Earth Changes

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.


Major wildfire kills two as farm animals burned alive in southern Australia

Two people have been confirmed dead in a bushfire burning out of control north of Adelaide.
A "fast-moving and dangerous" bush fire leaves two people dead, with thousands of animals thought to have been burned alive.

Firefighters are battling to control a major wildfire in southern Australia which has killed two people and thousands of livestock.

Around 200 firefighters and several aircraft have reportedly been deployed to try and control the blaze, which is burning across a 27-mile front near Adelaide.

One person died in a paddock while a second died in a car, Australian media reported.

Comment: It is not only Australia where the "length and intensity of the fire season" is increasing. A study has shown that wildfire seasons are more destructive and lasting longer almost everywhere on Earth.

Globally we are witnessing extensive wildfires, which in some regions have been described as "unprecedented". The National Interagency Fire Center has described the 2015 wildfire season in the United States as a record breaker. The Amazon jungle is going up in smoke with tens of thousands of wildfires so far this year. Wildfires in Indonesia are causing a toxic haze which threatens millions in southeast Asia.

Rather than attributing this increase to "climate change" which "causes temperatures to rise", could a significant factor in the escalation of these wildfires be that they are fueled from outgassing, then possibly 'sparked' by an increase in atmospheric electric discharge events, such as lightning strikes and other 'cosmic' ignition sources?

Cloud Precipitation

Flooding in Saudi Arabia and Qatar after one year of rain falls in a day

© Saudi Arabia Civil Defence
Saudi Arabia Civil Defence teams carrying out flood rescues in Buraidah, Al-Qassim Region.
Seasonal storms brought heavy rain to Qatar and central and eastern parts of Saudi Arabia on 25 November 2015.

Doha, Qatar, recorded more than a year's worth of rain in one day. One person has been reported as killed in the floods in Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia in what is the third deadly flood event to hit the country in the last 4 weeks.

Saudi Arabia

The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported earlier today that seasonal storms brought heavy rainfall in central and eastern areas of the country, causing severe flooding in Riyadh and Al-Qassim Regions.

Saudi Arabia civil defence report that 1 person has died in the floods in the province of Rimah, Riyadh Region, which is located about 120 kilometres north-east of the capital Riyadh.

Schools have been closed, roads blocked and in some cases flooding has forced drivers to abandon their vehicles. Saudi Arabia civil defence say they have responded to dozens of emergency calls. The city of Buraidah, Al-Qassim Region, is reported as one of the worst hit.


Large number of dead starfish and crabs wash up on Lincolnshire beach, UK

© Ian Mann
A haul of dead starfish and crabs has been found on the beach at Ingoldmells
A haul of dead starfish, crabs and other marine life has been discovered on a Lincolnshire beach.

Ian Mann, who owns a holiday home at the Skegness Sands park discovered the dead sea creatures this morning on a stretch of beach at Ingoldmells.

He said: "It was like a killing spree.

"I was just walking my dog on the beach and I threw the ball for him when I noticed something was washed up.

"I went for a closer look and noticed all these dead starfish.

"There were some in little puddles.