Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

ABC: Man may need to live in space to survive cometary impacts, global disasters

Will humans need to live as space nomads to survive? Possibly, says Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History.

"It may be," says Tyson, "that our only insurance policy against extinction is to become a multi-planet, space faring species."

Worries of climate change and unexpected catastrophe on Earth, compounded with humankind's natural curiosity about what lies beyond, compel private industry and NASA alike not only to wonder "what if," but to prepare for the "when."

Cloud Lightning

Floods, storms kill 12 in Indonesia's Java

Floods and storms have killed 12 people on Indonesia's main island of Java, a health official said on Sunday.

Floods triggered by heavy rain killed eight people in two districts in East Java over the past two days, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry's crisis centre.

Four people died on Saturday when an electricity pole was toppled by storms, hitting a car in which they were traveling in Bekasi, east of the capital Jakarta, he said.

Several areas in Jakarta, where flooding killed five people this month, were under water on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.


Beyond Group Think on Climate Change: If More CO2 is Bad ... Then What?

When it comes to the science of global climate change, I'm an agnostic.

I've seen Al Gore's movie, and I've read reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I've interviewed some of America's top climate scientists. I've also read what the "skeptics" have to say.

I don't know who's right. Now that Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, it seems that--at least for now--the skeptics are losing the public-relations war. Whatever. For me, in many ways, the science no longer matters, because it has become so rancorous and so politicized. The pro-Gore faction insists the anthropogenic debate has been "settled," that no additional discussion is needed. The anti-Gore faction says the current period of warming could be the result of the natural variation in the weather cycle, sunspots, or any number of other things.

Again, I no longer care much about the science. To me, the central question, and the one that few are willing to discuss in depth, is: Then what?

Bizarro Earth

New Study Shows Arctic Cooling Over last 1500 years

New Arctic Study published in Climate Dynamics, and the work was conducted by Håkan Grudd of Stockholm University's Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology - Published online: 30 January 2008.

Excerpt: "The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Torneträsk record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A 'Medieval Warm Period' is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia, although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetraäsk suggests that this period was much warmer than previously recognised." < > "The new Torneträsk summer temperature reconstruction shows a trend of -0.3°C over the last 1,500 years." Paper available here: & Full Paper (pdf) available here:

Commentary on new study:

Better Earth

Coral Reefs May Be Protected By Natural Ocean Thermostat

Natural processes may prevent oceans from warming beyond a certain point, helping protect some coral reefs from the impacts of climate change, new research finds. The study, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), finds evidence that an ocean "thermostat" appears to be helping to regulate sea-surface temperatures in a biologically diverse region of the western Pacific.

©UCAR, Credit: Illustration by Steve Deyo
The Western Pacific Warm Pool, which lies northeast of Australia, contains some of the warmest ocean waters in the world. Water temperatures in the warm pool have risen less than elsewhere in the tropics, which may explain why reefs there have experienced less coral bleaching.

Bizarro Earth

New Study Claims Global Warming Not Only Reason for Ice Shelf Collapse

Two scientists have claimed that climate change was not the only cause of the collapse of a 500bn tonne ice shelf in Antarctica six years ago.

Cloud Lightning

Central Brisbane flooded

Flooding has hit central Brisbane after a massive rainstorm this afternoon.
Police are warning motorists are advised to avoid areas of Fortitude Valley due to local flooding.


Tajikistan 'facing catastrophe'

Tajikistan is in the grip of emergency food shortages, the UN's World Food Programme is warning.

The deteriorating food situation is part of the energy crisis which hit the mountainous nation in the middle of its coldest winter for five decades.


Gibraltar Arc Active Faults Mapped To Prevent Earthquakes

Africa and Europe get about 4 mm closer every year in a northeast convergence direction. The exact position and geometry of the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates is unknown, but it is located near the Gibraltar Arc - an area of intense seismic activity which was not studied deeply until now.

A group of researchers from the Andalusian Institute for Earth Sciences (CSIC) and the Department of Geodynamics of the University of Granada (UGR) described for the first time the physical and mechanical properties of the uppermost part of the Earth's crust - to a depth of 30 km which is where the highest magnitude earthquakes occur.

The researchers characterised a region of intense deformation in which the relative movement of blocks is caused by left-lateral strike-slip faults known as "the Transalboran fault system," which expands from Murcia (Spain) to Alhucemas (Morocco). The other significant fault of the Gibraltar Arc area, which crosses the Transalboran fault perpendicularly, is called Nerja-Yusuf and goes from Malaga (Spain) to the Algerian coast.

Cloud Lightning

Tornado-hit US residents mop up, grateful to have survived

Residents of Atkins, Arkansas were thankful to be alive Thursday as they began a huge clean-up operation after a band of tornados ripped across southern states, killing 55 people.

"The neighbors were on their porch, they said they saw the house going up in the air and explode," said farmer Clay Dixon, 43, in a part of the town which was razed by the tornado.

"I'm just glad I'm still alive," he said, surveying the damage left by the deadly storms here in which a couple and their 11-year-old daughter died.

Dozens of tornadoes sliced across the region late Tuesday and early Wednesday, leaving a trail of destruction in five states and deaths in four, in what US media called the deadliest US tornado outbreak in two decades.