Earth ChangesS


New Park Protects Penguins And Other Marine Life In Argentina

Magellanic penguins
© Graham Harris/Wildlife Conservation SocietySome of the 500,000 Magellanic penguins now under protection in the new marine park in Golfo San Jorge in Argentina.
The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society has just announced that its efforts to protect a wildlife-rich coastal region in South America have paid off in the form of a new coastal marine park recently signed into law by the Government of Argentina.

The park, which became official in early December protects half a million penguins along with several species of rare seabirds and the region's only population of South American fur seals. It is the first protected area in Argentina specifically designed to safeguard not only onshore breeding colonies but also areas of ocean where wildlife feed at sea.

The park's creation represents a joint effort by the National Parks Service of Argentina, Government of Chubut, Wildlife Conservation Society and its local partner Fundación Patagonia Natural with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility.


Amazon Deforestation Trend On The Increase

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon forest
© iStockphotoDeforestation in Brazil's Amazon forests has flipped from a decreasing to an increasing trend, according to new annual figures recently released by the country's space agency INPE.
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon forests has flipped from a decreasing to an increasing trend, according to new annual figures recently released by the country's space agency INPE.

Commenting on the figures, Brazilian environment minister Carlos Minc confirmed that the government will on Monday announce forest related carbon emission reduction targets, which will link halting deforestation to the national climate change campaign.

From August 2007 to July 2008, Brazil deforested 11,968 square kilometers of forests in the area designated as the Legal Amazon, a 3.8 per cent increase over the previous year and an unwelcome surprise following declines of 18 per cent over the previous period.


Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

© Eliot Kamenitz, New Orleans Times-PicayuneA New Orleans streetcar dodges snowflakes
on December 11
Winter officially arrived with Sunday's solstice. But for many Americans, frigid January-like conditions have prevailed for weeks.

Christmas and Hanukkah travelers are delayed if not stranded at airports on the northwest and northeast coasts. Snow clogs runways, and ice coats airplane wing flaps as Americans wait extra hours and days to reach their loved ones.

New Englanders still lack electricity after a December 11 ice storm snapped power lines. Some 3,900 Granite State customers remain in the dark after what PSNH, the local utility, called "the most devastating natural disaster to hit New Hampshire in recent history." Over the weekend, snow similarly knocked out the lights in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.


Britain in grip of longest cold snap for 10 years

Britain is in the grip of the longest cold snap for more than 10 years as forecasters predict another week of freezing temperatures.

Cold, mainly dry and frosty conditions, which set in on Boxing Day, are likely to continue for at least seven days as the weather is dominated by a huge region of high pressure coming from the Continent.

For this time of year, forecasters say it is likely to be the longest prolonged spell of cold weather - where temperatures barely rise above zero centigrade (32F) - since 1996.

Usually long spells of cold weather occur around February when the effect of warming from the Atlantic sea is reduced.

"We have another five to seven days of colder weather still to come which will make it the longest spell since 1996 at this early stage of winter," said Philip Eden, the Daily Telegraph weather correspondent.

Better Earth

Earthquakes at Yellowstone Supervolcano: Update

Here is the latest on the earthquake swarms at Yellowstone:

1) The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory put out an update yesterday evening
Yellowstone Lake Earthquake Swarm Update: 2 January 2008

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that as of 1800 MST on 2 January 2009, seismicity of the ongoing Yellowstone earthquake swarm continues. Over 500 earthquakes, as large as M 3.9, have been recorded by an automated earthquake system since the inception of this unusual earthquake sequence that began Dec. 27, 2008. More than 300 of these events have been reviewed and evaluated by seismic analysts. Depths of the earthquakes range from ~ 1km to around 10 km. We note that the earthquakes extend northward from central Yellowstone Lake for ~10 km toward the Fishing Bridge area, with a migration of recent earthquakes toward the north. Some of the dozen M3+ earthquakes were felt in the Lake, Grant Village and Old Faithful areas. Personnel of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory continue to evaluate this earthquake sequence and will provide information to the NPS, USGS and the public as it evolves.

Comment: Ah, Scientific American. Doing their bit to put the sheeple to sleep on this threat as well as the one from cometary impacts.


No end in sight to Interior Alaska cold spell

Fairbaks - Friday marked day six of the worst cold snap to hit Fairbanks in several years and there is no relief in sight for residents who live in Alaska's second-largest city - or the business owners they call to bail them out when their cars, pipes and septic tanks freeze.

"Aarrgh," is how Dee Born, owner of Homestead Pumping and Thawing in North Pole, put it on Thursday afternoon while dealing with a waiting list that was about three days long. "As soon as it touched 50 below, the phones were ringing."

The temperature in North Pole dipped to 55 degrees below zero on Wednesday night, the lowest temperature recorded in the greater Fairbanks area during what has been six days of severe cold. It was "only" 46 below at 4 p.m. Friday in North Pole, but the temperature was "dropping by the hour," meteorologist Austin Cross at the National Weather Service in Fairbanks said.

Comment: Gotta hand it to those Alaskans, after all the horror stories of dealing with the bitter cold - "consuming alcohol makes cold injuries more likely and can impair judgment."


Too Cold to Ski in Alaska

Anchorage: Frigid temperatures forced organizers of the U.S. Cross Country Championship sprint race to cancel the event Saturday.

Race organizers hoped to hold the sprint races on Sunday, if the cold snap that has gripped much of Alaska for the past week loosens its grip a bit.

Forecasters, however, said the bitterly cold weather was expected to continue.

After several delays in which race organizers kept an eye on the temperature, the race at Kincaid Park was canceled mid-afternoon. Organizers watched as the mercury rose from 13 degrees below zero to about 6 below zero.

In the end, it wasn't enough, said race spokesman John Quinley. The cutoff for running the race is 4 degrees below zero.


Near-freezing cold kills 20 in India

Lucknow: Near-freezing temperatures and fog have killed another 20 people in northern India, raising the death toll to 34 since the start of the new year, a government official said Sunday.

The deaths occurred over the weekend as nighttime temperatures dipped to 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) in parts of the region, which is used to short and mild winters.

Those killed have mostly been beggars or impoverished migrant workers who often sleep in the open, with only plastic sheets or jute cloth sacks for cover.

A 72-year-old woman and her two young grandchildren died overnight when her thatched hut caught fire after she lit a bonfire to keep the family warm in Kanpur, an industrial town in Uttar Pradesh state, said Surendra Srivastava, a police spokesman.

Police recorded 14 other cold-related deaths Saturday and Sunday in the state's Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Mahoba, Sant Kabirnagar and Barabanki districts, Srivastava told The Associated Press.

Bizarro Earth

US: 4.3 Magnitude Earthquake Northeastern Nevada

Northeast Nevada, US
© USGSNortheastern Nevada, US
Magnitude 4.3


* Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 15:29:20 UTC

* Sunday, January 04, 2009 at 07:29:20 AM at epicenter

Location 41.693°N, 114.405°W

Depth 0 km (~0 mile) set by location program



* 30 km (18 miles) SE (131°) from San Jacinto, NV

* 41 km (26 miles) NE (44°) from Wilkins, NV

* 50 km (31 miles) NNW (327°) from Tecoma, NV

* 80 km (50 miles) NE (36°) from Wells, NV

* 110 km (68 miles) NNW (345°) from West Wendover, NV

* 235 km (146 miles) WNW (297°) from Salt Lake City, UT


5.9 magnitude earthquake rocks Pakistan

Several parts of Pakistan, including the federal capital were on Sunday rocked by a moderate earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale.

The quake, which had its epicentre in the Hindu Kush mountain range and occurred at about 1.30 am, shook Islamabad, the North West Frontier Province, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and parts of Punjab province, the local met office said.

There were no reports of loss of life or damage to property.