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Earth News Journal: Week Ending Feb. 23, 2007

Earth News
Week of February 23, 2007

Ocean ‘Dead Zones’
Large-scale changes in
wind patterns, possibly
linked to global warming,
have caused massive
“dead zones” to appear along Pacific
coastal areas of North and South
America, as well as the Atlantic
shores of southern Africa. Seasonal
winds that blow against the coast in
those regions normally are deflected
back out to sea by the coastal terrain.
This causes an upwelling of deep,
nutrient-rich plankton, which provides
an abundant food source for fish
and other marine life. But wind
changes since the turn of this century
have disrupted, delayed or altered the
intensity of the upwelling, according
to researchers gathering in San Francisco
for the annual meeting of the
American Association for the
Advancement of Science. Sudden
drops in oxygen levels, caused when
too much upwelling resulted in a massive
sinking of plankton, have killed
virtually all the marine life off the
Oregon coast more than once. This
left the sea floor littered with the carcasses
of all animals unable to swim
away.
Volcanoes
Authorities in Colombia
ordered villagers living
near Nevado volcano to
evacuate as the mountain
belched ash and produced a swarm of
tremors. The evacuation order affects
towns located near rivers in Huila and
three other provinces that could be hit
by avalanches triggered by a major
eruption.
• Western Myanmar’s Nagadaung
volcano erupted with a plume of ash
and hot gases that soared high above
an island in Arakan state. The Narinjara
news agency reports the volcano
last erupted just prior to the December
2004 Indian Ocean quake and
tsunami.

Cloud of Junk
Strange lights in the sky
that puzzled residents and
authorities across eastern
Australia may have been
caused by debris from a Chinese
satellite. The Australian Broadcasting
Corp. said it received numerous
calls from people reporting a milky
glowing cloud, as well as lights moving
slowly across the sky before
dawn. Gavin Dinsdale of the Latrobe
Valley Astronomical Society told
reporters that when China destroyed
one of its obsolete satellites with a
missile earlier this month, the impact
left about 35,000 small pieces of junk
in the satellite’s orbit. Dinsdale said
the orbit of the space junk coincides
with the sightings.

Earthquakes
One building was
wrecked and many windows
were cracked in
eastern Turkey when a 5.9
magnitude quake struck near the
town of Sivrice, in Elazig province.
• A magnitude 6.6 quake in
Indonesia’s North Maluku province
sent panicked residents fleeing buildings
and prompted a tsunami warning
for islands of the Molucca Sea.
• Earth movements were also felt
in far northern New Zealand, northern
Japan, central Greece, the Congo-
Uganda border region and southern
parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

El Niño Deluges
Heavy rainfall since
December from El Niñointensified
storms created
flood emergencies in both
Peru and Bolivia. At least 65 people
have perished from floods in the
Andean nations, and countless head
of livestock have also been lost. Latest
forecasts indicate the El Niño
ocean warming will weaken in the
Pacific over the next few months.

Indian Ocean Cyclones
Cyclone Favio brought
more heavy rainfall to
southern parts of Madagascar
before taking aim on
the already flood-ravaged African
nation of Mozambique. Favio was the
third strong storm to strike Madagascar
since Dec. 25, and the government
appealed for international aid to help
the victims of the resulting floods.
• Cyclones Gamede and 16S
churned the open waters of the central
Indian Ocean.

Java Twister
Severe storms over the
Indonesian island of Java
triggered a tornado that
destroyed more than
1,000 homes and injured 44 people in
Yogyakarta province. Landslides
unleashed by heavy downpours during
the storm buried at least 14 people
alive and injured more than 20
others in the district of Magelang,
according to rescue officials.

A Staggering Peril
An unusual combination
of a warm, snowless winter
and an overabundance
of rape plants in the Czech
countryside has caused large numbers
of roe deer to become so intoxicated
from the plants that they are
staggering into roadways. The rape
plant is used to make cooking oil and
biodiesel, and the deer suffer from
lack of oxygen if they consume too
much of it. The oxygen deprivation
first leads to staggering, and in the
worst cases, blindness or death. The
Czech-Moravian Hunting Union
appealed to the public to alert them if
they spot such animals so they can
feed them hay and other safe foods,
the Lidove Noviny daily reported.

Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending February 23, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

Geyser's activity puzzling

Earth News: Wyoming, USA
Feb 27, 2007
Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park recently shot a plume of steam several hundred feet into the air, and geyser watchers wondered whether it was erupting for the first time since May 2005. There were other indications, too, including the draining of nearby Cistern Spring, often a telltale sign that Steamboat had ripped into one of its famous, and RARE, eruptions. But one thing was lacking: the thousands of gallons of water that flow out of Steamboat during those spectacular events. Without that significant flow of water, park officials can't classify the event as a major eruption. Instead, they're calling the Feb. 21 event, and a similar one Feb. 11, a "forceful minor eruption" that put out gobs of steam, raised temperatures, made a little noise and, among people who track Yellowstone's geysers, caused a bit of a stir. "I would kind of describe it as somewhat of a burp rather than a full eruption." Those kinds of minor eruptions aren't rare, but it's UNUSUAL to see seemingly contradictory signs of big doings at Steamboat. One of the biggest questions now is whether the activity at the geyser, located at Norris Geyser Basin, is a sign that it's preparing for a major eruption. Intervals between recorded eruptions range from four days to 50 years. The geyser fell quiet from 1991 to May 2000. Since then, seven major eruptions have been recorded, more than at any time since the early 1980s. "What's happening here? We don't know."

Fire lessons to be learned from Aborigines

Breaking Earth News: Australia
Feb 27, 2007
Ancient Australian Aborigines may hold the key to battling huge bushfires which have blackened large parts of Europe, the US and Australia in recent years, fire experts said. Prehistoric Aboriginal people across Australia methodically burnt land to reduce the fierceness of natural bushfires, as well as to hunt and stimulate the growth of plants. They also understood that forest fuels should not go untended, in an early lesson for modern societies threatened by megafires triggered by climate change and rising world temperatures. "We have to figure out what we are reserving our forests for. If we are reserving them for big fires, then that's working well." Megafires occur when large bushfires merge and form super firefronts that burn with hurricane intensity, often levelling hundreds of homes and vast areas of bushland. Megafires in 2003 destroyed thousands of homes in France, Portugal, Spain, the US and Canada, while fires this year swept uncontrolled for more than a month through an area bigger than Lebanon in Australia's rugged southeastern Alps. Steady global temperature rises are leading to longer fire seasons across the world and megafires burn with such intensity that they leave little behind. "There are no refuges for fauna. Our choice is whether we burn frequently at low intensity in mild weather of our choosing, or whether we are subjected to the whims of nature."

Drought-ridden Indian bird park loses its birds

Breaking Earth News: India
Feb 27, 2007
For years, tourists have come to India's Keoladeo Ghana National Park to gaze at shimmering, bird-flocked wetlands stretching to the horizon. But where there were once vast lakes, visitors now find puddles nursed by a network of stuttering diesel-fuelled pumps, which suck up groundwater from deep beneath the parched earth. Years of poor monsoon rains have left most of this World Heritage site near Bharatpur in the desert state of Rajasthan dry and cracked. This has forced most of the thousands of migratory birds that would once spectacularly descend on Keoladeo every year for the winter to make alternative arrangements elsewhere. "Before, the skies were so full of birds it was a wonder they didn't collide into each other. Now there is nothing there."

Al Gore's Global Warming Film Wins Two Oscars

Feb 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES - "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary that turned former vice president Al Gore's power-point presentation on global warming into an engaging and entertaining film, won the Oscar Sunday night.
The best-documentary win was a triumph for Gore, who has kept a sense of humor about his loss in the 2000 election that was decided in George W. Bush's favor by a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
"I am Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States of America," Gore says in the film, repeating a line he has used often.
Sunday, Gore used the Oscar win not to further his political career but to boost his campaign to find solutions for global warming and other environmental problems.
"My fellow Americans," Gore said to laughter from the crowd. "People all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."










Purchase The Academy Award Winning Documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," below.

Rare February wildfires strike northern Wisconsin

Climate News: Wisconsin, USA
Click on Map to Enlarge

Feb 22, 2007
On Jan. 31, the average Lake Superior water level was only 600 feet above mean sea level. That's more than one foot lower than the level in January 2006, and just two to three inches higher than the record low of 599.8 feet measured in 1926. "Much of northwestern Wisconsin has been classified as in the extreme drought category." Many stations in the northwestern corner of Wisconsin recorded annual precipitation totals for 2006 that were a staggering 10 to 15 inches (or more) below 30-year averages.

'This is erosion like we've never seen before'

Earth News: United Kingdom
Photo: BBC News website readers have been sending in their pictures of the windy weather in the British Isles. Dave Kneen: "I took this at high tide this morning at Peel Castle, Isle of Man."
More Photos

Feb 24, 2007
'This is erosion LIKE WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE' - One the most ambitious regeneration projects ever undertaken along seven miles of the Welsh coastline is crumbling into the sea. The Millennium Coastal Park in Carmarthenshire, which cost some £30m, is losing huge chunks to the ocean. A combination of high tides and storms have now seen a major section of the park, about a quarter of a mile long, slip into the Burry Estuary, which is notorious for its strong tides. The latest incident at the park took place last Monday, when a 400-metre stretch of cycle path near Burry Port was destroyed by waves. A "FREAK" 8.4 metre-high tide was blamed, as well as violent waves caused by Atlantic storms. "It's very alarming and is causing serious concern in the town. Something serious is happening. It's unbelievable." "A lot of local experts on tides have said that the recent swells have been extremely high. We're suffering with these swells that are battering the coast." A report by the National Trust earlier this month predicted a grim future for Wales' picturesque, and increasingly lucrative, coastline. Increased flooding and erosion was predicted because of storms and raised sea levels caused by climate change.

Drought fires up food bugs

Breaking Viral News: Southern Australia
Feb 26, 2007

Drought and heat are being blamed for a doubling in food poisoning cases in 2007. Alarming health department statistics show more than 800 South Australians have suffered food poisoning in the first seven weeks of this year. This is more than double the year-to-date average of 379 for the past three years. The usual health authority reckoning is that the confirmed cases represent about 10 per cent of the number of people affected, which would mean more than 8000 victims. While the current E coli outbreak is troubling health investigators, campylobacter has been responsible for most of the latest illnesses. Since January 1, there have been 528 confirmed cases, compared with 222 for the same period last year. Salmonella cases are up from 99 to 155 and cryptosporidium from 41 to 105.

Giant Sinkhole Swallows Family in Guatemala


Earth News: Guatemala
Feb 23, 2007
Photo: Rescue crews work around the area of Guatemala City where a 330-foot-deep sinkhole swallowed homes and businesses on Friday.

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AP) -- A giant sinkhole opened before dawn Friday, swallowing several homes and a truck and leaving a father and two teenagers missing in Guatemala City.
Officials said the 100-meter-deep (330-foot-deep) sinkhole in a crowded neighborhood of poor, concrete homes was caused by recent rains and an underground sewage flow from a ruptured main.
Authorities said the hole was extremely unstable, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people from their homes. Police helped residents, some even carrying refrigerators and televisions on their shoulders.
The pit was emitting foul odors, loud noises and tremors, and a rush of water could be heard from its depths. Authorities feared it could widen or others could open up.

Defend the Whales

Skywatch-Media Public Announcement
I-GO is the Greenpeace online community against whaling.Our objective: stop whaling forever in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.Your challenge: Create your own campaign, involve others.Together we are going to end whaling forever. see more
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Measles epidemic hits North Korea

Viral News: North Korea
Feb 20, 2007

A MEASLES epidemic has hit North Korea, causing at least four deaths and infecting some 3000 people.
Measles has been found in 30 North Korean counties since the outbreak started in November, the Red Cross said. "The continued presence of the measles is accompanied by a risk of increasing cases and the further spread of the illness to other parts of the country," it said. North Korean health authorities notified the Red Cross, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international bodies of the outbreak last week and the impoverished state requested five million doses of measles vaccine.

Bird flu outbreak in Pakistan zoo


Viral News: Bird Flu

Feb 20, 2007
The zoo in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has been closed temporarily after tests confirmed an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Twenty-four birds of different types have died at the zoo since 12 February and authorities have been vaccinating birds against avian flu.
Earlier this month the virus was found in chickens in nearby Rawalpindi.
Tests are also being carried out on staff who work at the zoo, particularly those in close contact with the birds.

Auckland Earthquake Strongest in Past Century

Breaking Seismic News: New Zealand
Feb 21, 2007
Auckland has been hit by its largest earthquake since the 1890s.
A 3.7 magnitude quake shook the region at 8:24pm.
It was shallow - at six kilometres below the surface.
A second, larger tremor struck at nine o'clock and registered 4.5 on the Richter Scale.
It was at a depth of 15 kilometres.
Seismologist Bryan Field says it was one of the larger earthquakes Auckland has had in its history, but he doubts it will have caused serious structural damage.
Dr Field says two consecutive small earthquakes can mean a larger one is to follow - but he believes this is NOT the precursor for a large earthquake.



UPDATE: Feb 22, 2007
Auckland was rocked by three earthquakes last night, the strongest measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale. The tremors, which are unusual for Auckland, were described as shallow quakes and were felt as far afield as Te Atatu and Kawau Island.

Earth News: Week Ending Feb 16, 2007

Earth News
Week of February 16, 2007

Vanishing Bees
American beekeepers in
22 states report huge
losses of their colonies in
recent weeks, possibly
due to a mysterious disease that
threatens to disrupt the pollination of
a wide range of crops. Dave Hackenberg,
a Pennsylvania beekeeper who
reported the so-called Colony Collapse
Disorder to researchers at Pennsylvania
State University in November,
says he has lost about 2,000
hives. State and federal agricultural
researchers have been frustrated in
their search for a cause because the
affected hives are often found empty
except for the queen and a few bees.
But researchers say they are seeing
evidence in the dead bees of an
unknown pathogen and a high number
of known viruses. Beekeepers are
being advised to irradiate their equipment,
including boxes and combs, to
kill any possible pathogens.
Meteor Deaths
Nomads in the northern
Indian state of Rajasthan
told police that an explosion
from a meteor impact
killed three members of their group.
Four others were found injured at a
crater that police describe as being
caused by some kind of blast. The
Press Trust of India reports the victims
were sitting with some iron scrap
in an open field when an “object” fell
from the sky and hit them on the
evening of Feb. 8. A team of forensic
scientists has been called to the
scene to investigate the incident.

Tropical Cyclones
Tropical Storm Enok
formed just east of Madagascar,
then lost force
over the cooler waters
south of Rodrigues Island. Tropical
Storm Favio was approaching Madagascar
from the east late in the week.

Flood Rescue
The Zambia Wildlife
Authority launched an
operation to rescue wild
animals that had become
trapped by flash flooding in the South
Luangwa National Park. Local media
report that some of the animals had
drowned before the rescue efforts
began. Many flood-trapped wildlife
were moved to higher ground in a
hovercraft, but others were in such
remote areas that rescue efforts were
impossible, according to the stateowned
Zambia Daily Mail. Flooding
from unusually heavy seasonal rains
has killed scores of people across the
southern half of Africa in recent
weeks. Tens of thousands of others
have been forced from their homes.

Earthquakes
Thirty-five people in
southeastern Turkey were
injured as they panicked
during a magnitude 5.3
quake in Elazig province. The shaking
also cracked some buildings.
• Earth movements were also felt
widely across the Iberian peninsula
and northern Morocco, and in eastern
Romania, northern Pakistan, India’s
southern Andaman Islands, Indonesia’s
Sulawesi Island and central
Oklahoma.

Kathmandu Snow
The capital of Nepal
experienced its first snowfall
in 62 years as severe
wintry conditions killed at
least three people across the
Himalayan country. The meteorological
department said that the temperatures
in Kathmandu Valley were not
low enough for the snow to accumulate.
Many districts in western and
central Nepal reported unprecedented
levels of snowfall, blocking
roads and forcing schools to close.
Volcanoes
Indonesia’s Mount Semeru
exploded with a column of
ash that soared high above
the densely populated East
Java province. A nearby town was
blanketed with volcanic debris, but
officials say no injuries were
reported.
• About 45 households near
Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills volcano
were warned that they may be asked
to relocate on short notice if a lava
dome on the mountain’s northwest
flank shows further signs of impending
collapse. Scientists studying the
volcano say a collapse of the dome
could send superheated gas, ash and
rocks cascading into the area where
evacuation is being considered.

Marine Sentinels
The U.S. Navy says it is
considering the use of
dozens of trained dolphins
and sea lions to
patrol a key military base in coastal
Washington state from underwater
enemy intruders. The navy published
a notice in the Federal Register that it
needs to beef up security at the Kitsap-
Bangor base on Puget Sound near
Seattle. The notice said the use of
marine mammals is the most effective
way to do it. Because of their
extraordinary sonar abilities, dolphins
are excellent at patrolling for
swimmers and divers, said Tom
Lapuzza, a spokesman for the Navy’s
San Diego-based Marine Mammal
Program. One plan is for the dolphins
to drop a tag near any discovered
intruder. Another is for trained seals
to clamp a tethered cuff around any
invader’s leg or arm so the individual
can be reeled in for questioning.

Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending February 16, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

New weather, old pipes challenge nation’s water supply

Environmental Hazards: USA
February, 2007
Much of the United States – particularly in the Great Lakes and the Northeast – has combined sewer systems, in which sewage is carried to treatment facilities, but can overflow into rivers and lakes during storms. Add climate change to the recipe, which already has brought significantly higher rainfall to some parts of the country, and “This means more people in danger of getting sick, and likely more people are getting sick already.” In the summer of 2004, 1,450 people reported being ill in a resort community in northern Ohio with campylobacter, norovirus, giardia and salmonella. That summer was marked by rainfall that was 150 percent above the 50-year average. The difficult separation of drinking water and sewage may face more challenges than its aging infrastructure can withstand as unpredictable weather conditions produce floods that beset the nation. “Outbreaks of waterborne illness are like the plane crashes of the water industry. They’re the big events that get people’s attention. But there are other things going on. Beneath the big outbreak, we could have 5 percent of people getting sick and it wouldn’t even be reported." The nation needs better ways to monitor the safety of drinking water. The recipe for disaster is there, including intake points for drinking water are not consistently shielded from the sewage that periodically spills into surface waters; there is inadequate monitoring of the rivers, lakes and streams that provide drinking water and the quality of the treated drinking water; and there are signs that the water and sewer pipes are getting old.

Stumpy, an 8-day-old duckling born in Britain, has a rare mutation: 4 legs

Photo: Stumpy, a four-legged duckling at Warrawee Duck Farm, Copythorne, Hampshire, England. (AP Photo/PA, Barry Batchelor)

Feb 19, 2007
A RARE mutation has left an eight-day-old duckling with two nearly full-sized legs behind the two he runs on. He is doing well on a duck farm in New Forest, Hampshire, 95 miles southwest of London. "It was absolutely bizarre. I was thinking 'he's got too many legs' and I kept counting 'one, two, three, four.' He's eating and surviving so far, and he is running about with those extra legs acting like stabilizers." The mutation is rare, but cases have been recorded across the world. One duckling named Jake was born in Queensland, Australia, in 2002 with four legs but died soon after.

Bears say goodnight as snow falls in Russia

Observations
January, 2007
After weeks of rain and unprecedented high temperatures, cold and snow finally hit back in central Russia, sending bears to their winter slumber and endangering other hibernating species like hedgehogs. "As soon as snow covered the earth, the brown bear that stayed awake all this time returned to his lair and fell asleep." However, hedgehogs - who also failed to go into hibernation and are unlikely to do so now - risk "dying of cold and hunger" with the return of proper Russian winter. Temperatures registered in Russia this winter since November 20 have TOPPED EVERY RECORD. Frost did not come back to Russia until earlier this week, with snow finally covering the green grass and mushrooms that all this while grew in suburban Moscow's forests.

Rumors of War

Skywatch-Media Newsletter

Feb 19, 2007
Tehran insists that U.S. policy is aimed at toppling the regime and subjugating Iran. The White House charges that Iran is violently sabotaging U.S. efforts to stabilize the Middle East while not so secretly developing nuclear weapons. As the raids and skirmishes in Iraq underscore, a hidden war is already unfolding.








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Reports of Peanut Butter-Borne Illness Increase


Consumer Alert
Food Contamination

Feb 17, 2007
Peter Pan brand peanut butter and some batches of Wal-Mart's Great Value house brand were linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 300 people nationwide since August. The number of those sickened is likely much higher than the official estimate. The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number "2111."

Chemtrails and Spirituality

Chemtrails
February, 2007
I’ve continued pondering chemtrails and the biggest problem I have found is how my mind keeps turning to the philosophical aspect of the mystery. There is science aplenty if you follow the threads, it is often said that the truth is hidden in plain sight and such is the case with chemtrails. The problem for many is in finding satisfaction with the idea that it is simply weather modification or geo-engineering or communication technology and minds are reaching deeper into the metaphysical world for answers. For me, I’m always looking for the threads that tie everything in a neat picture so I can move on to the next mystery, but the amount of information available is nearly overwhelming and reaching a complete conclusion seems next to impossible.


Big northern lights: What's the trigger?

Cosmic/Space News
Photo
Light show: A northern lights display danced across the sky in Red River, Wis., last December.
EVAN SIEGLE/GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE/AP

Feb 15, 2007
NASA is launching satellites Friday to determine what's behind destructive energy pulses.
By Peter N. Spotts Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Poker Flat Research Range near Fairbanks, Alaska, scientists this week are working to unravel the mystery behind bursts of energetic particles that can turn a so-so display of northern lights into a breathtaking show.
These particles come from the sun and build up within Earth's magnetic field. Then, something snaps and they hurtle toward Earth's poles. The mystery: What triggers the sudden release?
Continue

Consumer Warning From the FDA

Contamination Warming
February, 2007
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use certain jars of Earth's Best Organic 2 Apple Peach Barley Wholesome Breakfast baby food because of the risk of contamination with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism, a life-threatening illness or death. -The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become aware that a number of Americans who placed orders for specific drug products over the Internet (Ambien, Xanax, Lexapro, and Ativan), instead received a product that, according to preliminary analysis, contains haloperidol, a powerful anti-psychotic drug. Reports show several consumers in the United States have sought emergency medical treatment for symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, muscle spasms and muscle stiffness after ingesting the suspect product. Haloperidol can cause muscle stiffness and spasms, agitation, and sedation. The origin of these tablets is unknown but the packages were postmarked in Greece. Identifying the vendors is difficult because of the deceptive practices of many commercial outlets on the Internet. (Photographs of the tablets in question and the shipping packages.)

Fatal fungus threatens frog survival

Endangered Animal Species
Feb 17, 2007
Conservationists estimate 170 frog species have become extinct in the past two decades, and fear another 1900 are on the way out. Many have been killed off by the deadly chytrid fungus, which is thought to have spread from Africa to every continent except Antarctica. Faced with the advance of the deadly disease, as well as habitat loss, global warming and pollution, frogs and other amphibians are in serious decline. "It's been responsible for huge population crashes and it's still spreading. Very few species are resistant to it, and it's becoming more and more widespread." Recently the fungus has been recorded in frogs in Japan, where it was identified last month, and in Sardinia. In Central and South America it has wreaked devastation, with an estimated two thirds of some species wiped out. Amphibians form an important element of the world's ecological biomass, especially in tropical zones, where they are so numerous they play an important role in controlling insects and bugs that can cause diseases in people. Scientists have called for every zoo, aquarium and botanical garden in the world to rescue at least one species of frog. They urged each institution to provide a home for 500 or more frogs to build up a disease-free population. The captive frogs will provide a population reservoir that can be reintroduced to the wild once their natural habitat is safe from the disease.

Freak storm kills millions of fish

Breaking Storm News: Scotland
Feb 16, 2007
Millions of fish have been washed ashore at St Andrews Bay following a FREAK North Sea storm lasting several days. The fish were found over a five-mile stretch of beach, including West Sands, one of the top-rated in Scotland. Staff at St Andrews Aquarium have been trying to save some of the creatures which include five species of crab, plaice and flounder, starfish, scallops and an octopus. Around 80% of the creatures have died. Another likely factor is the fact that the tide is not rising as far as in previous years, leaving the creatures stranded on the beach and at the mercy of seagulls. The sealife had been washed ashore over a three-day period. "It is essentially A COMPLETE FREAK OF NATURE. Everyone that has talked about this seems to think it is down to oil tanker pollution but it is not. It is like a natural disaster. I have seen this happen once but it was on a tiny scale and there were a few animals washed up."

January weather hottest by far

Earth News: USA & Canada
Global Warming Alert
2/15/2007
By SETH BORENSTEIN
The Associated Press

More Recorded Evidence That The Earth Is Continuing To Heat Up According to the National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The broken record was fueled by a waning El Nino and a gradually warming world. Records on the planet's temperature have been kept since 1880. Spurred on by unusually warm Siberia, Canada, northern Asia and Europe, the world's land areas were 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than a normal January. That didn't just nudge past the old record set in 2002, but broke that mark by 0.81 degrees, which meteorologists said is a lot, since such records often are broken by hundredths of a degree at a time. "That's PRETTY UNUSUAL FOR A RECORD TO BE BROKEN BY THAT MUCH." The scientists went beyond their normal doublechecking and took the UNUSUAL step of running computer climate models "just to make sure that what we're seeing was real." From one standpoint it is not unusual to have a new record because we've become accustomed to having records broken." But January was A BIGGER JUMP THAN THE WORLD HAS SEEN IN ABOUT 10 YEARS. The temperature of the world's land and water combined — the most effective measurement — was 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal, breaking the old record by more than one-quarter of a degree. Ocean temperatures alone didn't set a record. In the Northern Hemisphere, land areas were 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal for January, breaking the old record by about three-quarters of a degree. But the United States was about normal. The nation was 0.94 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for January, ranking only the 49th warmest since 1895. Siberia was on average 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal. Eastern Europe had temperatures averaging 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Canada on average was more than 5 degrees warmer than normal. Larger increases in temperature farther north, compared to mid-latitudes, is "sort of the global warming signal." It is what climate scientists predict happens, and will happen more frequently, with global warming. Temperature records break regularly with global warming, but "with a little bit of El Nino thrown in, you don't just break records, you smash records." As much of the United States already knows, February doesn't seem as unusually warm as January was. "Even with global warming, you're not going to keep that cold air bottled up in Alaska and Canada forever."

Chase facing recovery woe

Breaking BioScience News: United Kingdom
Feb 15, 2007
Experts from the Forestry Commission have said it could take decades for areas of Cannock Chase to recover after severe gales brought down thousands of trees. Initially the number of trees felled by the freak weather in January was thought to be in the region of 1,000 but the Forestry Commission have now said the real toll could be much higher with as many as 4,000 trees destroyed. Although roads and facilities are clear of debris there are still numerous tracks and paths which are blocked by trees which will be cleared over coming weeks. Last month’s storms were said to be the worst since 1987 and in certain places it could take as long as 50 to 100 years to recover.

Lightning topples 100-foot redwood

Earth News: California, USA
Click On Photo For Gallery: Greg Freehling looks the redwood tree struck by lightening... (Mathew Sumner/San Mateo County Times)
Feb 14, 2007
Lightning toppled a 100-foot redwood - Those who heard it said it was one of the loudest booms their ears had registered, and whoever saw it said it was one of the brightest flashes they had ever seen. The strike, during a storm on Monday evening, shook the houses as far as three blocks away. One house was hit by the falling tree - first, the house shook, then the windows blew out. The tree was split to the earth, with only 25 feet still standing. Lightning is RARE in this valley and this one "was almost like an explosion." Some called the event "very freakish." Just a reminder that Mother Nature has more than earthquakes, floods and landslides in store for the Bay Area. "We humans do what we can to build our little fortifications, but in the end, we're really not in charge."

Rising Floodwaters Threaten 500,000 in Southern Africa

Earth News: Africa
Photo: Hundreds of Mozambicans are cut off during floods in this Feb. 29, 2000 file photo and floods again threaten the southern African country as many parts in the northern districts are waterlogged from exessive rains






Feb 13, 2007



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Relief agencies in southern Africa say rising flood waters across several countries in the region are threatening 500,000 people and that more than 60,000 have been evacuated in Mozambique. Aid groups report that the flooding has been accompanied by outbreaks of cholera among those affected.
Disaster relief groups in southern Africa warn that floodwaters in the Zambezi River Basin, which have already caused the worst flooding in six years, have not peaked yet.
The Red Cross Federation's director for Southern Africa, Francoise Le Goff, says the disaster stretches from Angola to Mozambique and includes parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
"The rains are everywhere resulting in some massive destruction," she noted. "We have serious destruction of roads, houses, vehicles. So it is very serious."

90% of bird flu cases hit people under age 40

Viral News: Bird Flu
Feb 10, 2007
Nearly 90 per cent of the people who have been diagnosed so far with H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus were under age 40, a new analysis from the World Health Organization shows. That as-yet-unexplained phenomenon could be a clue that widespread immunity to infection by the virus may exist in people aged 35 and older.
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Branson, Gore launch prize to cut greenhouse gases

Environmental News: Great Britain
Greenhouse gases

Feb 09. 2007
LONDON (AFP) - Virgin chief Sir Richard Branson has launched what he called the world's biggest prize to inspire innovators to develop a way to remove greenhouse gases from the earth's atmosphere.
Branson announced the 25-million-dollar Virgin Earth Challenge prize at a joint press conference here with Al Gore, the former US vice president turned global environment campaigner. The prize will go to the individual or group able to show a commercially viable design resulting in the net removal of man-made atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least 10 years, without harmful side-effects.
Branson said: "Could it be possible to find someone on Earth who could devise a way of removing the lethal amount of CO2 from the Earth's atmosphere?

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