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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.

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