Earth ChangesS


Lake Superior warming, shrinking

Something seems amiss with mighty Superior, the deepest and coldest of the Great Lakes, which together hold nearly 20 per cent of the world's fresh surface water.

Superior's surface area is roughly the same as South Carolina's, the biggest of any freshwater lake on Earth. It's deep enough to hold all the other Great Lakes plus three additional Lake Eries. Yet over the past year, its level has ebbed to the lowest point in eight decades and will set a record this fall if, as expected, it dips 7.6 more centimetres.

Its average temperature has surged about 4.5 degrees Farenheit since 1979, significantly above the 2.7-degree rise in the region's air temperature during the same period. That's no small deal for a freshwater sea that was created from glacial melt as the Ice Age ended and remains chilly in all seasons.

Cloud Lightning

Massachusetts: 6,000 homes lose power in storms

About 6,000 Massachusetts households lost power yesterday afternoon as storms raged throughout the day before subsiding around 6 p.m.

The number of power outages peaked statewide around 1:30 p.m., said NStar spokeswoman Margaret Coughlan. "We had between 6,000 and 7,000 without power," she said. "It was all storm-related."

But by 11:30 last night, power was restored in all areas affected by the strong winds and heavy rain, according to National Grid spokeswoman Vanessa Charles. Outages were most prevalent in North Andover and Weymouth, she said.

Extra NStar crews were dispatched to handle the large volume of homes without power.

Light Saber

Russia sends plane to combat forest fires in Montenegro

Russia has sent a plane to Montenegro to combat forest fires raging in the Balkan country, a spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry said Sunday.

Scorching weather has caused large-scale forest fires throughout the Balkan Peninsula this summer.

An Il-76 aircraft, which can carry up to 42 metric tons of water, has been sent to Montenegro at the request of the country's leadership as the efforts to extinguish raging forest fires have been unsuccessful, Viktor Beltsov said.

Beltsov also said that another firefighting plane would soon fly to Greece to combat forest fires.

Cloud Lightning

15,000 displaced by Cape floods in South Africa

About 15,000 people have been displaced by heavy rains in the Cape peninsula.

About 49 residential areas, mostly in informal settlements, had indicated they needed help, SABC news reported

Yesterday spokesman for Cape Town's Disaster Risk Management Centre, Johan Minnie said an estimated 10,000 people, mainly residents of the hard-hit informal settlements on the Cape Flats east of the city, had been affected by the flooding.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning deaths rise in China

Lightning strikes have killed 403 people in China so far this year, equalling the total number of deaths from lightning in the whole of last year, the China Meteorological Administration said.

The administration attributed the higher rate of deaths to more frequent and severe lightning storms, Xinhua news agency reported.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills five South Koreans climbers

Five South Koreans were killed by lightning in mountains near the capital on Sunday, while six other climbers were injured, KBS news said.

Two men and two women were struck and killed near a hill at Bukhan Mountain, northeast of Seoul, when heavy rains swept through the area, the report said, citing police and rescue workers.

Light Saber

Russia: Water level goes down in flooded zone in Amur reg

The situation in the Zeya district in the Amur Region, where dozens of houses have been inundated, is gradually returning to normal.

The level of the Zeya reservoir went down four centimetres over the past 24 hours and 12 centimetres over the past three days, a source at the Emergencies Ministry's Far Eastern regional centre told Itar-Tass.

The volume of water falling from the Zeya hydroelectric station is 4,800 cubic metres a second, while the inflow to the reservoir is 3,500 cubic metres a second.

The Zeya River level is also going down. Over the past 24 hours, the level was down five centimetres near the city of Zeya and the villages of Alexandrovka and Nikolayevka, six centimetres near the village of Algach, seven centimetres near the village of Umlekan, ten centimetres near the village of Chalbachi and twelve centimetres near the village of Yubileiny. The water level went down 35-40 centimetres near the village of Ovsyanka.

Cloud Lightning

Dozens killed as floods hit India, Nepal

Dozens of people have been killed and nearly three million hit by floods triggered by torrential monsoon rains in India and Nepal, officials said on Saturday.

At least 38 people have died in heavy flooding and landslides across the region, where homes have been swept away and crops destroyed.


Gulf 'Dead Zone' Measures in Top 3

NEW ORLEANS - The oxygen-poor "dead zone" off the Louisiana and Texas coasts isn't quite as big as predicted this year, but it is still the third-largest ever mapped, a scientist said Saturday.

Crabs, eels and other creatures usually found on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico are swimming in crowds on the surface because there is too little oxygen in their usual habitat, said Nancy Rabalais, chief scientist for northern Gulf hypoxia studies.


Montana wildfire burns out of control

HELENA, Mont. - Wind helped a fire outside Glacier National Park jump firefighters' control lines Saturday, forcing evacuation orders at a lodge and closing a long stretch of highway, officials said.