Signs 22 – The Beginning of a Plateau?

Planet X SignsIn February 2018, we published Signs 21 – Awareness and Discretion, we predicted that “the year ahead is going to be punctuated with natural and political disasters as our financial and economic struggles mount.”

Nothing has changed significantly in February, except for the hope of good news as there has not been much of that lately. However, there may be the possibility that the overall slowing of trend data we began seeing earlier this year. If so we ask, could we see the beginning of a plateau?

We’ll address this question later on, but for now, let’s see how fireball and earthquake trends for February 2018 stack up.

February 2018 Fireballs

Fireballs are reported worldwide, and the American Meteor Society which is the primary source for North America, for this dataset.

AMS Multistate / Country Fireballs

Multistate/country fireballs, cross the borders of multiple states and countries. For this reason, this is a critical category in the dataset because of the distance these fireballs must travel to be reported across large geographic areas.

Multistate Fireball Events - Feb 2018

Given that February 2018 is slightly lower than February 2017 but still higher than February 2015 and 2016, there is no significant change in this dataset category.

AMS Huge Event Fireballs

It is a commonplace occurrence for Multistate / Country Fireballs to be reported as huge events because a huge event occurs when fireball reports are received from 100 or more eyewitness observers.

Huge Fireball Events - Feb 2018

Except February 2016, the number of huge event fireballs in February 2018 is equal to or higher than all previous month for January and February for 2015 through 2018. Again, no significant change in this dataset category.

AMS Monthly Total Fireballs

The monthly total fireballs are the most critical category in this dataset. When we look at the monthly total of fireballs for this five-year study dating back to 2015, we wee that January 2018 represents an all-time high for this month.

Monthly AMS Fireball Totals - Feb 2018

February 2018 is slightly less than February 2016 and 2017. Although there is no significant change in this dataset category, the variance pattern does raise an interesting question. Will we see a possible plateau? If so, it will take another two or three months to tell.

AMS Total Yearly Fireballs

The dataset for total yearly fireballs has changed from 2009 through 2017 as shown in Signs 21, to 2011 to 2018. As reported in Signs 20 is shown again below.

Yearly AMS Fireball Totals - Feb 2018

By May of this year, the total yearly fireballs for 2018 should be comparable to 2011, however, as of February 2018, the total yearly fireballs for 2018 is roughly the same as 2009. Therefore, the overall trend is continuing but escalating at a much slower rate than in previous years.

Earthquakes Since 1997

At the outset of our Signs series, J. P. Jones created a dataset spreadsheet that tracks the total number of earthquakes each month beginning with 1997. The updated spreadsheet below has been updated with the February 2018 results.

Earthquakes Worldwide 1/97 to 2/18

With earthquakes for February 2018, we see a reverse image of the AMS monthly total fireballs for February 2018. What we are seeing is that fireballs for February are slightly less than the previous two years for the same month. However, with earthquakes, the reverse is true. February 2018 is slightly higher than the previous two years for the same month.

Global Earthquakes of all Magnitudes Jan 2015 to Jan 2018

When we look at annual global earthquakes for all magnitudes for the period January 2015 to February 2018, the overall trend indicates a slow rate of growth.

Earthquakes 1/2015 to 2/2018

The next few months will be interesting to watch, especially with all of the volcanic eruptions taking place now. If over the next few months, the trends we’re monitoring with this series could move us towards a plateau. What does that mean? A simple choice – apathy or vigilance. And with that, we look forward to seeing the numbers for March when they come in.

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