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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Fresh floods claim more lives in northern Vietnam

Three people have been killed in fresh floods in northern Vietnam while the death toll in the wake of tropical storm Kammuri has risen to 119.

Heavy rains since tuesday caused new floods in several districts of Quang Ninh province, east of Hanoi.


Alaska: Aleutian volcanos continue to cause problems

The ash cloud from Kasatochi Volcano has drifted over 1650 miles into the flight paths of aircraft in Anchorage and caused more than 50 flight cancellations Sunday and Monday. The oval shaped ash cloud was 300 miles at its widest point and moving around 39,000 to 40,000 feet in the air. This is an old ash cloud emitted during the initial eruption last Thursday. Alaska Volcano Observatory scientist Chris Waythomas says the ash might cause more delays over the next few days and that Kasatochi may not be through erupting.

Better Earth

Global Warming Will Do Little To Change Hurricane Activity, According To New Model

In a study published in the July 2008 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Drs. David S. Nolan and Eric D. Rappin from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science describe a new method for evaluating the frequency of hurricane formation in present and future tropical climates.

Figure shows an example of a hurricane computer simulation generated by the Rosenstiel School team. The colors indicate water vapor in a vertical column of the atmosphere, where the dark red areas would indicate extremely heavy rainfall. The small size of each pixel, 3 km x 3 km provides remarkably accurate detail in the storm. In comparison, the number of pixels in an image used to represent storms in global climate models are typically 100 km x 100 km, at best.


US: Only 25 Percent See Global Warming Threat

In spite of the media's obsession with global warming, only 25 percent of Americans view climate change as the world's biggest environmental threat, according to a new ABC News poll. Fewer than half - 47 percent - viewed global warming as "extremely" or "very" important to them.

Comment: Don't forget SOTT's special editorial back in January of 2007, Fire and Ice: The Day After Tomorrow.


Meltdown in the Arctic is speeding up

Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013.

Satellite images show that ice caps started to disintegrate dramatically several days ago as storms over Alaska's Beaufort Sea began sucking streams of warm air into the Arctic.


Plan to use mushrooms to clean up oil contamination

An anonymous British donor is funding a project which may help clean up the bespoiled landscape.

American biologists Jess Work, Brian Page and Ecuadorian fungus expert, Ricardo Viteri, are working to develop a mushroom that can 'eat' the toxic components in the soil and help reclaim the land.

Magic Wand

Scientists find elephant memories may hold key to survival

©Charles Foley
In a recent paper in The Royal Society's Biology Letters, conservationists with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological of London found that the oldest matriarch elephants may retain valuable memories of permanent sources of food and water and their that become crucial in times of drought.

A recent study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) suggests that old female elephants - and perhaps their memories of distant, life-sustaining sources of food and water - may be the key to survival during the worst of times.

In particular, experienced elephant matriarchs seem to give their family groups an edge in the struggle for survival in periods of famine and drought, according to a recently published paper in The Royal Society's Biology Letters.

"Understanding how elephants and other animal populations react to droughts will be a central component of wildlife management and conservation," said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Dr. Charles Foley, lead author of the study. "Our findings seem to support the hypothesis that older females with knowledge of distant resources become crucial to the survival of herds during periods of extreme climatic events."


Dying frogs sign of a biodiversity crisis

©Vance Vredenburg
Carcasses of Southern Yellow-legged Frogs in Sixty Lake Basin in Sierra Nevada, California. The frogs died of chytridiomycosis, an amphibian disease caused by a particularly virulent fungus.

Devastating declines of amphibian species around the world are a sign of a biodiversity disaster larger than just frogs, salamanders and their ilk, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.

In an article published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers argue that substantial die-offs of amphibians and other plant and animal species add up to a new mass extinction facing the planet.

"There's no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now," said David Wake, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. "Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn't. The fact that they're cutting out now should be a lesson for us."


Storms kill 28 in southwest China


Tropical storm Kammuri battered southwest China leaving 28 dead with a further eight people unaccounted for, Xinhua said on Tuesday.

Around a million people are thought to have been affected by floods and landslides as heavy rain and winds smashed China's Yunnan province.

Bizarro Earth

Update: At least 150 dead, missing after storms hit Vietnam

Vietnamese emergency services were Monday seeking to reach isolated and flood-hit northern communities after tropical storm Kammuri left at least 100 people dead and 50 missing over the weekend.

Flash-floods and landslides since Friday have cut major highway and rail links to the mountainous region bordering southern China. The heavy downpours have also knocked over trees and telephone and electricity lines.

Thousands of troops and disaster relief personnel were using trucks and boats to deliver water, food and medicines to residents in flooded villages, with some people stranded on roofs by the murky waters.