Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

LA residents told to cut showers as drought deepens

Los Angeles residents were urged on Wednesday to take shorter showers, reduce lawn sprinklers and stop throwing trash in toilets in a bid to cut water usage by 10 percent in the driest year on record.

Bizarro Earth

Thunder? It's the sound of Greenland melting

ILULISSAT, Greenland - Atop Greenland's Suicide Cliff, from where old Inuit women used to hurl themselves when they felt they had become a burden to their community, a crack and a thud like thunder pierce the air.

Cloud Lightning

Three B.C. communities issue states of emergency as flood waters rise to near record levels

Three B.C. communities Squamish Mount Currie and Prince George issued states of emergency today as flood waters continue to rise to near record levels.

More than 50 homes were evacuated in Terrace, Smithers and Mount Currie, and thousands more throughout the province placed on alert, as rivers overspilled their banks and threatened homes and livestock.

The biggest flood threat is in Smithers and the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District, where up to 400 homes are at risk, while the Lower Mainland is expected to see the effects of flooding by Friday.

Cloud Lightning

North Dakota Gov. Declares Flood Emergency For Red River Valley

Gov. John Hoeven today issued a disaster declaration for impacts resulting from heavy rainfall that is causing river and small stream flooding, and damage to roads, bridges, farmland, homes and businesses in the Red River Valley Basin. Hoeven also contacted Col. Michael Phenning of the Army Corps of Engineers to request assistance in constructing earthen dikes in Fargo in anticipation of a possible flood crest in the region over the next few days.

Red Flag

Dessert fissures can ruin homes in SW U.S.

They can start as a small little ripple in the desert crust. A little bit of rain can trigger an earth fissure to tear open a crack large enough to swallow a car.

Fissures are a southwestern phenomenon aggravated by our need for water. Underground water tables hold up the earth above. As we pump out the water the earth has nothing to support it and collapses on top of itself creating a fissure. The on -going drought and constant demand for water has lowered the water table below compounding the fissure problem.

Red Flag

Strong undersea earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

A strong undersea earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit eastern Indonesia, although there were no reports of casualties or damage, an official at the country's meteorological agency said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said in a bulletin sent by email that the quake struck the Moluccas islands in the Banda Sea at 1128 GMT and put the magnitude at 5.8.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricanes Still Frustrate Forecasters

Hurricane forecasters are getting better at pinpointing the paths of these swirling storms, but predicting how intense they will be is still problematic, according to a statement released today by the American Meteorological Society.

The errors in track forecasts (which tell where a hurricane is most likely to head next and are the foundation of the warning process) have roughly half the errors that they did just 15 years ago.

Forecasts for tracks generally appear in what is called a cone: the middle portion on the cone is where the storm is most likely to hit, but it can veer anywhere inside the total cone's area. Over the past decade, forecasters have honed their predictions so that the length of coastline under warning from that cone has decreased from 454 miles to 317 miles, meaning there's less chance of a false warning.

Magic Wand

Scientists discover new species in Suriname forest

Researchers have discovered 24 new species in Suriname while a fish species thought to be extinct has been rediscovered, a conservation organisation reported here Monday at the presentation of the result of an expedition from 2005 and 2006.

At a presentation at the Hotel Krasnapolsky in Paramaribo, representatives of US-based Conservation International (CI) told government officials, reporters and others that among the 24 new species there is a purple fluorescent frog (Atelopus species).

CI also issued a statement reporting on the extraordinary discovery of so many species outside the insect realm. Scientists warned however that the new found creatures are threatened by illegal small-scale gold mining, hunting and other forestry activities.

Cloud Lightning

Understanding what causes rain

Weather models are not good at predicting rain. Particularly in hilly terrain, this can lead to great damage arising from late warnings of floods, or even none at all. From June 1 to September 1, 2007 Delft University of Technology is participating in a major international experiment in Germany's Black Forest, to learn more about what causes rain. Aircraft and an airship are to be used alongside ground-based observatories. Satellites will be used to gather the large-scale information.

The creation of rain is the result of a variety of physical processes. These processes influence each other and play out both at an extremely small scale (several micrometres) and on a very large one (100 kilometres). The spatial scale of weather models is a few kilometres, and physical processes which occur at a smaller scale have to be approximated. Cloud formation is an example of this. The complexity and differences in scale make weather modelling inaccurate in predicting the time and place of a downpour, and the quantity of rain which will ultimately fall.


Hundreds of Antarctic Peninsula glaciers accelerating as climate warms

Hundreds of glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula are flowing faster, further adding to sea level rise according to new research published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Climate warming, that is already causing Antarctic Peninsula increased summer snow melt and ice shelf retreat, is the most likely cause.

Using radar images acquired by European ERS-1 and -2 satellites, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) tracked the flow rate of over 300 previously unstudied glaciers. They found a 12% increase in glacier speed from 1993 to 2003. These observations - that echo recent findings from coastal Greenland - indicate that the cause is melting of the lower glaciers, which flow directly into the sea. As they thin, the buoyancy of the ice can lift the glaciers off their rock beds, allowing them to slide faster.