Earth ChangesS


US, Chicago: Flood Season Begins Unusually Early Across Heartland

The flood season in the nation's midsection started early this year, and there's no letup in sight, spurring federal, state and local officials to brace for what looks likely to be an unusually watery spring.

At least 16 deaths were linked to heavy flooding across Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and other states in March; another was tied to flooding Friday in Kentucky. Last week, snow that could set off more flooding blanketed parts of the Midwest. And Kentucky and parts of Arkansas and Missouri that are struggling to recover from previous deluges remained vulnerable to the threat of weekend rain.

Bizarro Earth

Quake of Magnitude 7.5 Hits Pacific's Vanuatu, New Caledonia

The Pacific islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia were shaken by a magnitude-7.5 earthquake, less than two hours after a magnitude-6.4 temblor hit the area, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The latest quake struck at 11:46 p.m. local time, about 89 kilometers (55 miles) south-southwest of Isangel in Vanuatu, and 174 kilometers northeast of Tadine in New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands, the USGS said today in a preliminary report on its Web site. The quake struck at a depth of 89 kilometers and there were no immediate warnings of a potential tsunami.

Better Earth

Scientists probe earthquake clouds

Curious gaps in clouds may provide early warning of an earthquake, scientists believe.

Researchers spotted unusual cloud formations above an active fault in Iran before two large earthquakes struck the region.

It appeared to be more than coincidence, and now scientists are investigating whether clouds can predict major quakes.

Cloud Lightning

'Well Above-average' Hurricane Season Forecast For 2008

The Colorado State University forecast team upgraded its early season forecast today from the Bahamas Weather Conference, saying the U.S. Atlantic basin will likely experience a well above-average hurricane season.

"Current oceanic and atmospheric trends indicate that we will likely have an active Atlantic basin hurricane season," said William Gray, who is beginning his 25th year forecasting hurricanes at Colorado State University.

Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina. The Colorado State University team's forecast now anticipates 15 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and Nov. 30. Eight of the storms are predicted to become hurricanes, and of those eight, four are expected to develop into intense or major hurricanes.

Cloud Lightning

Pictures: Dramatic images of Lufthansa 737 elevator after lightning strike

Sofia Flight Lightning Strike

Engineers in the Bulgarian capital Sofia are repairing a Lufthansa Boeing 737-300 which suffered elevator damage from a lightning strike after departing to Frankfurt.

The aircraft, operating flight LH3431, had taken off from Sofia on 5 April with 44 passengers and six crew members on board.


Investigating "The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Climate change is a contentious issue among the public. One of the main arguments made by people who claim that climate change is not caused by humans states that recent global warming is a result of changes in solar activity. Indeed, a 2007 broadcast on Channel4 titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle" tried to make exactly that case.

Comment: The study can be read here.

Magic Wand

Lord Lawson claims climate change hysteria heralds a 'new age of unreason'

One of the striking features of how concern over global warming has risen to the top of our political agenda is the extraordinary unanimity with which it has been taken up by our political establishment.


South Africa: Swallows dying by the thousands

Tens of thousands of swallows have died in Limpopo province a week before they were due to migrate to Europe, said BirdLife SA on Wednesday.

Executive director Gerhard Verdoorn said the vast climate changes during March, from the extremely hot to the bitterly cold, played a major role in the death of the swallows.

About three weeks ago, cold air from Angola passed over Namibia and Botswana and entered the South African Lowveld. Temperatures plummeted from 21° to 9°.

Cloud Lightning

Scientists downplay global warming's effect on hurricanes

Global warming is not the cause of increased hurricane activity, researchers said, but many more busy -- and costly -- seasons are ahead.

Cloud Lightning

Nobel scientist issues warning on global warming

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist who rang the first alarm bells over the ozone hole issued a warming about climate change on Saturday, saying there could be "almost irreversible consequences" if the Earth warmed 2.5 degrees Celsius above what it ought to be.

"Things are changing and there's no doubt that it's as a result of human activities," said Mario Molina, a Mexican who shared a Nobel prize in chemistry in 1995 for groundbreaking work on chlorofluorocarbon gases and their threat to the Earth's ozone layer.

Comment: It would be helpful if this story would point to how Mr. Molina reached his conclusion that "Things are changing and there's no doubt that it's as a result of human activities". The science is still out on what is causing Global Warming and its effects. For a few related stories, see here, here and here. Here's one on the media's complicity.