Earth ChangesS


Polar bears in danger? Is this some kind of joke?

polar bears
© BBCAnd polar bears? For once, they are not mentioned, but scientists agree that they are doing well, with a rebound in their numbers of up to 500 per cent since hunting was banned in the 1970s
Why don't polar bears eat penguins? Because their paws are too big to get the wrappers off, obviously. It's not a joke you hear so often these days, though, because polar bears are now a serious business. They're the standard-bearers of a tear-jerking propaganda campaign to persuade us all that, if we don't act soon on climate change, the only thing that will remain of our snowy-furred ursine chums will be the picture on a pack of Fox's glacier mints.

First there came the computer-generated polar bear in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; then that heartrending photo, syndicated everywhere, of the bears apparently stranded on a melting ice floe; then the story of those four polar bears drowned by global warming (actually, they'd perished in a storm).


7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Chile

A major earthquake hit northern Chile on Wednesday, and local television showed cars crushed under a section of collapsed building and terrified, confused residents in the streets.

©TVN Chile
A car lies crushed under part of a building Wednesday in Antofagasta.

Ricardo Lagos Weber, minister of government affairs, who spoke from Santiago an hour after the quake hit, said there were no immediate reports of injuries. But he said information from isolated areas in the far north had yet to come in.

Cloud Lightning

As China's mega dam rises, so do strains and fear

The slopes of Chenjialing Village have shuddered and groaned lately, cracking and warping homes and fields, and making residents fear the banks of China's swelling Three Gorges Dam may hold deadly perils.

©REUTERS/David Gray
A boat sails past on the Yangtze River as an old lady sits in the courtyard of her apartment block in the area known as Old Badong county in the Hubei Province near the town of Badong in central China, Nov. 5, 2007.

Better Earth

Strange Space Weather over Africa

Something strange is happening in the atmosphere above Africa and researchers have converged on Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the phenomenon. The Africa Space Weather Workshop kicked off Nov. 12th with nearly 100 scientists and students in attendance.

Cloud Lightning

Cyclone Sidr: It Gets Worse

Cyclone Sidr, currently in the Bay of Bengal and headed towards India or Bangladesh, recently became the 15th Category 4 or 5 storm of 2007, with sustained winds estimated at 115 knots or more than 130 miles per hour. Now, it's all a matter of where and when.

©Naval Research Laboratory

Bizarro Earth

Seismic activity rock Sulu area in West New Britain

There has been increased seismic activity, confirmed as volcanic tremors, in the Sulu area in West New Britain province but authorities said there were no threats that Mt Pago volcano might erupt soon.

The provincial disaster office said the resurgence of the seismic activity was felt at 10pm last Monday night in the Sulu/Silanga area. Acting disaster director Peter Morlin said the Rabaul Volcano Observatory had already been informed and disaster officers in Kimbe were observing the activities.

He said earth tremor data coming from Mt Pago stations were indicating a build-up of seismic activity again.


NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face

A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

This shows contours of the trend in ocean bottom pressure from 2002 to 2006 as measured by GRACE along with hypothetical trends that would apply at the circles if ocean salinity reverted from 1990s values to climatological conditions over the same period.

The team, led by James Morison of the University of Washington's Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory, Seattle, used data from an Earth-observing satellite and from deep-sea pressure gauges to monitor Arctic Ocean circulation from 2002 to 2006. They measured changes in the weight of columns of Arctic Ocean water, from the surface to the ocean bottom. That weight is influenced by factors such as the height of the ocean's surface, and its salinity. A saltier ocean is heavier and circulates differently than one with less salt.


World's Smallest Bear Faces Extinction

GENEVA - The world's smallest bear species faces extinction because of deforestation and poaching in its Southeast Asian home, a conservation group said Monday.

©AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File
A 9-month-old baby Asian sun bear reaches out through his cage at his new home at the Wildlife Division of the Thai Forestry Department in Banglamung.

Bizarro Earth

China Pandas Forced to Migrate for Food

BEIJING - Giant pandas are being forced to move from a remote mountainous area in southwestern China due to food shortages as their staple bamboo withers, an animal expert said Monday.


Typhoon Peipah kills at least 28 in Vietnam

At least 28 people have been killed in Vietnam by Typhoon Peipah, which continues to wreak havoc on already flooded areas of central Vietnam, a disaster official said on Tuesday.

Seven provinces are affected by the latest flooding, the fifth since August, with 61,000 houses underwater and hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. Water levels in rivers across the region continue to rise to record levels.