Earth ChangesS


NASA helps Texas respond to most widespread flooding in 50 years

On July 3, a NASA aircraft equipped with a state-of-the-art sensor provided emergency response officials with critical soil moisture data for several regions across Texas that were threatened by flooding. NASA responded to the heavy rains and flooding in Texas by redirecting a NASA research aircraft, the P-3B, to Texas after it completed an interagency project in Oklahoma.

The aircraft had been flying a sensor developed by the University of Colorado at Boulder, NOAA and U.S. Department of Agriculture that could provide detailed maps of ground surface water. At the request of researchers at the University of Colorado's Center for Environmental Technology, which built the sensor, NASA detoured the plane to Texas to help emergency response teams there better track the areas subject to flash flooding.


Europe's recent heatwaves aren't a mirage

The heatwave that has already killed hundreds across Eastern Europe is no aberration. Since 1880, the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled and the length of heatwaves across the continent has doubled.

Cloud Lightning

20 million displaced in south asian monsoon floods

Families have been forced to wade through waist-deep waters

Almost 20 million people have been displaced as some of the worst floods for years have hit a wide swathe of northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Bizarro Earth

KwaZulu-Natal vanishing coastline

Denuded of their protective armour of sand, several beaches in KwaZulu-Natal are being swallowed up by the sea in the aftermath of the monster sea storms, that hit the coast more than four months ago.

Over the past few months, the Indian Ocean has been eating away slowly, but relentlessly, at several beaches - to such an extent that the high-tide mark has advanced up to 100m inland in some places.

©Magellan Geographix

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake rattles Utah-Colorado border

PARADOX, Colo. - No damages or injuries were reported after a minor earthquake rattled the small town of Paradox, near the Colorado-Utah border.

The U.S. Geological Survey said seismographs measured a magnitude 2.8 earthquake at 7:46 a.m. Wednesday.

Bizarro Earth

Vets set to put down seven-legged lamb in New Zealand

A lamb with seven legs was born in New Zealand but so badly deformed that it was to be destroyed, a local newspaper reported.

The lamb was born with an extra set of front legs and three back legs, the Ashburton Guardian newspaper, at Ashburton on the South Island, reported.

©Susan Sandys/AP
The seven-legged lamb rests on its farm at Methven near Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand on Tuesday.

Bizarro Earth

Surprise! Major Earthquake Fault Slips Backward

A vast chunk of Earth sliding under Mexico has surprisingly reversed direction, puzzling geologists and leaving them wondering whether the ground might be poised to pummel Mexico City with a devastating earthquake.

A reversal of tectonic plate motion near Acapulco and Guerrero, Mexico, in the second half of 2006 (colored arrows) as measured by GPS satellites. Mexico City is about 175 miles from Guerrero.

The offshore tectonic plate had been sliding toward Mexico City at a rate of 1 inch per year, as recorded by Global Positioning System measuring stations near Acapulco and Guerrero, which is about 175 miles southwest of Mexico City.

Cloud Lightning

Eighteen hurt as typhoon Usagi pounds Japan

A typhoon was churning off the Japanese coast Friday after injuring 18 people and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes, officials said.

Typhoon Usagi cut across the island of Kyushu and the tip of the main island of Honshu overnight and moved into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) early Friday while slowly weakening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

People walk against strong wind at Fukuoka city in Japan's southern island of Kyushu.

Bizarro Earth

Strong wave sweeps away 33 in east China

Rescuers have recovered three bodies swept away by a freak tide yesterday in Qiantang River, Zhejiang Province, Xinhua news agency said today.

Eight others were still missing, the report said.

©AP Photo/EyePress
Residents crowd near the levee of the Qiantang River to watch rescue workers search for people who were swept away by a wave in Hangzhou, eastern China's Zhejiang province, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2007.

The bodies of two women and one man were found. Relatives began identifying the bodies at 9:50am today, the report said.

The tide hit a group of tourists and locals about 4pm yesterday at a T-shaped levee in the mouth of the Qiantang River. At least 33 people were washed away and 22 have been rescued.


Do extragalactic cosmic rays induce cycles in fossil diversity?

Researchers may have uncovered the reason why Earth's biodiversity mysteriously plummets periodically. They have found that a rollercoaster-like wobble in the sun's orbit around the center of the Milky Way galaxy regularly moves Earth closer to a source of dangerous intergalactic cosmic rays.

©Mikhail Medvedev/University of Kansas
The solar system's rollercoaster-like path around the galaxy periodically makes it vulnerable to lethal radiation from intergalactic space.