Earth ChangesS


Whirlwind shakes up Pearl Jam concert in Italy

A rare whirlwind struck an outdoor concert site today in Venice, Italy, forcing the cancellation of tonight's show by Seattle rock band Pearl Jam.

Red Flag

Magnitude 6 earthquake shakes Papua New Guinea

An earthquake with a magnitude measuring six has been recorded on the Papua New Guinea island of New Britain.

There are no immediate reports of damage from the affected region and the United States Geological Survey office says it is unlikely to have caused a tsunami.

Cloud Lightning

Kentucky seeing driest weather since 1895

The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet has issued a water shortage watch for 61 counties in Kentucky.

A water shortage watch is issued when drought conditions have the potential to threaten the normal availability of drinking water supply sources.

State Climatologist Stuart Foster says precipitation deficits for the past four months place Kentucky's four climatic divisions in the driest periods on record since 1895. Drought conditions across Kentucky range from moderate to severe.

Red Flag

Magnitude 5.6 quake jolts Philippine town

An earthquake of at least magnitude 5 jolted a central Philippine farming town where a landslide killed more than 1,000 people last year, but no casualties or damage were reported from the quake, officials said Friday.

The earthquake, which the U.S. Geological Survey said measured magnitude 5.6, struck late Thursday, sending residents of St. Bernard township in Southern Leyte hurrying from their beds.

Cloud Lightning

UK, Floods after month's rain falls in one day

The Environment Agency issued flood warnings across many parts of Britain on Friday as torrential rain swamped northern and central areas and weather forecasters warned there could be more downpours overnight.

Homes in Northamptonshire and South and West Yorkshire were hit by flooding on Friday, while train services were suspended between Birmingham and the east Midlands.

The Met Office said 88 millimetres (3.5 inches) of rain had fallen on Birmingham in 24 hours, more than it normally gets in a month at this time of year.


Study: Avoiding Predators Has Its Price

It hardly seems fair, but water creatures nimble enough to avoid being gobbled up by predators might harm their species more than help, new research suggests.


Gypsy Moths Attack Mid-Atlantic Forests

Picnickers in East Coast woods may get some hungry visitors this summer. But at least they won't ask for sandwiches.

Leaf-eating gypsy moth caterpillars are out in force in parts of the mid-Atlantic following a warm, dry spring - just the kind of weather that can make the insects thrive.

Experts are predicting an especially bad year for trees, primarily oaks, which are the caterpillars' favorite snack. The moths will also munch on 475 types of foliage.


Australia: Warning from Asian bees

Four swarms of Asian bees found in Cairns have been cleared of carrying the dreaded Varroa destructor mite but the intruders themselves could pose the beginning of a serious threat to Australian honey bee populations.

Asian bees are known to have found their way into Australian ports at least half a dozen times in the last decade.

This time it's a Javanese strain of the bee and because the latest incursion had lain undiscovered for at least three months, it is unknown how many more swarms might exist and how far afield they may have flown.

Within a one kilometre radius from the first colony, disturbed in the mast of a yacht undergoing repairs after two years docked at a wharf in Cairns, three more swarms were found and the search widened.

Already operating under marginal circumstances, many of Australia's beekeepers can only afford a momentary sigh of relief.


US: With development, common birds are losing ground

The loss of millions of acres of grasslands and shrubs nationwide to suburban sprawl and agriculture -- along with a warming planet -- has dramatically reduced the numbers of common birds seen across the United States over the past 40 years, according to a National Audubon Society study released yesterday.

In Massachusetts, several birds seen regularly three or four decades ago, including the Northern bobwhite and the Eastern meadowlark, have all but disappeared, according to the study.

Human encroachment on their habitats has so vastly diminished their populations that specialists now consider it rare to see those birds, as well as several others, according to annual counts.

"It shows how suburban development really affects bird habitats," said Greg Butcher , national director of bird conservation for Audubon. "In many cases the development destroys the habitat outright or causes fragmented spaces for them."

The nationwide analysis looked at data collected by volunteer bird-watchers in the Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count , which started 107 years ago and is held over a 20-day period before and after Christmas, and the annual North American Breeding Bird Survey organized by the US Geological Survey every June. Combining the data from both surveys produced a snapshot of 550 bird species from roughly 5,000 sites in 48 states, Butcher said. Alaska and Hawaii have had fewer sites and were not included.

Monkey Wrench

Kilimanjaro not a victim of climate change, UW scientist says

The shrinking snowcap atop Mount Kilimanjaro has become an icon of global warming.