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Cloud Lightning

June rainfall a new record in 125 years in Hong Kong

To Monday noon, the total rainfall recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory in June had reached 1,346.1 millimeters, which has become the wettest month since records began in 1884.

The new record broke the one previous monthly rainfall record of 1,241.1 millimeters set in May, 1889.

Cloud Lightning

Snow, Snow, Heatwave, Snow: Tasmanian weather does the flip-flop

Last week it snowed, yesterday people wore shorts and by the end of the week it will snow again.

Hobart enjoyed a beautiful day of sunshine yesterday, with the temperature creeping up to a summer-like 18.1C.

Out of all the capital cities in Australia, only Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane were warmer than Hobart.

But as children took time out to play at the beach, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Barry Becker had some bad news: don't make any outdoor engagements for later in the week.

Bizarro Earth

US: More Big Sur evacuations after wildfire jumps line

Authorities on Wednesday ordered most of the remaining residents of this scenic coastal community to leave after an out-of-control wildfire jumped a fire line and threatened more homes.

New mandatory evacuation notices were issued Wednesday morning for an additional 10-mile stretch along Highway 1, bringing the total length of the evacuated area to about 25 miles of the coast, emergency officials said.

"The fire is just a big raging animal right now," said Darby Marshall, spokesman for the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.



Image
©NASA photo via Associated Press
Fires near Big Sur are shown in a photo from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer instrument on NASA's Terra satellite on Sunday, June 29, 2008. The image combines a natural color portrayal of the landscape with thermal infrared data showing the active burning areas in red. The dark area in the lower right is a previous forest fire.


Firefighters are battling more than 1,100 wildfires, mostly ignited by lightning, that have scorched 680 square miles and destroyed 60 homes and other buildings across Northern California since June 20, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Bizarro Earth

Arctic Seabed Alive With Volcano Action



Image
©Unknown

Study Discovers Lava Spewing Activity

In a series of different expeditions on the Arctic Seafloor, there have been a number of volcano spots located that are actively spewing red-hot lava out of the seafloor.

It has revealed itself as an explosive geographical location, with fountains of molten lava and gas that are springing out of different volcanoes under the sea near the North Pole.

The researchers that went in search of ocean floor conditions near the North Pole were surprised to discover the intensity and variety of volatile activity beneath the Arctic Ice.

Attention

Evacuation as Chile's Llaima volcano spews lava

Chile's Llaima volcano, one of South America's most active, is spewing lava in southern Chile, the government said on Tuesday, ordering an evacuation just two months after the spectacular eruption of the Chaiten volcano further south.

Snow-capped Llaima, near Chile's picturesque lake region, erupted violently on New Year's Day, forcing the temporary evacuation of some tourists and residents from the surrounding Conguillio National Park, and then belched ash and lava in February.

On Tuesday the government ordered a 9-mile (15 km) exclusion zone around the 10,253-foot (3,125 meter)-high volcano and ordered the evacuation of around 40 people from the area, about 435 miles (700 km) south of the capital Santiago.

Phoenix

California, US: Wildfire in Santa Barbara County Forces Evacuations

A wildfire in the Los Padres National Forest has forced authorities to evacuate residents living in the canyon areas north of Goleta in Santa Barbara County.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kathy Good says the fire has burned roughly 50 acres of heavy brush in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. She says winds are pushing the fire down a slope toward homes in the Glen Annie and La Patera canyons.

Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation for residents in those areas.

Image
©AP
Residents watch as a brush fire burns out of control in the Santa Ynez Mountains near Santa Barbara, Calif.

Bizarro Earth

2 moderate earthquakes rattle central Peru

LIMA -- The U.S. Geological Survey says a 5.5-magnitude earthquake rattled Peru's central highlands, followed by a 4.7-magnitude temblor in the same area. No damages or injuries were immediately reported.

The first quake struck at 7:17 p.m. (0017GMT) Monday evening, and the second hit 47 minutes later.

The epicenter was a sparsely populated area 70 miles (110 kilometers) east-southeast of Huanuco, the closest major city.

The first quake was the fourth with a greater-than-4.7 magnitude to strike the area in the past week.

Bizarro Earth

Penguins Setting Off Sirens Over Health Of World's Oceans

Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, penguins are sounding the alarm for potentially catastrophic changes in the world's oceans, and the culprit isn't only climate change, says a University of Washington conservation biologist.

Adélie penguin
©Dee Boersma
Rain has soaked this Adélie penguin chick in Antarctica before its feathers are capable of repelling water. Though the icy continent is in essence a desert, coastal rainfall is becoming more common with changing climate.

Oil pollution, depletion of fisheries and rampant coastline development that threatens breeding habitat for many penguin species, along with Earth's warming climate, are leading to rapid population declines among penguins, said Dee Boersma, a University of Washington biology professor and an authority on the flightless birds.

"Penguins are among those species that show us that we are making fundamental changes to our world," she said. "The fate of all species is to go extinct, but there are some species that go extinct before their time and we are facing that possibility with some penguins."

In a new paper published in the July-August edition of the journal BioScience, Boersma notes that there are 16 to 19 penguin species, and most penguins are at 43 geographical sites, virtually all in the Southern Hemisphere. But for most of these colonies, so little is known that even their population trends are a mystery. The result is that few people realized that many of them were experiencing sharp population declines.

Info

Invisible Waves Shape Continental Slope

A class of powerful, invisible waves hidden beneath the surface of the ocean can shape the underwater edges of continents and contribute to ocean mixing and climate, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found.

Image
©University of Texas at Austin
Motion of dye-lines demonstrating the resonance phenomenon. A horizontal dye-line is set in the tank before experiments. The slope is forced at forcing frequencies. The frequencies in top, middle and bottom pannels are 0. 69 rad/s, 0.91 rad/s and 1.04 rad/s respectively. The middle pannel corresponds to the resonant case. The imaging window is 4 cm X 1.5 cm in dimensions and is at the center of the slope.

The scientists simulated ocean conditions in a laboratory aquarium and found that "internal waves" generate intense currents when traveling at the same angle as that of the continental slope. The continental slope is the region where the relatively shallow continental shelf slants down to meet the deep ocean floor.

They suspect that these intense currents, called boundary flows, lift sediments as the waves push into the continental slope, maintaining the angle of the slope through erosion. The action of the internal waves could also mix layers of colder and warmer water.

Better Earth

Whales Set To Chase Shrinking Feed Zones

Endangered migratory whales will be faced with shrinking crucial Antarctic foraging zones which will contain less food and will be further away, a new analysis of the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean whales has found.

Humpback whale
©iStockphoto/Dale Walsh
Climate change will require migratory whales like this Humpback whale to swim further for less food.

A new report* summarises World Wildlife Fund (WWF) research showing that levels of global warming predicted over the next 40 years will lead to winter sea-ice coverage of the Southern Ocean declining by up to 30 per cent in some key areas.

"Essentially, what we are seeing is that ice-associated whales such as the Antarctic minke whale will face dramatic changes to their habitat over little more than the lifespan of an individual whale," said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF International's Species Programme and head of the WWF delegation to the IWC meeting.