Earth Changes

Ice Cube

'Slurpee' ice waves striking Nantucket beach


Slurpee wave
The Slurpee Waves of Nantucket is the latest exploit to emerge from the North East's desperately cold winter. The stories emerging from the onslaught of brutally cold weather onlookers have grown accustom to typically entail stories of overly taxed power grids, or record lows across the U.S. eastern seaborne. However, as of late there has been a new development in this year's frosty winter that has caught the internet's attention - Slurpee Waves.

The term "Slurpee Waves" was first coined by Boston's WBZ-TV chief meteorologist Eric Fisher according to the Bostonian CBS affiliate. The trending images themselves were captured by an area photographer named Jonathan Nimfroh. Since posting his Slurpee Wave photographs on February 25, the internet has been all abuzz about this rare natural oddity.

Ice Cube

King crab from Arctic waters found on Redcar beach, UK


King Crab on Redcar beach

Red king crab could be first on our shores, crustacean is usually found in icy waters like the Arctic

He's spent his working life beneath the sea but even oceanographer David McCreadie was baffled by a rare visitor to Redcar.

For the formidable-looking red crustacean found by David's fiancee Diane Weinoski looks for all the world like a king crab - and they hardly ever stray from considerably icier waters.

Members of the lithododid family, king crabs are large, tasty and usually found in seas MUCH colder than Redcar's.

And despite having worked and played in oceans across the world since the mid-1960s, David has never heard of one being found this far south.

Ice Cube

Deadly winter takes toll on waterfowl in Michigan

© Andrew Jowett / Times Herald
Ducks sit on a shelf of ice Monday along the St. Clair River in Port Huron.
Harsh weather is taking a toll on the waterfowl concentrated in the St. Clair River.

Terry McFadden, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said waterfowl across the state are dying because of the extreme cold and growing ice cover.

Below-zero temperatures have caused rapid ice formation, blocking ducks from food sources in the water and sometimes trapping the birds in the ice.

"Most likely it's going to be similar to last year, we lost quite a few last year," McFadden said. "We don't have a really good estimate, but it was in the thousands."

McFadden said waterfowl, including long-tailed and canvasback ducks, are concentrated in the St. Clair River, where some of the region's only remaining open water is located.

That large concentration of birds depletes available resources as the ice forms.

Ice Cube

Massachusetts animal shelters report large numbers of suffering wildlife due to record cold weather

© John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A screech owl sat on a perch mending a fractured wing at the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth.
The casualty list is wide ranging: possums with frostbite, a turtle frozen in a block of ice, a swan hit by a plow, a fox hit by a car.

If this month's record cold and snowfall have taken a toll on human residents in Massachusetts, they have also wreaked havoc on the animal population, particularly wildlife. Animal shelters are beyond capacity with weather-related injuries.

"This is the worst winter that we've seen in terms of straight-up starving animals coming in," said veterinarian Maureen Murray, who practices and teaches at the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton. "With this historic amount of snow and extremely low temperatures, animals need more energy to stay warm, but they're not able to find food sources for that energy, so it's a really big strain on them."

Although it's difficult to determine whether wildlife populations have suffered permanent damage, local experts say it's clear the animals are under extreme stress.


Symbolism? Battling Bald eagles crash down onto tree in Tuckerton, New Jersey

© Ben Wurst
Two bald eagles interlocked, injured and hanging from a tree in Tuckerton, NJ.
On Tuesday, February 17, 2015 we got a call about a couple injured bald eagles from our colleagues with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. They were reported hanging from a pine tree off a road in Tuckerton, NJ by some local residents. We didn't know how long they were there, but we knew that we needed to respond quickly if a bird had a chance to survive. We arrived at the scene to find two adults that were indeed, hanging from a tree. Luckily the local residents on the scene knew someone who worked for AC Electric (he also lived on the same road the birds were off of) and had a truck with a cherry picker on it. After the cherry picker arrived I went up to free the two birds.


Two women mauled by packs of feral dogs in Bareilly, India


Feral dogs in India
The stray dog menace in Baheri tehsil has taken on a new dimension as the canines have now started targeting adults as well. Two women, aged 37 and 50, were reportedly mauled by dogs in separate incidents in the district on Tuesday.

According to reports, Reshamvati, 37, was attacked by a pack of ten dogs while she was collecting fodder in a field in Faizganj Kamthena village. She received injuries on stomach, legs and hands. Locals rushed to the spot after hearing her cries and rescued her. The villagers attacked the dogs with bamboo sticks and shooed them away. The woman has been admitted to community health centre (CHC) in Baheri where she is undergoing treatment.

In a similar incident, 50-year-old Heerakali, 50, was attacked by a pack in Nazarganj village when she had gone to the outskirts of the village for some work. However, with timely intervention of locals, the woman managed to escape with minor injuries. She is also being treated at a CHC.


The canary in the coal mine? Nesting wading bird population crashes by 28% in a year, Florida Everglades

© Joe Rimkus Jr. / Miami Herald Staff
Woodstorks gather on the dike on the south side of the conservation area.
It's not a canary or a coal mine in Florida, but the idea from Audubon of Florida is the same. Wading birds hold the same function as the canary, and in this case the coal mine is the Everglades. Tabitha Cale with the society says things are dire.

The 20th anniversary of the Wading Bird Report is out and there's some bad news. Everglades restoration is not going well. The report shows that in 2014 there were 34,714 wading bird nests in the Greater Everglades. That's 28 percent fewer than in 2013.

The biggest drops included little blue herons, 83 percent, tricolored herons, 42 percent, and snowy egrets, 47 percent.

Counting wading bird nests is an indicator of where water flows are improving. The report shows the area with great progress is the Kissimmee River Basin. Meanwhile, Everglades National Park still needs improvement.


Moose went "out of its way" to trample woman in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

© US Fish and Wildlife Service
A dog walker found herself on the wrong side of a bull moose last weekend
The popular ski resort town of Steamboat Springs is well-known for its hot springs, skiing festivals, and abundant moose population. Visitors are often warned to give the area's resident moose a wide berth, but sometimes the animals have ideas of their own. According to CBS4, a dog walker was injured on Sunday when she was trampled by a spooked moose.

The victim, who has been identified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) as Katharine Hash, sustained serious injuries during the encounter and was later airlifted to a Denver hospital. Witnesses told investigators that the bull moose had struck Hash from behind, despite having ample space to run around her, and some even said that the animal deliberately crossed the road to trample the dog walker.

"At this point, our best guess is something else happened on an adjacent property and caused the moose to run (into Storm Mountain Ranch), and for whatever reason it came across the woman and ran over her," CPW wildlife manager Jim Haskins told the Steamboat Pilot. "Whatever happened probably didn't have anything to do with the dogs."

Cloud Precipitation

An hour of rainfall floods Sao Paulo, Brazil

© Zero Hora
Flooding in Sao Paulo
Just 1 hour of heavy rain was enough to flood the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday 25 February 2015. One man is reported to have died as a result of the severe weather seen across the city.

Brazil's biggest city is currently suffering one of its worst droughts in 80 years.

Yesterday's downpour won't be enough to replenish the city's water supplies. However, it was enough to bring the city's traffic to a standstill, as vehicles were trapped in deep flood water. Some reports claim the flood water was so deep in some areas that vehicles were either submerged or swept away.

The heavy rain was part of a severe thunderstorm and strong winds. A man died after he was electrocuted by falling power cables.

Sao Paulo's authorities have declared a state of alert for some areas of the city.

Cloud Precipitation

Thousands displaced by extreme flooding in northern Bolivia

© Ana Lucia Reis
Flooding in Bolivia
Flooding has forced more thousands from their homes in the department of Pando in the far north of Bolivia. Authorities say that 1,069 families have been affected.

Heavy rainfall over the last few days has forced the river Acre to overflow. In some areas it is 14 metres above normal levels. Some residents living close to the river Acre have been evacuated. Levels of the river Tahuamanu are also said to be extremely high.

Further heavy rainfall has been forecast for the next 24 hours and the situation is expected to worsen. Heavy rain is also expected in southern areas of the country.

So far the worst affected area are thought to be the department capital, Cobija, and the small town of San Pedro de Bolpebra, which sits of the banks of the river Acre, on the border with Peru and Brazil.

The Latin Post reports that the mayor of San Pedro de Bolpebra said that his town had been almost completely swept away by flood waters. Quoted in The Latin Post, Mayor Romulo Terrazas said.
"The river waters rose to 14m [46ft] above their normal level, so between the community and the authorities we have decided to rebuild a new town to avoid more damage"
The video clip below shows an aerial view of the flooding from the River Acre around San Pedro de Bolpebra.