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Earth News Journal: Week Ending March 3, 2007

Earth News
Week of March 3, 2007

Antarctic Eden
Marine biologists
announced the discovery
of a pristine seabed
ecosystem that became
visible when massive ice shelves
broke off of Antarctica. Those collapses
of the Larsen ice shelves
revealed a 3,800-square-mile
expanse of thriving seabed that had
been roofed over by ice for up to
12,000 years. The Census of Marine
Antarctic Life project says it found
several previously unidentified
species in the area, as well as more
common ones that are now able to
survive in the Antarctic environment
due to climate change. The scientists
say they found four new species of
cnidarians, creatures that are related
to coral, jellyfish and sea anemones.
Prior to the collapse of the Larsen B
ice shelf in 2002, scientists were able
to get only glimpses of the seabed
through boreholes.


La Niña Returns
U.S. climate experts
announced that the weakening
El Niño ocean-warming
phenomenon in the
tropical Pacific is rapidly being
replaced by its opposite phase, known
as La Niña. The relatively mild El
Niño was responsible for a mainly
quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic
last year, as well as severe droughts
in Australia and parts of Southeast
Asia. Forecasters at the U.S. environment
agency NOAA say that
depending upon how strong the La
Niña ocean cooling becomes, it could
produce a more active Atlantic hurricane
season this summer and create
an entirely different set of global climate
disruptions than its warm water
counterpart. NOAA forecaster Vernon
Kousky said that La Niñas tend
to develop from March to June,
reaching their peak intensity at the
end of the year.


Dolphin Slaughter
A massive annual hunt
of dolphins is drawing
to a close at a central
Japan whaling town. As
many as 20,000 of the marine mammals
may have been herded up since
October so they could be either
butchered or sold to marine parks
around the world. Despite drawing
outrage from animal-rights groups,
the dolphins were surrounded on the
open sea by fishermen in motorboats
from the port of Taiji. The animals
were then herded into small coves,
where they were stabbed or speared
with lances. The youngest and most
attractive are usually captured alive
to be sold for up to $100,000 to theme
parks, according to environmentalist
Richard O’Barry, a former trainer
with the classic television series
“Flipper.” The annual hunt and sale
of whale meat in supermarkets has the
support of the Japanese government,
which environmentalists say ignores
testing results that show dolphin meat
contains 13.5 times the amount of
mercury contamination permitted in
food. Fishermen defend the hunt as
being part of the traditions and cuisine
of the region, as well as being
key to their livelihoods.


Volcanoes
Southern Italy’s Stromboli
volcano suddenly began
spewing large amounts of
lava into the Tyrrhenian
Sea off Sicily, prompting authorities
on the windswept island of the same
name to warn residents of possible
small tsunamis. Islanders who live in
homes less than 33 feet above sea
level were urged to move to higher
ground until the lava flows subside.
• Far East Russia’s Klyuchevskoi
volcano spewed a column of black
ash high above the Kamchatka peninsula.
The nearby village of Klyuchi
was later blanketed by falling ash.


Tropical Cyclones
Category 3 Cyclone Favio
slammed into the coast of
southern Mozambique,
killing at least five people
in the town of Vilanculos before
drenching a nation that was already
in the grip of a flood crisis.
• Two people were killed on the
Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, and
nine hurt on nearby Reunion, when
Topical Cyclone Gamede brushed
both islands.
• Cyclone Humba formed briefly
over the central Indian Ocean.


Earthquakes
Two earthquakes jolted
the southern Caribbean
island nation of Trinidad
and Tobago within a fourday
period. No damage or injuries
were reported.
• Earth movements were also felt
in southern Chile, northwestern California,
northwestern Greece, eastern
Turkey and southwestern China.


Warming Escape Route
A leading Australian
environment official
announced plans to create
a wildlife corridor
stretching nearly 1,740 miles down
the country’s east coast to allow
species to find new habitats as global
warming makes living in their old
homes impossible. New South Wales
state Environment Minister Bob
Debus told the Sydney Morning Herald
that the idea is to persuade private
landowners to release their property
so that national parks along the Great
Eastern Ranges can be linked
together. “We have to create, protect
and restore ecological corridors that
will allow species to move and to find
new areas of sanctuary,” said Debus.



Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending March 3, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

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