to a witness.

The park, which sits at the intersection of N. Cleveland, Edgewood and 1st Streets, is popular for dog walking in the Lyon Park neighborhood. Resident Elsie Frasier told that two days ago she and her husband "heard someone screaming" at the park from their adjacent house. Someone walking their dog said it had fallen into the hole.

"We initially thought she was talking about the storm sewer openings, and only later, when we went out to the park, did we find out that a sinkhole had opened up right under her dog while they were out for a walk," Frasier told in an email. "The dog was on a leash so she was able to haul it out herself."

The dog was unhurt from the fall, Frasier said.

The sinkhole is right next to the Washington Blvd bike trail, and was caused by a sewer line break, according to Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. County water and sewer crews cordoned off the area Wednesday night and have been pumping water away from the line since then.

Repairs to the line have been delayed due to weather, Kalish said, but the pumping has prevented the line from leaking into the surrounding area. As of Friday afternoon, Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Jessica Baxter said crews are now working on repairs.

"We have crews there actively repairing it," Baxter said. "The area is secure and the leak is not causing backups. We do not have an estimated time of repair just yet."

Another winter with persistent sub-freezing temperatures has led to breaking water and sewer lines all over the county. Along with those line breaks have come rapidly forming sinkholes: a large hole created a substantial hazard on Williamsburg Blvd early last month and a sinkhole formed and caused water and mud to flood nearby properties in north Arlington ten days ago. - ARL Now.

1,450 Sea lion pups have washed ashore this year ill and dying - 'possibly 10,000 have died' in California, United States

Read more here:

Sick and starving, the 8-month-old sea lion pup dubbed “French Toast” braved an arduous journey to get here.

Separated from his mother in the Channel Islands in Southern California, he was found stranded on a beach near Carpinteria. Rescue workers moved him 350 miles to a marine hospital in the Marin Headlands above San Francisco. There, veterinarians put him under anesthesia. They injected antibiotics to save his left eye from an ulcer, administered painkillers for virus sores on his flippers and hydrated him with electrolytes.

Along the length of the California coastline, an extraordinary rescue effort is underway. In January and February alone, 1,450 malnourished or dying sea lion pups have washed up on shore – compared with just 68 in the same period last year.

Marine biologists and climate scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the culprit is a mass of warm coastal water that’s imperiling breeding and nursing colonies of California sea lions. The so-called “unusual mortality event” – following a much smaller bubble of sea lion strandings and deaths in 2013 – has triggered questions about the overall health and volatility of the California ocean environment.

Scientists say the warmer waters can prevent sea lion mothers from finding sufficient quantities of anchovies, mackerel, sardines and other fish to provide nutrition for nursing. So they are leaving behind their pups, mostly born each June on four islands in Southern California, to forage for food for extended periods, far beyond their normal two or three days at sea.

As a result, tens of thousands of pups birthed last summer are believed to be dying on the islands as others, fearing their mothers have abandoned them, set out into the ocean and drift or wash ashore sometimes hundreds of miles away.

“These are pups that should be nursing on their mothers,” said Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of the veterinary science department at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. “They’re (arriving) extremely emaciated. They have no energy stores. They’re just skin and bones, wasting away and on the brink of death.”

From Sea World in San Diego to the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center in Del Norte County, seven California marine rescue facilities are tube-feeding fish gruel to skeletal pups, helping them learn to catch and digest whole fish and administering vitamins and medication to ward off pneumonia and skin infections.

“It’s a very intense operation going on right now,” said Sea World spokesman David Koontz.

Trained teams dispatched by The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito have rescued 340 sea lion pups since Jan. 1 on hundreds of miles of California coast. About 150 of the animals have since died. Twenty veterinary professionals and dozens of volunteers are working doggedly to save the other pups and nourish them back to health. Fifteen were recently released back into the wild.

Sea World rescue vehicles also are pulling 20 sea lions a day off beaches in San Diego County. With a combination of volunteers and veterinary staff from as far away as parks in San Antonio, and Orlando and Tampa, Fla., Sea World has tended to 350 rescued sea lion pups since Jan. 1.

Volunteers for the California Wildlife Center in Los Angeles County are rescuing sea lion pups that have washed into marinas, some desperately trying to climb onto small boats or kayaks. San Pedro’s Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur has taken in over 270 malnourished pups from the nearby coast. “It’s all hands on deck,” said marketing manager Raymond Simanavicius.

California sea lion pups in crisis.


‘Never stop rescuing ...’

At the hilltop Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, volunteers try to return feeble pups to vitality.

There, Sherry Riley connected a giant syringe – full of a milky solution of ground herring – to a feeding tube. She tried to ease a rubber feeding tube down the throat of a resistant pup named Perkins. But the female, wrapped in a towel and gently held down by another volunteer, wasn’t taking it.

Perkins grit her teeth. Volunteers pried her mouth open and slid the tube down. Perkins began to chew, ingesting the solution.

Riley’s regular job involves treating humans as an emergency room nurse in Santa Rosa. But she turned out at 5a.m. on her day off to help minister to sea animals in distress.

She fed scores of animals until nearly dusk.

“Sometimes, it’s really overwhelming,” Riley said.

The nonprofit marine rehabilitation center and hospital is feeding 1,300 pounds of fish a day to rescued sea lion pups. The animals are housed in numerous caged enclosures with small ponds. They’re given names that are listed on charts, and their foreheads are dabbed with identifying combinations of grease paint.

Veterinarians write feeding and medication instructions for each. In a fenced pen for pups healthy enough to dive and swallow fish, volunteers Michelle Corsi, Sue Mancusi and Debbie Wertheimer tossed fingerlings packed with individualized vitamins and meds to colored-coded animals named Kangaroo, Ice Cube, Magpie and Goldy.

Corsi is an environmental scientist from Vancouver who has volunteered at the Sausalito facility since moving to San Francisco several years ago. Mancusi is a retired nurse from Santa Rosa. Wertheimer is a dental hygienist from San Rafael. Together, they are responding to a California marine emergency.

Corsi said she felt inspired by a quote she had read on the Internet: “Never stop rescuing animals. You might lose your mind. But you’ll find your soul.”

Away from the pens filled with this year’s sick sea lion pups, scientists are working to find answers about current and, potentially, long-term phenomena affecting the health and well-being of the species.

Nate Mantua, a NOAA ecologist and climatologist based in Santa Cruz, said unusually weak winds from the north have prevented colder water from flowing south into breeding and nursing areas. The problem is worsened by stronger warm winds from Mexico.

Mantua said the warming condition is akin to what occurs during a tropical El NiƱo storm system – without the storm – and “is as strong as anything that is in the historical record.” Water temperatures are 2 to 5 degrees above normal; the warm plumes extend 100 feet deep from Baja California to Alaska.

The elevated temperatures are expected to persist in coming months unless there is a strong shift in the wind, Mantua said.

“I don’t think there is any indication that will happen,” he said.

A changing environment

California’s sea lion population, decimated in the late 1800s and early 1900s by hunters harvesting blubber for fuel and fur for coats and hats, now totals 300,000. That’s a sixfold increase since Congress promoted rescue and preservation efforts and effectively banned poaching under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Since 2004, the number of sea lion pups washing up on California coasts has mostly fluctuated between 100 and 150 a year. Scientists noted a worrisome anomaly in 2013, when 1,171 famished pups were stranded on shore – including 309 in January and February. Then, scientists blamed the phenomenon on unseasonably cold waters.

“From a sea lion and biology perspective, we’re learning that the environment is changing every year and the animals are having to adjust,” said Sharon Melin, a Seattle-based NOAA wildlife biologist. “When they can’t, we’re seeing high mortalities.”

The bulk of California sea lion pups are conceived and birthed on four islands, San Miguel, San Nicolas, San Clemente and Santa Barbara, part of the Channel Islands in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Melin, who has been studying sea lion populations on San Miguel and San Nicolas, said scientists are recording devastating effects from the current warm-water event. In September, the average weight of 3-month-old pups on the two islands was 19 percent less than normal. In February, the average weight of 7-month-old pups was 44 percent less than normal. The pups gained little or no additional weight from October through January.

On San Miguel, where 20,000 sea lions are born each June, Melin said researchers believe “probably close to 10,000 are dead, and we expect more to die over coming months.” She said the mortality rate is similar on San Nicolas.

Scientists say only the pups are in peril because sea lion adults and adolescents can swim long distances to feast on fish in more chilly waters to the north.

Melin and others say current ocean conditions could result in fewer sea lion births next June and a decline in the overall population if other unusual events occur in coming years. Biologists and veterinarians say other ocean factors, including depleted fish populations, may present a challenge for the animals.“There is a complex process happening in our ocean,” said Johnson of The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. “The ocean is clearly under stress from the warmer water and, potentially, overfishing. These sea lions are telling us we should be very concerned about the health of our oceans.” - The Modesto Bee.

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary For February, 2015!


March 8, 2015 - EARTH
- The pattern of global deluges continued last month as flooding again hit the Balkans, Greece, Bolivia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Northwest, Australia, and East Africa. February saw 'orange' snow, 'blue' snow and 'dirty rain' as particulates from ever more erupting volcanoes and incoming meteors continue to build up in the atmosphere. It's not just conditions above ground that are changing: alarming numbers of whales, sea lions and other sea creatures continue to wash up dead or dying on beaches around the world.

February saw meteor fireballs ranging from flashes that momentarily turned night into day over New Zealand, Florida and Korea... to a long-duration bolide of comet/asteroid size that broke up over the western half of North America. There were several major train derailments in February, particularly in the U.S., where oil companies are bypassing pipeline networks to transport fracked oil. We suspect that many railway lines are deforming due to the increased seismic activity.

More loud booms were heard and felt across the U.S. in February. Although attributed to 'frost quakes', where water seeps into the ground then freezes and cracks the bedrock, these localized booms also happened in ice-free regions, suggesting that some other mechanism is causing them. Besides strong earthquakes off Japan and along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an unusually strong quake in central Spain sent people running into the streets. Japan saw snow records broken (again), wild weather continued to pummel the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East was again snowed under.

THE major weather event in February 2015 was the record snow and cold in the U.S. Northeast. The South and Midwest were also hit hard, but the Northeast appears to have had both its snowiest and coldest month ever, at least since since record-keeping began in the mid-19th century. Meteorologists attributed this to the meandering Polar Jet stream delivering a 'Siberian Express' of non-stop winter storms from the northern Pacific down and across the North American continent, but another factor could be super-cool air coming down from the troposphere.

The ice age cometh?

WATCH: SOTT Summary February 2015 - Extreme Weather, Earth Changes, and Fireballs.