Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Israel: The big earthquake is due

Most Israelis can remember a day when their furniture started to shake, and can also take credit for surviving that day with little difficulty. But very few people are in a position to know firsthand the effects of a truly disastrous earthquake, on a magnitude of seven or higher on the Richter scale, as the last recorded such earthquake in Israel occurred in 1033.

And that's the problem: Geology experts agree that Israel is long overdue for the next "Big One," and it can happen at any time. This poses a significant threat to population centers in the country, since many buildings in Israel were erected prior to the formulation of earthquake-resistant construction codes. There is also substantial doubt that the codes are being strictly enforced. With the barrage of immediate threats competing for Israelis' attention - whether terrorism, car accidents, global warming or secondhand smoke - a major earthquake may seem like an improbable, even paranoid fear.


Canada: Fierce storm prompts early Whistler season

A storm that dumped nearly 80 centimetres of snow on parts of British Columbia has prompted officials to open Whistler for skiing earlier than expected this season.

"We have a great leg up on the season," Doug MacFarlane, Whistler Blackcomb Mountain manager, said in a statement ahead of Saturday's official opening. "Natural snowfall and our snowmaking efforts have allowed for the early opening on Whistler Mountain that skiers and riders have been hoping for."

Cloud Lightning

Australia: Hail storms hit parts of NSW

Severe rain and hail storms were battering parts of southern NSW on Sunday afternoon. Hail fell at Marulan, in the state's southern tablelands, a caller to Macquarie Radio said.


Climate change: Political outlook murky despite the science

Science is making headway in predicting how the planet's climate will evolve, but it's anyone's guess what actions policymakers meeting in Bali will take -- or not -- to slow global warming.

With just over two weeks left before the crucial 11-day forum in Indonesia, decision-makers are under intensifying pressure to do something about greenhouse gases -- and do it quickly.

The starkest warning of all came on Saturday from UN's top scientists, gathered under the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Feeding the global warming craze: Conference releases summary for action on climate change

Valencia, Spain: Delegates from more than 140 countries agreed Friday on an environmental "instant guide" for policy makers, stating more forcefully than ever that climate change had begun and that it threatened to alter the planet irreversibly.

Comment: While there is no question that there is global warming in the last few decades, there is much debate in the scientific community about the extent of a human factor. There are plenty of evidences indicating that this is part of a natural cycle that has many causes from geological to cosmic ones. The human factor has been blown up far out of proportion by the governments and media. One has to wonder why it should be that way.

Cloud Lightning

Cyclone Guba: Papua New Guinea flood toll reaches 71

Heavy flooding caused by Cyclone Guba has reportedly killed more than 70 people in Papua New Guinea.

More than 70 people are reported to have been killed in Papua New Guinea because of heavy flooding caused by Cyclone Guba.

Seven consecutive days of heavy rain left a trail of destruction in Oro Province, north of Port Moresby.

Seven consecutive days of heavy rain left a trail of destruction in Oro Province.

Bizarro Earth

New Update: Over 2,200 Die in Bangladesh Cyclone

Death Toll Reaches 2,206 in Bangladesh Cyclone As Hundreds of Thousands of Survivors Await Aid

©AP Photo/ Pavel Rahman
Cyclone affected villagers carry corrugated iron sheeting to repair their damaged house in Potuakhali, 152 kilometers (95 miles) south of Bangladesh's capital Saturday, Nov.17, 2007. The official death toll from a savage cyclone in Bangladesh reached 1,723 on Saturday as military helicopters and ships joined rescue efforts in the wake of the deadliest storm to hit the country in a decade.

Bizarro Earth

Chile struck by 6.0 magnitude quake

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck northern Chile on Saturday, the latest in a series of aftershocks to hit the mineral-rich Andean country since a powerful temblor on Wednesday.

©REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
A family walks past a street blocked with debris in the town of Tocopilla, some 1559 km (968 miles) north of Santiago, November 16, 2007.


Bangladesh cyclone toll tops 1600

Military ships and helicopters were trying on Saturday to reach thousands of survivors of a super cyclone that killed more than 1,600 people and pummeled impoverished Bangladesh with mighty winds and waves.

©REUTERS/Rafiqur Rahman
A mother in a veil takes her injured daughter to a hospital in Barisal district town, south west of the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, November 17, 2007.

Cloud Lightning

Flashback Satellite instrument helps tackle mysteries of ozone-eating clouds

Polar stratospheric clouds have become the focus of many research projects in recent years due to the discovery of their role in ozone depletion, but essential aspects of these clouds remain a mystery. MIPAS, an instrument onboard ESA's Envisat, is allowing scientists to gain information about these clouds necessary for modelling ozone loss.

"The Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) is unique in its possibilities to detect polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) since it is the first instrument with the ability to observe these clouds continuously over the polar regions especially during the polar night," Michael Höpfner of Germany's Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH said.

Using data collected by MIPAS, a German-designed instrument that observes the atmosphere in middle infrared range, Höpfner and other scientists discovered a belt of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) PSCs developing in the polar night over Antarctica in 2003 about one month after the first PSCs, which were composed of water crystals, were detected.