Earth ChangesS


Dire Warning as Hurricane Ike Nears Texas - People Face "Certain Death" If They Stay Behind

As Hurricane Ike bore down on the Houston area on Friday morning, the National Weather Service issued a stern warning to people living in small houses on Galveston Island that they faced "certain death" from flooding if they remained in their homes.

©Carlos Barria/Reuters
A resident took pictures next to the ocean as Hurricane Ike approached the coast of Galveston, Tex., on Friday.

Life Preserver

'Extreme waves' driven by climate change batter Australia's coastline

Australia's coastline is increasingly being battered by extreme waves that are driven in part by climate change, government scientists say.

Research has shown that bigger waves are bearing down on the coastline as severe storms become more frequent.

Scientists say coastal areas will see more and more extreme waves

Red Flag

Earth's windiest region, Greenland's Cape Farewell, confirmed by crewed flight

For the first time, research planes have flown in the windiest region on Earth. The location - the appropriately named Cape Farewell in Greenland - generated the winds likely to have carried Viking explorers from Iceland and Greenland to North America, making them the first Europeans to discover the continent.


UK recent bad weather blamed on southerly position of jet stream; wettest August for Northern Ireland

Monthly summary

Unsettled weather is expected to continue into the beginning of October with the best hope of any drier brighter weather in the south and east.

August was an average month in only one respect, temperatures hovered around the seasonal average.

It was a very wet month for most of us with widespread flooding in Northern Ireland and parts of eastern Scotland. Northern Ireland had its wettest August since records began back in 1914.

The reason for the above average wind and rain is down to the southerly position of our jet stream. These are strong winds in the upper atmosphere, which act like a road steering low pressure systems across the Atlantic to our shores.
And is there any particular reason for the jet stream being out of position? Any implications for the global climate system?

Consider this article, which reads:
Global importance

Climatologists have suggested that the winds, known as the Greenland tip jet, could be a key force in driving the world's climate and the global ocean circulation by pushing cold, dense water to the ocean floor and triggering the thermohaline circulation.

This massive "conveyor belt" carries seawater around the world's oceans. The North Atlantic is a critical point, where warm surface water coming from the tropics on the Gulf Stream is cooled and becomes denser. In doing so, it sinks to the ocean bed and pushes the deep segment of the conveyor belt forward.

Robert Pickart of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, US, and colleagues have suggested that the exceptional winds at Cape Farewell trigger this overturning (Nature vol 424, p 152).

"They cool and evaporate the surface water making it more salty, and therefore more dense, just south of Greenland," explains Renfrew.

If this is true, then the Cape Farewell winds help drive the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe warm, despite their high latitude.
And what happens if the "conveyor belt" shifts position, or even worse, stops its motion?

Cloud Lightning

Cars, trucks stream inland in Texas as Ike near

HOUSTON - Cars and trucks streamed inland and chemical companies buttoned up their plants Thursday as a gigantic Hurricane Ike took aim at the heart of the U.S. refining industry and threatened to send a wall of water crashing toward Houston.

©AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Traffic lines Interstate 45 leaving Houston as Hurricane Ike approaches the Texas Gulf Coast Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008 in The Woodlands, Texas.


British team capture first pictures of Africa's 'unicorn'

London - The okapi, an African animal so elusive that it was once believed to be a mythical unicorn, has been photographed in the wild for the first time, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said Thursday.

©AFP/Zoological Society Of London
An okapi, pictured in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is so elusive that it was once believed to be a mythical unicorn.

Arrow Down

UK Farmers fear harvest could be the worst for 40 years!

Britain is facing its worst harvest for at least 40 years as 30 per cent of the country's grain lies in waterlogged or sodden ground. Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, is expected to give the go-ahead today for farmers to salvage what is left of their crops by using heavy machinery on wet fields.

European Union rules ban farmers from using combine harvesters on wet land to protect soil quality. Those who flout the ban can be prosecuted. The exemption is expected to last for about three weeks.

The poor harvest is unlikely to lead to a rise in the price of bread, cakes, biscuits and flour, however. Gordon Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers, said that although much of the milling wheat was of a poor quality it could still be used for bread and flour.

He said: "The poorer wheat means it has less protein, but manufacturers can add gluten to ensure the proper quality for making bread. We are not happy and we may still have to import some milling wheat, but no one is talking about price rises for bread."

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - Hokkaido, Japan

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 6.9

* Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 00:20:52 UTC
* Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 09:20:52 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 41.979°N, 143.625°E
Depth 35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
Distances 125 km (80 miles) SSW of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
225 km (140 miles) SSE of Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan
225 km (140 miles) ESE of Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
775 km (485 miles) NNE of TOKYO, Japan

Cloud Lightning

Evacuations begin in Texas ahead of Hurricane Ike

HOUSTON - The frail and elderly were put aboard buses Wednesday and authorities warned 1 million others to flee inland as Hurricane Ike steamed toward a swath of the Texas coast that includes the nation's largest concentration of refineries and chemical plants.


EQ 5.2 Jumla, Nepal - preliminary report

Sender Name: U.S. Geological Survey
Headline: EQ 5.2 Jumla, Nepal - PRELIMINARY REPORT
Description: An earthquake with magnitude 5.2 occurred near Jumla, Nepal at 01:28:07.10 UTC on Sep 10, 2008. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)