Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

UPDATE: Two million hit by Indian monsoon, toll reaches 800

The death toll from monsoon-related accidents reached 800 and two million people have been displaced by flooding following heavy rains across India, officials said on Sunday.

Indian commuters make their way through a waterlogged street after a heavy downpour flooded parts of Amritsar on August 12, 2008. Heavy downpours of rain continue to cross northern India as the south-west monsoon travels across the Indian sub-continent.

At least 26 people died in overnight accidents in northern Uttar Pradesh, taking the toll to 686 in the country's most populous state since the monsoon struck in June, Relief Commissioner G. K. Tandon said.

"Several districts are receiving continuous rains for the past month and a half," Tandon said in the state capital Lucknow as local aid agencies backed by World Health Organisation staff rushed emergency supplies to those affected.

Tandon put the number of people hit by the floods at 1.29 million and said 3,000 villages were swamped in Uttar Pradesh, in monsoon damage he described as "unprecedented".

Cloud Lightning

Tropical storm Julio hits Mexico's Baja California

Los Cabos - Tropical Storm Julio drenched Mexico's Baja California on Sunday and hundreds of residents fled poor neighborhoods that were in danger of flooding near the popular tourist resort of Los Cabos.

The storm was earlier reported to be carrying winds of 50 mph (80 kph) over the eastern Pacific Ocean before it hit the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula on Sunday afternoon.

©REUTERS/NOAA/National Hurricane Center/Handout
A graphic showing the location of Tropical Storm Julio at 10:44 PM, August 23, 2008.

"Right now we have five emergency shelters activated and we have the potential to open 14 if necessary," local emergency official Juan Carlos Guevara told Reuters.

"Hotels are open and guests are being cared for by the hotel's own security," he said. Some tourists walked along the beaches to watch 8-foot-high (2.4-m-high) waves pound the shore. Others hunkered down in their rooms to wait out the storm.

The port at Los Cabos, popular with cruise ships, was closed, but all the country's major oil exporting ports remained open, Mexico's Transport Ministry said in a statement.

Bizarro Earth

Climate Change Could Be Impetus For Wars, Other Conflicts, Expert Says

Hurricane season has arrived, sparking renewed debate regarding possible links between global warming and the frequency and severity of hurricanes, heat waves and other extreme weather events.

Jürgen Scheffran
©L. Brian Stauffer
Jürgen Scheffran, a research scientist in the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security and the Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research at Illinois, is among those raising concerns that climate-change-related damage to global ecosystems and the resulting competition for natural resources may increasingly serve as triggers for wars and other conflicts in the future

Bizarro Earth

Don't believe the GM apologists

Arguments about genetic modification, often wrongly characterised as science versus irrational nature-worshippers, have lost none of their passion. On one side are those who yearn for simple, high-tech solutions to complex problems. Against GM, there are ecological realities and scientific evidence. There is overwhelming evidence that farming took a wrong turn after the last war, with widespread use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and sprays.

In Britain, we lost up to 95 per cent of our ancient woodlands, flower meadows, hedges and wildlife and saw massive losses of farms and farm workers' jobs. Farming became more oil-dependent. Our food lost vitamins, taste and diversity and our diet became unhealthy.

Cloud Lightning

Tropical Storm Fay not done yet, threatens Gulf cities

APALACHICOLA, Fla. - Fay just won't quit.

The tropical storm that set a record with four landfalls in Florida chugged west across the Gulf Coast on Saturday and cities from Pensacola to New Orleans prepared for several inches of rain.

Cloud Lightning

At least 70 dead in north India floods

At least 70 people have died since Wednesday in floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in various parts of northern India, national radio reports said on Thursday.

The floods caused severe damage in the states of Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and local authorities have asked the army for assistance in relief operations.


The buzz on sickly bees

Humans aren't the only ones to get confused when they fall ill. Bumble-bees, the fuzzy insects that most people love, actually fail to remember where nectar-rich flowers are located. Researchers at Britain's University of Leicester conducted a study to investigate the effects that illness has on bumble-bees. Their findings were recently published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.


Elephant legs are much bendier than Shakespeare thought

Throughout history, elephants have been thought of as 'different'. Shakespeare, and even Aristotle, described them as walking on inflexible column-like legs. And this myth persists even today. Which made John Hutchinson from The Royal Veterinary College, London, want to find out more about elephants and the way they move. Are they really that different from other, more fleet-footed species? Are their legs as rigid and 'columnar' as people had thought? Traveling to Thailand and several UK zoos, Hutchinson and his team investigated how Asian Elephants move their legs as they walk and run and publishes his results in The Journal of Experimental Biology on August 22 2008.


Abandoned baby whale euthanized in Australia

An injured baby humpback whale found earlier this week off Sydney's coast has been euthanized, Radio Australia reported on Friday.

The calf, nicknamed Colin, was abandoned by its mother and was unable to feed himself.

After vain attempts to save the animal's life, wildlife rescue workers decided to kill it to stop its suffering.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon Nuri in China after sweeping Hong Kong

Hong Kong - Typhoon Nuri struck southern China on Friday, killing three people after barreling through Hong Kong, shutting down most of the financial hub with gale-force winds and disrupting hundreds of flights.

A man takes a photograph on the waterfront during typhoon Nuri in Hong Kong August 22, 2008.

Downgraded to a severe tropical storm, Nuri made landfall in southern Guangdong in the late evening. Strong winds in the provincial capital of Guangzhou toppled an expressway traffic sign, which crushed a van and killed its three passengers, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.

Torrential rain is expected over the weekend as Nuri moves northwest, ebbing gradually, it added. The typhoon is now headed along the Guangdong coastline towards the gambling hub of Macau, where flights and ferries were also cancelled.

Much of Hong Kong ground to a standstill on Friday with the closure of financial markets, schools and offices. Howling winds swept across the former British colony, uprooting trees and churning white-tipped waves in Victoria harbor.