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Climate change - we've got 10 years


The UN Human Development Report 2007/2008 is a rousing call to arms, which firmly positions climate challenge as the most pressing moral issue of our time. Rich nations and their citizens account for the overwhelming bulk of greenhouse gas emissions locked in the Earth's atmosphere. But poor countries and their citizens will pay the highest price for it, as decades of development work are rolled back, destroying any chance of a sustainable future. Allowing the tragedy of climate change to happen, argues the Report, would represent such a systematic violation of the human rights of the world's poor and of future generations, that it would be "an outrage to the conscience of mankind". Passionately and eloquently, it hammers home its central message: that the world lacks neither the financial resources nor the technological capacities to act - if we fail to address climate change, it will be because of a simple lack of political will. And such an outcome, says the report, would represent "not just a failure of political imagination and leadership, but A MORAL FAILURE ON A SCALE UNPARALLELED IN HISTORY." We are at a crucial stage in the battle to protect the world’s people from rising temperatures in the Earth’s atmosphere. We need nothing short of a revolution in the way we run our economies, the way we produce and consume, and the way we measure human welfare. Governments urgently need to redefine security, and to recognise that climate change poses by far the greatest threat to our own security, and to that of future generations. And as the quotation from Martin Luther King at the front of the report reminds us: “There is such a thing as being too late”. The world has less than a decade to change

Fears drought threatens mammals

Australia's Drought
Conservationists are concerned about the future for five kinds of mammals whose last significant habitat on two Western Australian islands is under threat from drought. The animals, including the banded hare-wallaby and the burrowing bettong, used to exist across the mainland but are now confined to the Bernier and Dorre Islands in the Shark Bay area. Ongoing drought is having a negative impact on breeding and the condition of the animals. While some of the mammals are kept in captivity elsewhere, climate change could wipe out their last wild populations. "If we are entering a period where we may be getting more extended periods of drought there's always a chance that those sort of conditions can tip [species that may have been able to cope] just over the edge where they can no longer cope."

Earth Frenzy Radio Internet Broadcast

From the Editor's Desk
Skywatch-Media News

The Earth Frenzy Radio show
Nov 29, 2007
Today's special guest on the Earth Frenzy Radio Show will be Dream Analyst Linda Cruz. Linda is the author of the revolutionary new book, "All His Jewels." She will be discussing the details of her book, and the meaning behind many of our dreams.

Linda was scheduled for last evening, but due to technical difficulties with our satellite reception we were unable to host the show.

Today's show will air live beginning at 2pm CST, 3pm EST on Blog Talk Radio.

You can listen live: Here

You can subscribe to our streaming broadcasts via Rss: Here


© 2007 Skywatch-Media

Tower tilt and avalanche danger close slopes

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Alaska, USA

Tower tilt and avalanche danger close slopes - Snow pressing down on Alyeska's Chair 6 pushed one of the towers out of alignment over the weekend, which, combined with continuing poor snow conditions, will delay skiing at least until Friday, resort officials said Tuesday. Tower 12 on the mountain's highest lift was discovered a few degrees out of alignment Monday after it apparently had been forced out of position by the pressure exerted when a crack opened up in the area. The tower's foundation tilted along with the tower itself. A lift engineer and soil engineers are working to realign the tower. Tuesday afternoon, the resort said everything would be shut down until Friday because of avalanche danger on the mountain. This is the first time a tower has been forced out of line at Alyeska. Avalanche danger has been rife in the area so far this season because of higher-than-normal temperatures and wet, heavy snow falling on the upper mountain, while the base has seen mostly rain. "All our base has been pretty much wiped out. Avalanche danger is still the main reason we've been closed." The poor snow conditions have left the slopes closed longer into the season than usual, with the resort closing the mountain during the normally busy Thanksgiving weekend because of the high avalanche danger.

Huge waves inundate Philippines' western coast, thousands flee

Philippines

Many were puzzled by the waves because Typhoon Mitag, which lashed the northern Philippines on Monday, had weakened into a storm and then blew out of the country toward southern Japan, causing the weather to improve by Tuesday.






MANILA, Philippines (AP): Big waves set off by a storm battered provinces along the Philippines' western coast overnight, sending more than 5,000 people fleeing, some falsely thinking there was a tsunami, officials said Wednesday.


There were no immediate reports of casualties from the onslaught of waves that sporadically battered coastal villages from the country's mountainous north to the southern island of Jolo from late Tuesday to early Wednesday.


The waves also created flash floods by pushing sea water into low-lying areas.



Damage from tidal surge in Philippines

Top police officer warns that nuclear attack is inevitable

A NUCLEAR attack by terrorists causing widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon, a senior Scottish police officer has warned.



A Nuclear Attack in Our Future?

Climate change makes bats drop dead

Breaking Earth News
PARIS (AFP) - Scorching heatwaves linked to climate change have caused thousands of Australian bats to drop dead after flapping their wings in a desperate bid to cool off, according to a study published Wednesday.

On one day alone in 2002, up to six percent of the flying foxes in a nine colonies in New South Wales died when temperatures hit 42 degrees Celsius (107.5 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the study.

Most alarming, said the biologists, was the mortality rate among young bats, as high as 50 percent.

"The effects of temperature extremes on flying foxes highlight complex implications of climate change for behaviour, demography and species survival," says the study, published by the Royal Society, Britain's de-facto academy of sciences.

Volcanic eruptions cause sea level spike

Earth/Science Update
The fiercest volcanic eruptions affect global sea level in unexpected ways – at least, in the short term – according to a new study. Particles produced by major eruptions are known to block out sunlight and cool both the ground and the ocean. But computer modellers previously thought this might result in a drop in sea level, since water becomes denser as it cools. In fact, sea levels shoot up after an eruption – initially, at least. Researchers used monthly mean tide-gauge records to determine sea level following five major volcanic eruptions since 1890. They found that sea levels rose by around 9 millimetres following each eruption. This may be because volcanic aerosols reflect sunlight, cooling the ocean surface, which reduces evaporation. "Lower evaporation causes an imbalance in water fluxes to and from the ocean," so that sea levels rise as rivers continue to top up the ocean. Evaporation returns to normal after about a year as the aerosols dissipate and the sea level declines from its peak, continuing to drop to a minimum of about 7 mm below the original level 2 to 3 years after the eruption. The drop is attrbuted to a combination of reduced runoff from the earlier drop in rainfall, reduced glacial melting resulting from the cool spell, and cooler sea water becoming denser.

Freak Tidal Surge and Rising Seas Causing Havoc in Indonesia and

At least 2,200 houses were inundated, some with chest-deep water. Part of the problem is global warming, which causes sea levels to rise and may make coastal cities like Jakarta especially vulnerable to flooding and monsoon storms.




Tidal Flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia: November 27, 2007

Yukon wildlife officials notice late grizzly appearances

Yukon Territory, Canada
Late hibernation - At least three grizzly bears have been spotted in recent weeks in western Arctic communities, leading scientists and wildlife managers to wonder if warm weather is keeping the bears from hibernating. The majority of bears in the region go into their dens mid- to late-October. Prior to this year, the latest they had ever seen a bear out was Nov. 5. It is possible that some of the bears started hibernating, but then came out of their dens because of milder than usual weather. "So if there is a warm day, or if there's a lot of noise outside the den, it's not uncommon for the bear just to come and check it out, especially in early spring or late fall when it's not super-cold yet."

Drought lowered earth's ability to absorb carbon

The terrible 2002 drought that shrivelled crops and farmer's incomes from Canada to Mexico, also slashed the earth's ability to absorb carbon by half, new data suggests. Data shows that during the North American drought in 2002, the soil, trees, crops and grasslands could absorb only half of the usual amount of carbon. Normally, the continent's natural carbon sinks — the terrestrial ecosystem — absorb approximately 650 million metric tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. That's about one-third of the total North American emissions from human and natural sources. The study shows that in 2002, the amount the sinks absorbed plummeted to 320 million metric tonnes. That left the equivalent of the yearly emissions from more than 200 million cars in the atmosphere. Droughts leave fewer plants to absorb carbon dioxide. In another example of the effect, a heat wave and drought in Europe in 2003 left more than 500 million metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere. "If warming causes drought, and droughts end up releasing more carbon, and carbon causes warming, that's a positive feedback cycle that can get pretty scary."

Essex on flood alert after freak high tide


The Essex coast was on flood alert Sunday night after a FREAK TIDE engulfed a popular waterfront, completely swamping a number of cars. The surge happened at Brightlingsea at around noon when a spring tide led to the sea rising over the town's hard and as far up as the Waterside fish and chip restaurant.


Brightlingsea Sailing Club - tide a bit close for comfort Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Brightlingsea - effects of storm surge Floodwaters at Brightlingsea, England

Have our seasons gone blooming mad?

United Kingdom
Image:
Sandra Howell with her flowering primroses.

Have our seasons gone blooming mad? First it was the daffodils. The bright yellow flowers which usually signify that spring is on its way made the headlines after making a four-month-early appearance in the garden of a Hampshire pensioner. Flower experts were baffled, calling the strange appearance "VERY, VERY UNUSUAL". But in the latest sign that the world has gone blooming mad, confused flowers have been popping up out of season across Hampshire. Despite the freezing temperatures, strong winds and lashing rain, three more unseasonal blooms have sprung up in gardens in Southampton. A resident was shocked to see that the lupin flower she planted in the spring of this year was in bloom in November, more than eight months early. "It's very strange...They usually don't flower in their first year, and even in their second year they are supposed to flower in June or July." Another resident got a similar shock when she returned from a week's holiday in October to find the primroses in her garden at Monarch Way, West End, in bloom. "I was sitting in my garden in September and I couldn't believe it - the primrose buds were out. Then I went away for a week's cruise and when I came back they were in flower. It's EXTREMELY STRANGE, because they usually come into bloom in the spring, around the same time as daffodils." At the start of November, a resident of Bassett, Southampton, discovered her narcissi had also decided to blossom months in advance. The flower, miniature relative of the daffodil, is usually expected to come into bloom at the start of the spring. And it is not just flowers that are acting strangely. Catkins - which usually herald the start of spring - were on a hazel tree earlier this month. "I have lived here 20 years and it's the first time I have ever seen the catkins come out early." And there were more early-flowering daffodils in Eastleigh this week. "There are all sorts of weird and wonderful things going on right now. I think the strange blooming has something to do with the fact that it has been a warm autumn. The weather is so crazy at the moment - it stayed warm much later this autumn, so perhaps the flowers thought it was spring again."

Disasters quadruple over last 20 years

LONDON (Reuters) - Weather-related disasters have quadrupled over the last two decades, Oxfam said in a report published on Sunday.

From an average of 120 disasters a year in the early 1980s, there are now as many as 500, with Oxfam attributing the rise to unpredictable weather conditions cause by global warming.



Disasters quadruple over last 20 years

Drought threatening Atlanta's older trees

Georgia, USA
Image:
Arborist Kevin Carnes of Arborguard Tree Specialists uses a mallet to determine whether internal decay is present in a white oak in Olmsted Park. The drought has been particularly hard on trees already stressed by summer heat and Atlanta's urban environment.

The grand old trees of Atlanta may become just a memory if rainfall does not quench the ongoing drought soon, experts said. "There is a public perception a lot of times that those are just untouchable, so nothing can hurt them. Physiologically, it's actually the opposite. The big old trees are much easier to stress out and damage than the young trees." Experts are also concerned that the older trees could be significantly damaged by a frigid winter and even by heavy spring rains next year.

Water deficit plagues city, but not the L.A. River

Image Above: Most of the Los Angeles River's flow these days consists of reclaimed water dumped by city treatment plants. That has provided a boon for shorebirds downstream during what has been the driest year on record in Los Angeles. Here, treated effluent from the L.A.-Glendale water treatment plant flows into the river near Griffith Park.

California, USA

This is the driest year on record in Los Angeles, yet the city's namesake river is defying nature with an abundant stream of water, which, miles to the south, has created a rare oceanside sanctuary for thousands of shorebirds.

The source of this water: the bountiful wastewater of a parched city.

Most Los Angeles River water is so-called recycled water, highly treated wastewater from upstream treatment plants that has no other place to go.

Although recycled water can be used for irrigation and to replenish underground aquifers, there are no pipes to transport it to far-off parks and golf courses.

The city uses the recycled water for only 1% of its irrigation needs. The vast majority from two Valley plants ends up in the river.

Homeowners with lush, overwatered lawns and squeaky-clean cars feed the flow. So do emerald-green golf courses fed with drinkable rather than recycled water.

Experts estimate that in addition to recycled water, about 32% of the river's flow is fed by urban runoff and 4% is natural groundwater.

With so much water, the river's lower reaches in Compton, Paramount and Long Beach have become a mecca for native and migratory shorebirds that once frequented the region's coastal salt marshes. Over time, 95% of those marshes have been filled or paved over, and the man-made flow of the river has emerged as an unlikely oasis for the birds.

Yellowstone Volcano Rises at Unprecedented Rate

Wyoming, USA

Yellowstone’s ancient volcanic floor has been rising since mid-2004 because a blob of molten rock the size of Los Angeles infiltrated the system 6 miles beneath the surface, scientists say, but there is no risk of an eruption.

Yellowstone National Park is the site of North America's largest volcanic field, which is produced by a hotspot, or gigantic plume of hot, molten rock, that begins at least 400 miles (643 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface and rises to 30 miles (48 kilometers) underground, where it widens to about 300 miles across.

Occasionally, blobs of magma break away from the top of this plume and rise up to resupply the magma chamber beneath the park's "caldera," a 40-mile by 25-mile bowl-like depression and volcanic leftover whose walls you can see in the northwest part of the park.

These rising blobs of magma can sometimes push on the caldera floor, causing it to rise. Scientists monitoring the Yellowstone caldera think that's exactly what has caused the caldera floor to rise by almost 3 inches (7 centimeters) per year over the past three years—more than three times faster than it has more typically risen since observations began in 1923.

Deer season has unusual opener

New York, USA
Call it global warming or another freak of nature, but this year the deer-hunting scenario was different. The forests of Harriman State Park and then the Catskills looked like they were at peak or just past peak in fall foliage. The mountainsides glistened with color. Furthermore, when the season opened, hunters witnessed bucks chasing does wanting to fulfill the mating ritual. Hunters are frustrated by the fact that trees are still holding their leaves. "We've noticed an extremely late leaf fall. Many maples and copper beech are still green and full of leaves, and that doesn't work well for tree-stand hunting." The UNUSUAL conditions have forced changes in hunting strategy. "In some areas, oaks are still dropping acorns...Deer were feeding and bedding in the same areas rather than the usual 'feed at night, then travel to thicket bedding areas' routine."

Kilauea lava flow changes its pattern

The eruption keeps a southerly course but is now coming from a new source

Hawaii, USA
Lava from Kilauea volcano's 4-month-old East Rift vent suddenly changed its eruption pattern Wednesday, leaving uncertainty about what will come next. The latest flows from the area of the "July 21 vent" appeared mostly headed south toward the sea, the same direction flows traveled for much of the previous 17 years. The observatory warned Royal Gardens residents 4.5 miles downslope to remain alert for the next few days, although it is not clear that there are any permanent residents in the subdivision, which was repeatedly overrun by lava from 1983 to 1986. Another pahoehoe flow traveled "a few hundred meters" to the north, toward an unpopulated area. The outbreak of the July 21 vent on that date interrupted 17 years of flows from Puu Oo, 1.5 miles upslope to the west, which had predictably moved downslope through uninhabited areas to the sea. Flows from the vent eventually created a deep channel, like a river with high banks. At the end of the channel, flows fanned out in many directions, changing almost daily, and only going a few miles before petering out. But authorities were quietly concerned that flows could eventually threaten populated areas such as Pahoa if they went on long enough, although that might take months or years. During one recent week the flow pattern developed into a wide arc that pointed mostly away from Pahoa and back toward the sea. Wednesday's change was noteworthy because the July 21 vent mostly stopped feeding the channel. Instead, the new flows were coming from the banks of the "river."

The new lava outbreak from Kilauea volcano hasn't gained much ground over the last few days, easing fears that it could threaten Kalapana and the Royal Gardens subdivision. Researchers observed from a flight Friday that the "Thanksgiving eve" flows advanced just 330 feet, stalled and began to pool. Close to 200 structures were destroyed by lava since Kilauea's current eruption began in 1983. An average of 500,000 cubic meters of molten rock has emerged daily since it first broke through in July.

Quake isn't matter of if, but of when

Castle Mountain fault has produced a big one about every 700 years, and the time's almost up.

ALASKA - a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist on Monday laid out evidence that an earthquake, as big as magnitude 7.0, is likely to happen soon on the Castle Mountain fault. The fault is of concern because of how closely it passes to people and projects. It arcs across the central Matanuska-Susitna Borough from the Talkeetna Mountains near Sutton in the east toward the Susitna River in southwest Mat-Su. Along the way, it cuts above the borough's most populated area but goes through several subdivisions as well as across the Parks Highway and the Alaska Railroad. A study showed four major earthquakes along the fault in 2,700 years, roughly one every 700 years. The last big earthquake happened between 667 and 694 years ago. "This gives us an idea that we might be entering the time when we're due for an earthquake." Timing is right for a shallow quake on the west end of the fault line. Shallow quakes often hit with more force and cause more damage than earthquakes that originate from deeper underground. Alaska's Good Friday 1964 earthquake, at magnitude 9.2, was both strong and shallow.

Jellyfish attack wipes out N.Ireland salmon farm

BELFAST (AFP) - Northern Ireland's only salmon farm was completely wiped out by a freak jellyfish attack, the owners said Wednesday.

More than 100,000 fish worth more than one million pounds (2.1 million dollars, 1.4 million euros) were killed in the invasion at Glenarm Bay and Red Bay, on the County Antrim north-east coast.

"We are still assessing the full extent, but it's a disaster," said John Russell, managing director of Northern Salmon Co. Ltd.

"In 30 years, I've never seen anything like it. It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing.

"I have never experienced such concentrations of jellyfish spread over such a wide area. The vastness was unbelievable."

Fake snakes to scare Aussie birds

Australia
Plastic snakes are being deployed in an effort to scare away tens of thousands of starlings that have invaded a small city in Australia.
VIDEO

Authorities in Tamworth have used water cannon and large nets in unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the hordes.

Tamworth is the home of Australia's most famous country music festival as well as many unwanted small birds.

Officials there are hoping that brightly coloured plastic snakes could bring an end to months of misery.

Thousands of starlings have descended on the city and have been drawn like magnets to trees that line one of the main streets.

The local mayor has insisted that pungent droppings have become a major problem.

Leave your car under one of the trees for an hour to go shopping, he said, and you probably will not recognise it when you get back.

Tibetans wake up to nosebleeds in super-dry autumn

BEIJING (Reuters) - Moisture has become a luxury in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa where many locals are waking up to nosebleeds in the dry autumn, state media said on Monday as the Himalayan region faces growing threat of global warming.







Tibetans wake up to nosebleeds in super-dry autumn

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