Earth ChangesS


Old man winter pays Northwest a visit -- literally!

Just looking outside and you can tell Old Man Winter paid us a visit, but in Lake Stevens, it looks like he put in a personal appearance! This icicle was found hanging from Jeremy Olden's home.


Beijing's coldest December day in 57 years

Winter truly arrived in Beijing yesterday with the highest temperature of the day down to minus 8.8 ℃. Media reports say it was "the coldest day in December in the last 57 years."

Strong wind ripped off part of the metal roof of a university's gymnasium and the thermal insulation layer of a hotel in Beijing. It also blew away a man who was mending his own roof in Shijingshan District. The man landed on the top of a 15 meter-high tree and was rescued by firefighters.


Moderate earthquake rattles Taiwan

Taiwanese authorities say a moderate earthquake has struck the southern part of the island. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The Central Weather says the 5.6 magnitude quake struck at 8:04 a.m. Tuesday in rural Kaohsiung county, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of the city of Tainan.

The United States Geological Survey puts the quake's strength at 5.4.


Deep freeze, heavy snows blast US; holiday travel snarled

Mother nature vented her wintry fury on much of the United States and Canada Tuesday as arctic blasts and blizzards sparked deadly crashes, snarled air traffic and closed highways in one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) issued winter weather advisories and winter storm watches for large swathes of the United States including in the Chicago area in the midwest which has been in the grips of an extreme cold snap for nearly a week, with temperatures plunging to below zero (negative 17 degrees Celsius).

Dozens of delays or cancellations were reported Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the country's second busiest, where hundreds of flights have been cancelled over the past week as the city was slammed by blizzard conditions.

Agony for holiday travelers was also reported at several other airports as the storms in the Northwest and Midwest caused a ripple effect across much of the rest of the country, snarling holiday air traffic at major airports in San Francisco; Houston, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; New Jersey and New York, officials said.

Cow Skull

Bison Are Back, But Can They Survive?

© APBison walk toward the corral during the recent annual roundup at The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska, Okla.
An estimated 60 million bison roamed the prairie when Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492. By 1900, only hundreds were left after herds were slaughtered for meat, pelts and sport. Although there are now half a million bison in the United States, researchers have discovered that most of them carry cattle genes - placing the animals at risk.

In the Oklahoma Flint Hills, an autumn moon set on The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve as scientists and cowboys gathered at dawn recently for the annual bison roundup. Instead of horses, wranglers climb aboard trucks. They rumble toward a herd of 2,600 bison standing quietly in a nearby pasture. They drive part of the herd into a tight group, and then stampede them into a holding trap.

The shaggy beasts' heaving breath swirls through the corral into a thick, white fog. Over the next 10 hours, ranch hands use plastic paddles to spank the bison through a maze of alleys and corrals toward their annual physical.

© APOver the next 10 hours, ranch hands use plastic paddles to move part of a herd of 2,600 bison through a maze of alleys and corrals toward their annual physical.
In turns, each bison slams into the examination chute. A brace closes around its neck and heavy grates squeeze it still. A bull is checked for injuries, given a shot and weighed. He stands 6 feet at the shoulder and weighs almost 2,000 pounds.

The huge bison huffs with anxiety. Up close, he seems prehistoric - his shaggy brown head hangs low beneath a humped spine, curved horns showing bits of blood. Preserve director Bob Hamilton says he may look like a bison, act like a bison and even smell like one - but he's a cattle hybrid. And if he carries maternal cattle DNA, that could impair his metabolism and his offspring.

Cloud Lightning

Active 2009 Atlantic hurricane season predicted

Another forecaster predicted an active 2009 Atlantic hurricane season on Tuesday, six months ahead of the tropical cyclone period that begins on June 1.

WSI Corp. predicted 13 tropical storms in the 2009 season and said seven would develop into hurricanes.

The long-term average during the six-month season is for 10 or 11 tropical storms and six hurricanes.

WSI, based in Andover, Massachusetts, forecast that three of next year's hurricanes would be dangerous storms with a rank of Category 3 or above on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. Such storms feature sustained winds of at least 111 miles (178 km) per hour.


Condor chick found dead: Male was one of three born in wild this year

One of three condor chicks raised in wild nests was found dead by scientists Sunday after the big bird's radio transponder emitted a "mortality signal," according to Ventana Wildlife Society senior wildlife biologist Joe Burnett.

Biologists from the society's condor recovery project in Big Sur found the lifeless body of a wild California Condor chick lying in thick brush beneath a tall stand of redwoods, only a half mile from its coastal nest site.

The wild male chick, known as No. 475, was recently observed making short flights in the nest area, which is normal behavior for a 9-month-old condor, Burnett said.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake - Italy

Magnitude 5.3 Earthquake - Italy (Map)
© USGSLocation map - Italy

Magnitude: 5.3

* Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 15:24:23 UTC
* Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 04:24:23 PM at epicenter


Will Canada see its first white Christmas since '71?

The first day of winter brought wind-chill warnings, snow and a bevy of storms to cities across Canada on Sunday, potentially laying the groundwork for the first cross-country white Christmas in nearly four decades.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV Newsnet that "it looks like a very good chance" it will be a white Christmas for all parts of Canada for the first time since 1971.


Scientists discover new forest with undiscovered species on Google Earth

Conservationists have found a host of new species after discovering uncharted new territory on the internet map Google Earth.

new forest
© Tom Timberlake/RBG Kew A British-led expedition found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu
The mountainous area of northern Mozambique in southern Africa had been overlooked by science due to inhospitable terrain and decades of civil war in the country.

However, while scrolling around on Google Earth, an internet map that allows the viewer to look at satellite images of anywhere on the globe, scientists discovered an unexpected patch of green.

A British-led expedition was sent to see what was on the ground and found 7,000 hectares of forest, rich in biodiversity, known as Mount Mabu.