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Wed, 15 Jul 2020
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Bizarro Earth

Mysterious new invasive algae smothering Hawaii's coral reefs

Invasive Algae
© Taylor Williams/NOAA
College of Charleston professor of biology Heather Spalding documents a mat of invasive-like algae at Pearl and Hermes Atoll. The alga has smothered all native algae and corals.
Hawaii is famous for a lot of things. Perfect waves and perfect weather, to name a few. Stunning views and crystal clear water to name a few more. One of the most famous things it is famous for, however, is its coral reefs. And according to a study in the journal PLOS One, those reefs could be in some serious trouble.

Back in 2016, survey cruises conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) picked up strange specimens of an undetermined red alga. It "rapidly attained alarming levels of benthic coverage at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaiʻi," which, in layman's terms, means it spread like wildfire in shallow shoreline waters. A few years later, they went back to have another look, and what they found was strange indeed.

"By 2019 the seaweed had covered large expanses on the northeast side of the atoll with mat-like, extensive growth of entangled thalli," the abstract from the study reads. "Specimens were analyzed using light microscopy and molecular analysis and were compared to morphological descriptions in the literature for closely related taxa. Light microscopy demonstrated that the specimens likely belonged to the rhodomelacean genus Chondria, yet comparisons to taxonomic literature revealed no morphological match."

In short, it appears that the alga is likely to be an unknown species. That's a problem, because the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is uninhabited, remote, and pristine — which makes it susceptible to invasive species like this one.

Snowflake

Big snow totals across the Snowy Mountains, Australia - nearly 40 inches in 24 hours

The freshies in Thredbo were best yesterday morning, the snow getting heavier as the day went on.
© Thredbo
The freshies in Thredbo were best yesterday morning, the snow getting heavier as the day went on.
Well, that was an incredible 24 hours for the NSW resorts with 70-100cms of snow in a 24-hour period, the higher totals falling above 1800 metres, but there was also snow all the way down to Jindabyne and beyond.

The first snow fall came through on Sunday with a few centimetres during the day before things kicked in overnight, leaving 17cms on the deck outside my place in Thredbo Village and 40+cms on the mountain by yesterday morning.

The snow kept falling all day, dumping at times, before it finally eased at around 8pm last night and there's a few lingering snow showers today. The result is 100% of the terrain in the NSW resorts now has a good base and more lifts will open this week.


Snowflake Cold

Incredible rare peek at Patagonia in winter, high pressure area bringing unusually cold temperatures

June 26, 2020

Patagonia, June 26, 2020.
In southern South America, clouds often rule the skies. But in June 2020, just the right weather patterns were in place to provide a rare, clear view of Patagonia in winter.

On June 26, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite acquired these images, skies were clear over nearly all of Patagonia, which spans more than 1 million square kilometers of the continent's southern end. Snow cover is visible from the western slopes of the Andes Mountains in Chile to the coastal lowlands in Argentina.

According to René Darío Garreaud, a professor at the University of Chile, it's unusual to see such a widespread cloud-free area over Patagonia. "The last time that I saw a completely clear image was in February 2019," he said. At that time, during the Southern Hemisphere's summer, the warm seasonal temperatures meant snow and ice were mostly limited to the spine of the Andes and the Patagonian icefields.

Comment: Related: Incredible snowfalls in the Andes - snow lying almost 5 metre (17 FEET) deep


Cloud Precipitation

Japan hammered by record-breaking torrential rains and deadly floods, 3 inches of rain per hour - A metre in 3 days

FLOODS
© Geospatial Information Authority of Japan
A week of torrential rain pounded southwestern and central Japan, triggering severe flooding and landslides that have killed at least 68 people in the region. Kumamoto prefecture in Japan's southern island of Kyushu has been hardest hit, and over the weekend residents braced for more extreme weather. On Saturday some areas observed more than 80 millimeters of rainfall per hour and 1,000 mm over three consecutive days. Strong winds, lightning, and tornadoes were also added to the weather warning. The Ministry of Land reported 282 mudslide disasters across 27 prefectures with the largest number, 52, in Kumamoto prefecture.

Eastern and western Japan are on high alert for heavy 24-hour downpours with a risk that rivers in Iwate and Aomori could overflow. New mudslide warnings have also been issued for Kyushu as past rain loosens the ground and damaged river levees inundate low-lying areas.


Cloud Precipitation

India floods, landslides leave at least 77 dead in Assam state

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by floodwaters and landslides following incessant rainfall in the region.
© AP/Anupam Nath
Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by floodwaters and landslides following incessant rainfall in the region.
Six more people have died in floods and mudslides in northeastern India's Assam state, officials said Tuesday, taking the death toll to 77 from more than two weeks of heavy rains that caused one of Asia's largest rivers to overflow.

The Brahmaputra River continued to wreak havoc, displacing more than 2 million people, the officials said. Vast tracts were still underwater with 26 of the state's 33 districts badly affected.

M.S. Mannivanan, head of the State Disaster Management Authority, said rescue and relief operations were underway.

"We have 40 teams of the State Disaster Response Force in the worst-hit areas and the army also is on standby," Mannivanan said.


Boat

Third of Bangladesh underwater, at least 1.5 million people affected

Almost a third of Bangladesh was underwater, officials said
© AFP
Almost a third of Bangladesh was underwater, officials said
Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Thursday, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade.

The monsoon -- which usually falls from June to September -- is crucial to the economy of the Indian sub-continent, but also causes widespread death and destruction across the region each year.

"This is going to be the worst flood in a decade," Bangladesh's Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre chief Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan told AFP.

The heavy rains have swollen two main Himalayan river systems -- the Brahmaputra and the Ganges -- that flow through India and Bangladesh.


Cloud Precipitation

Flash flood kills 15 in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province

A general view shows vehicles swept away by flash floods next to houses in Radda village in North Luwu regency, South Sulawesi on July 14, 2020
© AFP
A general view shows vehicles swept away by flash floods next to houses in Radda village in North Luwu regency, South Sulawesi on July 14, 2020
A flash flood in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province left at least 15 people dead and an unknown number missing, an official said Tuesday.

"Fifteen are reported dead and we are still looking for more casualties since access to many locations is still blocked by the mud," North Luwu district official Indah Putri Indriani said.

She said the flooding began Monday evening and was triggered by heavy rains that caused three rivers to overflow.

Mud and other materials carried by the floodwaters covered roads and thousands of houses, she said.


Cloud Precipitation

More deadly flash floods in north east Turkey after 10 inches of rain in 24 hours

RIZE, Turkey
Further flooding has been reported in northern Turkey following the deadly flash floods in Artvin Province on 12 July.

At least 2 people lost their lives in flooding and landslides in Çayeli district of Rize Province in north eastern Turkey on 13 July.

The town of Çayeli, along with several surrounding towns and villages in the district have been affected. AFAD said houses were destroyed in Madenli, and the villages of Köprübaşı and Sarısu. Two people from Köprübaşı village and 3 in Madenli town were sent to the hospital with injuries. Rescue teams have been facing problems reaching the remote villages.


Tornado1

Tornado filmed in San Juan, Mexico

tornado

Tornado spotted in San Juan, Puebla - Mexico, July 9, 2020.


Black Cat

60-year-old woman mauled to death by leopard in Nainital, India - 3rd recent fatal attack

Stock image of leopard
© Getty
A 60-year-old woman was mauled to death by a leopard when she went to collect fodder for cattle in Manora forest range of Nainital forest division. Deceased Uma Devi was a resident of Saun village.

This is the second leopard attack in a fortnight in the same area, leading to the conviction that the same leopard is behind both attacks. According to Nainital divisional forest officer (DFO) Bijulal (who uses only his first name), forest teams have installed cages and camera traps and are trying to find the leopard.

A process has also been initiated to give the woman's family Rs 3 lakh compensation.

Comment: Also recently another elderly woman was killed by a leopard in Haldwani, while a boy and an 18 month old male were killed in Karnataka and Uttarakhand respectively.