Earth ChangesS


Surprise strategy: Bees smother enemies

Cyprian honey bees under attack by predator hornets have evolved a grisly and lethal way of fighting back which scientists have called "asphyxia-balling," according to a study published Monday.

An intruding hornet looking for a snack in a beehive may suddenly find itself enveloped inside a buzzing ball of black-and-yellow worker drones. The bees squeeze in tightly around the abdomen -- where hornets breath -- until the would be aggressor dies of suffocation.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon heads for China, targets Shanghai

China was evacuating tens of thousands of people from its financial hub Shanghai on Tuesday in the face of a powerful typhoon churning towards the east coast.

About 200,000 people living in exposed areas in the city of over 14 million would be moved to temporary shelters before evening when Typhoon Wipha is expected to make landfall after swiping the island of Taiwan.

Schools, offices and markets were closed on the northern part of Taiwan near the capital, Taipei, where it has been raining steadily since late Monday.


Snow Falls Early in South Iceland

Unseasonably early snowfall restricted traffic in south Iceland on Saturday, since motorists had not yet prepared their vehicles for the winter with studded tires, designed to drive on slippery roads.

According to information from the Iceland Meteorological Office, the blanket of snow measured five centimeters in Kirkjubaejarklaustur on Saturday morning, Morgunbladid reports.

Cloud Lightning

Warning Raised as Wipha surges from Tropical Storm to Category 4

Taiwan announced a sea warning alert for all the ships traveling through its northern and eastern waters as tropical storm "Wipha" approached the island and packing winds of 67 miles per hour Monday.

The Central Weather Bureau said, as of 11 a.m. local time Monday, the center of Wipha was located about 367 miles southeast of coastal Yilan county in northern Taiwan.

Typhoon Wipha

Comment: This story doesn't mention that the storm is now a Category 4 and intensified to this level from a Tropical Storm in one day.

Bizarro Earth

Moderate Earthquake Rattles Honduras

A moderate earthquake rattled Honduras on Saturday, sending panicked residents into the streets. There were no immediate reports of injuries but some buildings were damaged, authorities said.

The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5, struck just before noon and was centered about 50 miles north of the capital of Tegucigalpa, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Cloud Lightning

Intense Thunderstorm and Hail Hit Torrevieja, Spain

Between the 16.45 and 17.15h a big thunderstorm of hail, causing damages in cars and windows of housings. The climatology this evening has surprised us. Minutes before 17:00h, the sky was darkened prelude of the thunderstorm that was approaching. A waterspout of hail, with pieces of ice the size of a chick-pea, and an intense rain that fell down on Torrevieja, did not last very long, but it was sufficient to cause damages to vehicles and generated problems of traffic.


Magic Wand

Alaska Bird Makes Longest Nonstop Flight Ever Measured

A female shorebird was recently found to have flown 7,145 miles (11,500 kilometers) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand - without taking a break for food or drink.

It's the longest nonstop bird migration ever measured, according to biologists who tracked the flight using satellite tags.

The bird, a wader called a bar-tailed godwit, completed the journey in nine days.

A shorebird called a bar-tailed godwit, like the one pictured here, was recently found to have flown 7,145 miles (11,500 kilometers) nonstop from Alaska to New Zealand, the longest uninterrupted bird migration ever recorded, scientists say.

In addition to demonstrating the bird's surprising endurance, the trek confirms that godwits make the southbound trip of their annual migration directly across the vast Pacific rather than along the East Asian coast, scientists said.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon Nari Set for South Korea After Lashing Japan

Typhoon Nari is forecast to arrive at the southern coast of South Korea later today after pounding Japan's Okinawa islands group with heavy rains and high winds.

The eye of Nari was about 137 kilometers (85 miles) from Yosu, a port city southwest of Seoul, as of 2 p.m. Seoul time, and was moving northwest at 30 kilometers an hour, according to the latest advisory on the Web site of Korean Meteorological Administration. Nari has winds of 155 kilometers per hour.



California: Fire in San Bernardino National Forest explodes to 18,000 acres

An out-of-control wildfire in the San Bernardino National Forest tore through 18,000 acres of brush and timber Saturday, forcing evacuations in a pair of mountain communities.

The entire resort community of Green Valley Lake and the Fawnskin area near Big Bear Dam were under a mandatory evacuation order. About 5,000 people were affected, said Jim Wilkins of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

"It's just been running and gunning all day long, eating up ground," Wilkins said. "It's a very aggressive fire burning through fuels that haven't been burned in 50 to 75 years."

Winds of about 20 miles an hour and humidity of just 10 percent were helping the blaze grow and it crept within a half-mile of homes in Fawnskin, Wilkins said.

Bizarro Earth

August was warmest on record for Western North Carolina

The National Climatic Data Center has confirmed what you probably already knew sweating through the end of the summer.

August 2007 was the hottest in 113 years of record-keeping with an average temperature of 77.1 degrees across Western North Carolina, according to preliminary data from the Asheville-based archives for the nation and world's weather. That bumped out August 1900 out of the hottest spot with an average of 75.1 degrees.