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Earth News Journal: Week Ending May 4, 2007

Earth News Journal

Week of May 4, 2007

Recent sightings of sick
and dead pelicans, sea
lions and dolphins along
stretches of the Southern
California coast have been linked to
increased levels of a toxin in the
ocean. Marine biologists say that
domoic acid, which builds up in shellfish
and fish during outbreaks of red
tide, is then passed on to the birds and
other animals that eat them. Scientists
believe that environmental degradation
is encouraging algae blooms to
flourish, creating the toxin. Some
poisoned pelicans have literally
fallen out of the sky dead, according
to the International Bird Rescue
Research Center. Director Jay Holcomb
says that outbreaks of sick and
dead wildlife occur in the area each
spring, but this year has been much
worse. Although domoic acid is a naturally
occurring toxin produced by
microscopic algae, something is
making recent blooms of the algae
especially virulent.

Disappearing Arctic Ice
A new study has revealed
that the Arctic ice cap is
melting much faster than
earlier computer models
had projected. Researchers from the
U.S. National Center for Atmospheric
Research and the University
of Colorado.s National Snow and Ice
Data Center say they have discovered
that the September ice coverage actually
declined at a rate of about 7.8 percent
per decade during the 1953-2006
period. That is more than three times
the 2.5 percent average that climate
models had predicted for the same
period. This means that the Arctic
Ocean could be free or nearly free of
summer ice as early as 2020 . three
decades sooner than earlier projections.
.Right now ... the Arctic helps
keep the Earth cool,. said glaciologist
Ted Scambos.

Heated Growth
Researchers in Australia
say that some species of
fish in the South Pacific
are growing larger and at
a much faster rate due to warming
ocean temperatures. A study published
in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences says
that higher ocean temperatures are
speeding up the growth rate of wild
fish stocks by up to 30 percent. Commonwealth
Scientific and Industrial
Research Organization researcher
Ron Thresher said this trend could
have huge implications for the longterm
sustainability of the marine
ecosystem. .Eventually [marine life]
will reach a point where they can.t
cope,. said Thresher.

Heat and Dust
A pre-monsoon heat wave
has killed at least eight
people in northern and
western parts of India.
Most of the fatalities occurred in
northern Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana
and Madhya Pradesh states where
daytime temperatures hovered
between 108 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Power shortages forced many to
sleep outdoors without air conditioning
or even fans. India.s annual
period of heat and dust begins in April
and peaks in mid-May. The arrival
of the southwest monsoons usually
brings cooling rains by late June.

The strongest quake to
strike Britain in five years
damaged more than 800
homes in the southeast of
England. Shaking was felt as far away
as northern France.
. Earth movements were also felt
in southwest Pakistan, northwestern
Sumatra, the Solomon Islands, far
southern Japan and the San Francisco
Bay Area.

Balmy April
The warmest and driest
conditions in Western
Europe since records began
have foresters concerned
about this summer's fire season,
while climatologists predict that
2007 could become the warmest year
on record. A persistent area of high
pressure over France, combined with
a stalled low over Spain, has channeled
hot air from the deserts of North
Africa into the heart of Europe,
according to meteorologists. The
British Met Office says that the country
experienced its warmest April
since 1659.

Seafaring Buck
Two Cornish fishermen
say they made the catch of
their lives by reeling in a
young deer that had managed
to swim almost a mile off the
coast of England. Chris Earl and
Tony Allsopp were checking on their
lobster pots when they spotted a pair
of antlers bobbing among the waves
near their boat. The fishermen managed
to get alongside the frightened
animal, lasso it and haul it on board
by the antlers. .Luckily, it wasn.t the
biggest of animals, or we wouldn.t
have had a chance,. said Earl. .It was
about the size of a big dog.. The
RSPCA said the buck probably came
from a wooded area a few miles away.
Earl and Allsopp took the animal
back to shore, where they locked it in
their van until a representative from
the animal welfare agency could
arrive. The RSPCA said the buck was
released into a nearby woods .none
the worse for its extraordinary

Earth News: A Journal of the Planet
Week Ending May 4, 2007
Distributed by: UPS
© 2007-Earth Frenzy Radio

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