Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

The world's rubbish dump: a garbage pit that stretches from Hawaii to Japan

©The Independent

A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

Arrow Up

Blizzards and frost grip Afghanistan as death toll rises

A total of 37 people, including 20 children, have frozen to death in east Afghanistan's Ghazni province in the past 24 hours, the provincial governor said on Tuesday.

A number of people died after their vehicles were blocked by snowdrifts, Faizullah Faizan said.

Blizzards and freezing weather across the whole of Afghanistan have so far killed over 300 people in recent weeks. The death toll is expected to continue to rise.


Northern Chile, southern Peru hit by 6.3 quake

SANTIAGO - An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale rocked northern Chile and parts of southern Peru early Monday, the US Geological Survey said, as Chilean officials added there were no reports of casualties or damage.

"It was a medium intensity earthquake," the head of Chile's national emergency bureau, Carmen Fernandez, told a Santiago radio station.

Light Saber

Judge: Navy Not Exempt From Sonar Ruling

Los Angeles - The Navy must follow environmental laws placing strict limits on sonar training that opponents argue harms whales, despite President Bush's decision to exempt it, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Bizarro Earth

Update: At least 40 die in central Africa earthquake

Two strong earthquakes have rocked Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 40 people including 10 who died when a church collapsed.

Nearly 400 people were seriously injured in the two countries after the quakes hit within three hours of each other along the western Great Rift Valley fault.


Roost Of Millions Of Migratory Swallows Threatened

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society has called for protection of a recently discovered site in Nigeria where millions of migratory swallows (Hirundo rustica) gather to roost each night.

Wildlife Conservation Society scientists say the site is only one of two known roosts in Cross River State, a coastal region in southeastern Nigeria. The site is approximately two kilometers outside of Cross River National Park. Preliminary surveys by WCS indicate that the site may attract millions of swallows and be of international significance.

©U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Barn swallows like this one are threatened by increased farming near a newly discovered roosting site in Nigeria.


Hong Kong shivers through some of coldest days on record

Hong Kongers yesterday awoke to the coldest day this winter when the temperature at the Hong Kong Observatory fell below 8 degrees Celsius.

It was several degrees lower in most parts of the New Territories while early risers at Ngong Ping saw the mercury dip to a freezing 0.9 degrees Celsius, less than a degree off the all-time low of 0 degree Celsius recorded on January 18, 1893.

Cloud Lightning

Hawaii: More than 20 inches of rain dumped on Big Island

©Hawaii news photo
Hilo's Bayfront Park was under 3 feet of water after a storm pounded parts of the Big Island yesterday with more than 20 inches of rain.

A storm that pounded parts of the Big Island yesterday with more than 20 inches of rain was on its way to Maui, O'ahu and possibly even Kaua'i by this morning.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim yesterday declared a state of emergency in the Hilo, Puna and Ka'u areas. The island was under a flash flood warning, which means flooding was occurring, said Wes Browning, National Weather Service director of operations. The rest of the state was under a flash flood watch through 2 p.m. today.


So it appears that Arctic ice isn't vanishing after all?

There was some coverage of the chaos caused in central and southern China by their heaviest snowfalls for decades - but little attention was paid to the snow that last week carpeted Jerusalem, Damascus and Amman, none of them exactly used to Dickensian Christmas card weather.

Similarly, Saudis last month expressed amazement at their heaviest snow for many years, in Afghanistan snow and freezing weather killed 120 people and large parts of the United States and Canada have been swept by unusually fierce blizzards.


Comment: While it's true the sea ice has "bounced back", the fact is every winter the NH sea ice grows back. This is a basic given. However, if you look at the multi-year NH sea ice coverage going back to 1979 then clearly the trend for both winter and summer time extent of coverage has dropped significantly:


To say only that it "bounced back" from it's summer extent is clearly misleading in this case.


China battles "coldest winter in 100 years"

CHENZHOU - Millions remained stranded in China on Monday ahead of the biggest holiday of the year as parts of the country suffered their coldest winter in a century.

Freezing weather has killed scores of people and left travelers stranded before the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival -- the only opportunity many people have to take a holiday all year.

©(Xinhua/Li Gang /Reuters)
Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, Hunan province, in this picture distributed by China's official Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008. The power supply of the city was cut off as the heavy snow and ice damaged seriously the power facilities including the transmission towers and lines, Xinhua News Agency said. Picture taken February 3, 2008.