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Sat, 22 Feb 2020
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Biohazard

Deadly gases detected at Eldvörp caves in Iceland, tourists warned to stay away

eldvorp
© Ellert Grétarsson
Screenshot.
The Icelandic Met Office has issued a warning advising people to stay away from the Eldvörp caves of Reykjanes, on account of high levels of deadly gases which have accumulated therein.

To wit, the warning as is follows:

"We warn about cave excursions in the Eldvörp area on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Deadly gases were measured yesterday of CO2 as well as deadly oxygen levels in a cave close to a parking lot, popular for hikers."

Comment: The warning comes on the heels of a still active Earthquake swarm near the city of Grindavik and swelling at the Volcano Thorbjorn: Possible magma accumulation on Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland


Better Earth

Couple has been buying land near a tiger reserve and letting forest grow back so big cats can roam

Tiger reserve
Some twenty years ago, photographer Aditya Singh resigned from his job in civil services in Delhi and moved to the city of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan with his wife and artist Poonam so they could be closer to nature. It was there that they started a tourist resort to earn a living.

Over the years, the couple bought about 35 acres bordering the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve on one side. Farmers were selling their land because of predators, including tigers, in the area.

The area, called Bhadlav was barren and had little vegetation but has since been transformed into a lush green forest frequented by wild animals, including tigers.

After settling in Ranthambore, Aditya first visited the Bhadlav area with a BBC filmmaker and became aware that the farmers were selling their land because of the risk of predators searching for prey.

''As a result, farmers were selling their land," Singh told Mongabay India. ''I just bought this and did nothing to it except removing the invasive species. We allowed the land to recover and now after 20 years it has become a lush green patch of forest which is frequently visited by all kind of animals, including tigers, leopards and wild boars.''

For Poonam it was love at first sight when she visited Ranthambore with her husband. "My first sighting was a tigress with three cubs on a hill. It was magical. At the end of the trip, I just asked him if we can move to Ranthambore. He wanted it too and within months we moved. As far as this land is concerned, it was a dream that we both saw an achieved together to have our own area of wilderness," she told Mongabay-India.

Poonam managed the tourist resort with Aditya for twenty years and closed it in 2019.

An aerial photograph of their land shows the stark contrast between their lush green forest and the barren land surrounding them, including the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, with whom they share a boundary.

Tornado2

Huge waterspout caught on camera off the coast of Whakatane, New Zealand

The water spout seen off the coast of Whakatāne this morning.

The water spout seen off the coast of Whakatāne
A large waterspout has been caught on camera off the coast of Whakatane.

The phenomenon was spotted by Kylie Kinghazel who was dropping her children to school.

She posted the incredible footage to Facebook where it has been viewed more than 3000 times.

Off in the distance, the large spout can be seen between Whaakari/ White Island and Moutohora/Whale Island.

"Wow! A water tornado!" one of Kinghazel's children can be heard saying in the background of the video.

Attention

Signs and Portents: Two-headed calf born in Tamil Nadu, India

The calf has four eyes and two mouths, but only one pair of ears
© indiaphotoagency/ Jam Press
The calf has four eyes and two mouths, but only one pair of ears
A farmer got the shock of a lifetime when one of his cows gave birth to a calf with two heads.

Farmer Bhaskar was not anticipating any hitches when his cow gave birth at his farm in Paarasalai village in southern India last week.

He was therefore surprised when a calf popped out with conjoined heads.

The unusual cloven-hoved youngster had four eyes and two mouths, but only one pair of ears.

Bhaskar's farm has quickly became a tourist attraction, receiving visitors from neighbouring villages wanting to see the rare calf.


Snowflake

Travel chaos in Norway as landslide closed Oslo to Bergen rail line after heavy snowfall

This maintenance carriage was stuck in the snow attempting to clear the Oslo to Bergen railway
© SPORDRIFT
This maintenance carriage was stuck in the snow attempting to clear the Oslo to Bergen railway
The world-famous Oslo to Bergen is finally back open after a landslide caused chaos on the rails. Such was the weight of the snow that fell in the landslide on Monday afternoon, wooden structures built to protect the tracks collapsed and power lines were torn down.

Train driver Kjell Haugerud told TV2 of the experience on the last train before the closure. "We couldn't see our hand in front of us," he said. Haugerud, who has 40 years experience on the Bergen Line, described the need to stop the train every few minutes to clear the front windshield after the blades of the wiper broke under the stress of strong winds and heavy snowfall.

Snowflake

Anchorage, Alaska sets daily record for high temperature and snowfall on same day

Anchorage, Alaska stats
© The Weather Channel (screen capture)
Anchorage, Alaska, set two seemingly opposite records, one for high temperature and one for snowfall, on the same day.

Just the right setup, with a moist and active pattern, allowed a warm temperature record to occur on the same calendar day as heavy snowfall.

Strong southerly flow courtesy of an upper-level high over northwestern Canada brought warmer air and plenty of moisture into southern Alaska late Monday into early Tuesday.

Temperatures briefly rose above 40 degrees in Anchorage early Tuesday as a result of this southerly flow. The high for the day was set during the midnight hour when temperatures rose to 44 degrees. This tied the daily record high for the date.

Above-average temperatures were also observed into northern Alaska. Utqiaġvik (formerly known as Barrow) ended its streak of 25 consecutive days of temperatures below 15 degrees below zero.

However, a cold front then pushed through Anchorage. Temperatures dropped to 32 degrees by 5 a.m. Tuesday, and snow was reported.

Snow continued to fall throughout Tuesday due to this first system and another low that was approaching from the south.

Comment: Anchorage, Alaska breaks snow record for New Year's Day following the warmest Dec 31 on record


Snowflake

Winter storm leaves 50 people stranded at mountain pass in South Norway - cars buried by up to 3 meters of snow

snow
A heavy winter storm has left around 50 people trapped at a mountain pass in Norway.

Cars are buried in 2-3 metres of snow and the road (E134 Haukelifjell) is closed and impassable due to the weather.

The travellers are inside and safe but need to wait for the weather to calm down and the roads to be cleared.


Snowflake

Finnish Lapland covered by near-record levels of snow

The village of Poka in Finnish Lapland has over 120cm of snow cover.
© Jarmo Siivikko/Yle
The village of Poka in Finnish Lapland has over 120cm of snow cover.
While southern parts of Finland continue to see the mildest winter in at least a century, and even cherry trees have started to blossom in some localities, Finnish Lapland is covered by near-record levels of snow, with a real threat of avalanches on the fells.

Iiris Viljamaa of the Finnish Meteorological Institute told the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat that on Wednesday, the village of Poka in Kittilä had 121 centimetres of snow cover. Poka's long-term average for this time of year is 42 centrimetres.

Several of the institute's weather measurement stations in Lapland have reported record snow depths.


Comment: Also in this region of Europe: Almost twice as much snow as last year in north Norway - more than 7 feet


Cloud Precipitation

Hundreds evacuated due to floods following persistent heavy rain in North Argentina

Floods in Chaco, Argentina, February 2020.
© Government of Chaco
Floods in Chaco, Argentina, February 2020.
Persistent heavy rainfall in northern Argentina has triggered flooding in the provinces of Tucumán, Salta, Chaco and La Rioja.

Salta

Around 160 families have evacuated their homes in northern and eastern areas of Salta province after flooding began around 11 February. Provincial authorities are delivering relief supplies and assisting with evacuations.

Many of those affected are from the indigenous Wichi community. Recently the Government declared an emergency following the deaths of eight children under five linked to malnutrition in the Wichi community since December 2019.

Salta is close to the border with southern Bolivia, where flooding recently affected parts of Potosí. Department.



Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rainfall triggers landslide killing 4 in West Java, Indonesia

Floods in Cirebon Regency, West Java, Indonesia 16 February, 2020
© BNPB
Floods in Cirebon Regency, West Java, Indonesia 16 February, 2020
Disaster authorities in Indonesia have reported further death and damages as a result of heavy rain currently affecting wide areas of the country.

The rain trigged a landslide in Ciawi District, Bogor Regency, West Java, in the early hours of 20 February. The landslide destroyed a wall of a house, causing the building to collapse and killing four people inside.

Heavy rain has recently caused flooding and landslides in at least 4 provinces of the country; West Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, East Kalimantan and West Java.

As many as 115,000 people have been affected by flooding in Bandung Regency in West Java. The recent flooding struck on 18 February, damaging around 16,000 homes in Baleendah, Bojongsoang and Dayeuhkolot districts. Over 400 people have been displaced.