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Fri, 20 Sep 2019
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Earth Changes


Heavy snowfall across Austrian, Italian and French Alps (and it's still summertime!)

snow italy september
© Passo Gavia / Severe Weather Europe
Winter conditions at Passo Gavia (2621 m), northern Italy, September 8th, 2019
Heavy snowfall has been reported on glaciers in the Alps. The snow is expected to keep falling through the weekend with some areas forecast to get up to 60cm (two feet) of snow up high by Monday.

This morning the Stubai glacier in the Austrian Tirol (pictured), one of those likely to open for its 9-10 month 2019-20 season later this month, said it had had 10cm (4 inches) of fresh snow so far.

Comment: Parts of Switzerland see early heavy snowfall - up to half a metre


Parts of Switzerland see early heavy snowfall - up to half a metre

© Pascal Schaer
Andermatt, Switzerland
Snow has arrived in Switzerland, with places in the Alps reporting snowfall down to 1,400 metres. Some passes and routes have been disrupted.

The most snow fell in the Gotthard region, according to SRF Meteo, the German-language national broadcaster's weather service.

Snowfall in the mountains in early September is quite normal, said Sabine Balmer from SRF Meteo. It can even snow down to 1,500 metres during July and August. But such early snow has become increasingly rare in recent years, she added.

Up to half a metre of snow fell above 2,000 metres elevation, whereas lower down, the Alpine resorts of Andermatt and Sedrun were covered in white on Friday morning.

Comment: September snowfall begins in the Austrian and Italian Alps


Shallow magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes off Oregon coast - second in a week

The quake 192 miles off the coast was at a depth of about 7.5 miles. It follows a 6.3 earthquake off the southern Oregon coast a week ago.

According to the latest news reports, at around 8 a.m. a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck 177 miles west-northwest of Bandon, Oregon. Also reported was a 3.7 magnitude quake shortly before, detected around 7:25 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Comment: Magnitude 6.3 earthquake strikes off coast of Oregon

Cloud Precipitation

Flooding causes 2 more deaths in Morocco

More flooding has affected areas of Morocco, this time in the regions of Marrakesh-Safi and Béni Mellal-Khénifra.

Local media report that 2 people died after a storm, heavy rain and floods in the province of Khenifra, Béni Mellal-Khénifra Region, on 02 September, 2019.

One person died as a result of wind damage in M'Rirt. The second victim was swept away by flood water in Sidi Hcine.

Comment: At least seven people die in flash floods in southern Morocco


Insect 'apocalypse' in US driven by increase in toxic pesticides

© National Geographic
Bees, butterflies, and other insects are under attack by the very plants they feed on as U.S. agriculture continues to use chemicals known to kill.
America's agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One.

This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds, says co-author Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth US.

"This is the second Silent Spring. Neonics are like a new DDT, except they are a thousand times more toxic to bees than DDT was," Klein says in an interview.

Using a new tool that measures toxicity to honey bees, the length of time a pesticide remains toxic, and the amount used in a year, Klein and researchers from three other institutions determined that the new generation of pesticides has made agriculture far more toxic to insects. Honey bees are used as a proxy for all insects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does the same thing when requiring toxicity data for pesticide registration purposes, she explained.

Comment: Read more about the effects neonicotinoids have on the bee population (a keystone species in the food chain)
It's often said that we have bees to thank for one out of every three bites we take of food. In addition to producing honey, honeybees literally criss-cross the United States, pollinating almonds, oranges, melons, blueberries, pumpkins, apples, and more. And while carrots are a biennial root crop that are harvested long before they flower, all carrots are planted from seed, and honeybees pollinate the carrot flowers that produce the seeds. Other species of bees, both social and solitary bees, pollinate other crops. And the populations of all these species of bees are in decline...

Cloud Precipitation

Major flooding leaves 42 dead and 5,000 homes destroyed in Niger

Flood warnings have been issued in Niger for areas along the Niger river.
© UN-OCHA Niger
Flood warnings have been issued in Niger for areas along the Niger river.
Over 40 people have died and thousand affected by flooding in Niger, West Africa. Other countries of the region have also seen major flooding over the last few weeks, including Nigeria and Mauritania, along with Central African Republic and further north, Algeria and Morocco.

Flooding has affected some areas of Niger since June to July, but have worsened over the last week.

According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in Niger, almost 70,000 people are now affected, with most of them in Maradi, Zinder and Agadez, as well as Dosso and Niamey, where around 3,000 are affected.

As many as 42 people have already lost their lives. Houses, schools and shops have been damaged or destroyed, along with food stocks, agricultural lands and cattle. Local media said that 5,497 houses have been completely destroyed. The Niger Government has called for the relocation of the most at-risk population.

Cloud Precipitation

Many provinces in Laos suffering after severe widespread flooding

The southern region of Laos been devastated by severe floods after two consecutive tropical storms hit the region.

The southern region of Laos been devastated by severe floods after two consecutive tropical storms hit the region.
Many provinces in central and southern Laos are struggling to cope with floods after days of heavy rain unleashed by a tropical depression, with Salavan province being the hardest hit.

Southern Lao provinces of Champassak, Salavan, Sekong, Savannakhet, Khammuan and Attapeu have all suffered from varying degrees of flooding, and thousands of people are now in need of food and drinking water, while some provinces need boats.

Provincials authorities are providing what help they can, but their efforts are insufficient to meet people's needs, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Thursday.

Director General of the Social Welfare Department, Lao Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Vilaphong Sisomvang, told local media that authorities are preparing food and drinking water to donate to flood victims.


Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts 3 times in a day

Ubinas volcano erupts

Ubinas volcano erupts
The most active volcano in Peru - Ubinas, erupted three times for a day. This happened yesterday, Wednesday, Sep 4. According to the local Institute of Geophysics, cited by AFP, the explosion produced an ash column that reached a height of about 2,500 meters above the top of the massif.

"Three new eruptions of the volcano have been registered, characterized by the disposal of solid and fine ash," Hernando Tavera, director of the Institute, told the agency.

Snowflake Cold

Argentine stone fruits expected to suffer serious losses due to harsh late frosts

Uco Valley
© Claudio Gutiérrez / Los Andes
Severe frost in the Uco Valley
The frosts recorded on Tuesday, September 3, in the country have caused serious damage to crops, especially to almond, peach, and plum trees. That day, the frost lasted for more than 12 hours and the temperatures recorded in the southern oasis went down to -10° C and -5 to -8°C in the Uco Valley. In addition, according to forecasts, there will be more frost in the next few days and the temperatures will range between -3° and -5° C.

According to Martin Cavagnaro, an agricultural engineer from the Directorate of Agriculture and Climate Contingencies (DACC), "we'll know the actual damage in the next few days, when we can make a more thorough evaluation, making cuts in the buds and evaluating the flowers. There's probably some damage that we'll be unable to see until it manifests on the plant, such as tissue death or necrosis."

Cloud Precipitation

Intense storm leaves hail cover 16 inches deep in state park in Colorado

hail cover
Storm pelts area with pea- and marble-sized hail

An intense hailstorm Tuesday night left some parts of southern Park County 16 inches deep in hailstones.

The storm particularly affected three adjacent public areas: Spinney Mountain State Park, 11 Mile State Park, and the Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area.

Hail damaged several park roads, some county roads, and caused scattered flooding in the area.

Debbi Peterson was one of a few people camping at 11 Mile when the storm hit.