Earth ChangesS


Floods and fires across Europe captured from space

Highlighting the extreme weather conditions hitting Europe, space sensors aboard ESA's Envisat satellite have detected the worst floodwaters to hit Britain for 60 years and deadly fires raging through southern Europe.

Heavy rains caused the River Thames to burst its banks on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes in Britain's university city of Oxford. The flooding across England and Wales has left tens of thousands without electricity and water.

The Environment Agency still has three severe flood warnings in place - two on the Thames around Oxford and one on the Ock River near Oxfordshire. In areas where flooding is beginning to recede, sanitation officials are warning of health risks posed by stagnant waters.

Bizarro Earth

Peru cold snap kills 70 children

At least 70 children have died during a spell of freezing weather in the Andean regions of Peru, officials have said.


Earthquake "Swarm" Strikes Africa, Puzzles Experts

The tremors began on July 12, so faint that they were barely noticed. A week later, a couple of good jolts sent people fleeing their offices in downtown Nairobi. Then the tremors were gone.

Scientists are still unsure about what exactly caused this "earthquake swarm" - a cluster of relatively mild shakes spaced out over several days in Kenya and Tanzania. The quakes - one of which reached magnitude 5.9 - caused little damage but spread fear that a big quake was imminent.

Cloud Lightning

Record temperatures, rainfall baste Northern California coast

Record temperatures and rain are basting the northern coast of California, a region known for brisk ocean breezes and chilly nights all year long.

In Crescent City, a coastal town just south of the Oregon border, the mercury dipped to 60 degrees early Monday morning - 3 degrees higher than the previous overnight low-temperature record, which stood for 15 years. The overnight record is also known as the "maximum minimum."

Cloud Lightning

Disastrous cold snap in Peru

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) is releasing 50,000 euros for the victims of the devastating cold snap in the Andean regions of Peru. The money will provide warm clothing, medicine, food and blankets for around 6,000 people within the week.

Shaded areas show where emergencies have been declared.

South America is experiencing unusually low temperatures, even for the winter season in the southern hemisphere. The result is snowfall -exceptional for this time of year - of up to 50cm. "The people here are resilient. They even wear sandals in winter," explains Jeanette Weller, Welthungerhilfe's Regional Director in Lima. "But they can't cope with temperatures like this."

Bizarro Earth

Cricket Invasion Hits Texas

Many parts of Texas are under siege by crickets. They congregate on patios, slip into stairwells -- and, if they're crunched underfoot, they make the fanciest surroundings smell like a bait shop.



Nevada among states with biggest temperature increases

Nevada is among the states with the most dramatic increase in average temperatures the last 30 years, according to a new study that examines the impact of global warming across the country.

The average temperature in Reno from June through August last year was 75.6 degrees, almost 7 degrees above the 30-year average, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group reported. The gap was the biggest measured nationally.

Comment: People can make their own choices. If you really believe Greenhouse Gases are responsible for all the warming then cut back on your consumption now. To think that you can continue with your present lifestyle and cutback on CO2 without making any sacrifices is wishful thinking. In the meantime, here's some food for thought. Every Ice Age has been preceded by accelerated warming. As written in a previous SOTT focus, The Younger Dryas Impact Event and the Cycles of Cosmic Catastrophes - Climate Scientists Awakening:
Just a quick look at the bottom plot from the wiki site (reproduced below) shows that if recent warm periods (or interglacials) are a guide, then we may soon slip into another glacial period and that whatever brings it about is due right about now as at least four cycles coincide to bring down global temperatures a few notches. The hype about global warming, (which preceded every glacial cycle for the past million years), is just mere distraction by comparison, because the bigger surprise is yet to come.


Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after strong quake

A strong undersea earthquake hit North Maluku province in eastern Indonesia on Thursday, triggering panic among frightened residents and a brief tsunami warning.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties after the quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey put at magnitude 6.7 and the epicentre at a depth of 45 km (28 miles).

The agency had initially put the quake at magnitude 7.4 and a depth of 88 km.

"We have lifted the warning. After monitoring, there were no signs of tsunami," Fauzi, the head of the seismology centre in Indonesia's meteorology agency, told Reuters.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre also said on its Web site that it did not expect a "destructive Pacific-wide" tsunami but said quakes of this magnitude can sometimes create local tsunamis.

Life Preserver

Megafishes Project to Size Up "Real-Life Loch Ness Monsters"

This is the first in a continuing series on the Megafishes Project. Join National Geographic News on the trail with project leader Zeb Hogan as he tracks down the world's largest freshwater fishes.

A thick, polluting haze envelops the Three Gorges Dam, blurring the view of the world's largest hydroelectric station.

But for Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist with the University of Reno, in Nevada, seeing the 1.5-mile-wide (2.5-kilometer-wide) dam from the banks of the Yangtze River brings into sharp focus the threats facing the animals he has set out to study: the world's largest freshwater fishes.

"From the point of view of the fish, there's nothing worse than a dam," he said.

"Dams block upstream migration, destroy spawning habitat, and can turn large stretches of river into ecological wastelands."


Falling Mice Population Concerns Experts

Some might think fewer rodents would be a good thing, but scientists are concerned about the dwindling populations of two small fury creatures on New Mexico's list of endangered mammals.

The state Department of Game and Fish says recent surveys show the number of New Mexican meadow jumping mice has dropped by at least two-thirds - and possibly as much as 90 percent - throughout the state. Surveys also show the Arizona montane vole is found only in a very small region of Catron County and in east-central Arizona.

"The thing in common between both is the loss of riparian habitat along streams and rivers in the Southwest," said Jim Stuart, a non-game endangered species mammalogist with the Game and Fish Department. "There's a combination of factors. Grazing is often jumped on as a reason, but there have also been climate factors involved like the dewatering of streams and rivers and the lowering of groundwater."