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Insects and spiders quickly disappear from the face of the Earth. What does this threaten?

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Scientists have examined more than a million insects in the forests and glades of Germany and find that their numbers are decreasing by a third. And all this in just 10 years.

Even if you do not like insects and are afraid of spiders, you should not rejoice at their extinction. According to the results of the research, the number of insects and spiders is reduced in forests and meadows throughout Germany. Scientists described the results as “disturbing,” saying that the losses were due to the intensive development of agriculture. Researchers are calling for a “paradigm shift” in land and use policies to preserve the habitat of butterflies, beetles and other flying insects. The latest analysis, published in the journal Nature , confirms that some species of insects are on the path to extinction. But why is it bad for our planet?

The extinction of insects is recorded worldwide. And it’s very bad

Mankind has endangered a million species

A number of recent studies have revealed the extinction of insect populations around the world. According to Dr. Sebastian Seybold of the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the reasons for the decline in insect numbers are related to agricultural practices. “Our study confirms that the reduction in the number of insects is real – it can be even more widespread than previously thought, given, for example, that there is also a decrease in the number of insects in the forests,” the scientist told BBC News .

One of the initiators of the research project, Professor at the University of Munich – Wolfgang Weisser, commented:

“Such a massive reduction in the number of insects in just 10 years was a complete surprise to us. This is a frightening phenomenon! “

Researchers note that such a decrease occurs not only in areas with intensive agricultural management, but also in protected areas – therefore, sites that, according to scientists, protect biodiversity, are useless. Recall that earlier this year a report was published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecological Systems (IPBES) on the state of wildlife. According to the findings of researchers, humanity endangered about a million species of animals. Some experts do not hide their pessimistic mood and call what is happening with wildlife “the sixth mass extinction.” And the results of recent studies have recorded a decrease in the diversity of butterflies.

What happens if insects disappear?

The research team recorded data on more than a million individual insects and spiders (2,700 different species) on hundreds of pastures and forest lands in three regions of Germany from 2008 to 2017. In the course of the work, the researchers found that a noticeable reduction in the number and number of species both in meadows and forests, with the main factors (at least for meadows), is associated with intensive development of agriculture and an increase in land intended for agricultural needs.

Butterfly diversity will be greatly reduced in the future

Many other studies in recent years have shown that certain species of insects , such as bees, have been hit hard, especially in developed countries. Scientists note that one of the main reasons for the disappearance of bees lies in pesticides that spray numerous fields and meadows around the world. However, some species of insects such as flies and cockroaches appear to be on the rise. Agree, this is an alarming bell, because cockroaches and flies are carriers of infections. And the further extinction of insect populations will inevitably lead to the appearance of a huge number of pests.

Killing insects has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems, experts warn. Not so long ago, we told you that a number of recent studies have revealed that soil contamination with microplastics causes earthworms to lose weight. And the reduction in the number of insects is associated with intensive farming, pesticides and climate change. Together, these factors threaten the general condition of ecosystems. Thus, the picture of the future looms rather gloomy. And above all, because insects are a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, not to mention plants that rely on insects for pollination.


Planet Earth

Powerful sprites over Kansas were visible to the naked eye

Have you ever seen sprites? They say that this is impossible. Strange and fleeting forms of Red Lightning materialize over thunderclouds, usually disappearing in less time than it takes to blink. However, storm hunter Michael Havan had no problems seeing them on May 23rd.

“The extremely bright jellyfish sprites were easily visible to the naked eye at dusk!” Says Gavin. “This is one of the brightest shots I’ve captured with my modified Canon T3i.”

Gavin saw this sight from Northwest Kansas. “Clear skies provided fantastic views of the MCS (mesoscale convective system) moving through Nebraska almost 100 miles from us,” he says. “I was not the only one who saw them.” There have been reports that people also saw sprites from Interstate 70. “

The storm lasted so long that Gavin managed to attach an 85mm lens to his camera for several close-up shots. “Because I had an image of the same area without a sprite from a few seconds earlier, I was able to subtract the sky (stars, air glow, etc.) to take a photo of the structure of the sprite without any distractions.

A solar minimum can stimulate sprites. During the low phase of the solar cycle — now occurring — cosmic rays from deep space penetrate the inner solar system relatively unhindered due to the weakening of the Sun’s magnetic field. 

Some models claim that cosmic rays help sprites get started by creating conductive paths in the atmosphere.

By the way:

Today, May 25, 2020, the level of cosmic rays crashing onto the Earth, reached its maximum levels, increasing today by 10.4% of average values.

Cosmic rays 

The magnetic field of the sun is weak, which allows additional cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. Neutron counts from the Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory of the University of Oulu show that cosmic rays reaching Earth in 2020 are close to the peak of the space age.

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Planet Earth

A surge in volcanic activity threatens the Earth with a new Ice Age

Over the past few days, we have witnessed a turbulent global volcanic surge in activity. He sends us all signs that the Great Solar Minimum is approaching.

The Japanese meteorological satellite HIMAWARI-8 recorded two powerful eruptions on May 16, both of which occurred in Indonesia.

The first took place in IBU – a relatively new volcano with only 3 noticeable eruptions; in 1911, 1998 and 2008 – and was confirmed by Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), which warned that the ash plume rises to about 13.7 km.

The second high-level eruption occurred just a few hours later on Semera – a very active volcano with an eruptive history; the first happened in 1818, the most recent in 2014.

As with IBU, the Semeru eruption was confirmed by both HIMAWARI-8 and VAAC Darwin, the latter confirming the generation of a “dark ash plume that reached a height of 14 km.

In addition, active lava flows remain active on the southeastern flank of Semeru, currently about 1.5 km long (as of the morning of May 18).

Direct cooling effect

These high-level eruptions are notable for the fact that solid particles are thrown to a height of over 10 km – and into the stratosphere – are often delayed, where they have a direct cooling effect on the planet.

Volcanic eruptions are one of the key factors pushing the Earth toward its next round of global cooling, with their worldwide surge associated with low solar activity, coronal holes, a diminishing magnetosphere and the influx of cosmic rays penetrating silica-rich magma.

In addition to Indonesia, Icelandic volcanoes have intensified, and it is this high-mountain volcanic region of the world that is believed to be home to the next “big eruption” – one that will plunge the whole world into the new Ice Age almost instantly.

Katla is such a volcano here and it shows signs of activity, since a significant gas output has been recorded over the past few days. 

In addition, seismic activity under a large ice volcano has also increased, and this activity is probably caused by injections of new magma entering the chamber.

Icelandic authorities are aware of the danger posed by the next Katla eruption, and a delegation of volcanologists regularly meets with the Icelandic parliament to discuss how to respond in the event of an eruption, the likelihood of which is simply a matter of when, not if.

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Planet Earth

99 years ago, the Great Geomagnetic Storm of 1921

99 years ago this week in May, people all over the world woke up and were shocked by some unusual headlines. “The telegraph service has been defeated, the Comet is not to blame,” the Los Angeles Times said on May 15, 1921. “Electrical disturbances are the worst ever known, “the Chicago Daily Tribune said. 

At that time they did not know this, but newspapers covered the biggest solar storm of the 20th century. Since then, nothing like this has happened.

It all started on May 12, 1921, when the giant sunspot AR1842, crossing the sun during the sunset phase of the solar cycle 15, began to flash. One explosion after another threw coronal mass ejections (CMS) directly to the Earth. 

Over the next 3 days, a powerful geomagnetic storm shook Earth’s magnetic field. Scientists around the world were surprised when their magnetometers suddenly got out of hand, pens in strip card recorders were uselessly attached to the top of the paper.

Auroras in May 1921. The leftmost red circle indicates Apia, Samoa.

And then the fire started. Around 02:00 Moscow time on May 15, the telegraph exchange in Sweden caught fire. About an hour later, the same thing happened across the Atlantic in the village of Brewster, New York. Flames swept the switchboard at the Brewster station of the New England Central Railroad and quickly spread to destroy the entire building. This fire, as well as another one at about the same time at the railway control tower near New York Central Station, is the reason this event is sometimes called the “New York Railroad Super-Storm.”

What caused the fire? Electric currents caused by geomagnetic activity passed through telephone and telegraph lines, heating them to a burning point. Strong currents disrupted telegraph systems in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The Ottawa Journal reported that many long distance telephone lines in New Brunswick were burned due to a storm. On some telegraph lines in the USA, the voltage reached 1000 V.

Sunspot AR1842 dated May 13, 1921

During the peak of the storm on May 15, southern cities such as Los Angeles and Atlanta felt like Fairbanks, with northern lights dancing overhead, while telegraph lines crackled with geomagnetic currents. Auroras were spotted in the USA right up to Texas, while in the Pacific Ocean red auroras were spotted from Samoa and Tonga and ships at sea crossing the equator.

What would happen if such a storm happened today?

Scientists have long discussed this issue. As a result of research, it was found that the storm peaked on May 15: its intensity was comparable to the intensity of the Carrington event of 1859.

This result disproves the generally accepted point of view. Space weather researchers believed the Carrington Event was the strongest solar storm in recorded history. Now we know that the May Storm of 1921 was about as strong.

If the May Storm of 1921 hit today, it would at least lead to a power outage, profound changes in satellite orbits, and the loss of radio technology such as GPS. GPS malfunction can significantly affect the operation of logistics and emergency services.

This is something to think about on the 99th anniversary of a 100-year storm ….

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