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Heat wave wreaks havoc across Southeast Europe

Photo: More than 180 fires have broken out in Greece. [Getty Images]

Drought, fire, electricity outages and water shortages are among the effects of a heat wave that has afflicted Southeast Europe during the past weeks. Rivers are drying up, and crops are being destroyed at an UNPRECEDENTED level. Even when the searing temperatures have abated, the impact – in terms of the economy – could be felt for a lo
ng time to come.

Photo Below:
Romania could lose as much as 90% of its crops this year. [Gabriel Petrescu]
Romania has already lost almost 1.7 million hectares of its grain crop, out of a total 2.8 million. Experts project that up to 90% of the crop will eventually be destroyed. Meanwhile, specialists with the Romanian Waters Administration warn that rivers will dry up in the coming weeks. Hydropower production is down. The largest plant in Romania saw a drop in power production of 40%. Authorities warn that the heat wave could lead to the closure of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant and the suspension of bilateral energy export contracts. At least 33 heat-related deaths have been recorded. Serbia has also been sweltering, with temperatures soaring as high as 42 degrees Celsius in some areas. The heat has also resulted in several fires, the biggest of which broke out in the Stara Planina mountains, about 300km southwest of Belgrade. An estimated 300 hectares of grassland and shrubbery have burned, and firefighters were unable to control the blaze for three days. In Kosovo, the authorities decided July 24th to declare a state of emergency. Fires have broken out in the municipalities of Gjilan, Kamenica, Ferizaj, Peja, Prizren and Suhareka
Hani i Elezit. Heat has caused a number of fires across Montenegro

Photo Below:
Albanians flock to the beach to cool off. [Getty Images]
The heat and drought have further exacerbated Albania's perennial summer energy shortages. The country depends on hydropower, which has sunk to HISTORICALLY LOW LEVELS. The state energy corporation has been cutting power for consumers for two to four hours a day. Officials also report fires across the country, In Macedonia, a state of emergency was already in effect, due to a previous heat wave in June. Temperatures that have reached 43 degrees Celsius have caused more than 200 fires in Macedonia, destroying more than 4,000 hectares of forests and pastures. Fires burned all over Greece last week as temperatures remained high. Scientists warn that loss of forest acreage has an effect on Athens that is equivalent to a doubling of vehicles overnight. In other words, Athens seems to have lost an essential part of its natural cooling mechanism. In Croatia, the number of drownings has doubled as people flock to the water in an attempt to seek relief from the heat. Although meteorologists are saying the temperatures are due to break, no rain is forecast for the region.

Hurricane boost 'due to warm sea'

A new analysis of Atlantic hurricanes says their numbers have doubled over the last century.

The study says that warmer sea surface temperatures and changes in wind patterns caused by climate change are fuelling much of the increase.

Some researchers say hurricanes are cyclical and the increase is just a reflection of a natural pattern.

But the authors of this study say it is not just nature - they say the frequency has risen across the century.

Scientists excited by Indonesian-caught coelacanth

Photo: A very rare coelacanth fish as Indonesian, Japanese and French specialists (unseen) carry out an autopsy of in Manado, North Sulawesi, in June. Coelacanths are among the world's oldest fish species. Their fossil records date back more than 360 million years and suggest the animal has changed little in that time.

Two months ago Indonesian fisherman Justinus Lahama caught a fish so exceptional that an international team of scientists rushed here to investigate.

French experts equipped with sonar and GPS asked Lahama to reconstruct, in his dugout canoe, exactly what it was he did that enabled him to catch a rare coelacanth fish, an awkward-swimming species among the world's oldest.

Last May 19, Lahama and his son Delvy manoevred their frail canoe into the Malalayang river, on the outskirts of Manado, on northern Sulawesi island. Like any other morning, they rowed out to sea and fished within 200 metres (yards) of the beach.

"I very quickly unrolled the usual trawl line with three hooks, about 110 metres (yards) long, and at the end of three minutes, I felt a large catch," Lahama recounts.

The pull was strong: "I had painful arms -- I felt such a resistance, I thought that I was pulling up a piece of coral."

After 30 minutes of effort under the searing tropical sun, he finally saw a fish swishing at a depth of about 20 metres (65 feet).

"The sea was very calm this day. There was no wind, no clouds, no current. The water was very clear. The fish let itself be drawn in from there," he says.

He thought he was dreaming, he said, when he saw the creature at the end of his line.

"It was an enormous fish. It had phosphorescent green eyes and legs. If I had pulled it up during the night, I would have been afraid and I would have thrown it back in," he exclaims.

The Coming Catastrophe - Avian Flu

Breaking Viral News
Bird flu risk increases
Defra advise more patrols for dead wild birds in the south east after HN51 cases are detected in Europe

Commentary by: By Dr Gilbert Morris
Caribbean Islands
Health and illness -- or sickness beyond being generally unwell -- will be the main issue of our new millennium. And in a manner of speaking, we are off to a good start. The Avian (Bird) Flu (H5N1) threatens to repeat the 1918 global pandemic that killed 40 million people. In today's numbers, based on global population, that would mean between 80 to 200 million people; depending on geographical area and population density. A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily person-to-person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time. Continue

Sizzling Weather Hits Israel


A heat wave has hit Israel with temperatures rising to 45 degrees Celsius, unusually high for July, especially in the mountains and along the coast. The mass of hot air which settled over Israel all week is expected to last at least throughout the weekend, with intense humidity and high temperatures even through the night.
People have been asked to set their thermostats to 25 degrees Celsius, and curb electricity use during peak hours in homes and offices.

Lightning deaths rise in China


July 28, 2007
Lightning strikes have killed 403 people in China so far this year, equalling the total number of deaths from lightning in the whole of last year, the China Meteorological Administration said.
The administration attributed the higher rate of deaths to more frequent and severe lightning storms, Xinhua news agency reported.
Lightning storms caused 2,525 accidents between January and June, of which 52 involved fires, causing more than $10.6 million in direct economic losses, the administration said.
Chinese scientists have warned that global warming is likely to intensify extreme weather patterns, and severe storms in recent years may be a prelude to this.

New submarine volcano off Trinidad

Photo: The disturbance in the sea, 5 miles east of Radix Point, Trinidad & Tobago, show (inset) mud plumes associated with a growing mud volcano (Photos by Dr Richard Robertson)

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, July 27, 2007 - A submarine volcano located five miles east of Trinidad, off Radix Point, has been discovered but poses localised threats only to boaters.
The Seismic Research Unit (SRU) at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago said it received reports from divers two months ago of activity in the area and over that period the extrusion of mud "appears to have built up a 15 metre (50 feet) high mount which is now just below the water surface".
It is a mud volcano it was a mud volcano.
Director Dr Richard Robertson flew there Tuesday to investigate it.

Stronger Hurricanes Mean Whopper Waves

Bobbing buoys in the Atlantic Ocean have revealed what global warming has been up to lately. Along with stronger and more frequent hurricanes, warming seas and changing weather patterns have meant that waves have grown 2.3 to 6 feet higher, on average, in the past 30 years.

July 26, 2007 — Three decades of data about ocean waves, collected from buoys off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, shows waves are getting steadily larger in response to stronger hurricanes. The discovery offers a new way to spot trends in hurricane intensities — a subject of intense controversy.
Since 1975, hurricane-spawned waves have grown 2.3 to 6 feet higher.
"It probably has something to do with global warming," said oceanographer Paul Komar of Oregon State University.
Komar and his colleague Jonathan Allan analyzed the Atlantic waves after seeing a similar rise in heights in buoy data from the North Pacific. Their latest work is summarized in a short report in the July 24 issue of the journal Eos.
Global warming is a suspected cause of the North Pacific wave heights rising as well, although it could also be the effects of pollution from China, Komar said.


Discovery News' Kasey-Dee Gardner gets inside a hurricane simulator.

Major Quake, Tsunami Likely in Middle East, Survey Finds

Photo: Lebanon Coast
July 26, 2007
In A.D. 551, a massive earthquake spawned huge tsunamis that devastated the coast of Phoenicia, now Lebanon.
Now a new underwater survey has finally uncovered the fault likely responsible for the catastrophe and shown that it rumbles approximately every 1,500 years—which means a disaster is due any day now.
"It is just a matter of time before a destructive tsunami hits this region again," said Iain Stewart, an earthquake expert at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom not involved in the underwater survey.
The ample archaeological and historical evidence from the A.D. 551 earthquake indicate that it was truly a catastrophic event. The resulting tsunami damaged all major coastal cities between Tripoli and Tyr, and Tripoli was reported to have "drowned." (See a Lebanon map.)

Alarm Over High Number of Seabird Deaths

HUNDREDS of emaciated seabirds have washed up dead along the southeastern coast of America, alarming scientists who fear changes in the ocean could have affected the fish that the birds normally eat.
More than a thousand Shearwaters, large gull-like birds that spend most of their lives far out to sea, have been found dead over the past two weeks on beaches stretching from the Bahamas to the Carolinas, say wildlife biologists.
Officials are not certain what is causing the casualties but say that the only common factor is that they appeared to have died of malnutrition and dehydration during migration.
"It's got a lot of folks talking and wondering. Is this a canary in the coal mine issue?", said Jennifer Koches of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. "Is there something serious going on out in the ocean that it should be causing us serious alarm?"

Birds, animals also feeling the heat

PAKISTAN- Like human beings, birds and animals too are distressed by the scorching heat and humidity, which has broken records this summer. Birds have not been seen flying during noon and afternoon to avoid dehydration and sunstrokes, which prove fatal at times. Eagles, parrots, crows and chickens are the birds worst affected by the hot climatic conditions. Heat related deaths among birds and animals will further increase if the weather continued to get hotter in the coming days. Birds venturing out in summer noons and afternoons, especially crows, suffered from sunstrokes due to exposure to heavy sunbeams. After being hit by strokes, birds get motionless and pick up only if they are taken to a shady and cool place. The worst flying time for birds was between 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. Birds leaving their nests during this hot part of the day would be at a higher risk of being affected by heat strokes - a major reason behind many bird deaths in summer.

Myterious Booms Heard in Missouri

Missouri, USA
July 23, 2007

The United States Air Force has launched an investigation and hope to provide residents who heard a series of loud booms Monday with an answer to clear up any confusion. Military officials at Whiteman Air Force Base at Knob Noster, Missouri said that their staff would do everything they could to determine what caused all the commotion Monday afternoon. Air Force personnel were not aware of any missions or training exercises in the area at that time that would have caused the booms that were accompanied by shaking in some areas. Residents from one end of Camden county to the other reported hearing loud, sonic-type boom sounds beginning around 2:15 p.m. The sounds and shaking that accompanied the booms shook windows, rattled dishes and may have caused some damage to walls where the sheet rock cracked. The sheriff's department had contacted Whiteman, the St. Louis Earthquake Center and other agencies to find out what caused the noise.

Video: Hard Rain

July 25, 2007
Comment by Ian Davis

The government is relying on the Trident nuclear umbrella, but meanwhile it is losing the climate change war, as events this week have shown.

With Britain suffering from the worst floods in modern history, and up to 10,000 homes under water or in danger of being flooded across the country, it is hardly surprising that our guardians of national security at Westminster are asking some searching questions.

It seems that deep-seated problems in UK flood defences and drainage systems were first highlighted three years ago. But the issue was subject to buck-passing in the different ministries, because no single agency has the incentive to carry out, let alone act upon the necessary risk assessments. This is a major failing of our political class that has still to grasp the enormity of the challenge to our national security from climate change and to prioritise sustainable solutions.

Revealing the global threat of bird flu

Dr Bernard Vallat also discussed the OIE's recommendations to eradicate at the animal source and implement a number of principles including early detection, rapid confirmation of suspects, rapid and transparent notification and the use of vaccination when appropriate.

Geelong, Australia (SPX) Jul 24, 2007
The Lecture, Avian Influenza Epizooties: Where do we stand in 2007, was presented by Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). According to Dr Vallat the current epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza is a major global concern. One of the main constraints to controlling the outbreaks is the weakness of national veterinary services in many developing countries.

Heatwave turns south-east Europe into tinderbox as fires rage

Breaking Earth News
European Continent

High Alert Across Italy

South-eastern Europe is a tinderbox in the grip of an unrelenting heatwave that has claimed hundreds of lives as wildfires sweep southern Italy and bite into a national park in Slovakia.

Southern Italy is sweltering under a heatwave that has brought temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.

"We've had 50 calls so far already for airborne intervention against fires," public safety official Luca Spoletini said.

"The situation is similar to that of the past few days, with most of the fires burning in the centre and south of the country.

"The worst situations are in Sicily and Calabria."

Related News From Radio Free Europe
Heat Wave Kills Dozens In Southeastern Europe

Public Services Being Strained

July 25, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A major heat wave continues today across Southeastern Europe after record temperatures on July 24 that killed at least 12 people in Romania.


Severe drought devastates Romanian agriculture

July 24, 2007

Thirty-four of Romania's 42 counties are suffering from severe drought.

Iasi County is one of the most affected in the country, with 46 of its 98 communes confronted with lack of water supplies, dried pastures and extreme heath. 'We are desperate; there is no hope for us now. Over 2,000 hectares of crops are beyond hope. Some 1,000 families find themselves unable to feed their animals. As a direct consequence, they are forced to sell them for prices two or three times less than their real value. I can't imagine how they will get through winter without food for their animals and also for their children,' said the Mayor of Golaiesti, one of the five communities in which World Vision is present.

World Vision's Iasi Area Development Program, located in north east Romania, some 400 kilometres north of the capital, Bucharest, is affected. 'Trying to limit the effects of the drought, World Vision is currently assessing the situation so that it can support the local authorities in fighting the severe consequences of this phenomenon,' said Octavian Filip, Iasi ADP manager.

Seven days of rain set record

B.C. Canada
July 24, 2007

VICTORIA -- An all-time, record-high temperature of 36.3 C on July 11 in Victoria is starting to seem like ancient history, especially since it's been followed by another record -- seven straight days of rain that continued through Monday.

Never before has B.C.'s capital area had such a persistence of rain in July, said Anne McCarthy of Environment Canada's Victoria office. The previous record was five days, which has happened a number of times in the past, she said. Photo Courtesy of:

Earthquake "Swarm" Strikes Africa, Puzzles Experts

Photo: The Ol Doinyo Lengai mountain in Tanzania (above) could be fueling a recent swarm of small earthquakes in Kenya and Tanzania, experts say. Yet other scientists point out the tectonic plate shifting under Africa is likely the culprit for the jolts, the biggest of which reached magntitude 5.9.
Photograph by Photodisc/Getty

July 24, 2007

TANZANIA, KENYA - tremors began on July 12, so faint that they were barely noticed. A week later, a couple of good jolts sent people fleeing their offices in downtown Nairobi. Then the tremors were gone. Scientists are still unsure about what exactly caused this "earthquake swarm" — a cluster of relatively mild shakes spaced out over several days in Kenya and Tanzania. The quakes — one of which reached magnitude 5.9—caused little damage but spread fear that a big quake was imminent. Was it fault activity along the Rift Valley, where the African tectonic plate is stretching? Or was it Ol Doinyo Lengai, a Tanzanian volcano that sits near the swarm's epicenter? So far, government officials have pushed the theory that rumbling in Ol Doinyo Lengai was to blame for the tremors. Fears that a massive eruption was near triggered several hundred people to evacuate its slopes, and the Tanzanian government warned tourists to stay away. The volcano erupted Friday and officials said that the eruption had eased the pressure that caused the swarm of at least a dozen mini-quakes. But the mountain has a history of playing tricks on people. Tremors can loosen rocks that create dust as they tumble down the side, resembling lava flows leaving a trail of ash and steam down the mountain. Another possible cause of the tremors, scientists say, is that the earthquake swarm had nothing to do with the volcano at all, but was the result of tectonic activity in Africa's Great Rift Valley, which stretches approximately 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) in length. The African plate, which covers the entire continent, is in the middle of tectonic change. Scientists are having such a hard time telling what exactly happened last week in part because there are no monitoring stations on Ol Doinyo Lengai.

The New Mass Migration

Skywatch-Media Newsletter
July 24, 2007
Photo: Katrina Image, Aug. 2005

In the U.S., says McLeman, the stresses of climate change will be most keenly felt in the "dry belt" states of the Southwest. Given that many sun belt residents fled the rust belt for warmer climes in the first place, a backtracking isn't out of the question in the climate-changed world.

"Once the heat becomes unbearable, they may find the freezing cold a little more bearable–especially if it's not quite so freezing cold as they remember."

To Read More Visit the Newsletter Archives

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Tibetian Warming Trend Gaining Pace

Photo: Two Tibetan woman stand at the foot of the 7,191 metre Nojing Kangtsang glacier in February 2007

July 22, 2007

BEIJING (AFP) - Tibet, the mountainous region whose snows and glaciers give birth to several of Asia's major rivers, is warming at an alarming rate, China's state media reported Sunday, citing a new survey.

Average annual temperatures in Tibet are rising at a rate of 0.3 degrees celcius (0.54 degrees Fahrenheit) every ten years due to global warming, Xinhua news agency said, citing a report by the Tibet Meteorological Bureau.

The report, called "Tibet's Climate Under the Global Warming Trend," said the rate is far faster than in the rest of China and the world generally.

By comparison, China's average temperatures are rising by 0.4 degrees Celsius every 100 years, while a report by the UN's Governmental Panel on Climate Change has said average global surface temperatures have risen 0.74 degrees over the past 100 years.

"The Tibet climate shows a warming trend under global warming," Zang Hezhen, a senior engineer with the bureau, was quoted as saying.

Tibet's sensitive alpine environment is seen as a key barometer of the world's climate.

Average temperatures in various parts of Tibet last winter ranged from 0.5 to 2.8 degrees Celsius higher than normal, while the region as a whole was 1.6 degrees Celsius warmer than usual.

Four of Tibet's five warmest winters of the past 35 years have occurred since 2000, the survey said.

Bloom washing ashore in Southwest Florida

Florida, USA
Photo: Trichodesmium blown on shore, leaving a smelly, bubbly residue.

July 22, 2007
It’s not red tide. It’s not red drift algae. And it’s not anything that locals can blame on Lake Okeechobee.

“I’ve been here 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Debra Hale, owner of Gulf Breeze Concessions, a hot dog stand at the Bonita Beach public access area. “That looks like sewer water.”

It could be one of two naturally occurring algae that have been menacing the Southwest Florida coast for the past few months.

If it looks like sewage is likely a form of algae called Lyngbya majuscula, said Rick Bartleson, a research scientist for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Some of the sewage-like algae has been washing up on Sanibel beaches too, Bartleson said.

But it could also be algae from a massive bloom off the coast called Trichodesmium, he said.

That bloom, which appears to be about 50 square miles in size, has been washing ashore in Southwest Florida from Collier County to Charlotte County for the past month.

News Source: Virtual/Matter: by Jordy

USDA Bee Researchers Discover Link Between Nutrition And Colony Collapse

July 23, 2007
Researchers have been able to quickly debunk one claim for the demise of commercial bee colonies this past year, cell phones.

The culprit is more likely improper nutrition, say the researchers.

Specifically, unfavorable weather, too dry in the fall and too warm in the winter, kept plants from growing back east and in the Midwest.

That meant no pollen for bees to feed on in winter and spring.

The solution: a nutritional supplement, developed jointly by USDA researchers and SAFE R & D, a company working with the USDA. The supplement is a brown paste that the bees seem to love.

Europe Hit by Extreme Weather

European Continent
July 23, 2007

Torrential rainfall caused huge disruptions in many parts of Western Europe this weekend. Meanwhile, soaring temperatures in Eastern Europe killed 22 people.

In a weekend of extremes, torrential rainfall across Western Europe caused severe flooding and damage, killing one person, while a heatwave in Eastern Europe has already killed 22 people.

The deluge of rain hit Great Britain hard, particularly in central England, which saw the worst flooding to hit the area in 60 years and millions of pounds in damage. The town of Pershore in Worcestershire experienced the heaviest rainfall in the country. Over the space of 25 hours, 145.4 millimeters (5.72 inches) of rain poured on the town -- about three times the monthly norm.


Mudslides: Deluge, then fellowship

Colorado, USA
July 23, 2007

Residents of Alpine woke up to dry weather Monday, encouraging them to continue the cleanup of this weekend's heavy mudslides.

Some homes in this steep mountain valley west of Buena Vista filled up with as much as 6 feet of sludge when a wall of mud damaged half the homes in town.

The area has received an exceptional amount of rain during the past month, which saturated the ground. Saturday night, a severe thunderstorm dropped more than three inches of rain, along with hail, in the area about 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista, Chaffee County dispatcher Paige Croix said.

"It was a deluge," Croix said. "Mostly cars are totally buried."

Firefighters evacuated 98 people after mudslides buried cars and slid into basements, officials said.

The mudslides wiped out pieces of County Roads 162 and 292, Croix said. No one was hurt.


Breaking Earth News

A speaker attached to a tsunami-alert tower (inset) turns towards the famed Patong Beach in Phuket.

New tsunami-alert system in Andaman provinces fails to reassure locals, tourists

Although it has been almost three years since the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated Thailand's Andaman coastline, including Patong beach in Phuket, tourists visiting the rebuilt resort island still can't stop thinking about the massive waves.

Even the warning system now in place has not helped that much in easing the fears of both tourists and locals.

Global warming has already changed world's rainfall patterns

Breaking Climate News
Photo: A Malawian farmer works on his land in Nsanje, 2005.
(AFP/File/Gianluigi Guercia)

PARIS (AFP) - A study has yielded the first confirmation that global warming is already affecting world's rainfall patterns, bringing more precipitation to northern Europe, Canada and northern Russia but less to swathes of sub-Saharan Africa, southern India and Southeast Asia.

The changes "may have already had significant effects on ecosystems, agriculture and human regions that are sensitive to changes in precipitation, such as the Sahel," warns the paper, released on Monday by Nature, the British science journal.

Scientists have long said that global warming is bound to interfere with snow and rainfall patterns, because air and sea temperatures and sea-level atmospheric pressure -- the underlying forces behind these patterns -- are already changing.

But, until now, evidence for declaring that the interference is already happening existed anecdotally or in computer models, rather than from observation

Warming Poses Threats To Chesapeake

Maryland, USA
Photo: A view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Kent Island, Md.

July 20, 2007
Climate change has already begun to alter the Chesapeake Bay, warming and raising its waters in a way that could unbalance delicate ecosystems and doom low-lying islands. A report sketches a prognosis that is troubling even by the standards of the Chesapeake - a beautiful but polluted estuary that environmentalists have spent decades trying to save. Some of the bay's oldest problems, such as low-oxygen "dead zones," could get worse as the bay's water slowly warms. And new problems are cropping up, as key plants and animal species show signs that they are uncomfortably warm.

Record numbers head overseas as heatwave sweeps Europe

High temperatures have been recorded throughout south-eastern Europe, including in Belgrade, Serbia, where a man cools his head in a fountain.

Breaking Earth News
European Continent

"The Mediterranean climate of this country no longer exists," Michalis Petrakis, director of the Greek Institute of Environmental Research, told the Observer. "It is changing even faster than we expected.

Holidaymakers desperate to find some respite from the unrelenting rain and flooding in the UK are flocking in record numbers to the sun-baked shores of the Mediterranean's tourist hot spots.
Travel industry experts have predicted that up to as many as 10 million British tourists are taking advantage of last-minute bargain package deals as they flee Britain's damp, miserable summer.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has said that it expects bookings to be up by around 5 to 7 percent on last year's numbers.

The number of passengers flying from Heathrow this month is expected to rise by up to 40 per cent on numbers last year with around 800,000 tourists due to pass through Heathrow next week.
Scroll down for more ...

Photo: Tourists refresh in the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) fountain in central Rome

Tiny ex-Soviet neighbour Moldova, one of Europe's poorest nations, is suffering from the worst drought in 60 years, with day temperatures hovering at a record 41 Celsius.

Greece has declared war against roasting weather, with mass-selling daily Eleftherotypia's Friday headlines screaming: "Nightmare in the land of fire" after firefighters spent days battling a blaze on Mount Parnitha that destroyed the surrounding area and the fire service reported 115 fires in a 24-hour period.

The temperature in Greece this weekend is due to soar to 43C in the shade. "It is a desperate situation," Eleftherotypia said.

Meanwhile, the Observer reported, Macedonia has declared a state of emergency while France and Spain are experiencing droughts gearing up to become the worst on record.

The blazing temperatures have stoked fears of a tourism backlash as the heat becomes unbearable.

VIDEO: Wildfires and Floods Across the Globe

How flood turned Britain into an island

Photo: (Richard Pohle/The Times)
The cliffs at Dover and the English Channel
Great Britain
July 19, 2007

Looting, panic buying - and a water shortage

Breaking International News

Great Britain

UK Flooding Slideshow

Food and drinking water shortages, panic buying and the threat of looting have followed the worst flooding to hit England in 60 years.
Amid concerns that the government-run Environment Agency acted far too slowly in responding to serious flood alerts from the Met Office, parts of the West Country woke up this morning to another day under water and the Thames Valley now faces being inundated.
An estimated 90,000 gallons of water a second was surging down the swollen River Thames last night towards Oxford, Reading and Windsor.
The Environment Agency fears that the Thames Valley area will now suffer a similar fate to Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, where flooding has bought misery to thousands of people. Opposition MPs are seeking an emergency statement from the Government today.


Meteorologists have blamed Britain’s wet summer on the UNUSUAL position of the jet stream, a belt of fast-moving air 36,000ft above the earth that controls the movements of bad-weather systems. During most summers the jet stream lies across the north Atlantic, effectively penning bad weather there and in the Greenland Sea, so that only Iceland and Scandinavia are affected by them. This allows anti-cyclones, the high-pressure weather systems associated with warm, sunny summer weather, to move up from Europe to cover Britain. This year, however, the jet stream has moved several hundred miles to the south. This has allowed depressions, the low-pressure weather systems that bring storms and heavy rain, to batter Britain. The Met Office believes it is possible this weather pattern may now remain over Britain throughout this month and next, making the whole summer a washout. The situation has been made worse by the hot and sunny weather systems lying over much of central and south eastern Europe. These interact with depressions to generate the storms and cloudbursts behind the recent floods. Why, though, has the jet stream shifted southwards? Scientists are not sure of all the reasons but believe there is a link to a natural phenomenon known as La Niña. This occurs when cool water surges up from the bottom of the Pacific off Peru. The water cools the air above it, setting off a series of changes in the Earth’s atmospheric circulation. Other factors appear to be at work too. One of them could be the warming of the Atlantic.


Eruption flows east of Puu Oo

Hawaii, USA
Photo: COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORYA new lava fissure east of Kilauea's Puu Oo crater on the Big Island was reported yesterday. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists sampled an active channel yesterday.

July 22, 2007
Lava is erupting east of Kilauea Volcano's Puu Oo crater for the first time in 15 years, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported yesterday.
Scientists detected activity near Puu Oo Friday night, but were delayed until daybreak to view the eruption because of rain and fog from tropical depression Cosme.
The eruption is occurring along a set of fissures extending one mile eastward from Puu Oo. It is the first eruption in that area since Feb. 7, 1992.
A three-week eruption in the same area in November 1991 produced a lava flow that traveled 3.6 miles southeast toward the Royal Gardens subdivision.
The new eruption is within the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve, the observatory said, adding that scientists will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Melting glaciers biggest threat to sea level

Breaking Earth News

CONTRARY to common belief, melting glaciers due to global warming contribute more to the rising sea level than melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, researchers have said.
Scientists found that the ebb and flow of glaciers where they meet the water causes them to speed up and deliver more ice into the world's oceans than previously estimated, said the study published in Science's latest issue.

Glaciers and ice caps account for 60 percent of the meltwater that flows into the oceans, which has been speeding up over the past 10 years from global warming, said the study's chief author, emeritus professor Mark Meier of University of Colorado's Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

Together, glaciers and ice caps drop into the oceans 417 cubic kilometres of ice each year, equal to the volume of Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes of the United States.

And the volume of ice grows by 12.5 cubic kilometres each year.

By comparison, the study said, ice breaking off and melting from Greenland's ice sheet contributes 28 per cent of the world's ice to the oceans, and the Antarctic ice sheet another 12 per cent.

Slideshow Presentation
: Global Warming Impact on Glaciers

Asian parasite killing Western bees says scientist

July 18, 2007

MADRID (Reuters) - A parasite common in Asian bees has spread to Europe and the Americas and is behind the mass disappearance of honeybees in many countries, says a Spanish scientist who has been studying the phenomenon for years.

The culprit is a microscopic parasite called nosema ceranae said Mariano Higes, who leads a team of researchers at a government-funded apiculture centre in Guadalajara, the province east of Madrid that is the heartland of Spain's honey industry.

Animals across Europe falling asleep due to heat wave

July 18, 2007
With some parts of Europe currently in the middle of a heat wave, it seems it's not only people who suffer from the soaring temperatures.

Animals at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo in Austria are so exhausted from the high climates that they're falling asleep all over the place.

With the temperature climbing up 37 degrees celsius in the past two days and predicted to hit the 38 mark today, staff at the capital's zoo have been busy hosing the animals down in an attempt to cool down the inhabitants.

Western Wildfires Claim 3.4 Million Acres


In this image taken from video, a lightning bolt strikes as ranchers look on as the Stevens Fire rages at the Jeff and Karen Dahl ranch in Starr Valley, Nev., Monday July 16, 2007. (AP Photo/Elko Daily Free Press, Ross Andreson).

July 19, 2007

86 Fires Now Burning; In Just Over Two Weeks, Acreage Of Charred Land Doubled

The Western United States is on fire, with 1.7 million acres having burned in the first 17 days of July alone, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, released today.

The season total is 3.4 million acres — already 125% of the 10-year average.

At present, 86 fires are burning across the West (plus one in Alaska), according to the latest federal tally.

Behind the fires are three main factors — record-setting heat, persistent drought, and the aftermath of small winter snowpacks in the mountains that resulted in low runoff. Those conditions are precisely those that scientists say will become more common as the climate continues to warm. Wildfires are among the weather-related events they are most confident in predicting as a consequence of global warming.

Here’s a look at some of the record-setting temperatures in the just one state in the Pacific Northwest:

  • Hoquiam, Washington: All-time high of 99 degrees set July 10
  • Bellingham, Washington: All-time high of 94 set July 11
  • Seattle, Washington: Hottest day, 98 degrees, since 1994 on July 11

Gulf dead zone to be biggest ever

Gulf of Mexico
July 18, 2007

This year could see the biggest "dead zone" since records began form in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists say conditions are right for the zone to exceed last summer's 6,662 sq miles (17,255 sq km).

The dead zone is an area of water virtually devoid of oxygen which cannot support marine life.

It is caused by nutrients such as fertilisers flowing into the Gulf, stimulating the growth of algae which absorbs the available oxygen.

The volume of nutrients flowing down rivers such as the Mississippi into the Gulf has tripled over the last 50 years.

The annual event has been blamed for shark attacks along the Gulf coast, as sharks, along with other highly mobile species, flee the inhospitable waters.

Animals which cannot move simply die.

US photographer seeks nudes for Swiss glacier shoot

Breaking International News

Photo: Artist/Photographer: Spencer Tunick

ZURICH, Switzerland: Wanted: volunteers willing to take their clothes off and have their picture taken on a freezing cold Alpine glacier.

The appeal by New York artist Spencer Tunick, famous for taking pictures of thousands of naked people in public settings worldwide, is intended for a photo shoot to highlight the effects of climate change on Switzerland's shrinking glaciers, environmental group Greenpeace said on its Web site Wednesday.

Greenpeace said if global warming continues at its current pace, most Swiss glaciers will disappear by 2080.

Spencer Tunick & Greenpeace

Glacier In Switzerland
August 18-19, 2007
Expose Yourself to the Glacier without protection.
Get Undressed for Urgently Needed Climate Protection!

Flood Victms Still in "Deplorable Conditions"

Mozambique, Africa
July 17, 2007

Many of the victims of flooding earlier this year in the basins of the Zambezi and Buzi rivers are still living "in deplorable conditions", months after the waters subsided. The number of people affected by the Zambezi and Buzi floods is at 163,000. Of this number, 64,000 {12,000 households} need resettlement in ten districts. The government has made kits of building materials available at each of the places where land has been distributed to flood victims. The government will provide the cement, the roofing, and other materials, but it is up to each household to build its own home, in places that are not regularly threatened with flooding.

Pacific quake series intrigues scientists

Pacific Rim
July 17, 2007

Scientists are intrigued by a cluster of earthquakes that circled the Pacific during the past two days, but seismologists don't believe most of them are related. From late Saturday night, the edges of the Pacific Ocean felt tremors of magnitude 5.0 or greater in the area of Japan and the Philippines to the west, the Aleutians to the north, the Galapagos to the east, and Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to the south. Only a quake Sunday afternoon off Japan caused local damage. Most of the earthquakes were comparatively weak, but it is UNUSUAL to see so many in the 5 and 6 range clustered together. It is unlikely that quakes in, say, Japan and in the Aleutian chain thousands of miles away are related. "We think these are random clusters" and that it was just happenstance that a dozen of them occurred within two days. For some in the quake-watching community, what's more interesting is what hasn't been happening. It's been an UNUSUALLY long time - nearly four months - since there has been a big earthquake of magnitude 7 or more anywhere in the world. The last one was a 7.1 quake March 25 in Vanuatu. That doesn't necessarily mean a bigger one is coming, or that one isn't. There was a four-month lag last year, which ended with a 7.1 quake that killed two people in Taiwan on Dec. 26, 2006. Image Above: A global view of the Pacific Ring of Fire, showing Mid-Ocean Ridge and Island Arc/Trench Systems. Explorer Ridge and the Marianas Volcanic Arc are shown, as well as the East Pacific Rise. NOAA

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