Earth ChangesS


California flood risks are 'disaster waiting to happen,' say University of Maryland engineers

While flooding in California's Central Valley is "the next big disaster waiting to happen," water-related infrastructure issues confront almost every community across the country, according to engineers at the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering in separate reports to California officials and in the journal Science.

An independent review panel chaired by Clark School Research Professor of Civil Engineering Gerald E. Galloway said the area between the Sacramento and San Joaquin river floodplains faces significant risk of floods that could lead to extensive loss of life and billions of dollars in damages. The panel's report, "A California Challenge: Flooding in the Central Valley," was commissioned by California's Department of Water Resources.

©California Department of Water Resources
The image showing floodwaters surrounding the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. on the cover of this document has been edited and is not authentic. It was made to illustrate the depth of flooding predicted if that area of Sacramento were to experience levee failure or overtopping and thus be subjected to deep flooding.

Bizarro Earth

Thousands flee volcanic eruption in Colombia

A volcano erupted in southwestern Colombia on Thursday night, prompting authorities to order the evacuation of about 8,000 people.

©Associated Press
This video frame released by the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining shows the eruption.


Ice returns as Greenland temps plummet

While the rest of Europe is debating the prospects of global warming during an unseasonably mild winter, a brutal cold snap is raging across the semi-autonomous nation of Greenland.

On Disko Bay in western Greenland, where a number of prominent world leaders have visited in recent years to get a first-hand impression of climate change, temperatures have dropped so drastically that the water has frozen over for the first time in a decade.

Comment: While the global climate seems to have taken on a cooling trend as indicated by this and several other recent articles, this article still tries to put in some damage control for the global warming scare. It may not be long before such damage control is no longer possible.

Better Earth

New Tree Species Found in Madagascar

Antananarivo, Madagascar - A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies has been discovered on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, botanists said Thursday.

©AP Photo/Royal Botanic Gardens, John Dransfield
This undated photo released by the Royal Botanic Gardens, shows a newly discovered species of palm tree on the Indian Ocean Island of Madagascar. A self-destructing palm tree that flowers once every 100 years and then dies.

Bizarro Earth

Yangtze River hit by drought in China

China is facing its worst drought in a decade, with water in parts of the Yangtze River at the lowest level in 142 years, state media has reported.

Millions of people were short of water, and dozens of ships had run aground in the river since October, reports said.

Bizarro Earth

Southern Africa Floods Kill 45, Aid Sought - No Chance

Maputo - Floods in southern Africa have killed about 45 people in a growing humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the region and brought renewed appeals for Western financial help.

Heavy rains have caused rivers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi to burst, killing three people in Malawi since Friday and forcing hundreds of others to flee their homes.

Heavy downpours are common in southern Africa during the rainy season, which runs generally from November to April, but the relentless rain is unusual and has caught officials off guard.

Comment: Unusual flooding in Africa, bizarre snowfalls across the Middle East, extreme cold in Siberia, something is very wrong. Keep watching the Signs, they are all around you!


'Extinct' raccoon dogs detected in Russia's Altai Mountains

Raccoon dogs thought extinct in the Altai Mountains since the early 1950s have been again detected in Russia's south Siberian Altai Republic, a source in the regional government said on Wednesday.

Traces of an unknown dog-like creature had previously been detected by Russian biologist Genrikh Sobansky near Lake Teletskoye in the northeastern part of the republic. He later came to the conclusion that the trail belonged to a raccoon dog, an animal which looks much like the North American raccoon, but is only distantly related.

Cloud Lightning

Saudi Arabia freezes as weather records shattered

Unusually cold weather has smashed decades-old records in Saudi Arabia, with meteorologists forecasting a further cooling, the al-Watan newspaper said on Wednesday.

The cold snap has mainly hit northern parts of the country, where temperatures reached a record low of -6 degree Centigrade (21.2 degree Fahrenheit), freezing water in pipes and closing schools and other facilities. Local authorities had to ration kerosene due to an acute shortage of fuel for heating purposes.


Alaska glacier speed-up tied to internal plumbing issues, says CU-Boulder study

Meltwater clogging and speeding of Kennicott Glacier may help explain behavior and acceleration of glaciers in Greenland, say researchers

A University of Colorado at Boulder study indicates meltwater periodically overwhelms the interior drainpipes of Alaska's Kennicott Glacier and causes it to lurch forward, similar to processes that may help explain the acceleration of glaciers observed recently on the Greenland ice sheet that are contributing to global sea rise.

According to CU-Boulder Professor Robert Anderson of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, the amount of water passing through conduits inside and underneath the Kennicott Glacier increases during seasonal melting and also following annual flooding from a nearby lake. The addition of excess water from melting and flooding causes water to back up into a honeycomb of passages inside the glacier, he said, suggesting the resulting increase in water pressure causes the glacier to slide more rapidly down its bedrock valley.

©Robert. S. Anderson/University of Colorado at Boulder
Alaska's Kennicott Glacier recently has been observed by scientists to be lurching, a result of meltwater and floodwater overwhelming its interior plumbing.

"The phenomenon is similar to the plumbing system of a house that is incapable of handling excess water or waste, causing it to back up," said Anderson. "This is a feedback we are still trying to understand and one that has big implications for understanding the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets, including the behavior of outlet glaciers on the Greenland ice sheet."

Cloud Lightning

Freak Gulf weather claims lives as Dubai floods

Downtown Dubai Jan. 16, 2008

Two people were killed in traffic accidents caused by rains in Dubai on Tuesday, Dubai Police announced. Colonel Omar Al Shamsi, Director of Control and Command Room, Dubai Police, said some 584 road accidents were reported on Tuesday.

People across the Gulf faced torrential downpours and may soon see a rare snowfall, in a region which traditionally holds prayers to ask for rain.

In the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, residents said the temperature had fallen to below freezing level, increasing chances that it might snow, an event Saudis usually only see on television or during travels overseas.