Earth ChangesS


Spectacular Deep-water Coral Province Discovered Off Ireland's West Coast

© Dr Anthony Grehan, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI GalwayA large Phycis sp. feeding on a smaller fish with ROV arm visible in bottom right of shot.
NUI Galway researchers, during a recent deep-water expedition, have confirmed the existence of a major new coral reef province on the southern end of the Porcupine Bank off the west coast of Ireland. The province covers an area of some 200 sq. km and contains in the order of 40 coral reef covered carbonate mounds. These underwater hills rise as high as 100m above the seafloor.

The deep-water research expedition took place earlier this month aboard the Marine Institute research vessel, the RV Celtic Explorer. The research used the new national Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Holland I to survey the seafloor and capture unique video footage. The expedition, led by Dr Anthony Grehan, was a collaboration between NUI Galway and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) and involved researchers and students from both institutions.

Bizarro Earth

Cyclone Aila kills nearly 120 in Bangladesh, India

Cyclone Aila
© Associated PressPedestrians walk over an uprooted tree in Calcutta, India, Monday, May 25, 2009. At least two people were killed and authorities evacuated thousands of others in eastern India as a cyclone stormed toward the region Monday. Cyclone Aila caused heavy rains and strong winds to lash Calcutta, capital of West Bengal state
Nearly 120 people have been killed by a cyclone that ripped through Bangladesh and eastern India, officials and local media said on Tuesday, while millions remained marooned by floodwaters or living in shelters.

The death toll in Bangladesh rose to at least 89 following recovery of more bodies on Tuesday, the Daily Star newspaper said in its online edition, while Indian officials said at least 29 people had died in West Bengal state.

Cyclone Aila slammed into parts of coastal Bangladesh and eastern India on Monday, triggering tidal surges and flooding that forced half a million people from their homes.

Officials in Bangladesh moved about 500,000 people to temporary shelters after they left their homes to escape huge tidal waves churned by winds up to 100 kph (60 mph).


Two Strong Earthquakes Hit Macedonia

Macedonia quake 1
The first earthquake has the following details:


- Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 16:17:51 UTC
- Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 06:17:51 PM at epicenter


Rooks reveal remarkable tool-use

© Christopher BirdRooks are a member of the corvid family
Rooks have a remarkable aptitude for using tools, scientists have found.

Tests on captive birds revealed that they could craft and employ tools to solve a number of different problems.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, came as a surprise as rooks do not use tools in the wild.

Despite this, the UK team said the birds' skills rivalled those of well-known tool users such as chimpanzees and New Caledonian crows.

Dr Nathan Emery, an author of the paper from Queen Mary, University of London, said: "The study shows the creativity and insight that rooks have when they solve problems."

The scientists focused on four captive rooks: Cook, Fry, Connelly and Monroe, and discovered that the birds were able to use tools in a number of ways to solve a variety of problems.


UK: Where Have All Our Birds Gone?

© East News / Rex FeaturesA family of Starlings has chosen a post box for the third year running in an Essex seaside town to raise their young brood.
People have been listening to skylarks singing in Britain for 10,000 years. But now they, and many other much-loved species, are vanishing fast.

The B1042 that winds from the Bedfordshire town of Sandy towards the village of Potton is a difficult road to cross. Fast and twisty, there are several blind bends where pedestrians must take their lives into their hands. That is trickier than it sounds, for most pedestrians who cross the B1042 already have a pair of binoculars in their hands.

The road separates the grand headquarters of the RSPB, home to hundreds of birdwatchers, from some unkept fields, home to hundreds of watchable birds - hence the regular skips across the tarmac.

Better Earth

Why I am a Climate Realist

So, I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans, and the consequences this has for the rest of the Earth's climate system. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis runaway catastrophic climate change due to human activities.
In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Second Assessment Report was released, and I was listed as one of approximately 3000 "scientists" who agreed that there was a discernible human influence on climate.

I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations. In keeping with IPCC procedures, the chapter was written and reviewed in isolation from the rest of the report, and I had no input into the process after my review of the chapter draft. I was not asked if I supported the view expressed in my name, and my understanding at the time was that no evidence of a discernible human influence on global climate existed.

The chapter I reviewed dealt primarily with the economic consequences of an assumed sea level rise of 1 m causing extensive inundation. My response was that I could not comment on the economic analysis, however, I disagreed with the initial assumptions, particularly the assumed sea level rise in the stated time period. Further, there was good evidence at the time that sea level rise would not necessarily result in flooding of small island nations, because natural processes on coral atolls were likely to raise island levels.

The IPCC Second Assessment Report assessed sea level rise by AD 2100 as being in the range 0.20-0.86 m, with a most likely value of 0.49 m (less than half the rate assumed for the economic analysis). Subsequent research has demonstrated that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase in elevation as sea level rises. Hence, the assumptions were invalid, and I was convinced that IPCC projections were unrealistic and exaggerated the problem.


Global Warming Pauses

The tide on climate change is starting to turn. The Australian government is becoming more cautious.

It is rare to read a new book likely to make a huge difference to public opinion. Professor Ian Plimer's 500 page book with 2300 footnotes "Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science" is such a book. 30,000 copies were sold in its first month.

Plimer is not a climate change denier, because history shows the planet is dynamic and the climate is always changing, sometimes drastically.

Ice Ages have come and gone and we don't know why. History has seen glaciers at the equator and at one time Scandinavia was under 5 kilometres of ice. Sea levels have been 130 metres lower than today. Some consolation comes from the fact that ice sheets predominated for only 20 per cent of the earth's history.

Cloud Lightning

Tennis ball-sized hail stones pound French villages

© AFPFirefighters said they had found stones as big as tennis balls
Roanne - Fist-sized hail stones "like rocks from the sky" smashed roofs and car windows across a 20-kilometre (13-miles) wide strip of central France, witnesses and firefighters said Friday.

The violent 15-minute squall blew up at around nightfall on Thursday after an otherwise pleasant day around Roanne, a small town in central France. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

"I was just feeding the horses when the first hail fell. At first, for about 20 seconds, it was light and scattered, then it was a deluge, like rocks from the sky," said a resident of Pouilly-sous-Charlieu.

"The flowers and orchards were ripped to shreds and some of the cars in the neighbourhood look like they've been worked over with a hammer. Many of them had shattered windscreens," he said.


Flashback North Korean Earthquake Magnitude 4.3 During Nuclear Testing

4.3 (Light)

- Monday, October 09, 2006 at 01:35:28 (UTC) - Coordinated Universal Time
- Monday, October 09, 2006 at 10:35:28 AM - local time at epicenter


North Korean Earthquake Magnitude 4.7 A Possible Nuclear Test

Suspicious earthquake Korea 1
The shallow seismic event that occurred on 25 May 2009 at 00:54:43 UTC has been claimed as a nuclear test by North Korea, according to news reports.

While the USGS cannot confirm that the recent event was a nuclear test, it was shallow and located in the vicinity of the October 2006 North Korean nuclear test (magnitude 4.3).