Earth ChangesS


Raptors in freefall: Birds of prey experiencing population collapse across Africa

Secretarybird numbers have fallen by 80 per cent over a period of 30 years.
© GettySecretarybird numbers have fallen by 80 per cent over a period of 30 years.
Large raptors, including many species of eagle, are declining at alarming rates outside of protected areas in Africa, finds a new report.

Populations of 10 species with a body mass of more than 1.3kg have plummeted by 80 per cent over a period of 30 years, with those of another 11 species halving during the same time period.

As a result, the African hawk-eagle, designated as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, should be reclassified as Critically Endangered, while Beaudouin's snake-eagle should go from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered, reports the paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Bateleurs, martial eagles and secretarybirds all suffered 80 per cent declines too.


One dead and two wounded in Kenya hyena attack

Marauding hyenas killed a man and wounded two people near a university outside the Kenyan capital, officials said Tuesday.

Anthony Pasha was dismembered and killed by hyenas while he was collecting firewood at a forest close to his home, according to family members.

"The hyena attacked him and it chased him away from the forest. He left his firewood and then the hyenas dragged him down this stream and finished him off here," said his cousin Kaaji Lesian.

Pasha's brother ran to his rescue after hearing screams from 21-year-old student, Kevin Mwenda, not knowing that his brother was also being attacked.

Arrow Down

At least 6 dead in Georgia landslide

At least six people were killed and three were missing after a landslide in western Georgia, officials said on Wednesday.

The landslide happened in the early hours of the morning in the village of Nergeti, some 170 kilometres from the Black Sea nation's capital Tbilisi.

"The number of landslide victims rose to six," Georgia's emergency situations service said in a statement, adding that "a search operation is underway to find three missing people."

A previous toll announced four dead.


Non-stop rainfall causes over 8M gallons of raw sewage to spill onto LA streets, beaches

Long Beach, San Pedro, California
© Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesAll beaches in Long Beach and Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Calif. are closed to swimmers and surfers through Wednesday due to sewage spills that poured millions of gallons of contaminated material into the ocean.
It's a crappy situation.

Non-stop pounding rain from a "Pineapple Express" storm caused a massive sewage spill into Los Angeles County streets and beaches, with health officials warning residents to stay away from coastal waters.

About eight million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the Dominguez Channel — a nearly 16-mile river that runs through Carson, Calif. — which originated from two sewer locations, sanitation officials said.

The unprecedented rainfall, which brought anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain across Los Angeles, caused the overflow of raw sewage.

"The problem has been an extremely unusual amount of rainwater leaking into the county sewer system causing more flow than some sewer pipelines can handle," LA County Sanitation District spokesman Bryan Langpap told the LA Times.

On Tuesday, the overflow of sewage escaped manhole covers about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

The solid waste discharged into the Dominguez Channel and Compton Creek, which leads to the Los Angeles River and ends at Cabrillo Beach.

Comment: See also: Videos emerge from California show residents battling debris flows, mudslides, historic flooding


Mass of magma pooling beneath ground north of Grindavík, Iceland indicates imminent eruption

volcano reykjanes iceland
© NurPhoto/Contributor via Getty ImagesA volcano is spewing lava and smoke as it erupts on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula on Jan. 14, 2024.
Magma continues to accumulate in a chamber beneath Svartsengi and has now reached levels thought to have triggered the volcanic eruption that sent lava flowing into Grindavík on Jan. 14.

The risk of a volcanic eruption on Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula is once again growing as magma continues to pool in the area 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of the fishing town of Grindavík, according to the Icelandic Met Office (IMO).

An estimated 318 million cubic feet (9 million cubic meters) of magma now sits beneath Svartsengi, which is home to the Blue Lagoon resort and Svartsengi geothermal power plant. That's equivalent to the volume of around 3,600 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

SOTT Logo Media

SOTT Focus: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - January 2024: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

2024 started with a bang: A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck western Japan, destroying and collapsing buildings, causing fires, and knocking out infrastructure on Japan's main island of Honshu just as families were celebrating New Year's Day. More than 33,400 people were in evacuation centers and at least 200 buildings collapsed. Some 30,000 households were without power and more than 110,000 were without running water. The death toll rose to over 200, with more than 100 still unaccounted for. Strong aftershocks buried more homes and blocked roads vital for aid deliveries.

Record freezing conditions caused widespread disruption around the world in January. In the US, all 50 states were hit by heavy snowfall at the same time this season; 55% of the continental US was covered in snow - an unprecedented event. This caused widespread travel disruption, thousands of canceled flights, power outages, and damaged infrastructure nationwide.

Cloud Lightning

Videos emerge from California show residents battling debris flows, mudslides, historic flooding

california rainfall flood mudslides
© Screenshot/Twitter/AccuWeather/BrandonClement/WxChasingCalifornia suffered extreme amounts of precipitation throughout the state on February 5-6, 2024
A series of utterly absurd videos emerged online Monday through Tuesday morning of the devastating storms plaguing the West Coast.

An enormous "Pineapple Express" atmospheric river struck California on Sunday night, sending extreme amounts of precipitation throughout the state. The impacts are widespread, including floods, mudslides and debris flows.

One video captured in Beverly Hills shows what appears to be several feet of mud, dirt and sludge coating an entire block. Cars were clearly trapped within the deluge, which showed very little signs of stopping.


Nova Scotia buried under up to 5 feet of snow from days-long snowstorm

Heavy snow pummeled coastal areas of Nova Scotia in Canada over the weekend as a strong low-pressure system stalled just off the Canadian Maritimes.

Widespread snow totals of well over a foot were observed across the province as the storm pummeled the region from Friday into Monday. A volunteer observer in Sydney, Nova Scotia, reported 59 inches of snow, according to Environment Canada. The official observation in town reported just over 40 inches.

Halifax's airport recorded just over 33 inches of snow during the storm, with widespread totals of 12-16 inches in the heart of town.

"I assure you we will dig out. It will take time, but we will dig out," Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said during a news conference Monday. "It has certainly been a historic snow event."

Comment: See also: Nova Scotia, Canada digging out after historic snowfall


A trillion cicadas will descend on the US this spring in rare event

Periodical cicadas belonging to two separate broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, will emerge together in a dual emergence event that will see a trillion cicadas buzzing across 16 U.S. states.
© Don Cornett via Getty ImagesA Brood X periodical cicada. There are 12 known broods of 17-year cicadas and three broods of 13-year cicadas.
More than a trillion cicadas could emerge throughout the U.S. Midwest and Southeast this spring as the schedules of two separate broods align for the first time since 1803.

Brood XIII and Brood XIX represent two distinct groups of periodical cicadas (Magicicada) that emerge according to 17- and 13-year life cycles, respectively. In a rare natural event that occurs once every 221 years, these two broods will synchronously tunnel through the ground to the surface starting in late April across 16 states.

The event, known as a dual emergence, could potentially lead the two broods to interbreed, experts told The New York Times.

"Under just the right circumstances and with just the right number of individuals cross breeding, you have the possibility of the creation of a new brood set to a new cycle," Floyd Shockley, an entomologist and collections manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told the Times.

Periodical cicadas, which comprise seven species, spend most of their lives underground as nymphs and feed off of sap that oozes from tree roots. After 13 or 17 years starved of daylight (depending on the species), the insects burrow to the surface using their front legs and transform into adults. The males vibrate membranes on the sides of their bodies to produce a song — potentially louder than a plane in a chorus — that attracts mates, according to The New York Times. Once a pair has finished mating, the females cut slits in tree branches to lay their eggs in.


Storm dumps 3 FEET of snow in 24 hours on Mammoth Mountain, California

This morning, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California, issued a "dump alert" amidst a heavy storm that's deposited 33 to 36 inches of snow in the past 24 hours.

The storm cycle, which began in full over the weekend, has dropped between 39 and 43 inches of snow so far. With continued snowfall expected at Mammoth today, the resort anticipates it may "reach almost 4 feet in just 2-days."

As you might expect, the arrival of heavy snow has led to operational adjustments for Mammoth this morning.

"Expect delays this morning as operations assess conditions, dig out, and work to safely open terrain and lifts," the resort wrote on Instagram. Extensive avalanche control efforts are underway, with Mammoth hoping to open the lower mountain and portions of the mid-mountain today.