A new study published in Nature Communications shows that previous changes in the direction of Earth’s magnetic field reached rates that are up to 10 times larger than the fastest currently reported variations of up to one degree per year. The authors combined computer simulations of the field generation process with a recently published reconstruction of time variations in Earth’s magnetic field spanning the last 100 000 years.
Study authors, Dr. Chris Davies from the University of Leeds – School of Earth and Environment and Catherine Constable from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, in California, demonstrate that these rapid changes are associated with local weakening of the magnetic field.
This means these changes have generally occurred around times when the field has reversed polarity or during geomagnetic excursions when the dipole axis — corresponding to field lines that emerge from one magnetic pole and converge at the other — moves far from the locations of the North and South geographic poles.
The clearest example of this in their study is a sharp change in the geomagnetic field direction of roughly 2.5 degrees per year 39 000 years ago. This shift was associated with locally weak field strength, in a confined spatial region just off the west coast of Central America, and followed the global Laschamp excursion – a short reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field roughly 41 000 years ago.
Similar events are identified in computer simulations of the field which can reveal many more details of their physical origin than the limited paleomagnetic reconstruction.
This detailed analysis indicates that the fastest directional changes are associated with the movement of reversed flux patches across the surface of the liquid core. These patches are more prevalent at lower latitudes, suggesting that future searches for rapid changes in direction should focus on these areas.
“We have very incomplete knowledge of our magnetic field prior to 400 years ago. Since these rapid changes represent some of the more extreme behavior of the liquid core they could give important information about the behavior of Earth’s deep interior,” Dr. Davies said.
“Understanding whether computer simulations of the magnetic field accurately reflect the physical behavior of the geomagnetic field as inferred from geological records can be very challenging,” Professor Constable said.
“But in this case, we have been able to show excellent agreement in both the rates of change and general location of the most extreme events across a range of computer simulations.”
“Further study of the evolving dynamics in these simulations offers a useful strategy for documenting how such rapid changes occur and whether they are also found during times of stable magnetic polarity like what we are experiencing today.”
All images courtesy Christopher J. Davies & Catherine G. Constable, Nature Communications
“Rapid geomagnetic changes inferred from Earth observations and numerical simulations” – Christopher J. Davies & Catherine G. Constable – July 6, 2020 – Nature Communications volume 11, Article number: 3371 (2020) – DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16888-0 – OPEN ACCESS
Extreme variations in the direction of Earth’s magnetic field contain important information regarding the operation of the geodynamo. Paleomagnetic studies have reported rapid directional changes reaching 1° yr−1, although the observations are controversial and their relation to physical processes in Earth’s core unknown. Here we show excellent agreement between amplitudes and latitude ranges of extreme directional changes in a suite of geodynamo simulations and a recent observational field model spanning the past 100 kyrs. Remarkably, maximum rates of directional change reach ~10° yr−1, typically during times of decreasing field strength, almost 100 times faster than current changes. Detailed analysis of the simulations and a simple analogue model indicate that extreme directional changes are associated with movement of reversed flux across the core surface. Our results demonstrate that such rapid variations are compatible with the physics of the dynamo process and suggest that future searches for rapid directional changes should focus on low latitudes.
Featured image credit: Christopher J. Davies & Catherine G. Constable, Nature Communications
Over the past 200 years, Earth’s magnetic field has lost around 9% of its strength. Meanwhile, a large region of reduced magnetic intensity has developed between Africa and South America — known as South Atlantic Anomaly. Over the past 5 years, however, a second center of minimum intensity has emerged southwest of Africa, suggesting that the South Atlantic Anomaly could split up into two separate cells.
Earth’s magnetic field is vital to life on our planet– it is a complex and dynamic force that protects living beings from cosmic radiation and charged particles from the Sun.
The current prevailing understanding is that it’s largely generated by a sea of superheated, swirling liquid iron that makes up Earth’s outer core around 3 000 km (1 864 miles) below the surface. It acts as a spinning conductor, producing electrical currents that generate the continuously changing electromagnetic field.
Image credit: World Data Center for Geomagnetism/Kyoto University
Image credit: World Data Center for Geomagnetism/Kyoto University
For the past 200 years, the magnetic field has lost about 9 percent of its strength on a worldwide average.
Meanwhile, a large region of reduced magnetic intensity has developed between Africa and South America — known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.
The South Atlantic Anomaly refers to an area where our protective shield is weak. This animation shows the magnetic field strength at Earth’s surface from 2014-2020 based on data collected by the Swarm satellite constellation. Credit: ESA
The minimum field strength in this area has pummeled from 24 000 nanoteslas to 22 000 from 1970 to 2020. At the same time, the area of the anomaly has expanded and advanced westward at a pace of around 20 km (12 miles) per year.
In addition, for the past five years, a second center of minimum intensify has appeared southwest of Africa, indicating that the South Atlantic Anomaly could rupture into two separate cells.
The magnetic field is commonly pictured as a powerful dipolar bar magnet at the planet’s core, tilted at about 11° to the axis of rotation. However, the growth of the anomaly signifies that the process involved in generating the field is more complex as simple dipolar models were not capable of accounting for the latest development of the second minimum.
The South Atlantic Anomaly refers to an area where our protective shield is weak. White dots on the map indicate individual events when Swarm instruments registered the impact of radiation from April 2014 to August 2019. The background is the magnetic field strength at the satellite altitude of 450 km (280 miles). Credit: ESA
Scientists from the Swarm Data, Innovation, and Science Cluster (DISC) used information from ESA’s Swarm satellite constellation to study the anomaly and have a better understanding of it. Swarm satellites are built to determine and accurately measure the different magnetic signals comprising the Earth’s magnetic field.
“The new, eastern minimum of the South Atlantic Anomaly has appeared over the last decade and in recent years is developing vigorously,” said Jurgen Matzka from the German Research Center for Geosciences.
“We are very lucky to have the Swarm satellites in orbit to investigate the development of the South Atlantic Anomaly. The challenge now is to understand the processes in Earth’s core driving these changes.”
Image credit: ESA/ATG Medialab
Scientists have been speculating whether the present weakening of the field is an indication that the planet is heading for an imminent pole reversal, in which the north and south magnetic poles reverse places.
Such events have happened many times throughout the Earth’s history, and we are long overdue by the average rate — roughly every 250 000 years at which the switch occurs.
While the mysterious origin of South Atlantic Anomaly is yet to be identified, ESA said that at the surface level it does not present a cause for alarm. However, satellites and other spacecraft flying through the area are more likely to experience technical malfunctions as the magnetic field is weaker in this region, so charged particles can penetrate the altitudes of low-Earth orbit satellites. In addition, SWARM scientists think the intensity dip in the South Atlantic occurring now is well within what is considered normal levels of fluctuations.
There were 281 climate-related and geophysical events recorded in the EM-DAT (International Disaster Database) in 2018. These caused deaths of 10 733 people and affected 61 million people across the world. There were a number of major disasters in certain regions, however, there were no mega-disasters which inflate yearly averages, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) who manages EM-DAT said. Earthquakes and tsunamis accounted for the majority of the 10 373 lives lost.
Notable features of the year were intense seismic activity in Indonesia, a string of disasters in Japan, floods in India, and a very eventful year in volcanic activity (which resulted in more deaths than have occurred in the previous 18 years combined) and wildfires. These events continued to occupy headlines, CRED said.
An ongoing trend of lower death tolls from previous years continued into 2018, potentially demonstrating the efficacy of improved standards of living and disaster management. However, it is critical to avoid complacency towards major gaps in data collection and reporting and resilience, particularly for climate-related disasters, which are forecasted to increase in both frequency and intensity.
Globally, Indonesia recorded nearly half the total deaths from disasters in 2018, while India recorded nearly half the total number of individuals affected. The following data are events recorded in EM-DAT. As estimations become more accurate over time, figures will be adjusted, particularly for economic losses.
The original file posted by CRED can be found at the following link.
Earthquakes and tsunamis (20 events)
Earthquakes and tsunamis have been the deadliest disaster in the 21st century and this trend continued in 2018. The concentration of the damage was in South-East Asia and Melanesia, specifically in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea respectively.
In the early months of the year, a string of earthquakes in Papua New Guinea left 181 dead, and affected over half a million people, many of whom lived in remote highlands which were difficult to reach by aid and rescue operations.
In Indonesia, the island of Lombok suffered multiple earthquakes, the deadliest being on August 5th, which killed 564 people. On September 28th, an earthquake triggered mudflows and a tsunami on the island of Sulawesi killing 3 400 people, making it the deadliest disaster of 2018.
Storms (84 events)
Every year, storms impact millions of people, and create billions of dollars (USD) in damage; 2018 was the same.
Two major storms struck the United States, while in Asia, China, India, Japan, and the Philippines faced extensive damage from multiple storms.
It is anticipated that storms, particularly due to hurricanes Florence (14 billion USD) and Michael (16 billion USD) and typhoon Jebi (12.5 billion USD), will be the costliest type of disaster of 2018.
EM-DAT is awaiting final data on the economic damage from these events.
Floods (108 events)
Overall, floods have affected more people than any other type of natural hazard in the 21st century, including 2018. Overall, there was a respite from floods in 2018, with Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Vietnam, which often face relentless floods reporting fewer events this year. However, major floods were reported in other countries.
In Somalia, which is already suffering from an ongoing conflict, over 700 000 people were affected by flooding, while in Nigeria, flooding cost 300 lives and impacted nearly four million people.
In Japan, heavy rains triggered the deadliest floods since 1982, killing 230 people.
The August flooding of India’s Kerala state was by far the largest flood event of the year, with 504 dead, and two-thirds of the state’s residents affected (over 23 million people).
Currently, CRED is undertaking an epidemiological study in this region to investigate the impacts of the flooding on gender and disease.
Volcanic activity (7 events)
Volcanic activity rarely makes headlines, and has had minimal impacts since the turn of the century; however, in 2018 this natural hazard resulted in more deaths than have occurred in the previous 18 years combined.
In June, the Volcán de Fuego Eruption in Guatemala killed over 400 people and affected over 1.7 million, while late in December, the eruption of Anak Krakatau in Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed over 400 people on the islands of Sumatra and Java.
Droughts and extreme temperatures (39 events)
The direct impact of climate change on human populations will increasingly be felt through catastrophic phenomena, such as drought and extreme temperatures. The human repercussions of these events, as experienced by the EM-DAT team, are typically poorly reported, especially from low-income countries.
This is partly due to methodological difficulties in registering deaths and the severe consequences caused by droughts and extreme temperatures.
In 2018, three million people were affected by an ongoing drought in Kenya, while Afghanistan suffered a major drought that impacted 2.2 million people, causing the internal displacement of thousands.
In Central America droughts affected over 2.5 million people in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, which coincided with international migration patterns. Across Europe, a hot and dry summer caused heatwaves and drought conditions that affected farmers and health systems in numerous countries.
Due to the privileged economic situation of many European countries, there are reduced impacts from persistent heat exposure and water shortages on the population.
With the growing impact of climate change, particularly in lower and lower-middle income countries, it is critical to improve the reporting on the human impact of droughts and extreme temperatures.
Wildfires (9 events)
Across the world, the trend of devastating wildfires continued from 2017 into 2018. In 2018, the Attica Fires in Greece, killed an estimated 126 people, making it the deadliest wildfire recorded in Europe within EM-DAT records, both this current and previous century.
In the United States, the California wildfire season was the deadliest and costliest on record, with Camp Fire killing 88 people, the highest wildfire death toll in the country since the 1920s, and causing an estimated 16.5 billion USD in damage, the costliest wildfire event on record.
For the statistics, go to the source: https://watchers.news/2019/01/25/2018-natural-disasters-statistics-cred/
March 24, 2018 Update: “Something’s Not Right in Southern Oregon”
— “I have 2 large bird feeders and 2 hummingbird feeders that I’ve been refilling all winter — until about a week ago! Nothing — no birds! We also have a large population of geese that are always in our park, but nothing for over a week?”
– GG, Worried Resident, Grants Pass Oregon valley
— “Are we about to experience a severe natural disaster?”
– Resident, Rogue Valley, Oregon on March 19, 2018
UPDATE – March 24, 2018 Rogue Valley, Oregon – Since my March 19th Earthfiles report and March 21st Earthfiles YouTube Update about the puzzling and disturbing lack of birds in Rogue Valley, Oregon, near Medford, and possible link to impending earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone there, I have received the following comments from viewers and listeners.
To: Linda Moulton Howe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: Birds Also Missing in Grants Pass Oregon valley
Date: March 23, 2018
I live in the Grants Pass Oregon valley. I have only lived here for a few years, but one of my joys of the valley is feeding my birds! Swallows, hummingbirds, robins throughout the season and especially the winter. I have 2 large bird feeders and 2 hummingbird feeders that I’ve been refilling all winter — until about a week ago! Nothing — no birds! We also have a large population of geese that are always in our park, but nothing for over a week?
We also own a home in the Smith River Oregon area. We have also noticed our large robin population has vacated?
We have lived in that area for over 40 years. The robins are always, always early morning feeders for us. Have not seen ANY in over a week?
We will be even more aware now to see what our large elk population and wildlife are doing….
To read more, go to link: from: https://www.earthfiles.com/2018/03/24/march-24-2018-update-somethings-not-right-in-southern-oregon/
A post about the jet stream now crossing the equator, published by Robert Scribbler yesterday, is making a lot of noise on social networks today.
In his post, titled “Gigantic Gravity Waves to Mix Summer With Winter? Wrecked Jet Stream Now Runs From Pole-to-Pole,” Scribbler writes:
“The Jet Stream now has redefined all boundaries — flowing at times from the East Siberian Sea in the Arctic across the Equator and all the way south to West Antarctica.
That’s bad news for seasonality.
Prevention of mixing of air between Hemispheres by the thick, hot tropical air mass is what has generated a strong division between Summer and Winter during the Holocene Climate Epoch.
However, erode that boundary and you get more Summer heat spilling over into the Winter zone and vice versa. You get this weather-destabilizing and extreme weather generating mixing of seasons that is all part of a very difficult to deal with ‘Death of Winter’ type scenario.”
Later on, Paul Beckwith, a part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues) at the University of Ottawa, published this video, explaining what’s going on, from his perspective:
“Our climate system behavior continues to behave in new and scary ways that we have never anticipated, or seen before. Welcome to climate chaos. We must declare a global climate emergency,” Beckwith concludes.
Featured image: Wind – 250 hPa – June 28, 2016 @ 09:00 UTC. Credit: earthnullschool
The prophecy was written 70 years ago.. and it’s absolutely mind-blowing!
Peter Konstantinov Deunov, also known as Beinsa Douno, born in 1886 and who later passed away in 1944, left a prophecy that he had obtained through a trance based state. The prophecy was therefore dated as 1944, a few days before his death in December that year. The prophecy Beinsa Douno left fits right into the times we are going through right now, in relation to the shift in consciousness, the earth changes and our golden age. Back then, Douno was aware and taught that we were moving into the age of Aquarius, as per the astrological age system.
“During the passage of time, the consciousness of man traversed a very long period of obscurity. This phase which the Hindus call ‘Kali Yuga’, is on the verge of ending. We find ourselves today at the frontier between two epochs: that of Kali Yuga and that of the New Era that we are entering.
A gradual improvement is already occurring in the thoughts, sentiments and acts of humans, but everybody will soon be subjugated to divine Fire, that will purify and prepare them in regards to the New Era. Thus man will raise himself to a superior degree of consciousness, indispensable to his entrance to the New Life. That is what one understands by ‘Ascension’.
Some decades will pass before this Fire will come, that will transform the world by bringing it a new moral. This immense wave comes from cosmic space and will inundate the entire earth. All those that attempt to oppose it will be carried off and transferred elsewhere.
Although the inhabitants of this planet do not all find themselves at the same degree of evolution, the new wave will be felt by each one of us. And this transformation will not only touch the Earth, but the ensemble of the entire Cosmos.
The best and only thing that man can do now is to turn towards God and improve himself consciously, to elevate his vibratory level, so as to find himself in harmony with the powerful wave that will soon submerge him
The Fire of which I speak, that accompanies the new conditions offered to our planet, will rejuvenate, purify, reconstruct everything: the matter will be refined, your hearts will be liberated from anguish, troubles, incertitude, and they will become luminous; everything will be improved, elevated; the thoughts, sentiments and negative acts will be consumed and destroyed.
Your present life is a slavery, a heavy prison. Understand your situation and liberate yourself from it. I tell you this: exit from your prison! It is really sorry to see so much misleading, so much suffering, so much incapacity to understand where one’s true happiness lies.
Everything that is around you will soon collapse and disappear. Nothing will be left of this civilization nor its perversity; the entire earth will be shaken and no trace will be left of this erroneous culture that maintains men under the yoke of ignorance. Earthquakes are not only mechanical phenomena, their goal is also to awaken the intellect and the heart of humans, so that they liberate themselves from their errors and their follies and that they understand that they are not the only ones in the universe.
Our solar system is now traversing a region of the Cosmos where a constellation that was destroyed left its mark, its dust. This crossing of a contaminated space is a source of poisoning, not only for the inhabitants of the earth, but for all the inhabitants of the other planets of our galaxy. Only the suns are not affected by the influence of this hostile environment. This region is called “the thirteenth zone”; one also calls it “the zone of contradictions”. Our planet was enclosed in this region for thousands of years, but finally we are approaching the exit of this space of darkness and we are on the point of attaining a more spiritual region, where more evolved beings live.
The earth is now following an ascending movement and everyone should force themselves to harmonize with the currents of the ascension. Those who refuse to subjugate themselves to this orientation will lose the advantage of good conditions that are offered in the future to elevate themselves. They will remain behind in evolution and must wait tens of millions of years for the coming of a new ascending wave.
The earth, the solar system, the universe, all are being put in a new direction under the impulsion of Love. Most of you still consider Love as a derisory force, but in reality, it is the greatest of all forces! Money and power continue to be venerated as if the course of your life depended upon it. In the future, all will be subjugated to Love and all will serve it. But it is through suffering and difficulties that the consciousness of man will be awakened.
The terrible predictions of the prophet Daniel written in the bible relate to the epoch that is opening. There will be floods, hurricanes, gigantic fires and earthquakes that will sweep away everything. Blood will flow in abundance. There will be revolutions; terrible explosions will resound in numerous regions of the earth. There where there is earth, water will come, and there where there is water, earth will come. God is Love; yet we are dealing here with a chastisement, a reply by Nature against the crimes perpetrated by man since the night of time against his Mother; the Earth.
After these sufferings, those that will be saved, the elite, will know the Golden Age, harmony and unlimited beauty. Thus keep your peace and your faith when the time comes for suffering and terror, because it is written that not a hair will fall from the head of the just. Don’t be discouraged, simply follow your work of personal perfection.
You have no idea of the grandiose future that awaits you. A New Earth will soon see day. In a few decades the work will be less exacting, and each one will have the time to consecrate spiritual, intellectual and artistic activities. The question of rapport between man and woman will be finally resolved in harmony; each one having the possibility of following their aspirations. The relations of couples will be founded on reciprocal respect and esteem. Humans will voyage through the different planes of space and breakthrough intergalactic space. They will study their functioning and will rapidly be able to know the Divine World, to fusion with the Head of the Universe.
The New Era is that of the sixth race. Your predestination is to prepare yourself for it, to welcome it and to live it. The sixth race will build itself around the idea of Fraternity. There will be no more conflicts of personal interests; the single aspiration of each one will be to conform himself to the Law of Love. The sixth race will be that of Love. A new continent will be formed for it. It will emerge from the Pacific, so that the Most High can finally establish His place on this planet.
The founders of this new civilization, I call them ‘Brothers of Humanity’ or also ‘Children of Love’. They will be unshakeable for the good and they will represent a new type of men. Men will form a family, as a large body, and each people will represent an organ in this body. In the new race, Love will manifest in such a perfect manner, that today’s man can only have a very vague idea.
The earth will remain a terrain favourable to struggle, but the forces of darkness will retreat and the earth will be liberated from them. Humans seeing that there is no other path will engage themselves to the path of the New Life, that of salvation. In their senseless pride, some will, to the end hope to continue on earth a life that the Divine Order condemns, but each one will finish by understanding that the direction of the world doesn’t belong to them.
A new culture will see the light of day, it will rest on three principal foundations: the elevation of woman, the elevation of the meek and humble, and the protection of the rights of man.
The light, the good, and justice will triumph; it is just a question of time. The religions should be purified. Each contains a particle of the Teaching of the Masters of Light, but obscured by the incessant supply of human deviation. All the believers will have to unite and to put themselves in agreement with one principal, that of placing Love as the base of all belief, whatever it may be. Love and Fraternity that is the common base! The earth will soon be swept by extraordinary rapid waves of Cosmic Electricity. A few decades from now beings who are bad and lead others astray will not be able to support their intensity. They will thus be absorbed by Cosmic Fire that will consume the bad that they possess. Then they will repent because it is written that “each flesh shall glorify God”.
Our mother, the earth, will get rid of men that don’t accept the New Life. She will reject them like damaged fruit. They will soon not be able to reincarnate on this planet; criminals included. Only those that possess Love in them will remain.
There is not any place on earth that is not dirtied with human or animal blood; she must therefore submit to a purification. And it is for this that certain continents will be immersed while others will surface. Men do not suspect to what dangers they are menaced by. They continue to pursue futile objectives and to seek pleasure. On the contrary those of the sixth race will be conscious of the dignity of their role and respectful of each one’s liberty. They will nourish themselves exclusively from products of the vegetal realm. Their ideas will have the power to circulate freely as the air and light of our days.
The words “If you are not born again” apply to the sixth race. Read Chapter 60 of Isaiah it relates to the coming of the sixth race, the Race of Love.
After the Tribulations, men will cease to sin and will find again the path of virtue. The climate of our planet will be moderated everywhere and brutal variations will no longer exist. The air will once again become pure, the same for water. The parasites will disappear. Men will remember their previous incarnations and they will feel the pleasure of noticing that they are finally liberated from their previous condition.
In the same manner that one gets rid of the parasites and dead leaves on the vine, so act the evolved Beings to prepare men to serve the God of Love. They give to them good conditions to grow and to develop themselves, and to those that want to listen to them, they say: “Do not be afraid! Still a little more time and everything will be all right; you are on the good path. May he that wants to enter in the New Culture study, consciously work and prepare.”
Thanks to the idea of Fraternity, the earth will become a blessed place, and that will not wait. But before, great sufferings will be sent to awaken the consciousness. Sins accumulated for thousands of years must be redeemed. The ardent wave emanating from On High will contribute in liquidating the karma of peoples. The liberation can no longer be postponed. Humanity must prepare itself for great trials that are inescapable and are coming to bring an end to egoism.
Under the earth, something extraordinary is preparing itself. A revolution that is grandiose and completely inconceivable will manifest itself soon in nature. God has decided to redress the earth, and He will do it! It is the end of an epoch; a new order will substitute the old, an order in which Love will reign on earth.”
Photo of “Rocky Fire” in Lake County California, August 2, 2015
Modern industrialized society has inflicted immense damage to our planet and it’s life support systems. Though there are countless forms of anthropogenic destruction, climate engineering is the most expansive and lethal of all. If you don’t believe those in power have the right to control the climate system and your future, then make your voice heard in this battle. Reading this article or a thousand more like it won’t get the job done, we must all make every possible effort to wake others by sharing critical and credible data with them and asking them to also help spread the word. If we do not all take a stand today, we will not have tomorrow. DW
Over the past 24 hours (up to 5pm CDT June 25, 2015) a series of large earthquakes has struck across 3,000 miles of the West Pacific.
A single M6.0 struck, along with a flurry of M5.0 events spanning the area from North of New Zealand West to Indonesia.
This renewed movement along the Central West Pacific was expected, especially the area where the M6.0 struck — we were watching this area for a shallow earthquake to strike after we saw deep movement below the plate.
After several days of relative “silence” we now begin to see renewed larger activity across the warned areas.
Here’s More Proof Earth Is in Its 6th Mass Extinction
by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | June 19, 2015
Mei Xiang, a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. There are fewer than 2,500 mature giant pandas left in the wild, according to the IUCN.
Credit: Abby Wood, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Diverse animals across the globe are slipping away and dying as Earth enters its sixth mass extinction, a new study finds.
Over the last century, species of vertebrates are dying out up to 114 times faster than they would have without human activity, said the researchers, who used the most conservative estimates to assess extinction rates. That means the number of species that went extinct in the past 100 years would have taken 11,400 years to go extinct under natural extinction rates, the researchers said.
Much of the extinction is due to human activities that lead to pollution, habitat loss, the introduction of invasive species and increased carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification, the researchers said.
“Our activities are causing a massive loss of species that has no precedent in the history of humanity and few precedents in the history of life on Earth,” said lead researcher Gerardo Ceballos, a professor of conservation ecology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a visiting professor at Stanford University.
Ceballos said that, ever since he was a child, he struggled to understand why certain animals went extinct. In the new study, he and his colleagues focused on the extinction rates of vertebrates, which include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes.
Scientists found that species are dying off more than 100 times faster than they would without human activity.
Credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist
First, they needed to establish how many species go extinct naturally over time. They used data from a 2011 study in the journal Nature showing that typically, the world has two extinctions per 10,000 vertebrate species every 100 years. That study based its estimate on fossil and historical records.
Moreover, that background extinction rate, the researchers found, was higher than that found in other studies, which tend to report half that rate, the researchers said.
Then, Ceballos and his colleagues calculated the modern extinction rate. They used data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international organization that tracks threatened and endangered species. The 2014 IUCN Red List gave them the number of extinct and possibly extinct vertebrate species since 1500.
These lists allowed them to calculate two extinction rates: a highly conservative rate based solely on extinct vertebrates, and a conservative rate based on both extinct and possibly extinct vertebrates, the researchers said.
According to the natural background rate, just nine vertebrate species should have gone extinct since 1900, the researchers found. But, using the conservative, modern rate, 468 more vertebrates have gone extinct during that period, including 69 mammal species, 80 bird species, 24 reptile species, 146 amphibian species and 158 fish species, they said.
“Every time we lose a species, we’re eroding the possibilities of Earth to provide us with environmental services,” Ceballos told Live Science.
Researchers typically label an event a mass extinction when more than 5 percent of Earth’s species goes extinct in a short period of time, geologically speaking. Based on the fossil record, researchers know about five mass extinctions, the last of which happened 65 million years ago, when an asteroid wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs.
“[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event,” study researcher Paul Ehrlich, a professor of population studies in biology at Stanford University, said in a statement.
At this rate, a huge amount of biodiversity will be lost in as little as two to three human lifetimes, Ceballos said. And it can take millions of years for life to recover and repopulate the Earth, he said.
Species make up distinct populations that can spread over a continent. But some vertebrate populations have so few individuals left that they cannot efficiently play their role in the ecosystem, Ceballos said.
The snow leopard (Panthera uncial) is endangered; its numbers have declined by at least 20 percent over the past 16 years, mainly due to poaching and loss of habitat and prey, according to the IUCN.
Credit: Dennis W. Donohue | Shutterstock.com
For instance, elephant populations are now far and few between. “The same [goes for] lions, cheetah, rhinos, jaguars — you name it,” Ceballos said.
“Basically, focusing on a species is good because those are the units of evolution and ecosystem function, but populations are in even worse shape than species,” he added.
However, there is still time to save wildlife by working with conservationists and creating animal-friendly public policy, he said.
“Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations — notably, habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change,” the researchers wrote in the study, published online today (June 19) in the journal Science Advances.
The study supports other findings on Earth’s high extinction rate, said Clinton Jenkins, a visiting professor at the Institute of Ecological Research in Brazil, who was not involved with the study.
In 2014, Jenkins and his colleagues published a study in the journal Science that came to the same broad conclusions detailed in the new study, but in last year’s study, they also included flowering and cone plants. That study found that current extinction rates are about 1,000 times higher than they would be without human activities.
“This latest study is further evidence of a human-induced mass extinction now underway,” Jenkins told Live Science. “Much like the situation with human-caused climate change, years of research have built an enormous scientific case that humanity is driving a mass extinction. What the world’s many species now need are actions to reverse the problem.”
“Indian Hills golf course staff have posted an update regarding the eruption of natural gas this week. Earlier this week the course was closed because naturally occurring gases had been observed being released from the ground in a localized area of the golf course. There continues to be no risk to the public outside of the site. The monitoring and testing will continue. The declared localized emergency remains in effect.
” Here is our understanding at this time. We cannot allow anyone on the golf course until we know that the situation is stable and no gas is leaking from the ground. We have all the required survey’s and tests lined up to take place today, tomorrow and over the weekend and into the start of next week. We hope to reopen by next weekend and should be able to have clear answers to exactly what happened.
“As of 10am on Friday things are looking almost normal which is allowing us to do further tests that will ensure the publics safety. Thanks for everyones understanding of the situation.”
Lambton Shores Deputy Mayor Cook stated “The Municipality is continuing to work with the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, as the owners of the golf course in conjunction with experts in this area.” Residents are being asked to stay away from the immediate area until advised that the situation has been resolved.
The public may call 2-1-1 for any updates on the situation.”
Cause of natural gas bubbles in Lambton Shores thought to be natural
“Municipal officials in Lambton Shores declared a “localized state of emergency” Thursday, one day after a natural gas leak at a local golf course bubbled and released methane gas.
Doug Cook, the town’s deputy mayor, announced the state of emergency for the Indian Hills Golf Course and surrounding subdivision following a meeting of the Municipal Emergency Control group.
Gas has continued to leak into the air since Wednesday morning, and with no indication of when it might stop.
“We’re hoping it will dissipate in the near future,” Cook told The Observer. “There may be more radical steps to take if not, but at this point, there’s not much we can do.”
Firefighters and Lambton OPP responded to reports shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday from a nearby First Nations group of a strange odour coming from a creek.
The golf course was evacuated when the leak was discovered, and access to Indian Hill Trail West remains restricted, said Const. Travis Parsons, the OPP’s community services and media relations officer.
Cook said the evacuation was a precautionary measure and there is no risk to the public outside the gas leak site.
The cause of the leak is under investigation and is assumed to be naturally occurring gas venting to the surface. If that’s the case, it would be a rare incident since natural gas is usually found in pockets deep into the ground.
Natural gas, used as an energy source for heating, cooking, and power generation, is flammable when it mixes with air at certain concentrations.
Union Gas accompanied the firefighters to the site and determined the leak was indeed natural gas and contained methane, according to Andrea Stass, Union Gas’ manager of media relations. The utility company does not have any natural gas pipelines in the area, she added.
Representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Natural Resources are working in tandem to monitor the leak, but are not responsible for testing or determining the cause of the gas bubbles.
“Our focus is making sure the sampling work is done to determine the cause,” said environment ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan. “Once we have that or further information, that will really help us to determine what the appropriate next steps are.”
That responsibility falls to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation who technically own the land. It also falls within the municipality. As such, the First Nation has hired a consultant to determine where the gas is coming from.
The environment ministry did a review of the area for any possible sources of methane, but found nothing, Jordan said.
While there is a commercial sewage treatment plant on the golf course that sends treated “effluent” back to the creek, the ministry concluded “there is no indication that the sewage treatment plant or its effluent could be contributing to the methane release.”
The ministry also determined there is no possibility that the methane would present a health risk to people outside the immediate area, Jordan said. The municipality’s drinking water is safe.
“While signs may point to this being a naturally occurring gas leak, this has not been confirmed definitively,” Jordan said.
But Cook said with no possible sources of man-made pollutants releasing the methane, the consensus and “best opinion” is the gas leak is natural.
He added he had never heard of a naturally occurring gas leak before. Stass from Union Gas said she had heard of one other case in over 15 years working with the Chatham-based utility.
Lambton Shores, the First Nation and its consultant, as well as Ministry of the Environment officials are meeting again Friday. Until then, the state of emergency remains in effect and the public is advised to avoid the area.”