Earth ChangesS


Western Water Supplies Already Altered by Global Warming

When it rains, it sometimes still pours out West. But it's not enough.

Changes in the western U.S. water supply, such as a declining snowpack and rivers running dry in the summer, can mostly be attributed to human-caused climate change, a new study finds. These changes will require a new approach to water management in the West in the future, scientists say.

©David W. Pierce, SIO; land image courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory
Observations throughout the western U.S. show snowpack is decreasing, rivers are flowing earlier in the year, and spring temperatures are increasing. A formal detection and attribution study of these changes shows the majority of these trends are due to human effects on the climate.

Bizarro Earth

Shanghai Issues Rare Blizzard Warning

Snow storms that have battered many parts of China over the last three weeks have killed at least 60 people and caused billions in damage, the Civil Affairs Ministry said Friday.

The storms have already crippled transportation during China's biggest holiday travel season, leaving people stranded in cars on frozen highways, without heat and lights in homes and fighting each other for rare train seats.

The freakish weather is China's worst in five decades and paralyzed the country's densely populated central and eastern regions just as tens of millions of travelers were seeking to board trains and buses to return home for this month's Lunar New Year holiday.

Bizarro Earth

The Dark Side of Ethanol and Biodiesel Subsidies

Americans now understand that climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases are a major threat to our survival. Unfortunately, large corporations have convinced Congress to ignore real solutions to the crisis (like significant advances in fuel-efficiency), while providing billions of dollars per year in subsidies to big-agribusiness for agrofuels.


Bat Deaths in New York, Vermont Baffle Experts

Bats are dying off by the thousands as they hibernate in caves and mines around New York and Vermont, sending researchers scrambling to find the cause of mysterious condition dubbed "white nose syndrome.''

The ailment - named for the white circle of fungus found around the noses of affected bats - was first noticed last January in four caves west of Albany. It has now spread to eight hibernation sites in the state and another in Vermont.


People Blamed for Water Woes in West

Washington - Human activity such as driving and powering air conditioners is responsible for up to 60 percent of changes contributing to dwindling water supplies in the arid and growing West, a new study finds.


Floods trigger Ecuador emergency declaration

President Rafael Correa on Thursday declared a state of emergency as Ecuador was lashed by its worst rainy season in a decade, which has sparked widespread flooding and destruction of crops.


Migrating birds detect latitude and longitude, but how remains a mystery

Eurasian reed warblers captured during their spring migrations and released after being flown 1,000 kilometers to the east can correct their travel routes and head for their original destinations, researchers report online on January 31st in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press.

The new evidence suggests that the birds have true navigation, meaning that they can identify at least two coordinates that roughly correspond to geographic latitude and longitude.

The findings challenge the notion held by some that birds might be limited to navigation in the north-south direction. But scientists still don't know how they do it.

Cloud Lightning

Storms batter parts of Britain

The Forth Bridge was closed for a time by the bad weather

Passengers are being airlifted from a ferry in the Irish sea as high winds batter much of the UK, with forecasters warning of blizzards to come.

Cloud Lightning

Record rainfall causes heavy flooding in Samoa

A clean up is underway in Samoa's capital, Apia, after extensive flooding caused by the highest rainfall ever recorded by the local weather bureau.

The 108 millimetres over the last four days came from a low pressure trough that emerged south of the country.

Cloud Lightning

Snow, Winds Disrupt Transport in Greece

ATHENS, Greece - Snowfall and high winds disrupted transport across Greece Tuesday, canceling some domestic flights and confining ferries to port.