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Meteor Streaks Over The Skies of Central Russia Causing Damage and Injuries

A meteorite traversed across the sky and exploded over central Russia near Chelyabinsk, Russia on Friday February 15, 2013 at 9:30 AM local time. It  Meteorite-2-jpgshowered fireballs over a large expanse while causing aerial explosions that damaged buildings, shattered windows and injured 1,200 people. The Interior Ministry said that the meteorite explosions are a very rare spectacle, it also unleashed a sonic boom.
The meteor was traveling at a speed of 30 km (19 miles) per second according to Russian space agency Roscosmos as it flared across the horizon, leaving in its wake a long white trail that could be seen as far as 200 km (125 miles) away.
The early-morning blast and subsequent shock wave blew out windows on Chelyabinsk’s central Lenin Street, buckled some shop fronts and rattled apartment buildings in the city center.
One piece of meteorite broke through the ice of the Cherbakul Lake near Chelyabinsk, leaving a hole several meters (yards) wide.
According to Russia’s Academy of Sciences the falling celestial body weighed about 10 tonnes and may have been made of iron, entered Earth’s atmosphere and broke apart 30-50 km (19-31 miles) above ground.
A wall and roof were badly damaged at the Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant but a spokeswoman said no environmental threat resulted.
Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said deaths were reported but 20,000 rescue and clean-up workers were sent to the region after President Vladimir Putin told Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov to ease the disruption and help the victims.
The Emergencies Ministry described Friday’s event as a “meteorite shower in the form of fireballs” and said background radiation levels were normal. It urged residents not to panic.
Simon Goodwin, an astrophysics expert from Britain’s University of Sheffield, said that roughly 1,000 to 10,000 tonnes of material rained down from space towards the earth every day, but most burned up in the atmosphere.
The Interior Ministry said about 1,200 people had been injured, at least 200 of them children, and most from shards of glass.
The regional governor in Chelyabinsk said the meteorite shower had caused more than $30 million in damage, and the Emergencies Ministry said 300 buildings had been affected.
The energy released when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere was equivalent to a few kilo-tonnes, the power of a small atomic weapon exploding.
The meteorite struck ironically just as asteroid 2012 DA14, a 46 m in diameter object was due to flyby closer to Earth than some of our orbiting satellites at a distance of 27,520 km (17,100 miles). This is nearer to our planet than any other known object of its size since scientists began routinely monitoring asteroids about 15 years ago.
“This is a record-setting close approach,” says Don Yeomans of NASA‘s Near Earth Object Program at JPL. “Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”
Scientists compared this recent meteor over Russia with an incident known as the Tunguska Event of 1908, when a meteorite was thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250 miles) in Siberia breaking windows as far as 200 km (125 miles) from the point of impact.

Heat, Fires and a Summer for Weather Records to be Broken

The heat gripping the United States in a seemingly never ending fashion eased a bit this past Saturday as a cold front came through along the eastern half of the country .This has given a slight respite from the horrendous triple digit heat there. It’s a marginal silver lining, but at least temp’s will be in the low to mid 90′s in the eastern United States. Temperatures will begin to creep past the 100 degree mark in the Western states in cities like Salt Lake City, Utah by Wednesday in response to a developing high pressure over the Rockies.

The West will start to cook this week. Image Courtesy of The National Weather Service.

Out west high pressure will continue to build in further over the week pushing the jet stream northward into southwestern Canada, allowing the heat to advance north as well. The unbearable conditions from the heat wave have unfortunately claimed 74 lives across the U.S. since it began just two weeks ago.

The hot spell caused highways to buckle in Illinois and Wisconsin, officials said. In Maryland, investigators said heat likely caused rails to kink and led a commuter train to partially derail Friday. No one was injured. Many states in the Midwest have not seen heat like this since the Dust Bowl of 1936. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association 2012 has broken well over 40,000 daily heat  records nationwide. It was the countries hottest July 4th since recording began. Agriculture like corn and soy crops are being heavily damaged from the pressure cooking heat. Severe thunderstorms  blew through over a week ago knocking out power to millions in the eastern part of the U.S. . This has only added insult to injury from the already sweltering summer.

In lakes and rivers across parched areas of the U.S., heat and lower water levels are reducing oxygen levels thereby killing fish populations by the thousands. When water becomes hypoxic or lacks oxygen these large water animal die offs can occur. Wildfires continue to burn across the western United States, including wildfires in Colorado and the Fontenelle Fire in Wyoming.

Fires scorching the mountainside July 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado

NASA says the fires have a warming effect on the atmosphere due to the increased emission of aerosols, which are suspended solid or liquid particles in the air. These particles can absorb more radiation from the sun hence causing hotter weather and poorer air quality in the form of smog. Children and the elderly are the most susceptible to these adverse weather events. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and wear sunscreen when venturing outside.

Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Dr. Kevin Trenberth talked with Judy Woodruff on PBS about the unusual warmth across North America.

The Sun Affects Geomagnetism and Biochemistry of Plants and Animals on Earth

By: Ryan Matthew Dernick

Since last weeks Jan.24,2012 solar storm geomagnetic storming has increased. The solar flare was so violent flights near the north pole had to be redirected away from the ionizing effect that occurs from converting an atom or molecule into an ion (charged particle)in the upper atmosphere.

Coronal Mass Ejections like the one last week which brought the Northern Lights or Auora Borealis as far south as New England and Ireland form this way.

Many think that solar storms and their affects are just specific to the earths geomagnetic field but growing factual scientific evidence may put that presumption on its head. Some science is starting to emerge that demonstrates a possible connection between solar activity and Earth events like earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, floods and storms. Not only is the Earth’s magnetic field affected by the solar activity, so is human health and behavior. Some of the scientific findings are discussed in more detail below.

Recent scientific research confirms a connection between high energy charged particles in the ionosphere and earthquakes. A study conducted in 2008 by Jann-Yeng Liu, from the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research in Chung-Li, Taiwan, examined more than 100 earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.0 or larger in Taiwan over several decades. The results indicate that almost all of the quakes down to a 35 km depth were preceded by distinct electrical disturbances in the ionosphere.

The electrical currents from the sun also affect the human body’s magnetic field. The environmental scientist Neil Cherry (2001) reviewed a large number of studies that identified significant physical, biological and health effects that are associated with changes in Solar and Geomagnetic Activity (S-GMA). He suggested that the Schumann Resonances (SR) frequencies that link solar and geomagnetic activity are what link solar activity to the effects on human health and behavior. The SR have ultra low frequency peaks at 7.8Hz, 14, 20, 26, 33, 39, 45, and 51 Hz, which closely overlap with the human brain (also see GCI commentary July 15, 2009, … 2009-07-15

Everything on Earth is driven by cycles. The “circadian rhythm” is a cycle every living being on Earth experiences, which is a roughly 24 hour (daily) cycle. Prof. Franz Halberg of the University of Minnesota and board member of GCI, coined the term circadian and is widely considered the “father of chronobiology”. Chronobiology is the science that examines cycles of living organisms as well as their adaption to solar and lunar related rhythms (Patrick at el., 2003). “Chrono” pertains to time, and biology to living organisms. The 24hr. cycle influences biochemical, physiological and behavioral processes.

Circadian cycle

The connection between the daily (circadian) and seasonal cycles and geomagnetic activity.
The human body is designed to adapt to daily and seasonal climatic variations. Environmental factors alter the hormone balance of the body, specifically the melatonin/ serotonin balance, which affect many physiological functions, e.g. blood pressure, breathing, immune system, reproductive, cardiac and neurological processes.

Research by Burch et al. (1996) and Rapoport et al. (1998) gives evidence that the melatonin levels are reduced during increased solar and geomagnetic activity. In rats, seasonal melatonin levels were correlated with the seasonal variations in the Earth’s geomagnetic field (Bartsch et al., 1994). Diseases like cancer, neurological disease, acute heart disease and heart attacks are all related to melatonin levels that are too low, as is accelerated aging. In the daily cycle, the blood pressure, heart rate, neurological, cardiopulmonary and reproductive functions are affected.

Since the fetus has melatonin receptors, an increase in sudden infant death is observed during higher Geomagnetic Activity (GMA). Also, reduced melatonin produces arrhythmic cardiac activity, e.g. cardiac activity dropped in rabbits during a magnetic storm (Chibisov et al., 1995).

In addition, clinical measurements have identified significant changes in blood pressure, blood flow, aggregation and coagulation, cardiac arrhythmia and heart rate variability during GMA events; all of these conditions are influenced by melatonin levels. EEG pattern, pulse rate, blood pressure and reaction time were measured in a group of people by Doronin et al., (1998). The authors noted that the oscillations in the Kp index had identical periods in the monitored EEG Alpha-Rhythm. This confirms that whole body changes occur in conjunction with GMA alteration by changing heart and brain patterns.

Another study by Pobachenko et al. (2006) monitored the Schumann resonances of the environment and the EEG in a frequency range between 6-16 Hz simultaneously. During a daily cycle, individuals studied showed variations in the EEG similar to changes in the Schumann resonances. Hence, the biological EEG rhythm is characteristic of the daily rhythm of the Schumann resonances. However, some deviations were observed for some individuals, which can be due to the individual’s adaptive ability. Due to the global interconnection between solar and geomagnetic activity, the ionospheric waveguide, Schumann resonances and the human brain (EEG) and heart, increased solar activity can disturb the biological rhythm of humans and animals and exacerbate existing diseases.

Increased solar activity and GMA is also correlated to a significant increase in heart attacks and incidence of death, myocardial infarction incidence (Villoresi et al., 1998), a 30% to 80% increase in hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease (Oraevskii et al, 1998) and cardiovascular death.

Neurological Effects correlated to GMA: The brain is a very sensitive electromagnetic organ. The Schumann Resonances appear to interact with the brain, altering the brain waves and neurohormone responses. Geomagnetic storms are strongly related to human health effects and death. Altered EEG rhythms and GMA have been observed by Belov et al. (1998). Strong GMA effects were identified as stressors, while low frequency magnetic oscillations had a sedative effect. A 10 Hz signal stimulates people; while a 3 Hz signal slows them down.

Also memory and attention were correlated to GMA (Tambiev et al., 1995); rats were observed to behave more aggressively during GMA events (St. Pierre and Persinger (1998); GMA and war (Persinger, 1999); crimes and GMA (1-3 days after solar activity). Rajaram and Mitra (1981) found a correlation between patients with seizures in Calcutta and GMA; increase in epileptic experiences during increased GMA; increase in hospitalization for mental disorders, psychiatric admission and suicide; and increase in depression after geomagnetic storm. GMA is also a trigger for migraine attacks. Birth rates were observed to drop and mortality to increase during increased solar and GMA (Zeitseva and Pudovkin, 1995).

Cycles related to the solar cycle: Schumann Resonances are closely correlated with the solar cycle, which include the daily, semi-weekly, weekly, 13.5 day and 27-28 day solar rotation, semiannual, annual, 11 year and 22 year cycles (Cornelissen et al., 1998). Dimitrov (1993) found a 7.5 and 11 year cycle in malignant melanoma.

Halberg et al. (2009) found more cycles being related to the solar cycle: Terrorism 39 year and ~ 16 month component (solar wind speed and geomagnetism), ~ 7 day rhythms in heart rate, ~1.3 year component in systolic blood pressure and terrorism, ~10 months and 5 months rhythms reflected in sudden cardiac death and cardiac arrhythmia.

Albert Einstein said

“Our task must be to free ourselves – by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

The next time you are outside on a sunny day, just realize how much the sun truly affects life on this planet.


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