Earth ChangesS


Drought: "Australia is where America could be in a few years"

Atlanta, Georgia - Paul Dalby traveled to Atlanta from Australia with stories of a drought so severe that rivers stop flowing, lakes turn toxic and farmers abandon their land in frustration. Dr. Dalby's message, delivered as metro Atlanta struggles to map strategies for coping with severe water shortages, focused on his country's past and America's future.

"Australia is where America could be in a few years," said Dr. Dalby, a consultant with an Australian-funded institute, the International Center of Excellence in Water Resource Management.

To read more see the original article on the Global Atlanta website.


California water watchers cast a wary eye

Water experts are having a hard time finding the right words to describe what lies ahead, after recording a dismally dry January in California.

"Scary," "grim," and possible "conservation mandates" are offered up.

Yet it's easy for the experts to sound out a clear warning: This may become, simply, the worst drought California has ever seen.

"Our worst fears appear to be materializing," said Wendy Martin, drought coordinator at the state Department of Water Resources. "It's going to be a huge challenge."


Food Production Chaos Looms in Africa as Soil Quality Worsens

African farmers and climate change are combining to damage soil at a rate that may plunge the continent, home to about 1 billion people, into chaos as food production declines.

"The situation is very severe and soil fertility is declining rapidly," Jeroen Huising, a scientist who studies soils at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, or CIAT, said today in an interview. "Many countries like Kenya already don't have enough food to feed their population and soil degradation is worsening an already critical situation."


Chinese military tackles drought crisis

The Chinese government brought out the big guns over the weekend to help fight its worst drought in 50 years.

Soldiers loaded rockets with cloud-seeding chemicals over the weekend and fired them into the sky over drought-stricken areas.

The clouds opened and it rained briefly in some of the hardest hit provinces in northern and central China, but not enough end to the drought. The clouds were too thin and moving too fast to do much good.

Cloud Lightning

Windstorms batter France, Britain on flood alert

Severe windstorms left hundreds of thousands of homes without power across parts of France on Tuesday and forced authorities to shut down Paris' two main airports while Britain went on flood alert.

Hurricane-force gusts of up to 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour battered France's west coast late Monday as the second major storm in two weeks barrelled in from the Atlantic.

Bracing for severe winds, authorities shut down Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports overnight for the first time in 34 years, cancelling more than 200 flights.

The airport reopened at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) but Air France reported major delays for all incoming and outgoing flights.

The storm left some 900,000 homes without electricity late Monday and by midday Tuesday 400,000 households were still without power in central, eastern and northern France, the grid operator ERDF said.

Bizarro Earth

Animals the forgotten victims of Australian fires

© UnknownSheep search for any patch of fresh grass left after a fire raged through the community of Kinglake, northeast of Melbourne on February 9, 2009.

Overlooked amidst the human tragedy, thousands of animals -- kangaroos and koalas as well as cattle and sheep -- also perished in the scorching fires that have swept through southeast Australia.

At least 130 people died in the flames, official figures showed, but nobody was prepared to venture an estimate on the animal losses.

"It's been absolutely devastating," the president of the Wildlife Protection Association of Australia, Pat O'Brien, told AFP.

"We've lost huge numbers of wildlife in the forest. By all reports we've got animals dying even before the flames reach them.

"Kangaroos, wallabies, all the animals that live in the trees -- the possums, koalas -- just gone, it's been a terrible, terrible thing for wildlife, total devastation," he said.

"There have been huge losses of farm animals as well, but those reports are still coming in."


Best of the Web: Slippery Slope: Ice Age Cometh in Five Years

It's time for some straight talk. No more beating around the bush. I no longer want to evade an issue around whose edges I've been skirting for 12 years. So I'll come right and say it loud and clear: In all probability, we've come to the end of the line.
Unless I'm grievously mistaken, we are about to go extinct. Soon. In 1997 I warned that we are approaching the onset of a new ice age. I wrote that the record shows that ice ages are preceded by a period of about 20 years, and things get very unpleasant as the end of that period approaches.

Contrary to poor Al Gore's alarmist prediction that the planet is approaching the boiling point, it's getting colder - a lot colder. And it's going to get even colder. Spring and fall will disappear, summers will be short and winters longer and increasingly more frigid.


Best of the Web: Northern Ireland environment minister bans climate change ads

Northern Ireland's environment minister came under fire Monday after he banned a climate change ad campaign, saying it was "nonsense" to suggest people could save the world by turning off their lights.

Sammy Wilson, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party which shares power with Sinn Fein in the British-ruled province, believes mankind is not to blame for global warming.

Comment: It's interesting that he does not believe mankind is responsible for global warming. Have you read Climate Change Swindlers and the Political Agenda?

He refused to allow an advertising campaign produced in London, which urges people to use less energy in the home, to be broadcast in Northern Ireland, saying it was simply "propaganda".

He argued the ads gave people "the impression that by turning off the standby light on their TV they could save the world from melting glaciers and being submerged in 40 feet of water", according to the BBC. "That is patent nonsense," Wilson added.

Bizarro Earth

'Hundreds' of dolphins beached in Philippines

More than 200 dolphins have beached themselves on Manila Bay, officials in the Philippines said Tuesday as they tried to work out why the marine mammals had come ashore.

Residents saw huge pods of dolphins near the towns of Pilar and Abucay on the Bataan peninsula west of Manila.

Bataan governor Enrique Garcia said at least three have died.

"This is an unusual phenomenon," Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Malcolm Sarmiento told local radio, estimating the number of dolphins at "more than 200."

He said they could be reacting to a "heat wave or disturbance at sea" such as a possible major underwater earthquake.

Bizarro Earth

Freak Ice Storm Hits Canada

An unusual bout of warm winter weather turned snow into freezing rain on Monday in western Canada, coating much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan provinces in ice, snapping power lines and stopping travel.

Federal police described the storm as one of the worst to strike the region in decades, with hundreds of vehicles sliding off slick roads.

"We've had emergency vehicles in the ditch, we had a fire truck in the ditch, and even one of the highway sanders was in the ditch," Corporal Larry Dahlman of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told public broadcaster CBC.