A virus described as measles-like has been killing dolphins, and now whales, along the U.S. east coast in 2013. Bottlenose dolphins began dying of the virus in June of this year, and the virus has been steadily moving southward as the dolphins migrate south for winter. Now the disease has spread from New York to Florida, with a total of 753 bottlenose dolphins washed ashore from July 1 until November 3, according to NOAA.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, was the 13th named storm of the 2013 Pacific typhoon season and is now unofficially the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall. It likely hit the central Philippines with sustained winds around 180-195 miles per hour (mph) with wind gusts near 225 mph on November 7, 2013.
Today, in the aftermath of the storm, the Philippines is facing some extreme challenges. It’s now estimated that over 10,000 people are dead with many more missing. A tropical disturbance has been pushing through the country today (November 12, 2013), providing heavy rains and gusty winds. Although this system is not strong, it is disrupting recovery efforts. Follow the links inside to learn more about this devastating storm.
Every 11 years, at the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, the sun’s magnetic polarity reverses itself. In other words, magnetic north and south on the sun flip. That flip is poised to happen soon, solar physicists say. In August, they were saying “within the next 3-4 months.” The recent high activity on the sun, which has been crackling with solar flares this month including several X-flares, caused Stanford University’s Wilcox Observatory to issue a press release today (November 11, 2013) pointing out again that the reversal process is underway.
On February 15, 2013, a large meteor exploded in the sky above Chelyabinsk, Russia. The rock fragmented into smaller pieces high in the atmosphere, which spared the Earth from more serious damage that could have resulted from the estimated 500 to 600-kiloton explosion had it hit closer to ground.
Babies suck at a lot of things. They can’t walk. They can’t eat solid foods. They can’t dress themselves or operate a smartphone. They’re also terrible at protecting themselves against infections (which is why anyone going anywhere near a newborn needs to be vaccinated against pertussis and the like). It’s easy to chalk that last one up to just another basic life skill infants have yet to master. Stupid babies, they can’t even mount an effective immune response. But according to a new study published in Nature the immune systems of infants may not be deficient at all, they may be deliberately suppressed by mechanisms in the babies’ own bodies.
Typhoon Haiyan is still kicking, and it is pushing into Vietnam and China today. The storm is much weaker, but it still brings heavy rain, flooding, and storm surge. While evacuations have taken place across Vietnam, there are still many vulnerable areas that could see major problems as the storm pushes to the north. Meanwhile, another system will push into the Philippines within the next 24-48 hours and disrupt the recovery efforts taking place after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed so many areas. Not good!
We are still receiving information regarding damages and possible deaths from Super Typhoon Haiyan, although it appears that at least 100 people, and possibly over 1,000 people, were killed in the coastal Philippine city of Tacloban. For now, I will simply share these images and video of Super Typhoon Haiyan. From a meteorological perspective, Haiyan is no doubt the most extraordinary storm I have seen in satellite images. We might never know exactly how powerful the storm was, but, as I looked at the satellite imagery, I could not remember a scarier-looking storm.
UPDATE NOV. 8, 2013, 4:30 CDT (1030 UTC): Super Typhoon Haiyan – Yolanda, as the storm is known in the Philippines – on Thursday, November 7, became the strongest typhoon or hurricane of 2013 and one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The storm plowed across the Philippine islands after making landfall on Samar, in the region of Eastern Visayas, with maximum sustained winds at 195 mph. That’s well above the Category 5 classification used for Atlantic and East Pacific hurricanes and just 6 mph shy of an EF-5 tornado. Plus there were gusts up to 235 mph. Both the BBC and CNN are reporting 3 dead at this time. CNN said:
Three people were reported dead, more than 100,000 took refuge in evacuation centers and hundreds of flights were canceled.
Some wonderful images of last night’s moon and Venus, as seen from around the world. Thanks to all who posted on EarthSky’s Facebook page!
It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to see the screaming witch’s head in this new image of nebula ICC 218 – aka, aptly, Witch Head nebula – from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE.)
The Witch Head nebula is hundreds of light-years away in the Orion constellation, according to astronomers. Astronomers say the billowy clouds of the nebula, where baby stars are brewing, are being lit up by massive stars, Starlight is hitting the dust in the cloud, causing it to glow with infrared light. The infrared light was picked up by WISE’s detectors.