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Sat, 06 Mar 2021
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Earth Changes

Ice Cube

See you later alligator? 'Frozen' gators stick noses through ice to survive in Oklahoma

© David Arbour
Alligators in Oklahoma went into a deep freeze as frigid, icy temperatures plagued much of the central and eastern United States.

Wildlife photographer David Arbour captured stunning photos of several alligators poking their snouts through the ice to breathe at the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area this week.

While the alligators may appear to be dead, scientists say they're not. It's a survival technique alligators use when the water starts to freeze.

Comment: Back in 2019: American alligators freeze in place to survive arctic blast in North Carolina


Germany sees biggest temperature swing since records began

People walking

From freezing to relatively balmy, Germans have been adjusting to extreme winter temperature swings.

Germany has seen its its biggest temperature swing since records began - with an increase of 41.9 degrees in one week.

Climate researchers at the German Weather Service (DWD) on Tuesday said the country had never before experienced a swing like the one that occurred at the weather station in the central German city of Goettingen.

A low of minus 23.8 degrees Celsius was recorded there on February 14. Seven days later, on February 21, the high was 18.1 degrees Celsius,

The previous record had been set in May 1880, in the early days of weather record-keeping. At that time, a temperature rise of 41 degrees had been measured within seven days, said a DWD spokesperson.

In northern Germany, two regional winter heat records had also been broken on Monday. In the town of Quickborn, the high was 18.9 degrees Celsius, passing the record of 17.8 degrees measured two years earlier.

In the Hamburg area, the Neuwiedenthal weather station hit 21.1 degrees on Monday. The previous record of 18.1 degrees at the same station just more than a year earlier was thus "pulverized," a DWD spokesperson said.

"For the first time since temperature records began, the temperature in Hamburg has thus risen above 20 degrees in winter," he said.

Snowflake Cold

Monster Arctic front engulfs Asia and Canada, as Europe's longest bridge is closed due to snow

While parts of the United States and Europe enjoy a brief respite from the frostbite, the majority of Canada, transcontinental Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan continue to suffer from a descended Arctic.

Siberia is suffering one its coldest winters on record, with temperatures in the vast Northern Asian region having regularly dipped below -50C (-58F) since mid-December, 2020.

Much of Central and Western Asia has also been battling brutal and unusual freezes over the past few months, which in turn have lead to food and energy prices soaring to record highs.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain causes deadly landslides in East Java, Indonesia - at least 5 people were killed

Landslide damage in Pamekasan Regency, Indonesia, 24 February 2021.
© BPBD Pamekasan Regency
Landslide damage in Pamekasan Regency, Indonesia, 24 February 2021.
Heavy rainfall triggered deadly landslides in Pamekasan Regency, East Java Province, Indonesia, on 24 February 2021.

The landslides struck in the early hours, affecting the villages of Jepun and Bindang in Pasean District. Disaster authorities reported at least 5 people were killed. Two houses are thought to have been buried, while around 20 other homes and a school were also damaged.

Surabaya City recorded 78mm of rain in 24 hours to 24 February, while Semarang City in Central Java recorded 155mm.

Cloud Precipitation

3 people killed by flash floods in Papua New Guinea

Continuous heavy rains and flash floods have killed three (3) people in Maprik, East Sepik Province last Friday.

Two (2) men and one (1) woman from different villages were using the Amaku and Nynnum rivers respectively when they were washed away by the flash floods.

The bodies of the two (2) men have been recovered over the weekend, whilst the search is continuing along the Amaku River for the body of the woman believed to be from the Kumunimbis village.

This incident is part of the continuous heavy rains and floods that hit the province last week, which also affected major road networks in the province.

According to locals in the area, especially Maprik, rains are still continuing with the rivers still brown and dirty with debris.


Shallow 5.6-magnitude tremor strikes near Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland
© Getty Images/iStockphoto
Reykjavik residents reported shaking buildings
Parts of Iceland were rocked by a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday as residents reported shaking buildings and strong tremors.

The quake's epicentre was recorded about 25 miles away from Reykjavik, in the Reykjanes Peninsula region, on Iceland's southeast coast.

The effects of the quake, which struck at a depth of around six miles, were felt in Reykjavik and the surrounding areas.

It was not immediately clear if there had been any damage to property or injury to life.

"Spent the morning shaking around the office, geologists all running around like excited puppies. So much shaking," Rob Askew, a geologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural Science in Reykjavík, tweeted.

Another Twitter user wrote: "WOW....! Just now! #earthquake swarm on Reykjanes Peninsula #Iceland - very strongly felt in Reykjavík. My home office was shaking! Felt 2 large ones and many small ones."

Another said: "I've experienced more earthquakes in the past couple of hours than the rest of my life combined. And I've spent most of my life in Iceland and Japan. Something's up. I don't like it."

Cloud Precipitation

200 coffins drift in the Golfo Paradiso after Italian cemetery collapses into the sea

The old cemetery at Camogli

The old cemetery at Camogli near Genoa fell into the sea on February 22, 2021
Erosion, erosion, please tell me when the next cemetery will collapse into the sea!
The old cemetery at Camogli near Genoa, Italy collapsed into the sea on February 22, 2021, with at least 200 coffins now drifting in the Golfo Paradiso.

Comment: See also:


Freshwater fish in "catastrophic" decline, one-third face extinction

Thousands of fish species are facing "catastrophic" decline — threatening the health, food security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. New research shows that one-third of all freshwater fish now face extinction.

According to a report published Tuesday by 16 global conservation groups, 18,075 species of freshwater fish inhabit our oceans, accounting for over half of the world's total fish species and a quarter of all vertebrates on Earth. This biodiversity is critical to maintaining not only the health of the planet, but the economic prosperity of communities worldwide.

About 200 million people across Asia, Africa and South America rely on freshwater fishers for their main source of protein, researchers said in "The World's Forgotten Fishes" report. About one-third of those people also rely on them for their jobs and livelihoods.

Despite their importance, freshwater fishes are "undervalued and overlooked," researchers said — and now freshwater biodiversity is declining at twice the rate of that in oceans and forests.

Eighty freshwater species have already been declared extinct — 16 of them in 2020 alone.


Over 375 inches of snow measured in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington this season - snow banks reaching 12 feet in height

This week over 375 inches of snow were measured in Snoqualmie Pass, surpassing the ten-year average, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The snow banks are also reaching heights of up to 12 feet, and stunning people who live near the mountain pass.

"I mean this weather has been pretty crazy," said Glenn Vickery. "We've actually had some really good light snow, but it's been a lot of snow and it's been unique with this pebble-like snow, so it's been a crazy year with a lot of different weather conditions. It's been pretty cool."

Silas Wild is an avid skier and drove down Snoqualmie Pass to North Bend before sunset. "Coming up you could see all the trucks were stopped to chain up and the plows were plowing and causing a little slowdown, so I'm glad I'm going down and not up," said Wild.

Since November, I-90 to Snoqualmie Pass was closed for more than 40 hours due to collisions, spinouts and avalanche control work.


About 100 dolphins found dead on Mozambique beach - 3rd mass stranding of cetaceans globally within 5 days

The cause of death is still unknown
The cause of death is still unknown
The bodies of about 100 dead dolphins have been found on an island off the coast of Mozambique.

Eighty-six more carcasses were found on Bazaruto Island, north of the capital Maputo, on Tuesday, after a first group was washed ashore on Sunday.

The cause of the deaths is still unknown, the country's environment ministry said, and more experts are heading to the site.

One possible experts are investigating is if a cyclone may have contributed.

Comment: This incident happened amid similar recent mass strandings of cetaceans in other regions of the world, see: Recommended reading: