Earth ChangesS


Canada: Hiker dies after being swarmed by bees or wasps near Chemainus

A young hiker died yesterday after he was swarmed and stung by bees, wasps or hornets on Mount Brenton, west of Chemainus. The man's name has not been released, but those at the scene said he appeared to be in his 20s. He was a tourist from Germany hiking with a youth group on the mountain, witnesses said.

"We were called in with a report that a man had been swarmed by what looked like hornets and appeared to be having a severe allergic reaction," said Rick Ruppenthal, the central Vancouver Island superintendent for the B.C. Ambulance Service. "Apparently he had no previous history of allergies."

The call to 9-1-1 came in at 9:30 a.m. yesterday from another hiker with a cellphone.

Better Earth

Camera spots rare clouded leopard

The Bornean clouded leopard was only classified as a distinct species in 2007

Automatic cameras have captured images of a clouded leopard in Borneo's Sebangua National Park, an area where the cats have not been recorded before.


New Bird Species Discovered In Gabon, Africa

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a new species of bird in Gabon, Africa, that was, until now, unknown to the scientific community.

©Brian Schmidt
A male specimen of the newly-discovered olive-backed forest robin is carefully examined in the hand of Brian Schmidt, the Smithsonian ornithologist who discovered the species.

The newly found olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus) was named by the scientists for its distinctive olive back and rump. Adult birds measure 4.5 inches in length and average 18 grams in weight. Males exhibit a fiery orange throat and breast, yellow belly, olive back and black feathers on the head. Females are similar, but less vibrant. Both sexes have a distinctive white dot on their face in front of each eye.

The bird was first observed by Smithsonian scientists in 2001 during a field expedition of the National Zoo's Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity Program in southwest Gabon. It was initially thought, however, to be an immature individual of an already-recognized species. Brian Schmidt, a research ornithologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a member of the MAB program's team, returned to Washington, D.C., from Gabon in 2003 with several specimens to enter into the museum's bird collection. When he compared them with other forest robins of the genus Stiphrornis in the collection, Schmidt immediately noticed differences in color and plumage, and realized the newly collected birds might be unique.


Forecasters: Floridians should prepare for hurricane

MIAMI - Florida's governor declared an emergency for the state Saturday due to the threat of Tropical Storm Fay, which forecasters say could bring hurricane-force winds to the Florida Keys as soon as Monday.


Over 800 walruses slaughtered in Russia's Far East

Border officials in Chukotka, Russia's Far East, discovered over 800 walrus carcasses believed to have been killed by poachers for their valuable tusks, a Russian natural resources ministry spokesman said.

The carcasses were found with gunshot wounds on the coastline of the Chukotka Peninsula near the Chegitun River on Friday. Officials believe that the mammals were killed around two to four weeks ago.


Germany: Fleeing Famine, Bees Seek Asylum in Cities

Berlin - For German bees, the countryside is no longer what it used to be. They are fleeing insecticides and genetically modified crops to take refuge in cities.

Arrow Down

Hadley Climate Center HadAT2 Data shows global cooling in the last year

Overall long term trend remains positive in lower troposphere.

Most often on this forum we have looked at either surface temperature data from surface observations or lower tropospheric temperature data derived from satellite sounders. Today I'd like to point out a short scale trend in global radiosonde data showing cooling in the last year, as well as examine the record back to 1958.

©Hadley Center


Australia Crew films rare species of dolphin

[View video]

A camera crew has filmed a rare species of dolphin that has only been known to scientists for three years near Broome, Western Australia.

The recent discovery of the Australian snubfin dolphin has led scientists to search the Australian coastline for the elusive animals.

Better Earth

Oil And Gas Projects In Western Amazon Threaten Biodiversity And Indigenous Peoples

The western Amazon, home to the most biodiverse and intact rainforest left on Earth, may soon be covered with oil rigs and pipelines.

According to a new study, over 180 oil and gas "blocks" - areas zoned for exploration and development - now cover the megadiverse western Amazon, which includes Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil. These oil and gas blocks stretch over 688,000 km2 (170 million acres), a vast area, nearly the size of Texas.

For over three years, researchers from two U.S. non-profit organizations - Save America's Forests and Land Is Life - and scientists from Duke University tracked hydrocarbon activities across the region and generated a comprehensive map of oil and gas activities across the western Amazon. The result is an alarming assessment of the threats to the biodiversity and indigenous peoples of the region.

"We found that the oil and gas blocks overlap perfectly with the most biodiverse part of the Amazon for birds, mammals, and amphibians," said study co-author Dr. Clinton Jenkins of Duke University. "The threat to amphibians is of particular concern because they are already the most threatened group of vertebrates worldwide."


Wales: 'Twister' is sighted over island

Anglesey residents have been looking to the skies over the island, after several sightings of a "twister".

Anglesey twister
The "twister" over Anglesey