Earth Changes


U.S. orange production hit by deadly bacteria, juice prices soar

© AFP/Robert Sullivan
A citrus disease spread by a tiny insect has devastated Florida's orange crop, which is expected to be the worst in nearly 30 years, and sent juice prices soaring on New York markets.

The culprit? The gnat-sized Asian citrus psyllid, which is infecting citrus trees across the Sunshine State with huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, which causes fruit to taste bitter and fall from trees too soon.

"It feels we are losing the fight," said Ellis Hunt, the head of a family-run citrus farm spread over about 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) in the central Florida town of Lake Wales.

The deadly bacteria has slashed his annual production over the past few years from one million boxes of fruit to 750,000.

4.4 earthquake in Slovenia, Italy, near nuclear plant

© AFP/Stringer
Krsko nuclear power plant
A 4.4-magnitude earthquake has struck Slovenia southwest of the country's capital, Ljubljana, at a depth of 12.4 kilometers, says USGS.

According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, the magnitude of the quake was measured at 4.5, with a depth of 2 kilometers.

The earthquake took place about 200 kilometers from a nuclear power plant at Krško, a town in eastern Slovenia. The plant is co-owned by Slovenia and Croatia.

The quake struck at about 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT).

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit about 5 kilometers northeast of the Slovene town of Ilirska Bistrica, 32 kilometers northwest of the Croatian city of Rijeka and 37 kilometers east of the Italian city of Trieste.
Red Flag

Large wildfire in Dutch national park

Netherlands wildfire
© Unknown
Hoge Veluwe National Park
A large wildfire destroyed at least 530 hectares (1,300 acres) in the Netherlands' Hoge Veluwe National Park on Sunday, one of the worst fires seen in the region for decades, Dutch authorities said.

No injuries have been reported, according to Mayor Cees van der Knaap of the municipality of Ede, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Amsterdam, which oversees the park.

Large whale carcass found in Dalian sea, China

© Sina Weibo
A dead whale measuring over four meters long was found floating belly-up in the sea area off Changhai County, Dalian, Liaoning Province, on April 19, a netizen said on his Sina Weibo account on Saturday. The whale was most likely killed by unexpected strikes, judging by the bruises on its belly.
Ice Cube

Another report of dead whales stranded by ice off Newfoundland

© Kayla Kendall
Kayla Kendall tweeted this photograph on Saturday of a whale stranded at Rocky Harbour because of ice.
The Canadian Coast Guard has issued a new report of dead whales off western Newfoundland.

Mariners have been warned about four whale carcasses at different locations at the entrance to Bonne Bay.

It has not said what kind of whales have died.

Earlier this month, at least nine blue whales died in ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

In March, dozens of dolphins were killed when they were crushed by ice near Cape Ray, on Newfoundland's southwest coast.

Drug that wiped out 95 % of Indian vultures may cause an EU eco-disaster

© Getty
Spain approves use of drug beneficial to mammals - that will kill any vulture that feeds on a carcass containing traces of it
Bureaucratic ignorance has allowed a drug that almost wiped out India's vultures to be sanctioned for use in Europe - raising fears that authorities will have to spend vast sums collecting and incinerating animal carcasses which the birds usually dispose of.

Despite their unappealing looks, vultures make a vital contribution to public health in southern Europe.

But Spain, which is home to about 100,000 vultures, has horrified conservationists and bird lovers by approving the use of diclophenac - a powerful anti-inflammatory drug used that is beneficial to mammals but will kill any vulture that feeds on a carcass containing traces of the drug.

Diclophenac can also be used legally in Italy, where it was first developed. The country also has a small population of wild vultures.

About 95 per cent of India's vultures disappeared after diclophenac was introduced in the mid-1990s, before eventually being banned in 2006. The result was a dangerous increase in rotting animal carcasses, which caused a rapid rise in the number of feral dogs, and the spread of rabies. One study put the resulting cost to Indian society at £20bn.

Spain, where vets can now legally use diclophenac, has about 90 per cent of all Europe's vultures, including 97 per cent of one species, the Black Vulture.
Cloud Lightning

Severe weather in India claims 1 life and injures 120

India severe storm
© Javed Raja
A waterlogged road after the shower in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Even as the sudden heavy showers that lashed the city on Sunday evening brought much respite to people in Ahmedabad from the soaring heat, one person was reported to have been crushed to death under the weight of an uprooted tree at Nava Vadaj. At least 120 people have also been reportedly injured in separate incidents across the city.

Earlier in the day, the temperature in the city had touched 39.8 degree Celsius, according to the Met office. The downpour continued till late in the evening, leading to several mishaps across the city.
Cloud Grey

Floods in Serbia prompt evacuation of more than 400 families

Serbia flooding
© Unknown
Flood waves on several rivers and their tributaries in Serbia have prompted the evacuation of at least 440 families in the last two days, leaving thousands of people without water and power supply.

An emergency situation has been declared in five municipalities, but there have been no casualties. The damage caused by the floods that have hit parts of the western, central and eastern Serbia is not possible to estimate until the rivers recede.
Arrow Down

Another huge sinkhole threatens two homes in Florida

Two vacant homes threatened by a huge sinkhole in Villages neighborhood, Sumter County, Florida on April 20, 2014

OMG! This monster sinkhole almost swallowed two homes on Chalmer Terrace in the Villages in Sumter County, Florida on April 20, 2014.

The huge sinkhole measures about 50-foot wide and threatens two vacant houses in central Florida. It was created by heavy rains during the Easter week-end.

Comment: Note that the sinkhole was filled in, then reopened!


Life on Earth is not suffering from rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels

Note: This op-ed is apparently too hot for some editors to handle. Late last week it was accepted and posted on only to be abruptly removed some two hours later. After several hours of attempting to determine why it was removed, I was informed the editor had permanently taken it down because of a strong negative reaction to it and because of "conflicting views from the scientific community" over factual assertions in the piece.

Fortunately, some media outlets recognize a vigorous scientific debate persists over humanity's influence on climate and those outlets refuse outside efforts to silence viewpoints that run counter to prevailing climate alarmism. My original piece follows below.- Craig Idso

The release of a United Nations (UN) climate change report last week energized various politicians and environmental activists, who issued a new round of calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the most fiery language in this regard came from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who called upon Congress to "wake up and do everything in its power to reduce dangerous carbon pollution," while Secretary of State John Kerry expressed similar sentiments in a State Department release, claiming that "unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy."

Really? Is Earth's climate so fragile that both it and our way of life are in jeopardy because of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions?

In a word, no! The human impact on global climate is small; and any warming that may occur as a result of anthropogenic CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions is likely to have little effect on either Earth's climate or biosphere, according to the recently-released contrasting report Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, which was produced by the independent Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).