Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Storm Barbara May Become Hurricane, Threaten Mexico

Tropical Storm Barbara may strengthen over the next two days to become the first hurricane of the eastern Pacific season as it moves toward southeastern Mexico, U.S. and Mexican forecasters said.


Idaho avoids bee problems

Idaho's commercial honeybee operations have so far avoided a mysterious phenomenon in which the insects suddenly abandon their colonies, which is good news for the state's apple and onion crops that rely on the bees for pollination.


Strong earthquake hits eastern Russia

A strong earthquake hit Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula on Thursday morning local time, with a magnitude of 6.4, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site on Wednesday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.


Mysterious hole appears in Md. yard

A child raised on dungeons and dragons and underground empires might have been enchanted.

But Virgil Poe, a crusty 60-year-old retiree, wasn't all that amused when recent heavy rains opened a 16-foot hole in his yard.

The cylindrical hole is lined with bricks, suggesting it might have been the water supply for an old farm.

"I'm picking up sticks from the storm," Poe said. "As I was walking, I saw it, and I thought what on earth is that?"

He crawled closer to the hole, peered inside and found what looked like an old well.

Cloud Lightning

Illinois tornadoes dip a year after spinning up a new record

Because spring temperatures roller-coastered from freezing to summerlike heat, there were fewer tornadoes than usual in Illinois this year.

A year ago, Illinois logged about 90 funnel clouds heading into June on the way to a record 124. The state averages about 40 tornadoes annually.


Golden Eagle hatches in Donegal

A wild Golden Eagle chick has hatched in Co Donegal, for the first time in almost 100 years.

The nest actually hatched two chicks, but as normally happens, the second chick died after five days. According to the Golden Eagle Trust, there will be a further wait of seven to eight weeks to see if the remaining chick can continue to grow and hopefully fledge in late July.

Golden Eagle chick

Black Cat

Rodents of Unusual Size, Florida tries to wipe out cat-sized African rats

Deep in the heart of the Florida Keys, wildlife officials are laying bait laced with poison to try to wipe out a colony of enormous African rats that could threaten crops and other animals.

U.S. federal and state officials are beginning the final phase of a two-year project to eradicate the Gambian pouched rats, which can grow to the size of a cat and began reproducing in the remote area about eight years ago.

Light Sabers

NASA's Top Official Questions Global Warming, Griffin Questions Need to Combat Warming

NASA administrator Michael Griffin is drawing the ire of his agency's preeminent climate scientists after apparently downplaying the need to combat global warming.

In an interview broadcast this morning on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" program, Griffin was asked by NPR's Steve Inskeep whether he is concerned about global warming.

"I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told Inskeep. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Evil Rays

Human noise at sea could imperil creatures that depend on sonar

They're leaving behind people who banged on pipes and played a weird compilation of humpback hits, but the whales that lingered in the Delta are returning to an increasingly noisy ocean, where humans are the biggest noisemakers.

We pierce the depths with sub-seeking sonar. We rattle them with oil-exploration blasts. And we churn out a constant din from shipping.

The sounds sometimes kill, leaving beaked whales dead on shore after military exercises.

Light Sabers

China's water supply could be cut off as Tibet's glaciers melt

The clear water of the Min river in the Jiuzhaigou National Park is a candidate for the cleanest in China. It is filtered by 108 lakes as it makes its way down from the glaciers of this vast nature reserve before feeding into the Yangtze river.

Back up through the mists, along a spectacular cliff-lined valley, there is Long Lake, a blue glacial expanse of water, while higher up in this mountainous park you can find corrie glaciers. Waterfalls line the route, azure pools brim over with fresh water.

Yet this beautiful park, completely defined by water, is threatened by climate change. Normally a winter wonderland, there was no snow at all last year. The glaciers will get warmer and melt, the rivers will have less water, although rainfall makes up much of the water flowing through the park.