Earth Changes


Massive waterspout filmed off Saudi coast

A video went viral on Saudi social media showing the moments when a giant water tornado hits the coast of Ras Tannoura, east Saudi.

A waterspout looks like a tornado, funnel-shaped cloud suspended beneath a low-lying cloud, dropping to a body of water.

Usually weaker than land tornados and caused by unstable weather conditions.


Signs and Portents: Conjoined piglets born in Guigang, China

A farmer in western China who noticed two of his pig's newborn babies were sticking close together discovered the piglets were conjoined twins.

The farmer, from a village near Guigang in Guangxi province, said the sow went into labor Nov. 18 and gave birth to 20 piglets, two of which appeared to be sticking unusually close together.

The farmer, identified only as Gong, soon discovered the pigs were conjoined at their bellies.

Gong said the conjoined pigs, the first he has encountered in his years as a farmer, appear to have trouble eating and don't seem able to exercise due to the way they are joined.

The farmer said he does not expect the conjoined piglets to survive for long.

Cloud Precipitation

Worst floods in 40 years for Addu City, Maldives; 9 inches of rainfall in 12 hours

© Maldives Red Cross
Southern Addu City has suffered the worst storm damage in 40 years after 12 continuous hours of torrential rain left streets inundated and flooded some 200 households.

"This is the worst flooding I've seen in decades. The water is knee-deep in most areas, and a majority of houses are under a foot of water," saud Abdulla Thoyyib, the deputy mayor.

The Feydhoo and Maradhoo-Feydhoo wards suffered the most damage. According to the Maldives Red Crescent, some 32 houses in Feydhoo and 11 houses in Maradhoo-Feydhoo suffered major damage. A majority of household appliances were destroyed, a spokesperson said.

Residents are now worried of water contamination as sewers are full and overflowing. The city, home to some 20,000 people, and the second most populous region, is out of chlorine, according to Thoyyib.


Cloud Precipitation

Floating cars, people in boats: Havoc as Qatar, Saudi Arabia ravaged by torrential rains

© carolyn_redaelli / Instagram
Cars floating in rivers that were once streets, water gushing through ceilings and people sailing to work on boats - that's the current picture in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both desert countries, which should be dry and sunny for the whole year.

Qatar's capital Doha was apparently unprepared for the deluge and flooding that damaged many buildings in the city. The area near the capital's Hamad International Airport was hammered with around 66mm of rain in just a few days, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department. For the record, Doha has 75mm of rain on average a year.


Magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes western Brazil

A large but very deep 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit western Brazil today, the US Geological Survey said.

The earthquake struck at 12:45 am (5:45 GMT) at a depth of 375 miles (604 kilometers). It occurred some 81 miles southwest of the town of Tarauaca and 436 miles northeast of Lima, Peru.

The USGS had initially reported the earthquake's magnitude at 6.4.

No immediate reports of damage or casualties were reported after the temblor.

Deep South American earthquakes primarily occur in two zones: beneath the Peru-Brazil border, where today's earthquake hit, and also in an area running from central Bolivia to central Argentina, according to USGS.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Arrow Down

Beach erosion leaves 'huge hole' in Queensland, Australia

© Surf Life Saving Queensland
The beach is popular with anglers but no-one was there when the sand collapsed.
A hole "almost the size of a football field" has opened up at Jumpinpin bar on North Stradbroke Island, off south-east Queensland.

Senior lifeguard Michael Bates said the beach had collapsed on the southern side of the island this morning.

It is a popular spot for fishing and four-wheel-driving but no-one was on the beach at the time.

Mr Bates said the erosion had created dangerous conditions.

"It is a little bit smaller than a football field," Mr Bates said.

There is still a question mark over how big the hole will get.

"It is almost like a swirling effect in the water that is created by the change of tides and there is unstable sand in the area," Mr Bates said.

"It is not a safe areas for swimming area at all, due to it being so unstable, unpredictable and varying depth and the strong water movement.

"It is going to make it a very massive hazard."

University of Queensland researcher Konrad Beinssen said sinkholes were common at Jumpinin.

Comment: Last week erosion swallowed a house in Bangladesh, whilst a couple of months ago a portion of beach and campsite disappeared at Inskip Point, also in Queensland.

Ice Cube

More than 1 foot of snow blankets parts of the Western U.S.

© Via twitter@LaurenKYVZ
Traffic backed up on Highway 97 in Bend, OR.
Snow, sleet and freezing rain could snarl Thanksgiving and weekend travel.

Bend, Oregon, reported 13-14 inches of new snow as of Tuesday night, with snowfall rates of 4 inches in 3 hours, bringing traffic to a standstill on U.S. 97. This in an area that averages only 24 inches of snow each season. Up to a foot of snow in the Sierra snarled traffic on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit as well. Up to 22 inches of snow was reported at Kirkwood Mountain Resort south of Lake Tahoe.

Meanwhile, numerous winter storm watches, warnings and advisories have been issued across the West from the northern Rockies to the Great Basin, Sierra and Tehachapis of California, also for a large swath of the central and southern Plains from New Mexico to Iowa.

Snow started to pile up on Tuesday across portions of the interior Northwest, Sierra Nevada and far northern Rockies. Some freezing rain was also reported in the Columbia Basin.

This system will head into the Plains on Thanksgiving Day and continuing into much of the weekend, bringing a mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

It is possible that enough freezing rain will fall to bring down trees and power lines and make for dangerous travel in parts of the central and southern Plains.

Comment: Winter storm brings record breaking snowfall to Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota


Great magnitude 8.2 earthquake strikes Bolivia

Date & time: Tue, 24 Nov 22:48:00 UTC

Local time at epicenter: 2015/11/24 17:48:00

Magnitude: 8.2

Depth: 0.0 km

Epicenter latitude / longitude: 21.65°S / 62.4°W

Nearest volcano: Nuevo Mundo (473 km)

Primary data source: IGEPN


Neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for butterfly decline in the UK

© Getty
The decline of butterflies could be attributed to insect harming pesticides
Researchers say 15 species of native butterfly have shown downward population trends associated with neonicotinoid use. The chemicals - known as "neonics", for short - have been thought to harm birds, bees and other wildlife, but this is the first time there has been scientific claims they may be contributing to the decline of butterflies.

Over the past decade, once widespread butterflies have disappeared at the rate of 58 per cent across English farmland. Details of a study based on findings gathered by volunteers from across more than 1,000 UK sites as part of the long-running UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), recorded declines in species such as the small tortoiseshell, the wall butterfly and small skipper.

"Our study not only identifies a worrying link between the use of neonicotinoids and declines in butterflies, but also suggests that the strength of their impact on many species could be huge," warns ecologist Dr Andre Gilburn of the University of Stirling, who led the study.


Thousands of dying starfish mysteriously wash up on Moreton Island, Australia


A rare mass stranding of starfish on Moreton Island which left a tour guide and his group stunned
Thousands of dying starfish have mysteriously washed up on an island in what has been deemed a rare natural phenomenon.

Tour guide Rhett Ericsen-Miller stumbled upon the stranded sealife with a tour group near Tangalooma Wrecks, a fleet of shipwrecks, in southeast Queensland's Moreton Island.

The video he uploaded on Facebook has amassed nearly 20 thousand views, while scientists are unsure of exactly what caused the mass stranding.

The vision shows a long stretch of the island's shore lined with the fish, making it impossible to throw them all back into the water.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman told Brisbane Times it could have been caused by strong winds or a dramatic change in water temperatures.

'As far as we are aware it's a natural phenomenon, and at this stage we have no information to indicate otherwise,' she said.