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Wed, 22 Mar 2023
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Earth Changes

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Dozens said dead in Indonesia landslides

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Hours of heavy rain triggered landslides Wednesday that killed at least 59 people in western Indonesia, media reports said.

Better Earth

Walrus Habitat is Melting Away

Federal marine mammal experts in Alaska studying the effects of global warming on walrus, polar bears and ice seals warn there are limit to the protections they can provide.

They can restrict hunters, ship traffic and offshore petroleum activity, but that may not be enough if the animals' basic habitat - sea ice - disappears every summer.

"Ultimately it's beyond my scope," said Joel Garlich-Miller, a walrus expert for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage. "I can't make ice cubes out there."

Garlich-Miller said 3,000 to 4,000 mostly young walrus died this year in stampedes on land on the Russian side of the Chukchi Sea, the body of water touching Alaska and Russia just north of the Bering Strait. Instead of spending the summer spread over sea ice, thousands of walruses were stranded on land in unprecedented numbers for up to three months.

Anatoly Kochnev, who conducts walrus research for Russia's Pacific Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, said the loss of 3,000 to 4,000 animals this year from mostly one demographic could be disastrous.

A walrus rests on sea ice. Experts no fear the diminishing icy landscape of the Arctic landscape could damage walrus populations.


Magnitude 6.0 quake hits northern Japan

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit northern Japan on Tuesday, 62 miles northeast of the city of Sendai, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

It said the quake struck 30 miles deep off the eastern coast of the main island of Honshu at 11:04 p.m. (1404 GMT).

Life Preserver

Sri Lanka floods subside, 40,000 in temporary shelters

Sri Lanka's monsoon floods were subsiding but just over 40,000 people remained in temporary shelters, the disaster management centre said Tuesday.

Cloud Lightning

California: Warnings extended as Santa Ana winds knock out power

With hot, dry Santa Ana winds gusting up to 102 mph overnight, the National Weather Service extended high wind and red flag warnings across Southern California today and some Christmas celebrations were marred by power outages.

The high wind warning was extended for Ventura and portions of the Los Angeles County coast from Hollywood north to Leo Carrillo until 6 p.m. today, according to Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Warnings were also extended in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties until 7 p.m. tonight.

Red flag warnings, which signify heightened risk of wildfires, were extended in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura Counties until 8 p.m. tonight, according to National Weather Service spokesmen.

Cloud Lightning

US: Snowstorm Sweeps Across the Midwest, Killing 19

Ice storms, then a thick layer of snow and finally a raging, blinding wind paralyzed parts of the nation's middle section over the weekend, stranding holiday travelers in roadside motels and shelters and leaving at least 19 people dead.

In eastern Iowa, eight state highways had to be shut down as high winds churned nearly 10 inches of snow that had fallen, said Dena Gray-Fisher, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Transportation. Two state highways remained closed on Monday.

Cloud Lightning

New Jersey: Winter ignores calendar, just as autumn did

Winter clearly didn't pay attention to the calendar this year, and fall didn't follow the rules either.

Saturday was the winter solstice, the official start of the season, but winter booted autumn off the map right after Thanksgiving and things have been frigid ever since. In the first 19 days of December alone, the temperature was 3.1 degrees cooler than average and we've had about 1.6 inches of snow.

Cloud Lightning

Major Snow Storm Causes Swath of Blackouts

©AP Photo/Topeka Capital-Journal, Mike Burley
Greg Weakland, 19, secures a tow hook to a stranded passenger's car to help it up an inclined street as snow blows down in Topeka, Kan.

MILWAUKEE - Highways were hazardous for holiday travelers Sunday and thousands of homes and businesses had no electricity in the Midwest as a storm blew through the region with heavy snow and howling wind.

At least eight deaths had been blamed on the storm.


Indian authorities say probing mysterious fish deaths

Pollution authorities in the northeastern Indian state of Assam began Wednesday investigating the mysterious deaths of thousands of fish in the Brahmaputra River, officials said.

More than 1,500 dead fish have been found floating in the river, lifeline of India's northeast this week, fuelling fears that toxic chemicals are being used by fishermen.

Groups of fishermen sometimes use explosives and toxic chemicals to net fish in large quantities, authorities said.


US: Louisiana lake testing offers some answer for mysterious bubbles

The bubbles popping up in Lake Peigneur are explosive but apparently natural, says a leader of the group trying to stop expansion of a natural gas storage operation under the lake.

Tests by the U.S. Geological Survey show the bubbles are 70 percent methane and 30 percent air, with more than double the oxygen needed for a volatile mix, said Nara Crowley, vice president of Save Lake Peigneur. She said that doubles both the chance of explosions and the power of any that might occur.