Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Pet hamsters banned in Vietnam

Vietnam has banned the sale and possession of hamsters, whose popularity has been soaring.

The Ministry of Agriculture says anyone caught with a hamster will be fined up to 30m dong ($1,900) - almost double the average annual wage in Vietnam.

The authorities say the creatures are a potential source of disease.

Officials have also expressed concern that the animals are imported from China and Thailand without proper licensing or controls.

Cloud Lightning

At Least 10 Tornadoes Rip Through Florida and Georgia

Tornadoes cut through Florida and Georgia on Friday, blowing homes off foundations, felling power lines and snapping majestic oak trees as a record series of winter tornadoes continued to pound the United States.

Bizarro Earth

What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? And Just How Sensitive is the Climate Anyway?

Let's start with some possible news from Heartland Institute's International Climate Change Conference. In the context of man-made global warming, climate sensitivity asks how much temperatures increase if one adds a specified amount of a greenhouse gas. In general, most climatologists accept the proposition, all things being equal, that if one doubles carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the average temperature will go up by +1 degree centigrade. But all things are not equal. In climate models, additional heat from carbon dioxide boosts atmospheric water vapor which in turn acts as a greenhouse gas. All models are dominated by this positive feedback loop. As a consequence, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated in its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) last year that it "is likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C." In other words, doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to warm the planet by between 2 degrees and 4.5 degrees centigrade.

Bizarro Earth

Greek island Rhodes hit by two earthquakes

Two earthquakes measuring 5.1 Richter each hit the Dodecanese island of Rhodes yesterday. The tremors were felt within minutes of each other. The first was recorded at 6.11 p.m. and the second just three minutes later. No damage or injuries were reported.

Cloud Lightning

Brutish winter storm hits Central, Eastern Canada

Canada's "winter from hell" is nasty, brutish and will not be short, according to a senior climatologist at Environment Canada who said spring weather is still a distant dream for most parts of the country.

From freezing drizzle, to snow and ice pellets, Central and Eastern Canada faced a buffet of bad weather Wednesday as a storm centred over New England worked its way into the Maritimes, prompting Environment Canada to issue a series of winter storm warnings.


Manmade flood unleashed in Grand Canyon

PAGE, Ariz. - Four arcs of water unleashed from a dam coursed through the Grand Canyon on Wednesday in a flood meant to mimic the natural ones that used to nourish the ecosystem by spreading sediment.

More than 300,000 gallons of water per second were released from Lake Powell above the dam near the Arizona-Utah border. That's enough water to fill the Empire State Building in 20 minutes, said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.


Lost logs are a barrier to turtle breeding

As if decimating rainforests isn't bad enough, now it turns out industrial logging is also preventing leatherback turtles from nesting.

There is a timber boom in central Africa, with logging now allowed in two-thirds of Gabon's rainforests. Felled logs are floated down rivers to the coast in their thousands, where they are packaged for shipping abroad. Some are lost in transit, though, and float out to sea, eventually washing up along Gabon's 1000-kilometre coastline. Those beached logs pose a threat to breeding turtles, says William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.


Blue Covenant: Maude Barlow on the Global Movement for Water Justice

Maude Barlow is the head of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization, and founder of the Blue Planet Project. Barlow is author of the new book Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

Magic Hat

Hogs help battle beetle in apple orchard

CLAYTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Jim Koan has gone hog-wild in his battle against a beetle that threatens his 120-acre organic apple orchard.

As part of a research experiment believed to be among the first of its kind, Koan is using pigs to help protect his fruit from the plum curculio, a tiny insect that is among the most destructive apple pests.


Great white shark eats anti-shark device

An electronic device designed to ward sharks away from surfers failed so spectacularly during a trial off South Africa that it was eaten by a great white.

Hungry shark
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