3-Minute Earth and Space Weather News February 20, 2013: Sunspot Update, Quake Watch_Featured_, Earth, Space, Videos, Weather Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
3-Minute Earth and Space Weather News for February 20, 2013:
- Lava flowing down Mount Etna (YouTube video) – Volcanic lava flowing down Mount Etna on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at around 6am local time.
- Official: 14 hurt in Kansas City gas blast, fire – A gas explosion that sparked a massive, block-engulfing blaze in an upscale Kansas City shopping district injured 14 people. It is believed that an accident by a utility contractor may have caused the blast.
- Six Years in Space for THEMIS: Understanding the Magnetosphere Better Than Ever (see the image below) – Slight variations in the solar wind can have a drastic geomagnetic effect.
- Cassini Sheds Light on Cosmic Particle Accelerators – During a chance encounter with what appears to be an unusually strong blast of solar wind at Saturn, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft detected particles being accelerated to ultra-high energies. This is similar to the acceleration that takes place around distant supernovas.
- Nature follows a number pattern called Fibonacci – Fibonacci came up with a number sequence that keeps popping up throughout the plant kingdom, and the art world too. A fibonacci sequence is simple enough to generate: Starting with the number one, you merely add the previous two numbers in the sequence to generate the next one. So the sequence, early on, is 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on. To see how it works in nature, go outside and find an intact pine cone (or any other cone). Look carefully and you’ll notice that the bracts that make up the cone are arranged in a spiral. Actually two spirals, running in opposite directions, with one rising steeply and the other gradually from the cone’s base to its tip. Count the number of spirals in each direction—a job made easier by dabbing the bracts along one line of each spiral with a colored marker. The number of spirals in either direction will be a fibonacci number.
- There have been no major earthquakes in the last couple of days, however there was moderate activity in Alaska (5.0 quake) and Greenland (5.3 quake)
- Tropical Cyclone Haruna is developing between Africa and Madagascar.
- Monsoon making a comeback in Australia due to Madden Julian Oscillation – After having one of the driest starts to the wet season on record, the monsoon trough is making a comeback and is set to bring heavy rain and possibly a cyclone. Since the end of January when Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald battered the east coast, northern Australia has seen a decrease in monsoonal activity thanks to the Madden Julian Oscillation having left the region. The Madden Julian Oscillation is an eastward moving pulse of cloudy and rainy weather that affects the Australian region around every 30 to 60 days during the monsoon season. The oscillation is now becoming re-established in the Australian region, causing rain and thunderstorms to increase and elevating the risk of tropical cyclones.
- Parched western Queensland seeks drought declaration – While more rain is forecast for parts of south-east Queensland today, one region in the state’s far west will apply for a drought declaration due to prolonged dry conditions.
- Warming in Europe
- Storm brings tornadoes, hail and snow to Northern California – A storm out of the Gulf of Alaska Tuesday brought tornadoes to Tehama and Glenn Counties. The National Weather Service reported a tornado near Vina and another one north of Red Bluff at around 1:30 p.m.
- Up to 12 inches of snow expected across mid-US (from Denver to St. Louis). There will also be heavy winds in much of Texas with a low chance of a tornado.
- Cosmic ray density is going back up.
- There are a couple of coronal holes facing Earth.
- We are a few hours from the Neptune-solar conjunction. Because of that plus the coronal holes, we have a minor earthquake watch.