Earth Changes


Waterspout spotted off Oman's Sur coast

© Times of Oman
A waterspout was spotted off Sur coast today, a weather enthusiast said.

A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water. They are connected to a towering cumuliform cloud or a cumulonimbus cloud. In the common form, it is a non-supercell tornado over water.

"A waterspout appeared in Sur sea. It's a rare phenomenon, which occurs during cyclone season. Skies are cloudy too," Bader Ali Al Baddaei, an administrator of, a local Web-based forum that discusses weather in Oman, told Times of Oman.

In its latest tweet, Oman meteorology department has predicted rain in coastal areas of Oman. On Sunday itself, meteorology department has predicted heavy rain in northern parts of Oman from today till the end of the week.

In the Sunday's advisory, the meteorology department added that Oman will likely witness deep depression as moderate to heavy rain is expected on Musandam and North Al Batinah while other governorates will witness varied rain shower except for Dhofar and Al Wusta.


Strange 'funnel cloud' filmed in St. Mary's Bay, Canada

There are reports of a possible funnel cloud or water spout in the Harricott area of St. Mary's Bay this morning.

A local resident caught the phenomenon on video this morning.

Provincial Airlines and Aerospace meteorologist, Brian Walsh says he's not aware of any such phenomenon happening today.

He says because the pinkish object remains stationary while the clouds are moving around it, he can't say what it may be.


Primates in peril: 50% of our closest living relatives are on the brink of extinction around the world


More than half of the world's primates are at risk of dying out due to the threat posed by habitat loss and hunting. The Hainan gibbon (pictured) is thought to be the world's most endangered primate, with just 25 of the animals left living on an isolated island in China
They are our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, yet more than half of the world's primates are facing extinction due to our destruction of the habitats where they live.

Burning and clearing of large areas of tropical forest, combined with hunting of primates for food and illegal wildlife trade, has placed many species of apes, lemurs and monkeys at risk of dying out.

These include iconic species such as the Sumatran orang-utan, Grauer's gorilla, the Northern brown howler monkey and the Hainan gibbon.

Scientists and conservation experts have now updated a report on the world's 25 most endangered primates based on the current knowledge of the animals numbers and the risks facing them.

Dr Christoph Schwitzer, a primatologist and director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society who helped compile the list, said: 'This research highlights the extent of the danger facing many of the world's primates.


Drought threatens habitat of migratory birds in California

© Reuters
Sandhill cranes land in flooded fields at the Sandhill Crane Reserve near Thornton, California, Nov. 3, 2015. The state's ongoing drought has left millions of waterfowl that migrate from northern climes to California with fewer places to land, seek food.
With their red heads, 2.13-meter (7-foot) wingspan and a trilling call, migrating Sandhill Cranes provide a dramatic sunset spectacle as they land by the thousands in wetlands near Sacramento each night during the fall and winter.

But the state's ongoing drought has left the cranes, along with millions of other waterfowl that migrate from Canada and other northern climes to spend the winter in California, with fewer places to land, threatening their health as they crowd in on one another to seek shelter and food.

"They're left with fewer and fewer places to go, which will start to have impacts on their population," said Meghan Hertel, who works on habitat issues for the Audubon Society in California. "They can die here from starvation or disease or be weaker for their flight back north."


Gas explosion in Indiana "shook the whole town" leveling house, killing one

© Jen Danczak - 21Alive

One person died and two others were injured in a house explosion Monday night. It happened in the 1200 block of S. Gonser Avenue in Ashley around 9:30 p.m.

According to the Ashley Fire Department, it started with a LP gas leak at the house. Ashley Fire Chief Dave Barrand confirmed that something separate from the LP gas leak then triggered the blast.

"I was the first one on scene, and I noticed that the house was leveled with debris out on the roadway and out on the fields," Barrand said. "Did find a male trapped inside with severe burns, also found a female that was under some debris."

Barrand said the man and woman were airlifted to an area hospital. Another man was pronounced dead on the scene.

The home sits in an isolated area. No other buildings were damaged.

Comment: From a few days ago in the UK: Huge suspected gas explosion completely destroys house in Buckinghamshire, UK


Biodegradable is bogus: World's 'Ocean waste baskets' still filled with plastic trash

© LCDR Eric Johnson, NOAA Corps.
Pieces of plastic litter a black rock beach on the island of Hawaii in 2008.
Such products 'will not bring about a significant decrease either in the quantity of plastic entering the ocean or the risk of physical and chemical impacts on the marine environment,' UN report states.

Plastics in the world's oceans, whether floating or resting at the bottom, is a problem that's on the rise, and is said to have "reached crisis proportion."

And while they may be assumed to be more eco-friendly, plastics labeled "biodegradable" still pose a threat to marine environments, a new United Nations study has found.

Comment: Comment: 'Essentially the ocean is a waste basket', maybe most of us are simply unaware of how the oceans of the world are being trashed!

Arrow Down

Large sinkhole appears at Lindal-in-Furness, UK

A large sinkhole opened up near Lindal-in-Furness over the weekend - swallowing a 20ft cabin, a wagon and a Nissan Micra.

The hole, believed to be about 200ft deep, appeared as heavy rain battered the region and is thought to be in the location of an old iron ore mine.

Cloud Precipitation

Fear of cholera and floods as 110,000 Burundin refugees pack Tanzania camps

Heavy rains, flooding and a spike in new arrivals could threaten the lives of over 110,000 Burundian refugees in overcrowded camps in Tanzania, six aid agencies said on Monday, amid warnings of rising political tension in Burundi.

Life-threatening malaria and diarrhoea have been spreading in Nyarugusu, the world's third largest refugee camp, since the rainy season began, and damage caused by a powerful El Nino has left aid agencies short of funds throughout east Africa.

"Refugees are arriving in their hundreds every day," the agencies, which include Oxfam, Save the Children and HelpAge International, said in a statement.

"Many people are still living in overcrowded mass shelters months after their arrival, where wet floors and cramped conditions mean that the risk of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases is high."

Blue Planet

UN Report: Major rise in weather disasters over last 2 decades

A flood-affected resident swims through floodwaters in Kalay, upper Myanmar’s Sagaing region on August 3, 2015. Relentless monsoon rains have triggered flash floods and landslides, destroying thousands of houses, farmland, bridges and roads with fast-flowing waters hampering relief efforts.
Since 1995, weather disasters have killed millions of people & left billions injured & homeless.

Weather-related disasters such as floods and heatwaves have occurred almost daily in the past decade, almost twice as often as two decades ago, with Asia being the hardest hit region, a UN report said on Monday.

While the report authors could not pin the increase wholly on climate change, they did say that the upward trend was likely to continue as extreme weather events increased.

Since 1995, weather disasters have killed millions of people, left billions injured, homeless or in need of aid, and accounted for 90 percent of all disasters, it said.

A recent peak year was 2002, when drought in India hit 200 million and a sandstorm in China affected 100 million.

But the standout mega-disaster was Cyclone Nargis, which killed 138,000 in Myanmar in 2008.


One killed in rockslide triggered by 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Venezuela

One person was killed in Venezuela when a rockslide was triggered by a 5.1-magnitude earthquake in the state of Mérida, causing a traffic collision.

The Venezuelan Foundation of Seismological Research, or FUNVISIS, reported the epicenter of the earthquake was located about 18 miles southeast of the town of El Vigía at 4:08 p.m. at a depth of about 3 miles. Multiple aftershocks were recorded in the region.

Blas Federico Méndez, 41, died immediately and his son Emmanuel Méndez, 32, was injured after their vehicle made a frontal collision with an SUV. Both vehicles attempted to evade debris from a rockslide, but collided in the process. Two people inside the SUV were injured, El Universal reported.