Earth ChangesS


Greece: African dust cloud warning

A thick cloud of dust from Africa is expected to engulf parts of central and southern Greece today, causing traffic problems by reducing visibility and aggravating allergies.


UK: Holy Grail castle in bats mystery

A Scottish keep that appeared in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail has become caught up in a mystery about where bats hibernate.

Experts have been intrigued about where pipistrelle, which roost in large numbers in Doune, Central Scotland, in summer, spend the winter.

Just over 30 have been counted in Doune Castle, which was used in the film.

Meanwhile, bat watchers in the far north are monitoring for a species which may spread with global warming.

Pipistrelle come in two varieties - soprano and common


Mathematics Explains Mysterious Midge Behavior

Here's a place that's unlikely ever to be a vacation spot for Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain: Lake Myvatn, in Iceland.

Myvatn, translating from Icelandic to English, means Midge Lake.

Midges, baseball fans recall, are the gnat-like insects that rose from Lake Erie last October and descended upon Chamberlain in the bottom of the eighth inning of a playoff game against the Cleveland Indians, distracting him into throwing two wild pitches. Cleveland scored the tying run without a hit. The Yankees eventually lost the game and eventually the series.

©Arni Einarsson
A Lake Myvatn midge.


Mysterious "Rain on Snow" Events Tracked in Arctic

A few warm, springlike days might sound appealing if you live in the frigid Arctic Circle.

But a rise in temperature can spell doom for native peoples and the caribou, musk-oxen, and reindeer that they depend on in Earth's northernmost regions.

That's because a mysterious phenomenon known as "rain on snow," when sudden warm air turns northern snows to rain or slush, can cause animals to starve.

©Norbert Rosing/NGS
Musk-oxen huddle together during a snowstorm in Canada's frigid Northwest Territories.

A strange phenomenon known as a "rain on snow" event, in which warm rain freezes into a solid layer of ice on the ground in winter, killed off a quarter of the region's musk-oxen population in 2003.

Scientists are still working to figure out why and when these elusive incidents occur.


China's killer "yellow dust" hits Korea, Japan

SEOUL - South Korea closed schools on Monday and its factories producing memory chips stepped up safeguards, as a choking pall of sand mixed with toxic dust from China covered most of the country and other parts of Asia.

The annual "yellow dust" spring storms, which originate in China's Gobi Desert before sweeping south to envelop the Korean peninsula and parts of Japan, are blamed for scores of deaths and billions of dollars in damage every year in South Korea.


Parts of Ohio, Tennesee get a foot of snow

A foot of snow buried parts of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys early Saturday, creating whiteout conditions and keeping many would-be weekend travelers at home.

Winter storm warnings were in effect from eastern Kentucky to upstate New York and northern Maine, the National Weather Service said. Wind up to 35 mph whipped the snow and cut visibility to less than a quarter mile in places, the weather service said.


Antarctic Fish Species Adopts Winter Survival Strategy Similar To Hibernation

Scientists have discovered an Antarctic fish species that adopts a winter survival strategy similar to hibernation. Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of Birmingham reveal, for the first time, that the Antarctic 'cod' Notothenia coriiceps effectively 'puts itself on ice' to survive the long Antarctic winter.

Antarctic Cod
©Dr Hamish Campbell
The 'Antarctic Cod' (Notothenia coriiceps) became isolated from its warmer water cousins around 30 million years ago when the Antarctic circumpolar current was formed.

Cloud Lightning

Angola ravaged by new floods

Torrential rains forced more than 30,000 people to flee their homes in southern Angola and floods killed 30,000 cattle, state television reported Thursday.

The worst of the floods hit Kunene province on Wednesday covering about 72,000 hectares (178,000 acres) of land with up to two metres (6.5 feet) of water, TPA television reported.


Hawaii: Kilauea Lava Flow Reaches Ocean

Kilauea ocean flow

The latest flow from Kilauea Volcano reached the ocean overnight, according to scientists with the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

A scientist flew over the flow with Hawaii County officials on Thursday morning.

Access to Kilauea's eruption was cut off Wednesday after the current lava flow crossed the last Big Island access road to the site.


Illinois: Ice jams cause record flooding

Rock river ice jam
©John Greenwood