Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

World faces water crisis, UN report says

Surging population growth, climate change, reckless irrigation and chronic waste are placing the world's water supplies at threat, a landmark UN report said on Thursday.

Compiled by 24 UN agencies, the 348-page document gave a grim assessment of the state of the planet's freshwater, especially in developing countries, and described the outlook for coming generations as deeply worrying.

Water is part of the complex web of factors that determine prosperity and stability, it said.

Life Preserver

Australia: Spill threat to marine life

A toxic cocktail of fuel and fertiliser has been lost from a cargo ship off southeast Queensland, raising fears of ecological damage.

Amid fierce seas whipped up by Cyclone Hamish, 31 containers carrying 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate toppled into the sea off Moreton Island yesterday.

Up to 30 tonnes of oil also leaked from the ship creating a slick that covers an estimated 5.5km by 500m, drifting in a northwesterly direction.

The lost containers damaged the hull of the 180m Pacific Adventurer, causing the oil to spill.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.7 - Costa Rica


Date-Time Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 17:24:37 UTC

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 11:24:37 AM at epicenter

Location 8.569°N, 83.278°W

Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances 15 km (10 miles) WSW of Golfito, Costa Rica

95 km (60 miles) W of David, Panama

140 km (90 miles) SW of Bocas del Toro, Panama

175 km (110 miles) SSE of SAN JOSE, Costa Rica

Better Earth

Wolf, Moose Get Autobahn Migration Bridges in Eastern Germany

Bridges for migrating wolves and moose will be built over Germany's no-speed limit Autobahn highways near Berlin as part of a wildlife corridor to Poland, officials said today.

Brandenburg, the state surrounding the German capital, wants the 200-kilometer (90-mile) corridor to help re-establish large mammals and provide them with a safe route between nature reserves, Dietmar Woidke, the state's Rural Development and Environment Minister, said at a conference in Potsdam.

The spread of wolves and moose from Poland into eastern German forests of Brandenburg and Saxony is causing a stir in a country that killed off many of its large wild animals a century ago. About 40 wolves that now live in eastern Germany are forcing a debate that pits farmers, forest-owners and hunters against conservationists.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in Macedonia

Macedonian authorities say a moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5 has struck the southwest of the country, but caused no damage or injuries.

The Seismological Institute says the quake occurred at 9:33 a.m. (0833 GMT) Tuesday in the Jablanica mountain area near the town of Struga, about 105 miles (170 kilometers) southwest of the capital Skopje.


Tidal Wave Of Trash Threatens World Oceans

Miami - A tidal wave of man-made trash is threatening world oceans, damaging wildlife, tourism and seafood industries and piling additional stress on seas already hit by climate change, conservationists said on Tuesday.

A report by U.S.-based Ocean Conservancy detailed what it called a "global snapshot of marine debris" based on itemized records of rubbish collected by nearly 400,000 volunteers in 104 countries and places in a single day in September 2008.


Australia: Name this new sea creature

New sea creature
© UnknownThe newly discovered spotted shrimp.
Have you ever wanted to name your very own species of animal?

Well now is your chance - you can name a shrimp.

Yes, that's right, you could name this newly discovered spotted shrimp - and help save ocean wildlife in the process.

PhD student Anna McCallum made the discovery of a new spotted shrimp in the water of south west Australia, and has decided to auction the naming rights, with all money raised going to marine conservation.

Better Earth

Race is on to reach Antarctica's hidden lakes

A race has begun to reach one of the last unexplored regions on Earth: the cold, dark waters of sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica.

For years, Russian researchers have been drilling down to Lake Vostok, 4 kilometres beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet, but they have yet to reach water.

They now have competition. A consortium of nine UK universities plus the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre got funding this week for a project to drill through the West Antarctic ice sheet to reach Lake Ellsworth, which is about 3 kilometres beneath the surface.

The drilling will take place over the Antarctic summer of 2012-13. Unlike the Russian project, which has controversially used kerosene to prevent the drilled hole from refreezing, the UK-led effort will use a hot water drill. The water will be made by melting ice from a few hundred metres below the surface.

Bizarro Earth

Tornado, Hail Cause Destruction in Southern Brazil

Brazil's southern state of Santa Catarina was hit by heavy rains, hail and a tornado on late Sunday, which left at least 367 people homeless.

The local office of the National Meteorology Institute (Inmet) said on Monday that the tornado and the accompanying hail hit 14 towns in the state's mountainous region.

The largest destruction took place in the small town of Ponte Alta, where corn and soybean plantations, along with over 500 houses, were damaged. Two people were injured and at least 80 were left homeless in the town, where the mayor declared state of emergency.

Bizarro Earth

US: Three Tornados Struck Indiana

The National Weather Service has confirmed that two tornadoes hit southern Indiana's Lawrence County, where about 20 homes were damaged and a school bus landed atop a building.

Those findings mean Sunday's storms spawned three tornadoes in the state, although no serious injuries have been reported.

A weather service team on Monday determined that the strongest of the Lawrence County tornadoes hit near the community of Fayetteville and had winds of at least 135 mph. The other hit about two miles north of Bedford with wind speeds of 65 to 85 mph.