Earth ChangesS


Shanghai reports coldest winter for 18 years

East China's business hub Shanghai reported a temperature of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius in its downtown Saturday, the lowest for 18 years, as a cold snap swept China from north to south, the municipal meteorological observatory said.

The temperature in the Xujiahui area in downtown Shanghai reached minus 5.9 degrees Celsius early Saturday, the lowest since 1992, the city's Central Meteorological Observatory said. Records show the lowest temperature in downtown Shanghai was minus 8 degrees Celsius in 1991.


Penguin at zoo refuses to swim because he is afraid of cold water

Most penguins like nothing better than to get their feathers wet with a quick swim, but this elderly bird refuses to move from his rock - because he is afraid of cold water.
cold penguin
Kentucky the penguin: Keepers at the park have to force Kentucky to dip into the water a couple of times a day to keep his feathers clean Photo: NTI
Kentucky the penguin, described as a 'runt' by his keepers, refuses to take the plunge with his other 23 penguin pals at Blackbrook Zoological Park in Leek, Staffordshire.

Staff at the zoo have seen the 11-year-old become a surprise hit with visitors at the park due to his unusual phobia.

The Humboldt penguin was born smaller than his arctic brothers and sisters and has had malting problems since birth which make the water 'a bit too cold for him', staff say.

Better Earth

Dramatic Expansion of Dead Zones in the Oceans

Unchecked global warming would leave ocean dwellers gasping for breath. Dead zones are low-oxygen areas in the ocean where higher life forms such as fish, crabs and clams are not able to live. In shallow coastal regions, these zones can be caused by runoff of excess fertilizers from farming. A team of Danish researchers have now shown that unchecked global warming would lead to a dramatic expansion of low-oxygen areas zones in the global ocean by a factor of 10 or more.

Whereas some coastal dead zones could be recovered by control of fertilizer usage, expanded low-oxygen areas caused by global warming will remain for thousands of years to come, adversely affecting fisheries and ocean ecosystems far into the future. The findings are reported in a paper 'Long-term ocean oxygen depletion in response to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels' published on-line in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.

Professor Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, who is the leader of the research team at the Danish Center for Earth System Science (DCESS), explains that "such expansion would lead to increased frequency and severity of fish and shellfish mortality events, for example off the west coasts of the continents like off Oregon and Chile".


US: Hundreds of dead birds found in Somerset County

Franklin Township, New Jersey - Residents in Somerset County's Franklin Township have a mystery on their hands.

Hundreds of dead birds have been falling onto people's homes and cars across the southern part of the township.

Homeowner Andrea Kipec tells the Courier News of Bridgewater that she's counted more than 150 dead birds on her property. She's been told by local officials it's her responsibility to clean them up.

Light Saber

Farmers unite to save endangered Lake

It is only 8:00am, but Nyambura Karogo is already feeling the scorch. In the usually wet month of October, the sun is blazing over Kirima village, in the Aberdares region of central Kenya.

She sets off to tend to her young maize shoots, examines a withered one and furrows her brow.

"Oh I hope the rains come soon," she says. The 53-year-old mother of six has lived from what earth produces all her life. But now she does not understand the lands anymore, neither the changing rainfall patterns.

Cloud Lightning

15 die as storms wreak havoc in France and Spain

Four children killed when sports centre collapses in Barcelona, and a million people left without power

Fifteen people, including four children, died as violent storms swept across Spain and France, wrecking buildings, and knocking out power for more than a million people.

The children were killed when the roof of a sports centre collapsed during high winds in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona, yesterday morning. "It was horrific," said Jose Antonio Godina, a parent at the sports centre. "We heard a loud noise and we thought a tree had fallen on a roof. But when we got here, the roof of the annex had literally flown off and the walls had fallen in on them." Up to 30 children were inside the building when it collapsed, local authorities said. Catalonian emergency services said four children had died and nine people had been injured.

Four adults died elsewhere in northern Spain. A policeman was killed by a falling tree in Galicia, a 51-year-old man was killed by a falling wall in Alicante, a 52-year-old woman also died when a wall collapsed on her in Barcelona, and another man was killed by a falling tree.

Cloud Lightning

Avalanche Kills 10 at Turkish Ski Resort

Turkey Avalanche
© DHARescue efforts are continuing at the Turkish resort of Zigana, where 10 people have died.
At least 10 mountaineers were killed Sunday in an avalanche at a ski resort in northeastern Turkey, authorities said.

Rescue workers pulled out at least seven people alive from under the snow at the resort in Zigana, Enver Salihoglu, the governor of Gumushane, told CNN-Turk.

At least two of the survivors were hospitalized, he said.

The city of Gumushane is about 30 km (18 miles) from the site of the avalanche.

Rescue efforts to find possibly more people trapped may be suspended due to hazardous conditions.

Cloud Lightning

United Arab Emirates Mountain Covered in Rare Snow

© AFPWhite blanket of snow covers the Jees Mountain in the Gulf emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah on January 25. Residents in the most northerly Gulf emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah woke up to a rare covering of snow reaching up to 20 centimetres in depth with temperatures falling to -3 degrees Celsius.
A blanket of snow has covered a mountain in a part of the United Arab Emirates, a rare phenomenon for the desert Gulf country, according to local media report.

Al-Jees mountain, 5,700 feet (1,737 metres) above sea level and 25 kilometres (15 miles) northeast of Ras al-Khaimah city, was covered in 20 centimetres (eight inches) of snow, the state news agency WAM said.

"Although limited snowfall was recorded on the mountain some years back, for the first time the peak of the mountain was fully covered in snow," it said.

Local authorities said temperatures plunged to minus 3 degrees Celsius (26.6 Fahrenheit) on Friday and again to below zero on Saturday, The National newspaper reported.


Argentina faces farm emergency amid devastating drought

© UnknownArgentina is one of the world's top suppliers of wheat, corn, beef and soybeans exports

Argentina Friday convened its National Farm Emergency Commission to discuss coping with the drought that has devastated production across the country, a major world food exporter.

The drought, which has prompted several provinces to declare a state of emergency, has cost the country four billion dollars and has burdened the state with some 1.88 billion dollars in lost tax revenue, according to some private estimates.


Danube Delta Holds Answers To Ancient Flood Debate

 Black Sea
© Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionThe breach of the Bosporus sill connected the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the world ocean. As glaciers melted and global sea levels began to rise, the Black Sea also rose, bringing it to its present day level.
Did a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions drown the shores of the Black Sea 9,500 years ago, wiping out early Neolithic settlements around its perimeter? A geologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and two Romanian colleagues report in the January issue of Quaternary Science Reviews that, if the flood occurred at all, it was much smaller than previously proposed by other researchers.

Using sediment cores from the delta of the Danube River, which empties into the Black Sea, the researchers determined sea level was approximately 30 meters below present levels-rather than the 80 meters others hypothesized.

"We don't see evidence for a catastrophic flood as others have described," said Liviu Giosan, a geologist in the WHOI Geology and Geophysics Department.