Earth ChangesS

Light Saber

Judge: Navy Not Exempt From Sonar Ruling

Los Angeles - The Navy must follow environmental laws placing strict limits on sonar training that opponents argue harms whales, despite President Bush's decision to exempt it, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Bizarro Earth

Update: At least 40 die in central Africa earthquake

Two strong earthquakes have rocked Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 40 people including 10 who died when a church collapsed.

Nearly 400 people were seriously injured in the two countries after the quakes hit within three hours of each other along the western Great Rift Valley fault.


Roost Of Millions Of Migratory Swallows Threatened

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society has called for protection of a recently discovered site in Nigeria where millions of migratory swallows (Hirundo rustica) gather to roost each night.

Wildlife Conservation Society scientists say the site is only one of two known roosts in Cross River State, a coastal region in southeastern Nigeria. The site is approximately two kilometers outside of Cross River National Park. Preliminary surveys by WCS indicate that the site may attract millions of swallows and be of international significance.

©U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Barn swallows like this one are threatened by increased farming near a newly discovered roosting site in Nigeria.


Hong Kong shivers through some of coldest days on record

Hong Kongers yesterday awoke to the coldest day this winter when the temperature at the Hong Kong Observatory fell below 8 degrees Celsius.

It was several degrees lower in most parts of the New Territories while early risers at Ngong Ping saw the mercury dip to a freezing 0.9 degrees Celsius, less than a degree off the all-time low of 0 degree Celsius recorded on January 18, 1893.

Cloud Lightning

Hawaii: More than 20 inches of rain dumped on Big Island

©Hawaii news photo
Hilo's Bayfront Park was under 3 feet of water after a storm pounded parts of the Big Island yesterday with more than 20 inches of rain.

A storm that pounded parts of the Big Island yesterday with more than 20 inches of rain was on its way to Maui, O'ahu and possibly even Kaua'i by this morning.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim yesterday declared a state of emergency in the Hilo, Puna and Ka'u areas. The island was under a flash flood warning, which means flooding was occurring, said Wes Browning, National Weather Service director of operations. The rest of the state was under a flash flood watch through 2 p.m. today.


So it appears that Arctic ice isn't vanishing after all?

There was some coverage of the chaos caused in central and southern China by their heaviest snowfalls for decades - but little attention was paid to the snow that last week carpeted Jerusalem, Damascus and Amman, none of them exactly used to Dickensian Christmas card weather.

Similarly, Saudis last month expressed amazement at their heaviest snow for many years, in Afghanistan snow and freezing weather killed 120 people and large parts of the United States and Canada have been swept by unusually fierce blizzards.


Comment: While it's true the sea ice has "bounced back", the fact is every winter the NH sea ice grows back. This is a basic given. However, if you look at the multi-year NH sea ice coverage going back to 1979 then clearly the trend for both winter and summer time extent of coverage has dropped significantly:


To say only that it "bounced back" from it's summer extent is clearly misleading in this case.


China battles "coldest winter in 100 years"

CHENZHOU - Millions remained stranded in China on Monday ahead of the biggest holiday of the year as parts of the country suffered their coldest winter in a century.

Freezing weather has killed scores of people and left travelers stranded before the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival -- the only opportunity many people have to take a holiday all year.

©(Xinhua/Li Gang /Reuters)
Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, Hunan province, in this picture distributed by China's official Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008. The power supply of the city was cut off as the heavy snow and ice damaged seriously the power facilities including the transmission towers and lines, Xinhua News Agency said. Picture taken February 3, 2008.

Bizarro Earth

African Great Lakes hit by deadly quakes

At least 39 people have been killed and more than 300 hurt in a series of quakes in Africa's Great Lakes region.

The two most powerful occurred hours apart in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring Rwanda, with magnitudes of 6.0 and 5.0 respectively.

Bizarro Earth

At least 21 dead in Rwanda quake

At least 21 people were killed and 200 seriously injured when two earthquakes struck Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, police and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quakes struck close together in Africa's great lakes region along the same western Great Rift Valley fault line.

The first quake, with a magnitude of 6.0 and its epicentre in Democratic Republic of Congo, happened at 10:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), followed by another 5.0 quake in southern Rwanda.

Bizarro Earth

NASA says glacial sediments adding to Louisiana coast's sinking

A study by NASA and Louisiana State University scientists finds that sediments deposited into the Mississippi River Delta thousands of years ago when North America's glaciers retreated are contributing to the ongoing sinking of Louisiana's coastline. The weight of these sediments is causing a large section of Earth's crust to sag at a rate of 0.1 to 0.8 centimeters (0.04 to 0.3 inches) a year.

The sediments pose a particular challenge for New Orleans, causing it to sink irreversibly at a rate of about 0.4 centimeters (0.17 inches) a year, according to data from a network of global positioning system stations and a model of sediment data collected from the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Delta.