Earth ChangesS

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.


Baffin Island Ice Caps Shrink By 50 Percent Since 1950s, Expected To Disappear by Middle of Century

A new University of Colorado at Boulder study has shown that ice caps on the northern plateau of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic have shrunk by more than 50 percent in the last half century as a result of warming, and are expected to disappear by the middle of the century.

©Gifford Miller, University of Colorado at Boulder
Ice caps on the northern plateau of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic have shrunk by 50 percent in recent decades as a result of warming temperatures.

Cloud Lightning

Floods devastate Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador

LA PAZ - Torrential rains have caused widespread flooding in southern Ecuador, eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina, with nearly 50 people killed and thousands made homeless, triggering international humantarian aid to the region.

In Bolivia, where some 45 people have been killed by incessant flooding since November, Japanese Ambassador Mitsunori Shirakawa Saturday presented President Evo Morales with 121,000 dollars' worth of food and first aid equipment for flood victims.


Bundle up: US groundhog forecasts more winter

Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog and weather forecaster, emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow Saturday, a traditional prediction of six more cold weeks of winter in the United States.

©(Jason Cohn/Reuters)
Official Groundhog Handler Ben Hughes looks at Punxsutawney Phil after the famous Groundhog Day weather prognostication in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 2008.

Cloud Lightning

Britain battered by snow and storms

Heavy snow and storms caused chaos on Britain's seas and roads Friday, prompting a rescue operation to airlift a seriously injured ship's captain from his vessel, officials said.

The skipper of the Horn Cliff, a cargo ship carrying fruit from the Caribbean, sustained spinal injuries and internal bleeding as the vessel hit a force 10 storm 180 miles (290 kilometres) south of Ireland.

The Royal Air Force launched an effort to airlift him and six others from the ship, two of whom were also thought to be injured less seriously, but it said later it had to be called off because conditions were too dangerous.