Earth ChangesS


Small Sea Creatures May Be The 'Canaries In The Coal Mine' Of Climate Change

As oceans warm and become more acidic, ocean creatures are undergoing severe stress and entire food webs are at risk, according to scientists at a press briefing this morning at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.

Gretchen Hofmann, associate professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has just returned from a research mission to Antarctica where she collected pteropods, tiny marine snails the size of a lentil, that she refers to as the "potato chip" of the oceans because they are eaten widely by so many species.*

pteropod (pelagic snail)
Microscope photo of a pteropod (pelagic snail).


Python Snakes, An Invasive Species In Florida, Could Spread To One Third Of US

Burmese pythons - an invasive species in south Florida - could find comfortable climatic conditions in roughly a third of the United States according to new "climate maps" developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Although other factors such as type of food available and suitable shelter also play a role, Burmese pythons and other giant constrictor snakes have shown themselves to be highly adaptable to new environments.

The just-released USGS maps can help natural resource agencies manage and possibly control the spread of non-native giant constrictor snakes, such as the Burmese python, now spreading from Everglades National Park in Florida. These "climate match" maps show where climate in the U.S. is similar to places in which Burmese pythons live naturally (from Pakistan to Indonesia).

A look at the map shows why biologists are concerned.

pythons native range
Areas of the continental United States with current climate matching that of the pythons' native range in Asia. By 2100 the yellow "maybe" area is expected to extend north substantially, due to projected climate change.

Bizarro Earth

Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean

UK scientists working in Antarctica have found some of the clearest evidence yet of instabilities in the ice of part of West Antarctica.

If the trend continues, they say, it could lead to a significant rise in global sea level.

The new evidence comes from a group of glaciers covering an area the size of Texas, in a remote and seldom visited part of West Antarctica.


Two boys die in avalanche in Urals

Two boys have died in an avalanche in the Orenburg Region in the Urals, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Friday.

Two boys aged 12 and 14, who were sledging down a snowy slope on home-made boards, were buried under a 2-meter (6.5 feet) layer of snow.

Cow Skull

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Cruelest Species of Them All?

We are, of course, but a new book on animal cruelty will make your jaw drop about how vicious humans can be to other animals.


Panic after 'Franken-fish' that is deadlier than a piranha is caught in Britain

With its razor-sharp teeth, the fish known as the giant snakehead terrorises the warm waters of south-east Asia.

Which is why an angler was particularly startled to hook a 2ft specimen from a river in Lincolnshire.

Andrew Alder caught the snakehead using a sprat for bait while fishing for pike in the River Witham near North Hykeham.

Giant Snakehead
©Daily Mail
Known as the 'gangster' of the fish world, a snakehead was caught in Lincolnshire

Bizarro Earth

U.N. says world fisheries face collapse

Monaco - A deadly combination of climate change, over-fishing and pollution could cause the collapse of commercial fish stocks worldwide within decades, said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Program.

Cloud Lightning

Madagascar: Violence of Cyclone Ivan overwhelms careful preparations

As initial assessments shed light on the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Ivan earlier this week, Madagascar is bracing itself for another onslaught as Cyclone Hondo picks up and heads for the island's east coast.

Ivan slammed into Madagascar's northeastern coast on Sunday, 18 February, with winds of up to 210km per hour, leaving a trail of destruction on its way across the island until it slowly diminished in strength and dissipated in the Mozambique Channel on Tuesday.

Cloud Lightning

Ecuador extends floods emergency

Ecuador flood2
©Associated Press
Residents ride on a make-shift raft in a flooded street in Puerto Inca, Ecuador.

Ecuador has extended a state of emergency to the entire nation after torrential rains triggered floods and mudslides across the country. The move eases access to $25m (£12.7m) in emergency funds for repairs.

Nearly a month of flooding has claimed at least three lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.


US: Northeast Hit by Major Winter Storm

A major winter storm struck the northeast Friday morning, with snowfall causing massive delays at airports, closing schools and snarling traffic on streets and highways in the region.

Snow started falling earlier than expected, before daybreak, with four inches measured at mid-morning in Manhattan's Central Park. A total of six to nine inches was expected before the snow is to change to sleet and rain in the afternoon.

Employees clearing snow in a commercial area in Queens.

Arrival delays of more than five hours were reported by the Federal Aviation Administration at Kennedy and Newark airports with a lesser delay of slightly more than three hours at La Guardia.