Earth ChangesS


Is climate sensitive to solar variability?

The causes of global warming - the increase of approximately 0.8±0.1 °C in the average global temperature near Earth's surface since 1900 - are not as apparent as some recent scientific publications and the popular media indicate. We contend that the changes in Earth's average surface temperature are directly linked to two distinctly different aspects of the Sun's dynamics: the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun's irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles. This argument for directly linking the Sun's dynamics to the response of Earth's climate is based on our research and augments the interpretation of the causes of global warming presented in the United Nations 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report1.

Global Temperature
©Physics Today
Global surface temperature (GST) anomaly. The green curve is the difference between the measured GST and the time average of GST between 1890 and 1910; it emphasizes the observed warming since 1900. The GST anomaly data are low-pass filtered to remove any volcanic signal and smoothed to stress the 11-year modulation (black curve). Two alternative PSS constructions5 are shown that use a TSI proxy reconstruction until 1978 and two alternative TSI satellite composites after 1978. (Data for the red curve are from and and for the blue curve are from


Psychopants: Ant colonies rife with royal corruption

Ant colonies are rife with royal corruption and nepotism, scientists have discovered. New research has shattered the myth that ants work equally for the benefit of the whole colony, and that every larvae is born with an equal chance of becoming a queen, rather than a worker.


Amazing picture of thousands of dead starfish washed up on Kent beach

For five miles they stretched along the beaches, a gruesome line of dead starfish.

Fishermen and bird-watchers at Pegwell Bay near Sandwich, Kent, discovered a "carpet" of thousands of the creatures lying on the sand just above the water line.

And on the beach at nearby Sandwich Bay, thousands more were photographed by Tony Flashman.

Cloud Lightning

Heavy winds, high waves batter Spanish resort

Strong winds and record high waves have caused damage and chaos in Spain's northern resort city of San Sebastian, flooding buildings and sinking boats, the El Pais newspaper said on Tuesday.

"High waves of up to 10 meters (33 feet) destroyed the sea-front and sank at least 50 boats," the newspaper said.

Cloud Lightning

Massive floods hit parts of Malaysia

Limbang flood
Water logged: A longhouse in Limbang parliamentary
constituency in Sarawak hit by floods after heavy rain.

Political campaigning in three huge and remote parliamentary constituencies in northern Sarawak - Baram, Limbang and Lawas - have been brought to a premature halt by massive floods - which could also force the announcement of election results in these areas to be postponed to Sunday.

Floods as high as 1.2m have hit longhouses, timber roads, semi-urban villages and several parts of the Pan Borneo Highway after heavy rain over these interior regions from Wednesday afternoon.

Cloud Lightning

Eight killed as cyclone Jokwe lashes Mozambique

Tropical cyclone Jokwe battered parts of Mozambique for a third day on Monday, killing at least eight people and destroying thousands of homes in the northern Nampula province, Radio Mozambique reported.

The state-controlled broadcaster said four districts were being lashed by heavy downpours and winds of up to 200 kph (125 miles per hour).


Adelaide bakes in 75-year heatwave

It has been 75 years since Adelaide has seen such an extraordinary heat wave in autumn, and the weather bureau says there is no relief in sight.

Adelaide is bracing itself for another week of searing heat in the mid to high thirties Celsius.

Cloud Lightning

Fears of a tsunami in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is at much higher risk than thought of a major quake of the kind that struck hundreds of year ago to trigger a huge tsunami that wiped out Crete and devastated coastal regions as far away as Egypt, Dubrovnic and Sicily.

The quake of magnitude 8 to 8.5 on 21 July of AD 365 claimed the lives of thousands of people in Alexandria alone and lifted a 200 mile stretch of the coastline of western Crete by up to 10 metres above sea level, tilting Crete to the north east.

Today, a Cambridge University team says it was surprised to find that this giant 10 metre uplift occurred in one go.

Morever, it has found that similar quakes could strike in as little as 800 years as stresses and strains build up in the seabed.

The study by Beth Shaw and her colleagues in the journal Nature Geoscience presents a fresh analysis of the Mediterranean seafloor, and suggests that a previously overlooked fault could be the source of the large earthquake that caused the destruction of AD365.

©Telegraph UK
A Cambridge University team believes that the Mediterranean could be at risk from a devastating tsunami

Cloud Lightning

High winds forecast to batter large parts of Britain once again

A fresh wave of hurricane-strength winds was forecast to hit large parts of Britain this morning. Gales exceeding 80mph started at 4pm yesterday and were expected to combine with heavy snow to cause large-scale disruption to transport and power supplies.

The Met office issued a severe weather warning from 9pm yesterday until 3pm today for Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, the North of England, North Wales and the Midlands.


Beck's Petrel Flies Back From Presumed Extinction

A bird not seen for almost 80 years has been discovered in the Pacific to the delight of conservationists.

Becks Petrel Pseudobulweria becki
©Hadoram Shirihai
Recently fledged juvenile Beck's Petrel Pseudobulweria becki, off Cape St George, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, August 2007.