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Sun, 28 May 2023
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Earth Changes


China comes to a standstill in silent tribute to earthquake victims

China stood still. Heads bowed, helmets in their hands, soldiers balanced on the rubble of a town devastated by last week's earthquake. A mother whose child had died wept quietly in her van. Thousands gathered under the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square.

China's 1.3 billion people stopped yesterday at 2.28pm - the exact time of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake a week ago - for three minutes of silence to grieve for as many as 70,000 people who are feared dead. In Hongbai, one of the worse-affected towns, a single siren wailed and the few dozen people still in the town pressed their car horns. A military helicopter hovered overhead, its emergency siren howling over the roar of its blades.

Cloud Lightning

China: Heavy dust storm enshrouds Beijing

A heavy sandstorm hit Beijing on Tuesday, shrouding the Chinese capital in a cloud of yellow dust and hampering visibility, the local environmental department said.

Clouds of dust were being blown in from neighbouring Inner Mongolia and Shanxi province as a cold front moved in from the north, the Beijing environmental protection bureau said on its website.

Air quality has become a key concern ahead of the August Beijing Olympic Games, with city officials vowing to limit the number of cars on city streets and halt construction projects during the Games.

Better Earth

Ancient Deep-sea Coral Reefs Off Southeastern US Serve As Underwater 'Islands' In The Gulf Stream

Largely unexplored deep-sea coral reefs, some perhaps hundreds of thousands of years old, off the coast of the southeastern U.S. are not only larger than expected but also home to commercially valuable fish populations and many newly discovered and unusual species. Results from a series of NOAA-funded expeditions to document these previously unstudied and diverse habitats and their associated marine life have revealed some surprising results.

brisingid sea-star
©Ross et al, NOAA, HBOI
The brisingid sea-star (Novodinia antillensis) perches high in the coral branches of Lophelia pertusa to filter feed. This photo was taken off the North Carolina coast in about 370 meters (roughly 1,200 feet) of water, far north of the normal range of this species.

Some of those findings and images of the reef habitats 60 to 100 miles off the North Carolina coast will be featured in a high-definition film, "Beneath the Blue", to be shown for the first time in public May 17 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, N.C. Research scientists, joined by museum staff, conducted a series of expeditions to the deep coral habitats on the continental slope off the east coast from North Carolina to central Florida, in an area known as the Blake Plateau.

Better Earth

Global Warming Has Little Impact In Tropical Storm And Hurricane Numbers

A new model simulation of Atlantic hurricane activity for the last two decades of this century projects fewer hurricanes overall, but a slight increase in intensity for hurricanes that do occur. Hurricanes are also projected to have more intense rainfall, on average, in the future.

Hurricane Ophelia
Satellite of Hurricane Ophelia on September 14, 2005. (Credit: )

"This study adds more support to the consensus finding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other reports that it is likely that hurricanes will gradually become more intense as the climate continues to warm," said Tom Knutson, research meteorologist and lead author of the report. "It's a bit of a mixed picture in the Atlantic, because we're projecting fewer hurricanes overall."


Frog march sparks new quake alarm

THOUSANDS of Chinese fled for cover in fear of an earthquake today, alarmed not only by warnings from seismologists but also by an unusual mass movement of frogs, state media said.

Bizarro Earth

Peruvian 'Switzerland' melting under climate change

LIMA - Peru's Cordillera Blanca, a snow-topped northern mountain range sometimes called the "Peruvian Switzerland," is slowly disappearing because of climate change, a key issue on the table of a Latin America-EU summit being held in Lima this week.


India: Girl killed in roof collapse; rains, squall in Delhi

A minor girl was killed and 20 others were injured in separate incidents of wall and roof collapse during the overnight rains and thunder-squall that lashed the national capital.

There were at least four incidents of wall and roof collapse as showers and strong winds with a speed of 100 km per hour hit the city on Saturday night.

Reports of uprooting of trees and power cuts were also received from several areas of the city. The Met Office recorded a rainfall of 7.7 mm till Sunday morning.

Bizarro Earth

China says over 70,000 dead or missing from quake

Chengdu, China - China raised the number of dead or missing from a devastating earthquake to more than 70,000 on Tuesday, as rescuers found more survivors eight days after the huge tremor hit.

chinese earthquake
©Reuters/China Daily
A woman cries for her child who died during the earthquake near a collapsed school in Juyuan town of Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, May 19, 2008.

Bizarro Earth

Water Shortage Anticipated in Israel due to Climate Change, Water Pollution and Urbanization

Fifty years of observation in the Mediterranean Basin reveal several trends: increased warming in the summer and increased precipitation in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea as opposed to decreased precipitation in most of the Mediterranean Sea Basin, including countries near Israel such as Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

The Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Dr. Yeshayahu Bar Or, warns that existing desalination plans will not respond to the water shortage which is anticipated in Israel due to climate change, pollution of water reservoirs and urbanization processes.


China's earthquake: the most destructive in modern history

A week after the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province, the Chinese government has declared three days of national mourning, beginning today, for those who lost their lives in the disaster. The mourning period is the longest since the death of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1997. For three days, all national flags will fly at half-mast and all public recreational activities, including the Olympic torch relay, will be suspended.

Yesterday, Chinese authorities revised the earthquake's magnitude from the initial 7.8 up to 8 on the Richter scale. Premier Wen Jiabao has declared that the destruction caused by the earthquake was the most severe in the entire 60-year history of Peoples Republic of China. The Tangshan quake in 1976 killed up to 300,000 people, but its impact was largely restricted to one city. In Sichuan, an estimated 10 million people have been affected over a huge area.