Italian fires show no sign of abating

In this Meteosat image from the 30. August 2007 thick smoke can still be seen drifting southwesterly from the fires along the Italian Campania.

After a long fight, the fires in Italy are still not under control. Yesterday the fires entered the Park of the Villa Ada in Rome, the nature preserve Park Veio and they continue to burn wild in many parts of the South.

In this MODIS image the various fires covering Italy are shown as red dots.


Live Lightning data for Europe

Without further ado I've added live lightning data for Europe. This would not have been possible without the help of the European Blitzortungs community. On their website you find more detailed information, cool Yahoo gadgets to warn you of nearing thunderstorms and KML files to load into your Google Earth, for near real-time lightning data (utilities).

The lightning data can not be used for the protection of life or property. It is only useable for entertainment...


Automated displays of unusual temperature

The temperatures display has been slightly altered. I'm not sure if I'm going to leave it like this:
when the temperature at a place is above 2° Celsius of the monthly average, then the place mark is highlighted with a larger font, and a more reddish color.

If the temperature is below 2° Celsius of the monthly average, then the place mark is also highlighted with a larger font, but has a blueish color.

The figure of 2° Celsius is maybe arbitrary, but a difference of 2°C from the monthly average can mean a lot. As it happens, there are almost no significant deviations from the average temperature in the US, South-America, Australia or Africa this month. Eastern and Northern Europe (incl. Greenland) and Mogolia are showing extremely high temperatures. As is Japan.

New screensaver of Arabian Peninsula

A Screensaver with a start view of the Arabian Peninsula is now online. Includes Active Desktop wallpaper on this page.

Upside down map of Australia

Upside down map of AustraliaA few years ago someone requested an upside-down map of Australia. The view is now available as free screen saver and active desktop wallpaper. Below the equator everything is upside down!

North is South, and South is North.


European fires burn deadly trail in south

European FiresToday the news were filled with horror stories of gruesome fires in Europe. So have on the Greek island of Pellopone 15 people killed, and in Sicily, were someone keeps setting fire to the trees near the coastline, so that they can do property development there, 11 people have been killed altogether.

What I wonder about, were are the fires that are not in the news: aren't there any? The first image here is Europe, and you'll be able to find Italy and Greece. See how tiny those fires are against the fires in the Ukraine? There must be a lot of property development going on. After all, they need to play catch-up.

Fires in the rain forestNow lets compare this with the fires in the rain forest, or the small fires in Africa, which are not mentioned.

If those fires in the tourist spots of Europe are terrible, how much worse must it be for those people in Brazil or Africa? My computer is counting now record numbers of active fires, at one stage approaching 30,000.

It can't be good for the climate either. Think of the millions of tons of CO² and sulphuric acid, etc. released into the atmosphere. I read someplace that a certain level of forest fires is essential for the survival of the forest. But how much is too much, and how much is necessary?

Fires in the AfricaIf forests globally are more or less similar, being composed of trees, and leaves and forest stuff, then it is not understandable how forests in Europe or the USA can survive so well. Because we burn our forests only very seldom, as you can see on those maps... Earth Fire Map (updated every 3 hours).
(All shown images are from today).

Rainforest loss shocks Brazil 2005
Will Amazon drought worsen in '2007? ( from May '07)
A rainforest in danger (Congo 2007)


############## Mailing list update #############
New change blog is online and linked in

The website and all other bits (screen savers, desktops) has been updated, to link to this new blog. The old blog was a blog only by name, whereas this one here has really all the advantages of a real blog, especially a way for my visitors to leave feedback.

More remarks on global fires and the fire display
I will be reducing the size of the fire icons so that it doesn't quite look like whole continents are totally ablaze. Instead I'll try to adjust the icon colours, to show different fire temperatures. I don't think it will make much difference.

I have calculated that with about 20,000 fires worldwide, each being larger than 50m²,
an area of at least 1x1 kilometers (1 km²) is burning. That doesn't sound that bad at first. After all, we are talking about a whole world here, and not Tom's garden.

However, that 1x1 kilometer square is burning constantly. You know from a fire that it doesn't stay in one place, but that it feeds on the vegetation and moves constantly. It is difficult to imagine a 1 by 1 kilometer large flame, which permanently needs new fuel to keep burning. The attrition rate of the global fires must be awesome. I will be asking UMD how much area of forest a typical fire consumes in a day.
A note on the restored fire data feed
The "Fire Information for Resource Management System", for short FIRMS, from the University of Michigan is the source of my fire data. On the website of FIRMS everyone can double check my visualization results against the results of the experts:
http://maps.geog.umd.edu/firms/maps.asp. They even have a KML feed, so that you can watch the fires in Google Earth.

Server upgrade
To keep up with the increased workload on the server, which can be caused a large number of fires, the RAM capacity has been doubled, to 1Gigabyte.

Another one of my servers is rented and costs approx. 100 Dollar monthly. If someone wishes to help me financially towards this and other expenses (electricity, RAM, etc):

Invitation for Venture Capital or Job offers
The operation of websites is not my full time job.
In my day job I work as a doorman/phone operator/receptionist/clerk.

Therefore either venture capital to develop this website on a full-time basis, possibly as part of an environmental group or organization, or other job offers would be welcome. I am a self-taught generalist in the computer world who programs in Basic, and gets the job done with it.

RSS feed of the Climate Change Channel
Subscribe to the "Climate Change Channel" RSS feed here
: Subscribe to the Climate Change Channel
Features (written) commentary, exclusive CGI animation of weather, nature and climate related issues.

Tuesday, 21. August 2007
Hurricane Dean
Hurricane Dean category 5
Dean weakens again after having been a major storm of category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, with windspeeds exceeding 269km/h, 167mph. It has hit the small town of Majahual in Mexico, which is in a sparsely populated area. Hurricane Dean swept earlier this week over Jamaica and the Caymans, causing greatest havoc and about 10 deaths.

Fires are coming back, or optionally, not
After being offline for two days, the fire data are streaming in again. If you would like a Whole Earth screensaver or background without fire display on a permanent basis, then check out the download sections for the screensavers or active desktops. There are fire-free versions to download.

Asia and Distant Earth desktops
A coding error which prevented the downloading of these backgrounds has been corrected.

Climate Change Channel
Longterm observervations from this site are now on the stage6 Climate Change Channel:
Climate Change Channel
Click the banner to visit there.

New Free WideScreen Savers available
It appears I forgot to mention on this page that there are now screensavers available for screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, and with resolutions of over 1024x768 pixels! Visit this page for the new free screensavers.

Sunday, 19. August 2007
Latest news: no fires now
Now, it wasn't that long ago, that I complained about the large number of fires. That complaint is superflous now, as there are almost no fires shown anywhere. The cause is presumably an error with the satellite feed, which is beyond my control. I apologize anyways.

Saturday, 18. August 2007
"Huge" DivX Movies now online
Stage 6Since about 6 months I'm sitting on large webcam movies, 50 - 130mb in size. How to distribute them online in high quality (1024x768px), without incurring huge bandwidth costs?

The solution is the online DivX community "Stage 6". To watch the animations, please download first the latest DivX webplayer from the DivX site: DivX Web Player 1.4.0 Beta 2.

Then visit my video page on Stage 6: http://stage6.divx.com/Climate-Change/videos/
A couple of animations is now online, each about 5 minutes in length. The movies will stream with a DSL connection, so you don't need to wait for the download, and you can watch them in a browser window on Windows or Mac (or download them to your harddrive).

Wednesday, 15. August 2007
There is a problem with the huge number of fires
The number of global fires is now over 26.000. My server is having problems with this, because the position of each fire must be computed, to be displayed at the correct place. This is not so bad as the problems, which our Earth is experiencing, because of this. But you may experience delays in the update of the maps from my site. As a race we will feel the effects of these fires a little bit later, of course. It is only the question if the global dimming from the smoke will balance the effects of the global warming, from the release of carbon dioxide through the fires???

Quake Alerts fixed
They work now as they should.

16. July 2007
Quake Alerts still malfunctioned
The heavy quake in Japan today gave me a chance to rework the still malfunctioning "Quake-Alerts". I don't know, how the spelling error crept into the script. But it has been fixed, and I will hope that we don't need the quake alerts again for some time. Latest figures spoke of six fatalities in Japan, caused by the quakes.

14. June 2007
Quake Alerts malfunction
Thankfully there aren't too many earthquakes of strength 6 or above. That is the treshold for spoken quake alerts, normally. But a bug prevented this at the recent Guatemala quake from working. I've reworked the program code, and hopefully the quake alerts will be working again, at the next heavy quake.

12. June 2007
High Res Cloud cover over Asai and Australia restored
Over the weekend, until today, no high-res clouds were available for the mentioned region. Instead I switched to a low-res backup service, to provide at least some cloud coverage.

Fire Display changed back to the old method (24 hour fires)
There was a problem with the FTP server, which has now been fixed. Because I now have access to the raw fire data again I prefer to return to the old display format. I suppose it was better to have some fire display, than none at all. Also it is handy to have a backup script, and an alternative method to retrieve data, ready to go.

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