Fri, 29 Dec 2006 12:00 UTC
TALLINN - Northern Europeans have been poised to celebrate the passage to the new year in a way that is out of the ordinary for them: with an ice-free Baltic Sea.
"It's quite unusual that we welcome the new year with no ice in the Baltic Sea," Tarmo Kouts, senior researcher at the Estonian Marine Institute, told AFP on Friday.
Temperatures in Estonian coastal waters are warmer by one degree Celsius (around three degrees Fahrenheit) than at the end of last year, Kouts said.
Major Impact on Pollination
Abstract. The ecological impacts of agriculture are of concern, especially with genetically modified and other intensive, modern cropping systems, yet little is known about effects on wild bee populations and subsequent implications for pollination. Pollination deficit (the difference between potential and actual pollination) and bee abundance were measured in organic, conventional, and herbicide-resistant, genetically modified (GM) canola fields (Brassica napus and B. rapa) in northern Alberta, Canada, in the summer of 2002.
How good is your weather memory? In what year did the so-called "Storm of the Century" sweep the country and pound the entire Eastern Seaboard? How many tornadoes struck the Midwest in a record-setting one-week period of May, 2003? And do you remember the thousands of deaths caused by heat waves in 1980 and 1988?
Along with the deaths came significant financial costs.
One way to track climate trends is to look at disasters above a given threshold. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released last week its list of U.S. weather and climate disasters that have cost more than a billion dollars.
During the period between 1980 and 2004, there were 62 events in the U.S. that exceeded a billion dollars in costs and damages. These disasters include storms, droughts, forest fires and flooding. New to the list are the four hurricanes - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - that hit the country last summer.
Although there has been a rise in the number of these costly events in the last decade or so, some of the most damaging catastrophes occurred in the 1980s.
A moderate earthquake that rattled parts of Arkansas and Tennessee Thursday [Feb. 2005] should serve as a wake-up call to the central United States about the potential for much stronger events, experts said.
The temblor, preliminarily put at magnitude 4.1, shook eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee early in the morning. It was centered 47 miles north-northwest of Memphis.
There were no reports of significant damage.
"Although today's earthquake was what we characterize as 'light,' this area is capable of producing an earthquake that can result in significant loss of life and property damage," said Charles "Chip" Groat, director of the U.S. Geological Survey.
Groat pointed out that the region was host to the strongest earthquake on record in the lower 48 United States.
The eruption of a super volcano "sooner or later" will chill the planet and threaten human civilization, British scientists warned Tuesday.
And now the bad news: There's not much anyone can do about it.
Several volcanoes around the world are capable of gigantic eruptions unlike anything witnessed in recorded history, based on geologic evidence of past events, the scientists said. Such eruptions would dwarf those of Mount St. Helens, Krakatoa, Pinatubo and anything else going back dozens of millennia.
The warning system covering the Pacific Ocean might save many lives if a tsunami strikes Southern California. But nothing can stop the destruction.
A new study puts the price tag for a worst-case scenario at $42 billion, and that does not include billions of dollars in additional damage caused directly by an earthquake that is pegged as the likely source of a potentially devastating tsunami.
Waves could inundate parts of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Many beach cities and smaller communities in Los Angeles and Orange County would suffer.
Thu, 28 Dec 2006 12:00 UTC
An ancient ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields that broke off Ellesmere Island could be dangerous when it starts to drift in the spring, a scientist says.
The collapse of the ice island's northern coast represents the largest breakup of its kind in the Canadian Arctic in 30 years, the head of a new global ice lab at the University of Ottawa said on Thursday.
There are only two places in the United States where colliding tectonic plates could cause a major tsunami, and new studies show a new earthquake in at least one of these locations could be imminent.
The Cascadia subduction zone, a 680-mile fault that runs 50 miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest -- from Cape Mendocino in California to Vancouver Island in southern British Columbia -- has experienced a cluster of four massive earthquakes during the past 1,600 years. Scientists are trying to figure out if it is about to undergo a massive shift one more time before entering a quiescent period.
"People need to know it could happen," said U.S. Geological Survey geologist Brian Atwater.
As Asia's telecom systems slowly recovered from the earthquakes that hit Taiwan this week, Chinese scientists said they had developed a new way of forecasting tremors - by observing the tendency of snakes to launch themselves headlong into walls.