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Erratic weather 'harms wildlife'

UK wildlife is struggling to cope as erratic and unseasonal weather has taken its toll for a second consecutive year. Birds, mammals and particularly insects have all suffered from a cold, late spring, a wet summer with little sunshine and a long, dry autumn. Species under threat include puffins, marsh fritillary butterflies and lesser horseshoe bats. Another wet summer in 2009 could be a disaster for insects.

Lucky surfer cheats death

A giant wave nearly smashes surfer Jacob Cockle (circled) into the sea wall at Newlyn, Cornwall.Earlier this month, a daredevil surfer cheated death after becoming trapped – between a stone pier and a FREAK 30ft wave. Terrified, he almost drowned when the monster wave emerged from nowhere and charged towards him at speeds of more than 40mph. He struggled desperately to paddle to safety, but was caught in powerful currents that prevented his escape. Clinging helplessly to his board, the student was tossed into the air "like a rag doll" when the wave – with an estimated mass of seven tons – broke over him. He was flung into the surf and spent "ages" underwater before finally managing to overcome the currents and paddle back to shore. Miraculously, he survived the terrifying incident at Newlyn, near Penzance in West Cornwall, unscathed.

Harvest weather bizarre

Farmers have been left wondering what has happened to the typical dry and dusty summer in the Wheatbelt, as unseasonal thunderstorms continue to wreak havoc on their annual hay baling and grain harvest. Farms in the South-West were flooded and left without power after storms over the weekend and grain growers in the Great Southern face ONE OF THEIR LATEST FINISHES TO HARVEST. Wet weather was causing significant delays for grain growers, particularly in the southern regions. Farmers in the Albany zone, from the south coast north-east to Hyden, had delivered just 40 per cent of their expected total grain tonnage. The harvest is expected run into February in some southern areas, compared with a usual finish around mid-January. The Albany zone was expected to deliver a record 2.8 million tonne harvest this year, boosted by better yields and bigger plantings. But frequent unseasonal rainfall, and in some cases hail, was expected to reduce the overall tonnage and affect grain quality. One property west of Kojonup had 215mm since early November, about 40 per cent of the ANNUAL average. The bizarre weather made for a frustrating finish to the season. Hail damaged canola paddocks, frost wiped out part of the barley crop and heavy late rains reduced wheat quality in some cases. “If that rain had been spread out through the year, it would have made for a good season.”

Strange Cosmic Events in Canada

The earth, is plowing through a river of debris in space and that debris is being caught in the earth's gravity, as its pulled in, it heats up and makes the atmosphere glow. Newsflash at Skywatch Media Headline News

We have experienced a number of odd things over the past few weeks beginning with a huge falling meteor back on November 20th, then a possible large falling star last weekend, and a tremor of some sort which shook the west side of Saskatoon for a few seconds Thursday.

Tsunami Just the Beginning of Earthquake Supercycle

2004 tsunami just the beginning of EARTHQUAKE SUPERCYCLE, say scientists. Massive earthquakes in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra are just the beginning. Researchers expect a 30-year cycle of mega-quakes like the one that caused the 2004 tsunami. Scientists studying Sumatran reefs say the coral there have experienced massive die-offs as well as new horizontal growth about every two hundred years. Moreover, these changes happened in fits and starts over phases of about 30 - 100 years. That suggests the area experiences what's called an "earthquake supercycle" for several decades every two centuries. Last year's 8.4 quake off the coast of Sumatra is probably the first quake in a new supercycle, since the last big die-off in the coral reefs took place in 1833. Other quake cycles hit in 1374, 1596, 1675, and 1797.

Waterborne disease risk on the rise in Great Lakes region in US

A study has determined that an anticipated increased incidence of climate-related extreme rainfall events in the Great Lakes region in the US may raise the public health risk for the 40 million people who depend on the lakes for their drinking water. A trend toward extreme weather such as the monsoon-like rainfall events that occurred in many parts of the region this past spring is likely to aggravate the risk for outbreaks of waterborne disease in the Great Lakes region. “If weather extremes do intensify, as these findings suggest, our health will be at greater risk.” A primary threat to human health are the extreme precipitation events that overwhelm the combined urban storm water and sewage systems such as those in Milwaukee and Chicago, resulting in millions of gallons of raw sewage being diverted to Lake Michigan. Adding to the risk throughout the region is the growing concentration of livestock operations where heavy rainfall can wash large amounts of animal waste into the rivers and streams that drain into the Great Lakes.

Climate Change Now the Main Driver of Natural Disasters

Most natural disasters today are linked to climate change, says the UN emergency relief coordinator. From 1988 through 2007, over 75 percent of all disaster events were climate-related and accounted for 45 percent of deaths and 80 percent of the economic losses caused by natural hazards. The most vulnerable are impoverished people living in risk-prone hotspot countries, where the risks from extreme climatic events overlap with human vulnerability. "Any credible vision of the future must recognize that humanitarian needs are increasing and that climate change is the main driver. We are already seeing its effects, in terms of the numbers of people affected and in the rising cost of response."

The worst floods in 10 years inundated Jakarta, Indonesia Feburary 2, 2007. (Photo by A. Imam Alka)

Climate Change Now the Main Driver of Natural Disasters Climate Change Now the Main Driver of Natural Disasters Climate Change Now the Main Driver of Natural Disasters

Those living near volcanoes at risk for acute bronchitis

Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have confirmed that those living near active volcanoes that are passively emitting sulfurous air pollution are at greater risk of developing acute bronchitis from exposure to volcanic air pollution.

In a three-year study of medical records from communities near Hawaii’s Kilauea, Bernadette Longo, assistant professor at the University’s Orvis School of Nursing; and colleague Wei Yang, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, found that children under age 15 were most affected by the volcano. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health reported the findings in its November issue.

Kilauea is one of about 600 active volcanoes across the globe presenting health hazards to about 600 million people.

3/4 of Big Antarctic Penguin Colonies to Disappear?

Up to 75 percent of major Antarctic penguin colonies may disappear if climate change continues to heat up the continent, according to a recent report.

A global temperature increase of 3.6 Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels will result in widespread changes to sea ice that the birds depend on for survival.

The temperature increase will, in any scenario, lead to a major reshuffling of colonies of emperor and Adélie penguins—the two penguin species that rely on ice for hunting and breeding.

Park officials await branch of lava flow slowly approaching

A slow-moving tongue of molten rock that recently broke off from the main flow of lava on the Big Island is inching its way closer to the boundary of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and, not far from there, the Pacific Ocean. The swath of lava is just west of the main flow that has for years run toward what is called the Waikupanaha ocean entry on the island's southeast side. The new flow is likely to breach the national park boundary later this week. "It's not a terribly threatening flow." National Park Service officials are gearing up for the flow to cross onto federal land but are hesitant to predict when or whether it will crawl another mile to reach the ocean. "It's a dynamic and unpredictable phenomenon," which also could stop and crust over or turn in another direction. On Monday, Geological Survey volcanologists walked along the perimeter of the flow with hand-held global positioning system devices to measure its location. It had moved several hundred feet in three directions since the previous measurement 10 days before. The swath measured a mile or more across. No lava has reached national park land since last year. The land the flow is covering now as it approaches the park border is part of the mostly abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Only one resident continues to stay in the subdivision.

Seismologists study desert earthquake ‘swarm’

TRONA--An earthquake “swarm” that’s been rattling portions of San Bernardino and Inyo counties won’t settle down.

It’s been a robust sequence with fairly large events in the magnitude four range.

Seismologist Anthony Guarino at Caltech says the series began November 23rd just north of Trona. “It could continue for days or even weeks and it could stop within the next couple of hours.”

There has been no reported damage in the immediate area of the epicenters along the Ash Hill Fault. That’s part of the more extensive Panamint Valley Fault System on the south edge of Death Valley.

Audio Report

Disaster: another killer storm

South Africa
Another freak storm devastated a KwaZulu-Natal settlement at the weekend, leaving six people, including a nine-month-old infant, dead and more than 50 injured. The second killer storm to hit the province in one month struck the Amanzimtoti, kwaMakhutha and Umbumbulu areas south of Durban on Saturday evening, displacing about 400 families. “It was a huge storm, it swept through the area in less than three minutes, and in that period most houses were blown down.” “We have lost more lives at a time when we had not recovered from the Molweni disaster.” The recurring freak storms should serve as a wake-up call that “all of us should do everything we can to address the situation of climate change”.

150 whales die in rocky stranding in southern Australia

More than 150 pilot whales have died after beaching themselves in southern Australia

SYDNEY (AFP) — More than 150 whales have died after beaching themselves in southern Australia, with many sustaining deep cuts after thrashing onto rocks, an official said Monday.

The long-finned pilot whales were discovered trapped on a rocky beach in the remote west coast of Tasmania state on Saturday but early aerial reports suggested that only 72 had died.

Subsequent investigations revealed that many more of the giant animals had perished, Warwick Brennan from the state's Department of Primary Industries and Water said.

Rice cycles weather modern world crises

Indigenous farming communities have fit their lifestyle, traditions and culture to the rice they plant, and they have adjusted their rice cycles, and even some of their rituals, so that they continue to produce ample food in spite of problems such as changing weather patterns. The Department of Agriculture started detecting the changes when they saw a shift in the farming cycle early this year. The planting season in the “green zones (agricultural areas where rain is abundant)” of the region has either moved a month earlier or a month later, depending on the crops. The indigenous peoples “have proven sustainable environmental practices” all over the world and have addressed global warming far earlier than most nations because they have been susceptible to floods and disasters caused by climate change. The Cordillerans have nurtured “hunger crops” such as sweet potatoes, while tending to greenhouses that protect crops from unusual weather. They have made revisions in their schedule of rituals to coincide with the planting cycle. And Cordillerans have many rituals related to planting and harvesting.

Waves Pound North Shore Hawaii

Hawaii, USA
Image: Bruce Irons, above, shot through a tube yesterday during the third heat of the O'Neill World Cup, held at Sunset Beach. CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM

The National Weather Service said surf could rise to between 22 and 28 feet on the North Shore Saturday with some 30-foot waves hitting the outer reefs. Surf along west-facing shores will grow to 10 to 20 feet. While common in size for the winter season, the waves still present dangerous conditions. A storm about 1,700 miles north of the islands caused the extra-large waves. Two other storms could send swells to Hawaii next week. The second will peak on Tuesday, matching Saturday's heights. The third, expected on Thursday, could be even bigger.

Brazilian Downpours Create Havoc

Brazil, S.A.
Crumbling hillsides and rivers of mud caused by torrential rain have swept at least 68 people to their deaths in Brazil.

The Brazilian government said 1.5 million people had been affected by the extreme weather, with eight towns completely cut off by flood waters and landslides.

Image: Many of the streets in Brazil's Itajai city are under water

Did asteroid cause ancient N.Y. tsunami?

Long before New York City was the Big Apple, or even New Amsterdam, a giant tsunami crashed ashore. Image Info: More than 2,300 years ago, a tsunami may have hit what is now New York City. The source of the giant wave, say geologists studying the sediments in nearby bodies of water, may have been a 330-foot-wide asteroid.

It was 2,300 years ago. The Palisades that frame the Hudson River were whisper-quiet, the sandy beaches of Long Island and New Jersey empty, and Manhattan was still just an unbroken sylvan carpet.

Then came the mammoth wave, roaring into the serenity. No one knows for sure what caused it, but new clues found in the Hudson's silt suggest an asteroid 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter slammed into the Atlantic Ocean nearby.

Story Continues

Report says pandemic will threaten coal, power supplies

A new report from the University of Minnesota warns that an influenza pandemic could disrupt the coal industry, thereby endangering the nation's significantly coal-dependent electric power system and everything that depends on it. "Despite regional differences in coal usage, a pandemic is likely to break links in the coal supply chain, thus disrupting electrical generation. This has the potential to severely endanger the bulk electrical power system in most of the United States." Current federal preparedness plans do not address the possibility of power supply problems resulting from reduced coal shipments during a pandemic. A key planning gap is that federal plans put coal industry workers among those last in line for pandemic vaccines and antiviral drugs.

The "Never Ending" Storm

Worst Flooding in Decades
Southern and central Queenslanders are bracing for the fourth fierce storm in a devastating week described as a "never-ending story". The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast wild winds and possible hail tomorrow across an area stretching from Barcaldine to Brisbane. The early string of storms doesn't bode well for summer.

The Animals and Plants We Cannot Live Without

Nearly 17,000 species are now considered to be threatened with extinction and 869 species are classed as extinct or extinct in the wild on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. In the last year alone 183 species became more endangered.

Now, in the face of the growing threat posed by environmental changes around the globe, five leading scientists are to argue whether there is a single type of plant or animal which the planet really cannot afford to lose

Image: Bees are just one of the many animals facing possible extinction due to pollution, habitat loss, climate change and hunting Photo: PA

Shrimp which is 'louder than a gunshot' found in British waters

Great Britain
The shrimps, which are native to the sub-tropical seas of the Mediterranean, have only been recorded in UK waters a handful of times. They are INCREDIBLY RARE in British waters because the temperature is usually too cold. The one-inch long 'pistol shrimp' snaps its enlarged claw shut at such a speed that it produces a sound wave of up to 218 decibels. The ear-splitting sound shocks its prey before the shrimp uses its powerful claws to rip through crustacean and shellfish skeletons. Two of the crustaceans have been picked up two miles off Pendennis Point in Falmouth, Cornwall, and experts believe they are part of a thriving colony. "The fisherman brought in a bucket and I started to hear this cracking noise as if someone was popping bubble wrap. It wasn't until we unloaded the bucket that I realised the sound was coming from the shrimps snapping their claws together." "I have heard of yachtsmen being moored in a bay and not being able to sleep because of the noise these shrimps make." The species is likely to be seen in UK waters more and more as sea temperatures rise.

Storm historians forecast future

The Bathurst Bay hurricane of 1899 wreaked unparalleled destruction on the east coast of Australia, killing about 350 people and destroying every one of the 100 ships moored in Princess Charlotte Bay on Cape York. In its aftermath dolphins were found wedged 15m up cliffs, sharks were washed 40km inland, human bodies and ships' wreckage formed long drifts in the ocean and on beaches. But coastal dwellers may soon face even more catastrophic storms, due to the combined effects of climate change and long-term oscillations in Australia's weather. A project highlighting long-term patterns in the coastal climate, with periods of drought lasting several decades alternating with similar-length periods of increased storm activity, believes the weather is now in transition from the underlying drought that has been with them since the mid-1970s to a stormier outlook that, when combined with rising sea levels associated with climate change, will "whack us in the face" with dramatic changes to the Australian coastline. "The coast is going to move in for centuries. This is bigger than a few retaining walls. We will be moving inland." The researcher sold his beachfront home 10 years ago and moved "up on to solid rock", but he believes 30 years of relatively storm-free weather has lulled most into a false sense of security. The Gold Coast, parts of the Sunshine Coast and many NSW coastal towns are at particularly high risk.

Current warming sharpest climate change in 5,000 years

Research on Arctic and North Atlantic ecosystems shows the recent warming trend counts as the most dramatic climate change since the onset of human civilization 5,000 years ago, according to studies published Thursday. Researchers studied the increased introduction of fresh water from glacial melt, oceanic circulation, and the change in geographic range migration of oceanic plant and animal species. The team described "major ecosystem reorganization" - or "regime shift" - in the North Atlantic, a consequence of global warming on the largest scale in five millennia. "The rate of warming we are seeing (now) is UNPRECEDENTED in human history." They have found "extensive" shifts in the geographic range of numerous plant and animal species. Image Above: This NASA image received in February 2006 shows the calving front, or break-off point into the ocean, of Helheim Glacier

Mystery over LA earthquake-style cracks in Wrexham road

Great Britain
Image: Local community councillor Brian Stapley next to the cracks

HUGE cracks, which resemble 'Los Angeles after an earthquake' have started appearing on a Wrexham road.

The fissures, up to four inches wide and over 18 inches deep, have started appearing on Queen's Road, between Brymbo and Pentre Broughton.

Local community councillor Brian Stapley says the cause of the problem remains a mystery with local authority officers this week moving in to carry out repair work.

Calif. Wildfires Continue to Rage

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 -- Wind-whipped wildfires continued to burn through Southern California on Tuesday after scorching nearly 27,000 acres statewide, claiming two lives and forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

The worst of the three major blazes is a heavy brush fire speeding along the steep, dry terrain at Browns Canyon, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The Sesnon fire, which started Monday, nearly doubled overnight to 10,000 acres, forcing the evacuations of more than 2,000 homes.

Image Above: The Santa Ana winds blow through Southern California between October and February. The dry, strong gales whip through the valleys around San Fernando, California causing huge fires to break out, spread quickly and cause people to evacuate their homes.


Wichita rain set to break 57-year-old record

WICHITA, Kansas, October 14, 2008 – The Kansas rain is bringing a classic “feast or famine” scenario for most residents. Some haven’t seen this much rain in decades, while others are just trying to stay out of a drought.

Right now, south central Kansas is only 31 hundredths of an inch away from BREAKING A RECORD FOR YEARLY RAINFALL. Wichita is currently at 50.18 inches for the year. The record, set in 1951, was 50.48 inches. “That 57-year-old record we're probably going to beat it now in the next 24 hours and here we are in October still with two full months of the year left.” This rainfall is serving as a double-edged sword for farmers by preventing them from getting in the field and harvesting their fall crops. But it's also very beneficial for a freshly planted wheat crop.


The Methane Time Bomb

Arctic scientists discover new global warming threat as melting permafrost releases millions of tons of a gas 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Underground stores of methane are important because scientists believe their sudden release has in the past been responsible for rapid increases in global temperatures, dramatic changes to the climate, and even the mass extinction of species.

Read also: Hundreds More Methane Plumes Discovered

Boise gets earliest snow on record

Idaho, USA
Image: Shawn Raecke/ Idaho Statesman

ig snow flakes fell early Friday evening, turning Downtown Boise into a giant snow globe for people on their way home from work. The snow caught many people off guard, including this bicyclist heading down Idaho Street between 8th and 9th around 5:45 p.m. Across the Treasure Valley, tree branches heavy with wet, snow-covered leaves fell on power lines, causing scattered power outages. This is the earliest measurable snowfall in Boise since recordkeeping began in 1898, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical species also threatened by climate change

WASHINGTON - If you can't stand global warming, get out of the tropics. While the most significant harm from climate change so far has been in the polar regions, tropical plants and animals may face an even greater threat, say scientists who studied conditions in Costa Rica.

Yosemite Falls stands dry in 2003 in Yosemite National Park, California. Global warming is driving tropical plant and animal species to higher altitudes, potentially leaving lowland rainforest with nothing to take their place, ecologists argue in this week's issue of Science. (AFP/Getty Images/File/David Mcnew)

"Many lowland tropical species could be in trouble," the team of researchers, led by Robert K. Colwell of the University of Connecticut, warns in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

"The tropics, in the popular view, are already hot, so how could global warming harm tropical species? We hope to put this concern on the conservation agenda," Colwell said.

Storms becoming more savage and violent

There is mounting evidence that global warming could be causing hurricanes to increase in both frequency and intensity.

"We are led to the confident conclusion that the recent upsurge in tropical cyclone frequency is due in part to greenhouse warming, and this is most likely the dominant effect," the scientists said.

Heat and drought killing Cyprus’ forests

THE ISLAND’S ongoing drought is killing trees, which are increasingly drying up, threatening serious ecological damages.

The Forestry Department is showing increased concerns about the large number of trees that are drying up. The best hope is that the weather conditions will soon change.

What is noticeable around the island is that all kinds of trees, even those which are considered more resistant to drought conditions, such as pines, cypress and carob trees are withering away and turning brown – an indication of their poor state.

Number of starving hits 925m

GLOBAL numbers afflicted by acute hunger rose from 850 million to 925 million by the start of 2008 because of rising prices, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said today.

Bizarre weather hits stonefruit growers

New Zealand
Image: CHRISTINE CORNEGE/The Marlborough Express
ASSESSING THE DAMAGE: Marlborough stonefruit grower Murray Neal says the weather has been too cold for good pollination.

Story: Variable weather in September has produced mixed pollination results for stonefruit growers in Marlborough. Recent rain has reduced pollination of apricot, nectarine and peach crops. "We have been growing stone fruit since 1978 and it has to be THE MOST BIZARRE PERIOD OF WEATHER WE HAVE SEEN." The prolonged cold and wet spell is UNUSUAL. "Bees require some warmth and not rain to work." Cherry growers around the district appear to have avoided damage because of their later flowering. Flowering lasted for about three weeks and the bees had about three days to pollinate flowers once they blossomed. Cherry trees were blossoming a little later than last year because of the cold weather. "The problem is that when we have had good days it has been windy."

Heat destroys crops, farmers' hopes

RECORD TEMPERATURES across Victoria's north last weekend laid waste to the state's wheat crops. Temperatures as high as 34 celsius at Swan Hill, in the state's north, and strong winds, destroyed cropping areas across the Mallee, Wimmera and north-east, ending hopes that farmers could recover from the drought this year. The northern irrigation districts remain on historically low September water allocations of between zero and six per cent. A combination of high temperatures and close to no rainfall has meant that hundreds of farmers have now reached the point of no return. "Low irrigation allocations will make it increasingly difficult for the Victorian horticulture and dairy industries to continue production over the summer months. The chips are down."

Farmers Say Drought Is Worst They've Seen
Kentucky, USA
The Pulaski County beef producers have never seen anything like the droughts of '07 and '08. “It’s real bad. It's the worst I've ever seen it.” Case in point...normally cattle would have plenty of pasture grass to eat until winter. Now they're munching on hay, that's usually reserved for the winter months. “It means it's going to be a long winter.Could be hard pressed to find hay." A lot of farmers are now going on nearly a month without significant rainfall. There's been only one cutting of hay, not enough to get cattle through the winter. And with the economy in a serious tailspin, some don't know what they're going to do. “Increasing fuel costs, fertilizer, and feed costs. It's changing the way agriculture is.”


Cyclone-hit farmers battle snails

Farmers report a larger number of snails this year in the wake of Nargis

An unidentified freshwater snail has left scores of paddy farmers in southern Myanmar reeling. In the wake of Cyclone Nargis - which left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing in May - farmers cite an increase in the invasive species. Experts believe the snails were washed up by the sea’s tidal surge when it submerged more than 783,000ha of rice paddy fields or 63 percent of paddy land in the affected areas. The snails devastate rice fields by feeding on the base of paddy seedlings, as well as on plant leaves and stems and are capable of consuming the young plants overnight. Lacking government or international assistance to deal with the menace, many farmers resorted to pesticide, only to have it kill everything else at the same time, including fish. "We don't know the name of it or its active ingredients, but it really kills the crabs though it cannot kill the snails."

'Climate-proof' crop hunt begins

From BBC News
A global search has begun for food crops with traits that are able to withstand changes to the climate.

The project, co-ordinated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, is searching national seed banks for "climate proof" varieties, including maize and rice.

The team will screen seeds for natural resistance to extreme events, such as floods, droughts or temperature swings.

They hope the strains will help protect food production from the impacts of climate change.

Threat of eruption prompts relocation of rare birds from volcanic island

Threat of eruption prompts relocation of rare birds from volcanic island - A special Ministry of the Environment council has decided to move 15 short-tailed albatross chicks from the birds' breeding grounds on Torishima, one of the Izu Islands, to Mukojima in the Ogasawara Islands. The albatrosses' current breeding grounds were improved in 1993, after fears the bird would become extinct, and the population has since risen to around 2,140. However, since the island is an active volcano, new facilities have been prepared on Mukojima, with the first 10 albatross chicks moved there in February this year. Another 15 birds will be moved in February. The chicks successfully left their nests in May, and electronic tagging revealed that they migrated to the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands along with their wild brethren.

Relocation of farmers from vog suggested

Hawaii, USA
The state might need to help some farmers move away from Kilauea volcano so they can escape the effects of vog and stay in business. The state helped Hilo farmers move to safer ground after the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis. Big Islanders have long lived with vog, which is formed when sulfur dioxide from Kilauea mixes with sunlight and dust particles. But the volume of vog in the air above many communities has jumped dramatically since March, when Kilauea started emitting more than double the amount of sulfur dioxide it had been spewing before. Kilauea continues to spew nearly 3 thousands tons of ash and deadly sulfur dioxide gas every day. Protea and other flower crops have been particularly vulnerable to the effects of vog, with some farms losing all their plants. View Video

Officials from the Big Island
reported to state lawmakers that they suggest residents prepare "safe rooms" regarding the ongoing eruption of dangerous gases from Kilauea Volcano. "We have to do something on an emergency basis to provide for the health and safety of the people." The noxious gasses from the volcano can settle on a community too fast and it is not practical for a whole community to evacuate, Civil Defense officials said. "So, what we're advising the community is be prepared for an announcement to come out and stay indoors, minimize your outdoor activity, but basically shelter in place in your own residence." Department of Education officials said they will be able to set up safe rooms in all the schools. "We were able to come up $34,000 or $38,000 to purchase enough air purifiers for every public school on the Big Island and from there we developed what we call safe zones." Officials admit there is no easy answer or fail-safe plan for what to do when the gas from Kilauea threatens people and agriculture on the Big Island.
View Video

Twister Sweeps the British Shore

Great Britain
A waterspout was photographed off the South Devon coast Thursday as a storm swept inland at the same time, bringing high winds and a downpour. “It was a long, thin formation coming out of the sky and when it was near the surface water was sucked up to meet it. It was a bit spooky, and on land in Brixham it suddenly went cold and dark for ten minutes. It was VERY UNUSUAL weather for this part of the world.”

'Thousands ill' due to China milk

Nearly 13,000 children in China have been hospitalised due to tainted Chinese milk powder, officials say.

China's health ministry said 104 out of 12,892 babies showed serious symptoms.

Four infants have died after drinking the milk of the Sanlu Group containing the industrial chemical melamine, which could cause urinary problems.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a toddler has been diagnosed with a kidney stone after drinking the powder - the first such case outside mainland China.

A number of Asian and African countries have now banned Chinese dairy imports following the scandal.

Chinese police have arrested 18 people in connection with the scandal.

Butterflies at lowest level due to wet summer

The swallowtail (left) and the purple emperor (right) - most butterflies are expected to suffer a decline


Butterfly numbers may be at their LOWEST EVER SUMMER LEVEL. A wet and miserable summer with very little sunshine has dashed hopes of a recovery following a wash-out breeding season last year. Garden species such as small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral seem to have been among the worst hit. Following a record-breaking wet summer last year which brought widespread flooding - August has again proved to be a massive disappointment with more rain falling in the first 17 days (95.5 mm) than the long-term average (84.6 mm) for the whole month. Rain forces butterflies to find shelter and prevents them foraging for the nectar they need to fuel a good breeding season. To thrive they need a settled period of warm weather with just enough rain to make the flowers grow.

Wildfires sweep southern Africa, kill at least 89

Southern Africa
At least 89 people have died in wildfires sweeping through Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. 49 people have died in central Mozambique and the toll may rise further. The fires claimed more than 40 lives in South Africa and Swaziland. The fires, which started amid high temperatures last week and have been fanned by strong winds, have destroyed four schools and left 3,000 people homeless. Vast swathes of farmland have been destroyed, and livestock killed.

Unusual E coli strain sickens 231 in Oklahoma

Oklahoma, USA

Sep 10, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A restaurant-related illness outbreak in Oklahoma featuring an uncommon strain of Escherichia coli has expanded to involve at least 231 people, 61 of whom have been hospitalized, Oklahoma health officials announced today.

The sick have been infected with E coli O111, a far less common strain than E coli O157:H7, the serotype typically identified in E coli outbreaks. Both strains can cause the form of kidney failure known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is potentially fatal.

Service Restored Following 9 Day Power Outage

From The Editor's Desk
Skywatch Media News


Hurricane Gustav has left countless headaches and substantial misery to millions of Louisianans in the aftermath of this most powerful hurricane that slammed into the Gulf Coast of Louisiana on September 1st. Many have endured the sweltering heat as lights went out across the state, leaving some 1.5 million homes without power. Those lucky enough to afford generators fared better, able to keep their air conditioners running and the refrigerators cold.

I was fortunate to have had a generator for most of the 8+ days that my area went without power, but many still remain in the dark after nearly 10 days since the devastation began. Some 220, 000 meters are still silent across the state, and many are scratching their heads wondering when the lights will return, or when things will return to normal.

This is but a taste of what we can expect as our climate continues to change and our world continues to heat up. Those who have experienced the tremendous force of a major hurricane, know first hand what they can do to disrupt our normal way of life, and the storms we are now experiencing are much larger and stronger than they have ever been.

Hurricane Gustav was one for the books in Louisiana, and especially for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan area. This storm has now been classified as the most destructive and damaging storm to hit this part of Louisiana in its recorded history, even exceeding that of Katrina and Rita which also affected this area in 2005. Gustav is the third major hurricane to hit Louisiana in the past 3 years. Thousands of large trees were completely uprooted or torn in half, and many homes were destroyed or sustained considerable damage by falling trees.

With Ike looming in the Gulf of Mexico, all eyes are pointing towards Texas, but those in Louisiana are keeping a watchful eye, and for good reason. With lives disrupted and people displaced, we are picking up the pieces and starting over. Life goes on as usual, but things just aren't what they used to be for many folks down here. How much more can the average person endure in these troubling times. While governments cope with the insurmountable disaster assistance, insurance companies go bust trying to deal with overwhelming damage claims. Its a vicious merry-go-round that keeps spinning faster with no slow down in sight.

Now that I have been living like a 19th Century Pioneer these past 8 days, I can express to you with sure certainty how wonderful it is to have modern day electricity at our disposal. A luxury that many of us take for granted, myself excluded.

Skywatch-Media News and its affiliate websites will resume normal activities on September 11th, which is also the anniversary of the disaster that befell New York City in 2001. Let's pray that this nation should remain safe and secure from any great calamity in our immediate future. We will continue to hope for the best as a people and nation, but must be prepared for the worst as we venture into uncertain times.

Steve Shaman
Skywatch-Media News

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