Walk to 350 – Huntsville, AL

28 08 2009

Walk to 350

I am trying to organize a group to attend a walk in correlation with many around the world as we strive to reduce CO2 levels back down to 350. Thousands of people around the world are joining in the cause and I’m trying to help bring it home – bringing it here to Huntsville, AL. Consisting of a short walk around downtown and Big Spring Park and leading into food, drinks and entertainment as well as a visit to the museum of art, I want this to be a success! The tentative time is at 3pm on October 24th (the global ‘350’ day). I am looking for attendees or supporters – maybe a vendor or two or whatever you can help with. Email me if you’re interested in participating or helping!

dwales@hunspot.org





Two Jupiters That Shouldn’t Be – Retrograded and Tidally Ignorant

27 08 2009

WASP – The “Wide Area Search (for) Planets” is collaboration between various UK universities. Among modern collaborations, it is fit that it has become one of the most successful. Recent findings in the WASP program shine light on anti-fundamental understanding on astrophysics, planetary tidal effects and more. I’ll cast a little light on two of the discoveries by the program in this blog post.

An artist's impression of a transisting exoplanet.
An artist’s impression of a transiting exoplanet. (Credit: NASA/Hubble)

The first is the discovery of WASP-17 – a superhot gas-giant orbiting a star approximately 1,000 light years away. It was just another discovery of an extrasolar gas-giant, one of several found by the program until it was discovered that the planet had a strange behavior – a very strange behavior. It was found that WASP-17 actually orbited its star in reverse; it orbited in the opposite direction it was ‘supposed’ to orbit. It is well known that early star formations and young galaxies are very violent places – planetary collisions, streaming hot waves of gas and radiation and a hungry and devouring star at its center. When stars form, their planets form spinning and orbiting the same direction as the star when it formed…or so we thought. The star (and galaxy) rotates one way while WASP-17 rotates the other. No one really knows why or how this happened – it’s the first retrograde-orbiting planet discovered, but there’s a good guess looming out there.

Artist's impression shows a gas-giant exoplanet transisting across the face of a star.
Artist’s impression shows a gas-giant exoplanet transiting across the face of its star. (Credit: ESA/C. Carreau)

As mentioned, young galaxies and stars are quite violent – it is thought that perhaps early in WASP-17’s life, it collided with another, larger planet orbiting the same star. This collision flung WASP-17 the other way, causing its retrograde orbit. Collisions of this kind are quite common in this type of scenario – it’s actually the way our moon was formed – a mars-sized planetary body collided with earth sending massive clouds of dust and debris into space which eventually synthesized into what we call the moon.
Another interesting discovery of the WASP project was their next discover, WASP-18. WASP-18 was discovered by luck and chance, only being about a one in a thousand chance of being discovered^. The situation with WASP-18 is it is a planet with a mass ten times that of Jupiter but circles it’s star in less than one earth day. One Earth Day. Not only is its orbit as fast as is described, but its distance from its star is only about three stellar radii. That’s close. No one can quite figure out why the planet hasn’t already spiraled inward to its devouring doom within its parent star. According to what we know about planetary tidal forces and the gravity of bodies the size of the planet and its star, the planet should have been destroyed over a million years ago but yet it’s still spinning, orbiting the star. The only explanation for the scenario is that a) the tidal dissipation for that particular solar system is a thousand times less than that of our solar system or b) Our understanding of physics and tidal forces are limited to the scope of our own solar system – that things ‘out there’ are much, much different.
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Science and Technology Facilities Council (2009, August 28). Huge New Planet Orbits ‘Wrong’ Way Around Star; Tells Of Game Of Planetary Billiards. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/08/090827134159.htm
Nature (2009, August 27). Extrasolar Hot Jupiter: The Planet That ‘Shouldn’t Exist’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/08/090827132901.htm





Summer 2009 Climate Report – Huntsville, AL

19 08 2009

This post is a personal research project that I am evaluating. Over the course of 2 months, I have recorded the high and low temperatures at the weather station at the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, AL. Along with the temperatures, I have also recorded the amount of rain which fell on which day – a visual aid in analyzing the temperature departures from normal (why was so and so day colder than the rest….look, it rained over an inch that day!).

Rainfall Amounts Per Day at Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, AL - Summer 2009
Rainfall Amounts Per Day at the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, AL (Summer 2009)

The summer seems to be a typical one – temperatures only straying from normal by a margin of more than 10 degrees only twice during the recorded dates. One was a heat wave which swept through the valley during Mid-to-Late June whereas we had a cold spell (or cool spell) during Late July. Rainfall during this period wasn’t spread out over the course of the period but rather came in bursts which left many reports of flash flooding in the area.

Recorded and Average Temperatures at Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, AL - Summer2009
Recorded and Average Temperatures at the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, AL (Summer 2009)





Hot Sea Running

17 08 2009

Guest Post from Dan Satterfield

A lot of tropical news this week. The 2009 hurricane season in the Atlantic has stirred to life quickly with two (Update Sunday: 3 !) tropical storms forming on Saturday. It’s not at all unusual to have little hurricane activity until August. The season runs from June 1st to November 30, but the prime season is from Aug, 1st to mid September. American forecasters have an old saying that there will almost always be a hurricane on the weather maps when Labour Day arrives.

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From NOAA/NCDC. The bigger the dot the more the temperature was warmer or colder than normal.

These storms form in very warm ocean. The National Climate Data Center (NOAA) released the July global land and ocean temperatures on Saturday. Ocean temps were the warmest on record for July. The land and ocean temps were the 5th warmest on the instrumental record. This follows June 2009 which also came in as warmest.

Another interesting bit of tropical news this week is a new paper published in Nature on hurricanes of the past. One of the great debates in science right now is the question of whether climate change will bring more hurricanes or fewer. The debate has raged between two opposing groups. Kerry Emanuel of MIT has produced interesting evidence that we have seen an increase in hurricanes already due to the warming of the past 50 years.

Chris Landsea of NOAA has produced evidence that we are just detecting more tropical storms, and that there has not been an increase. I had a chance a couple of years ago to hear both of them present at the AMS meeting in San Antonio. I left with the firm conviction that the question remains open. Understand here, that this debate is not about climate change in general.Despite what you read on the Internet, science has moved on from that.

One thing that does seem very certain now is that hurricanes in the warmer world of late this century, will be wetter. Perhaps considerably wetter. The kind of catastrophic flooding we saw in Taiwan this past week, will likely be more common in the future.

Why you ask? Water vapour.

GOES Image of Tropical Storm Bill Early Sunday. from NASA MSFC
GOES Image of Tropical Storm Bill Early Sunday. from NASA MSFC

If the average temperature of the air over the oceans rises 1 degree F, the air can hold 4% more water. (This is one reason why more snow is likely in Antarctica as it warms, not less. A 3C rise in temp. by late this century would bring an increase of around 22% in the amount of water held in the atmosphere! (You won’t see that bit of science on these junk science sites)

Sea surface temperatures are a major factor in hurricane formation. If the sea surface temperature is below about 27C then hurricanes are not likely. Upper level wind shear and atmospheric water vapour are other important ingredients.

Other factors like wind shear in the upper atmosphere act to inhibit hurricanes. The El Nino that develops every 4-7 years in the Pacific, increases the wind shear over the Atlantic, and we usually see fewer storms. Will there be more wind shear in a warmer world? Possibly. Conditions could combine to produce about the same number of storms in the future. (Much wetter ones though)

Micheal Mann of Penn State University is the lead author of a fascinating paper in this weeks NATURE. His team used soil/silt cores in a series of locations to estimate past hurricanes. If a hurricane hits a coastline, the overwash of sea water will leave a deposit that can be identified in the cores. They used these sediment cores to estimate hurricane activity over the last 1500 years. In addition, they used a statistical model that factored in variables like sea surface temperature to estimate storms as well.

Reconstruction of landfalling Atlantic hurricanes. Nature 460, 880-883 (13 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08219;   Atlantic hurricanes and climate over the past 1,500 years  Michael E. Mann, Jonathan D. Woodruff2 et al
Reconstruction of landfalling Atlantic hurricanes. Nature 460, 880-883 (13 August 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08219; Atlantic hurricanes and climate over the past 1,500 years Michael E. Mann, Jonathan D. Woodruff2 et al

They found that during a period of rather warm Atlantic Ocean water around 1000 years ago, we saw as many hurricanes as we have over the past 15 years. This is a good confirmation that warmer seas, do give more hurricanes and perhaps more intense ones.

Chris Landsea of NOAA argues that the increase in storms over the past century is just an artifact of spotting them more easily with satellites and aircraft. One thing seems likely here, the hurricanes did increase in the past during a period of warmer oceans.

Whether or not a warmer world caused by human means, instead of natural ones, will do the same is still open for debate. The science, however, might just be beginning to tilt in favor of Mann and Emanuel.

Either way, with sea level now rising 3mm per year, and increasing, future hurricanes, will be wetter and cause more destruction. The current thinking is the IPCC will be adjusting their forecast of sea level rise up considerably in the next report.

This back and forth in the peer reviewed literature is how science advances. When we can answer the question of hurricanes in a warmer world, we will have gleamed another piece of fundamental knowledge of how are planet works.

I end with a book recommendation. Kerry Emanuel of MIT is one of the leading experts on hurricanes. He has written a fabulous book called Divine Wind. It combines poetry and science. It’s one of the best general audience  science books ever written.

Note this is a dual post- I wrote it as a guest post on Skywarn 256’s Weather Blog as well.





The Deadly Cycle – How Global Warming Causes Global Warming

16 08 2009

The Deadliest Cycle – How Global Warming Causes Global Warming

It is a process known as “feedback”. This process involves some sort of action or event which triggers another event which worsens the first event leading to another secondary event which worsens the first event even more. Confusing? I’ll explain.

A good example of feedback is the melting of the polar ice caps and it’s involvement with global warming. The ice naturally reflects heat energy in the form of radiation back into space. As the ice melts, it covers less area and reveals more water coverage. Less ice enhances the atmospheres heat energy (ice cools air just like it cools your summer drinks). With less ice, the remaining ice melts faster revealing yet more water. Water absorbs heat energy instead of reflecting it. This causes the ice to melt even faster.

There are several types of natural “feedback”: Ice Albedo feedback, water vapor feed back, arctic methane feedback, lapse rate feedback and more. These feedback types enhance global warming and are also, simultaneously, caused by global warming to some extent.

Ice Albedo Feedback

As discussed earlier, Ice Albedo Feedback involves the fact ice reflects more radiation than it absorbs. When ice melts it is replaced by land or water which absorbs more than it reflects. This causes more heat absorption which causes more ice melting which causes yet more absorption. This cycle is never-ending unless affected by an outside source.
Northern Hemisphere Glacial Regression

Water Vapor Feedback
Water Vapor is a Greenhouse Gas. As the earth warms, more water is evaporated leading to more water vapor. More water vapor leads to more warming which leads to more evaporation thus more water vapor. This cycle is never-ending unless affected by an outside source.

Lapse Rate Feedback
Temperature differences between the lower atmosphere and upper atmosphere is called the Lapse Rate. The higher the temperature of the upper atmosphere, the more radiation is emitted. Thus, if the upper atmosphere (which is supposed to be cold) is heated, it emits much more radiation than if it were cold. This cycle is never-ending unless affected by an outside source.

Methane Release
Warming of the earth has effects both on land and in the ocean in the form of methane release. As the earth’s temperature increases, certain areas of permafrost on the earth melt releasing long frozen and stored methane gas, which in turn, causes more warming since it’s considered a greenhouse gas. This cycle is never-ending unless affected by an outside source.

Cloud Feedback
Some types of clouds, particularly cumulus, are expected to increase in frequency and coverage in the future due to warming and higher, faster evaporation rates. Clouds of this type tend to reflect radiation back down to the ground thus enhancing the lower atmosphere’s ability to retain heat. This increases the earth’s temperature even more causing more cumulus clouds and more back-to-earth radiation reflection. This cycle is never-ending unless affected by an outside source.

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A Synopsis on Climate Change

15 08 2009

There has been skepticism during the entire lifetime of the theoretical atmospheric anomaly called “Global Warming”. Global Warming is a term coined to describe the unnatural rise of the mean low-level atmosphere temperature over a period of time called climate. Global Warming has also been described as Climate Change although it is not a deserved alias as the earth’s climate often changes in temperature over long periods of time (see ice ages and medieval warming). As such, Global Warming should have been coined as the 21st century Global Warming Trend instead of its current names.

Cycle of Greenhouse Gases

The evidence of Global Warming has seemed to pile-up over the time span of its coined existence. This could be due to the fact that more investigations into the global climate heating has resulted in both expected and unexpected evidence and it could be a result of ongoing changes that take place in real time such as the breaking off and thinning of glaciers. Some of the evidence already observed include a research study by various scientists and reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) include a global mean temperature increase of 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) over the period of the last century although it seems variations in solar radiation and volcanic activity was the primary contributors before the pre-industrial times before 1950.

Temperature Changes
It is forecasted by the IPCC that the global mean temperature could increase yet another 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) by 2100. The uncertainty in the predicted temperature increases is partially due to the fact that different models have forecasted different amounts of chemicals such as Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere during varying spans of time. The prediction of 2 °F is a conservative guess but the 11.5 °F increase is also quite possible and would be, of course, the worst case scenario.

Temperature History

The NASA Goddard Space Institute estimated that 2005 was the warmest year globally since dependable and accurate modern satellite temperature monitoring began, exceeding the previous record established in 1998 by only a few hundredths of a degree. The high temperatures recorded in 1998 is thought to be a result of an unusually strong El Niño event – the strongest in over a century.

Since global temperatures have been monitored and recorded, various global locations seem to heat faster than others such as the difference in ocean temperatures relative to land-based atmosphere temperatures. Ocean temperatures rise approximately 0.13 °C relative to land-based atmosphere temperatures which rise an average of 0.25 °C during the course of a decade. Many factors contribute to the difference in temperature increases including the ocean having a vast depth and spread in which temperature is required to increase as well as the effect of evaporation on the air above the ocean. Liquids warm and cool much slower than the air, being more dense, thus the difference in temperature fluctuations. Also, the north hemisphere would warm much faster than the southern hemisphere mainly due to the fact that the northern hemisphere has more land area than does the south. With upper air currents in combination with the difference in temperature, the polar regions would heat much faster than regions closer to the equator, thus the rapid warming and thinning of the polar ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. Due to the heat-retaining capacity of the oceans as well as the lifespan of Carbon Dioxide, even if all emissions were to cease the global temperature would continue to rise well after 2100.

Global Warming Projections

Another area which affects the global mean temperature is the effects of “Greenhouse Gases” originally discovered and coined by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. “Greenhouse Gases” are gases which emit and absorb infrared radiation in the planets atmosphere and enhance the atmosphere’s ability to withhold heat energy. “Greenhouse Gases” include but are not limited to: Water Vapor, Methane, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide and Tropospheric Ozone. Higher concentrations of these gases lead to the planet’s atmosphere retaining more heat than it exerts thus raising the global mean temperature. Since the industrial revolution, global carbon dioxide levels have increased by 36% – ¾ of the increase is suspected to be a direct result of the burning of fossil fuels. Evidence extracted from deep ice pockets suggest that carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have been in the last 650,000 years – additional evidence is believed to indicate that levels are actually higher than they have been in the last 20 million years. Although most of the gases mentioned enhance the planets ability to retain heat, some chemicals known as aerosols which are either released naturally, as is the case with volcanoes, or by human sowing as is the case with some CFCs. These chemicals reflect radiation back into space from the upper atmosphere countering the effects of “Greenhouse Gases”. Although this may have been the case up until now, it seems as if the amount of “Greenhouse Gases” such as carbon dioxide and methane are well exceeding the amount of aerosol in the atmosphere. This may have been the reason that extreme global mean temperature increase was delayed during the latter half of the 20th century and only become urgent from the beginning of the new millennium onward. Methods have also been used by scientists to combat global warming indirectly and directly including the use of Biochar, Geoengineering and the like.

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Combating Global Warming One Pile at a Time

12 08 2009

So what has the world come to? All of a sudden, desperate people clinging to climate change destruction found a new way to combat global warming – burning poop. Aven manure to be exact. A conference was recently held in Boulder, CO on the topic of Biochar – a charcoal formed from burning organic materials in a low-oxygen environment. It is said to be like a “sponge” for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Not only does it soak it up and store it for up to a thousand years, it’s burning in a low-oxygen environment prevents the creation of carbon dioxide when it is burned.

The Infamous Chicken - The Infinite Possibilities

I fully understand every little effort helps against global warming but I don’t think I would ever be too large of a fan of spreading burnt poop all around the world. It’s a great and large endeavor to take on a project of this size and, although it’s impact on the climate would be minimal, those who wish to spread the poop can say that they assisted in the combat against climate change.

As a reminder, every little effort helps. Carpooling, riding a bike instead of driving, driving a hybrid, stopping smoking, planting more trees and other CO2 consuming plants as well as abstaining from burning fossil fuels can all add up when performed on a global scale.





Storm Pix [11Aug2009]

11 08 2009

Took a few snapshots of the storms as they rolled into Hampton Cove, AL on the evening of August 11, 2009. What is depicted is a shelf cloud (which was very ominous as it crossed over Madison and Huntsville, AL earlier in the evening).

Shelf Cloud px#1
Shelf Cloud px#2

Shelf Cloud px#3

If you have any storm photos from that evening, please feel free to email them to me at dwales@hunspot.org. I’ll be glad to post them and credit them to you!





Twitter – The New Age Storm Analysis Service

11 08 2009

Twitter. If it’s not the biggest thing next to duct tape. Seems like everyone nowadays is getting on the bandwagon from educational institutions to science researchers sharing knowledge. As for the genre I’ve always been most interested in, storm chasing & spotting, I believe Twitter has some “untapped potential”. I’ve experienced some use in the site – mixing ever so slightly with local meteorologists and scientists at the NSSTC in Huntsville, AL. Most people use the service as just a way to keep track of their friends and relatives but I see a more professional use for it. I just keep thinking, “what if?”

Storm spotters have been using radios and phone calls for so long now (not that it’s ineffective…it’s quite effective) but some of us are trailing off into a more digital presence. With the advent of portable (and small) computer systems and email services (such as that found in the iPhone, Blackberry and other PDA devices – services such as Twitter can expotentially become a great asset in field storm analysis.

So what makes Twitter great? First off, it permits instant transaction of message data into an online database which can be read by anyone with access to the internet. This includes meteorologists, news media (for damage and the like), emergency management officials, national weather service and NOAA, FEMA, storm observers and spotters as well as chasers in the field. If a tornado strikes a given location, EMA can see the message instantly without it having to be relayed. This means precious minutes or even seconds would be shaved off of the response time. Also, storm observers and chasers in the area would get a heads up on whats going on – meteorologists have an opportunity to pinpoint an exact location of the most dangerous part of the storm. NWS and NOAA, on the other hand, obtains the most valuable information – the information that often depicts whether or not a warning is issued.

Estimated Average Delay in Data Distribution using Twitter

Yes, all of this data can be used and transmitted via amateur radio or by the phone – but what’s faster? Amateur radio most might say – but 4/5 spotters don’t use it. Isn’t the spotter one of the greatest assets to warning coordinators? Other than amateur radio, digital transmission of data seems to be the best answer – Twitter has all of the aforementioned qualities plus the ability to create custom hash categories with each report such as what I and others have been using, #stormywx. Is there no expandability to it? I think so. Each storm cell is given a unique ID – “#stormywx #stormid 1.25” hail and 67mph wind @ so and so location”. The given example would be instantly sent to anyone watching the feed on Twitter. If more information was needed, a warning coordinator or whoever else needed the information critically could respond, “@originalposter #stormid Is there a funnel cloud near you? Approx. 1.5nm NE of your location.”

Estimated Average Delay in Data Distribution using Ares or Telephone

Overall, I believe a full-fledged acceptance as a great form of communication for storm analysis would be an enormous asset to all areas of severe weather response.

Please let me know what you think of this article. You may follow my tweets @skywarn256 or contact me via email at dwales@hunspot.org.





Debunking 2012 Doomsday

10 08 2009

2012 – that’s probably the most famous date in history of conspiracies and doomsday dates. We’ve got sources all over predicting cataclysmic events including the “ending” of the Mayan calendar, the predictions of “prophets” such as Nostradomus and Hopi, the chinese and the I Ching as well as others. Oh, let’s not forget the abominable Planet X, Nibiru. Seriously? Thats a lot of evidence. Even Hollywood has become fortune tellers: Armageddon? Knowing? Doomsday? The Day the Earth Stood Still? They’ve gotta be telling the truth, I mean, it’s Hollywood.

Climate change – ugh, we can’t forget Climate Change. Global warming is a warning to us all. Not really a warning – more like a heads up…”enjoy it while you can” I guess. So, with all this evidence, I believe it should be posted scientifically. If it’s not analyzed thoroughly, then it’s not scientific. If it’s not scientific, then it’s just a belief (and we know where unfactuated beliefs get us).

The Mayan Calendar
First off, the Mayans did not come up with that calendar – they adopted it from their ancestors of the region as did the other like cultures of their time. Secondly, the Mayan calendar was one of the most “off” calendars in history. It wasn’t even as accurate as the Julius calendar (and that’s saying something). The Mayan months were 20 days long (sometimes called 20 day weeks) and a “solar” year consisted of 18 of them. Yes, solar is in quotations. It’s not really a solar year – their calendar days were integers. As we know, nothing on earth ticks in exact integers for the same reason there is never a perfect circle no where in existance. So, for this, a year to them was 365 days (seems right….right?). The day, in fact, is not 365 days (and if you know what a leap year is, you’ll know why it’s not 365. It’s more like 365.25 (approx). So in other words, with their days as long as they are, doomsday has already passed. But, lets say that their calendar WAS accurate and their calendar “ends” in 2012 – what “ends” is not their calendar. The Mayan calendar DOES NOT END IN 2012. Only a cycle of the calendar, the 13th cycle to be exact, ends. What happens when it does? Destruction? Calamity? 2013? Yep, 2013 will come around just like 2012 did, just like 2009 did and so on. Not quite proving it? The 14th Mayan cycle starts as soon as the 13th ends on December 21st, 2012.

Nostradamus
What a name. Perhaps one of the most famous “prophets” of all time (except for maybe Matthew, Mark, Luke and John…and eh, we’ll throw Muhammed in there too). Nostradamus 1) was a severe drug addict, 2) practiced visioning with “demons” and admitting himself and in his writings that we was surely going to hell for what he was doing, 3) wrote so damned funny that anything he said could be interpreted to mean anything and lastly, 4) predicting events that take place AFTER 2012. Now why the hell would he predict things that happen TO MANKIND if he predicted the world would end in 2012? I’ll let you talk to yourself about that one…..

Knowing
It was a movie. It was Hollywood and special effects. First off, if our Sun was going to explode or erupt with this gigantic solar flare, we would be seeing the same event in stars which are approximately the same size as our sun and around the same age. We don’t. And there are thousands of them. The chances? Do the math. 5 Billion Years, Thousands of Sun-like stars, 0 events like that in Knowing.

Pole Shift
So you think the poles are all of a sudden going to flip or shift or whatever? Get over yourself, this isn’t science fiction. Do you realize how much energy it would take to shift our poles? If a source of that much energy was upon us 1) we would already know and 2) we’d be gone long before the poles shifted. We’re talking enough energy to permanently warp our magnetosphere. That’s like having enough energy to shove the Earth into Mars. Anything with that much force would kill us all LONG before our poles moved. Yes, the poles move naturally – but slowly. It may take thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years for our poles to move, but they do move, only slowly.

Nibiru
And finally, we come to Nibiru, the tenth planet coined, Planet X. First off, Nibiru isn’t the tenth planet. Nibiru isn’t a star. Nibiru…..doesn’t exist. If anything were close enough to be able to collide with earth in 3 years (as Nibiru is supposably forecasted to do) and is massive enough to completely wipe the planet clean of life, then we would most definately know about it by now. Think the government is covering it up? Well, there’s one aspect of life the government CANT cover up and that’s astronomy. Some of the best astronomers in the world with some of the best equipment in the world are amateur astronomers, people like you and me sitting at home looking through a telescope. If there was something out there, with over a million amateur astronomers out there all over the world, we’d already know about it.

Climate Change
Climate change. Yeah, it’s bad. Most likely, it’ll kill 30% or so of all species on earth. Nothing will be the same. Humans will survive it though. As will the planet. Period.