Earth ChangesS


Heavy snow in Britain means travel chaos

london snow
© AP Photo/Akira SuemoriPeople walk in the snow on as they cross Westminster Bridge, backed dropped by the Houses of Parliament's St Stephens Tower, in central London, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009.
London - The British capital ground to a halt on Monday after the worst snowstorm in 18 years caused hundreds of flight cancellations and virtually halted public transportation.

Shops, schools and courts shut down and long trails of commuters trudged through the streets looking for scarce taxis or ways to work after more than four inches (10 centimeters) of snow fell overnight.

"We're not in Russia here," said Guy Pitt, a Transport for London spokesman. "We don't have an infrastructure built for constant snow."

Heavy snow continued Monday afternoon, with more forecast for the evening along with rain and sleet overnight, which could lead to hazardous icy conditions Tuesday morning.


Riddle of Liberian insect plague

A devastating plague of caterpillars ravaging part of West Africa is not armyworms, as previously believed, but an unidentified species, experts say.

A UN emergency co-ordinator told the BBC the insects in Liberia and Guinea were very different from armyworms.

He said experts had noted the insect has distinct feeding patterns, life cycle, habits, movement and appearance.

Specialists are studying the pest to find a way of controlling the swarm, which has affected 400,000 residents.

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Heat kills 30, fires destroy homes

More than 30 Victorians have died in the record heatwave while 29 homes have been destroyed by bushfires that are still threatening. The deaths of more than 30 Victorians will be investigated as authorities count the toll from last week's record-breaking heatwave.

A shell-shocked Premier John Brumby toured bushfire-ravaged Gippsland yesterday and admitted the scorching heat had taken its toll on the state. "I know it has not been a perfect week," he said.

The State Coroner will today start investigating the deaths from the heatwave when the mercury soared past 43C for three days in a row in Melbourne. Police said at least 30 people died but the toll could be much higher.

Cloud Lightning

Heaviest snow in 20 years brings large parts of Britain to a halt

The heaviest snowfall in 20 years has closed thousands of schools and caused transport chaos up the eastern side of Britain, with London and the surrounding areas the hardest hit.
snow, london, weather
© Adrian Dennis/AFP/GettyA man crosses The Mall on his skis near Buckingham Palace on his way to work in London

Bizarro Earth

Earthquakes Pose Threat to Mississippi

When you think of earthquakes, west coast states like California usually come to mind. So should folks here in Mississippi be concerned?

The truth is that several Mississippi counties are at risk for a severe earthquake in the future. That's why governor Haley Barbour made January 26th through 30th, Mississippi's Earthquake Awareness Week.

There are only illustrations of perhaps the worst series of earthquakes to hit the New Madrid seismic zone back in 1811 and 1812. That zone consists of a series of faults that cross the Mississippi and Ohio rivers; stretching 40 miles wide and 200 miles long.

Bizarro Earth

Japanese Volcano Erupts, Mt. Redoubt Groans

Town covered in fine ash dust after eruption.

A geologist said it looks like Alaska's Mount Redoubt wants to erupt.

In fact, she said odds are higher that it will than it won't. Groans and steam continue to come from the mountain, prompting officials at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage to move five C-17 cargo planes to McChord Air Force Base in Washington.

For Japan's Mount Asama, it's a different story. That volcano did erupt early Monday morning, sending fine, powdery ash on to Tokyo, which is about 90 miles away.

Bizarro Earth

At least 12 killed by floods, waves in Indonesia

Three Indonesians died after huge waves washed them away on a beach on Java island, while nine people were killed in floods and landslides in other parts of Java and Sulawesi, officials said on Sunday.

The bodies of three high-school students had been found on Parangtritis beach south of the city of Yogyakarta, a rescue official said, while two people were still missing after they were swept away on Saturday while waiting to watch the sunrise.

The beach is a popular tourist area but known for its dangerous currents and big waves.

Cloud Lightning

Canada: Residents cleaning up after wind storm blows through Prairies

Edmonton - Carol Quiring had to fish about three metres of eavestroughing out of her hot tub after winds gusting up to 100 kilometres per hour tore through parts of Alberta Friday night.

It was part of a storm system that was also being blamed for blasting out windows and flinging construction debris around in Winnipeg Saturday.

Ms. Quiring, who lives in a north Edmonton neighbourhood, looked out her back door Saturday morning and noticed that the cover on her hot tub had slid several centimetres.

When she looked more closely, she could see a three-metre long chunk of metal eavestroughing sticking out of the pool.

Thinking that the wind had blown her neighbours' eavestrough down, she knocked on a few doors looking for the owner.


Many New Species Discovered In Hidden Mozambique Oasis With Help Of Google Earth

© Julian Bayliss/KewScientific surveying Mount Mabu -- Mozambique - found a wealth of wildlife including Pygmy Chamelons.
Space may be the final frontier, but scientists who recently discovered a hidden forest in Mozambique show the uncharted can still be under our noses. BirdLife were part of a team of scientists who used Google Earth to identify a remote patch of pristine forest. An expedition to the site discovered new species of butterfly and snake, along with seven Globally Threatened birds.

The team were browsing Google Earth - freely available software providing global satellite photography - to search for potential wildlife hotspots. A nearby road provided the first glimpses of a wooded mountain topped by bare rock. However, only by using Google Earth could the scientists observe the extent of woodland on the other side of the peak. This was later discovered to be the locally known, but unmapped, Mount Mabu. Scientific collections and literature also failed to shed light on the area.

Bizarro Earth

US: 4.4-Quake Rattles Area Near Bakersfield, California

A small earthquake struck the desert area of Kern County Saturday, it was reported.

A preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey said the 4.4-magnitude quake hit at 1:09 p.m. It was centered eight miles from the sparsely populated town of Randsburg.