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Earth Changes


How Whales And Other Marine Mammals React To Sonar

NOAA's Fisheries Service, in partnership with top international scientists and the U.S. Navy, has just completed a pioneering research effort in Hawaii to measure the biology and behavior of some of the most poorly understood whales on Earth. During the study, for the first time, scientists attached listening and movement sensors on marine mammals around realistic military operations.

NOAA scientists use tags to photograph and identify individual whales.

Using satellite-linked and underwater listening tags to monitor movement and behavior, NOAA and partnering scientists tagged more than thirty individual marine mammals of four different species. They measured how deep-diving marine mammals feed, interact with one another, dive and respond to sounds in their environment in this pioneering pilot project carried out in conjunction with the Navy's Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2008 exercises.

Scientists used the naval military exercises, hosted biennially by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, as an opportunity to learn more about deep-diving whales and how they might respond to military sonar in their environment. RIMPAC includes the use of mid-frequency active sonar for anti-submarine warfare training in various areas around Hawaii. Transmissions were not directed at marine mammals for the study. Scientists and the Navy used mitigation measures to minimize exposure to nearby mammals.


Lightning Strike Sparks Apartment Fire in South Carolina, US

A lightning strike sparked a fire that ripped through a roof at an apartment complex near Clemson University. Lightning hit the attic of the Clemson Place Apartments around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Most of the tenants are university students. Ashley Simmons, who lives downstairs in the building, was at work at the time of the strike. The students who live upstairs are away for the summer.

Simmons came home to find her roof in shambles and many of her belongings were drenched.


US: Second bear attack in Anchorage park

Another Anchorage resident has been mauled by a grizzly bear in a city park popular with joggers and bicyclists. The woman was attacked by the bear Friday evening while jogging in Far North Bicentennial Park. She has not been identified. The woman was attacked by a sow with two cubs.

Rick Sinnott, the area's wildlife biologist, believes it is the same bear that chased a mountain biker earlier this summer and came within inches of harming a cross-country runner in late July. Neither of those people was injured.

Anchorage police say this time the bear caused serious injuries. The woman was bitten on her torso, arm and neck.


Brown Tree Snake Could Mean Guam Will Lose More Than Its Birds

In the last 60 years, brown tree snakes have become the embodiment of the bad things that can happen when invasive species are introduced in places where they have few predators. Unchecked for many years, the snakes caused the extinction of nearly every native bird species on the Pacific island of Guam.

brown tree snake slithers on Guam
©Isaac Chellman
A brown tree snake slithers on Guam.

A variety of other damage has been directly attributed to brown tree snakes, including large population losses among other native animal species in Guam's forests, attacks on children and pets, and electrical power outages.

But new research by University of Washington biologists suggests that indirect impacts might be even farther reaching, possibly changing tree distributions and reducing native tree populations, altering already damaged ecosystems even further.

Arrow Down

Iconic stone arch collapses in a southern Utah National Park

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, Utah - One of the largest and most photographed arches in Arches National Park has collapsed.

Paul Henderson, the park's chief of interpretation, said Wall Arch collapsed sometime late Monday or early Tuesday.

Wall Arch
©AP Photo/National Parks Service
his undated image provided by the National Parks Service shows the Wall Arch prior to it's collapse Monday Aug, 4, 2008. One of the largest and most visible arches in Arches National Park collapsed according to park officials. Paul Henderson, the park's chief of interpretation, said Wall Arch collapsed sometime late Monday or early Tuesday. The arch is along Devils Garden Trail, one of the most popular in the park. For years, the arch has been a favorite stopping point for photographers. Henderson said the arch was claimed by forces that will eventually destroy others in the park: gravity and erosion.

Cloud Lightning

UK: Weather Eye: multi-coloured lightning strikes a mysterious pose

[The following pictures were taken in South London during a storm.]


There was a magnificent display of lightning on Monday night over much of the southern half of Britain. As the flashes came thick and fast, the West Midlands was hit hard by lightning strikes causing power cuts and fires, while the torrential downpours caused flash floods.


Canada: Mysterious disease killing Newfoundland moose

©Warren Harris
Wildlife officials haven't been able to find a cause for a mysterious disease that is killing moose on Newfoundland's northern peninsula.

Saint John - A mysterious disease that has killed a number of moose on Newfoundland's northern peninsula has left provincial wildlife experts in that province scratching their heads. It's unclear how many moose have been lost due to the illness that causes the animals to literally waste away, become walking skeletons and then die.


US: Six Legged Deer - Mysterious Creations Of God

God's creations are beyond imagination. They make the mankind awe at its strange, unique and yet beautiful manifestation. On May 2008 a mysterious puppy, green in colour was born in New Orleans. Just after a month Italy was stirred by the birth of a unicorn similar to the fabled unicorn from the age old myths. And then we had the Christian Lion hugging and kissing his former caretakers in a heartwarming reunion, just like a child who meets his parents after many years of separation ( the story is decades old, but it got its major attention now). When we thought the mystery vibes may get stale after all this, yesterday a six legged fawn awestruck North Georgia.

Don't be surprised if you see any animal with wings or a human sized mermaid waggling its tail on the seashore in the coming days. Anything can happen. Its a mysterious world.

So, what is it with this unusual deer? Read on.

Cloud Lightning

NOAA Forecasts Even Stronger Atlantic Hurricane Season For 2008 Than Earlier Prediction

In the August update to the Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has increased the likelihood of an above-normal hurricane season and has raised the total number of named storms and hurricanes that may form. Forecasters attribute this adjustment to atmospheric and oceanic conditions across the Atlantic Basin that favor storm development - combined with the strong early season activity.

Hurricane Dolly
Hurricane Dolly on July 23, 2008.

NOAA now projects an 85 percent probability of an above-normal season - up from 65 percent in May. The updated outlook includes a 67 percent chance of 14 to 18 named storms, of which seven to 10 are expected to become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. These ranges encompass the entire season, which ends November 30, and include the five storms that have formed thus far.


Alaska: Third Aleutian Volcano Erupts Explosively

Kasatochi Volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands erupted explosively Aug. 7, sending an ash plume more than 35,000 feet into the air and forcing two biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evacuate the island.

"Kasatochi went from a quiet volcano to an explosive eruption within 24 hours and with very little warning," said USGS volcano scientist Marianne Guffanti. "We are thankful our colleagues were able to get out before the eruption began. They were rescued just in time by a local fishing boat."