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Thu, 24 Jun 2021
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Earth Changes


Cooling atmosphere: Sun halos, sun pillars spotted in sky over central Pennsylvania

Sun halos and sun pillars are created from ice crystals in the sky refracting sun light, but the both look different and can form at different times of the day.
Sun pillar in Pennsylvania
© Erin
Sun halos are created when sunlight or moonlight is reflecting off ice crystals in the sky. These crystals will then form a halo around the sun. Most of the ice crystals are found in cirrus clouds or cirrostratus clouds. It usually forms a white circle or even sometimes you will see rainbow colors in the halo.

Black Cat

35-year-old farmer killed by tiger in Maharashtra, India - 12 such deaths for region this year

A farmer was killed in tiger attack in the forest under Chichpalli range on Tuesday. This is the third incident of human kill in the area in one-and-a-half months.

There was brief tension at the spot as villagers, irked by repeated tiger attacks in the area, refused to lift the body for some time. Sources said Kirtiram Kulmethe (35) from village Janala had gone into the compartment no. 718 in Chiroli beat of the range.

A tiger moving through the area attacked and killed him on the spot. Foresters rushed to the spot upon getting information, but a large crowd of villagers had gathered by the time. Forest officials pacified them and removed the body.

Earlier, one Kalpana Wadhai from Agadi village was killed in a tiger attack on March 31 in the same area.

Later, Vanita Gedam from Janala village was injured by a tiger on May 4 while she was out to collect Mahua flowers. She died while undergoing treatment at Nagpur on Tuesday.

This is the 15th incident of human kill in predator attacks this year. Of them, 12 have been killed by tigers, two by leopards and one by elephant.


Humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach, British Columbia

A humpback whale known as Kayak,
© Josina Davis via the Marine Education & Research Society
A humpback whale known as Kayak, seen on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021.
A B.C. research and conservation group says a young humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday.

The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) said the female whale, known as Kayak or BCX0977, was believed to be about 18 years old when she died.

She was found on a beach near the mouth of the Tlell River on the east side of the largest island in the archipelago off B.C.'s north coast, the group said.

"We want to share her story to aid thinking of whales as individuals," the organization said in a Facebook post.
"Sightings of Kayak go back to 2004. She was older than a year then as she was not with a mother and calves stay with their mothers for a year. When we first saw her in 2007, our observation was that she was small / young."

Comment: Another dead whale was found off the coast of Majorca, Spain on May 16.

The whale's body was floating near Es Carnatge.

The whale's body was floating near Es Carnatge.


12 dead, 300 injured as tornadoes blast two Chinese cities, hitting houses & factories (UPDATE)

An ambulance in Wuhan
© China Daily via Reuters
An ambulance in Wuhan, Hubei province, China on February 14, 2020
Two tornadoes have ripped through central and eastern China, killing one person, injuring more than 60 people and causing significant damage in each locality, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

One person died and 21 were injured, two seriously, after a storm system struck the Shengze area of Suzhou city in eastern China's Jiangsu province.

Comment: Update: AP reports (via ABC News) on May 15:
Back-to-back tornadoes kill 12 in China; over 300 injured

Back-to-back tornadoes killed 12 people in central and eastern China and left more than 300 others injured, authorities said Saturday.

Eight people died in the inland city of Wuhan on Friday night and four others in the town of Shengze, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east in Jiangsu province, local governments said.

The first tornado struck Shengze about 7 p.m., damaging homes and factories and knocking out power, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The Suzhou city government, which oversees the town, said in a social media post that four people had died and 149 others had minor injuries. Shengze is near Shanghai on China's east coast.

Another tornado hit Wuhan at about 8:40 p.m. with winds of 86 kilometers (53 miles) per hour, destroying more than two dozen homes and triggering a power outage affecting 26,600 households, Xinhua said. Officials in Wuhan said at a news conference Saturday that eight had died and 230 were injured.

They said that 28 homes collapsed in Wuhan, another 130 were damaged and put economic losses at 37 million yuan ($5.7 million), the Hubei Daily newspaper said. Construction site sheds and two cranes were also damaged, while downed power lines knocked out electricity, Xinhua said.

Photos showed a swarm of rescuers searching through building debris in Wuhan after midnight Friday and workers clearing metallic debris at a factory in Shengze in the morning.

Wuhan is the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.

Tornados are rare in China. In July 2019, a tornado killed six people in the northeastern Liaoning province, and another tornado the following month killed eight on the southern resort island of Hainan.

In 2016, a tornado and accompanying hailstorm killed 98 people in the eastern Jiangsu province.
See also:

Arrow Up

Elephants are dying in droves in Botswana and scientists don't know why

Herd of Elephants
African elephants walk through the Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana, where a second wave of mysterious deaths among the pachyderms has scientists scrambling.
Die-offs of African elephants have once again erupted in Botswana. In just the first three months of 2021, 39 have succumbed.

The mysterious deaths occurred in the Moremi Game Reserve, in the northern part of the country, nearly 100 kilometers from a region of the Okavango Delta, where about 350 African elephants died during May and June in 2020. Puzzled scientists have been calling for thorough investigations as the government sends mixed messages on the cause of death.

Anthrax and bacterial infections had been ruled out in the new deaths and "further laboratory analysis is ongoing," Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks reported in a March 24 news release.

However, the 39 recent deaths were linked, based on preliminary results, to the same cyanobacteria toxins blamed for last year's mass die-off, said Philda Kereng, Botswana's Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, in a March 30 state television address.

Remote sensing of areas of last year's mass die-off supports the cyanobacteria theory. From March through July 2020, cyanobacteria abundance increased continuously as water sources were shrinking, researchers report online May 28 in the Innovation. With climate change, bodies of water get warmer and toxic cyanobacteria thrive.

Other evidence points to a pathogen as well. "The 2021 elephant mortalities are again specific to elephants, as was the case in 2020," says Shahan Azeem, a veterinary scientist at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.

Ice Cube

50 beluga whales trapped by ice in the Arctic - unprecedented since the icy 1980s

Whales trapped in ice – 14 May 2021
© FSBI National Park Beringia
Whales trapped in ice – 14 May 2021
Fifty beluga whales are stuck in Penkigngei Bay. Presumably, they have been in ice captivity since January, but specialists saw them only in April. The animals are fed and constantly monitored.

Hopefully, the Beluga whales, stuck in ice captivity in Chukotka can soon escape as thermometers began to rise and the ice begins to melt. However, when the fast ice will completely melt is still impossible to say - perhaps in 10 days - or perhaps this may happen at the end of May, the press service of the Beringia National Park reports .

According to a zoologist specializing in marine mammals, Grigory Tsidulko, beluga whales are active swimmers, thanks to which the polynya remained open and continues to expand.

They have already eaten most of the fish they could catch in the 4 months in the trap.


Huge lava eruption at Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland

Lava flows from an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Lava flows from an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
The lava fountaining episodes at the active vent at Fagradalsfjall continue pretty regularly, as described during the previous days, but with some differences. Now the episodes and the intervals between each one are shorter, with the fountaining phase lasting for 1-3 minutes, and pauses between each episode about 3-4 minutes long. Lava jets are just a bit shorter in height but wider at the same time.

The fountains generally reach 250 meters in height in average during the strong sustained phase, but sometimes can reach 350 meters in height during the most energetic episodes.

The construction of a wall to prevent lava flowing in Nátthagi has begun yesterday.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods kill 3, affect 11,000 people across 3 districts of Sri Lanka - 13 inches of rain in 24 hours (UPDATE)

Army rescues group trapped by flood waters in Ruwanwella

Army rescues group trapped by flood waters in Ruwanwella
Sri Lanka has seen heavy rainfall from around 10 May 2021. As of 13 May, Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported floods and rainfall damages in the districts of Rathnapura, Colombo and Puttalam, affecting around 1,000 people and displacing 175. Lightning and strong winds also caused damage during the period 11 to 13 May 2021.

DMC said that flooding damaged 3 houses and affected around 10 people in Rathnapura from 11 to 12 May. In Colombo, 175 people were displaced by flooding on 13 May. In Puttalam District, flooding affected 485 people in Chillaw division and 266 in Arachchikattuwa on 12 May.

Acording to Sri Lanka's Department of Meteorology as much as 229 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 12 May in Beralapanathara. In an 8 hour period on 13 May 2021, several areas recorded more than 140 mm of rain. Hiniduma in Galle recorded 190 mm of rain and Horana in Kaluthara 160 mm during this period.

The heavy rain is a result of a low pressure area developed in the southeastern Arabian Sea. The Department of Meteorology warned on 13 May that "prevailing showery condition in the Southwestern parts of the country (particularly in Southern, Western, Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Central provinces) is expected to continue further. Very heavy falls above 200 mm will occur at some places tonight."

Comment: Update:On May 15 also from Floodlist:
Sri Lanka - Floods and Landslides Leave 3 Dead, 11,000 Affected

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has reported further flooding and landslides in several parts of the country.

Further heavy rain has fallen in Sri Lanka since our report here. The Department of Meteorology reported 336 mm of rain fell in Agalawatta, Kalutara District in 24 hours to 14 May 2021.

Recent figures from DMC show that at least 3 people have died and more that 11,000 have been affected by recent floods, landslides and strong winds across the country over the last few days.

DMC said that 1 person died in a landslide on Warakapola, Kegalle and 2 people died in floods in Nagoda, Galle.

In Kegalle, a total of 1,132 people were affected by severe weather on 13 May, while flooding affected 1,115 people in the Colombo area, where 175 remain displaced.

As many as 6,119 people were affected by floods in in Gampaha where 85 homes were damaged. One person was injured in Aththanagalla

In Kurunegala, 366 people were affected by floods and in Matara a total of 2,806 people were affected, with 98 homes damaged.


Stray dogs maul elderly woman to death in Karnataka, India


Representational image (File photo| EPS)
In a tragic incident, an elderly woman was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs at Dwaraka Nagar in RR Nagar on Friday night. The dogs were apparently chasing another passerby for over half-a-km, before they across the woman and pounced on her instead, police said.

The police have filed a case against BBMP for not taking adequate steps during the lockdown to keep the stray canine population in check.Meanwhile, the identity of the deceased is yet to be ascertained.

A police officer said the woman, aged about 70 years, was walking alone at around 11.30 pm, when she was attacked by the dogs. She was not carrying anything in her hands. Police also suspect that she had no one to look after her.


14-meter fin whale washes ashore in southern province of Mersin, Turkey

A 14-meter-long fin whale, which has washed up on the shore of the southern province of Mersin, was moved on to the shore after a four-hour operation on May 13.

The dead body of the whale was transferred to Mersin University. Its skeleton will be exhibited in the city's Sea Museum.

Early on May 13, some inhabitants informed the police that "something big" was floating on the sea some 200 meters off the shore.

As the Coast Guard spotted that it was a dead whale, a team of firefighters was also transferred to the seaside.