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Sun, 29 Jan 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Insect Invasion Possible as Climate Warms

Global warming could bring about a veritable insect explosion, if past performance is an indication of future gains.

Just such a buggy invasion swarmed parts of the northern United States during an abrupt global warming event more than 50 million years ago, a new study of leaf fossils shows.


US: Bitter Cold, Snow Pummel Plains, East

Hazelton, Pa. - Windy, bitterly cold weather spread from the northern Plains to the Northeast on Sunday, with blinding snow canceling church services in parts of Michigan and causing a 68-vehicle pileup in Pennsylvania.


US: Wildfires Threaten Homes in Carolinas

Conway, South Carolina - Wind-whipped wildfires across the rain-starved Carolinas chased churchgoers from worship on Sunday and forced residents to flee dozens of homes threatened by flames.

Cloud Lightning

'Greatest ever' downpour floods Tonga

A freak storm -- that dumped more than a month's average rainfall in less than 24 hours -- has swamped the Pacific island nation of Tonga, forcing evacuations, officials said Saturday.

Buildings, including the Australian High Commission, and houses in the main city of Nuku'alofa were flooded after roads turned into rivers during the storm, officials said.

"This is the greatest rainfall we have ever had in the kingdom," duty forecaster 'Ofa Taumoepeau said.


Deformed fish seen near farm runoff

A form of intersex fish, which have male and female traits, is found more frequently in areas with more farming and human population density, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The so-called intersex fish have been found in U.S. waters over the past decade, including the Potomac River watershed, the southern Great Lakes and the Southern California coast. The cause isn't fully understood, but researchers suspect waste-water and farm runoff polluted with chemicals that stimulate estrogen production.


Dust Storms In Sahara Desert Trigger Huge Plankton Blooms In Eastern Atlantic

Scientists on board RRS Discovery are at sea studying the Saharan dust that blows off the coast of Africa - triggering huge plankton blooms in the eastern Atlantic.

Saharan dust is rich in nitrogen, iron and phosphorus and acts as a fertilizer on the production of plankton.

Dr Eric Achterberg from NOCS is leading the research cruise and studying the dust's effect on nutrients, plankton production and the food chain.

dust storm over N Atlantic
©National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
MODIS satellite true color image of dust storm over tropical North Atlantic Ocean, March 2004.


Cold snap kills 750 in Afghanistan

Freezing weather has killed 750 people in war-torn Afghanistan with many others losing their limbs due to frostbite.

Cloud Lightning

Snow storms destroy one tenth of China's forests

China has lost about one tenth of its forest resources to recent snow storms regarded as the most severe in half a century, state media reported Sunday.

A total of 17.3 million hectares (43 million acres) of forest have been damaged across China as the result of three weeks of savage winter weather, the China Daily website said, citing the State Forestry Administration.

Bizarro Earth

ABC: Man may need to live in space to survive cometary impacts, global disasters

Will humans need to live as space nomads to survive? Possibly, says Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History.

"It may be," says Tyson, "that our only insurance policy against extinction is to become a multi-planet, space faring species."

Worries of climate change and unexpected catastrophe on Earth, compounded with humankind's natural curiosity about what lies beyond, compel private industry and NASA alike not only to wonder "what if," but to prepare for the "when."

Cloud Lightning

Floods, storms kill 12 in Indonesia's Java

Floods and storms have killed 12 people on Indonesia's main island of Java, a health official said on Sunday.

Floods triggered by heavy rain killed eight people in two districts in East Java over the past two days, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry's crisis centre.

Four people died on Saturday when an electricity pole was toppled by storms, hitting a car in which they were traveling in Bekasi, east of the capital Jakarta, he said.

Several areas in Jakarta, where flooding killed five people this month, were under water on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.