Government forecasters called for a busier than normal hurricane season Tuesday.
National Weather Service forecasters said they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.
The forecast follows that of two other leading storm experts in anticipating a busy season.
The likelihood of above normal hurricane activity is 75 percent, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
"With expectations for an active season, it is critically important that people who live in East and Gulf coastal areas as well as the Caribbean be prepared,'' said Bill Proenza director of the national hurricane center in Miami.
As the Earth's temperatures continue to rise, we can expect a signficant change in infectious disease patterns around the globe. Just exactly what those changes will be remains unclear, but scientists agree they will not be for the good.
"Environmental changes have always been associated with the appearance of new diseases or the arrival of old diseases in new places. With more changes, we can expect more surprises," says Stephen Morse of Columbia University, speaking May 22, 2007, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.
In its April 2007 report on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising temperatures may result in "the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors," and will have "mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa."
"Diseases carried by insects and ticks are likely to be affected by environmental changes because these creatures are themselves very sensitive to vegetation type, temperature, humidity etc. However, the direction of change - whether the diseases will increase or decrease - is much more difficult to predict, because disease transmission involves many factors, some of which will increase and some decrease with environmental change. A combination of historical disease records and present-day ground-based surveillance, remotely sensed (satellite) and other data, and good predictive models is needed to describe the past, explain the present and predict the future of vector-borne infectious diseases," says David Rogers of Oxford University, also speaking at the meeting.
Tue, 22 May 2007 11:29 UTC
Time may be running out for polar bears as global warming melts the ice beneath their paws.
Restrictions or bans on hunting in recent decades have helped protect many populations of the iconic Arctic carnivore, but many experts say the long-term outlook is bleak.
An estimated 20,000-25,000 bears live around the Arctic -- in Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Norway -- and countries are struggling to work out ways to protect them amid forecasts of an accelerating thaw.
A Chinese zoo is monitoring its animals extra carefully to study how their behaviour predicts earthquakes, the China Daily said on Tuesday.
Guangzhou Zoo, in the southern province of Guangdong, had set up observation points near peacocks, frogs, snakes, turtles, deer and squirrels to monitor and record their behaviour for the city's seismology office.
"We have found many animals behave oddly before an earthquake," the newspaper quoted experts as saying. "Hibernating animals, for example, will wake up and flee from their caves, while the aquatic ones will leap from the water's surface."
The report did not say how long before a quake the animals react, or whether the aim of the exercise was to provide timely warnings.
Tue, 22 May 2007 09:17 UTC
LIGONIER, Indiana (AP) -- A swarm of honeybees temporarily disrupted a charity fundraising event, but no one reported being stung.
WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. - The bees in this Florida Panhandle community renowned for its tupelo honey have so far escaped a mysterious killer that has wiped out a quarter of the nation's bee colonies.
Honeybees in the Apalachicola River swamps around Wewahitchka have been busy making the premium, floral-flavored honey since early May, hindered only by a persistent drought, beekeepers said.
As preparations to tackle a possible water shortage this summer gather pace, a new study seen by Sunday's Kathimerini suggested that Greece has suffered one- or two-year droughts at regular intervals over the last 147 years.
The research shows that there has been a mild one-year drought roughly every five years, a serious one-year drought every 10 years and an extensive two-year drought about every 25 years.
Before power lines, people had no choice. They used lanterns, lit fires for warmth and packed away winter ice against hot summers.
But now, a growing number of Americans are shunning power lines, choosing to live "off the grid," without commercial power -- and still enjoying their computers and large-screen televisions.
In the 250-home Oregon community of Three Rivers, everyone gets most of their power from solar panels on their rooftops or on nearby structures positioned to more efficiently capture the sun.
The solar power easily handles their lights, microwave ovens, refrigerator-freezers and other needs. Some supplement the solar power with windmill-generated energy.
Creating more parks and green spaces in urban areas could cool cities by up to 4°C - possibly enough to offset the warming from climate change - say researchers.
"If you look at infrared maps of cities, the woodland areas are 12°C cooler than city centres with no trees," says Roland Ennos at Manchester University in the UK, who carried out the study with colleagues.
Ennos's team used the city of Manchester as a template for their study. With two computer models - one to calculate changes in temperature and one to calculate changes in rainwater run-off - they investigated how the urban climate would change if world greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise at the current rate.
A deadly fish virus is approaching epidemic proportions in the Great Lakes and their neighboring waters, lining the beaches of Lake Erie with fish carcasses and threatening New York's $1.2 billion sport-fishing industry, a scientist says.
The Great Lakes "viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus" (VHSV) poses no health threat to humans, but people should always avoid eating fish or game that looks or acts strangely. Not all infected fish, however, exhibit symptoms as they might be carriers and symptoms vary from species to species. The virus causes anemia and internal bleeding in fish, said Paul Bowser, Cornell University professor of aquatic animal medicine.