Earth ChangesS


A trillion cicadas will descend on the US this spring in rare event

Periodical cicadas belonging to two separate broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, will emerge together in a dual emergence event that will see a trillion cicadas buzzing across 16 U.S. states.
© Don Cornett via Getty ImagesA Brood X periodical cicada. There are 12 known broods of 17-year cicadas and three broods of 13-year cicadas.
More than a trillion cicadas could emerge throughout the U.S. Midwest and Southeast this spring as the schedules of two separate broods align for the first time since 1803.

Brood XIII and Brood XIX represent two distinct groups of periodical cicadas (Magicicada) that emerge according to 17- and 13-year life cycles, respectively. In a rare natural event that occurs once every 221 years, these two broods will synchronously tunnel through the ground to the surface starting in late April across 16 states.

The event, known as a dual emergence, could potentially lead the two broods to interbreed, experts told The New York Times.

"Under just the right circumstances and with just the right number of individuals cross breeding, you have the possibility of the creation of a new brood set to a new cycle," Floyd Shockley, an entomologist and collections manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told the Times.

Periodical cicadas, which comprise seven species, spend most of their lives underground as nymphs and feed off of sap that oozes from tree roots. After 13 or 17 years starved of daylight (depending on the species), the insects burrow to the surface using their front legs and transform into adults. The males vibrate membranes on the sides of their bodies to produce a song — potentially louder than a plane in a chorus — that attracts mates, according to The New York Times. Once a pair has finished mating, the females cut slits in tree branches to lay their eggs in.


Storm dumps 3 FEET of snow in 24 hours on Mammoth Mountain, California

This morning, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California, issued a "dump alert" amidst a heavy storm that's deposited 33 to 36 inches of snow in the past 24 hours.

The storm cycle, which began in full over the weekend, has dropped between 39 and 43 inches of snow so far. With continued snowfall expected at Mammoth today, the resort anticipates it may "reach almost 4 feet in just 2-days."

As you might expect, the arrival of heavy snow has led to operational adjustments for Mammoth this morning.

"Expect delays this morning as operations assess conditions, dig out, and work to safely open terrain and lifts," the resort wrote on Instagram. Extensive avalanche control efforts are underway, with Mammoth hoping to open the lower mountain and portions of the mid-mountain today.


Shape of dragon appears after snow in the Taklamakan Desert, China

The Taklamakan Desert hinterland in Bazhou County, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has ushered in its first snowfall of 2024, when the shape of a dragon appeared on the vastness of the desert covered in white.


Floods and landslides hit Java, Indonesia

The road in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, experienced flooding due to high rainfall and overflowing local river water.
© ANTARA/HO-BPBD GroboganThe road in Grobogan Regency, Central Java, experienced flooding due to high rainfall and overflowing local river water.
Acting Governor of Central Java Nana Sudjana said the floods that occurred in Grobogan Regency are currently submerging at least 2,662 houses and 56 hectares of rice fields.

"The cause of the flood was heavy rain that occurred on Monday night, February 5, 2024," Nana said as quoted by ANTARA, Tuesday, February 6.

Based on the latest data from the Central Java Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) received at 12.00 WIB, floods in Grobogan affected 32 villages in 12 sub-districts in the area.

Not only submerging houses and rice fields, but the flood also inundated six educational facilities, one house of worship, one cow's cage, and damaged the talud and road infrastructure.


Thousands of motorists stranded on roads in China amid heavy snow

Icy conditions have trapped thousands of drivers on motorways in central China as snow and freezing rain disrupted travel by air, train and road during the annual Lunar New Year holiday rush.

A Chinese travel blogger said she and her boyfriend were waiting with others on Tuesday for de-icing work to be completed after covering only 20-25 miles in 13 hours the previous day.

Travelling in the relative comfort of a motorhome, Chen Wei appeared unperturbed by the delay in the trip to her hometown. She quoted an old Chinese saying, telling the AP she "accepts what comes and faces it with calmness".

The heavy snow, unusual for central China, was forecast to continue into Wednesday.


Mayon volcano in the Philippines spews 1.2-km ash column

Mayon Volcano in Albay spews ash
Mayon Volcano in Albay spews ash reaching up to 1.2 kilometers, as viewed from the village of Tagas in Daraga, Albay, on Sunday.
Residents of communities in Albay province close to Mount Mayon were told to stay vigilant after ash column reaching up to 1,200 meters or 1.2 kilometers (km) from its crater on Sunday.

The phreatic eruption lasted from 4:37 p.m. to 4:40 p.m., Paul Alanis, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Mayon Volcano Observatory resident volcanologist, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Alanis said that the ash column has drifted to the southwest portion of Mayon Volcano to the direction of the towns of Daraga, Camalig and Guinobatan.

Mayon Volcano had its warning status lowered from alert level 3 (high level of volcanic unrest) to 2 (moderate level of volcanic unrest) on Dec. 8, 2023.Despite this recent activity, Alanis said the volcano will remain on alert level 2.


Nova Scotia, Canada digging out after historic snowfall

Kent Peters of Dream Stables in Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, was busy clearing several feet
© Joe PembrokeKent Peters of Dream Stables in Albert Bridge, Cape Breton, was busy clearing several feet of snow from the riding facility's barn roof on Sunday. Peters and his wife, Deanna Peters, have been caring for 38 horses throughout a powerful winter storm that is currently hitting northeastern Nova Scotia
People in Nova Scotia are digging out after a historic multi-day snowfall slammed the province, with many schools across the province closed Monday and Cape Breton Regional Municipality under a local state of emergency.

Parts of Cape Breton Island had received more than 86 centimetres by Monday morning, prompting officials to ask residents to stay off the roads.

Cape Breton Regional Police Const. Gary Fraser said the force received more than 550 calls for service over the weekend, including 30 car accidents and "many many many stranded motorists and abandoned vehicles."

"So a lot of people didn't heed the warnings and stay off the roads," said Fraser, adding that road conditions were still "terrible" on Monday morning.

Cloud Precipitation

Multiple parts of California feel the effects of atmospheric river storm

Many parts of California experience the effects of an atmospheric river storm.


Iceland volcano: Grindavik's people may never return after volcano spills lava into town

iceland fissure
© Photo/The Coast Guard
The resilient community of Grindavik has for the past weeks and months experienced the relentless forces of nature, once again proving why Iceland is often called the "Land of Fire and Ice."

Three homes in this town on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland were destroyed last month when molten lava spewed through two fissures created by the Svartsengi volcanic system.

Once a thriving fishing village with vibrant sports teams and a youthful population, Grindavik now lies empty. Its people have fled and are beginning to face up to the realisation they may never be able live there again.


Chile declares state of emergency over deadly forest fires - at least 112 killed (UPDATE)

A state of emergency has been declared over raging forest fires in Chile.
© Javier Torres, AFPA state of emergency has been declared over raging forest fires in Chile.
About a dozen fires have been raging since Friday.

The blazes are concentrated in the Vina del Mar and Valparaiso tourist regions, where they have ravaged thousands of hectares of forest, cloaked coastal cities in a dense fog of gray smoke and forced people to flee their homes.

"We have preliminary information that several people have died, around 10," said Sofia Gonzales Cortes, state representative for the central region of Valparaiso.

In the towns of Estrella and Navidad, southwest of the capital, the fires have burned nearly 30 homes, and forced evacuations near the surfing resort of Pichilemu.

Comment: Update February 4

The Guardian reports:
Firefighters are wrestling with huge forest fires that broke out in central Chile on Friday. Officials have extended curfews in cities most heavily affected by the blazes and said the death toll has increased to 112 killed.

The fires have been burning with the highest intensity around the city of Viña del Mar, where a botanical garden founded in 1931 was destroyed by the flames. At least 1,600 people have been left without homes.

A person holds a flag that reads 'against' as voters take part in a referendum on a new Chilean constitution, in Santiago, Chile

Flames and smoke on the eastern edge of the city have trapped some people in their homes. Officials said 200 people have been reported missing in Viña del Mar and the surrounding area. The city of 300,000 people is a popular beach resort.

Late on Sunday, Chile's forensic medicine service updated the confirmed death toll to 112 people.

Drone footage filmed by Reuters in Vina del Mar area showed entire neighbourhoods scorched, with residents rummaging through husks of burnt-out houses where corrugated iron roofs have collapsed. On the streets, singed cars littered the roads.

Rodrigo Mundaca, the governor of the Valparaíso region, said on Sunday he believed that some of the fires could have been intentionally caused, replicating a theory that had also been mentioned on Saturday by the president, Gabriel Boric.

"These fires began in four points that lit up simultaneously," Mundaca said. "As authorities, we will have to work rigorously to find who is responsible."

The fires around Viña del Mar began in mountainous forested areas that are hard to reach. But they have moved into densely populated neighbourhoods on the city's periphery despite efforts by Chilean authorities to slow down the flames.

On Saturday, Boric said unusually high temperatures, low humidity and high wind speeds were making it difficult to control the wildfires in central Chile, which have already burned through 8,000 hectares of forest and urban areas.