Pat Shingleton: "The Blackout, The Great Flood and Earthshine..."
Experts believe that lightning or electrical storms contributed to the "Blackout of '03" that occurred on this date. The shutdown of the forty-year-old power grid could have started in the Midwest or at a Canadian power plant. Some compared it New York's "Perfect Storm" of years ago, as officials encouraged the public to take a "snow" day. In nine seconds a hundred power plants domino-ed, putting fifty million people in the dark, canceling 500 flights, locking up railroads, subways and ferries. Those left powerless had to suffer through more than a day without electricity.Today also advances an unforunatge reminder of the Great Flood of 2016. Four years ago, record rainfal, persistent over three days sent our rivers and tributaries into areas that never experienced flooding. Other August events included Hurricane Andrew that left us without power for a week. Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 also knocked out power for a week and Hurricane Lili kept the Lafayette area powerless for almost three weeks. There's a huge difference between power grids and downed power poles. Finally, "Earthshine" is visible to the eye during a crescent moon. Leonardo da Vinci first explained the phenomenon whereby the moon acts like a giant mirror, showing the sunlight reflected from Earth. The brightness of the Earthshine measures the reflectance of the Earth. Scientists verify the Earth's climate is driven by the net sunlight it absorbs. Research indicates that 20 percent of the reflectance has seasonal variations and have also verified a 2.5 percent decrease has occurred during the last ten years. If the Earth reflected 1 percent less light, the effect would be significant enough to be a concern for global warming. In the early 1900s. French astronomer Andre'-Louis Danjon began the first quantitative observations of Earthshine. This method was dormant until 1991. The intensity of the Earthshine is measured at the Big Bear Solar Observatory in California.
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