Two avalanches have hit the Italian Alps in 24 hours, leaving four dead

• • • • •

At least four people are dead after two avalanches struck the Italian Alps over the weekend.

On Sunday, a 28-year-old died after an avalanche in the Brenta Dolomite mountains at an altitude of 2,700 meters (8,860 feet) around 11 a.m. local time, the Carabinieri told CNN.

Earlier on Saturday, a woman and two children died after an avalanche struck a ski slope at the Val Senales glacier in South Tyrol, a province in northern Italy near the Austrian border, a Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police) source told CNN.

That avalanche happened around midday on Saturday. Officials from the Finance Police, Alpine rescue and Carabinieri attended the scene, with assistance from three helicopters and dog units specialized in avalanche search and rescue.



There’s a Texas-size area of hot sea water off the coast of New Zealand

• • • • •

In the South Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand, satellite imagery shows a massive area of ocean water at well-above-average temperatures.

The water in the area is about 5 degrees Celsius (about 9 degrees Fahrenheit) “warmer than average for the latitude and time of year,” said James Renwick, a professor and head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

The hot blob on the Pacific surface is detectable from space and is the largest area of above-average water temperature on Earth right now.

The patch of sea is about a million square kilometers (400,000 square miles), covering an area of ocean larger than the size of Texas.

“The ocean surface doesn’t vary that wildly,” Renwick said. “One degree (Celsius) is big. So, five degrees is huge.”

It’s especially rare to see over such a large area, but scientists say global climate change is making these phenomena more common.

“The ocean surface does what the air above tells it,” Renwick said.

That area has received a lot of sunshine, and there’s been a lack of westerly wind to blow area away the warm area hovering above the sea surface, he said.

“If it’s warm somewhere, it may be cold somewhere else,” Renwick said. Just east of the abnormally warm area, the water is about 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than then average.

These warm blobs happen at various points around the world’s oceans. A few months ago, oceanographers observed a similar warm patch of ocean off Alaska, which Renwick attributed to the loss of Arctic sea ice.

That study showed that from 1925 to 2016, there was a 54% rise in the number of marine heat wave days each year. That was because heat waves were increasing in both frequency and in duration, with the highest level of maritime heat wave activity occurring in the North Atlantic.

Between 1982 and 2016, scientists saw a more alarming trend as the number of heat wave days on the global ocean surface had increased 82%.

The article said the data could “largely be explained by increases in mean ocean temperatures, suggesting that we can expect further increases in marine heatwave days under continued global warming.”



Magnitude 5.1 earthquake strikes Iran near nuclear power plant

• • • • •

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Iran early Friday morning in a region which houses the country’s first nuclear power plant.

The quake occurred just after 5 a.m. local time, 44 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of the city of Borazjan in Bushehr province, at a depth of 38.3 kilometers (23.7 miles), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The Bushehr nuclear plant is located on the Iranian coastline to the southwest of Borazjan, not far from the epicenter of the earthquake.

Iran is no stranger to tectonic activity. The country sits on a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian plates and has experienced many earthquakes in the past.

In November, at least five people were killedand 330 others injured after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Iran.

Last year, a quake that struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November killed at least 361 people.

More than 400 people were killed and thousands injured when a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November 2017.

The deadliest quake this century occurred in 2003 when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the southeastern city of Bam, killing some 26,000 people.



Typhoon Phanfone kills at least 16 as it hits the Philippines on Christmas Day

• • • • •

A typhoon that lashed the central Philippines on Christmas Day has killed at least 21 people and caused damage to homes and tourist areas.

Typhoon Phanfone, known locally as Typhoon Ursula, first made landfall on Eastern Samar province on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and storm surges. It hit as the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, packing sustained wind speeds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour, with gusts of 195 kilometers (121 miles) per hour.

Phanfone continued to sweep West across the islands of the Eastern Visayas region, southern Luzon and Western Visayas on Wednesday, toppling electricity pylons and trees, tearing off roofs, damaging homes and causing widespread travel disruption over the busy Christmas period.

Images from the area showed debris blocking roads, downed lamp posts, crumpled houses and people huddling in evacuation centers.

Earlier this month Typhoon Kammuri, the twentieth to hit the country this year, killed 13 people and damaged more than 8,000 houses.



200 homes destroyed as forest fires tear through historic Chilean city

• • • • •

At least 200 homes have been destroyed after forest fires swept through a residential area in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso on Christmas Eve.

Hundreds of firefighters struggled to control the fast-moving blaze, which continued into Christmas Day and was made worse by dry weather and strong winds.

Military units and helicopters were deployed to help battle the flames and residents were evacuated to shelters.

Images show dozens of houses completely destroyed by the flames and residents tried to salvage any belongings.

“Progress has been made in containing the fire, but unfortunately more than 200 homes are already destroyed,” Blumel posted on Twitter.

“This isn’t just about the numbers — there are families behind this to whom we have to answer,” Chilean Housing Minister Cristian Monckeberg said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of the capital Santiago on Chile’s coast, Valparaiso is a popular tourist destination known for its colorful houses, idyllic hills and its historic old town.

The city has been ravaged by wildfires in the past. In 2014, at least 12 people diedand 2,000 homes were destroyed when fires tore through the city.



In Asia Pacific the climate crisis is happening now, not in the future

• • • • •

The world’s most disaster-prone region felt the harsh reality of the climate crisis in 2019.

Toxic smog shrouded Asian megacities, hundreds died in flooding and landslides, cyclones battered coastlines and bushfires, droughts and deadly heatwaves led totowns and cities almost running out of water. Far from being anomalies, scientists say the climate crisis is causing more extreme weather events — and it’s having devastating consequences in Asia and the Pacific.

“This is a sign of things to come in the new climate reality.”

But while many people in developed countries see the climate crisis as an urgent but future problem, for millions living in Asia-Pacific, it’s already touching every part of life.

The Asia-Pacific region, home to 60% of the world’s population, is one of the most vulnerable areas to the climate crisis. Compounding the problem is rapid urbanization in many Asian nations, with the pace of development often overtaking proper infrastructure planning.

Population booms and the mass migration of people to cities for work is putting strain on water and food supplies. Many big Asian cities, including Mumbai, Shanghai, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta, are coastal and low-lying, making them susceptible to sea level rise and other extreme weather events.

As material wealth grows, so too does the consumer market and demand for emissions-producing conveniences such as air-conditioning, cars and disposable goods.

While wealthier cities like Hong Kong can afford to disaster-proof — to an extent. At the other end of the scale, poverty-stricken populations are living in some of the most environmentally precarious places on Earth, where extreme weather events could prove disastrous for lives, food production, water sources, economies and infrastructure.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, in a statement. “We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target.”

“Sea level rise is speeding up,” said Cooper-Halo, who is Director of Climate Change Resilience at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). “We expected sea level rise in about 20 years to be showing the changes. But we are seeing it already now.”

In a landmark report this year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that global sea levels are rising faster than expected.

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions, warming temperatures, melting glaciers and disappearing ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, a study released in May found.

A rise of two meters would displace 187 million people, mostly from Asia, and swamp major cities such as Shanghai. Another study suggested that in Southeast Asia, parts of southern Vietnam and Bangkok could be underwater by 2050.

About 2.4 billion people — about half the population of Asia — live in areas vulnerable to extreme weather events.

This year, flooding and landslides, triggered by torrential monsoon rains, swept across India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, leaving devastation in each country and hundreds of deaths.

China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, were all hit by tropical storms and typhoons — or cyclones — in 2019, causing dozens of deaths, hundreds of thousands displaced and millions of dollars in damage.

The climate crisis is expected to create higher storm surges, increased rainfall and stronger winds.

About 2.4 billion people — about half the population of Asia — live in areas vulnerable to extreme weather events.

This year, flooding and landslides, triggered by torrential monsoon rains, swept across India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, leaving devastation in each country and hundreds of deaths.

China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, were all hit by tropical storms and typhoons — or cyclones — in 2019, causing dozens of deaths, hundreds of thousands displaced and millions of dollars in damage.

The climate crisis is expected to create higher storm surges, increased rainfall and stronger winds.

“Whenever an extreme weather event happens, we lose our basic human right to safe, decent, and dignified life.”

Seven out of 10 disasters that caused the biggest economic losses in the world from 1970 to 2019 are tropical cyclones, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Preparing for more extreme weather costs money and there are calls for rich nations to provide smaller economies with finance and technology to recover from the impacts of the climate crisis.

Sustento said fossil fuel companies also need to do their part — by speeding up the shift to renewable energy.

“We should not allow the fossil fuel industry to continue with business as usual, while we are left with no choice but to live with the ‘new normal’, to count our dead, to search for the missing, and to fear for our future,” she said.

As the climate crisis makes rainfall and the annual monsoons — vital for the region’s agriculture — more erratic, droughts and water shortages will become more severe.

The past five years have been the hottest on record and blistering heatwaves — felt this year in Japan, China, India, Pakistan, and Australia — are becoming so intense that a group of MIT researchers suggested some places could become too hot to be inhabitable.

“We have an economy where there’s a population that’s growing and industry that’s growing. So you need 40% more water for industry, you need more water for more people. You need more water for everything,” said Jyoti Sharma, founder and president of FORCE, an Indian NGO.

“Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.



New South Wales declares state of emergency as Australia bushfires rage

• • • • •

A state of emergency has been declared in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) for the second time in two months, as firefighters battle nearly 100 active fires amid a record-breaking heat wave.

The fires have been burning for two months now, exacerbated by rising temperatures. Wednesday broke the record for the hottest day nationwide, with the average maximum temperature hitting 41.9 degrees Celsius (107.4 Fahrenheit). That beat the previous record of 40.9 Celsius (105.6 Fahrenheit) — which had been set just the day before.

One particularly large fire is burning in the Wollemi National Park Area, northwest of Sydney — it’s more than 417,000 hectares in size and “is out of control,” the Rural Fire Service said. It warned residents that “It is too late to leave,” and to take shelter from the heat of the fire.

A total of six people have died and nearly 800 homes have been destroyed by the fires this season, according to the NSW government.

Earlier this week, the city of Perth in Western Australia experienced three consecutive days above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) — which had never happened in December, according to CNN meteorologists.

The heat wave began largely concentrated in South Australia, but is now moving east into Victoria and NSW. Authorities have warned that temperatures could rise even higher over the course of the week.



Earth’s magnetic north pole is heading for Russia and scientists are puzzled

• • • • •

The north magnetic pole has been slowly moving across the Canadian Arctic toward Russia since 1831, but its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model — used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and US and British militaries — a year ahead of schedule.

The World Magnetic Model 2020 forecasts that the pole will continue on its path to Russia, but now the speed is slowly decreasing to about 24.8 miles per year. Since its discovery in 1831, the pole has traveled 1,400 miles.

The magnetic field reverses its polarity every several hundred thousand years, where the magnetic north pole resides at the geographic South Pole. The last reversal took place 770,000 years ago.

In a new study, researchers discovered that the last field reversal took 22,000 years to complete — much longer than anticipated or expected, the researchers said.

Although some believe reversals could happen over the course of a human life, the findings don’t support that theory.

“Reversals are generated in the deepest parts of the Earth’s interior, but the effects manifest themselves all the way through the Earth and especially at the Earth’s surface and in the atmosphere,” said Brad Singer, study author and University of Wisconsin-Madison geologist. “Unless you have a complete, accurate and high-resolution record of what a field reversal really is like at the surface of the Earth, it’s difficult to even discuss what the mechanics of generating a reversal are.”

Our planet’s magnetic field is created by an interaction between the liquid iron outer core spinning around the solid inner core. When a reversal happens, the normally strong magnetic field weakens.

Radioisotope dating of lava flows and continuous magnetic readings from the ocean floor and Antarctic ice cores helped recreate a picture of the last reversal for the researchers.

Argon can be measured from the lava flows as the radioactive decay of potassium occurs in the rocks, while beryllium can be measured in the ice cores. A weakened magnetic field allows more cosmic radiation from space to strike our atmosphere, which creates more beryllium.

The actual reversal took less than 4,000 years — a drop in the bucket when compared to Earth’s timeline so far. But leading up to that reversal were 18,000 years of instability, including two temporary and partial reversals. This is twice as long as expected.

The magnetic field decreases in strength about 5% each century and signs of weakening in the field point to an upcoming reversal — but it’s hard to know when that reversal will happen.

If a reversal happened during our lifetime, it could impact navigation, satellites and communications. However, the researchers believe that we would have generations to adapt for long periods of instability in the magnetic field.

“I’ve been working on this problem for 25 years,” Singer said. “And now we have a richer record and better-dated record of this last reversal than ever before.”



6-year-old girl among 3 killed as 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocks southern Philippines

• • • • •

A six-year-old girl was among three people killed when a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Philippines island of Mindanao on Sunday.

The girl was inside her family’s house when the building collapsed and killed her, the province’s governor, Douglas Cagas, told CNN.

The country’s President Rodrigo Duterte was at his home in Davao, the largest city on the island, at the time of the quake, reported state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA). He was unhurt, although his house reportedly “sustained several cracks in the walls.”

There were several aftershocks in nearby provinces, including a 5.0 magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey. It added that there was no tsunami threat, as the quake struck inland and not the water.

It’s the latest in a serious of quakes to strike the island in recent months. In October another series of 6.6 and 6.5-magnitude quakes struck Mindanao, killing 14 and injuring more than 400.



‘If the climate stays like this, we won’t make it’ say those on the frontline of Africa’s drought

• • • • •

Torrents of water once thundered over the precipice at Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, shrouding the area in mist.

But a multi-year drought has slowed large sections of the imposing falls to little more than a weak stream, and the lush vegetation they once nourished is hot and dry.

The parched waterfall is perhaps the most visible effect of the drought that is hammering this region. But it is not the most devastating. The World Food Program says that more than 7 million people in Zimbabwe alone are going hungry, with a further 45 million people across southern Africa at risk.

As delegates desperately search for a practical plan for cutting emissions at the COP25 meetings in Madrid, Spain, this week, this region is a stark reminder that the climate crisis is here and now — and that countries that did the least to cause the climate crisis are already being hit the hardest.

“Our future is still ahead of us,” said Nkosi Nyathi, a 16-year-old climate activist from Victoria Falls, ahead of his flight to COP25 in Madrid. “We are looking at what is already happening with the drought. What is our future going to be like? Even just 10 years down the line or 15 years down the line, it will affect us very much.”

“I think Africans are fully realizing how urgent the need now is for worldwide climate action,” Engelbrecht says. “The southern African region, in particular, is already hot and dry and is projected to become even hotter and drier under future climate change. In fact, the region is projected to warm at more or less double the global rate of warming.”

“I wish that they could stop climate change because we are suffering,” she says. “We depend on farming to survive as a family and if the climate stays like this we won’t make it.”

Ncube doesn’t need climate science to tell her how things have changed in this part of the country. As a child, they could depend on the rains to plant their maize and sorghum, a grain used to feed livestock. But no longer.

Extreme climate events will come more frequently and on multiple fronts: Sustained droughts and heatwaves will continue; cyclones like Idai that hit Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March will get stronger; and the prospect of Day Zero water events — like when Cape Town very nearly ran out of water last year — are three times more likely, Englebrecht says.

Climate models project a nightmare scenario where staple crops such as maize won’t survive the heatwaves and even cattle farming — key to the livelihood of millions — will be impossible.

“The message is simple: Guys, we are all humans, we are all breathing the same air, these countries are polluting, and we are facing the worst of it,” he says.



A storm brought some of the largest waves ever recorded off the California coast last week. One was 75-feet tall

• • • • •

The bomb cyclone that pounded the West Coast last week brought with it some of the tallest waves ever recorded off the California coast.

A monstrous 75-foot wave was recorded about 20 miles off the coast of Cape Mendocino in northern California, according to the University of California, San Diego’s Coastal Data Information Program.

In the 15 years the program has operated a station in that location, the significant wave height — or the average height of the tallest third of waves that occur over 30 minutes — typically doesn’t exceed 10 feet tall during the winter.

The 75-footer was the tallest of the waves recorded in that period, which averaged around 43 feet tall. Still, that’s “definitely unusual” for this time of year, program manager James Behrens told CNN.

“These kinds of really large waves are usually only detected way out in the middle of the ocean, when winds are being generated,” he said.

The program’s buoys had only measured taller waves at one other station, located in the remote North Pacific Ocean where extreme waves are expected to form on occasion, he said.

Bomb cyclones are storms that strengthen rapidly, causing pressure to drop quickly. Lower pressure yields stronger winds, though it’s unusual for waves this tall to be tracked so close to the coast, Behrens said.

The bomb cyclone that dumped rain and snow on the West set low-pressure records in northern California and parts of Oregon, the National Weather Service said.

Hurricane-strength winds were recorded in Cape Blanco, Oregon, on November 26, the same day the 75-foot wave was recorded.

Gusts there topped out at 106 mph.

The program’s buoys are only three feet in circumference, but they’re designed to “measure waves to the highest precision.” Behrens said the oceanographers share the data with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to improve their measurements.

The buoys are outfitted with acceleration sensors that help oceanographers recreate the motion of the wave, its height and direction. They can sense how long a wave takes to move and locate the direction of wind chops and sea swells, he said.

“It’s often just a game of chance,” Nicolini said. “If they came at a peak time, they would’ve caused significant damage.”



New Zealand volcano eruption leaves at least five dead



Samoa measles outbreak: Government shuts down so everyone can get vaccinated

• • • • •

Red flags have been erected across Samoa to mark unvaccinated households as the government shuts down Thursday to deploy all resources to reining in a deadly measles outbreak.

More than 4,200 cases of measles have been reported across the Pacific island nation in recent weeks, including 62 deaths — with 2 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to official statistics. None of the victims were vaccinated, the government said.

The decision to shut government services for two days is the latest in a series of drastic steps Samoan authorities have taken to stop the outbreak of a disease that was thought to be almost eliminated globally, but has made a dangerous comeback in recent years.

Tuilaepa said 58,000 people — more than a quarter of the population — were vaccinated from the start of the campaign on November 20 until Monday.

All civil servants, except for those who help supply water and electricity to the country, will participate in the vaccination campaign on Thursday and Friday by offering assistance to public health officials.

Measles has seen a wide resurgence around the world — in both high-income countries in the Americas and Europe and lower-income nations in Asia and Africa — fueled in part by fear of and lack of access to vaccines, and complacency.

Almost 350,000 measles cases were reported globally in 2018, according to UNICEF — more than doubling from 2017.


A massive waterfall formed on Greenland’s ice sheet. Here’s why it matters

• • • • •

What may have been the world’s tallest waterfall briefly formed on Greenland’s ice sheet last year, draining a meltwater lake of 5 million cubic meters of water — equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools — in just five hours.

Their study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigates the link between this transfer of meltwater to the bottom of the ice and rising global sea levels. Greenland has the world’s second-largest ice sheet, and is the single largest contributor to global sea-level rise, the study said.

Caused by cracks forming on the ice sheet, these cascades are responsible for dumping huge quantities of surface water to the ice bed, where it can accelerate the movement of ice towards the sea. After draining, lakes leave behind holes called moulins, which allow meltwater to continue to travel to the bottom of the ice sheet. “When trigger lakes drain, the water lubricates the bed and the ice flow becomes faster,” Christoffersen said.

Formed during the summer as the weather warms, the ‘trigger lakes’ such as the one the scientists observed at Store Glacier, in northwest Greenland, can cause a chain-reaction so that up to 50 or more lakes nearby can drain rapidly over the course of a few days, Christoffersen said.

At its peak, the cascade was 950 cubic meters per second, which is roughly half of the flow of Niagara Falls or one Olympic sized swimming pool every three seconds, he said. The water was plunging “pretty much exactly” 1,000 meters (3,281 feet), said Christoffersen.

“This discharge increased the ice flow from two meters per day to five meters per day as the water delivery took place. This acceleration had a sudden impact on the ice sheet in terms of stress and ice deformation, and these dynamic impacts explain why lakes situated in places where fractures do not naturally form, still drain rapidly,” said Christoffersen.

Christoffersen said climate change plays a key role in the increase of meltwater production, as global temperatures rise.

“More and more melt water is being produced and melting extends to higher and higher elevations,” he said. “Lakes are growing larger and more numerous and forming at higher elevations. Some as high as 2 kilometers above sea level. This means that networks of lakes draining in cascading events are likely to grow larger.”

“It’s possible we’ve under-estimated the effects of these glaciers on the overall instability of the Greenland Ice Sheet,” said co-first author Tom Chudley, a PhD student at the Scott Polar Research and the team’s drone pilot.



Global emissions will hit another record high this year despite a slowdown in coal use

• • • • •

Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to reach another record high this year, a new report found Wednesday, with scientists warning the world is losing time to make the drastic reductions needed to avert a climate catastrophe.

In 2019, the world is projected to pump out almost 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide, driven by demand for oil and natural gas, according to an annual report from the Global Carbon Project, an international research initiative focused on sustainability.

That growth — even if it has slowed — means that the world is not on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, which aims to cap global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

To achieve this, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach “net zero” around 2050.

Researchers warn emissions could keep increasing over the next decade unless energy, transportation and industry policies significantly change across the world.

“We’re losing time, the years and decades are marching by and carbon dioxide emissions show no signs of dropping,” Jackson said.

China, the United States, Europe and India account for more than half of global emissions.

“We are witnessing a shift in the dominance of emissions sources — coal emissions are trending down, but oil emissions continue to grow, and natural gas emissions are fast accelerating,” said Dr. Pep Canadell, Executive Director of the Global Carbon Budget and Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Climate Science Center, in a statement.

The world is now 1.1°C degrees warmer than it was at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution — a change that has already had a profound effect on the planet and people’s lives.

Last month, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 2019 Emissions Gap report warned that the commitments countries pledged to limit the climate crisis are nowhere near enough to stave off record-high temperatures.

At the current rate, temperatures are expected to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, the UNEP report stated. To get the Earth back on track to the 1.5-degree goal, global greenhouse gas emissions must fall at least 7.6% every year.



Thousands evacuated as typhoon strengthens and makes landfall in Philippines

• • • • •

Thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes in the Philippines as a rare December typhoon edges closer to some of the country’s most densely populated areas, including the capital of Manila.

Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Tisoy, is expected to strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday morning Philippine time and make landfall in southeastern Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island. Authorities in the Albay province began evacuating 100,000 people in anticipation of the storm, according to the government-run Philippines News Agency (PNA).

The storm is packing winds of 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour), but those are expected to speed up to 185 kph (115 mph). Southern Luzon is forecast to receive 20 to 30 centimeters of rain (8-12 inches), which will bring a risk of flash flooding and mudslides. Top wind gusts could hit 200 kph (124 mph).

December typically marks the end of the typhoon season in the Philippines, so while it’s rare for the country to be hit by powerful storms this late in the season, it’s not unheard of.



Borneo is burning. How the world’s demand for palm oil is driving deforestation in Indonesia

• • • • •

Deep within the jungles of Indonesian Borneo, illegal fires rage, creating apocalyptic red skies and smoke that has spread as far as Malaysia and Singapore.

People are choking. Animals are dying.

This is no ordinary fire. It was lit for you.

They’re not only burning the forest, they’re destroying the peatlands that lie beneath it — the world’s largest natural terrestrial carbon sink.

Experts say the annual infernos have ignited a climate bomb with disastrous consequences for the world in years to come.



Climate crisis pushing Earth to a ‘global tipping point,’ researchers say

• • • • •

The Earth is heading toward a “global tipping point” if the climate crisiscontinues on its current path, scientists have warned, as they called for urgent action to avoid “an existential threat to civilization.”

A global tipping point is a threshold when the planet’s systems go beyond the point of no return — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest, accelerated melting of ice sheets, and thawing of permafrost — the authors of the commentary say.

Such a collapse could lead to “hothouse” conditions that would make some areas on Earth uninhabitable.

“We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best,” the authors said.

The team claims that these events are interconnected and change in one will impact another, causing a worsening “cascade” of crises.

For example, the Arctic is warming at least twice as quickly as the global average. Melting Arctic sea ice is driving warming further because less heat is reflected off the planet.

That regional warming is leading to an increased thawing of Arctic permafrost, soil that stays frozen throughout the year, which is releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. The warming has triggered large-scale insect disturbances and fires in North American boreal forests “potentially turning some regions from a carbon sink to a carbon source,” the team said.

“Research last year analyzed 30 types of regime shift spanning physical climate and ecological systems, from collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet to a switch from rainforest to savanna,” they added. “This indicated that exceeding tipping points in one system can increase the risk of crossing them in others.”

Back then, the UN suggested such “large-scale discontinuities” would only come about when global warming exceeded 5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But the authors say data from the two most recent IPCC reports in 2018 and September 2019, suggest tipping points can happen between 1 C and 2 C of warming.

Global average temperatures are today around 1 C higher than in the pre-industrial age and continue to rise.

One report from 2018 — of which Lenton was part of — suggested that a domino effect will kick in if global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The authors acknowledge that there are limits to their understanding of climate tipping, and further investigation is needed. But they say the possible impact could be so huge and “irreversible” that “to err on the side of danger is not a responsible option.”

In other words, not acting is “too risky to bet against” in their view.

And time is of the essence.

“The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril. International action — not just words — must reflect this.”



Thanksgiving storms have travelers scrambling with downpours, power outages and snow

• • • • •

Two massive storms are pounding the US from Oregon to New York with some combination of snow, rain and high winds as millions of people take to the roads and skies ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Blizzard and high wind warnings are in effect across the West Coast states including Oregon, California, Nevada and Idaho as a “historic, unprecedented” storm began dumping rain over the region, the National Weather Service said.

It’s also begun to dump heavy snow — with some mountain ranges in eastern California measuring snow piles in feet Wednesday, the weather service said.

That storm unleashed powerful winds and dumped snow and rain over the Plains Tuesday and moved over the upper Midwest Wednesday dumping snow from Nebraska to Wisconsin, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. The storm system’s winds — whipping Oklahoma to New York — have already had some disastrous effects. In Oklahoma, officials reported at least 26 wildfires, activating the State Emergency Operations Center.

And as the fires forced some residents in two counties to evacuate their homes, more than 15,000 others across the state lost power. Strong southwest winds pushed a “rapid spread” of fires, the weather service in Norman, Oklahoma, said.



Countries are not doing enough to keep Earth’s temperature from rising to near-catastrophic levels, a UN report says

• • • • •

A new United Nations report paints a bleak picture: The commitments countries pledged to limit the climate crisis are nowhere near enough to stave off record-high temperatures. Delaying change any further will make it impossible to reach desired temperature goals.

The time for “rapid and transformational” change to limit global warming is now, the report says.

Current measures will not keep global temperature increases within the 1.5-to-2-degree Celsius range (a “safe” level to which temperatures can rise and not cause devastation, though 1.5 degrees is preferable), according to the report issued Tuesday.

Greenhouse gases reached a record high in 2018 with no sign of peaking, according to a World Meteorological Organization report released Monday. Carbon dioxide levels reached 407.8 parts per million, a unit used to measure the level of a contaminant in the air.

At the current rate, temperatures are expected to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, the UNEP report states.

Incremental change is no longer enough to stall off the potentially devastating effects of a changing climate, the report’s authors write.

What the world needs now, they say, is “rapid and transformational action.”

G20 countries account for 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but only five of 20 member countries have set a date to reach net-zero emissions by. Of those, only two have created legislation to enforce those goals.

The US leads G20 countries in per-capita emissions, excluding greenhouse gases from land use, at just above 20 tons of carbon dioxide per capita in 2018.

Renewable energy technology is increasingly affordable, with utility-scale solar power and wind turbines within competitive price of the operating costs of existing coal plants.

“There’s really no big argument for not going full-force at renewable energy,” she said.

Environmental recalibration will require fundamental structural changes across most of the world, the report acknowledges. It won’t be cheap.

Climate policies consistent with the 1.5-degree goal could cost up to $3.6 trillion per year globally, according to the UNEP. But the cost likely outweighs the consequences of inaction.

The adaptations humankind would need to make to survive in a world where temperatures have risen more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would seriously damage the global economy and reduce food security and biodiversity, according to the report.

“Climate protection and adaptation investments will become a precondition for peace and stability,” the report’s authors write, and will require “unprecedented” efforts to transform nearly every sector of society.



At least 23 killed as 6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes Albania

• • • • •

At least eight people have been killed, several more are missing and hundreds have been injured after an earthquake struck Albania on Tuesday,

The quake, which had a preliminary rating of 6.4 magnitude, hit the European nation at an approximate depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles) early Tuesday local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The epicenter was in the port city of Durres, about 13 miles from the capital Tirana. Social media videos from the area show several buildings have collapsed.

Four victims died in Durres, a spokesperson for the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told CNN. Another two died in Thumane, one person died after jumping from a building in panic in Kurbin, and another victim died while driving on a badly damaged road in Lezhe, the spokesperson added.

The health ministry had earlier confirmed that at least 325 people were injured in the quake, and the Prime Minister’s office has said that several people are still missing.

Rama said nearby countries, including Italy and Greece, have been assisting Albania with the recovery operation, while other European leaders have also offered their assistance.



At least seven children among dozens killed in Kenya landslide

• • • • •

At least seven children are among the 29 people killed after heavy rainfalltriggered a landslide in Pokot, northwest Kenya, authorities have confirmed.

Flooded roads and bridges were swept away after the incident, hindering rescue operations, Okello added.

The landslide began around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in West Pokot County near the Ugandan border, according to President’s office, causing “massive destruction” to infrastructure like bridges and roads.

State authorities have urged people living in areas prone to landslides to move to safer ground as the heavy rainfall continues.

Rainfall throughout East Africa has affected Somalia, South Sudan and Kenya over the last month.



Hunter in China catches bubonic plague after eating a wild rabbit

• • • • •

Twenty-eight people are in quarantine in China’s northern Inner Mongolia province after a hunter was diagnosed with bubonic plague Saturday, the local health commission said.

According to state-run news agency Xinhua, the unidentified patient was believed to have become infected with the plague after catching and eating a wild rabbit in Inner Mongolia’s Huade county.

Bubonic plague is the more common version of the disease and is rarely transmitted between humans.

Pneumonic plague is the most virulent and deadly strain of the disease. It originates in the lungs and any person who is infected can spread it to another person by sneezing or coughing near them. It can be cured with antibiotics, but is always fatal if left untreated, according to the WHO.

In comparison, bubonic plague can only be spread by infected fleas or by handling an infected animal’s tissue.

In May, a Mongolian couple died from bubonic plague after eating the raw kidney of a marmot, a local folk health remedy.

Although plague is inextricably linked to the Black Death pandemic of the 14th century that killed around 50 million people in Europe, it remains a relatively common disease.

At least 1,000 people a year catch the plague, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which they acknowledge is probably a modest estimate given the number of unreported cases.

The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.



Three big storms to bring snow, rain and headaches on Thanksgiving week

• • • • •

As Thanksgiving week starts, a record number of travelers will be dealing with three storms nationwide that will add to the holiday stress.

One storm will lash the East and will affect travel through Sunday, another one will batter the Midwest on Tuesday and a third one will move through the West on Wednesday.

Freezing rain will develop over parts of the northeast Sunday, with snow expected in the same region as the day progresses, the National Weather Service said.

Rain will move out of the northeastern region by Monday morning, but snow will linger, it said. In the East, a storm system will bring heavy rain to various cities Sunday, from Philadelphia and New York City to Boston, while heavy snow is expected across northern New England to northern Maine.

Behind the system, temperatures will drop 5 to 15 degrees. Much of the Midwest will have highs in the upper 30s to low 40s for Thanksgiving Day, with dry conditions.



A history of the plague in China, from ancient times to Mao — and now

• • • • •

First, they felt pain all over their body.

Next, a lump — sometimes as small as pea, other times as big as an apple — protruded from their skin. Then, as the disease spread throughout their body, they coughed up blood.

Finally — for many of them — came death.

That was how people hundreds of years ago described the Black Death, which began sweeping across Europe in the 14th century, killing up to 60% of the continent’s population in one of the worst pandemics in human history.

Today, many of us think of the plague as something confined to the history books — a grim symbol of the medieval period, before doctors knew about the existence of viruses or bacteria.

But this month, three people in China were diagnosed with two different forms of plague, highlighting that while the plague is not as serious an issue as it once was, it’s also not entirely a thing of the past.

For a disease that has impacted humans for centuries, there’s still plenty we don’t know about the plague.

Humans have been hit by three major plague pandemics over the past 2,000 years, resulting in nearly 200 million deaths. The first pandemic was in the 6th century, during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I. The second — which was known as the Black Death — swept through medieval Europe, starting from the 14th century. The third pandemic began in China in the 19th century, and spread to other parts of Asia and the United States.

The turning point came in the 2000s, when scientists developed the ability to extract ancient DNA — including from medieval skeletons.

When scientists analyzed the skeletons of plague victims, they found fragments of Yersinia pestis, said Black. But that only led to another question: if the disease wasn’t genetically different, then why was the second pandemic so deadly?

DNA evidence extracted from the skeletons of medieval plague victims, and genetic analysis of the bacteria, suggest that the outbreak probably originated in central Asia, and moved east into China, and west into Europe via trade routes, said Black.

It’s undeniable that there was this pathway of transmission from China to the outside world,” said Jack Greatrex, who is working on a PhD at Hong Kong University about the history of the plague in Hong Kong.

Centuries on from the Black Death, people around the world continue to be transfixed by the plague in a way they’re not by other diseases.

These days, the plague is hardly the biggest health risk facing many countries. In 2017 alone, 219 million people caught malaria and 435,000 people died of the disease. By contrast, between 2010 and 2015, 584 people died of the plague worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.



Australia fires: Crews battle blazes across NSW and Queensland

• • • • •

Raging blazes: Firefighters across Australia are battling blazes that could become the worst seen in the country for decades. Dry conditions and strong winds could provide perfect conditions for dozens of fires to spread further today.

State of emergency: The states of Queensland and New South Wales have both declared a state of emergency. Sydney is at especially high risk. In some fire-affected rural areas, the state’s fire service says it is already “too late to leave.”

Casualties: Three people have been killed and more than 100 homes lost over the past week. An estimated 350 koalas have also died.

The state’s fire service is still forecasting “catastrophic fire danger” for greater Sydney — the highest level of bush fire danger.

As emergency services struggle to contain dozens of fires across eastern Australia, political battles over the blazes are also raging across the country.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the New South Wales parliament this morning to call for work to support the firefighters and more action to contain climate change.

One of New South Wales’ largest newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald, published an editorial this morning titled “Talking about climate change is not an insult to bushfire victims.”

Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister in Australia’s Liberal-National coalition government, slammed people who raised climate change in relation to the fires as “raving inner city lunatics.”

It’s a rare day when both Sydney and Beijing have the same levels of air pollution. The weather in the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland on Tuesday is similar to the conditions which led to the 2009 Black Saturday wildfires, an emergency expert said.

The Black Saturday blazes in the state of Victoria were the most devastating in the country’s history, killing 173 people and destroying more than a million animals over 450,000 hectares (1,111,974 acres).

A “catastrophic” fire risk rating has been issued for Sydney on Tuesday, Australia’s largest city — the highest possible ranking for the country’s emergency services.

On the official NSW Rural Fire Services website, residents in “catastrophic” fire conditions are told to make a decision about “when you will leave.”

“Homes are not designed to withstand fires in catastrophic conditions so you should leave early,” the website said. “

If anyone tells you, ‘This is part of a normal cycle’ or ‘We’ve had fires like this before’, smile politely and walk away, because they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Mullins wrote in a piece for The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday.

“It’s climate change, there’s no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future,” Sparks told the Australian Associated Press.



Two people just got the plague in China — yes, the Black Death plague

• • • • •

Two people in China are being treated for plague, authorities said Tuesday. It’s the second time the disease, the same one that caused the Black Death, one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, has been detected in the region — in May, a Mongolian couple died from bubonic plague after eating the raw kidney of a marmot, a local folk health remedy.

The two recent patients, from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, were diagnosed with pneumonic plague by doctors in the Chinese capital Beijing, according to state media Xinhua. They are now receiving treatment in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, and authorities have implemented preventative control measures.

Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, can develop in three different forms. Bubonic plague causes swollen lymph nodes, while septicemic plague infects the blood and pneumonic plague infects the lungs.

During the Middle Ages, plague outbreaks devastated Europe, killing around 50 million people. Since then, we’ve invented antibiotics, which can treat most infections if they are caught early enough — but the plague isn’t gone. In fact, it’s made a recent comeback.

From 2010 to 2015, more than 3,248 cases were reported worldwide, including 584 deaths, according to the WHO. The three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.

Having caused close to 50,000 human cases during the past 20 years, the plague is now categorized by WHO as a re-emerging disease.

A 2018 study suggested it’s not just rats that are responsible — the Black Death may have spread by human fleas and body lice.

There is currently no effective vaccine against plague, but modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if given quickly enough. However, a strain of bubonic plague with high-level resistance to the antibiotic streptomycin, which is usually the first-line treatment, was seen recently in Madagascar.

Key steps for prevention of plague include eliminating nesting places for rodents around your home, sheds, garages and recreation areas by removing brush, rock piles, trash and excess firewood, according to the CDC.

Report sick or dead animals to law enforcement or your local health officials, do not pick up or touch them yourself. If you absolutely must handle a sick or dead animal, wear gloves.



Worst floods for 50 years bring Venice to ‘its knees’

• • • • •

An elderly man has died in the worst floods to hit Venice in more than 50 years, as local authorities in the Italian lagoon city called for a state of emergency to be imposed.

The popular tourist destination was struck by an exceptionally high tide on Tuesday night, which peaked at 187 centimeters (73.6 inches), according to a statement by Venice’s government Wednesday morning.

The historic crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica was inundated for just the sixth time in 1,200 years.

It is the worst flooding in Venice since 1966, when the city was hit by tides up to 194 cm (76.4 inches) high, according to government statistics.

“Last night after the sirens went off we were without electricity. The windows banged with gusts of strong wind,” she said. “It was a night of fear and today we are blocked here at home with reduced public transport.”

Laterza said on Monday it was impossible to walk because of the floods. “Today I’ll try to venture out to help my neighbors,” she added.

People who lived through the 1966 flood say there wasn’t the strong wind then that there is now, Laterza said.

“I’ve only witnessed this historic flood but I must say that the situation is unprecedented and our city is our land and it needs help and support from all,” Laterza added.

Venice’s Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said it would cost hundreds of millions of euros to fix the city, telling reporters at a news conference that the damage was “enormous.”

Francesco Moraglia, the Patriarch of St Mark’s Basilica Monsignor, also told reporters: “I have never seen something like what I saw yesterday afternoon [Tuesday] at St. Mark’s square. There were waves as if we were at the beach.”

More rain and strong winds are expected in the coming days, according to Luca Zaia, the President of the Veneto Region.

“It’s a real catastrophe,” Stefano Bandini, a Venetian taxi driver told CNN. “I have never seen such a high tide accompanied with such a strong, destructive wind.”

“Last night after the sirens went off we were without electricity. The windows banged with gusts of strong wind,” she said. “It was a night of fear and today we are blocked here at home with reduced public transport.”

Venice’s government announced that after the “extraordinary” tide, it would “submit a request for a state of emergency” to the country’s central government. All schools will be closed Wednesday due to the weather conditions, the local government said.



Three dead in ‘unprecedented’ fires in Australian state of New South Wales

• • • • •

A series of “unprecedented” bushfires are raging through Australia’ssoutheastern state of New South Wales, with two people dead and more than 1,000 firefighters battling five emergency-level blazes and dangerous conditions.

One of those killed was found inside a vehicle, while the other had died in hospital while being treated for severe burns.

Fitzsimmons said preliminary reports suggested at least 100 homes had been destroyed in the blazes.

As of Saturday morning, there were about 70 fires across the state, with 39 burning out of control.

“If you are near these fires, your life is at risk and you need to take action to protect your life,” the NSW RFS said in a Twitter post. Some residents in Jacobs Spur near the town of Kempsey have been told it is too late to evacuate so they should take shelter immediately.

The areas most affected by the fires include Tenterfield, Armidale, Clarence Valley, Port Macquarie, Nambucca and Kempsey, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

Alex Beckton, a resident of Old Bar on the NSW coast, told CNN he evacuated his family to the local surf club early Saturday, after watering down their home to try and keep it safe.

About 50 bushfires are also blazing in the neighboring state of Queensland. Residents in several areas there have been told to evacuate as emergency-level fires threaten homes and properties.

Queensland and New South Wales are prone to wildfires in spring and early summer, and this year’s blazes follow Australia’s hottest summer on record, which brought worsening drought, bushfires and very low rainfall.



5 killed, 300 injured as earthquake hits northwestern Iran

• • • • •

At least five people have been killed and 330 others injured after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Iran on Friday, Iranian state-run Press TV reported.

The tremor struck at around 2:00 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m ET Thursday) in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province and there have been more than 50 aftershocks, Press TV said. It added that buildings in the area have been destroyed.

Iran sits on a major fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian plates and has experienced many earthquakes in the past.

Last year, a quake that struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November killed at least 361 people.

More than 400 people were killed and thousands injured when a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border in November 2017.

The deadliest this century occurred in 2003 when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the southeastern city of Bam, killing some 26,000 people.



First native Zika cases in Europe confirmed as experts warn climate change could bring more

• • • • •

The first native cases of Zika in Europe have been confirmed after three people became infected with the virus in France. Experts warn that climate change could lead to more cases emerging across the continent.

Three people caught Zika in Hyères, southern France, in August this year, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has confirmed.

While Europe dealt with hundreds of imported cases during the outbreak of the virus three years ago, it never had a native case — where local mosquitoes developed and spread the virus — before now.

All three patients developed symptoms within a few days of each other, the ECDC said, meaning they were likely part of the same transmission cycle. They have recovered, and the risk to residents and travelers to the region is low, the organization added.

But the Earth’s warming climate and increased travel between continents means that tropical diseases including Zika are becoming more likely to flourish in Europe, experts have said.

Scientists had been expecting some insect-bite infections to occur in Europe, as previously seen with dengue fever, Kraemer added. But it was “unexpected” to see Zika transmission, because it is usually associated with the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The UK’s Department of Health warned earlier this year that climate change could result in tropical diseases making their way to Britain — and a study by Kraemer’s team at the University of Oxford has found that climate change could expose half of the world’s population to disease-spreading mosquitoes by 2050.

As of March 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were at least 90 countries and territories with active Zika virus transmissions.

Most people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms. Of those that do, fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes) are the most common symptoms of Zika virus. Some patients may also experience muscle pain or headaches.

The main concern is about women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, as the virus can cause microcephaly — a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads, which in turn can cause severe developmental issues and sometimes death.

A Zika infection may cause other birth defects, including eye problems, hearing loss and impaired growth. Miscarriage can also occur.



North England hit by torrential rain and flooding

• • • • •

Floods have paralyzed parts of north England, with roads and train lines shuttered and people stranded in a shopping mall, unable to leave.

As of Thursday evening, the UK Environment Agency had issued 99 flood warnings across the country, with 117 further lower level alerts indicating possible floods in place.

Sheffield, a major city in South Yorkshire, was one of the worst hit areas.

According to the National Rail, a number of train lines across South Yorkshire were disrupted by the flooding. Rail operator Northern said on Twitter that flooding had shuttered train lines between Sheffield and Gainsborough, Sheffield and Lincoln, and Sheffield and Manchester.



11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’ caused by climate change

• • • • •

How many scientists does it take to convince the world to take climate change seriously?

More than 11,000 researchers from around the world on Tuesday issued a grim warning of the “untold suffering” that will be caused by climate change if humanity doesn’t change its ways.

The group said that as scientists, they have the “moral obligation to tell it like it is.”

Phoebe Barnard, one of the lead authors of the report and the chief science and policy officer at the Conservation Biology Institute, a nonprofit science group, told CNN the report makes it clear “there’s no more wiggle room” for policymakers.

“Posterity will remember them badly for dismissing climate change as a serious threat to our civilization,” she said.

More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countriespublished a letter in 2017, warning that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.”

The latest report was published in BioScience, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The scientists, who come from over 150 countries, said the climate crisis is “closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle.”

They listed six key issues that need to be addressed if humanity wants to prevent the most catastrophic scenarios. These include replacing fossil fuels, cutting the emissions of climate pollutants such as methane and soot, eating less meat, restoring and protecting ecosystems, building a carbon-free economy and stabilizing population growth by investing into family-planning services and girls education.

Barnard said the changes shouldn’t be seen as “sacrifices,” but as a way of “transforming things that we have found stressful.”



Hundreds of thousands of people in California are downriver of a dam that ‘could fail’

• • • • •

Hundreds of thousands of people live downriver from a dam in California that recently had its risk characterization changed “from low to high urgency of action” by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Those communities, which include Hesperia, Barstow, Apple Valley and Victorville, could flood if the Mojave River Dam fails, a statement from the agency said.

More than 315,000 residents in those four communities in San Bernardino County, about 70 miles north east of Los Angeles, are in the path should floodwaters overtake the dam, according to US Census data.

In fiscal year 2018, an assessment showed that the dam “could fail should water flow over the top of it,” a statement from USACOE said.

“The change was the result of recent risk assessment findings that during an extreme flood event, water could exceed the design capacity of the dam and overtop it,” the statement said. “This could potentially result in dam failure.”

The Army Corps says their agency is working with local governments to help improve flood-risk awareness and emergency preparedness so that anyone in the communities threatened by the potential breach have the tools they need to survive.



Flights diverted as New Delhi chokes on heavy pollution

• • • • •

Flights to and from New Delhi’sinternational airport were delayed and diverted on Sunday as pollution reached “unbearable” levels, leaving the Indian capital blanketed with heavy smog.

Visibility was so poor that 37 flights — including at least one international journey — were diverted from the city’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, a senior airport official told CNN.

Pollution indexes saw air quality in the Indian capital climb to “hazardous” levels in the city on Sunday.

New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted city in the world, according to Greenpeace and AirVisual; a report by the two found that seven of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in India.



Indigenous leader who protected rainforest in Brazil ambushed and killed

• • • • •

An indigenous leader was killed and another was injured when loggers allegedly ambushed them in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao.

The attack happened on Friday when two members of a group known as “Forest Guardians” left their village in search of water. Five armed men approached and immediately started shooting at them, according to the Human Rights Secretary of Maranhao.

The Guajarara are an indigenous tribe that works to protect the rainforest. The group has been continuously threatened by loggers who experts say have taken advantage of reduced controls and less oversight to seize control of forest lands.



5 million children to get face masks as New Delhi battles heavy pollution

• • • • •

Five million New Delhi children will be given face masks by the government as the city battles heavy smog so toxic that it threatens to force schools to shut.

India’s capital — which has been ranked the most polluted city in the world — experienced hazardous levels of pollution on Friday afternoon, shooting up to as high as 743 particles of PM2.5 per cubic meter on the air quality index in some areas. Any level above 100 is considered unhealthy.

If air pollution stays at this level for more than 48 hours, authorities will implement emergency measures for the first time this year, a Central Pollution Control Board official told CNN. Those measures include shutting schools, stopping construction work, banning trucks from entering the city, and imposing a rule whereby cars with odd and even number plates can only drive on alternate days.

On Friday, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that authorities had started to distribute 5 million face masks to schoolchildren in the city, which is home to over 18 million people.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal hit out at the governments of Punjab and Haryana, which he said contributed to New Delhi’s pollution as farmers in those areas burned crops despite bans.

New Delhi is home to more than 8.8 millionregistered motor vehicles, more than any other Indian city, according to government figures from 2016.

And those cars appear to be a big part of the problem. A 2006 study — which was quoted by an official government report released in 2016 — found that cars contributed to 72% of New Delhi’s pollution. The government hasn’t released more recent figures.



Billionaire bunkers: How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse

• • • • •

Say “doomsday bunker” and most people would imagine a concrete room filled with cots and canned goods.

The threat of global annihilation may feel as present as it did during the Cold War, but today’s high-security shelters could not be more different from their 20th-century counterparts.

A number of companies around the world are meeting a growing demand for structures that protect from any risk, whether it’s a global pandemic, an asteroid, or World War III — while also delivering luxurious amenities.

“They were gray. They were metal, like a ship or something military. And the truth is mankind cannot survive long-term in such a Spartan, bleak environment.”

Many of the world’s elite, including hedge fund managers, sports stars and tech executives (Bill Gates is rumored to have bunkers at all his properties) have chosen to design their own secret shelters to house their families and staff.

Developers of community shelters like these often acquire decommissioned military bunkers and missile silos built by the United States or Soviet governments — sites that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build today.

Our clients are sold on the unique advantage of having a luxury second home that also happens to be a nuclear hardened bunker,” says Hall, who is already starting work on a second Survival Condo in another silo on site.

“This aspect allows our clients to invest in an appreciating asset as opposed to an expense.”

The Survival Condo has several different layouts, from a 900-square-foot half-floor residence to a two-level, 3,600-square-foot penthouse that starts at $4.5 million.

While many might see the luxury amenities at these facilities as unnecessary, the developers argue that these features are critical to survival.

“These shelters are long-term, a year or more,” Vicino says. “It had better be comfortable.”



Dramatic images show impact of deadly earthquakes in Philippines

• • • • •

At least 14 people have died after a series of earthquakes rattled the southern Philippines.

A 6.5 magnitude quake struck on Thursday morning, local time, in the Tulunan area of Cotabato province on the southern island of Mindanao. That jolt came only two days after a deadly 6.6 magnitude quake.

The quakes have left 14 people dead and 403 injured, according to a report released Thursday by the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Two people are still missing. There are currently more than 12,000 people sheltering in 19 evacuation centers, and over 2,000 houses have been totally or partly damaged, NDRRMC said.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology specialist Erlinton Olavere said that five active faults in the area had caused the quakes, according to the report. Authorities are still assessing the damage.



Homes submerged under water and 100,000 children displaced in Somalia floods, agency says

• • • • •

More than 200,000 people, half of them children, have fled their homes following massive floods that have left most of a town in central Somalia under water, Save the Children said on Thursday.

People have been evacuated using tractors and boats from neighborhoods that have been submerged in water in Beledweyne town after days of rainfall and flooding, the charity said.

Thousands of residents in makeshift camps are in desperate need of food and water, the organization said.

Save the Children said its staff are working tirelessly screening children, but resources are inadequate to address the humanitarian scale of the problem.

“Somalia is on the front line of the climate crisis, and resources are being stretched to their limits,” Mohamud Mohamed Hassan, Save the Children Somalia Country Director said.

“The current needs are huge and we’re in danger of being overwhelmed if donors don’t step up urgently. Right now, our main concern is the potential health crisis, including cholera and malaria outbreaks, which are devastating diseases for children,” he added.

More than 85 percent of Beledweyne, home to an estimated 400,000 residents, has been inundated by floods, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday following an assessment of the area by the UNHCR-Protection Return Monitoring Network (PRMN).

Seasonal rainfalls that occur between October and December in Kenya and South Sudan have also left thousands displaced in these countries.

At least 29 people have died, and an estimated 12,000 have been displaced by floods in recent weeks, according to authorities in Kenya.



Strongest tropical cyclone in 12 years barrels across Arabian Sea

• • • • •

A rare tropical cyclone barreling across the Arabian Sea has reached the intensity of a Category 4 hurricane, becoming the strongest storm recorded in the area for 12 years.

Currently a couple of hundred miles off the coast of Oman, Tropical Cyclone Kyarr reached peak strength in the past two days, with winds of around 250kph (155mph).

There are only around 1-2 tropical cyclones per year in the Arabian Sea, but storms this strength are very rare.

Kyarr has reached wind speeds equivalent to a super typhoon in the Pacific Ocean. Tropical Cyclone Kyarr is the strongest storm in the Arabian Sea since Tropical Cyclone Gonu in 2007. Kyarr’s peak sustained winds hit 250 kph, whereas Gonu’s peak winds reached around 270kph.

Kyarr is the 4th hurricane — or typhoon — strength storm in the Indian Ocean basin so far in 2019, the most ever recorded by this point in the year.

The Indian Ocean storms have also accumulated more energy than any other year on record — dating back to 1972 — according to Phil Klotzbach, tropical meteorologist at Colorado State University.

In June 2019, Tropical Cyclone Vayu hit wind speeds of around 170 kph (100 mph).

India evacuated almost 300,000 people and closed schools and colleges in preparation for the storm.

Vayu was the most powerful storm to impact the Saurashtra Peninsula in north-west India since 1998, when a tropical cyclone with winds of 195 kph (120 mph) killed around 10,000 people.



Japan launches major search operation after deadly typhoon kills dozens

• • • • •

A major search and rescue operation is underway in Japan after deadly Typhoon Hagibis brought widespread flooding and landslides, destroying buildings and leaving dozens dead.

The storm — which came as Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup for the first time — made landfall on Saturday evening local time on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

At least 49 people were killed, with 200 injured and at least 14 people still missing, the country’s public broadcaster NHK reported Monday.

More than 110,000 personnel are involved in search and rescue operations, including 13,000 police, 66,000 fire department staff and 31,000 self-defense force staff, chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference Monday. More than 230,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm, and emergency orders were issued for many cities around the greater Tokyo area. As of Monday, more than 84,000 households in Tokyo, northern Japan and mountainous areas in the center of the country were still without power, according to electricity companies.

Typhoon-hit regions are bracing for more rain on Monday which could exacerbate flooding, prompting authorities to caution people to stay away from rivers and mountain slopes.

On Saturday, ten bags of soil from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were found drifting in a river amid storm debris in Tamura city, about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Following a March 2011 earthquake, three reactors at the Fukushima plant melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the air and prompting more than 100,000 people to be evacuated from the area.

A total of 2,667 large, thick plastic bags containing contaminated materials from the disaster were being stored at a temporary storage site in Tamura while authorities looked for a more permanent location. Each bag weighs upwards of several 100 kilograms (220 pounds) according to NHK.

Shoji Watanabe, the head of nuclear disaster measurement office, said the radiation levels of the material in the bags had decreased over time. However, he refused to say that the bags were entirely safe.

He estimated that the radiation level from the material contained in each bag was between 0.3 to 1 microsievert per hour — over the government standard of 0.23 microsievert per hour.

Although typhoons are not uncommon in Japan, Typhoon Hagibis — meaning speed in the Philippine language of Tagalog — was particularly brutal. According to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, the typhoon brought “record-setting heavy rains and windstorms.”

Those led to widespread transport disruptions over the weekend, with flights, bullet trains and other transport canceled across Honshu, Japan’s main island.



Recovery begins as Japan’s Typhoon Hagibis leaves trail of death and destruction

• • • • •

Typhoon Hagibis weakened to a tropical depression as it continued to move across central Japan on Sunday, leaving at least 10 people dead and more than 140 injured in its wake.

The storm made landfall just before 7 p.m. Saturday local time on the Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo, bringing hurricane-force winds and heavy rains which led to widespread flooding. More than 230,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm, with emergency orders issued for many cities around the greater Tokyo area.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered his “condolences for the people killed in the disaster and my sincere sympathy for the people affected by this disaster.”

“Now not only police, fire department and coast guard, but also 27,000 staff of the self-defense force are on rescue, search for missing and supporting evacuation,” Abe said Sunday. “We are to enhance the scale of operation depending on necessity.”

Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports were back in operation midday Sunday, but many flights remained canceled. Flag carrier Japan Airlines said it had canceled 278 domestic flights — affecting 48,340 people — and 66 international flights, affecting 11,790. ANA canceled 297 domestic flights — affecting 52,500 people — and 84 international flights, affecting 13,300.

However as many as 212,500 households in storm-affected areas remained without power on Sunday afternoon, power companies said.



Typhoon Hagibis makes landfall in Japan, leaving at least 10 dead

• • • • •

At least one person has been killed and several injured as Typhoon Hagibisapproached central Japan with hurricane-force winds on Saturday.

The storm had weakened as it approached Japan but still remains highly dangerous, with maximum winds of up to 195 kilometers per hour (122 mph) — equivalent to a Category 3 Atlantic hurricane.

Hagibis is due to make landfall Saturday afternoon local time. However it is already affecting much of the central and southern parts of Honshu, Japan’s main island.

Winds between 100 and 130 kph (62-80 mph) are expected to lash southern Japan, including Tokyo, for most of the mid-morning through evening. Up to 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rainfall is also predicted to cause flooding.

Evacuation advisories have been issued throughout much of the Tokyo region, affecting tens of millions of people. The Japanese capital is in lockdown, with usually busy streets abandoned amid torrential rain.

All flights to and from Tokyo and nearby airports have been canceled until at least Sunday morning. All bullet trains between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka are also canceled, as are most non high-speed trains.

More than 10,000 households in the Kanto, Chiba and Tokyo areas are without power, according to Japanese provider TEPCO.



Rugby World Cup chaos as England-France and New Zealand-Italy games canceled due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

• • • • •

Two Rugby World Cup matches scheduled for Saturday have been canceled on safety grounds as Super Typhoon Hagibis approaches Japan, tournament organizers announced at a press conference on Thursday.

Tournament organizers have been advised that Saturday’s public transport in match areas will be shut down and warned all fans to stay indoors on Saturday.

The Pool C game was due to be played outside of Tokyo at 4:15 p.m., local time Saturday, around when the storm is expected to make a direct landfall at strengths equivalent to a Category Two level storm. Toyota, around 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Tokyo, is also expected to be highly impacted by the storm.

On Saturday, “conditions in Japan will deteriorate through the day with the worst moving through central Japan late Saturday into Sunday local time,” said CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett.

“While making every possible effort to put in place a contingency plan that would enable all of Saturday’s matches to be played, it would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon,” Gilpin said.

“We fully appreciate that England, France, New Zealand and Italy fans will be disappointed, but we trust they will appreciate that their safety must come first. They will be entitled to a full refund on their match tickets. Our message for all fans in Japan for Rugby World Cup is to heed all official advice, stay indoors throughout Saturday and do not attempt to travel on the day.”



Amateur storm chasers capture tornado up close




Category 3 Hurricane Lorenzo churns through the Atlantic, may hit Azores Tuesday

• • • • •

Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened into a Category 5 storm as it churned in the Atlantic on Saturday night.

Lorenzo’s thick core surrounded a big, clear eye as it joined the rare club of the most intense storms in recent years. “Large and powerful Category 5 Lorenzo becomes the strongest hurricane this far north and east in the Atlantic basin,” the National Hurricane Center said.

It said fluctuations in intensity are possible with a weakening forecast set to begin Sunday night. But Lorenzo is still expected to be a large and potent hurricane as is approaches the Azores in a few days.

By late Saturday night, Lorenzo was about 1,420 miles southwest of the Azores packing maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Lorenzo’s large surf will affect parts of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles, and is expected to spread westward to portions of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east coast of the United States.



600 people are still missing in the Bahamas weeks after Hurricane Dorian

• • • • •

Nearly a month after Hurricane Dorian pulverized part of the Bahamas, officials say there are still 600 people missing.

Earlier figures released by the government indicated that about 1,300 people were unaccounted for. The official death toll across the Bahamas stands at 56, Minnis said.

Dorian flattened homes after it made landfall Sept. 1, leaving thousands with no power, running water and a widespread damage similar to a war zone.

Authorities fear the number of victims will skyrocket in the coming weeks.

“We know that there are considerably more lives lost because there are still 600 missing,” Minnis said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “Because the rising then receding ocean water swept away young and old with their homes.”

A US medic team who recently went on an aid trip to Grand Bahama could smell the carnage as they drove to the east end of Grand Bahama. They said some bodies may be trapped under mountains of rubble where houses once stood. Others may have been washed away in the storm surge and their bodies only recently surfaced on land.



‘Unprecedented’ monsoon rains leave 14 people dead in western India

• • • • •

The western Indian city of Pune was battered by 140 mm (5.5 inches) of rain in 48 hours this week, in what the Maharashtra state chief minister called an “unprecedented” level of monsoon rain.

“Last night in Pune there was a lot of heavy rain that developed into an unprecedented storm,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, in a video he tweeted.

“Because of this, a large amount of water entered low-lying areas and caused a lot of damage. There is the possibility that some people were swept away and some people were killed after a wall collapsed over there,” he added.

At least 14 people have died, including a 9-year-old boy, according to district and state officials. Prashant Ranpise, chief fire officer of the Pune Fire Brigade, said many of the deaths resulted from buildings and walls collapsing during flash floods.

After the rains receded late Thursday, images from Pune show the aftermath — cars overturned and washed away, and the bodies of drowned cattle scattered on the road.

The death toll may rise as the full extent of the damage becomes clear.

Other cities like Kolkata, in India’s West Bengal state, are also experiencing heavy monsoon rain and floods this week.

The monsoon season usually comes in the summer, but it arrived late in June, a hard blow to drought-stricking farmers and rural residents. Even major cities like Chennai and Mumbai suffered from severe water shortages, with reservoirs drying up and government tankers bringing in emergency water every week.

When the monsoons finally did arrive, they were more intense and deadly than usual — the country as a whole is now measuring 6.5% above average in terms of rainfall for the season, according to CNN meteorologists.

The rain was so unusually heavy in Pune that in August, a dam filled for the first time in 22 years, Kumar said. It’s only September, but the Pune district has already received 180% of its annual seasonal rainfall.

This sudden, heavy rainfall has left hundreds dead or displaced. Maharashtra was battered hard in July, with at least 43 dead, and more than 150 were killed nationwide in August by monsoon-caused floods and landslides. More than 165,000 people were forced out of their homes and into relief camps in August, officials said.

As the climate crisis intensifies, India is feeling the effects, swinging from severe flooding to severe drought with little relief in between.



Hurricane Dorian: Live Updates



Coral reefs in Hawaii could be damaged by a major marine heat wave, scientists say

• • • • •

A major marine heat wave in the Pacific could spell disaster for the coral reefs along the coastline of Papa Bay near Hawaii’s Big Island.

Researchers fear warming ocean waters could cause more coral bleaching, which could lead to some of the most widespread loss of coral that Hawaii has ever experienced.

Coral bleaching happens when corals are stressed by changing ocean conditions and expel the algae living in their tissues, which causes them to turn completely white. If the stress continues and the loss of algae is for a prolonged period of time, the coral will eventually die.

“Coral reefs are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on the planet — 25% of all marine species live in association with coral reefs,” Jamison Gove, a research oceanographer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told CNN.

“Coral reefs provide habitat for fish that serve important ecosystem functions and provide sustenance for local people.”

In addition, coral reefs break up ocean waves and swell, creating a barrier that protects coastlines from storms, waves and flooding. They are also important to the economy in Hawaii, as vibrant coral reefs are a huge tourist attraction for divers and snorkelers.

For the first time ever, the NOAA will be monitoring the heat wave in real time via satellite. This will give researchers, officials and organizations the tools to better understand the circumstances that lead to coral bleaching, which could trigger coordinated response plans to better help protect the coral reefs.



Blood-red haze engulfs Indonesian province as forest fires and smog worsen

• • • • •

The skies over the Indonesian province of Jambi have been turned blood red, as thetoxic haze from widespread rainforest fires continues to affect residents across the country.

Videos and images circulating on social media showed villages and highways completely blanketed by an eerie, red-colored haze in the middle of the day through the weekend and earlier this week.

More than 328,000 hectares (about 800,000 acres) of ecologically-rich land have been burned across Indonesia in recent weeks.

The raging fires have forced hundreds of residents to evacuate and led to the deployment of more than 9,000 personnel to battle the flames, according to the country”s National Board for Disaster Management.

The ominous-looking red skies were caused by a phenomenon called Mie scattering, which occurs when sunlight is scattered by tiny pollution particles in the air, the country’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) explained on Instagram. The scattering happens when the diameter of the particles is similar to the wavelength of visible sunlight, the agency said.

According to Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring site AQICN, Jambi province reached “hazardous” levels over the weekend, which signaled that residents may experience “serious health effects.”

Neighboring Riau province declared a state of emergency Monday as air pollution continued to worsen, according to Antara media agency. Some residents have been forced to evacuate to other cities because of the hazardous air quality. The smog has also impacted neighboring countries, including Malaysia and Singapore.

Some 600 schools were also temporarily closed in the country due to unhealthy levels of air pollution.

Indonesian police said that the majority of forest fires were caused by human factors.

Fires and smog are a persistent problem during the summer months caused by slash and burn techniques to clear the land for agricultural purposes. For around two decades, large paper and palm oil plantations have farmed the rich peatlands that run along the Sumatran coast of Indonesia and the island of Borneo.




In this crippled part of the Bahamas, US medics can smell more bodies than they can find

• • • • •

It takes just seconds here to be overwhelmed by the stench of death.

More than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian wiped out entire neighborhoods, East Grand Bahama still looks like a war zone.

The carnage is so widespread that even police officers can’t bear to see it.

“Police say they don’t want to go there. It’s too hard on them to go see their own people,” said Patricia Freling, a Florida nurse who’s volunteering in East Grand Bahama.

“They think there will be a lot of bodies. So we are preparing for everything.”

During the team’s hour-long drive from Freeport to the east end of Grand Bahama, the medics smell the carnage before they see it.

“That is the smell of dead bodies,” Reidy said from the back of a pickup truck.

The official death toll across the Bahamas is 52. But that number is expected to skyrocket, with 1,300 people still missing two weeks after the hurricane.

Some may be trapped under mountains of rubble where houses once stood. Others may have been washed away in the storm surge, their bodies only recently surfacing on land.

“My fear is that if no one stacked the bodies, they might still be there,” said Tanya Steinlage, an emergency pediatric nurse practitioner.

Steinlage said the bodies she encountered had most likely washed up during the storm surges because there were no standing structures anywhere in sight.

“They need to bring cadaver dogs out here to find them,” she says. “Right now, they are just (considered) missing.”

Mold isn’t the only long-term heath risk after the storm. In various parts of East Grand Bahama, the stench of sewage fills the air. There’s no running water, and the risk of infection is rampant.

Resident Patrice Higgs, 49, survived the storm in Mcleans’ Town Cay. But she cut herself sifting through the rubble.

The medics gave her bandages, antibacterial soap and clean water.

By the end of their first day in East Grand Bahama, the medics identified at least 30 locations where they smelled corpses — even if they couldn’t see them.

Helen Perry, a nurse practitioner and Army veteran, said she hopes cadaver dog teams would come and find the bodies. If they don’t, the decomposing bodies could lead to a cholera epidemic.

“You just can’t leave them,” she said.

Sean Russell is one of the luckier residents from East Grand Bahama.

“I’m alive, and that’s all that matters,” he said. “Not everyone can say that.”

But his house was destroyed, as were most of his belongings. “A loss of this magnitude is really tough.”

“No one would ever in their wildest dream would believe a storm would come like that,” he said.

Now, everything he owns fits in a small overnight bag.

On Tuesday, Russell paid $49.50 to board a ship that evacuated hurricane victims to Florida. When he stepped on the boat, he wasn’t sure exactly where he would stay in the United States.

“I don’t know what the plan is. But I’m just going by faith,” he said. “We’re starting all over again, because I lost everything.”

“After this, I really don’t think the Bahamas will be the same,” he said. “It will not be the same.”




The Amazon burns. But another part of Brazil is being destroyed faster

• • • • •

The Amazon blazes have captured the attention of the world and its leaders, and for good reason — the destruction of one of the world’s major carbon stores could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change, and to the homes and livelihoods of indigenous communities.

But just miles away, another part of Brazil, home to 5% of the planet’s plants and animals, and a carbon store of its own, is being destroyed at a faster rate.

Brazil’s Cerrado — a “mosaic” habitat made up of savannah, grassland and forest — is the world’s most biodiverse such region, and spans around 200 million hectares.

“It is estimated that the biome has 837 species of birds, 120 of reptiles, 150 of amphibians, 1,200 thousand fish, 90,000 insects, 199 types of mammals,” Mercedes Bustamante, a biologist at the University of Brasilia told CNN.

More than 4,800 species are endemic — including giant otters, tapirs and jaguars — and of more than 11,000 plant species found in the Cerrado, nearly half are found nowhere else on earth, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

The Cerrado is half the size of the Amazon and is 50% deforested, according to Edegar de Oliveira Rosa, director of Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems at WWF-Brazil. “We are losing around 700,000 hectares per year,” he told CNN.

Like in the Amazon, Cerrado habitats are being cleared because of global demand for meat — to make way for cattle ranches, and later converted to grow soy which is used to feed livestock or exported to other parts of the world.

Deforestation is not new, and it doesn’t just happen in Brazil. But as global demand for meat soars, and as China turns to Brazil for its supply of soybeans amid the trade war with the US, experts worry that Brazil’s agricultural boom will come at the cost of habitats like the Cerrado.

“In the last 10 years pretty much all of the expansion of soy within Brazil has happened in the Cerrado,” Toby Gardner, director of TRASE, told CNN. “There’s really not much of the Cerrado left,” he added.

The area has fewer protections than the Amazon, where according to de Oliviera Rosa, around 50% of land remains protected. In contrast, de Oliviera Rosa added, around 8% of the Cerrado is protected.

“In absolute terms, about the same area has been cleared, but in relative terms, the Cerrado is much more threatened, with more than three times more loss than the Amazon,” Gardner told CNN.

The destruction of the habitat is also bad news for climate change: the Cerrado, the WWF says, locks up a “deceptively large amount of carbon” in its deep root systems.

“It is a forest in a different way — it is an upside-down forest, because a lot of the biomass is underground,” de Oliviera Rosa told CNN. In a recent report, Greenpeace suggested that the remaining original vegetation of the region contains a carbon store of equivalent to 13.7 gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide.

Deforestation and agriculture fuel global warming, by weakening land’s capacity to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

“The climate doesn’t have frontiers. Affecting biodiversity, losing species, releasing carbon chopping down forests, and burning them to grow crops adds to the climate crisis that affects us all,” Daniela Montalto, a forest campaigner for Greenpeace, told CNN.

Water resources are also suffering; according to the WWF, of 12 major hydrological regions in Brazil, six begin in the Cerrado.

“The Amazon rainforest is firmly established in the psyche of many for decades now, and rightly so — it’s suffering a desperate plight of its own,” Gardner told CNN.

“But there are other ecosystems that are disappearing, and we learn about what they are too late.”




Albania struck by 5.6-magnitude earthquake, injuring at least 37

• • • • •

At least 37 people were injured on Saturday when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Albania. The earthquake struck along Albania’s central coast near the port city of Durrës, according to the United States Geological Survey, about 35 kilometers west of the capital Tirana. A trauma hospital in Tirana reported 37 injuries, according to public broadcaster Albanian Radio and TV.




Scientists just discovered ‘stormquakes’ — but don’t worry, you’re not in danger

• • • • •

Hurricanes and earthquakes are bad enough on their own. Now imagine them combined.

That’s kind of what a stormquake is, a phenomenon just discovered by a team of researchers led by Wenyuan Fan, a professor and seismologist at Florida State University. The findings were published Monday in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

It’s not as scary as it sounds, though.

Fan broke it down like this. When hurricanes, (or Nor’easters, or winter storms) are in the atmosphere, they produce really large waves on the surface of the sea, which then swell and form other types of waves further down — that can reach deeper toward the seafloor. The interaction between these secondary waves and the sea floor produces a specific type of pressure force, which then creates a hammer-like effect on the seafloor.

That hammering is what is picked up by seismometers. Though previously dismissed as “seismic noise,” Fan and his team discovered that the hammering effect is actually small quakes — which they call “stormquakes” — that occur around magnitude 3.5.

“I always like to reemphasize that stormquakes happen because of storms, so when extreme storms happen, I think that’s our first concern,” he told CNN.

But that doesn’t make the findings insignificant. Fan said everything in nature is intertwined, so these stormquakes could have effects in nature that haven’t been studied yet. He also said they could have a major impact on marine activities, like if a ship is in the water, and help scientists understand the structure of the Earth a little better, too.

Fan and his team focused on the period between 2006 and 2015, discovering 14,077 stormquakes in that time frame. That equates to over a thousand each year.



Tropical Storm Humberto gets close to Bahamian islands devastated by Dorian

• • • • •

Tropical Storm Humberto’s core ispassing just east of the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands, but it is still expected to bring strong winds and rain to areas ravaged by Hurricane Dorian nearly two weeks ago.

Humberto’s center was 30 miles east of Great Abaco island as of 8 a.m. ET Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said. It’s expected to whip much of the northwestern Bahamas with tropical-storm-force winds Saturday, though the winds should subside later in the day as the storm moves away.

The storm could generally drop 2 to 4 inches of rain on the Bahamas, with some isolated areas getting up to 6 inches.

Humberto’s center does not appear destined for the US Southeast coast, contrary to earlier forecasts. However, its outer bands still could drop 1 to 2 inches of rain on parts of coastal Florida and Georgia by the end of Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Humberto’s maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph Saturday morning. Winds of tropical-storm strength extendedup to 90 miles from its center.

After it clears the Bahamas, Humberto is expected to become a hurricane in the Atlantic by Sunday night, the hurricane center said.

But the current forecast track predicts Humberto turning away from the US coast — and possibly heading in Bermuda’s direction late next week.

The storm comes at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is usually in the weeks surrounding September 10, when weather conditions favor storms forming quickly.

Meanwhile, hundreds are still missing in the aftermath of the powerful Category 5 hurricane that smashed into the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama this month.

The death toll stands at 50 but is expected to rise as search and rescue crews sift through flattened neighborhoods.

“We are a nation in mourning,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a statement. “The grief is unbearable following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, which has left behind death, destruction and despair on Grand Bahama and Abaco, our second and third most populous islands.”

About 3,900 evacuees have been processed through south Florida by air and sea so far, officials said.




Hurricane Dorian left about 17% of Bahamians homeless, and finding refuge won’t be easy

• • • • •

Patrick Joachin stood in line at a police station in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, hoping to get a document that would prove he has a clean criminal record and eventually help him flee to the United States.

“I have nothing left here — no house, no job, no family,” said Joachin, who was evacuated from the Dundas Town neighborhood in Abaco on Saturday.

About 17% of all Bahamians are suddenly homeless after Hurricane Dorian wiped out neighborhoods and ripped houses off foundations. That’s 70,000 people who have lost almost everything.

So far, about 5,000 people have been able to escape the country’s hard-hit Abaco Islands. Many others remain stuck in the northern Bahamas in precarious conditions.

Residents are sleeping in houses that are still standing but aren’t necessarily safe.

“So many people here are living in homes that are not suitable to be lived in here in Freeport and in Grand Abaco,” CNN’s Patrick Oppmann said Tuesday from Freeport.

And those are the lucky ones.

In just one town, Marsh Harbour, satellite images show about 1,100 buildings have been destroyed, according to the humanitarian aid agency Map Action.

“There’s a black market for bread now and every little item that … we all take for granted.”

Tuesday, nine days after Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas with 185-mph winds, “we are still without power. Still without water,” Oppmann said.

“Understandably, many people, particularly if they have small children … they just don’t want to risk it,” Oppmann said. “They just don’t want to live in the conditions that we’re forced to live in right now.”

Already, many Bahamians have had difficulty seeking refuge — both inside and outside the country.

By Sunday, all emergency shelters in the capital city of Nassau were full, the Pacific Disaster Center reported, according to USAID.

Over the weekend, about 119 ferry passengers hoping to evacuate Grand Bahama to Florida were told to get off a Balearia Caribbean boat if they didn’t have visas, the ferry operator said.

The official death toll from the Bahamas is now 50, police said. Authorities found 42 bodies on the Abaco Islands, and eight bodies from Grand Bahama island.

Many could be buried or trapped under mountains of rubble. Others may have been washed away by torrential storm surges and submerged.

USAID Administrator Mark Green said parts of the Bahamas looked “almost as though nuclear bombs were dropped on them.”



Grand Bahama right now is dead’: A firsthand look at Dorian’s destruction

• • • • •

It’s been almost a week since Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, but the deadly hurricane continues to haunt those of us who rode out the storm here.

At least 45 people are dead, hundreds are missing and some 70,000 are homeless. There is no power or running water. Aid is arriving slowly on the island of Grand Bahama, where Dorian parked for almost two days and caused damage one usually witnesses in a war zone.

It’s impossible to fully capture the devastation we see every day. We’re only about 80 miles from Florida, but the miles of rubble Dorian left in its wake have made this part of the Bahamas feel as remote as any place on Earth.

Late the next night, Dorian began pummeling the Abacos and Grand Bahama as an insanely powerful Category 5 Hurricane. Our weather forecasters told us that if there were a Category 6 ranking, Dorian would qualify.

The storm howled for hours in the darkness. Winds and rain pounded the building from all sides. Daylight finally came, but the sun never showed.

There was little coordination or organization to the rescue effort, but limitless bravery.

Many evacuees had held onto rafters of their flooded homes for hours, whipped by the wind and the rain. We asked where their houses were but could only make out a few roofs and trees in the distance. There were hundreds of homes there, rescuers told us, we just couldn’t see them.

As the rescued evacuees climbed off Jet Skis in the waist-deep water, many collapsed and had to be carried to safety.

Apocalyptic rubble lies where houses stood before.

Residents say the storm surge topped 30 feet in some places and tore whole houses off their foundations.

“I have no words to say how bad,” Laing said. “Maybe one in 10 houses is standing.”

Nearby a man who had lost his house took tiny sips from a bottle of water. He knew he would need to make every drop last.



Japan typhoon leaves thousands stranded at the airport

• • • • •

A powerful typhoon in Japan has left more than 100 flights canceled, thousands of travelers stranded at the airport, and nearly 1 million households without power.

Typhoon Faxai, which made landfall early Monday morning in the coastal city of Chiba, brought heavy rain and winds of 120 miles per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The storm then moved over Tokyo and paralyzed transport. Major subway stations in Tokyo were crammed full of commuters on Monday morning, all stuck waiting for bullet trains and subway services that had shut down.

As of Monday afternoon, 6,800 passengers were stranded at Narita International Airport, according to an airport spokesperson. Flights are still arriving, but with highways blocked and two railways to the city center shut down, arriving passengers had no way to leave the airport.

Narita is one of two international airports in the Tokyo area.

Highways were shut down, departing ships were canceled at Tokyo Port, and rail lines closed on Sunday and Monday.

Photos show flooded streets, littered with downed trees and branches. Workers on Monday tended to signposts and lamps that had blown over, and employees at the Higashi Chiba train station inspected the roof, which was twisted and torn apart.

There are also widespread blackouts — nearly a million households are without power, according to public broadcaster NHK. The entire islands of Shikinejima and Oshima off the country’s south coast lost power, according to the Tokyo Disaster Prevention Department.

Ahead of the typhoon, JMA issued storm surge, flood, and landslide warnings, and asked the public to avoid going outdoors.

An evacuation advisory was issued Sunday night for about 150,000 people in the Kanagawa, Shizuoka, and Tokyo prefectures, with evacuation preparation information delivered to about 2.5 million people, according to NHK. Evacuation shelters were set up across Tokyo, including the city wards of Minato, Machida, Meguroand more.



What you need to know about carbon footprints

• • • • •

From using less plastic to eating less meat, it seems like almost all anyone is talking about these days are ways to reduce our carbon footprints.

But what is a carbon footprint, exactly? And how is it related to the climate crisis? Here are some answers.

What is a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is basically the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that anything — a person, organization, event or product — has produced. Greenhouse gases are the gases in the atmosphere that produce the “greenhouse effect” and contribute to global warming and climate change.

So your carbon footprint a way to measure the environmental impact your lifestyle has.

How is it calculated?

It works by summing up the emissions from all your activities — everything from what you eat to what setting you wash your clothes with.

It’s all measured in CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent and is a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints.

How do you know what your carbon footprint is?

There are a number of online calculators that can help you figure out your carbon footprint, including one by The Nature Conservancy and another from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Once you know your carbon footprint, and what part of your lifestyle contributes the most to it, you can then find ways to lessen your impact.

Carbon footprint figures that might surprise you

Meat products have bigger carbon footprints per calorie than grains or vegetables. That’s because animals like cattle, sheep and goats produce a lot of methane gas. In 2016, they produced 170 million metric tons in CO2e of methane, according to a carbon footprint fact sheet compiled by the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. And yes, all that ends up in the atmosphere.

Meat isn’t the only problem, the center says. Dairy products like cheese and yogurt contribute almost 19% of greenhouse gases emitted — even worse than poultry, seafood and eggs, which only contribute 14% of greenhouse gases. Vegetables, meanwhile, contribute a mere 4.9%.

The center found that on average, one American household emits 8.1 metric tons of CO2e each year through food consumption alone. Yes, that’s TONS. The production of food accounts for 83% of emissions, and its transportation accounts for 11%.

And the fact sheet points out that if you follow the speed limit, not only will you not get a ticket, you’ll also improve your fuel economy and, by extension, shrink your carbon footprint through greater fuel efficiency. You’ll also be better off — literally. The center found that when driving 50 mph or more, every 5 mph increase is equivalent to paying between 20 and 40 cents more per gallon.

Speaking of your commute: Transportation is one of the biggest producers of CO2, only behind electricity generation, according to environmental advocacy group NuEnergy.

Reducing waste, surprise surprise, actually makes a difference. For every 10% of waste reduction, you can avoid 1,200 pounds of CO2e, according to the Center for Sustainable Systems. And that’s not just recycling, that’s also simply by buying products with less packaging and refusing plastic bags at the grocery store.

NuEnergy says that fossil fuels and coal are the source of 67% of generated electricity. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, think about that next time you leave the lights on. Corperations, unsurprisingly, have the biggest carbon footprints of all. Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s emissions, according to a 2017 report from the nonprofit CDPin collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute.



About 1,250 lightning strikes recorded in Washington within three hours

• • • • •

About 1,250 lightning strikes were recorded in western Washington state during a storm that caused widespread power outages Saturday night, the National Weather Service said.

A strong line of thunderstorms developed over western Washington, bringing frequent lightning, heavy rains, flooding and hail to the Puget Sound region, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Seattle.

The 1,250 lightning strikes were between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time, it said. Of those, 200 were recorded in the Seattle metro area from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Lightning occurs when ice particles within a cloud interact with each other through collision, causing the particles to fracture and break apart, according to NASA. The intense heat of the lightning generates a sound called thunder that is transmitted through the air at the speed of sound, it added.

Lightning and thunder happen at the same time but since light travels faster than sound, the flash of lightning is seen sooner than thunder is heard.

“When lightning strikes, a bright flash of light is generated. Light travels at a constant 186,000 miles/second, which means that we see the flash immediately as it happens,” NASA said.

At its peak, the lightning storm caused power outages to over 4,500 customers, according to Seattle City Light.



Philippines declares a national dengue epidemic after 622 deaths

• • • • •

A national dengue epidemic has been declared in the Philippines, where 622 people have died of the mosquito-borne disease since January and millions more are at risk.

From the start of the year to July 20, there have been more than 146,000 cases recorded — a 98% increase from the same time period last year, according to the country’s Department of Health.

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms, including piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and full body rashes. Of the millions of people infected every year worldwide, an estimated 500,000 develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, and of those some 12,500 people die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Philippines had declared a national dengue alert just last month after reporting more than 450 deaths — but officials had said the dengue was “localized,” according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

With almost two hundred additional deaths in the past month, the crisis has now escalated to a national epidemic.

Epidemics have been declared in seven out of the country’s 17 regions: Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao. Together, these regions are home to more than 40 million people, about 40% of the Philippines population.

“As part of our data, is 5,100 cases per week average,” said Duque at a press conferenceabout the epidemic on Wednesday. “This is really staggering. This is going to be a record number.”

Dengue cases in the Philippines have historically surged every three to four years, and the sharp increase this year is in line with expectations after a 2016 spike, Duque said last month. These spikes aren’t isolated to just the Philippines, either — last week, more than 1,000 people in Bangladesh were diagnosed with dengue in a 24-hour period, and hospitals are now overflowing with patients.



The Amazon is burning. The climate is changing. And we’re doing nothing to stop it

• • • • •

Soaring in a Cessna above the Amazon canopy isn’t meant to sting your eyes with smoke, soak your shirt with sweat, and cause your pilot to climb frantically just to get visibility back. Yet the fires raging over the past fortnight conjured what you’re never meant to witness: this is what the end of the world looks like.

A week spent driving around or flying over the vastness of South America’s largest blessing, leaves you stunned at how much damage has been done, and how fast. Is the Amazon edging towards its tipping point? When the moist forest canopy becomes so dry, and the savannah spreads, that fires propagate and expand in a vicious circle? Like much of climate science, we can only get learned warnings and then watch as reality often exceeds our initially modest concerns. It seems we don’t understand the planet well enough to be guessing at the timetable for our own extinction.

I didn’t ever think I would watch the Amazon burn in my lifetime, but now fear it’s just the start of the end.

I’m used to miserable topics, but this is pretty dark.

Something extremely bad is happening very fast.

The soy they grow, the beef they farm, the wood they log, and everything else they tear from the Amazon, aren’t all used in Brazil. We buy them: Europe and central Asia about 19%, China 22%, North America 14%, according to the World Bank.

A lot of the choices we have to make to reverse course away from slow extinction are uncomfortable. They are also hard for politicians to impose on a population within a four- or five-year electoral cycle.

The climate crisis business itself does nobody any favors. This way to hell is paved with earnest expertise. The models, the lifetimes of effort and application, the time limits for action, have led to a cul-de-sac of varying theories and estimates. There is so much white noise, nobody knows with authority what is the one thing we all have to do.

And it’s harder still to make the slow degradation of oceans, or the gradual razing of forests, seem like news. It isn’t new, there’s no reason to talk about it today especially, other than we should be talking about it every hour of every day. It’s been this bad for a while, we just have preferred not to talk about it at all.

To top that, most action plans over the climate crisis exist in the future tense. What we will do. How we have goals. What we must change. Then everyone orders another coffee, takes a taxi to the airport, gets back in their jet, orders beef on the plane, and carries on as before. We are also a bit exhausted by decades of the flailing of limbs and shrieking “emergency.”

It’s depressing watching the lungs of the earth burn. It isn’t going to stop until we stop buying the stuff it makes. And even then, we’ll need the resources from somewhere else. We will have to plant more trees. The scope of change — of diet, of consumer habits, of recycling, of technology, of political will — is too massive to expect in my lifetime. In fact, the steeper the spiral appears in front of us, the more stuff we will likely need to make us feel better — cooler, smarter, happier — in the worse days ahead.

The most obvious resolution will come in a few decades, when the heat gets too much, crops fail, clean water becomes more valuable than oil, and the things you were warned about start to kill a lot of people. Then change will be inevitable, and unavoidable, and the number of people all hoping for the same life of wow will sadly drop to something more sustainable.

It’s the issue of our time. It encompasses how far and fast we have journeyed as a species — just as our car starts to shake as it reaches its speed limit. That’s why we don’t like to talk about it. What comes next is simply uglier, and most of us would rather not say that out loud.



The Philippines is the world’s most deadly place to defend the environment

• • • • •

The Philippines is now the deadliest country in the world for land and environmental defenders, with 34 killed in 2018, according to new research.

Worldwide, a total of 164 people were killed in related violence — an average of more than three per week — according to the “Enemies of the State?” report from NGO Global Witness. Mining conflicts were responsible for the largest share of the deaths.

But in the Philippines, disputes linked to agribusiness led to half of the killings, according to the research.

Despite the increased focus on environmental issues the world over, the proliferation of strongmen leaders is bringing greater danger for those trying to defend their rights, Global Witness says. And the situation is likely to deteriorate in 2019, it predicts.

The report reveals that Guatemala saw the sharpest increase in fatalities, which increased fivefold from 2017 to 2018. Central America’s most populous nation saw 16 people killed while protecting land or the environment, making it one of the world’s deadliest countries per capita.

“Vicious attacks against land and environmental defenders are still happening, despite growing momentum behind environmental movements the world over,” said Alice Harrison, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness.

“As we hurtle towards climate breakdown, it has never been more important to stand with those who are trying to defend their land and our planet against the reckless destruction being meted out by the rich and powerful.”

Mining conflicts were behind 43 killings, followed by 21 related to agribusiness, 17 to disputes over water and dams, and 13 to logging.

It is a brutal irony that while judicial systems routinely allow the killers of defenders to walk free, they are also being used to brand the activists themselves as terrorists, spies or dangerous criminals,” said Harrison.

“Both tactics send a clear message to other activists: the stakes for defending their rights are punishingly high for them, their families and their communities.”

The leaders of various countries are rolling back environmental and human rights protections, Global Witness says.



As of today, humans have used more resources than Planet Earth can regenerate in a year

• • • • •

If Earth’s resources were a bank account, today would mark the date we’d officially be in the red.

As of July 29, humanity has officially used up more ecological resources this year than the Earth can regenerate by the end of the year. The occasion even has a name: Earth Overshoot Day.

The Global Footprint Network, a sustainability organization which calculates the day, says humanity is currently consuming nature 1.75 times faster than the planet can regenerate.

That means we’re overspending our natural capital, compromising resources in the future as a result and leading to things like deforestation and carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere.

And more carbon dioxide brings ever increasing climate change, the network says.

It’s getting worse, too.

The date has moved up two months over the past 20 years, and July 29 marks the earliest the date has ever landed.

“We have only got one Earth — this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 without destructive consequences,” said Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network, in a statement.

The United States is one of the worst culprits.

If the entire world’s population lived like Americans, the organization said, we would need five Earths to meet our demands. That’s compared to countries like France or the United Kingdom, which would need less than three, though that still isn’t ideal.

And, even though poorer countries aren’t the ones overusing resources, they are the ones typically paying the costs. Research showsthat climate change will more drastically affect poorer countries before wealthier ones like the US.

Continuing at the current pace, the report said, would create a global health emergency — potentially leading to millions of deaths from air pollution in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and creating antimicrobial-resistant infections from freshwater pollution.



Spectacular Stromboli eruption sends people fleeing for cover

• • • • •

A spectacular explosion from an Italian volcano Wednesday sent locals and tourists running for cover to avoid a shower of rocks and ash.

The eruption of Stromboli, on a small island off the coast of Sicily, sent a gigantic plume of smoke billowing into the sky.

Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the explosion could be classified as a “paroxysmal event” and produced a pyroclastic flow — a fast-moving mixture of gas, rock and volcanic ash — of several hundred meters into the sea. It added that the smoke plume reached a height of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

“I was sitting at the bar in Ginostra with my mother, drinking a cup of coffee when we heard a massive boom and subsequently the volcano explosion,” Federica Manna, a Stromboli resident, told CNN. “We all gathered in the square and after a short time it started to rain sand and stones. You can imagine the chaos. We sheltered in a church under the beams because we feared there was an earthquake.”



Dramatic video of volcano eruption in Italy



Spectacular Stromboli eruption sends people fleeing for cover

• • • • •

A spectacular explosion from an Italian volcano Wednesday sent locals and tourists running for cover to avoid a shower of rocks and ash.

The eruption of Stromboli, on a small island off the coast of Sicily, sent a gigantic plume of smoke billowing into the sky.

Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the explosion could be classified as a “paroxysmal event” and produced a pyroclastic flow — a fast-moving mixture of gas, rock and volcanic ash — of several hundred meters into the sea. It added that the smoke plume reached a height of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

“I was sitting at the bar in Ginostra with my mother, drinking a cup of coffee when we heard a massive boom and subsequently the volcano explosion,” Federica Manna, a Stromboli resident, told CNN. “We all gathered in the square and after a short time it started to rain sand and stones. You can imagine the chaos. We sheltered in a church under the beams because we feared there was an earthquake.”



Dorian is expected to near hurricane strength as it spins toward Puerto Rico

• • • • •

Tropical Storm Dorian is expected to be near hurricane strength when it approaches Puerto Rico on Wednesday, a threat that has residents taking precautions on an island still grappling with the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

The storm’s center is expected to pass over, or just south of, Puerto Rico on Wednesday before moving near the Dominican Republic on Thursday, with sustained winds perhaps just below the 74 mph threshold for a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“There’s already so much damage on the ground from (Maria) that this isn’t going to take a lot to make a significant amount of damage, especially flooding,” Myers said.

“Some of these power lines are not held up by very much — 70 mph would bring them back down,” he said.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on Monday declared a state of emergency for the island, and urged people to prepare for the storm.

“For citizens who do not yet have safe roofs, we will have shelters ready,” Vázquez said on Twitter.

About 360 shelters are available across the island for a capacity of 48,500 people, the government’s official Twitter account said Monday.

Puerto Rico and eastern parts of the Dominican Republic are under a tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch, the hurricane center said. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, and a hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours.

By the end of the week, what’s left of Dorian is expected to move toward the Bahamas and possibly into the southeastern parts of the United States. Forecasts show Dorian approaching the Florida peninsula Sunday as a tropical storm, but it’s far too early to predict impacts there, CNN meteorologists said.

Two-thirds of Puerto Rico is likely to receive tropical storm force winds, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

Dorian is the fourth named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, which generally peaks in the eight weeks surrounding September 10.

Two-thirds of all the storms produced in a typical season occur during this period.

That’s because it’s the time when conditions in the tropics become prime for storm development. By the end of August, waters in the tropics have warmed, and wind shear across the Atlantic begins to weaken.

And this year, El Niño has dissipated, making conditions even more favorable for development.



An asteroid larger than some of the world’s tallest buildings will zip by Earth next month

• • • • •

On September 14, an asteroid will pass by Earth that’s larger than some of the tallest buildings on the planet.

Asteroid 2000 QW7 is estimated to be between 290 meters and 650 meters in diameter, or between 951 and 2,132 feet, according to NASA. The world’s tallest building is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which reaches 2,717 feet tall. The second tallest building is the Shanghai Tower at 2,073 feet. The asteroid will be traveling at 14,361 miles per hour when it passes within 3,312,944 miles of Earth at 7:54 p.m. ET. Astronomers don’t believe the asteroid poses any danger, but NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies is tracking it.

The asteroid, named 2019 MO, was 13 feet in diameter and 310,685 miles from Earth. The ATLAS facility observed it four times over 30 minutes around midnight in Hawaii.

Initially, the Scout impact analysis software at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory deemed the potential impact as a 2. For reference, 0 is “unlikely” and 4 is “likely.” Davide Farnocchia, navigation engineer at JPL, requested additional observations because he noticed a detection near Puerto Rico 12 hours later.

The additional images from the Pan-STARRS telescope helped researchers better determine the entry path for the asteroid, which bumped the Scout rating to 4.

The calculation matched up, and weather radar in San Juan detected the asteroid as it burned up in our atmosphere. It entered the atmosphere over the ocean, 236 miles south of the city.

ATLAS, which is two telescopes 100 miles apart on the Big Island and Maui, scans the entire sky every two nights for asteroids that could impact Earth. It can spot small asteroids half a day before they arrive at Earth and could point to larger asteroids days before.



Icelanders can’t remember a hotter summer. It’s nice, and worrying

• • • • •

Helga Ögmundardóttir has been feeling a bit guilty this summer. The Icelandic academic lives on the coast in Reykjavik and isn’t used to sitting on her balcony without a blanket.

“I’m in my garden and I’m sweating because it’s 20 degrees and it’s midnight and I feel this guilty pleasure because I know it’s a bad thing, but it’s nice and I want to enjoy it,” she said.

July was the hottest month on record in the Icelandic capital, with temperatures 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average of the past decade, according to the Icelandic Met Office. April, May and June were also unusually dry and warmer than usual.

The summer has been so hot and dry that the water level in the famous Red Lake near Reykjavik dropped from 140 centimeters to just 70 centimeters, according to the Met Office. The lake looks more like a bog now.

The drought also caused fewer salmon to swim up Iceland’s rivers. The National Association of Fisheries said salmon fishing slumped by a half compared to last summer.

“Nature here is really volatile and powerful and people just have to accept it if they want to live here… but the speed, it’s totally new and it’s enormous,” she said.

“When you see the glaciers retreat by dozens of meters a year, and see the vegetation change rapidly, we have invasive species now… That’s something new and it’s solely because of the rising temperature. So it’s tangible, it’s very visible,” she said.

Historical maps show that glaciers have repeatedly shrunk and grown in Iceland. Since the late 19th century, when glaciation reached its most recent peak, they’ve retreated by 2,000 square kilometers. But 600 square kilometers disappeared since 2000.

“We’ve seen these things happen before, we had episodes where there were some glaciers retreating, but now they are happening on a much bigger scale,” Björnsson said.

Skeiðará river isn’t the only Icelandic natural wonder that recently vanished because of climate change. Okjökull, a glacier in the east of the island, has melted in the past few years. There is now a plaque commemorating its existence. More glaciers are likely to follow.



Indonesia’s capital city isn’t the only one sinking

• • • • •

Indonesia has said the country would be relocating its capital city, in part because it’s sinking into the Java Sea.

Jakarta is one of the fastest sinking cities in the world, according to the World Economic Forum, due to rising sea levels and the over-extraction of groundwater. But it isn’t the only city in trouble.


Houston has been sinking for decades and, like Jakarta, the over-extraction of groundwater is partly to blame.

The Houston Chronicle reported that parts of Harris County, which contains Houston, have sunk between 10 and 12 feet (about 3 meters), since the 1920s, according to data from the US Geological Survey. Areas have continued to fall as much as 2 inches per year, an amount that can quickly add up.


The city of Lagos sits on the coast of Nigeria, constructed partly on the mainland, partly on some nearby islands. It’s also Africa’s most populous city.

Its geography makes Lagos especially prone to flooding, and the coastline has already been eroding. As sea levels rise due to global warming, the city is increasingly at risk.

One study from 2012 revealed that, because Nigeria’s coastline is so low, a sea level rise of just 3 to 9 feet (about 1 to 3 meters) “will have a catastrophic effect on the human activities in these regions.”

New Orleans

As recently as the 1930s, just a third of New Orleans was below sea level. When Katrina hit in 2005, that number went up to half.

The city is vulnerable to rising sea levels because it was built on loose soil and was positioned so close to on the coast. Combined with its sinking — scientists have found it to be falling at a rate of 0.39 inches (1 centimeter) a year.


A study from 2016 showed that Beijing is sinking by as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) in some areas per year.

Researchers said the cause of the sinking was depleting groundwater, similar to the situation in Jakarta and Houston.

Beijing, which is not a coastal city, relies heavily on groundwater as its main source of water. The water has been accumulating over many years, but its extraction has dried up the soil and caused it to compact — leading to the sinking.


Washington is one of the most important cities in the US — and it’s also sinking.

Research from 2015 showed that our country’s capital will drop more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) in the next 100 years.

But unlike Jakarta, Washington’s sinking has nothing to do with aquifers or rising sea levels — it’s actually because of an ice sheet from the last ice age.



Indonesia will build its new capital city in Borneo as Jakarta sinks into the Java Sea

• • • • •

A jungle-covered area on the east of Borneo island is set to be transformed into Indonesia’s new capital city.

Concerns over the sustainability of the congested and rapidly sinking political center of Jakarta prompted the need for a new capital. The relocation was announced Monday by President Joko Widodo.

But Jakarta’s rapid expansion in recent years has presented myriad environmental, economic and safety concerns, prompting the government to look elsewhere and ease the strain on the massive metropolis.

“As a large nation that has been independent for 74 years, Indonesia has never chosen its own capital,” Widodo said in a televised speech, AFP reported. “The burden Jakarta is holding right now is too heavy as the center of governance, business, finance, trade and services.”

The ambitious project to move the capital will likely cost around 486 trillion rupiah ($34 billion), CNN Indonesia reported, and officials have previously said the relocation could take around 10 years.

Jakarta is home to more than 10 million people, according to the United Nations, with an estimated 30 million in the greater metropolitan area — making it one of the world’s most overpopulated urban regions.

It’s also one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum, dropping into the Java Sea at an alarming rate due to over-extraction of groundwater.

The city sits on swampy ground and hugs the sea to the north, making it especially prone to flooding.

A worsening air pollution crisis, exacerbated by near-constant traffic congestion on its roads, has grown so dire that some residents sued the Indonesian government in July.

No name has been given for the new site, but the government originally announced plans to relocate the capital in April. The move requires parliamentary approval to be given the go-ahead.

Indonesia owns the majority of Borneo, the world’s third-largest island, with Malaysia and Brunei each holding parts of its northern region. The island is covered in vast rainforests, but it has been hit by rampant deforestation in recent years.



Flying above the Amazon fires, ‘all you can see is death’

• • • • •

The smoke is so thick, at times the Cessna airplane had to climb to stay out of it. At times your eyes burn and you close the air vents to keep the cabin habitable. Sometimes it is so bad, it is hard to see how bad it actually is on the ground below.

Flying above the Amazon’s worst afflicted state (during last week), Rondonia, is exhausting mostly because of the endless scale of the devastation.

“This is not just a forest that is burning,” said Rosana Villar of Greenpeace, who helped CNN arrange its flight over the damaged and burning areas. “This is almost a cemetery. Because all you can see is death.”

The stark reality of the destruction is otherworldly: like a vision conjured by an alarmist to warn of what may come if the world doesn’t address its climate crisis now. Yet it is real, and here, and now, and below us as we are scorched by the sun above and smoldering land below.

Rondonia has 6,436 fires burning so far this year in it, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). NASA says the state has become one of the most deforested states in the Amazon. Brazil has 85% more fires burning than this time last year — up to 80,626 nationwide as of Sunday night.

As the rate of land clearance reaches one and a half football fields a minute — the statistics for the damage done to the forest emulate the incomprehensible mystery of its vanishing beauty — many analysts fear a tipping point is nearing.

The more forest is cleared, the less moisture is held beneath its canopy, and the drier the land gets. The drier the land gets, the more susceptible it is to fire. The more fire, the less forest. A self-fulfilling cycle has already begun. The question is when it becomes irreversible.

It is hard to see any claims of future doom as alarmist, when you see skylines rendered invisible by smoke, flames march across the plains like lava, and hear disinterested taxi drivers tell you they have never seen it so bad. The apocalyptic future is here, and it is impatient.



Bolsonaro to deploy troops to fight Amazon rainforest fires

• • • • •

French President Emmanuel Macron has angered his Brazilian counterpart by calling the wildfires blazing in the Amazon rainforest an “international crisis” that should be on the agenda at the G7 summit in Biarritz.

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs of our planet which produces 20% of our oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis,” Macron tweeted Thursday.

Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro blasted Macron’s offer as “sensationalist” and accused him of using the fires for “political gain.”

“I regret that President Macron is seeking to instrumentalize an internal issue in Brazil and in other Amazonian countries for personal political gains,” Bolsonaro tweeted.

Brazil’s space research center (INPE) said this week that the country has seen an 80% increase in fires this year, compared with the same period last year. More than half were in the Amazon region, spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.

And 99% percent of the fires result from human actions “either on purpose or by accident,” said Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at INPE. The burning can range from a small-scale agricultural practice, to new deforestation for a mechanized and modern agribusiness project, Setzer told CNN by email.

Environmental organizations and researchers say the wildfires were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land, emboldened by the country’s pro-business president.

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and accounts for at least 10% of the planet’s biodiversity.

It’s home to huge numbers of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles — 75% of which are unique to the Amazon. A new plant or animal species is discovered there every two days.

But the forest and its inhabitants are facing an unparalleled threat from deforestation — 20% of the Amazon biome has already been lost to mining, logging, farming, hydropower dams and roads, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Deforestation accelerated more than 60% in June 2019 over the same period last year, INPE’s data shows. The Amazon lost 769 square kilometres, a stark increase from the 488 sq km lost in June 2018. That equates to an area of rainforest larger than one-and-a-half soccer fields being destroyed every minute each day.

The Amazon forest also produces about 20% of the world’s oxygen and is often called “the planet’s lungs.”

Before the fires, land conversion and deforestation caused the Amazon to release up to 0.5 billion metric tons of carbon per year, according to the WWF. Depending on the damage from the fires, that release would increase, accelerating climate change.

“The Amazon is incredibly important for our future, for our ability to stave off the worst of climate change,” said Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch. “This isn’t hyperbole. We’re looking at untold destruction — not just of the Amazon but for our entire planet.”

The pro-business Bolsonaro has hamstrung Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency with budget cuts amounting to $23 million — official data sent to CNN by Observatorio do Clima shows the enforcement agency’s operations have fallen since Bolsonaro was sworn in.

The director of Brazil’s space research center INPE was recently fired after defending satellite images that showed deforestation was 88% higher in June than a year earlier — data which Bolsonaro characterized as “lies.”

“The vast majority of these fires are human-lit,” said Amazon Watch’s Poirier, adding that even during dry seasons, the Amazon — a humid rainforest — doesn’t catch on fire easily, unlike the dry bushland in California or Australia.



The Amazon is burning because the world eats so much meat

• • • • •

While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an “international crisis,” they are hardly an accident.

The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. The practice is on the rise, encouraged by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s populist pro-business president, who is backed by the country’s so-called “beef caucus.”

While this may be business as usual for Brazil’s beef farmers, the rest of the world is looking on in horror.

So, for those wondering how they could help save the rainforest, known as “the planet’s lungs” for producing about 20% of the world’s oxygen, the answer may be simple. Eat less meat.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef, providing close to 20% of the total global exports, according the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — a figure that could rise in the coming years.

Last year the country shipped 1.64 million tonnes of beef — the highest volume in history — generating $6.57 billion in revenue, according to the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (Abiec), an association of more than 30 Brazilian meat-packing companies.

The growth of Brazil’s beef industry has been driven in part by strong demand from Asia — mostly China and Hong Kong. These two markets alone accounted for nearly 44% of all beef exports from Brazil in 2018, according to the USDA.

And a trade deal struck in June between South America’s Mercosur bloc of countries and the European Union could open up even more markets for Brazil’s beef-packing industry.

Once implemented, the deal will lift a 20% levy on beef imports into the EU.

In a statement Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar described as “Orewellian” Bolsonaro’s attempt to blame the fires on environmental groups. Varadkar said that Ireland will monitor Brazil’s environmental actions to determine whether to block the Mercosur deal, which is two years away.

He added Irish and European farmers could not be told to use fewer pesticides and respect biodiversity when trade deals were being made with countries not subjected to “decent environmental, labor and product standards.”

Deal or no deal, Brazil’s beef industry is projected to continue expanding, buoyed by natural resources, grassland availability and global demand, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

And, with that growth, comes steep environmental costs.

Brazil’s space research center (INPE) said this week that the number of fires in Brazil is 80% higher than last year. More than half are in the Amazon region, spelling disaster for the local environment and ecology.

And if saving the rainforest isn’t enough to convince carnivores to stop eating Brazilian beef — the greenhouse gas emissions the cattle create may be.

Beef is responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, and that livestock accounts for 14.5% of total global emissions. And methane — the greenhouse gas cattle produce from both ends — is 25 times more potent that carbon dioxide.

A joint report predicted global production would increase 16% between 2017 and 2027 to meet demand.

The majority of that expansion will be in developing countries, like Brazil.



Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate, research center says

• • • • •

Fires are raging at a record rate in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and scientists warn that it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.

The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (known by the abbreviation INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.

There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That’s more than an 80% increase compared with the same period last year.

The Amazon is often referred to as the planet’s lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere.

It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.

Dramatic images and videos on social media show giant plumes of smoke rising from the greenery and lines of fire leaving blackened waste in their wake.

The smoke has reached all the way to Sao Paulo, more than 1,700 miles away.

The European Union’s satellite program, Copernicus, released a map showing smoke from the fires spreading all along Brazil to the east Atlantic coast. The smoke has covered nearly half of the country and is even spilling over into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The Amazon River stretches across several of these South American countries, but the majority — more than two-thirds — of the rainforest lies in Brazil.

According to INPE, more than 1½ soccer fields of Amazon rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day.

Environmental activists and organizations like the World Wildlife Fund warn that if the Amazon reaches a point of no return, the rainforest could become a dry savannah, no longer habitable for much of its wildlife. If this happens, instead of being a source of oxygen, it could start emitting carbon — the major driver of climate change.



Microplastics discovered in ‘extreme’ concentrations in the North Atlantic

• • • • •

Within the Atlantic Ocean is the world’s only sea without shores, its borders defined by the currents of the North Atlantic gyre. The Sargasso Sea takes its name from sargassum, a free-floating golden brown seaweed that is a haven for hatchling sea turtles and hundreds of other marine species who use it to feed, grow and hide from predators. But the sargassum is now home to objects wholly unnatural too.

Caught up in the swirling gyre is a growing collection of human waste: trash from countries that border the Atlantic, from the west coast of Africa to the east coast of the US, slowly breaking up on its long journey into microplastics that end up in the gills and stomachs of aquatic animals.

There are small schools of juvenile trigger and file fish, and other species darting around or just hiding within the sargassum. There are many species we don’t see, too small, too apt at blending into this rich nursery ground like young shrimp and crab, tiny frog fish, and what we really hoped to find but didn’t — baby turtles.

Embedded in most of the sargassum are the easily visible pieces of trash: shampoo bottles, fishing gear, thick hard containers or thin soft bags amongst many other types of plastic. One of the scientists points out fish bite marks in a small plastic sheet we pull out. But what is really jarring is when you dive down and look into the blue and realize you are surrounded by tiny glittering pieces of broken up plastic called microplastic.

Greenpeace scientists say they found “extreme” concentrations of microplastic pollution in the Sargasso Sea, although they are still reviewing their findings. In one sample, they discovered almost 1,300 fragments of microplastic — more than the levels found last year in the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Their analysis indicates this pollution originates from single-use plastic bottles and plastic packaging, according to Greenpeace.

Greenpeace’s trip to the Sargasso is part of its year-long pole-to-pole expedition to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty that calls for the protection of a network of ocean sanctuaries covering 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“In most of the samples that we have been sampling where there is sargassum we have seen a lot of plastics because they get entangled in the sargassum,” Celia Ojeda, a marine biologist with a PhD in ocean conservation, explains, pointing to the tiny pieces floating at the top of one sample.

“It’s a really nice blue; you can’t imagine what is under there, and then when you get the sample you get really shocked at the numbers,” she says.

Only around 9% of plastic produced has ever been recycled. Most single-use plastics end up in landfills or are burned in huge toxic fires. Some finds its way into our rivers or the oceans, either flushed into water systems or blown by wind currents.

“This goes into the food chain.” Ojeda explains. “The fish and shrimps eat the plastic, we are eating them or the fish that eat them, and this will end up in our bodies somehow.”

The plastic humans discard — food wrappers, plastic bags, even nappies — find their way back into homes in the food that you buy. A study from June 2019 said the average person ingests around 2,000 microplastic particles a week — around five grams, or the weight of a credit card. What scientists don’t yet fully understand is what that plastic or the toxins that plastic contains can do to us.

The weight of evidence that humans are contaminating one of our major food sources is overwhelming — not only introducing potential toxins into our own bodies, but also polluting whole ecosystems and killing precious marine animals.

“We need to be more respectful that plastic is a great tool but can become a nightmare,” he adds. “There is no quick fix. Nothing is going away fast. It takes a decade or two for plastic to make its way into the watershed.”



At the bottom of a glacier in Greenland, climate scientists find troubling signs

• • • • •

On one of the hottest days this summer, locals in the tiny village of Kulusuk, Greenland heard what sounded like an explosion. It turned out to be a soccer field’s worth of ice breaking off a glacier more than five miles away.

Greenland lost 12.5 billion tons of ice to melting on August 2, the largest single-day loss in recorded history and another stark reminder of the climate crisis.

Kulusuk is also base camp for NASA’s OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) program. OMG scientists traveled to the world’s biggest island this year after a heatwave scorched the United States and Europe, smashing temperature records and triggering the mass melting of its ice sheet.

NASA oceanographer Josh Willis and his team are investigating how the ice is being attacked not only by rising air temperatures but also by the warming ocean, which is eating it away from underneath.

“There is enough ice in Greenland to raise the sea levels by 7.5 meters, that’s about 25 feet, an enormous volume of ice, and that would be devastating to coastlines all around the planet,” said Willis. “We should be retreating already from the coastline if we are looking at many meters [lost] in the next century or two.”

As our plane approached Helheim, the scientists spotted an ice-free “lake” at the very front of the glacier, something they said they don’t see often. The probes also brought back troubling data — Helheim was surrounded by warm water along its entire depth, more than 2,000 feet below the surface.

“It’s very rare anywhere on the planet to see 700 meters of no temperature variation, normally we find colder waters in the upper hundred meters or so, but right in front of the glacier it’s warm all the way up,” said Ian Fenty, climate scientist at NASA. “These warm waters now are able to be in direct contact with the ice over its entire face, supercharging the melting.”

Helheim has become famous in recent years as it has been retreating at a stunning rate. In 2017, the glacier lost a whopping two miles, and a year later scientists from New York University captured a miles-long ice column break off the glacier’s front. The melt doesn’t seem to be slowing this year either.

“Greenland has impacts all around the planet. A billion tons of ice lost here raises sea levels in Australia, in Southeast Asia, in the United States, in Europe,” Willis said. “We are all connected by the same ocean.”

Even though most still think of rovers and other planets when they think of NASA missions, in the 50 years since the moon landing, the public perception of what the agency should pour its resources into seems to be shifting. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans now think that NASA’s top priority should be monitoring key parts of Earth’s climate system rather than sending a man to Mars.



Bangladesh slum fire leaves 10,000 people homeless

• • • • •

More than 10,000 people have been left homeless after a massive fireengulfed a slum in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, destroying thousands of shanties, according to Bangladeshi officials.

The fire broke out Friday evening at the Chalantika slum in Dhaka’s Mirpur district on the northern outskirts of the city. Video footage showed the makeshift huts ablaze, with smoke billowing into the air.

“I could not salvage a single thing. I don’t know what I will do,” Abdul Hamid, who worked in the slum, told Agence France-Presse.

Rabbani told CNN that more than 2,000 huts were destroyed in the blaze, leaving more than 10,000 people homeless.

Enamur Rahman, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, told CNN Sunday that around “80% of the slum has been completely or partially destroyed.”

Rahman noted that the government will provide 500 tons of rice and 1.3 million taka ($15,476) to every person affected by the fire.

At least 111 people were killed in 2012 when a fire ripped through a clothing factory in Dhaka. A government inquiry later concluded that the incident was an “act of sabotage” after managers were found to have stopped employees leaving the building when the fire alarm sounded.



The water is so hot in Alaska it’s killing large numbers of salmon

• • • • •

Alaska has been in the throes of an unprecedented heat wave this summer, and the heat stress is killing salmon in large numbers.

Scientists have observed die-offs of several varieties of Alaskan salmon, including sockeye, chum and pink salmon.

Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, told CNN she took a group of scientists on an expedition along Alaska’s Koyokuk River at the end of July, after locals alerted her to salmon die-offs on the stream.

She and the other scientists counted 850 dead unspawned salmon on that expedition, although they estimated the total was likely four to 10 times larger.

They looked for signs of lesions, parasites and infections, but came up empty. Nearly all the salmon they found had “beautiful eggs still inside them,” she said. Because the die-off coincided with the heat wave, they concluded that heat stress was the cause of the mass deaths.

Quinn-Davidson said she’d been working as a scientist for eight years and had “never heard of anything to this extent before.”

“I’m not sure people expected how large a die-off we’d see on these rivers,” she said.

The water temperatures have breaking records at the same time as the air temperatures, according to Sue Mauger, the science director for the Cook Inletkeeper.

Scientists have been tracking stream temperatures around the Cook Inlet, located south of Anchorage, since 2002. They’ve never recorded a temperature above 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Until now.

On July 7, a major salmon stream on the west side of the Cook Inlet registered 81.7 degrees.

“2019 exceeded the value we expected for the worst-case scenario in 2069,” she said.



Exposure to polluted air is like smoking a pack a day, study says

• • • • •

Long-term exposure to air pollution, especially ground-level ozone, is like smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day for many years, a new study says, and like smoking, it can can lead to emphysema.

The study, published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA, is the largest of its kind. It looked at exposure to air pollution — specifically to ground-level ozone, fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and black carbon. The study looked at more than 7,000 adults ages 45 to 84 for over a decade in six US metropolitan areas — Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles,  New York City, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The patients were all healthy when they started the study, and researchers controlled for factors that could compromise lung health, including age and whether the person was a smoker or was regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

The strongest association between a pollutant and emphysema was seen with exposure to ozone, which was the only pollutant associated with an additional decline in lung function.

Ground-level ozone is the part of smog that you can’t see. It’s colorless and it comes from the photochemical transformation that occurs when pollutants interact with sunlight.

“The increase in emphysema we observed was relatively large, similar to the lung damage caused by 29 pack-years of smoking and 3 years of aging,” said  Dr. R. Graham Barr,  the Hamilton Southworth  professor of  medicine and  epidemiology at Columbia University  Irving  Medical Center  and a senior author of the paper. One pack-year means smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for a year.

“These findings matter since ground-level ozone levels are rising, and  the amount of  emphysema  on CT scans  predicts hospitalization from and deaths due to  chronic  lower respiratory disease,” said Barr.

With the climate crisis, there could be much higher levels of ground-level ozone in the future.

“Ground-level ozone is produced when UV light reacts with pollutants from fossil fuels,” added Barr. “This process is accelerated by heatwaves, so  ground-level ozone will likely continue to increase  unless additional steps are taken to reduce fossil fuel emissions and curb climate change.  But it’s not clear what level of ozone, if any, is safe for human health.”

Kaufman says he hopes people will look at research like this and will use it to encourage their leaders to work on better environmental policies and pay attention to their fossil fuel consumption.

Earlier studies predicted exposure to ground-level ozone concentrations could lead to millions more acute respiratory problems and would cost the United States billions of dollars. Exposure to air pollution caused more than 107,000 premature deaths in the United States in 2011 alone, research has found.

“The big surprise was the magnitude of this, putting pollution in the same league as cigarette smoking,” said Kaufman. “Cigarette smoking is by far the best known cause of emphysema. The fact that ozone is in the same league was definitely a surprise.”



Greenhouse gases reach record levels, report finds

• • • • •

The dominant greenhouse gases released into the Earth’s atmosphere reached record levels in 2018, and their global warming power is now 43% stronger than in 1990, according to a new report by the American Meteorological Society released Monday.

The State of the Climate in 2018 study also reported other key findings: · 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record. The three other warmest years were 2015, 2016 and 2017, with 2016 as the warmest year since records first began being kept in the mid-1800s. · Sea levels rose to record levels for a seventh consecutive year. · Glaciers continue to melt at a concerning rate for the 30th straight year. “Every year since the start of the 21st Century has been warmer than the 1981-2010 average,” the report said. “In 2018, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere — carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide — continued to increase and reach new record highs.”

In fact, the report found greenhouse gases warming influence on the planet have increased an alarming 43% since 1990. Global carbon dioxide concentrations, which represent the bulk of the gases warming power, rose during 2018 to a record 407.4 parts per million, the study found. That is “the highest in the modern instrumental record and in ice core records dating back 800,000 years,” the report said.

“This is yet another in a series of expert, science-based reports that continue to sound the alarm about the climate crisis,” said Marshall Shepherd, a professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Georgia. He is also a former president of the American Meteorological Society.

Shepherd went on to say that the “DNA of climate change is clearly seen now in our weather, agriculture productivity, water supply challenges, public health, and even national security concerns.”

The report adds to the growing list of studies about the alarming impact of global warming. One recent report from the United Nations found that food will become scarcer and that the climate crisis will change what kinds of crops farmers can grow.

Another major US government report released last year gave a dire warning about climate change, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP.

Monday’s report found that global annual sea levels rose for the seventh consecutive year and hit a record high for the 26 years since satellite recordings began, having risen about 3.2 inches, or 81 millimeters, in that time above the 1993 average.

“The new high reflects an ongoing trend,” the report said. “Ongoing trends and year-to-year changes in sea level impact coastal communities by increasing the magnitude and frequency of positive sea level extremes that cause flooding and erosion.”

Global sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1.2 inches (3.1 centimeters) per decade.

The study said a number of prolonged heat waves in North America, Europe, Australia, and East Asia were widely reported, along with some unusually cold periods, like the “Beast from the East” for example, in Europe. “It is clear that lakes are also affected by the warm conditions, as the majority of the lakes assessed show continual increases in annual temperatures, especially in the northern mid-latitudes,” the study said.

The report also said preliminary data indicate that “glaciers across the world continued to lose mass for the 30th consecutive year.” “For the 25 reporting glaciers, only one reported a positive mass balance for the year. Since 1980, the cumulative loss is the equivalent of slicing 24 meters (78.7 feet) off the top of the average glacier,” the report said.



More than 150 are dead as heavy monsoon rains batter India

• • • • •

Heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 114 people in India this week, causing devastating landslides and floods in several parts of the country.

In the southern state of Kerala, 57 people died, according to the state government. More than 165,000 people have been forced out of their homes by the monsoons and have taken refuge in 1,318 relief camps across Kerala. Nearly 200 houses in the state were destroyed in rain-related incidents, according to officials.

In neighboring Karnataka state, 30 people died and 14 are missing due to floods, according to the local government. The state administration has evacuated more than 30,000 people to 924 relief camps.

In the western state of Maharashtra, 27 people died and more than 200,000 have been evacuated, a senior state official told CNN.

Large swaths of South Asia were hit by heavy monsoon rains last month, leaving at least 227 people deadacross India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The monsoon period stretches until September, making recovery difficult for those affected. Hundreds of homes have been damaged or completely destroyed in the first wave of the season, and families are racing to rebuild them before more rains come.



Fire in Spain’s Canary Islands leaves rescuers ‘fighting for our island’

• • • • •

A fire raging in Spain’s Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa has prompted the evacuation of a thousand people, the islands’ President Ángel Víctor Torres said on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference, he said that the affected area was 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres). The neighborhoods concerned were from the municipalities of Artenara, Tejeda and Gáldar.

The fire spread on Gran Canaria, the second-most populous of the Canary Islands with just less than 900,000 people.

Earlier on Saturday, firefighters said in Spanish they were “overwhelmed by the situation,” adding “we are fighting for our island!!!”

Ten aircraft and more than 200 ground troops are working to tackle the fire, Torres said. He added that local authorities have requested help from the government in Madrid and the Military Emergencies Unit in Seville.



Twin tornadoes whip through northern Europe, hospitalizing at least 14 people

• • • • •

At least 14 people were hospitalized after a tornado tore through southwestern Luxembourg Friday, damaging over 160 houses before progressing into eastern France.

Another tornado also struck the city center of Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, the same day, gathering debris and whipping across a river.

In Luxembourg, wind speeds reached 128 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour), Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. Two people sustained more serious injuries, the government said, and remained in hospital on Friday night.

Significant destruction occurred in the Kaerjeng and Petange communes. In Kaerjeng, around 100 houses were damaged, with up to 30 losing part of or the entirety of their roof. A further 60 houses were damaged in Petange.

The strong winds also downed multiple pylons, damaging a high-voltage power line. A branch of the supermarket chain Cactus in the town of Bascharage was cordoned off by police, and remained closed Saturday.

The tornado moved into France on Friday evening, AFP reported, damaging houses in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region. Strong winds impacted the communes of Longwy, Herserange and Saulnes, the local fire department tweeted, warning locals to “beware of falling objects.”



Power restored to London and southeast England after National Grid failure

• • • • •

Trains ground to a halt, homes went dark and cars wandered through intersections without functioning traffic lights as large swathes of London and southern England temporarily lost power Friday.

UK Power Networks tweeted that the outages were “due to an issue on the national transmission network,” adding, “we believe all supplies have been restored.”

Earlier in the day, the country’s National Grid Electricity System Operator tweeted about “issues” with two power generators.

Urban transportation was severely impacted by the outages, if only briefly.

A major London Underground line came to stop because of the outage, Transport for London confirmed to CNN, though by 6 p.m. that service was restored.

“The Victoria line was affected, but it is back up and running now. There are severe delays, though,” a TfL spokesperson told CNN.

“Power supply problems are currently causing disruption to a large number of train services. Information screens in some areas are also affected,” National Rail Enquiries said, according to Britain’s Press Association.

Earlier Friday, UK Power Networks warned it was “preparing for forecast of strong winds” across the South East and East of England, directing customers to its website for further guidance on how power might be affected.



CNN story: Rare tornadoes in Europe caught on video



West Nile virus cases rose in the US in 2018, killing 167 people

• • • • •

The number of West Nile virus cases rose across the United States last year, killing 167 people, according to data released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say the increase, while small, underscores the need to protect against mosquitoes during the hot summer months.

There were 2,647 cases of West Nile virus last year, the CDC said, which is 550 more cases than the year before. The virus’s most severe form — neuroinvasive disease, which can cause inflammation in the brain — was also more common last year than in years prior, according to the agency.

“I think [the report] confirms and says again that this is a significant problem in the US, that we have a couple thousand people getting very serious neurologic infections,” said Dr. Mark Mulligan, director of the division of infectious diseases and immunology at the NYU Langone School of Medicine.

Still, “what the report tells us is, as in years past, West Nile virus is the most frequent cause of neuroinvasive disease.”

The new data also reveals changes in where infections are found, said Sadie Ryan, an associate professor of medical geography at the University of Florida.

“It’s up a little bit,” she said, “but places that previously had really large numbers have less than they did, like Arizona and California.” Those are states “with historically large numbers of cases,” according to the CDC.

One explanation for the geographic shifts, Ryan said, could be that previously impacted regions are better prepared to track and control mosquitoes. “In places where it first popped up, it’s now part of the surveillance and control efforts, so we know when to detect it, people know to spray themselves and dump their water,” she said.

“It started in New York, in the Northeast, and then over the last roughly 20 years it has spread all the way across the country,” said Mulligan, the NYU professor.

Last year, there were just 278 neuroinvasive infections in all of New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Meanwhile, Illinois alone saw 126 cases, while Texas reported 108.

“A lot of people are getting infected and have no symptoms at all,” Mulligan said.

The highest incidences of infection in 2018, for example, were in Nebraska and the Dakotas. States like those “are probably areas where, in past years, there hasn’t yet been a real heavy infection, so there’s a higher proportion of non-immune, susceptible individuals.”

For those who are affected by West Nile virus, the consequences can be severe and even deadly. People over 60 years old are at greater risk for severe symptoms, which can include high fever, paralysis and even coma.

Among those who develop serious illnessaffecting the central nervous system, about 10% die, and in those who survive, damage can be permanent. West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes, making it an arbovirus — a type of virus transmitted by bugs. There is currently no vaccine, so controlling mosquitoes is the best way to prevent infection, said Ryan, the University of Florida professor.

“Prevention is really about protecting yourself,” she said. “So long sleeves, long pants, bug spray, and thinking about when mosquitoes are out.” Being outside around dusk may be nice, Ryan said, but that’s when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.

The CDC also tracked other arboviruses, including the tick-borne Powassan virus, which can infect the brain and lead to death. Last year, the CDC saw its first reported case of Powassan transmitted person-to-person through a blood transfusion, and the rare disease recently killed one New York resident.

The US also saw 86 cases of La Crosse viruslast year. The infection is spread by mosquitoes, according to the CDC, and can lead to inflammation of the brain, seizures and paralysis. Severe disease occurs most often in children, the agency says.

“More La Crosse virus disease cases were actually reported in the 2018 data than in any year since 2011, and it’s the most common cause of neuroinvasive arboviral disease in children,” said Ryan. “People who are scared about their kids getting nasty diseases should be thinking about La Crosse.”

“It may be increasing,” Ryan said, “or we may be improving detection of cases.”



Lekima downgraded from super typhoon as it approaches China

• • • • •

Residents in Taiwan and Japan are bracing for Typhoon Lekima, which could become a super typhoon by the time it hits a Japanese island chain on Thursday.

Currently barreling northwest across the Pacific, Lekima intensified Wednesday night with winds at 205 kilometers per hour (about 127 miles per hour), the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.

It is expected to strengthen into a super typhoon by Thursday night — potentially reaching winds of 240 kph (about 150 mph).

Japan’s southern Ryukyu Islands, which stretch north of Taiwan to the Japanese island of Kyushu, are expected to be hardest hit Thursday night. The chain of islands includes Okinawa, with a population of 1.4 million people.

The possibility of a super typhoon could mean a “serious natural disaster is possibly to take place,” said Mitsugu Noguchi of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Okinawa office.

The storm is expected to come closest to Taiwan Friday morning local time before moving toward the China coast, south of Shanghai, Saturday evening. By the time it hits China, it could still be equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 160 kph (about 100 mph), which could bring significant wind damage and flooding up the Chinese coast over the weekend.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued warnings for high waves, thunderstorms, storm surges and gales across the Ryukyu Islands. The warnings are a step up from alerts — but are not yet at the level of emergency warning, the highest advisory level.

The cities of Miyakojima and Ishigaki, both in the Ryukyu island chain, have issued an evacuation advisory — classified as level 4 among the 5 levels of evacuation orders. The two cities collectively are home to about 104,000 people.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureauissued sea and land warnings, asking residents to be prepared for strong winds and rain in five vulnerable areas — Keelung City, Yilan County, New Taipei City, Taipei City, and Hualien County. The Bureau also warned ships to Taiwan’s north and along the east coast to be “alert” to extreme weather.

Lekima is the fourth typhoon in the western Pacific this week — Typhoon Wipha brought intense gales and rain to China last weekend, Typhoon Francisco made landfall in Japan on Tuesday, and Typhoon Krosa is now forming slowly in the Pacific, expected to hit Japan sometime next week.

Asia last saw a super typhoon in September, when Super Typhoon Mangkhut wreaked havoc across China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Millions of residents were evacuated, and at least 54 people died.



Eat healthier, and you’ll help save the planet, report says

• • • • •

A climate change report published Thursday by United Nations scientists says that eating less meat and reducing food waste could slash global emissions and benefit our health and the environment.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published the report, says that humans affect about 70% of ice-free land on Earth, and the panel previously concluded that changing our diets could contribute 20% of the effort needed to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Food waste and meat consumption are big contributors to global warming, with food waste producing between 8% and 10% and livestock 14.5% of global emissions, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

This is partly because raising animals for food is resource-intensive, requiring the production of feed and fertilizers that result in greenhouse gases — not to mention the methane that comes from cows. It also requires land to be cleared for cattle.

While the report is largely geared toward policymakers, experts say there are things consumers can do to help curb the vicious cycle of climate change and land degradation.

“If the whole world, which continues to grow, eats more like us, the impacts are staggering, and the planet simply can’t withstand it,” Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and plant-based food and sustainability expert in Los Angeles, previously told CNN.

One study, published October in the journal Nature, found that as a result of population growth and the continued consumption of Western diets high in red meats and processed foods, the environmental effects of the food system could increase 50% to 90% by 2050, “reaching levels that are beyond the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity.”

Palmer, who was not involved in this research, said that “drastically reducing animal food intake and mostly eating plant foods is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet over your lifetime.”

Palmer explained that “legumes [or pulses], such as beans, lentils and peas are the most sustainable protein source on the planet. They require very small amounts of water to grow; they can grow in harsh, dry climates; they grow in poor nations, providing food security; and they act like a natural fertilizer, capturing nitrogen from the air and fixing it in the soil. Thus, there is less need for synthetic fertilizers. These are the types of protein sources we need to rely upon more often.”

“And all of us can collectively have an impact through the dietary choices we make every day,” writes Bergen, of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

According to the new report, 25% to 30% of all food produced is never eaten, but 821 million people worldwide are undernourished.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States and China, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme, a nonprofit working to reduce global waste. The organization’s head of food, Claire Kneller, said “the fact that more than 1 billion tonnes of food never gets consumed while 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry is a travesty.”

Less food waste means less land and resources needed for farming, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the report says.

And there are “knock-on carbon benefits” that come along with not having to transport, process, retail, package and refrigerate all this extra food, according to an emailed statement by Eugene Mohareb, a lecturer in sustainable urban systems at the University of Reading in the UK.

The agency says that “most people don’t realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities.”

It’s also important to read labels closely; confusion over “best if used by,” “sell by” and expiration dates is estimated to cause a fifth of consumer food waste, the agency says.



Change food production and stop abusing land, major climate report warns

• • • • •

Humans have damaged around a quarter of ice-free land on Earth, United Nations scientists warned in a major report Thursday, stressing that further degradation must be stopped to prevent catastrophic global warming.

The warning comes almost a year after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)concluded in a landmark report that we only have until 2030 to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the planet from reaching the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“We humans affect more than 70% of ice-free land, a quarter of this land is degraded. The way we produce food and what we eat contributes to the loss of natural ecosystems and declining biodiversity,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of the IPCC.

Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of droughts, flooding and heat waves, which can irreversibly destroy natural ecosystems and lead to food shortages.

Deforestation and agriculture also fuel global warming, by weakening land’s capacity to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases. “When land is degraded, it reduces the soils ability to take up carbon and this exacerbates climate change. In turn, climate change exacerbates land degradation in many different ways. Today 500 million people live in areas that experience desertification,” Masson-Delmotte said.

Scientists say that we must immediately change the way we manage land, produce food and eat less meatin order to halt the climate crisis.

Here are five key takeaways from the IPCC report:

Land the size of South America has been degraded

Human use takes up over 70% of the world’s ice-free land surface, according to the IPCC report.

They degrade the planet’s natural resources, with chemical fertilizers, deforestation and intensive farming. In the process, humans have damaged two billion hectares of land, the size of South America.

Land use, including agriculture and deforestation, produces almost a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

We need to stop wasting food and eat less meat

Both are big contributors to global warming — with food waste producing between 8-10% and livestock 14.5% of global emissions, according to WWF.

According to the report, 25-30% of all food produced is never eaten, while 821 million worldwide are undernourished.

If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter after the US and China, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a non-profit working to reduce global waste.

“The fact that more than one billion tonnes of food never gets consumed while one in nine people go to bed hungry is a travesty,” said Claire Kneller, head of food at WRAP.

“We will not tackle the impact of climate change if we do not fix our global food system,” she said.

We need to restore natural carbon sinks

Between 2007-2016, land removed 29% of total CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.

Peatlands — a type of wetlands — can hold carbon for centuries, but more intense droughts, floods and wildfires could trigger the release of carbon from the soil.

Climate change is threatening food security

“The food system is both a leading cause and a casualty of climate change,” according to Joao Campari, who leads WWF’s global food practice.

Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which destroy crops and critical farming infrastructure.

Campari told CNN the food system must “urgently” be reformed to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Food production uses 34% of land worldwide and contributes up to 75% of deforestation, he said.

Bioenergy is not the answer

In its report last year, the IPCC warned that keeping global temperatures at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels would require removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, using techniques such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS).

But in its latest report, the IPCC said that quickly rolling out this technology on a large scale “could greatly increase demand for land conversion.”

The world would have to convert 7.2 million square kilometers, 45% of the Earth’s cropland, into bioenergy crops to keep global temperatures at 1.5°C, according to the most energy-intensive scenario outlined in the 2018 IPCC report.

“It’s not possible, not at the rate they are proposing,” Ringler said, explaining that the conversion of this much land would lead to a huge spike in global food prices and drive insecurity.



A quarter of world’s population are living with extreme water stress

• • • • •

A quarter of the world’s population is living in regions of extremely high water stress — with “once unthinkable” water crisesbecoming common, researchers have said.

With the climate crisis biting, 17 countries — home to one in four people on the planet — are deemed to be “extremely high water-stressed,” meaning they are now consuming more than 80% of their available water every year, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has revealed in a report.

And the growing shortages are fueling the risk of conflict in such countries, concentrated in the Middle East and North Africa, the researchers say.

Qatar is ranked as the world’s most water-stressed country, followed by Israel and Lebanon, Iran and Jordan. In Africa, Libya and Eritrea are suffering the worst shortages.

“Twelve out of the 17, extremely high water stressed countries are in the Middle East and North Africa,” Reig told CNN. “The region is is naturally dry and arid. But the situation there is getting worse. There’s a number of reports and research pointing to the fact that water stress can exacerbate both migration and conflict, and that water is currently a source of growing tension and violence in the Middle East,” Reig said.

“Water stress is the biggest crisis no one is talking about. Its consequences are in plain sight in the form of food insecurity, conflict and migration, and financial instability.” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

Even in countries with low water stress overall, individual areas could still experience extreme water stress. The USA ranks 71st on WRI’s list, but the state of New Mexico is classed as experiencing extremely high stress levels.



Fires, floods (and even bugs) are challenging Russia’s stance on the climate crisis

• • • • •

Landing in Yakutsk, six time zones east of Moscow, the first thing you see and smell is thick, acrid smoke.

This is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth, and just one of the dozens of Russian cities choked by the wildfires that have been ravaging the Arctic this season at unprecedented levels.

“These past weeks it’s been impossible to breathe, the smoke is coming from the woods all around us, so we were all warned to stay inside,” said Murtaz, a local taxi driver, as he drove past a lookout point of the smog-filled city. “But the bugs are the worst — literally hundreds of them are fleeing the fire and swarming all over you.”

Alaska and Canada have also been affected by wildfires. But in Russia the smoke from thousands of kilometers of burning forest has spread over almost half of the country and even reached the west coast of the United States.

Fires in Siberian taiga forests happen annually, but they now have global implications. In the last three years alone, the area affected by forest fires has tripled, spewing megatons of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, according to official Russian estimates.

So as Siberia heats up, it has potential to accelerate global warming. But the Russian response has been slow. Authorities here at first decided not to put the fires out unless they pose a direct threat to settlements as it would be “economically unsound.” In other words, local budgets were too constrained.

Complicating matters is the extraordinary logistical burden of working in the vast, undeveloped expanses of eastern Russia. Getting to hard-to-reach forest fires requires a lot of people, aircraft and fuel. But forest fires are only one part of the cascading effects of climate change. Rising global temperatures, scientists say, are tied to deforestation. Timber is a major Russian export, particularly to resource-hungry China.

But as loggers move in, environmental activists say their clearcutting allows vital topsoil to wash away, weakening the ability of the earth to hold extra moisture — and making the region vulnerable to flooding.

Northern parts of the Irkutsk region were hit by wildfires before its southern areas could recover from deadly floods which took 25 lives and displaced over 30,000 people this June.

The area hasn’t experienced floods this strong in years, and is not used to having them this time of the year either. Researchers at Irkutsk State University said the flooding was caused by “anomalous atmospheric processes taking place amid global and regional climate change,” warning that Siberia is bound to experience even more weather extremes in the future.

While the surface of eastern Russia is on fire and flooding, its foundation is literally melting away. Two thirds of the country sit on permafrost, which is degrading rapidly, puncturing places like the Yakutia region with giant sinkholes.

Global climate change is often imperceptible. But at the Batagai sinkhole, you can witness the effects in near-real time.

What sounds like heavy rain from afar is in fact water streaming down the walls of a giant black glacier. This is the sound of melting permafrost. Cracking is audible as ice and frozen earth break loose and falling hundreds of meters from the edges of the crater.

“At first we thought that some meteorite fell here but turns out it was all human factor,” says local resident Erel Struchkov. “It used to be a logging area, then people made a little pathway, which turned into a little creek and then, bit by bit, it grew into this massive thing.”

“This is massive social issue,” said Alexander Fedorov, the lead scientist at Yakutsk Permafrost Institute. “The infrastructure — buildings, gas lines, water pipes, railroads, roads — is decaying which comes at a big cost.”

And that’s where the forest fires are also raising alarms. According to Fedorov, areas where the permafrost sits under trees — both untouched — are much less prone to degradation.

For now, the Russian government is tentatively acknowledging the effects of climate change. Putin paid a visit to Irkutsk flood victims on his way to the G20 summit in Osaka in June, where he delivered a message about climate change.

“I want to remind you that in Russia we are warming 2.5 times faster than the rest of the planet. This is a serious challenge to us. We must understand this,” Putin said. “Hence the floods and the melting of permafrost in areas where we have big settlements. We need to understand how to respond to the climate change happening there.”

“We need to lessen the human impact. When climate change meets human factor, the effect is colossal,” Fedorov said. “If we don’t cut down the forests, if we don’t cause fires the permafrost can be more stable… The point of no return is almost here, we are at a critical point already when it comes to permafrost.”



Scientist who called out Bolsonaro on Amazon deforestation is fired

• • • • •

Brazil has fired the head of a government agency that found a steep rise in deforestation in the Amazon, following a public spat with far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Ricardo Galvão, the director of Brazil’s National Space and Research Institute (INPE), said he was terminated on Friday after defending satellite data that showeddeforestation was 88% higher in June compared to a year ago.

The scientist butted heads with Bolsonaro after the damning satellite data was released earlier in June, turning the international spotlight on the President’s controversial plans to open up the world’s largest rainforest to industry.

Bolsonaro called the INPE’s findings “lies” and said they were harmful for trade negotiations, according to Agencia Brasil.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, took office in January on the heels of a campaign pledging to restore the country’s economy by exploring the Amazon’s economic potential. Brazil is home to two-thirds of the Amazon, and during the first few months of Bolsonaro’s presidency, the rate of rainforest destruction remained stable, according to the INPE. But it began to soar in May and June, the agencysaid.

Some 769.1 square kilometers were lost in June, six months after Bolsonaro took power — a stark increase from the 488.4 square kilometers lost in the same month the previous year, according to the INPE. It equates to an area larger than one and a half soccer fields, being destroyed every minute of every day.



Greenland’s ice sheet just lost 11 billion tons of ice — in one day

• • • • •

After months of record temperatures, scientists say Greenland’s ice sheet experienced its biggest melt of the summer on Thursday, losing 11 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean — equivalent to 4.4 million Olympic swimming pools.

Greenland’s ice sheet usually melts during the summer, but the melt season typically begins around the end of May; this year it began at the start. It has been melting “persistently” over the past four months, which have recorded all time temperature highs, according to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with Danish Meteorological Institute.

This July alone, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice — the equivalent of around 80 million Olympic swimming pools — according to Mottram. She told CNN the expected average would be between 60-70 billion tons at this time of year.

The weather conditions that brought a heat wave to Europe last week have reached the Arctic, where scientists say they could trigger one of Greenland’s biggest ice melts since 1950, when reliable records began.

Scientists recorded unconfirmed temperatures of 2.7C at 3,000 meters above sea level on Thursday, which would be close to a new record if confirmed.

It came on the same day as meteorologists reported that globally, this July has been as hot as any month in recorded history.

Global average temperatures for July are on par with, and possibly higher, than those of the current record holder, July 2016, according to preliminary data for July 1-29 released by the Copernicus Climate Change Programme, which analyzes temperature data from around the planet. The final data will be released Monday.

Greenland’s ice sheet is the second biggest in the world and this season’s ice melt has already contributed around half a millimeter to global sea levels.

Since the start of June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), has tracked more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at a faster rate than the global average, providing the right conditions for wildfires to spread, Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECWMF), told CNN last week.



A British town is at risk of being submerged by a collapsing dam

• • • • •

A damaged reservoir in northern England is threatening to collapse and submerge the town of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire, prompting authorities to evacuate hundreds of homes in an emergency operation.

The army, environmental agencies and firefighters from across the country are part of a task force battling to shore up the crumbling wall of Toddbrook reservoir — which suffered extensive damage during flooding this week, Derbyshire police said in a statement.

More than 6,000 people were evacuated from the town following the partial collapse of a dam wall, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) said in a statement Thursday.

Police describe it an “unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.” On Thursday, officers called for the evacuation of the town’s residents after images appeared showing a huge hole in the dam wall, the UK’s Press Association (PA) agency reported.

Local resident Marella Cairns, who lives below the dam, told CNN she was turned back while trying to drive back to Whaley Bridge on Thursday.

“Fortunately, my son’s girlfriend had been working nights, and was asleep at our house, and was still there. I asked her to grab the dogs, my medication and my knitting and to meet me at the evacuation center, which is the local high school,” she said.

On Thursday, the Environment Agency issued a “danger to life” warning covering the River Goyt.

A resident told PA that another section of the dam’s spillway also collapsed on Thursday.

“I’ve lived in Whaley (Bridge) for the best part of 45 years, and I’ve never seen water flood over the dam like that, ever, nor thought that we could possibly be at risk in this way,” Carolyn Whittle told PA.

In a statement Friday, the NFCC said “it is currently anticipated that the incident will run for at least 2 to 3 days.”

But it is still unknown when residents will be allowed back to their homes.

Scientists say that while it’s impossible to attribute a concrete weather event to climate change, the climate crisis is making episodes like this more likely.



Strong earthquake strikes west coast of Indonesia

• • • • •

A strong earthquake has struck the west coast of Indonesia Friday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The USGS said the 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck just after 8 a.m. ET. It said the epicenter was in the Sunda Strait, 65 miles from the city of Tugu Hilir in the province of Banten, on the island of Java.

The shaking was felt in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, 240 miles from the epicenter, prompting people to run out of their homes. The earthquake lasted around 40 seconds. The Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency issued a small tsunami warning for four areas. The agency said there was no change in the sea water level in the 40 minutes following the earthquake.

The quake also caused some blackouts, plunging some of the affected areas into darkness.

The Indonesian National Board for Disaster said it was working with local authorities to evacuate people living on the coastline. The board told people in the affected areas to evacuate to higher places.



An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week. Here’s why you shouldn’t be worried

• • • • •

Yes, there’s an asteroid bigger than the Empire State building passing by Earth. No, it’s not anything to worry about — it’s actually pretty normal.

Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is scheduled to zoom by Earth on August 10 and, at an estimated diameter of up to 1,870 feet, it’s easy to see why people are worried.

Asteroids around this size pass by Earth about a half dozen times a year, Johnson said. Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is less than a mile long, but the biggest known asteroid that orbits our sun is about 21 miles long, though asteroids of that size are rare.

NASA’s Near Earth Object Observations Program, of which both Johnson and Fast are a part, has cataloged nearly 900 asteroids around Earth that have a diameter of more than 1 kilometer, or about 3,281 feet.

As asteroids decrease in size, they become more frequent, but our atmosphere typically burns the smaller ones out. That doesn’t mean they can’t do some damage, though. In 2013, a meteor 55-feet in diameter broke through the Earth’s atmosphere over Russia. Though there wasn’t an impact, the blast still injured more than 1,000 people. If something the size of Asteroid 2006 QQ23 hit Earth, it could devastate a statewide area.

Fast said the team hasn’t found anything so far that has a significant chance of hitting Earth, but there may be asteroids in the system that the team hasn’t found and cataloged yet.

“It’s the ones we don’t know about that we’re concerned about,” she said. ”



We now know the cause of New York’s massive blackout

• • • • •

A “flawed connection” between key pieces of equipment at a New York City electrical substation caused the July 13 power outage that plunged parts of the city that never sleeps into darkness, Con Edison said Monday.

The blackout lasted from 6:47 that Saturday evening until shortly after midnight, officials said. At its height, 72,000 customers were in the dark, mainly in midtown Manhattan and parts of the Upper West Side, Con Ed said. No injuries or hospitalizations were reported.

In electrical systems, a relay detects abnormal conditions and instantly sends signals to circuit breakers to open and isolate the problem, Con Ed explained.

Eight days after the Manhattan blackout, more than 50,000 customers, mostly in Brooklyn, faced a second power outage due to high usage during a stifling heat wave, Con Ed said at the time.

Speaking at that time from an emergency management command post, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Brooklyn outage should have been “preventable” since it was caused by “obviously a predictable situation.”

De Blasio had tweeted his complaints when the preliminary report on the Manhattan blackout was released: “I’m troubled that one of the few factors they initially ruled out, the 13,000 volt cable, has been determined to be the catalyst of the outage.”

The New York City grid, which is one of the “most complex and technologically advanced in the world,” contains multiple layers of redundancy to protect customers, Con Ed stated.

“Bottom line: this should not have happened and we’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” de Blasio said: “The city that never sleeps can’t be left in the dark.”



Greenland is melting in a heatwave. That’s everyone’s problem

• • • • •

Extreme heat bowled over Europe last week, smashing records in its wake. Now, the heatwave that started in the Sahara has rolled into Greenland — where more records are expected to crumble in the coming days.

That means the heatwave is now Greenland’s problem, right? Not quite. When records fall in Greenland, it’s everyone’s problem.

Greenland is home to the world’s second-largest ice sheet. And when it melts significantly — as it is expected to do this year — there are knock-on effects for sea levels and weather across the globe.

Greenland’s ice sheet usually melts during the summer. This year, it started melting earlier, in May, and this week’s heatwave is expected to accelerate the melt.

Now 2019 could come close to the record-setting year of 2012, said Jason Box, professor and ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. During that “melty year,” he said, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 450 million metric tons — the equivalent of more than 14,000 tons of ice lost per second.

What happens in Greenland will be felt across the world.

Box said that this year’s melt is flooding the North Atlantic with freshwater, which could affect the weather in northwestern Europe. The result could be stronger storms, he added, citing flooding in the UK in 2015 and 2016.

Extreme is the new norm

One of the most remarkable things about the 2019 heatwave is not just the number of records it broke across Europe — but the margin by which it did so, she said.

“Normally when you get a temperature record broken, it’s by a fraction of a degree,” said Nullis. “What we saw yesterday was records being broken by two, three, four degrees — it was absolutely incredible.”



At least 17 dead after Pakistan military plane crashes into major city

• • • • •

At least 17 are dead after a Pakistani army plane crashed into a residential area in the major city of Rawalpindi early Tuesday morning, the country’s military said in a statement.

Locals reported hearing a loud explosion at about 2 a.m. after seeing a plane flying unusually low over the city.

“It was very, very low, unlike the planes that usually fly over the area,” said restaurant worker Irfan Zareen. “Suddenly, the plane started doing somersaults in the air and abruptly crashed.”

The plane came down in a suburb of Rawalpindi, between Bahria Town and the Defense Housing Authority, which is populated by working-class villages. Zareen said a number of houses were either damaged or destroyed.

“Perhaps the pilot had thought that was empty ground and attempted to land there,” she said.

According to the military’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) news agency, 12 of those killed were on the ground when the plane hit. The other five dead were crew members. Another two people have been reported injured.  



Bangladesh hit by worst dengue outbreak on record

• • • • •

More than 1,000 people in Bangladesh, the majority of whom are children, have been diagnosed with dengue in the last 24 hours, amid the country’s worst outbreak on record, a senior health ministry official said Tuesday.

Eight people have died since January and more than 13,600 patients have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever so far this year, with 8,348 cases, or more than half, coming in the month of July — a sharp increase from the 1,820 cases in June and 184 cases in May this year, according to official figures.

“Since we started keeping record of dengue cases, which is from 2000, this is the worst dengue outbreak we have seen in Bangladesh,” said Ayesha Akhter, assistant director at the Directorate General of Health Services told CNN.

More than 50 districts across the country have been affected, but the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka — home to more than 20 million people — is the worst-hit city in the country, said Akhter, with some hospitals struggling to find space for patients.

A viral infection, dengue causes flu-like symptoms, including piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and full body rashes. Of the millions of people infected with dengue every year worldwide, an estimated 500,000 develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, and of those some 12,500 people die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

The sting of climate change

The outbreak in Bangladesh comes as countries across the Asia are grappling with an alarming spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue and malaria with the latter raising fears of a “potential global health emergency.”

Multi-drug-resistant strains of malaria had evolved and are spreading across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, two studies published earlier this month on the Lancetfound. Researchers say these strains have rendered a widely used drug, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ), ineffective leading to high rates of treatment failures.

Meanwhile, the Philippines declared a national dengue alert this month after a spike in cases this year. Around 100,000 dengue cases were reported across the country in the first six months of 2019, and increased of 85% on the same period last year.

While dengue is most common in tropical and sub-tropical climates such as Bangladesh, India and Brazil, fears are growing it could spread to parts of the world not typically affected by the fast-growing disease including the southern United States, inland Australia and coastal areas of China and Japan.

A recent study found that rising global temperatures caused by the climate crisis could see the female aedes aegypti mosquito which carries dengue — along with other diseases such as chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika — migrate to those parts of the world.



Two hurricanes, one a Category 4, are moving toward Hawaii

• • • • •

Erick has grown in strength from a tropical storm to a hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is not expected to make landfall but parts of Hawaii could see increased wind gusts and rain as Erick slides just south of the Big Island Thursday.

Hurricane Erick could whip sea waters up to anywhere between 7 and 16 feet by Thursday night, according to a marine forecast from the National Weather Service released Monday.

High winds are a big part of the storm, with expected sustained gusts to reach 110 mph — that’s only one mile below a Category 3 hurricane CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink said.

Hurricane Erick is the fifth storm to make its way into the eastern Pacific Ocean so far this season. The Category 1 storm had reached sustained winds of 75 mph as of 5 p.m. Monday local time (11 p.m. ET), according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Flossie is not far behind Erick, building strength further east before it’s expected to follow a similar track south of Hawaii.

As both storms strengthen, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it will monitor them via radar.

NOAA says it anticipates Flossie will become a hurricane by Tuesday while Hurricane Erick should exit Hawaiian waters by Saturday.



40,000 liters of oil have spilled into the sea off a remote island in Chile’s pristine Patagonia

• • • • •

The Chilean Navy has been deployed after 40,000 liters of diesel were spilled into the sea near a remote island on the country’s southern coast.

The oil spill occurred on Saturday off Guarello Island on the Chilean side of Patagonia, the pristine southernmost region making up the tip of both Argentina and Chile.

Chilean mining company CAP, which mines on the island, reported the incident to the navy.

The cause of the spill was not immediately clear, and the Chilean Navy has launched an investigation.

Greenpeace Chile warned that the spill could have “devastating” environmental consequences. In a statement on Monday, the organization’s national director, Matías Asun, said: “It’s an extremely grave situation considering the pristine nature of the waters in which this environmental emergency has occurred. It must be considered that the zone is extremely difficult to access and that it is an area of great richness of marine mammals, like whales and dolphins, which could see themselves seriously affected in their habitat given that when coming to the surface to breathe they could meet this layer of oil.”

CAP said it would collaborate in the probe. In a statement reported by Reuters, it said it had initiated “a process of permanent monitoring in the area”, in addition to its standard control and mitigation measures.

Guarello Island, in the Magallanes region, has large reserves of limestone and is used by CAP as a mining base. The surrounding areas of Patagonia are home to a diverse range of ecosystems with rare flora as well as endangered species.



200 reindeer died on an Arctic Island — and researchers think climate change is to blame

• • • • •

More than 200 reindeer have been found dead this summer in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard — and climate change appears to be the killer, researchers say.

The reindeer likely starved to death after being unable to find food to graze on, according to scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), a federal scientific research agency that monitors the wild reindeer population.

“Never before have (researchers) seen so many cadavers at once,” Norway’s public broadcaster NRK said.

“Svalbard is among the areas that most clearly notices climate change, which has consequences for the animals living here,” NPIstated.

Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost town and the capital of Svalbard, is probably warming faster than any other town on Earth, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

That’s because of accelerated Arctic warming — rising temperatures reduce ice and snow cover, which means less sunlight is reflected and more solar energy is absorbed, restarting the cycle.

Reindeer aren’t the only Arctic animals suffering the effects of climate change in Norway. When sea ice melts, polar bears isolated on ice floes similarly risk starvation.

The relatively large number of calves born last year exacerbated the problem. The youngest and weakest animals are often the first to die in harsh conditions like these, according to the Institute.

Starving reindeer are now a common sight,” Kim Holmen, international director of the NPI, told CNN earlier this year.

Svalbard is also known as the location of the Global Seed Vault, where hundreds of thousands of varieties of seeds are preserved in a facility dug into a mountain to safeguard the world’s plants from disaster.



Eight killed after earthquakes hit Philippines

• • • • •

Seven people were killed after back-to-back earthquakes struck the northern Philippines Saturday morning, according to CNN Philippines, citing a disaster official.

A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the Batanes archipelago, the US Geological Survey reported.

About 20 minutes later, a second quake hit the same area near Itbayat at a magnitude of 4.5.

Photos from the Philippine Red Cross showed damage to homes.



Hordes of grasshoppers have invaded Las Vegas

• • • • •

Massive swarms of grasshoppers have descended upon Las Vegas this week, and it’s startling some residents.

“It appears through history that when we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often down below Laughlin and even into Arizona,” Jeff Knight, state entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, said Thursday. “We’ll have flights about this time of the year, migrations, and they’ll move northward.”

Nevada has seen more rain than usual this year. The state has averaged 9.94 inches of rain from January through June, nearly double the average of 5.92 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It’s the third-wettest January to June on record for the state. It’s not the first time these flocks of flying insects have swarmed Sin City before.

“We have records clear from the ’60s of it happening, and I have seen it … at least four or five times in my 30-plus years,” Knight said. “There are some special weather conditions that trigger the migration.”

The bugs are attracted to lights, specifically ultraviolet lights, Knight said. Bright white lights are their common hangout place.



As the planet heats up, AC will cool you down. But the cost may be too high.

• • • • •

For many in Europe, that has been no easy task, as a scorching heat wave set record temperatures in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands in recent days.

Cities aren’t designed to cope

The reason? Many European cities, including London, are not designed to deal with this sort of heat. Air conditioning (AC) is uncommon in homes across Europe, which has historically had a temperate climate, nor is it widespread on public transportation systems.

Less than 5% of all European households are air-conditioned, compared with more than 90% in the United States, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). But analysis by the same agency suggests that will change rapidly over the next three decades, with air conditioning set to become one of the top drivers of global electricity demand.

And while that shift will benefit the wellbeing and productivity of many around the world, it will bring its own problems: AC units guzzle electricity and vent hot air, making the outside temperature even higher, and, worse still, refrigerants used in the units contribute to global warming.

With an estimated 1.6 billion electric air conditioning units around the world — a number expected to triple by 2050 — cooling technology could release enough greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to Rocky Mountain Institute.

That rapid growth, and its potential to wreak havoc with our environment, is why scientists, architects and urban planners are scrambling to develop other ways to cool buildings, streets and people.

Creating more parks, green roofs and vertical gardens is one way to bring some relief. According to the UK House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, the surface temperature in an urban green space can be 15 to 20 degrees Celsius lower than that of the surrounding streets, which makes the air temperature 2 to 8 degrees cooler.

Bioclimatic architecture, which employs these energy-saving techniques and could make AC units redundant, is nothing new. Before the 20th century, the technique was the norm and is still visible today in vernacular buildings from Spanish farmhouses to traditional Chinese village homes.

Many of these changes will take place in some of the world’s least developed countries, which also happen to be among the hottest. Nearly 2.8 billion people live in countries where the daily average temperature is more than 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), but less than 10% own an AC unit (that’s projected to be 75% by 2050). These are also people who are being hit hardest by the effects of climate change.

“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

The UN also warned that simply slowing down the rise in temperatures, as outlined by the 2015 Paris Agreement, won’t be enough to save the millions who are already suffering.



Tour de France Stage 19 stopped because of adverse weather

• • • • •

Stage 19 of the Tour de France has been called because of adverse weather conditions, it was announced Friday.

Horrendous weather rendered parts of the course impassable as hail covered the road in ice. Not only that, but there also appeared to be a landslide, as mud and rocks covered part of road. Aerials from the television broadcast showed a snow plow churning through snow and water on the road.



UK weather heats up as Europe smashes records

• • • • •

Paris keeps getting hotter

Temperatures in Paris have now topped 42.6 Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit), Météo-France has confirmed.

The French meteorological service warned that it could still get even hotter in the city.

Germany sets all-time high for second day in a row

The northwestern town of Lingen, in Lower Saxony, has experienced a high of 41.9 Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the German Weather Service.

The new high overtakes yesterday’s record of 40.5 Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit), which was measured in western Germany.

Yesterday’s record was set in the German town of Geilenkirchen, according to the national forecasting center, which warned that the coming days would be even warmer.

Britons sweat on hottest-ever July day

Britons are braving the hottest July day the country has ever seen.

Temperatures rose to 36.9 Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday in Heathrow, London, home to the country’s busiest airport.

The Met Office, the national weather service, said the UK could still see an all-time record if temperatures climb further.

The Netherlands breaks all-time temperature record in less than 24 hours

Have some sympathy for those struggling in the heat in the Netherlands today because the country just broke its temperature record for the second time in two days.

Dutch residents were treated to a sweltering 39.3 C (102.7 F) on Wednesday, breaking a 75-year record, according to the national weather forecasting institute.

That record was surpassed less than day later when a Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute station in Deelen measured a new high of 40 C (104 F) on Thursday at 1:55 p.m. (7:55 a.m. ET). Since then, temperatures have continued to rise — it is now 41.7 C.

The hottest summers in Europe have all happened in the last 20 years

Heat waves are becoming increasingly more common — thanks to the climate crisis.

“Heat waves are on the rise,” Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chairman of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and professor at Potsdam University in Germany, said in a statement.

Rahmstorf connected recent heat waves to climate change by comparing them with 500 years of records.

“The hottest summers in Europe since the year 1500 AD all occurred since the last turn of the century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002,” Rahmstorf said.

Heat waves are some of the most direct manifestations of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Europe is certainly not the only place feeling the heat.

“Our bodies are not adapted” to this heat, French PM says

During the record 2003 European heat wave, more than 14,000 people died in France alone.

How heat waves can kill — and how to stay safe

While dehydration is a common concern as it gets warmer, the most dangerous consequence of high temperatures is heat stroke — which can cause confusion, dizziness, fainting, seizures and even death, in extreme cases.

The condition, known as hyperthermia or heat illness, hits when your body temperature rises above 104°F (40C). Usually, we can cool ourselves off by sweating, but that becomes ineffective as humidity rises above 75%. Our bodies can only let off heat when the outside environment is cooler than our internal body temperature of 98.6°F.

Left untreated, extreme heat stroke can trigger a dangerously fast heart rate and cause bodily enzymes to stop functioning. Ultimately, multi-organ system failure and death can occur.

A new normal

While temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit might not seem high to hotter regions, they are way above seasonal averages for much of Europe.

Many European cities are not designed to deal with the triple-digit temperatures slashing records across the continent this week.

Air conditioning is not particularly common in public buildings and homes across temperate Europe, nor is it widespread on transportation systems. Fewer than 5% of all European households have been air-conditioned, according to a 2017 report.

France’s meteorological body Météo-France echoed this link in June — and warned that the number of extreme heat waves is expected to double by 2050.

It’s not just heat waves, and it’s not just Europe.

Countries around the world are experiencing extreme weather catastrophes that threaten to render entire regions unliveable — India is swinging between extreme drought and fatal flooding, 157 million Americans were gripped by a stifling heat wave last week, and the Arctic is facing “unprecedented’ wildfires.



Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months

• • • • •

Do you remember the good old days when we had “12 years to save the planet”?

Now it seems, there’s a growing consensus that the next 18 months will be critical in dealing with the global heating crisis, among other environmental challenges.

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030.

But today, observers recognise that the decisive, political steps to enable the cuts in carbon to take place will have to happen before the end of next year.

“The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and now director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute.

So why are the next 18 months so important?

Ever since a global climate agreement was signed in Paris in December 2015, negotiators have been consumed with arguing about the rulebook for the pact.

One of the understated headlines in last year’s IPCC report was that global emissions of carbon dioxide must peak by 2020 to keep the planet below 1.5C.

Current plans are nowhere near strong enough to keep temperatures below the so-called safe limit. Right now, we are heading towards 3C of heating by 2100 not 1.5.

Whether it’s the evidence of heatwaves, or the influence of Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg, or the rise of Extinction Rebellion, there has been a marked change in public interest in stories about climate change and a hunger for solutions that people can put in place in their own lives.

People are demanding significant action, and politicians in many countries have woken up to these changes.

“All at once we are witness to a collective convergence of public mobilisation, worsening climatic impacts and dire scientific warnings that compel decisive climate leadership.”

“Without question, 2020 is a hard deadline for that leadership to finally manifest itself.”

Right now a number of countries seem keen to slow down progress. Last December the US, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Russia blocked the IPCC special report on 1.5C from UN talks.

While the decisions taken on climate change in the next year or so will be critical, there are a number of other key gatherings on the environment that will shape the nature on preserving species and protecting our oceans in the coming decades.

Earlier this year a major study on the losses being felt across the natural world as result of broader human impacts caused a huge stir among governments.

The IPBES report showed that up to one million species could be lost in coming decades.



‘Unprecedented’ wildfires ravage the Arctic

• • • • •

More than 100 intense wildfires have ravaged the Arctic since June, with scientists describing the blazes as “unprecedented.”

New satellite images show huge clouds of smoke billowing across uninhabited land in Greenland, Siberia and parts of Alaska.

Since the start of June, Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which provides data about atmospheric composition and emissions, has tracked more than 100 intense wildfires in the Arctic Circle.

Pierre Markuse, a satellite photography expert, said the region has experienced fires in the past, but never this many.

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at a faster rate than the global average, providing the right conditions for wildfires to spread, according to Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at CAMS.

“The number and intensity of wildfires in the Arctic Circle is unusual and unprecedented,” Parrington told CNN.

The average June temperature in Siberia, where the fires are raging, was almost 10 degrees higher than the long-term average between 1981–2010, Dr Claudia Volosciuk, a scientist with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told CNN.

The fires themselves contribute to the climate crisis by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They emitted an estimated 100 megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere between 1 June and 21 July, almost the equivalent of Belgium’s carbon output in 2017, according to CAMS.

“When particles of smoke land on snow and ice, [they] cause the ice to absorb sunlight that it would otherwise reflect, and thereby accelerate the warming in the Arctic,” she said.



Decaying tanker near Yemeni coast threatens ‘catastrophic explosion’

• • • • •

An abandoned tanker loaded with oil is threatening a major environmental disaster near the coast of Yemen, the United Nations has said, amid expert warnings of a “catastrophic” explosion.

The decaying SAFER FSO tanker contains an estimated 1.1 million barrels of oil and has been moored and left without maintenance near the Yemeni port of Ras Isa for several years, according to the UN. The tanker has been stranded since 2015 and could be extremely dangerous.

“Because the engines haven’t been running, the inert gases that are pumped into the storage tanks to stop the build-up of explosive gases from the stored oil haven’t been topped up, which is why there are worries about a catastrophic explosion,” Doug Weir, research and policy director at the UK-based Conflict and Environment Observatory, told CNN.

Lowcock has said that depending on the time of year and water currents, a spill from the tanker could reach from Bab el Mandeb to the Suez Canal — and potentially as far as the Strait of Hormuz.

“I leave it to you to imagine the effect of such a disaster on the environment, shipping lanes and the global economy,” he said in a speechto the Security Council.



Drug-resistant malaria is spreading across Southeast Asia, study warns

• • • • •

Drug-resistant strains of malaria are spreading across Southeast Asia, raising fears of a “potential global health emergency,” two new studies have found.

The reports were published Monday in The Lancet, warning that a multi-drug-resistant strain had evolved and was spreading across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

The new findings come as countries and health experts struggle to fight the parasitic disease. There have been some successes — Algeria and Argentina were declared malaria-free in May — but in other places, cases have been rising significantly.

The evolution of the resistant strains in Southeast Asia has had “disastrous consequences,” researchers said — they have rendered a widely-used drug essentially ineffective, leading to treatment failures at “alarmingly high rates.”

The original strain of resistant malaria first spread across western Cambodia in 2008. Since then, it has evolved and mutated into several new subgroups of resistant parasites, said the studies, which were conducted by several institutes including the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Oxford.

The speed at which the subgroups have spread to neighboring countries suggest “enhanced fitness” and “an increased survival advantage,” said the researchers, who urged countries to stop using DHA-PPQ.

This highly successful resistant parasite strain is capable of invading new territories and acquiring new genetic properties, raising the terrifying prospect that it could spread to Africa where most malaria cases occur, as resistance to chloroquine did in the 1980s, contributing to millions of deaths,” said Olivo Miotto, a researcher from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, in the statement.

Malaria, which is transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes, is both preventable and treatable — yet an estimated 435,000 people die of it each year.

Between 2000 and 2015, there was a 62% reduction in malaria deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and a 41% reduction in the number of cases. However, more recent data suggests that malaria is making a comeback: a 2018 WHO report found malaria cases had risen significantly in 13 countries, and an increase of 2 million cases globally between 2016 and 2017.

“It’s a difficult disease to deal with. The tools we have are modestly effective, but drugs and insecticides wear out; after 10, 20 years, mosquitoes become resistant,” Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, told CNN earlier this year.

“There’s a real concern that in 2020s, (cases) are going to jump back up again,” he added.



Massachusetts police ask residents to refrain from crime until after the heat wave passes

• • • • •

It’s dangerously hot across much of the country this weekend — so hot, in fact, that police in Braintree, Massachusetts, are imploring would-be criminals to hold off on illegal activity until Monday.

The heat is criminal enough. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for parts of the eastern United States, including Braintree in eastern Massachusetts.

While temperatures in the area could reach 102 degrees, it’ll likely feel even worse: The heat index, or the more accurate temperature your body feels when air temperature and humidity are both factored in, could be as high as 115 degrees, the weather service said.

That’s simply too hot for lawbreaking, Braintree police said.

Heat waves are no joke. This weekend’s extreme temperatures are set to impact more than 150 million people.



Dangerous heat wave brings misery to 195 million from New Mexico to Maine

• • • • •

Peak temperatures from a potentially deadly heat wave are expected to begin Friday, and major US cities are taking special measures to prepare — with New York City declaring an emergency.

Over the next few days, more than 85% of the lower 48’s population will see temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said, and more than half will see temperatures higher than 95 degrees.

About 185 million people are under a heat watch, warning or advisory as of Friday morning.

The heat has the potential to break records and turn deadly as temperatures climb over the weekend all along the East Coast and through the Midwest.

Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington will be under excessive heat warnings on Friday. Further south, Raleigh is under a heat advisory.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared “a local emergency due to the extreme heat” in New York City. In an executive order that covers 9 a.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the mayor is ordering buildings 100 feet or taller to raise thermostats to 78 degrees in an effort to conserve energy.

“We are about to enter a heat emergency, and must do all we can to keep New Yorkers safe,” said de Blasio. “The city government is limiting its energy use to reduce strain on the electrical grid, and now private office buildings will also have to do their part.”

Detroit is taking extra measures to make sure residents can get relief from the sweltering heat that is also expected in the Midwest.

In addition to cooling centers open on the weekdays, the city will open recreation centers on the weekend to give access to air-conditioning, according to a press release.

As cities all over the region — such as Cleveland, Minneapolis, Chicago, Omaha and Detroit — face heat warnings or advisories, Detroit officials are urging residents to drink plenty of water, reduce outdoor activities, eat light and check on family and neighbors.

June of this year was the hottest June on record for the world, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It isn’t clear yet how July will fair in terms of breaking records, but temperatures for this week are high.

Experts say the heat wave is only made worse by the ongoing threat of climate change. According to last year’s National Climate Assessment, the number of hot days in the US is increasing.

Heat waves have also increased in frequency, rising from an average of two per year to six per year in the last five decades. The threat is especially pronounced in the Northeast, where “the frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves is expected to increase” due to the climate crisis.

By 2050, the Northeast can expect approximately 650 more deaths each year because of extreme heat, the assessment found.



Strong earthquake shakes Greek capital Athens

• • • • •

A strong earthquake shook the Greek capital Athens on Friday, sending people rushing out of buildings and into the street.

The 5.1 magnitude tremor struck 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of the capital, according to the Athens Institute of Geodynamics.

The Institute said there had been seven aftershocks, with the largest measuring 3.1.

Greece is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in Europe due to its fault lines. The country is situated at a convergence point where three massive plates of the earth’s crust — Eurasian, Arabic and African — grind together.

In July 2017, a 6.7-magnitude quake rocked the Kos, killing two people, injuring scores and causing extensive damage to the island’s historic buildings.

A major earthquake measuring 5.9 hit Greece in 1999, leaving 143 people dead.



What happens when parts of South Asia become unlivable? The climate crisis is already displacing millions

• • • • •

Almost six million people are under threat from rising flood waters across South Asia, where hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced as a result of heavy monsoon rains.

The flooding comes as India was still reeling from a weeks-long water crisis amid heavy droughts and heatwaves across the country which killed at least 137 people. Experts said the country has five years to address severe water shortages, caused by steadily depleting groundwater supplies, or over 100 million people will left be without ready access to water.

In Afghanistan, drought has devastated traditional farming areas, forcing millions of people to move or face starvation, while in Bangladesh, heavy monsoon flooding has marooned entire communities and cut-off vital roads. Especially at risk are the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in fragile, makeshift camps along the country’s border with Myanmar.

This is the sharp edge of the climate crisis. What seems an urgent but still future problem for many developed countries is already killing people in parts of Asia, and a new refugee crisis, far worse than that which has hit Europe in recent years, is brewing.

Agriculture in South Asia has depended on the annual monsoon for centuries. If the rains arrive late, as they did this year, they can cause widespread drought and water shortages. Since the late 19th century, scientists and government agencies have sought to model and predict when the monsoon will come, a vital task in apportioning relief and assistance to the two billion or so people who depend on the monsoon for sustenance.

Climate change is making this task increasingly difficult, however. According to a study in the journal Nature, the warming of the Indian Ocean, the increasing frequency of the El Niño weather phenomenon, air pollution and changing land use across the subcontinent has led to steadily decreasing rainfall, increasing the variability of the monsoon and making it harder to accurately model.

Cruelly, as the overall amount of rain has decreased, leading to drought, the frequency of extreme rainfall, causing flooding and landslides, has actually gone up, the Nature study found.

Researchers said there had been a threefold increase in “widespread extreme rain events” over central India between 1950 and 2015, which brought with them a potentially “catastrophic impact on life, agriculture and property.”

A combination of rising temperatures and more severe droughts and flooding is raising the very real question whether parts of India could soon be unlivable for humans. And its not just India, scientists predict extreme heatwaves that can kill even perfectly healthy people are becoming more common across South Asia, as well as much of the Middle East and North Africa.

The unfolding climate emergency will affect the entire world, but it will not do so equally, or all at the same time. Parts of the globe will see manageable temperature spikes or variable weather, as others face deadly droughts, heatwaves, flooding and extreme weather. Those who survive these climate shocks may find local agriculture and infrastructure devastated, making them all the more vulnerable in future.

Rising sea levels and coastal flooding is expected to effect millions more in some of the world’s least developed countries.

According to the United Nations, more than 120 million people could slip into poverty within the next decade because of climate change, forcing them to “choose between starvation and migration.”

“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, last month.

But while the air conditioned, hurricane and typhoon-proofed cities in the developed world may be able to better cope with the immediate effects of climate change, they will not escape the ramifications of how the crisis unfolds in other countries.

People affected by climate change will not stay put as their children drown or die of heat stroke or thirst.

According to government documents published by the ABC this week, Australia alone may face up to 100 million climate refugees in the coming years, as large parts of the Indo-Pacific is hit by rising sea levels and extreme weather.

South Asia is already suffering as a result of climate change, a crisis caused by the developed world’s consumption patterns and fossil fuel-driven capitalism. The effects of that crisis will not remain confined to the region for long, however, nor will the people already dealing with the sharp end of it.



A flood forced this town to move. It could be a model for others hit by the climate crisis

• • • • •

Valmeyer, Illinois (CNN)The floodwaters dismantled homes, businesses, the school and churches.

As the swollen Mississippi River spilled over the levee, the town of Valmeyer, Illinois, was buried beneath 16 feet of water that stuck around for months.

That was 25 years ago, during the Great Flood of 1993.

Now, as other communities face increased flooding due to the impact of the climate crisis, some are coming to Valmeyer for guidance.

Before the flood, people here weren’t worried about the Mississippi, the river so integral to their livelihood. But after the ’93 flood, the river became a source of anxiety.

“I didn’t think that we would ever flood,” said Dennis Knobloch, who was mayor of Valmeyer in 1993. “I was knee-deep in water standing on that levee and I was still confident that something was going to happen, and we were not going to flood.”

But the town did flood. And afterward, the people of Valmeyer decided to establish a new part of town 400 feet up on the bluff behind it.

“The part where most of the town is located right now was a cornfield at the time,” Knobloch explained.

To move the entire town to higher ground, Valmeyer used funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Illinois to buy up about 300 homes and 25 businesses that were on the floodplain.

Many of those home and business owners used that money to move up the bluff, although it took a year and a half after the flood before the first residents could move into their new homes. That time in limbo was too long for some, who moved on to nearby communities.

This spring and summer, cities from Minneapolis to New Orleans and across the Midwest have seen devastating flooding that has destroyed homes and spoiled crops.

And floods could become more common as the climate crisis worsens. According to last year’s National Climate Assessment, extreme precipitation events in the Midwest are expected to increase through this century.

“At St. Louis, we’ve had something like four of the 10 largest floods occur in the last seven years,” said Nicholas Pinter, the associate director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California-Davis.

Pinter says that flooding is getting worse along rivers throughout the Midwest, as well as along US coastlines as sea levels continue to rise.

“It’s estimated that something like a third of US communities will face increased risk of flooding by the middle of the century,” Pinter explained.

And as threats increase, Valmeyer officials say they are continually approached by other municipalities considering what scientists call managed retreat — basically, a preemptive move to higher ground.

Both mayors believe the move was the right decision for Valmeyer.

But they acknowledge that relocation isn’t the right choice for every community. But after a particularly wet and rainy spring that lingered into the summer, the Mississippi River remains swollen over its banks. The flood threat was enough to force the handful of people who continue to live in the bottoms out of their homes in July.



French beaches closed due to toxic algae bloom linked to two deaths

• • • • •

Six beaches around Saint-Brieuc in the French region of Brittany have been closed to the public due to unmanageable quantities of sea lettuce, which local campaign groups say may be linked to two recent deaths in the area.

On July 6 an 18-year-old oyster farmer was found dead in nearby Morlaix Bay and initial tests showed that he may have drowned, according to the local prosecutor’s office.

However local campaign group Halte aux Marée Vertes claims that the victim may have been poisoned by hydrogen sulphide, a toxic gas released as the sea lettuce decomposes, reports CNN affiliate BFMTV.

Anniet Laverman, a microbiology researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) explained that more of the plants are observed in areas where there is a lot of human activity, including agriculture and the disposal of waste water in the sea.

“Algae when they are alive, they are plants and they do not pose a problem,” Laverman told CNN. “But when they are dead, they degrade.”

When the sea lettuce breaks down it releases hydrogen sulphide, or H2S, she explained, a toxic gas with a smell that has been compared to rotten eggs.

“People can smell the smell of H2S but are not aware that it’s a very toxic gas smell,” said Laverman.

Ines Leraud, an investigative journalist who recently published a book on the algae problems in Brittany, told BFMTV the problem is worsening due to climate change.

Normally dead algae is collected from the beaches every morning but there is so much this year that it’s not possible to keep up, she said.



Philippines declares national alert after 456 die from dengue fever

• • • • •

Health authorities in the Philippines have declared a “national dengue alert” after a spike in cases of the viral disease which has left more than 450 people dead since January.

Around 100,000 dengue cases were reported across the Philippines in the first six months of 2019, an increase of 85% on the same period last year.

Epidemics have been declared in four regions of the country — Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Northern Mindanao — which between them are home to more than 20 million people, or roughly 20% of the Philippines population.

A mosquito-borne viral infection, denguecauses flu-like symptoms, including piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and full body rashes. Of the millions of people infected with dengue every year worldwide, an estimated 500,000 develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, and of those some 12,500 people die, according to the World Health Organization.

While it is most common in tropical and sub-tropical climates such as the Philippines, India and Brazil, a recent study found that rising global temperatures caused by the climate crisis could see mosquitoes which carry dengue — along with other diseases such as chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika — move north, affecting the southern United States, inland Australia and coastal areas of China and Japan.

This surge in dengue cases comes as the country is grappling with a nationwide measles outbreak, which authorities say has killed more people so far this year than all of 2018 and puts 2.6 million children at risk.

The most effective ways to prevent dengue include searching for and destroying mosquito breeding places, liberal use of mosquito repellents, and seeking early consultation when the first signs and symptoms of disease strike, Philippines health officials said.



Staten Island seawall: Designing for climate change

• • • • •

By 2025, New York’s Staten Island will be fortified by a towering seawall running 5.3 miles along the coast, an engineering feat designed to ward off a growing threat.

The climate crisis is predicted to create more powerful and extreme weather systems all over the world, and coastal engineers are racing to respond with structures to reduce their impact.

The first seawalls were built centuries ago, though there are now, arguably, greater assets to protect and more people living along vulnerable coastlines than ever before.

A recent report by the Center for Climate Integrity estimated it could cost the US more than $400 billion over the next 20 years to protect coastal communities.

“Where you have these public and private interests colliding in a contested space, like the coast, that faces ordinary weather events being compounded by climate change, people will look for a solution that gives them as much security as they can hope to achieve,” said Tayanah O’Donnell, a senior lecturer at the Australian National University (ANU).

Seawalls are not only expensive to install but need regular maintenance if they are to withstand the prolonged barrage of pounding waves. But in many places they are considered vital to protect land and property that would otherwise be swept out to sea.

The seawall will be built to withstand a 300-year flood event — a water height two feet above the highest levels recorded during Hurricane Sandy, said Frank Verga, a project manager at the New York District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

The boardwalk will be big enough to host concerts, carnivals, marathons and cultural events, the governor’s office says. But the new promenade’s true public value will only be measured by how well it succeeds in shielding people from natural disaster.

“The project is a proven engineering solution to withstand multiple storms, with adaptability to be modified in future to address sea level rise, if required,” said Verga in an email.

But it won’t prevent all flooding, and in the case of severe storms residents will still need to follow orders to evacuate.

In the past month alone, at least six homes in the city of Alappuzha have been lost to the water, according to Haran Babu, Executive Engineer of the Alappuzha division of Kerala’s Irrigation Department.

Barricades already sit along 43 miles of the city’s 47-mile coast, but large sections of wall are crumbling, sinking and being overwhelmed by waves.

“Thirty-five kilometers (22 miles) of these seawalls are damaged and waves rise above them with ease,” Babu said.

“We’re not only building a structure that is functional in an engineering sense but it’s functional in an environmental sense,” said Matt Eliot, a coastal engineer and direct of Seashore Engineering based in Perth, Australia. “We’re using that to look for what habitats we can encourage to make it better for the plants and animals in the area.”

In some cases, holes and crevices are being built into the walls to encourage nature to grow around them. Other designs seek to reduce the impact of waves before they hit.

In New York, the first contracts for the Staten Island seawall are expected to be awarded next summer, with work to begin soon after, according to the USACE.

The design also includes wetlands, and is part of the New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $10 billion scheme to “climate-proof” New York City, an investment he says is needed to tackle a “national emergency.”

“New York doesn’t have a choice but to prepare for what’s coming. Neither does Miami, Houston, Charleston or any of the coastal cities facing an existential threat to their future,” De Blasio wrote in an article in March for a New York magazine.

And it’s not just US cities facing the threat of rising water. Major international cities including Jakarta in Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam — home to a combined 18 million people — are under urgent pressure to act.

With so many people living so close to the sea, the potential losses are staggering– and the financial cost of creating a durable solution is rising by the day.

“The longer we take to mitigate against climate change, the more expensive it’s going to be to adapt to a changing climate,” O’Donnell said.



Ebola: DR Congo confirms first case in city of Goma on border with Rwanda

• • • • •

The Ebola virus has reached the Congolese city of Goma, a major transit hub that is home to more than 1 million people on the Rwandan border.

The case, which was confirmed Sunday by the country’s Ministry of Health, has raised fears that the virus could make its way across the porous border into still-uninfected Rwanda — something health experts have been working desperately to prevent.

Authorities said they had tracked down all the passengers on the bus and the driver.

A total of 2,489 cases have been reported in the central African nation, killing a total of 1,665 people, according to the Ministry of Health.

Health officials and aid organizations have dreaded Ebola’s arrival in Goma for months, and have been working to prepare for the eventuality — which is partly why the case was immediately caught and isolated.

Unlike the 2014 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, there are now vaccines and experimental treatments for Ebola. Yet, despite these exhaustive preventative and treatment efforts, fighting Ebola has proved difficult because of community mistrust, limited health care resources, difficult-to-access locations, and violent attacks on heath care workers.

Earlier this year, unknown assailants destroyed Ebola treatment centers in Butembo. In April, a World Health Organization epidemiologist was killed in an attack on the University Hospital. In total there have been 130 attacks on health facilities between January and mid-May, causing four deaths and injuring 38.



Floods and landslides kill more than 100 people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh

• • • • •

More than 100 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced after torrential monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across Nepal and parts of South Asia.

At least 69 people have died in Nepal, with a further 31 people identified as missing and more than 2,500 rescued, the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs said on Monday.

Two million people have been directly affected by flooding in the country, according to police officials in Nepal.

In neighboring India, 24 people have died on the northeastern state of Bihar, which lies on the India-Nepal border. The death toll there is “bound to increase,” said Pratyaya Amrit, a senior official at the Bihar Disaster Management Department, as flood waters retreat and reveal the true extent of the damage. More than 2.5 million people have been directly affected in Bihar, the statement added.

In India’s far northeastern Assam State, more than 2.7 million people have been directly affected by floods, according to the Assam Disaster Management Authority.

In Bangladesh, which borders India, 40,000 people in rural low-lying areas have been directly affected by the floods, and 16 people have died due to lightening strikes across the country since Saturday, according to Enamur Rahman, the Bangladeshi State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief. Rahman added that they are bracing for the worst as many of India’s rivers flow into Bangladesh, so continuous rains could bring the flooding across the border.

Some residents appear trapped in their homes, sheltering on rooftops as floodwater washes past their doorsteps. Those who do attempt escape carry bundles of belongings on their heads as they wade through chest-deep water.

Already, 16,520 households in Nepal have been displaced, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Regions of Nepal on the southern border, like the Bara District, have seen more than 400 millimeters (15.75 inches) of rain in the past few days, according to satellite estimates. The rain is still pouring, with some western areas expected to receive up to 250 millimeters (9.84 inches) in the next 48 hours, said the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

The monsoon rains bring both relief and disaster every year — they bring much-needed water to drought-hit regions, but the sudden downpours also trigger floods and landslides, especially fatal in areas without sufficient water storage infrastructure.

In 2017, Nepal had some of the heaviest monsoon rain in recent years, with floods killing at least 143 people and damaging nearly 80,000 houses. Another severe monsoon season in 2014 killed over 100 people in Nepal, and displaced more than 17,000 families.

Indian cities also face deadly monsoon floods almost every year. Dozens have died just this month in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, with houses and transport hubs washed away.



Monsoon floods sweep through world’s biggest refugee camp



By 2050, London’s climate will be as warm as Barcelona’s, says new study

• • • • •

In 2050, London’s climate will feel more like Barcelona’s, according to a new climate change study.

If this sounds like a pleasant warming — think again. London could be facing severe drought, as Barcelona did in 2008, when it nearly ran out of drinking water and reservoirs ran close to dry.

Hundreds of other major cities worldwide could be facing droughts, flooding, storms, and other climate catastrophes, said the study, which was conducted by the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich university.

Some of these climate effects aren’t even known or predictable yet — a fifth of cities, including Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Singapore, are facing conditions so extreme they don’t currently exist anywhere in the world, according to the study.

The study predicted the future climate conditions of 520 major cities worldwide, and paired those predictions with the conditions of cities today. By 2050, Madrid will feel more like Marrakesh, Seattle will feel like San Francisco, and New York will feel like Virginia Beach, according to the report.

An estimated 77% of cities around the world will see their climate conditions drastically change, indicating “the global scale of this climate change threat and associated risks for human health,” the study warned.

Regions with northern latitudes, including most of Europe, will face the most dramatic temperature changes — European cities are expected to become 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 Fahrenheit) warmer in the summer and 4.7 degrees Celsius (8.5 Fahrenheit) warmer in the winter, the study said.

These might not sound like significant shifts, but warming temperatures could encourage the spread of infectious disease, endanger food security, and lead to water shortages, said Alex Lo, a senior lecturer in climate change at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Coastal cities are particularly at risk of flooding, which could damage buildings, displace residents, and threaten infrastructure like urban transportation systems, said Lo.

Coastal cities are particularly at risk of flooding, which could damage buildings, displace residents, and threaten infrastructure like urban transportation systems, said Lo.

“Without the benefit of knowing that the new climate conditions are already liveable somewhere in the world, it is harder to know whether people will be able to adapt and stay in these cities, or whether they will eventually look to move elsewhere,” Richard Betts, chair of climate impacts at the University of Exeter, told the Science Media Center.



Tropical Storm Barry develops in the Gulf, threatening more epic flooding in Louisiana

• • • • •

A dangerous cyclone spinning toward the Gulf Coast intensified Thursday to become Tropical Storm Barry.

It’s the first tropical storm to threaten the US this year. But before Barry makes landfall — possibly Saturday in Louisiana — it’ll likely be a full-blown hurricane, meaning its winds will top 74 mph.

But it’s not the wind that makes this storm so treacherous. It’s the colossal rainfall and massive storm surges.

“This is a life-threatening situation,” the National Hurricane Center said. Those in the storm’s path should “take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions.”

Streets in New Orleans have already turned into lakes after getting pummeled with up to 9 inches of rain Wednesday, three days before the center of the storm is expected to reach land.

And it’ll only get worse.

As of 2 p.m. ET, Barry was hurling winds of 40 mph in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

But because Barry is a slow-moving storm — crawling across the Gulf at just 5 mph — the system will hover over the same places for a long time, dropping relentless rain and adding to the widespread flooding.

In Grand Isle, Louisiana, the mayor and town council ordered everyone to evacuate Thursday.

“We are expecting a rain fall total that can range from 6″ to 10″,” they said in a statement. “We will be experiencing unusual high tides that will range more than 3 feet above ground.”

Other Gulf states are also at risk. Mississippi, Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle are under the gun for extreme rain, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said Thursday.

Barry will inundate Louisiana at a terrible time — when rivers like the Mississippi are already flooded.

“This is the 258th day of a flood fight on the Mississippi River,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday.

Unusually high river levels from severe flooding this year will lead to an unprecedented challenge when Barry makes landfall.

“This is the first time we’ve had a tropical system with water levels on the river this high,” said Jeffrey Graschel, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center.

“I am evacuating. The water levels … were too high for my comfort, and my car nearly flooded,” Davis told CNN on Thursday.

“I haven’t seen this much rain and flooding before a hurricane in a while. While the evacuation isn’t mandatory, I am leaving as a precaution. Who knows what’s to come, how and whether the city will able to handle it.”

“As we know all too well in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact,” the governor said.

In New Orleans, officials urged residents to:

— Be ready to stay at home for days or leave at a moment’s notice.

— Have several days’ worth of non-perishable food at home.

— Move outdoor trash cans indoors, since fierce winds could turn heavy objects into projectiles.



The world’s population is nearing 8 billion. That’s not great news

• • • • •

It took thousands of years for the global population to hit 5 billion, which happened in 1987. Some 32 years later, we’re closing in on 8 billion.

The planet’s population today is 7.7 billion. How mind-bogglingly huge is that number? If you started now and ticked off 7.7 billion seconds, you wouldn’t be done until the year 2263.

If we have issues with overpopulation now, just image the future impact on the planet.

In fact the global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019 and is projected to decline further.

But these shrinkages are dwarfed by population booms in other regions. The population of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is projected to double by 2050.

Nine countries — India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States — will make up more than half the projected growth of the global population between now and 2050, according to a 2018 study.

Global life expectancy is expected to increase from 72.6 years to 77.1 years in 2050.

But life expectancy at birth in the least developed countries lags 7.4 years behind the global average.

Many of these countries are growing too crowded. And overpopulation can contribute to such social and environmental problems as global warming, resource depletion, pollution, overcrowding, malnutrition, gender inequality and the spread of deadly disease.

Our population patterns also show another alarming trend: We’re aging.

In 2018, we hit another milestone– for the first time ever, people over 65 globally outnumber children under 5. Because of increasing life expectancy and falling fertility rates, people are reproducing less and living longer.

By 2050, one in four people living in Europe and North America could be 65 or over.



Six dead and dozens injured in Greek storm

• • • • •

A freak storm in northern Greecekilled six tourists and left more than 30 others injured on Wednesday.

The localized storm reportedly only lasted around 10-15 minutes.

British tourist Kirstie Taylor, who filmed the video above, told CNN she was at Ikos resort in Halkidiki when the storm hit.

“It started with constant lightning, which went on for about 15 minutes. It was like someone switching a light on and off,” she said.

“Then the storm happened very quickly. Chairs and tables were blown everywhere.”

“The hotel is still on a generator, there is no running water, and the weather has turned cold.”

Temperatures hit 37 degrees Celsius in the area on Monday, but dropped to 19 degrees Celsius early Thursday.

In September 2018 a rare hurricane-like storm triggered flooding as it hit southern Greece.

In early July large swathes of Europe were struck by a heatwave that pushed temperatures to record breaking levels. The mercury reached 45.9 degrees Celsius (114.6 Fahrenheit) in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard department in southern France, according to the French national weather service Météo-France.



Hurricane watches issued for parts of coastal Louisiana ahead of storm

• • • • •

The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane watches for parts of coastal Louisiana on Wednesday, as the first tropical system to slam the US this year is expected to make landfall as a hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Tropical Storm Barry will form in the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday and strengthen to a hurricane by Saturday, when it’s expected to make landfall along the Louisiana or upper Texas coast. At least one Louisiana parish issued a mandatory evacuation ahead of the storm.

Storm surge, hurricane force winds, and extensive flooding are forecast in the Gulf Coast region into the weekend.

The tropical system spawned its first tornado warning and flash flood emergency in the New Orleans area Wednesday as streets, homes and hotel lobbies flooded.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said about 10 to 15 inches of rain could fall within 24 hours between Friday and Saturday. Edwards issued a state of emergency for the state on Wednesday ahead of the storm, and so did New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell.

“Now is absolutely the time to pay attention. Heed every single warning that comes from the City of New Orleans, and as you listen to media outlets,” Cantrell said during a press conference. “Pay attention to all tornado, as well as flash flood warnings. Be prepared for the impacts.”

A tropical storm is an area of thunderstorms that produces a circular wind flow with winds from 39 to 73 miles per hour. With a lower wind speed, it would be a tropical depression. Higher, and it would be a hurricane.

Regardless of the classification this system develops into, both Louisiana and Mississippi are forecast to see very heavy rain — more than a foot in some places, Brink said.

The Mississippi River could crest at 19 feet!



High-tide flooding is only going to get worse, NOAA says

• • • • •

Coastal communities across the United States saw an uptick in flooding from high tides last year — and it’s not likely to get any better, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

In a report Wednesday, the agency says that last year tied the 2015 record for a national median of five days of high-tide flooding. Twelve locations broke flooding records, including Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore.

The agency cited El Niño and rising sea levels as reasons why “it no longer takes a strong storm or hurricane to cause flooding in many coastal areas” and warned that people should expect even more in the future.

NOAA has identified more than 40 locations where high-tide flooding trends reveal “significant acceleration” along the West and East coasts. The data suggests that coastal impacts will soon become “chronic rather than sporadic.”

In 2019, the Northeast Atlantic is expected to experience a median of eight days of flooding, a 140% increase since 2000. Flooding in the Southeast is set to increase 190% since 2000 to a median of five days, and the western Gulf Coast is expected to increase 130% to a median of six days.

“Once communities realize they are susceptible to high tide flooding, they need to begin to address the impacts, which can become chronic rather quickly,” William Sweet, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and lead author of the report, said in a statement.

“Communities find themselves not knowing what to expect next year and the decades to come, which makes planning difficult. Our high tide projections can play a vital role in helping them plan mitigation and other remedies.”



California earthquake created a massive crack in the Earth visible in satellite images

• • • • •

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shook California on Friday also ripped open a fissure.

When the shaking started at 8:19 p.m., many scrambled for cover. It was the second strong earthquake to hit the area in less than 48 hours.

As the sun rose the next day, it also became clear that the area’s topography had changed.

Satellite images provided to CNN by Planet Labs, Inc. show a crack has formed in the area close to the epicenter.

The satellite image isn’t the only evidence that the region’s topography was changed by the earthquake.

A nearby highway is now shutdown after tremors cracked and moved sections of the roadway.



After two quakes shake California, residents wonder: Are we getting close to the Big One?

• • • • •

Ultimately, neither was the fabled Big One, a catastrophic earthquake that could occur along the San Andreas Fault and that geologists have warned is likely “overdue.”

This week was just a reminder.

He and other residents last week woke to headlines driving the point home: “4th of July earthquake won’t delay the Big One,” read one on Friday from the Los Angeles Times; The New York Times reported Thursday’s earthquake was “a reminder that the Big One lurks.”

“Everyone is wondering, ‘Is this getting close to the Big One?'” he added. “God knows it’s not an easy feeling.”

The Big One is coming

According to geologists, a major earthquake along the San Andreas Fault is likely “overdue.”

The southern San Andreas Fault has typically seen large earthquakes every 150 years, according to the US Geological Survey. And since the last large earthquake there occurred in 1857, the southern segment of the fault “is considered a likely location for an earthquake” in the coming years.

“We’re standing on two different (sides) of the fault line,” he pointed out. “It’s kind of a scary feeling.”

“One should always be preparing for a Big One,” she said.

‘I don’t think anyone’s prepared’

Rios said that as a kid he and his peers were taught to “duck and cover” and be prepared.

That said, he doesn’t think many Californians are ready. He keeps a supply of water and food on hand, maybe some extra gas in reserve, he said, “but I don’t think anyone’s prepared for something that catastrophic.”




Air pollution ages your lungs faster and increases your risk of COPD, study says

• • • • •

Air pollution does a lot more damage to our lungs than scientists realized, according to a new study in Monday’s European Respiratory Journal. Researchers found it ages lungs more quickly and putting us at higher risk of COPD.

Your lung function declines as a part of natural aging, but this study found that exposure to particulate matter pollution ages your lungs even faster — and the more pollution you’re exposed to, the quicker your lungs age.

The study found that for each additional 5 micrograms per cubic meter of particle pollution a person was exposed to on average annually, the lungs showed an equivalent of two years of aging, and a real reduction in lung function.

Particle pollution is the mix of solid and liquid droplets in the air, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. It can come in the form of dirt, dust, soot or smoke. It comes from coal- and natural gas-fired plants, cars, agriculture, unpaved roads and

Among that group in the most polluted areas, the number of COPD cases was four times higher than if a person lived with smokers, and half that of people who had been smokers. COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a term used to describe lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. It’s the third leading cause of death in the world.

The number of COPD cases is expected to increase dramatically in the next 10 years, and the rising levels of pollution, made worse by the climate crisis, will likely play a large role in that.

In the United States, earlier studies have shown that an increasing number of Americans, 141.1 million — 4 in 10 — live in counties that have air with unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone.



Greta Thunberg is inspiring climate action. But in some countries her message is falling on deaf ears

• • • • •

Greta Thunberg was protesting in front of the Swedish parliament on Friday, just like she has almost every week for the past year.

“The climate crisis doesn’t go on summer holiday, and neither will we,” the teenage activist said in a tweet to rally her supporters around the world.

The climate strikes appeared to nudge some of those in power. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the students for taking action. After initial reluctance, her government joined the European efforts to adopt an EU-wide emission target. In the UK, parliament declared a climate emergency and adopted new emission targets, partly in response to the protests.

Elsewhere, the students’ actions were met with much less enthusiasm.

In the Czech Republic, their efforts fell on deaf ears.

“Why should we decide 31 years ahead of time what will happen in 2050?,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters at the meeting.

“This exact kind of behavior is and was the reason why we started striking,” Eva Matoušová, one of the Czech organizers of the student strikes, told CNN.

“The Czech government’s ongoing inability to take climate seriously is alarming… . It’s clear that our common future is not their priority and that needs to change,” she said.

Thomas Bernauer, the director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy at ETH Zurich university, said the divide comes down largely to economics.

“In the wealthier European countries like Switzerland, or Germany, or Scandinavia, people have reached a certain level of well-being and pay attention to issues that go beyond their daily needs,” he said.

“If you’re in a very rich, liberal society, and you have a certain job, a sufficient income, enough food, housing, and so on, basically, you’re contained on the material level, of course you can redefine things like climate change into something that is a basic need… . But say you’re in Bulgaria or Portugal, and there’s a 30% unemployment, and you have no prospects of finding a job, then it’s a very different calculus,” he said.

The current European divide over climate policy illustrates much deeper economic, political and cultural divisions within the bloc, according to Mike Hulme, professor of Human Geography at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.

“You have 28 countries at very different stages of economic development… . It’s partly about political leadership, it’s partly about cultural values, norms, partly about religious beliefs, it’s partly about geopolitics, and the perceptions of who holds power and influence in the world,” he said.

Climate change policies generally suffer from the discrepancy between their costs and benefits. The costs are high and imminent. Phasing out fossil fuels, which scientists say is necessary in order to limit global warming, will require huge investments into new technologies.

The benefits, on the other hand, might only become apparent by the end of the century, when most of those paying the costs now will be long gone. That makes it hard for politicians to push for a change.

“With environmental issues you’re not seeing any near-term payout, that’s the problem,” said Darrick Evensen, lecturer in Environmental Politics at the University of Edinburgh.

“If there’s an economic crisis, urgency to create jobs, high inflation, or other things that create a lot of misery for people, those are the things that the electorate wants to be dealt with as a priority, but that doesn’t mean that climate change is irrelevant,” said Bernauer.

According to Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition of NGOs, no European country, not even Sweden, is on track to fully meet its targets.





Seismic activity along the San Andreas fault line could trigger a devastating earthquake in California by 2030

• • • • •

Residents of Southern California are on high alert after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked communities near the Mojave Desert on Friday, just one day after a 6.4-magnitude quake occurred in the same area.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) warned that another earthquake of a similar magnitude could strike within the next week, while aftershocks have occurred an average of once a minute since Friday night.

Those earthquakes occurred along a fault centered near Ridgecrest, California, but it reminded geologists of the looming danger of another major quake along the imposing San Andreas fault zone to the west, which could cause significantly more damage.

In light of this week’s quakes, USGS researchers are reiterating their prediction that there’s a 70% chance an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.7 or higher will strike the San Francisco Bay area along the San Andreas fault zone before 2030.

he San Andreas fault zone is an 800-mile boundary between the Pacific tectonic plate to the west and the North American plate to the east.

The last major quake to occur along the San Andreas fault zone was in 1906, when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent fireleveled parts of San Francisco and killed 3,000 people, the deadliest in US history.

But going more than 100 years without major seismic activity along the fault zone is an anomaly, geologists say, and could portend a massive earthquake along the infamous fault.

It’s not likely that this week’s earthquakes will trigger the “Big One” geologists warn about — at its closest point, the San Andreas fault zone is more than 150 miles away from the Mojave Desert, USGS seismologist Susan Hough told CNN affiliate KTLA.

Though it’s difficult to predict the exact timing of when earthquakes will strike or what their magnitude will be, researchers are encouraging residents and local officials to prepare now and retrofit structures to withstand seismic force before the next significant quake — or the “Big One” — strikes.




It’s so hot in Athens the Acropolis was closed

• • • • •

Athens is normally around 90˚F (or 32˚C) this time of year. Temperatures neared 100˚F (or 37.7˚C) this week, according to the CNN weather forecast.

Much of Europe is broiling under a heat wave. Because of that, one of the continent’s most famous attractions is shutting down during the hottest parts of the day.

According to the CNN weather forecast, the heat wave appears to go into a bit of a lull. Temperatures across Europe will be at or slightly above average. But next week temperatures could reach record levels again, spiking on Wednesday.



A second earthquake hit Southern California in as many days. It’s five times bigger than Thursday’s

• • • • •

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California on Friday night — the second temblor to hit near Ridgecrest in less than two days.

The latest earthquake occurred 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest, according to the US Geological Survey. It rocked buildings and cracked foundations, sending jittery residents out on the streets.

It comes a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake centered near Ridgecrest rattled the state Thursday. That earthquake has produced more than 1,400 aftershocks, scientists said.

Multiple fires and injuries have been reported in Ridgecrest — about 150 miles from Los Angeles — after Friday’s earthquake, Kern County spokeswoman Megan Person said. The county has activated an emergency operations center, the fire department tweeted.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department said it has received multiple reports of damage from northwest communities in the county.

“Homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down,” the department said. “One injury (minor) with firefighters treating patient.”

The Los Angeles Fire Department said there were reports of wires down and localized power outages in some parts of the city.

The shaking was felt as far as Mexico, according to the USGS website.

The latest 7.1 earthquake was the mainshock, while Thursday’s 6.4 magnitude shake was a foreshock, according to Jones. She said Friday’s earthquake was 10 times stronger than the one a day prior.

The 7.1 magnitude shake was five times bigger than Thursday’s, but released 11 times the amount of energy than the 6.4 shake, CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

Officials are not ruling out that there could be more earthquakes coming.



Anchorage was 90 degrees on July 4. That’s not a typo

• • • • •

Alaska’s heat wave continued through Independence Day, and in Anchorage, the temperatures shattered an all-time record.

The temperature at the airport was 90 degrees Thursday, besting June 14, 1969, for the highest mark ever recorded in the city, according to the National Weather Service.

Across south Alaska, the mercury was expected to rise to record or near-record levels on the nation’s 243rd birthday and continue at above-average levels through next week, the National Weather Service reports.

Last month was the warmest June on record, with an average temperature of 60.5 degrees — 5.3 above average, according to the National Weather Service Anchorage, whose records for this location date to 1954 (66 total Junes). June marks the 16th consecutive month in which average temperatures ranged above normal.

“All 30 days in June had above average temperatures,” the service noted.

June was the driest on record, with 0.06 inches of rain. (Normal monthly precipitation in June is 0.97 inches, so June received just 6% of its normal precipitation.) This ends a two-month streak with above-average precipitation, the weather service noted.

Fires are a concern for Alaskans every year, but warm dry weather patterns caused heavy smoke and cloud from the Swan Lake Fire to affect the Anchorage area and Kenai Peninsula this week, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

Smoke from the smoldering fire, which was started by lightning on June 5 in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, will continue to affect the peninsula into the weekend, the center reports. Smoke contains many substances, including carbon dioxide and particulate matter, that may contribute to poor health.

As of Independence Day, the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center estimates that wildfire has burned 634,000 Alaskan acres, which is significantly but not dramatically more than is typical for this point in the season, Rich Thoman, an Alaska climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy, noted in a holiday tweet.

Fire, rain and heat are not the only issues influencing the state: Ice cover across Alaska, which normally lasts through the end of May, disappeared in March, according to the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy.

Southerly winds in the Bering Sea have melted ice at an alarming rate, driving temperatures up, said climatologist Brian Brettschneider of the International Arctic Research Center. Ocean temperatures in the region have never been this high, and communities in northern and western Alaska have seen temperatures close to June records.

Atmospheric patterns have also placed Alaska in an unlucky spot this year, Brettschneider noted.

“Next year, the winds could turn northerly. That tends to mask a warming signal,” said Brettschneider, who believes that the planet is warming long-term. “What is happening in coastal Alaska is what is coming in one sense for everybody else. Changes are happening, and changes will be magnified.”



Tornado tears through Chinese city of Kaiyuan killing 6 and affecting 9,000

• • • • •

At least 6 people died and 190 were injured after a tornado ripped through Kaiyuan, in northeastern China, on Wednesday, according to state media outlet Xinhua.

The tornado hit at around 5:15pm local time and tore through the city in just 15 minutes.

That was enough time to destroy about 250 acres of crops and damage more than 4,300 homes, shattering windows and bringing down walls, according to local authorities and state media.

About 210 people have been rescued from damaged buildings and over 1,600 have been evacuated from the city, while 63 people were hospitalized, according to the local government.

Local authorities have set up four temporary shelters for those affected.

While China receives about 10 to 100 tornadoes a year, severe tornadoes are a rarity, according to CNN meteorologists. In 2017, a tornado hit Yunnan Province in southwestern China — the first time a tornado there had been documented in over 30 years.

One of the deadliest tornadoes in recent Chinese history hit Jiangsu Province in 2016, leaving at least 98 dead and 800 injured.



California earthquake generates more than 200 aftershocks

• • • • •

The strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in nearly 20 years prompted one city to declare a state of emergency Thursday, and shook residents from Las Vegas to Orange County.

The quake, with a magnitude of 6.4, was centered near Ridgecrest, a community west of the Mojave Desert and about 150 miles north of Los Angeles.

At least 200 aftershocks of magnitude 2.5 or greater have been recorded after the earthquake through midday Friday, according to the US Geological Survey. It is a higher than normal number, but not unprecedented, he said. The largest of them were magnitude 4.6.

Noted seismologist Lucy Jones called it a “robust” series and said there is a 50% chance of another large quake in the next week.

Jones said there is a 1 in 20 chance that a bigger earthquake will hit within the next few days. “It’s certain that this area is going to be shaking a lot today and some of those aftershocks will probably exceed magnitude 5.”

Jones said the quake, named the Searles Valley Quake, was preceded by a magnitude 4.2 foreshock.

Noted seismologist Lucy Jones called it a “robust” series and said there is a 50% chance of another large quake in the next week.

There were also power outages in the city of 28,000 residents. The forecasted high temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Weather Service said.

April Rodriguez was at home in Trona when she felt a smaller quake followed by a larger one “that didn’t stop,” she told CNN.

We were panicked trying to get out of the house because everything is falling out of the cabinets, off the shelves, off the walls. … They were flying like missiles off the shelves.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted, “Been living in Los Angeles all my life. That was the longest earthquake I’ve ever experienced. Not jerky. Smooth and rolling. But it was loooong. It was so long I thought for the first time ever, ‘Is this the big one?’ Damn. Respect Mother Nature. She’s the boss.”

It was the largest quake to hit Southern California since 1999, when a 7.1 earthquakestruck in a remote part of the Mojave desert.

In 1994, at least 57 people died when a 6.7 earthquake hit the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, causing $25 billion in damage.

The department reported “minor cracks (in buildings); broken water mains; power lines down; rock slides on certain roads” in northwestern communities in the county.

“There is no going in or out of Trona right now. We’re like stuck.”



The Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park is approaching a record number of eruptions

• • • • •

The Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park is no Old Faithful.

The world’s tallest active geyser — whose major eruptions shoot water more than 300 feet into the air — is known to be unpredictable.

We’re just over halfway through 2019 and the Steamboat Geyser has already erupted 25 times, according to the US Geological Survey. That puts it on track to surpass last year’s record of 32 eruptions — the largest number ever recorded in a year. The record before that was 29 eruptions in 1964.

The Steamboat Geyser erupted seven times just last month alone, the USGS said. June’s outbursts, which occurred on the 1st, 7th, 12th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, and 28th, also smashed the record for the shortest interval between eruptions — just over three days.

Scientists aren’t sure what’s behind the recent increase in activity, but the short answer is that this is just how geysers work.

Some scientists have attributed increases in Steamboat’s eruptions to thermal energy shifts caused by earthquakes. But there is no clear correlation between the geyser’s eruptions and earthquake activity, according to the National Park Service.

“The dynamic nature of this geyser basin, and the geology of Yellowstone as a whole, keeps everyone guessing,” the National Park Service says on its website.



Here’s how to stay safe before, during and after an earthquake strikes

• • • • •

A 6.4-magnitude earthquakestruck Southern California on Thursday, triggering a state of emergency in the desert town of Ridgecrest, and leaving people from Los Angeles to Las Vegas feeling shaken.

It’s the largest tremblor to strike the region in 20 years, officials said.

Here’s what to do before, during and after an earthquake, according to the Department of Homeland Security, Earthquake Country Alliance and Red Cross.

Before it strikes

Have a plan: Earthquakes strike without warning, so identify spots in your home ahead of time where you can safely wait them out — think away from windows and overhead objects.

Prep your home: Secure items that could slide or fall, like televisions or bookshelves, with straps, and keep them away from your designated safe space. Store heavy and fragile objects on lower shelves where they won’t cause damage.

Set an emergency contact: Designate an out-of-area contact who can relay information between family members.

Pick a spot where you’ll meet afterward: If you’re separated, pick a clear location that will be safe from debris and damage where you can meet when the earthquake ends.

Practice: Even if it seems silly, perform drop, cover and hold on drills: drop down on all fours, cover your head and neck, and crawl under a sturdy desk or table. In the event of a quake, you’ll need to take cover and hold onto the furniture until the shaking stops.

Make a kit: Gather nonperishable foods, bottled water (at least three gallons per person), first aid supplies, portable phone chargers that are charged themselves, and other essentials you’ll need for at least 72 hours. It’s better to have too much than too little.

Get an extinguisher: Earthquakes can down wires and start fires, so make sure you have an extinguisher handy and know how to use one.

Fuel up: Keep your gas tank close to full in case of a power outage, but don’t drive in the middle of an earthquake.

Consider a retrofit: Check out your home with a foundation specialist to see if you need additional reinforcements. The investment could save you thousands in damages.

When the ground starts shaking

Drop, cover and hold on: Try to avoid moving too much; if the quake is severe, it’ll likely knock you to the ground.

Avoid windows: Flying objects could break through the glass and cause harm, so keep away.

Stay where you are: If you’re in bed, stay there, but cover your face and neck with a pillow. If you’re inside, don’t run outside — parts of the building’s exterior could fall from overhead. If you’re driving, stop your vehicle in an area clear of trees, buildings, overpasses or wires.

Don’t take the elevator: Even if the power isn’t out, the elevator could stop working if quakes continue. It’s best to stay put, then take the stairs when it’s safe to move.

After the first quake

Wait out the aftershocks: Quakes of smaller magnitude nearly always follow the most severe shocks of an earthquake sequence, so be aware in the hours following the initial earthquake.

Get out: If you’re in a damaged building, get outside and move far away to avoid falling debris.

If you’re stuck, close your mouth: You could inhale fumes or debris, so it’s best to send a text, bang on a nearby object or whistle so rescuers can locate you.

Monitor the news: The government will likely alert the public with emergency instructions via TV, social media and radio, so look to your devices for updates.

Avoid making phone calls: Call volume has exceeded the capacity of mobile carriers’ networks after earthquakes in the past, so some calls were blocked to allow others. It’s best not to call unless it’s an emergency, so text or instant message instead.



More than 1 million ordered to evacuate as Japanese prefecture braces for a month of rain in one day

• • • • •

More than 1 million people in southern Japan were ordered to evacuate Wednesday, as the region braced itself for a month’s worth of rain in a single day, according to local officials.

The Japanese island of Kyushu, inhabited by 13.3 million residents, is expected to be lashed by more than 350 millimeters (13.7 inches) of rain Thursday. That’s more than the island’s average rainfall of 319 millimeters (12.5 inches) for the entire month of July.

Parts of Kagoshima prefecture, on Kyushu, could see more than 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) of rainfall per hour, forecasters warned. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said a number of places within the prefecture, which has a population of 1.6 million people, were at risk of landslides and flooding.

“Please be alert to landslides, low-land flooding and flooding of rivers,” the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Ryuta Kuro said at a press conference Wednesday.

In the past, the baiu season has caused devastating natural disasters.

Last July, at least 200 people died after torrential rains triggered landslides and flooding in one of the deadliest disasters since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.



Amazon destruction accelerates 60% to one and a half soccer fields every minute

• • • • •

Amazon deforestation accelerated more than 60% in June over the same period last year, in what environmentalists say is a sign that the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro are starting to take effect.

769.1 square kilometres were lost last month – a stark increase from the 488.4 sq km lost in June 2018, INPE’s data showed. That equates to an area of rainforest larger than one and a half soccer fields being destroyed every minute of every day.

Greenpeace called Bolsonaro and his government a “threat to the climate equilibrium” and warned that in the long run, his policies would bear a “heavy cost” for the Brazilian economy.

He also put some of the blame on some European countries. “As much as European leaders have made ‘beautiful’ speeches showing concern about Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, and even though the [Paris Climate] agreement has environmental safeguards, the EU is signaling that it is at least tolerant with the ongoing anti-environmental agenda”.

He also put some of the blame on some European countries. “As much as European leaders have made ‘beautiful’ speeches showing concern about Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, and even though the [Paris Climate] agreement has environmental safeguards, the EU is signaling that it is at least tolerant with the ongoing anti-environmental agenda”.

Its area has been steadily shrinking over the past century with deforestation reaching its peak in 1995, when 29.059 km² were lost. The rate of destruction had then been decreasing, reaching its lowest point in 2012.

It has been accelerating ever since.




Mumbai area gets hit by its heaviest rain in more than a decade

• • • • •

At least 23 people have died, 1,000 residents have been evacuated and some public services have been suspended as India’s largest city, Mumbai, experiences its worst rains in over a decade.

Mumbai airport’s main runway closed Tuesday after an airplane skidded off it,airport officials tweeted. Some train services were also canceled or suspended, tweeted Western Railway, which administers the city railway routes.

In the eastern neighborhood of Kurla, 1,000 people were evacuated as the Mithi River overflowed.

Cars were brought to a standstill Tuesday by yellow-tinged water on waterlogged streets, photos showed. Some streets were so flooded a day earlier that children frolicked in waist-high waters.

Search and rescue operations continued Tuesday at the wall collapse site as people were feared trapped inside the rubble, Mumbai fire brigade chief Prabhat Rahangdale told CNN. Sixty-eight people injured in the collapse were treated at hospitals, Kamble said.

About $7,260 will be given to the families of each of those who died, he said.

Although Mumbai experiences monsoon season every year, rain on Monday and Tuesday was the heaviest in more than a decade.

In the 24 hours ending Tuesday morning, Mumbai experienced 375.2 mm (14.77 inches) of rain, the highest total in a 24-hour period since 2005, when Mumbai received 940 mm (37 inches) of rain within 24 hours, according to K. S. Hosalikar, deputy director general at the Mumbai unit of the India Meteorological Department.

The monsoon has been slow to progress across India so far this year, running about two weeks behind schedule and more than 30% behind in rainfall for the entire country so far since June 1, according to data analyzed by CNN Weather.




Guadalajara, Mexico, covered in ice after a freakish summer hailstorm

• • • • •

Guadalajara had been enjoying a sweaty summer for the past few weeks until the weekend brought a shocking surprise.

The Mexican city woke up Sunday morning to more than 3 feet of ice in some areas after a heavy hailstorm swept through the region.

Enrique Alfaro Ramirez, the governor of Jalisco, of which Guadalajara is the capital, said he’d never witnessed scenes like those he saw Sunday morning.

“Hail more than a meter high, and then we wonder if climate change exists,” he said on Twitter.

So, how did this happen?

Low pressure extending south from the US and Mexico border had been forecast to contribute to developing storms along the boundary separating different air masses, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.

“Once these storms developed, all the ingredients came together for there to be this strange hailstorm over Guadalajara,” he said.

The result — accumulations of more than 3 feet of hail in some areas across the region, Guy said.



Climate crisis: Europe’s cities dangerously unprepared for heat wave hell

• • • • •

A scorching heat wave is forcing Europe to realize how dangerously unprepared its cities are for climate emergencies.

Climate change is making heat waves increasingly common and more severe, putting the lives of thousands of vulnerable people at risk.

Hot weather gets deadly in places that are not ready for it.

In August 2003, during one of the most severe heat waves seen in England in recent years, mortality across the country increased 16% because of the heat. But in London, 42% more people died compared to the average of the same time periods in the previous five years.

Temperatures in densely built-up cities tend to be several degrees higher compared to rural and suburban areas. The phenomenon, known as the urban heat island, is caused by the combination of surfaces that trap heat, low airflow, traffic and other heat-producing activities that happen in cities.

The difference tends to get bigger at night, as cities don’t cool down as much as rural areas.

Older people and children are particularly vulnerable to heat in the cities, but extreme weather affects everyone.

“Healthy people in general are okay in hot weather as long as they take some precautions, but when it starts getting to about 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) even healthy people are at risk,” said Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, which is part of London School of Economics.

It’s a problem that’s only going to get worse, because more people are moving into cities. According to the United Nations, 55% of the global population currently lives in cities. By 2050, that number will likely rise to 68%.

While the current European temperatures of just above 100 degrees Fahrenheit might not seem too high to some, they are way above the region’s seasonal averages.

And since most of Europe’s infrastructure and cities were built well before anyone was aware of the danger of climate change, that makes the heat wave even more dangerous.

“Cities that are used to more temperate climates, like London, are finding it very difficult to cope,” Ward said.

“Places which experience cold winters tend to worry more about insulation … but of course some of the measures you design to keep heat in during the winter can prevent heat escaping in the summer, making it even more of a problem,” he added.

Buildings with dark surfaces trap heat because they absorb light instead of reflecting it. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a dark roof reflects only 20% of light, compared to 80% that bounces back off a lightly-colored one.

But some solutions can make the situation worse. Air conditioning brings relief to those indoors, but it makes the outside even hotter by dumping hot air on the streets.

Even worse, it contributes to climate change. With an estimated 1.2 billion electric air conditioning units around the world (a number that is expected to triple by 2050), cooling technology could release enough greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to rise by 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to Rocky Mountain Institute.

That’s why scientists, architects and urban planners are desperately trying to find other ways to cool buildings and streets.

Creating more parks, green roofs and vertical gardens is one way to bring some relief. According to the Environmental Audit Committee, the surface temperature in an urban green space can be as much as 15 to 20 degrees Celsius lower than that of the surrounding streets, which makes the air temperatures 2 to 8 degrees cooler.

As the screens fold and unfold in response to the movement of the sun, they reflect up to 50% of the light. AHR said the screens reduce the need for significant artificial lighting and artificial air conditioning.




France endures its hottest day ever as Europe swelters in heat wave

• • • • •

France recorded its highest-ever temperature on Friday as continental Europe continues to struggle with an intense heat wave.

The mercury reached 45.9 degrees Celsius (114.6 Fahrenheit) in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard department in southern France, according to the French national weather service Météo-France. This is 1.8 degrees higher than the previous record from 2003.

Around 4,000 French schools were closed on Friday and the opening hours of parks and public swimming pools were extended. French authorities have taken a number of radical steps this week to prevent a repeat of the tragic consequences of the 2003 heat wave that left around 14,000 people dead.

Climate scientists have warned that heat waves such as this one are becoming more frequent and increasingly severe because of the climate crisis. Météo-France said the frequency of such events is expected to double by 2050.

Europe has been battling the heat all week, with Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic each recording their highest-ever June temperatures on Wednesday. The German Weather Service said temperature of 38.6 degrees Celsius (101.5 Fahrenheit) was recorded at 2:50 p.m. local time on Wednesday in Coschen, on the country’s border with Poland.

In Spain, firefighters have been battling a 15,000-acre wildfire near Tarragona in the country’s northeast since late on Wednesday. According to the Catalan Fire Brigade, the fire likely started after an improperly stored pile of manure spontaneously combusted, causing sparks. The firefighters said the blaze was one of the worst in Catalonia in the last 20 years. Many European cities are not designed to deal with such temperatures. Air conditioning is less common and public transportation systems often struggle.

While temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit may not seem too high, they are way above seasonal averages for the region, and episodes of intensely hot weather are more common during July and August.

On Friday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said, “Beyond this extreme episode and with climate change, there is one observation: these episodes are getting closer, the abnormal becomes the normal”. “We must prevent the fact that it will be even worse in the coming years,” he added.

“With these temperatures going higher, our entire society must think about adapting to climate change. It’s the problem,” said French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.

Mounting heatwaves are exactly what climate scientists predicted because of rising global temperatures caused by increases in greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and gas, according to Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chairman of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and professor at Potsdam University in Germany.

“Heat waves are on the rise,” Rahmstorf said in a statement earlier this week, comparing recent extreme heat with 500 years of records. “The hottest summers in Europe since the year 1500 AD all occurred since the last turn of the century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002.”



New Zealand family forced to flee as bubbling mud pool appears in garden

• • • • •

A New Zealand family has been forced to abandon its home after a bubbling mud crater appeared in the garden.

Susan Gedye, who lives in the North Island town of Rotorua, woke up in the early hours of Tuesday morning thinking she was experiencing an earthquake. “I got woken up about 2 a.m. thinking ‘oh, there’s a huge earthquake happening here,’ there was a lot of shaking and jolting,” she told Radio New Zealand.

As the shaking continued, she went into her kitchen to investigate, looked out of the window and saw “a big geyser coming out of the ground,” she told the local news station.

Gedye and her family were moved out of the property as a safety precaution, as the pool continued to grow, steaming, bubbling and throwing wet mud.

By Thursday, the pool had started to engulf the resident’s garage, the council said.

Local resident Tīahomarama Fairhall told CNN: “I live below the house that the mud pool is front of. I didn’t hear the explosion but it was all the steam that caught my eye, thinking it was a fire. However that was not the case, as we got closer.”

“We are used to eruptions in our area/city but the size of the mud pool is absolutely huge,” she added.



The world needs to get serious about combating carbon emissions

• • • • •

Innovation has helped humankind tackle some of its biggest challenges. Compasses made sea voyages safer, electric lightbulbs pushed back the limits of darkness, and vaccinations and antibiotics saved lives.

With global emissions on the rise, the world is facing an exceptional challenge that demands a giant leap in innovation. The energy sector, which produces the majority of greenhouse gases, is at the heart of the issue.

Energy-related carbon emissions hit a high last year, making it increasingly hard for the world to meet international climate goals.

Turning this around will require major efforts across a wide range of sectors. First, we need to get emissions on a downward trend — and fast. That will require power companies to generate a lot more energy from renewables like wind and solar, and businesses and consumers to rapidly shift to more energy-efficient cars, trucks, buildings and industrial equipment.

But more solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars aren’t enough to get emissions down to zero, which is what the United Kingdom and a growing number of other countries are aiming to do. Going carbon-neutral will demand significant innovations — and they will have to happen soon enough for the new technologies to become widely used in time to make a meaningful difference.

It’s time to harness humanity’s innovative genius to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.




Air pollution in Malaysia forces 400 school closures, sickens more than 100 children

• • • • •

More than 400 schools in Malaysia have closed this week after air pollution caused vomiting in dozens of students, authorities said.

Since Monday, 104 children have fallen ill in the southern state of Johor because of the pollution, according to local officials.

The closures began on Tuesday and were expected to last until Thursday.

They come just months after toxic waste was illegally dumped in a local river, causing 4,000 people to fall ill and more than 100 schools to close in March.

“We are not sure what chemicals are polluting our area and quick action must be taken. A fine alone doesn’t make sense because this has disrupted many communities in Pasir Gudang.”




‘Climate apartheid’ to push 120 million into poverty by 2030, UN says

• • • • •

The world is facing a “climate apartheid” between the rich who can protect themselves and the poor who are left behind, the UN has warned.

A new report published on Tuesday estimated that more than 120 million people could slip into poverty within the next decade because of climate change.

We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”


As extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and hurricanes become more frequent, the world’s poorest people will be forced to “choose between starvation and migration,” the report warned.

“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” Alston said.

“Even the unrealistic best-case scenario of 1.5 (degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by 2100 will see extreme temperatures in many regions and leave disadvantaged populations with food insecurity, lost incomes, and worse health,” the report said.

Yet despite the warnings, most countries are not on track to meet their climate targets. The European Union last week failed to agree a net zero emissions deadline, President Donald Trump has taken the US out of the Paris Agreement and the G20 is preparing to water down its climate promises, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Tuesday’s UN report has again highlighted the need for nations to recognize that basic human rights — to life, food, housing, and water — will be dramatically affected by climate change, especially if they fail to take action.



Europe to experience ‘intense heat’ in multi-day heat wave

• • • • •

Europe will be struck by a “potentially dangerous” heat wave next week, according to forecaster Accuweather, with temperatures expected to reach a high of 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday and Thursday.

The expected heat wave is the result of “a storm stalling over the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure over central and eastern Europe,” which will “pull very hot air from Africa northward across Europe,” Accuweather said.

Spain will feel the first wave of “intense” heat over the weekend, before the high temperatures spread into France, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Italy. The heat wave could last until the start of July, Accuweather predicted.

“Although brief, this heat wave could be remarkable for how early it has come as well as its intensity,” Meteo-France said.

A heat wave also scorched Europe in 2018, resulting in multiple deaths in Spain and Portugal and drought conditions in Germany and Sweden. The continent experienced its hottest August on record the same year, according to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts’ Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The World Weather Attribution initiative associated the 2018 European heat wave with climate change, saying, “the probability to have such a heat or higher is generally more than two times higher today than if human activities had not altered climate.”

“With global mean temperatures continuing to increase heat waves like this will become even less exceptional,” the global association of climate institutes said.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018 was the world’s fourth hottest year on record, after 2016, 2015 and 2017.



‘I’m scared for my daughter’: Life in India’s first city that’s almost out of water

• • • • •

The problem is Chennai has become the first major Indian city to face an acute water shortage.

Every morning, millions of residents line up daily to fill cans and pots of water from state water trucks across the city.

Some residents get their rationed quota of water daily, while others get it once a week. People are having to wash utensils in the same dirty water, saving a few bottles of clean water to cook food.

But it is the city’s essential services that have been the hardest hit: hospitals, businesses and schools have struggled to stay afloat.

“I have never encountered a situation like this … smaller hospitals like ours are not given any importance,” she added.

With the ongoing water shortage, businesses across the city have been forced to shut down and have no option but to wait for the crisis to pass.

Four reservoirs, which supply Chennai’s water, have almost run dry. And the groundwater levels have dropped drastically over the years.

“Because the level of water in the reservoirs has gone down, and due to less rainfall … a drinking water problem has arisen in Chennai,” said Edappadi K. Palaniswami, chief minister of Tamil Nadu Friday.

The shortage in India’s sixth largest city is symbolic of a crisis that is being felt across a country battling with one of its longest heatwaves, which has killed at least 137 people.

India has been inching closer to a debilitating water crisis for months. With poor water management and unsupervised groundwater extraction, experts said that 600 million of India’s 1.3 billion people are facing acute water shortage.

According to a report released by Niti Aayog — a government-run think tank — 21 major cities including New Delhi will run out of groundwater by 2020.

“This crisis is further driven by a poorly defined legal framework for groundwater that rests ownership with landowners and leads to unchecked extraction. This crisis is most acute in the Indian agriculture sector, where groundwater accounts for 63% of all irrigation water,” states the report.

“I’m scared for my daughter,” Sridhar said. “If we already have water problems now, how am I going to make sure that she has water to drink tomorrow?”



Asia Stands up to ‘Waste Colonialism’

• • • • •

Growing populations and rising levels of urbanization across the Asia-Pacific region have led to a mounting crisis: how to manage the increasing amounts of plastic waste produced. The problem of waste in the region is exacerbated along economic lines, with wealthy countries exporting the majority of their rubbish to the developing nations of the Asia-Pacific.

The problem of waste in the region has built up over the last 40 years. As the world’s reliance on plastics grew, so too did our garbage. In the 1980s, developed nations began tightening legislation surrounding waste disposal and health standards. As a result, in order to avoid their own environmental regulations and the high cost associated with them, wealthy nations began to export their rubbish to developing nations. Rather than managing and containing their own plastic and hazardous waste, developed nations exported it by the container load to developing nations, which lacked adequate facilities to store or dispose of it. In the 1980s a new term was coined to describe this practice: “Waste colonialism.”

By 2012, China was importing nearly half of the world’s waste. However, last year, China disrupted the global waste trade by banning the import of plastic and other waste materials. Wealthy nations scrambled to find new countries to export their waste to.

Waste is now being kept in warehouses in Australia, Canada, and the United States waiting to be exported.

Much of the “recyclable” waste sent to the developing nations is unsorted and in a condition unsuitable for recycling. Even if it is in a recyclable condition, many of the import countries lack the proper management facilities and instead resort to landfills or incineration, increasing the environmental impact on the oceans and air quality.

For many years, the economic benefits of importing waste seemed to outweigh the societal and environmental harms. However, across the region the mood is quickly shifting. A clean environment is seen as a right for all nations, not just the wealthy.

Developing nations are no longer willing to receive metric tonnes of untreated, unsorted rubbish. Refusing foreign countries’ rubbish has become a patriotic stance, and the idea of waste colonialism has reappeared.

There is still room for improvement in the regulation of the global waste trade. The world’s second largest waste producer, the United States, is not a party to the Basel Convention; e-waste is a rising problem; and there is a lack of international support in creating adequate waste management facilities in the Asia-Pacific.



Tsunamis warning lifted in Japanese coastal regions after earthquake

• • • • •

Japan’s meteorological agency has issued a tsunami warning after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded at 10:22 p.m. Tuesday (9:22 a.m. ET) off the coast of Yamagata Prefecture in the north of the country.

Tsunamis are “expected to arrive imminently” in the coastal areas of Yamagata, Niigata and Ishikawa, the agency said, with an advisory issued for four coastal regions.

The meteorological agency has advised residents to evacuate those coastal regions immediately and to not enter the sea or approach the coastal regions until the advisory has been lifted.



Photo of sled dogs walking through water shows reality of Greenland’s melting ice sheet

• • • • •

The incredible photo he took, of sled dogs ankle deep in a wide expanse of light blue water, quickly went viral, destined to join pictures of starving polar bears, shrunken glaciers, stranded walruses and lakes turned bone dry in the pantheon of evidence of our ongoing climate catastrophe.

Scientists have been predicting a record year for melting on the Greenland ice sheet for months, and the amount of ice already being lost this early in the summer suggests they’re right.

The effect is also cumulative — the more ice lost early in the summer causes greater melting as the weeks go on. This is because white snow and ice reflect the sun’s rays back into space, reducing the amount of heat absorbed and keeping the ice cold. The less ice there is, the less heat is reflected, and the more melting occurs.

Thomas Mote, a research scientist at the University of Georgia who studies Greenland’s climate, told CNN last week that while previous melt periods occurred in 2007, 2010 and 2012, “we didn’t see anything like this prior to the late 1990s.”

This could have a major effect on sea level rise, one of the most dangerous effects of climate change that could drive millions of people living in coastal communities from their homes.

“Greenland has been an increasing contributor to global sea level rise over the past two decades,” Mote said, “and surface melting and runoff is a large portion of that.”

Just as an early melt in Greenland can cause more melting later in the year, the loss of ice can have an amplifying effect on global temperatures because less heat is reflected off the planet. That heat causes sea temperatures to rise, which then causes more ice to melt, causing a cycle that is only broken when winter arrives and the Arctic begins to freeze again.

But with winters becoming warmer and warmer as the global climate catastrophe continues, the risk is that one day the cycle doesn’t stop or even slow, and instead of huskies in Greenland ankle deep in water, it’ll be people in Manhattan. And that will only be the start of their problems.



Future summers will ‘smash’ temperature records every year

• • • • •

If you think it’s hot now, you haven’t seen anything yet. A new study predicts that parts of the world will “smash” temperature records every year in the coming century due to climate change, “pushing ecosystems and communities beyond their ability to cope.”

The scientists who authored the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, used 22 climate models to game out exactly how hot these summer temperatures would be. They determined that by the end of the 21st century, future temperature events “will be so extreme that they will not have been experienced previously.”

Researchers conclude that high monthly mean temperature records will be set in 58% of the world every year. Developing countries and small islands will experience the greatest impact.

The temperature increase is directly tied to rising global greenhouse gas emissions, the authors say.

Since 1901, the Earth’s surface temperature has gone up by 1.3-1.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.7-0.9 degrees Celsius, per century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The surface temperature nearly doubled 2.7-3.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.5-1.8 degrees Celsius, since 1975, with the 10 warmest years on record occurring after 1998.

Heat waves will be deadly. Heat stroke, breathing issues, heart attacks, asthma attacks, kidney problems are all a big concern for people when the temperatures increase, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Higher temperatures can also make air pollution worse, make water scarce and cause crops to fail, leading to malnutrition and starvation.

In 2014, the World Health Organizationpredicted 250,000 more people will die annually between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change. More recent studies predict that this is a “conservative estimate.”



A blackout left tens of millions in South America without power. Officials still don’t know what caused it

• • • • •

Argentina’s energy secretary said he does not believe a cyberattack caused a massive power outage that left tens of millions of people in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in darkness for several hours on Sunday.

The blackout comes as concerns rise over governments’ abilities to disrupt other nations’ power systems. The New York Times reportedon Saturday that the United States is escalating cyber attacks on Russia’s electric power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system.

A spokesperson for the Buenos Aires-based utility company Edesur said the outage “is the first generalized blackout that Argentina has had in its history,” Alejandra Martínez told CNN affiliate TN.

Because Argentina’s grid is connected to neighboring Paraguay and Uruguay, residents in those countries as well as parts of Chile and southern Brazil were also affected.



‘Massive failure’ leaves Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay with no power, utility says

• • • • •

A “massive failure” in an electrical interconnection system left Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay completely without power, and for many customers, restoring electricity would take all day, a utility distributor said Sunday.

The outage “is the first generalized blackout that Argentina has had in its history,” Edesur spokesman Alejandra Martínez told CNN affiliate TN.

The three countries experiencing total blackouts are home to a collective 55 million people.



Over 200 dead dolphins were found from Louisiana to Florida. That’s triple the usual number, NOAA says

• • • • •

A total of 261 bottlenose dolphins were found stranded between Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle, officials said.

That number is “three times the historical average in the northern gulf,” said Erin Fougères, a marine mammal stranding program administrator for NOAA.

“We are seeing higher numbers in Mississippi and Louisiana and we are concerned about fresh water,” Fougères said. “It’s an exceptionally wet winter for the entire United States and it’s the wettest winter in the Mississippi Valley in the past 124 years.”

“Some of the dolphins have had freshwater skin lesions that are common with freshwater exposure,” she said.

Investigators are exploring everything, including freshwater spilling into the Gulf from the wet winter, food supply and possible lingering impacts from the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

“We urge the public to report any sick, stranded or dead dolphins to the local stranding network,” Rowles said.



Greenland lost 2 billion tons of ice this week, which is very unusual

• • • • •

Over 40% of Greenland experienced melting yesterday, with total ice loss estimated to be more than 2 gigatons (a gigaton is equal to 1 billion tons).

While Greenland is a big island filled with lots of ice, it is highly unusual for that much ice to be lost in the middle of June. The average “melt season” for Greenland runs from June to August, with the bulk of the melting occurring in July.

To visualize how much ice that is, imagine filling the National Mall in Washington DC with enough ice to reach a point in the sky eight times higher than the Washington Monument (to borrow an analogy Meredith Nettles from Columbia University gave to the Washington Post.)

This much melting this early in the summer could be a bad sign, indicating 2019 could once again set records for the amount of Greenland ice loss.

White snow and ice, which is bright and reflects the sun’s rays back into space, reduces the amount of heat that is absorbed and helps to keep the ice sheet cold (a process known as “albedo”).

“These melt events events result in a changed surface albedo,” according to Mote, which will allow more of the mid-summer sun’s heat to be absorbed into the ice and melt it.

Jason Box, an ice climatologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, predicted in late May that “2019 will be a big melt year for Greenland.”

Box pointed out that this year had unusually early season melt days in April, and the melt season was “happening about three weeks earlier than average, and earlier than the record-setting melt year of 2012.”

That high pressure ridge pulls up warm, humid air from the Central Atlantic into portions of Greenland which leads to warmer temperatures over the ice. The high pressure also prevents precipitation from forming and leads to clear, sunny skies.

Over the past week or two, that high pressure ridge got even stronger as another high pressure front moved in from the eastern U.S. (the one that caused the prolonged hot and dry period in the Southeast earlier this month).

If these extreme melt seasons are becoming the new normal, it could have significant ramifications around the globe, especially for sea level rise.



At least 36 people dead in one of India’s longest heatwaves

• • • • •

At least 36 people have died this summer in one of India’s longest heat waves in recent history, Anshu Priya, a spokeswoman for India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), told CNN.

Intense heat has scorched the country for more than 30 consecutive days, primarily in northern and central India. Temperatures reached 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in New Delhi on June 10 — the highest ever recorded in the capital in June.

In Churu, in the western state of Rajasthan, temperatures exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 1.

A delayed monsoon has contributed to the prolonged hot weather, arriving in southern India around June 8, seven days later than usual. Northern India is still waiting for its annual rains.

Raghavan Krishnan of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology told CNN that the heat waves are becoming “more intense and frequent.”

In summer 2016, the NDMA launched a series of initiatives to mitigate the deadly impact of heat waves, including opening shelters for homeless people, adjusting state government working hours to avoid extreme hot weather, establishing drinking water kiosks, and painting roofs white to reduce heat absorption.

As a result, the country has seen a dramatic drop in deaths from heat waves in recent years. In 2015, more than 2,400 people died in a heat wave. The following year, a heat wave killed just 250 people.



Ebola outbreak enters ‘truly frightening phase’ as it turns deadly in Uganda

• • • • •

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo made the long-feared jump across borders with three cases confirmed Wednesday in Uganda, including the death of a 5-year-old boy who had the virus.

“The young patient – 5- year-old index case of #Ebola died last night. Two more samples were sent to UVRI and have tested positive. We, therefore, have three confirmed cases of #Ebola in #Uganda,” the tweet said, referring to the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

The ministry added that eight people who had been in contact with the family were being traced.

The Congo outbreak is both the second largest and second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

More than 1,300 people have died since it began in August. The epicenter is in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, among the most populous in the Congo and bordering Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome Trust, a UK medical research charity, said that while Uganda was well-prepared to cope with the disease, global health authorities should be ready for more cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries.

“This epidemic is in a truly frightening phase and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon,” he said in a statement.

“There are now more deaths than any other Ebola outbreak in history, bar the West Africa Epidemic of 2013-16, and there can be no doubt that the situation could escalate towards those terrible levels.”

“Ebola is a horrific illness that ravages the human body,” said Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s country director in Uganda. “This first death, of a child, is a sickening reminder of the dangers of this disease.”



Extinct volcano has woken up and scientists say it could erupt ‘at any moment’

• • • • •

A volcano in the far eastern corner of Russia that was previously considered extinct may be waking up — and an eruption could be catastrophic.

“At any moment, an eruption can occur,” Koulakov told CNN. Between 1999 and September 2017, about 100 weak seismic events were detected beneath the volcano, which stands at 9,590 feet above sea level. An “anomalous increase” in seismicity, however, began in October 2017.

Between October 2017 and February 2019, about 2,400 seismic events were recorded.

February saw an earthquake of 4.3 magnitude occur under Udina — the strongest seismic event ever to occur in the area.

Bolshaya Udina shares structural characteristics with another formerly extinct volcano in the region, the Bezymianny, which erupted dramatically in 1956, Koulakov told CNN.

There is around a 50% chance that Bolshaya Udina will erupt, he said!

A sizable eruption could also affect the climate in “completely different parts of the world,” he said. Ash released by the eruption could spread beyond Russia, disrupting air travel.




Tornado leaves trail of destruction in German town

• • • • •

Bocholt, a town in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, witnessed extreme weather conditions early Wednesday, with wind speeds of 181 to 253 kilometers per hour (112 to 157 mph), according to the German Meteorological Service, or DWD.

“There was a tornado in Bocholt last night,” DWD meteorologist Andreas Friedrich told CNN. “It is the fifth confirmed tornado in Germany this year.”

“A total of nine houses were damaged, and about 100 trees have been uprooted,” he said. “Roof tiles were swirled around, and one roof came off completely. Windows and winter gardens were damaged.

“A car was caught by the wind and thrown 10 meters in the air, and other cars parked nearby were damaged.”

He said that one person suffered slight injuries. The incident commander for Bocholt’s fire services noted that the town was “lucky it occurred at night.”

Friedrich said that the weather service often cannot predict such tornadoes through radar or satellite images since the storm systems are too small or low in altitude.

“This morning I came in at 9 a.m. and was called by a local journalist,” he said. “A few minutes later I was in contact with the ESWD (European Severe Weather Database).

“Based on the damage patterns that were analyzed and reports from eye witnesses, we came to the conclusion that the damage we saw in Bocholt could have only been caused by a tornado.”

The meteorological service warned that heavy thunderstorms can be expected into Wednesday evening and Thursday morning across southwest Germany, with hale and gale-force winds. It said further tornadoes could occur.

In March, a tornado ripped through the German town of Roetgen, damaging more than 30 houses and injuring five people.

Roetgen Mayor Jorma Klauss said that about 10 houses had to be evacuated, and numerous properties suffered broken windows.



India fears new outbreak of lethal Nipah virus

• • • • •

India has put more than 300 people under surveillance after a 23-year-old man was diagnosed with the Nipah virus, a rare and often deadly disease.

Authorities in the southern Indian state of Kerala said Wednesday that they had identified 311 people who may have come in contact with the man and four other people displaying symptoms of the disease. All of them are under observation and have been told not to leave their homes.

The disease has resurfaced a year after an outbreak killed 17 people. More than 230 people were tested during that outbreak, which caused widespread panic in the Northern Kerala region.

The disease has resurfaced a year after an outbreak killed 17 people. More than 230 people were tested during that outbreak, which caused widespread panic in the Northern Kerala region.

Nipah is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans and has a death rate of 40% to 75% for the infected. A Nipah infection can show zero symptoms, or it can cause fatal encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), with a range of possible wide spread complications.

The natural host is a particular family of bats, Pteropodidae, which can spread the severe disease to farm animals, including pigs. According to the CDC, “transmission of Nipah virus to humans may occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV infected people.”

The first case in the 2018 outbreak was suspected to have been caused by fruit bats, which were discovered in an unused well at the home of the victim, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).



Climate change could pose ‘existential threat’ by 2050: report

• • • • •

Twenty days of lethal heat per year. Collapsed eco-systems. And more than one billion people displaced.

Those are all probable scenarios that could devastate societies by 2050 if swift and dramatic action isn’t taken to curb climate change, according to a think tank report backed by a former Australian military chief.

The paper, by the Melbourne-based Breakthrough National Center for Climate Restoration, is not a scientific study, but an attempt to model future scenarios based on existing research.

It paints a bleak future in which more than a billion people are displaced, food production drops off and some of the world’s most populous cities are left partially abandoned.

Its foreword is written by Chris Barrie, a retired admiral and former head of the Australian Defense Force, who said that “after nuclear war, human-induced global warming is the greatest threat to human life on the planet.”

“Without a doubt (climate change) is a huge threat to human civilization,” he said. “It’s the details that we need to pin down.” King said that while he expected all of the issues mentioned in the paper to be occurring by 2050 — such as displacement of people and food shortages — it remained to be seen how widespread they would be.

The future predicted by the report is one of potential global catastrophe. Authors David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, both longtime climate researchers, warn that climate change at present poses a “near-to-mid-term existential threat to human civilization.”

hey drew on existing scientific research and “scenario planning” to forecast that if global temperatures rise 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 Fahrenheit) by 2050, 55% of the world’s population across 35% of its land area would experience more than 20 days of lethal heat per year, “beyond the threshold of human survivability.”

Across West Africa, tropical South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, there would be more than 100 days a year of deadly heat, leading to over 1 billion people being displaced.

Food production would drop off due to the “catastrophic decline” in insect populations, weather too hot for humans to survive in significant food-growing areas and chronic water shortages. With not enough food for the world’s population, prices would skyrocket, the paper’s authors argue.

Rising sea levels would cause people to abandon parts of Mumbai, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Bangkok and Manila, among other cities. Around 15 million people in Bangladesh would be displaced.

“The social consequences range from increased religious fervor to outright chaos,” the paper said. “In this scenario, climate change provokes a permanent shift in the relationship of humankind to nature.”

The UN said that — under a business-as-usual scenario — millions of premature deaths could be expected due to air pollution, mass species extinction affecting the ability to meet human food and resource needs, and freshwater pollutants making antimicrobial-resistant infections a major cause of death by 2050.

Another report out this week, from environmental risk management firm CDP, warned that the world’s biggest companies could face up to $1 trillion in losses due to climate change.

“The goalposts for climate action have never been clearer for companies,” Nicolette Bartlett, CDP’s director of climate change, said in a statement, warning that many costs could kick in within the next five years.



See huge rain-wrapped tornado touch down




Tornado warnings issued in seven states on Wednesday

• • • • •

Parts of Kansas and Pennsylvania are recovering from another terrifying evening of tornadoes — the 13th consecutive day that twisters have struck the US — and millions of people still are at risk of more severe weather on Wednesday.

A massive, rain-wrapped tornado ripped by Linwood, Kansas, outside Kansas City on Tuesday evening, and dozens of homes on Linwood’s outskirts are “all gone,” Mayor Brian Christenson told CNN.

The tornado near Linwood leveled Brian Hahn’s home while he and his family were huddled in the basement under a mattress.

“I could hear it was over us and I saw my bedroom just leave,” he told CNN affiliate KMBC. “It was gone.”

“I feel lucky I’m alive.”

“When you drive around, see the destruction, you realize how lucky we are nobody was hurt,” Scalia said.

More than 39 million people are under an enhanced risk of severe weather Wednesday from northeastern Texas through the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said, with the main threats starting Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service said areas from Texas through the Mid-Atlantic Coast can expect severe storms, with “multiple rounds of storms expected in some areas.”

“A concentration of strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall” will continue in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois with ongoing flash flooding, the weather service said.

Hourly rain totals of up to 2 inches are possible, with some areas seeing up to 3 inches.

Some places will see ‘historic’ flooding

“This is looking to be record-breaking all along the Arkansas River, and this is something we have never seen before,” spokeswoman Melody Daniel said.

“This is the highest the river has ever been in recorded history,” Barling police officer James Breeden told CNN.

Record-breaking May rains

Tuesday’s rain broke records in Kansas City, the National Weather Service said.

The city received 1.56 inches of rainfall which boosted the monthly total to 12.81 inches. The previous record for the month of May was set in 1995 at 12.75 inches.

“This also makes this May the 3rd wettest month for ANY month in (Kansas City’s) 131-year period of record,” the weather service tweeted.

Record-breaking tornadoes in the past month

Three EF-3 tornadoes slammed much of Montgomery County, Beavercreek Township and the city of Celina. An EF-2 tornado touched down in northeastern Montgomery County, south of the city of Vandalia, and another was reported near the village of Laurelville.

There was an EF-1 tornado south of Tarlton and two EF-0 spinners in Miami and Montgomery counties, near Phillipsburg and southeast of Circleville.

In the past 30 days, there have been more than 500 tornado reports across the country.



The world’s rivers are contaminated with antibiotics, new study shows

• • • • •

The world’s rivers are widely contaminated with antibiotics, according to a new global study, the first of its kind.

Researchers from the University of York in the UK analyzed samples from rivers in 72 countries and found that antibiotics were present in 65% of them.

Dangerous levels of contamination were most frequently found in Asia and Africa, the team said, with sites in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria exceeding safe levels by the greatest degree.

The worst case was found at a site in Bangladesh, where concentrations of the drug Metronidazole — which is used to treat bacterial infections, including skin and mouth infections — exceeded safe levels by up to 300 times.

Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in their samples. They found Trimethoprim — a drug primarily used to treat urinary tract infections — at 43% of the river sites tested, making it the most prevalent antibiotic found in the study.

The data was collected from 711 sites, and from some of the world’s best-known rivers, including the Chao Phraya, Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tiber and Tigris.

Researchers found that high-risk sites were typically next to wastewater treatment plants, waste or sewage dumps and in some areas of political turmoil.

While safe limits were most frequently exceeded in the developing world, data from sites in Europe, North America and South America show that antibiotic contamination is a “global problem,” according to the researchers.

Drug-resistant diseases cause at least 700,000 deaths globally a year, including 230,000 deaths from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, according to a report by the United Nations’ Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Without concerted global action, the authors of the UN report estimate that up to 10 million people a year may die from drug-resistant diseases by 2030.

“Solving the problem is going to be a mammoth challenge,” he said.




Survivor describes storm hitting mobile home @CNN




Peru earthquake leaves one dead and several injured

• • • • •

One person was killed and at least 11 people have been injured in Peru, with a further seven injuries in neighboring Ecuador, after an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck northern Peru on Sunday morning.

The earthquake’s epicenter was at an approximate depth of 115 km, according to preliminary readings from the United States Geological Survey, and it was felt as far afield as Lima, Peru; Caracas, Venezuela; and Quito, Ecuador.

The emergency operations center reported numerous damages to buildings including five schools; two religious temples; and four health centers. Two additional health centers collapsed, said Seijas.

Landslides have been reported in various parts of the country, according to Ecuador’s emergency management agency.

The earthquake was the strongest in Peru in 12 years, Vizcarra said.

On August 15, 2007 a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck about 100 miles south of the Peruvian capital of Lima, killing approximately 514 people




See chaos and destruction from Missouri tornadoes




Climate change concerns sour Germany’s love for cars

• • • • •

In car-loving Germany, climate change has become a leading — but divisive — issue for voters going into European elections.

A new Deutschland Trend poll by national broadcaster ARD, shows that 48% of respondents listed climate change as their biggest concern.

Germany has already committed to reducing carbon emissions next year by 40% from 1990 levels, 55% by 2030 and up to 95% in 2050. It’s not clear though if the country can hit those targets.

“Large segments of the population have now realized that climate change is the biggest threat. As the world steers towards reducing emissions, the carmakers have had to change their former models. And they all have moved away from old lines,” said auto analyst Duddenhofer.

“People have realized that the idea of climate change — a climate crisis — is real,” says Oliver Krischner, a leading member of the Greens party.




414 million pieces of plastic found on remote Australian islands: Study

• • • • •

Almost one million shoes and over 370,000 toothbrushes — they’re among the 414 million pieces of plastic found washed ashore on the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, according to new research.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports Thursday, found that the Australian territory was littered with 238 tonnes of plastic, despite being home to around 500 people.

“Islands such as these are like canaries in a coal mine and it’s increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they are giving us.”

Lavers’ co-author, Victoria University’s Annett Finger, said an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic entered the world’s oceans in 2010 alone. There was an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of ocean plastic debris, she said.




Water every 10 days: The families on the front line of India’s environmental crisis

• • • • •

India is facing the worst water crisis in its history, with 600 million people dealing with high to extreme water shortage. Many people need to rely on tankers to deliver their water.

Ten days since they last received a drop of water. For many families, their containers ran out days ago. They are thirsty and dirty.

“It’s very difficult to live like this,” said Fatima Bibi, 30, who is in charge of organizing water for the slum. “Everything comes from this water. Everything. Drinking, cooking, cleaning, washing.”

India is facing the worst water crisis in its history, with 600 million people dealing with high to extreme water shortages, according to a recent report by Niti Aayog, a policy think tank for the Indian government. An average of 200,000 Indian lives are lost every year due to inadequate supply or contamination of water.

Twenty-one major Indian cities are estimated to run out of groundwater by 2020 — just a year away. As India develops and grows to support its 1.3 billion people, those on the front lines of the crisis say it’s only going to get worse.

“We have too many people for too little water,” said Jyoti Sharma, founder and president of FORCE, an Indian NGO working on water conservation and sanitation. “It’s unfortunate that people don’t see how frightening it really is.”

As arid countries like India get drier due to climate change, Sharma warned that water could soon become a global disparity issue.

One hundred million people, including those in the large cities of Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad, will soon be living in zero groundwater cities, according to the report.

Depleting water tables, drought and mounting debt have caused a deepening agrarian crisis, and suicide among farmers has become a national issue. More than 200,000 have farmers killed themselves since 1995, according to government data collated by Mumbai-based NGO Down to Earth.

India’s waterways have also turned toxic as billions of liters of wastewater — including chemical run off and raw sewage — is pumped into them every day.

“It’s not unending. You cannot do this forever,” Sharma said. “We are reaching the end game.”

Water dictates life here. Men and women out working are called back to the slum if a tanker is scheduled to arrive.

“We take half a bucket of water to bathe everyday, and some days we can’t even have a wash,” said Fatima Bibi. “Water is used to wash the vegetables. We’ll then use it to wash clothes.”

Other countries in similar straits as India, where people are living with water scarcity, include neighboring Pakistan, Ethiopia, and in the US state of California, according to Water Aid.

“There has to be a more collaborative approach towards solving this problem,” he said. “We all should strive to give back to Mother Earth what we are extracting from her.”




Watch 91-year-old dam partially collapse @CNN



There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans

• • • • •

“We don’t know a planet like this.”

That was the reaction of meteorologist Eric Holthaus to news that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached heights not seen in the entirety of human existence — not history, existence.

According to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is over 415 parts per million (ppm), far higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens.

“Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago,” added Holthaus.

During the Pliocene Epoch, some 3 million years ago, when global temperatures were estimated 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than today, CO2 levels are believed to have topped out somewhere between 310 to 400 ppm.

High levels of CO2 in the atmosphere — caused by humans burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests — prevent the Earth’s natural cooling cycle from working, trapping heat near the surface and causing global temperatures to rise and rise, with devastating effects.

Around the world, 37% of the population will be exposed to at least one severe heatwaves every five years, and the average length of droughts will increase by four months, exposing some 388 million people to water scarcity, and 194.5 million to severe droughts.

Flooding and extreme weather like cyclones and typhoons will increase, wildfires will become more frequent and crop yields will fall. Animal life will be devastated, with some 1 million species at risk of extinction. Mosquitoes however, will thrive, meaning a further 27% of the planet will be at risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

That’s all at 2 degrees, a target that is increasingly becoming a hopeful one. At a temperature rise of 3 or 4 degrees, we enter a “hothouse Earth” stage that could render many parts of the planet uninhabitable.

All of this has been predicted for decades now. We also know what needs to be done to stop it — a drastic cut in carbon emissions, reforestation and creation of carbon sinks, and new technologies for carbon capture and other innovations, or, in the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”



WHO warns over spread of measles in Europe as 34,000 cases reported in 2 months

• • • • •

Measles outbreaks will continue to spread in Europe without a robust response, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned as it urged countries in the region to vaccinate vulnerable populations.

There were 34,300 cases recorded in the region in the first two months of 2019, according to a WHO update — triple the 11,436 cases in same period last year. A total of 13 measles-related deaths were reported in Albania, Romania and Ukraine.

“If outbreak response is not timely and comprehensive, the virus will find its way into more pockets of vulnerable individuals and potentially spread to additional countries within and beyond the region,” reads the statement.

Measles cases have been increasing in Europe in recent years, reaching 83,540 in 2018, with 74 related deaths. This compares to 25,869 cases and 42 deaths in 2017, and 5,273 cases and 13 deaths in 2016.



One million species threatened with extinction because of humans

• • • • •

One million of the planet’s eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans, scientists warned Monday in what is described as the most comprehensive assessment of global nature loss ever.

Their landmark report paints a bleak picture of a planet ravaged by an ever-growing human population, whose insatiable consumption is destroying the natural world.

The global rate of species extinction “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years,” according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a UN committee, whose report was written by 145 experts from 50 countries.

Shrinking habitat, exploitation of natural resources, climate change and pollution are the main drivers of species loss and are threatening more than 40% of amphibians, 33% of coral reefs and over a third of all marine mammals with extinction, the IPBES report said.

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” said Sir Robert Watson, IPBES chair, adding that “transformative change” is needed to save the planet.



An early tropical disturbance is heading to Florida

• • • • •

The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially begin for another month, but a tropical disturbance off Florida is threatening to get things kicked off early this year.

The disturbance forced the National Hurricane Center to put out a special tropical weather outlook Wednesday morning since the forecasting center doesn’t begin producing daily tropical outlooks for the Atlantic until the official start of the hurricane season on June 1.

“Some slow development is possible as the disturbance turns northeastward and moves over the western Atlantic,” the center said in the outlook, adding that even if the system doesn’t become a tropical depression or storm, it would still bring heavy rainfall over the Bahamas and Florida Peninsula.

Floridians should prepare for heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding, with the disturbance bringing humid conditions to the state by Thursday and lasting into the weekend.

If the system becomes a tropical storm (or subtropical storm), it will be named Andrea, which is the first name in the 2019 list of Atlantic storm names.



Humans can be blamed for droughts, and they’re about to get worse, study sayss

• • • • •

Human activity has probably had an impact on the world’s risk of drought since the start of the 20th century, according to a new study, which also predicts that droughts related to climate change will get much worse.

This could come at a great cost. Each droughtcosts the United States about $9.5 billion, according to government statistics. It is the second most costly weather disaster, behind tropical cyclones. Droughts can drive up the cost of food, threaten drinking water, increase the risk of wildfires, cause mass migrations and even hurt people’s health.

The research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, finds that greenhouse gases generated by power plants, farming, cars, trains and human activities in general have influenced the risk of droughts.

“The study is the first to highlight that, in addition to direct changes to global and regional temperature and rainfall, global-scale droughts have now also been found to be impacted by human activities,” study co-author Paul Durack, a research scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, told the Australian Science Media Centre. “This is potentially bad news for Australia, and similar climate regions such as California in the US. These regions have experienced devastating recent droughts, and if the model projected changes continue, such droughts will become more commonplace into the future.”

With climate change and the modern increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the authors don’t paint a happy future and instead see one that will experience many more droughts.

“The human consequences of this, particularly drying over large parts of North America and Eurasia, are likely to be severe,” the study concludes.



250 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel; 1-year-old child among those killed in retaliatory airstrikes

• • • • •

Approximately 90 rockets have been fired by Gaza militants towards Israel in the space of an hour Saturday morning, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).



Cyclone Fani makes landfall in Odisha

• • • • •

The death toll caused by Cyclone Fani – the strongest tropical cyclone to hit India in 20 years — has risen to 7, according to Odisha Police Director General Sanjeeb Panda.

Panda adds the deaths happened across four districts in eastern Odisha state and were caused mostly by fallen trees and collapsed walls.

In Bangladesh, 400,000 people on the coast have been evacuated as of Friday afternoon, said Enamur Rahman, the State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief. Authorities aim to have 2.1 million evacuated by evening.

More than 4,000 cyclone shelters have been set up for evacuees, stocked with drinking water, dry food, and medicine. 56,000 officials have been deployed for evacuation and rescue operations.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, tweeted on Wednesday that it had prepared 135 emergency response containers with sleeping mats, blankets, rope, and other resources.

In 1999, the eastern state of Odisha in India was hit by a devastating cyclone that claimed more than 10,000 lives.



More than 1,000 dead in Congo Ebola outbreak

• • • • •

As of Wednesday, 1,510 cases of Ebola have been reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s Ministry of Health reported Thursday.

Friday afternoon Congo’s Ministry of Health said there had been 1,008 Ebola deaths to date.

On average, Ebola — which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging — kills about half of those infected.

The outbreak is the second-deadliest and second-largest in history, topped only by one in West Africa in 2014, when the disease killed more than 11,000 people, according to WHO.



100 million people in path of India’s strongest cyclone in 20 years

• • • • •

What is expected to be India’s strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in 20 years is barreling toward 100 million people on the country’s east coast, prompting officials to begin emergency evacuations.

On Thursday, Tropical Cyclone Fani had strengthened significantly in the Bay of Bengal, with maximum sustained winds of 250 kilometers per hour (155 mph) and gusts of up to 305 kilometers per hour (190 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

With winds expected to be 240 kilometers per hour (150 mph) at landfall, Tropical Cyclone Fani would be the strongest storm to hit the region since a similar system struck Odisha in 1999, resulting in at least 10,000 deaths.

“They are being told what to take with them if they leave and the precautions they need to take if they stay,” said Ameya Patnaik, assistant commandant for the National Disaster Response Force in Odisha.

Fani is expected to bring large storm surges and significant wind damage near the landfall location. Inland flooding will also be a major threat.

Portions of eastern India and Bangladesh can expect 150 to 300 millimeters (6 to 12 inches) of rain, with locally higher amounts regardless of the intensity.



Ebola outbreak in Congo hits record for confirmed cases in single day

• • • • •

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstinethis week warned that meteors are a threat to the planet.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reached a grim milestone, with 27 new cases confirmed in a single day — a record for the current outbreak.

According to the latest figures from the Congo health ministry, the total number of confirmed cases is 1,429 and 66 probable ones. In total, 984 people have died since the outbreak began, while 415 people have been cured.

WHO said that sporadic violence by armed militias, limited health care resources and difficult-to-access locations meant this “outbreak is taking place in one of the most challenging circumstances ever confronted by WHO.”

“I wish I could tell you these events are exceptionally unique, but they are not,” Bridenstine said.



NASA chief warns meteors are a threat to the planet

• • • • •

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstinethis week warned that meteors are a threat to the planet.

“This is not about Hollywood. It’s not about movies. This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know right now to host life,” he said Monday, speaking at the Planetary Defense Conference in Washington D.C.

Bridenstine talked about a February 2013 meteor that exploded over Russia. That meteor blast shook Russia’s Urals region. More than 1,000 people were injured, including more than 200 children, according to news reports.

“It was brighter in the sky than the sun at that point when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. And people could feel the heat from this object from 62 kilometers away,” Bridenstine said.

“When it finally exploded 18 miles above the surface…it had…30 times the energy of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima,” he said, adding it “damaged buildings in six cities.”

More than 4,000 buildings, mostly apartment blocks, were damaged and 200,000 square meters (77,220 square miles) of glass were broken, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported then, citing the Chelyabinsk regional emergencies ministry.

“I wish I could tell you these events are exceptionally unique, but they are not,” Bridenstine said.



World’s largest ice shelf melting 10 times faster than the average

• • • • •

Scientists have discovered that ocean water warmed by the sun is melting part of the world’s largest ice shelf 10 times faster than the overall average.

“The stability of ice shelves is generally thought to be related to their exposure to warm deep ocean water, but we’ve found that solar heated surface water also plays a crucial role in melting ice shelves,” said lead study author Craig Stewart from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The effects of solar heated surface water could have huge consequences for global sea levels, according to the BAS.

Smaller ice shelves floating in warmer ocean water are melting 100-200 times faster than large shelves, said the BAS.

The collapse of the world’s major ice shelves could lead to a sea level rise of several meters or more, the BAS says.



India faces tropical cyclone threat

• • • • •

India is bracing for a significant tropical cyclone later this week, a storm which could be the strongest to strike the country’s coastline in almost five years.

Fani currently has winds of 175 kph (110 mph) and forecasts call for those winds to increase to 215 kph (135 mph) before the storm makes landfall on Friday. That would be equivalent in intensity to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The last time India had a storm equivalent to a major hurricane (Category 3 or greater) make landfall was Tropical Cyclone Hudhud in 2014, according to records from NOAA.

Fani has strengthened rapidly and is the strongest storm to move through the Bay of Bengal this early in the year since Tropical Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Nargis went on to strike Myanmar with winds over 200 kph, bringing a devastating storm surge and flooding rainfall that resulted in more than 100,000 deaths in the country.



Almost 3,500 homes destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique, early reports say

• • • • •

At least 3,384 houses have been destroyed and more than 18,000 people displaced in Mozambique by Tropical Cyclone Kenneth, according to initial reports to the country’s National Institute of Disaster Management.

“95 percent of the homes on Ibo have been destroyed. Not only roofs blowing off, but down to the ground,” said Kevin Record who owns a hotel on the island. “We’ve got about 50 people sleeping in our lodge. The situation remains dire. There’s still no power on Ibo and no access.”

More than 30,000 people were evacuated from high-risk areas ahead of the cyclone, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Friday. Almost 750,000 were thought to be in Kenneth’s path, the office said before the storm hit.



The world’s oceans are becoming stormier — and that’s bad news for coastal communities

• • • • •

The world’s oceans have become more turbulent over the past 33 years, with higher waves and stronger winds, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Melbourne.

Stormier oceans could raise the likelihood of coastal flooding and exacerbate erosion, increasing the vulnerability of settlements on the coast, study author Ian Young, a professor of ocean engineering, said.

The biggest change was found in the Southern Ocean, where extreme winds increased by 3.3 miles per hour, or a total of 8% over the 33-year period. The height of extreme waves grew by 30 centimeters (12 inches), or 5%.

“Although increases of 5% for waves and 8% for winds may not seem like much, if sustained into the future such changes to our climate will have major impacts,” Young told CNN.

“The potential impacts of climate-induced sea level rise are well known. What most people don’t understand is that the actual flooding events are caused by storm surge and breaking waves associated with storms. The increased sea level just makes these events more serious and more frequent,” he explained.

“There will potentially be an impact on coastal flooding and coastal erosion,” he said. “These changes are also important for the design of coastal and offshore structures and even the breakup of the Antarctic ice pack.”

“The coastal region is very much affected by the changes in wave conditions,” Masselink said. “Storms are getting more intense, but those intense storms are also happening with a rising sea level — it’s a double-whammy effect.”



The world is sadder and angrier than ever, major study finds

• • • • •

It’s not just you — the world really is getting more miserable.

People across the earth are sadder, angrier and more fearful than ever before, according to a major analysis of global well-being.



Another tropical cyclone is taking aim at storm-wrecked Mozambique

• • • • •

Another tropical storm is heading toward Mozambique, the southern African nation still reeling from the historic death and devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai.

“Residents along the Mozambique/Tanzania border should make preparations for storm surge along the coasts, heavy rainfall, and hurricane-force winds,” NASA warned.

The storm could strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, with winds up to 195 kph (120 mph). That would make it stronger than Idai was when it hit central Mozambique and could rank it among the strongest storms to ever hit the country.

Tropical Cyclone Leon-Eline remains the strongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique. It ripped through the region in 2000, with winds stronger than 210 kph (130 mph) and killed about 800 people.



51 people killed in South Africa floods

• • • • •

The flooding began on Monday after heavy rain caused mudslides in several towns in Durban, the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, government spokesman Lennox Mabaso told CNN.

Mabaso said there were reported incidents of collapsed buildings, walls and flooded homes in the area.

Makeshift shelters and food are being provided for those displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the flooding.



Philippines 6.1-magnitude earthquake leaves 11 dead, 30 feared trapped



Greenland is melting even faster than experts thought, study finds

• • • • •

Climate change is eliminating giant chunks of ice from Greenland at such a speed that the melt has already made a significant contribution to sea level rise, according to a new study. With global warming, the island will lose much more, threatening coastal cities around the world.

Forty percent to 50% of the planet’s population is in cities that are vulnerable to sea rise, and the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is bad news for places like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mumbai.

The researchers found that the rate of ice loss has increased sixfold since then — even faster than scientists thought.

Earlier studies that have documented similar ice loss trends for the area, suggesting that even if governments take action to reduce greenhouse gases and slow climate change, it may be too late to stop it.

“We ought to be prepared for this and also take urgent action to slow down the melt down,” Rignot said.



We’re losing the war on climate change

• • • • •

For years now, people like environmentalist and journalist Bill McKibben have been screaming from the treetops that we need a World War II-scale mobilization to fight the scourge of climate change.

They’re right, of course. And on Earth Day — that 24-hour sliver of the calendar when we talk about the fact that humans exist on, and because of, a living planet — it’s clear not only that we are losing this war but that we still are failing to recognize it’s taking place at all.

But the scale of the outrage in no way matches the magnitude of this disaster, which, like WWII, threatens to cripple or even obliterate human life on the planet as we know it.

We’ve known the truth about climate change — that people are burning fossil fuels and warming the atmosphere, with potentially catastrophic consequences — for decades now.

Last year, the world’s climate science experts — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — released a report issuing some deadlines based on the harsh realities of science and math. They said global carbon pollution must be cut in half by 2030 and reduced to net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, which include drowned coastal cities, worsening storms and the virtual end of coral reefs.

Part of the issue is a failure to recognize the magnitude of the problem — or, as others have written, a failure to care about the massive debts we are pushing onto future generations.

It’s now possible to see human fingerprints on these catastrophes. Hurricane Harvey in Texas; the 2016 floods in Baton Rouge; Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which killed an estimated 2,975 people, according to an analysis by George Washington University. Each was linked to — or was shown to have been made worse by — global warming.



The most effective ways to curb climate change might surprise you



Video shows moment earthquake strikes in Taiwan



A deadly storm system now threatens 90 million people with destructive weather — including major cities

• • • • •

The severe weather threat Sunday places nearly 100 Million Americans at risk of dangerous storms, tornadoes, hail and severe wind gusts, CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.

Tornadoes embedded in the storms pose a significant risk overnight since they are difficult to see and people are less likely to receive warnings while they’re asleep, Van Dam said.

“Potential for widespread severe thunderstorms Sunday across much of the Eastern US. Damaging winds are expected to be the primary threat, but a few tornadoes are also possible. Some storms may also produce large hail or torrential downpours resulting in localized flash flooding,” the National Weather Service tweeted.

There were reports of multiple injuries in the Robertson County town of Franklin, the NWS said, and CNN affiliate KWTX reportedwidespread damage there. Trees were pulled up by the roots, roofs torn off buildings and the cinder block foundation was all that was left of a mobile home in the town, which is southeast of Waco.

The entire town of Franklin and neighboring Bremond lost electricity, with 3,088 customers cut-off across the county early Sunday.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said the warm air present during Saturday afternoon enhanced the atmosphere’s instability, creating more energy for storms to tap into and aiding in their development.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned of a confirmed tornado around 10 p.m. local Saturday (11 p.m. ET).

“A confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located near Longview, or near Starkville, moving northeast at 35 mph. This is a particularly dangerous situation. Take cover now!” it tweeted.

Police in Monroe County, Mississippi, described destruction after a storm came through Saturday evening.

“It looks like a storm came up through Louisiana and into Mississippi and exploded in Monroe County,” Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell told CNN.

The National Weather Service issued a tweet warning Central Alabama to be alert overnight.

“Central Alabama, don’t let your guard down as you head off to bed. Severe thunderstorms that have produced damaging tornadoes in central MS will begin moving into our state in the next couple hours. Get those weather radios and phone apps TURNED ON,” its Birmingham office said.



Another ‘bomb cyclone’ is hitting the Rockies and the Plains with blizzard conditions

• • • • •

A powerful “bomb cyclone” is whipping the Rockies and Plains for the second time in four weeks, dropping snow that is making travel miserable from Colorado to Minnesota and beyond, delivering a temperature shock to a region that had been enjoying more springlike conditions.

And it wasn’t the only major weather threat in Wednesday’s forecast, with a risk of wildfires in parts of the Southwest, where dry conditions and wind gusts near hurricane strength could push any spark to disaster.

More than 4 million people are under blizzard warnings from Wednesday into Thursday, including parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

The Plains could get more than 2 feet of snow by Friday morning, and South Dakota could be the hardest hit, with more than 30 inches possible. High winds are making travel even more treacherous.

It’s rare enough to have one form inland, much less two in a month. More typically, bomb cyclones form off the US East Coast in the form of nor’easters.

The Red River is experiencing significant flooding because of melting snow, with this new storm likely prolonging the high water.

Extreme wildfire threat in the Southwest

High winds and dry conditions combine for an extreme wildfire threat in parts of New Mexico and West Texas on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Winds gusted as high as 75 mph — right at hurricane strength — in New Mexico, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. Winds reached 60 mph in West Texas.



Anthrax is killing wildlife, and it’s putting humans at risk, too

• • • • •

Anthrax outbreaks in wildlife and livestock often stir concern because the disease can spread to humans who might come in contact with an infected animal or eat meat or drink milk from an infected animal.

“Anthrax is difficult to control, and outbreaks can be very difficult to predict,” she said. “A seasonal pattern of anthrax outbreaks has actually been described, particularly related to cycles of heavy rainfall that are followed by periods of drought when it’s very dry and hot.”

“Anthrax is only one of many, many diseases that are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread between animals and humans,” Cossaboom said.



Iran flooding kills 70 after record rainfalls

• • • • •

Seventy people have died in flooding in Iran after record rainfalls began saturating parts of the country last month, state-run media reported.

The semi-official Mehr News agency says record rainfalls since March 19 have so far flooded some 1,900 cities and villages across Iran, causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to water and agriculture infrastructures.

“Over 140 rivers have burst their banks and some 409 landslides have been reported in the country, it reported, adding that 78 roads had been blocked and 84 bridges in flood-stricken areas affected.

“Red Crescent volunteers and staff have evacuated hundreds of people to safety, and have distributed food and items such as tents, blankets and health kits to tens of thousands of people,” the organization’s Middle East and North Africa director, Sayed Hashem, said.



CO2 levels at highest for 3 million years — when seas were 20 meters higher

• • • • •

The last time carbon dioxide levels were this high, Greenland was mostly green, sea levels were up to 20 meters higher and trees grew on Antarctica, according to scientists who warned this week that there is more CO2 in our atmosphere today than in the past three million years.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere today is “unnatural”, lead-author Matteo Willeit told CNN.

Willeit said that according to the simulation CO2 levels should not be higher than 280 parts per million (ppm) without human activity, but that they are currently 410 ppm and rising.

Professor Martin Siegert from Imperial College London, speaking at the event, said the findings offered a view of the earth’s future if drastic steps are not taken to address global warming.



Toxic air pollution to shorten children’s lives by 20 months, report says

• • • • •

Air pollution will shorten the life expectancy of children by 20 months on average, with kids in South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan most vulnerable, a new report says.

Kelly said that the report confirmed that India and China accounted for more than 50% of the 5 million deaths globally due to air pollution.



Trump disbanded it, but climate change panel regroups to release its report

• • • • •

The Trump administration may have shut down the government advisory committee on climate change started by President Barack Obama, but its members considered the work so important that they did not stop working.

The latest version of that report, released in November, determined that climate change is already hurting the United States and that it could cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars and will kill thousands of Americans.

With the support of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the state of New York and the American Meteorological Society, the panel warns that the country continues to be in harm’s way because of its failure to act.

Calling climate change a “global catastrophe,” Cuomo said that he supports the committee’s efforts to help local leaders because the problem needs urgent attention.



Infants too young for vaccination infected in Australian measles outbreak

• • • • •

“Measles spreads like wildfire,” said the World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Takeshi Kasai. “It is the most contagious human disease, and it’s very good at seeking out and spreading among even small groups of people who are not immune.”

“In recent months, we’ve seen how swiftly and easily measles can make a comeback in communities where not enough children have been immunized,” said Kasai.

Measles cases in the Western Pacific in 2018 increased by 250%. More than two-thirds of these were in the Philippines, which has also seen 23,000 cases, with 333 deaths, so far this year. Most victims were aged under five.



Tourists scramble to avoid a wave caused by a glacier collapse



Canada’s Changing Climate Report

• • • • •

Canada is warming up faster than the rest of the world, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Environment and Climate Change Department.

Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, told CNN that the report confirms what’s already known, “North America, and especially Canada, is seeing even more rapid warming than the planet on the whole, and the impacts are now readily apparent.”

“In the case of Canada, climate change threatens its very identity, melting its glaciers and ice, shortening its iconic winters by turning snowfall into rain, and flooding its beautiful coastlines,” Mann said. “This latest report drives home the fact that climate change is a dire threat now, and if we don’t act to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, that threat will only worsen with time.”

Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, said climate change matters because “it affects us here and now.”

“Warmer conditions bring summer heat waves, record-breaking floods and wildfires, sea level rise, permafrost thaw, invasive species, and a host of other impacts we’re not prepared for,” Hayhoe said. “Understanding how climate is changing in the places where we live and what this means for our future is key to ensuring our future is better, not worse than, today.”

In November, the US Global Change Research Program released a report saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its gross domestic product (GDP) — by the end of the century.

“The global average temperature is much higher and is rising more rapidly than anything modern civilization has experienced, and this warming trend can only be explained by human activities,” said David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

The report also says more people will be exposed to more foodborne and waterborne diseases, particularly children, the elderly, the poor and communities of color.



Canada is warming at twice the global rate, report says



Warming oceans are killing dolphins, study shows

• • • • •

After a heat wave struck the waters of Western Australia in 2011, scientists noticed that warmer ocean temperatures caused fewer dolphin births and decreased the animal’s survival rate.

Scientists have long known that a warmer ocean is bad news for animals. The warmth stresses the entire ocean food web, studies show. Warmer oceans hold less oxygen, which can cause massive fish kills. Corals, home to many fish and other sea creatures, are also extremely temperature-sensitive. Heat waves between 2016 and 2017 killed half the corals at the Great Barrier Reef, for instance.

What can stop it? “Stop using fossil fuels,” Krützen said. Increased fossil fuel use is directly causing climate change, studies have shown.



‘Tragic showcase’ of how climate change could affect world’s poorest

• • • • •

Nearly two weeks since the powerful cyclone destroyed most of the city of Beira, Mozambique, it is a long way from normal. “There’s no money, no groceries,” Alben, a fisherman, said while sitting in his wooden pirogue on a local beach.

Known for its busy port and views of the Indian Ocean, the 19th-century city used to be the fourth largest in the country. Now Beira will go down in history as being “90% wiped out” by global warming, said Graça Machel, a former Mozambican freedom fighter, politician and deputy chair of The Elders, who spoke to CNN on the phone after visiting the city.

“This is one of the poorest places in the world, which is paying the price of climate change provoked mostly, not only but mostly, by the developed world,” the 73-year-old added.

Climate change is often described as a problem that will affect future generations. But the world’s most vulnerable are already facing its devastating effects.

The United Nations estimates that 4.2 billion people have been hit by weather-related disasters in the last two decades, with low-income countries suffering the biggest losses

“High rates of poverty, a lack of resilient infrastructure, slums and a disappearance of protected infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries” create a cocktail of risk, said the UN’s McClean.

But cities, towns and villages may not stand a chance to withstand the scale and intensity of extreme weather events, which have “more or less doubled in the last 40 years,” he said

As events in Mozambique, Bangladesh and the Philippines have shown, climate change is a problem of the present. Not just the future.



Venezuela darkened by third major blackout this month

• • • • •

As electricity fails, so does the water supply, leaving millions without access for days. In most hotels, running water is available for only short periods at certain times of the day. Shortages have been felt even in wealthier neighborhoods, with some people saying they haven’t had running water for two days.



‘Doomsday vault’ town warming faster than any other on Earth

• • • • •

Inger Hanssen-Bauer, senior researcher at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and editor of a new report about Svalbard, says the climate in Longyearbyen is probably warming faster than in any other town on Earth. That’s because of accelerated Arctic warming — as rising temperatures reduce ice and snow cover, less sunlight is reflected and more solar energy is absorbed by the darker surfaces that have been exposed.

According to Hanssen-Bauer, the annual mean temperature in Longybearbyen in 1900 was -7.8°C. Since then, it has risen by 3.7°C — more than three times the global average of around 1°C. The town increasingly experiences days when the temperature exceeds zero. “All the projections show that this will continue,” she says.

In December 2015, a fierce storm triggered an avalanche that sent snow, ice and rocks hurtling down a mountain onto houses, killing a 42-year-old man and a two-year-old girl. Christiane Hübner says her dogs narrowly escaped death in 2016 when a mudslide hit the yard where the animals live. In 2017, a second major avalanche hit the town and destroyed more homes.

Perhaps most worrying of all, the thawing permafrost could fuel further global warming.

“Permafrost holds an immense amount of carbon — enough to double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere” says Frans-Jan Parmentier, an Arctic climate scientist who conducts research at a station just outside Longyearbyen.

Kim Holmen, of the Norwegian Polar Institute, says that Longyearbyen’s story is a “forewarning” for other parts of the world. Assumptions that present day climate change “is not so serious,” have been proven wrong, he says, adding that the increasing strength and frequency of extreme events “needs attention.”

In Longyearbyen’s case, the avalanches “have changed the mood in the village quite dramatically,” says Holmen. “We identified ourselves as people who could ‘stand the storm.'”




Cyclone Idai: Death toll rises to 750 as Mozambique city of Beira begins long road to recovery

• • • • •

Much of the city’s telecommunication and satellite infrastructure was completely destroyed in the storm.

Electricity has been similarly affected, with pylons and telephone poles left broken or submerged — making it difficult to charge mobile phones and other devices. Credit card payments cannot be processed in many places and there are large queues outside ATMs.



Australia braces for tropical cyclones

• • • • •

A severe tropical cyclone made landfall in northern Australia on Saturday with wind gusts of up to 250 km/h (155 mph), and another one is approaching the west of the country.

The regional government issued a flood watch, with the system expected to deliver rainfall totaling 100-200 mm on Saturday and Sunday.
The Australian Defense Force has deployed 200 personnel to the Northern Territory, which has a population of 244,000. They will help in what state authorities have declared “the largest pre-cyclone evacuation in the Territory’s history.”

A second system, known as Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica, is approaching Western Australia and expected to cause a “severe coastal impact” when it makes landfall on Sunday, according to a cyclone notice from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

“Veronica may be traveling more slowly than a typical system as it crosses the coast during Sunday morning, and as a result communities in the path of the cyclone should prepare to shelter from the destructive winds for an extended period of 12 hours or more,” warned the Bureau of Meteorology.



Harrowing scenes after Cyclone Idai with inland ocean visible from outer space

• • • • •

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that the destruction left by the cyclone is “worse than we imagined” and warned that the humanitarian needs “will tragically only deepen in the coming weeks.”

“Already, some cholera cases have been reported in Beira along with an increasing number of malaria infections among people trapped by the flooding,” read the statement

“The agony of not knowing what happened to your loved one in a disaster like Cyclone Idai is indescribable,” Diane Araujo, an ICRC delegate deployed to Beira, said in a statement.

Thousands of people are congregating in informal camps in desperate conditions, according to UNICEF representative Marco Luigi Corsi, who has traveled to affected areas.

“Dead bodies had floated up (and the) current of the flood water had washed the bodies up against the road,” said Taylor. “The road had subsided about 10 inches (25.5 centimeters). So these bodies had been washed up against the main highway.”

Taylor said the smell of bodies and livestock was palpable.
“I’m 6 foot 2 inches (187 centimeters), but the force of water at knee level was powerful,” Taylor said. “You had to pay attention and concentrate where you put your feet.”

After hitting Mozambique, Cyclone Idai tore into Zimbabwe killing many people as they slept.

The 83-year-old husband of one Chimanimani resident was buried alive when their bedroom collapsed on them last Friday.

“We were sleeping in the house around 10 p.m. in the evening and it was raining. It kept on pouring when rocks sliding from the hill started hitting our house,” said the 59-year-old.

“The stones we built our house with collapsed on us, and then I yelled, ‘oh my, I’m dying!’ The soils had filled my mouth, nose and ears. Water filled the house to almost my neck level … I started to shake my husband’s body to no avail. He was already dead.”

“I want some shelter, I have none,” said one Chimanimani resident. “I have no blankets. No pots. My plates, sofas were all destroyed … I do not know if I will survive or not.”



Glacier melt on Everest exposes the bodies of dead climbers

• • • • •

“Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, told CNN.

The association’s treasurer, Tenzeeng Sherpa, said that climate change is affecting Nepal rapidly, saying that in parts glaciers are melting by a meter every year.



Cyclone survivors clinging to rooftops in Mozambique as they await rescue, aid officials say

• • • • •

People in cyclone-hit areas of Mozambique are clinging desperately to rooftops in areas virtually submerged by flood water, awaiting aid and rescue, the charity Save the Children has said.

“Thousands of children lived in areas completely engulfed by water. In many places, no roofs or treetops are even visible above the floods. In other areas, people are clinging to rooftops desperately waiting to be rescued,” said Machiel Pouw, Save the Children’s response leader in Mozambique.

“Flying sheets of metal decapitated people. People are very bad here, some are in hospital… we don’t have any help here… it’s getting bad, we’re eating badly, we’re sleeping badly and we don’t have homes,” Rajino Paulino said.

Nyusi described seeing “bodies floating” in the water after two rivers broke their banks “wiping out entire villages ” and isolating others. “It’s a real humanitarian disaster of large proportions,” said Nyusi.

“As the effects of climate change intensify, these extreme weather conditions can be expected to revisit us more frequently. The devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai is yet another wake-up call for the world to put in place ambitious climate change mitigation measures,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.



Severe water shortages could plunge England into ‘jaws of death’ in 25 years, warns environment agency

• • • • •

Climate change and rapid population growth could leave England facing severe water shortages in the next 25 years and thrust the country into the “jaws of death,” the head of the UK Environment Agency warned on Tuesday.

By 2040, more than half of UK summers are predicted to be hotter than in 2003, and rivers’ water supply could fall by between 50-80%, he said.



A meteor exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere with 10 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb

• • • • •

While you were living your life on December 18th, 2018, a giant space rock exploded 16 miles above the Earth’s surface, giving off 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima. No big deal.

With an impact energy of 173 kilotons, December’s fireball was the second-most powerful to enter Earth’s atmosphere in 30 years. You may recall the first — it was that huge, blinding fireball that rocked parts of Russia in 2013.



Cyclone Idai may have killed more than 1,000 in Mozambique, President says

• • • • •

Cyclone Idai may have killed more than a thousand people in Mozambique, the country’s President, Filipe Nyusi, said in an address to the nation broadcast on national radio Monday.

He called the situation a “real humanitarian disaster of large proportions.”

“Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut, and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” LeSueur, who is heading the organization’s investigations into the damage, said in a statement.



Billionaire bunkers: How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse

• • • • •

Say “doomsday bunker” and most people would imagine a concrete room filled with cots and canned goods.

The threat of global annihilation may feel as present as it did during the Cold War, but today’s high-security shelters could not be more different from their 20th-century counterparts.

Many of the world’s elite, including hedge fund managers, sports stars and tech executives (Bill Gates is rumored to have bunkers at all his properties) have chosen to design their own secret shelters to house their families and staff.



Cyclone Idai sweeps across Zimbabwe, killing dozens

• • • • •

“Speaking to local media, Zimbabwe Red Cross Operations Director Karikoga Kutadzaushe said the situation is “quite dire,” adding that people displaced by the devastation are in immediate need of shelter.

UN officials estimate that severe flooding has affected 1.5 million people in Mozambique and Malawi, where more than 120 people reportedly have been killed.



Two lives lost as Nebraska struggles with state’s worst flooding in 50 years

• • • • •

The “bomb cyclone” slammed the central US with hurricane-like winds and blizzard conditions this week, leaving in its tracks heavy rains and flooding.



At least 50 killed in flash floods in Indonesia



‘Bomb cyclone’ is more than clickbait

• • • • •

“The term “bomb” is a colorful one, originating from the speed at which the atmospheric pressure changes. On average, air pressure at sea level is about a thousand millibars (1,013.25 for the science wonks). Pretty much all weather originates from the changing of pressure, which can stem from temperature fluctuations, among other things. Changes of 12 millibars over 24 hours are relatively common. However, in order to be a bomb, the pressure must change by one millibar or more per hour for at least 24 hours. The recent storm, which experienced a change of 33 millibars from Tuesday to Wednesday, certainly satisfied that criterion.



The ‘ecological foundations of society’ are in peril, a massive UN report warns

• • • • •

But our window for action is closing fast. If we continue business as usual, the authors warn, we can expect:
Millions of premature deaths caused by air pollution across large swaths of Asia, the Middle East and Africa by the middle of this century.
The continuation of a major species extinction event, impairing Earth’s capacity to meet human food and resource needs.
Freshwater pollutants making antimicrobial-resistant infections a major cause of death by 2050.

Addressing climate change is a top priority
Air pollution remains a major public health problem as the main environmental contributor to disease around the globe. All told, air pollution results in 6 million to 7 million premature deaths and losses of $5 trillion each year.
“Many people see that [environment protections] are in the best interest of themselves, as well as the next generation, because it’s basically the best gift they can give to their children,” said Ghassem Asrar — director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a coordinating lead author on the report’s section on pathways to sustainability.



70 million are in the path of ‘bomb cyclone’ set to strike the central US, bringing snow, hail and rain



Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says power recovery will come ‘little by little’



Huge power outage leaves most of Venezuela in darkness



The world’s top 100 most polluted cities in 2018



Tornadoes Becoming More Powerful



Incredible Damage from Tornado in Talbotton, Georgia



Massive Colorado avalanche caught on camera



22 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India

• • • • •

“Air pollution steals our livelihoods and our futures,” said Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “In addition to human lives lost, there’s an estimated global cost of 225 billion dollars in lost labor, and trillions in medical costs. This has enormous impacts, on our health and on our wallets.”

“What is clear is that the common culprit across the globe is the burning of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — worsened by the cutting down of our forests,” Sano said.

Climate change “is making the effects of air pollution worse by changing atmospheric conditions and amplifying forest fires,” the report said.



Global climate targets will be missed as deforestation rises, study says

• • • • •

International targets to cut emissions and limit climate change will be missed due to rises in deforestation and delays in changing how humans use land, a new study warns.



Australian river swells to 37 miles wide due to flooding, creates its own weather system



Queensland floods: 500,000 cattle survived years-long drought only to die in the rain



A winter storm in Hawaii has produced strong winds, high surf, and yes, even snow

• • • • •

Strong winds knocked down trees and branches on roadways and structures and tore down traffic lights and power lines, causing power outages.

The winds could potentially damage roofs and poorly built structures, forecasters say.

“For perhaps the first time ever, snow has fallen in a Hawai’i State Park. Polipoli State Park on Maui is blanketed with snow. It could be the lowest elevant snow ever recorded in the state. Polipoli is at 6,200 feet elevation,” the DLNR said.



With climate change, what will your city’s weather feel like in 60 years?

• • • • •

(CNN) — Within your child or grandchild’s lifetime, the weather may be dramatically different because of climate change.

By 2080, many cities will probably experience “novel climates with no modern equivalent.”

Nearly all cities in the eastern United States, including Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, would have climates much more similar to those of cities hundreds of miles away to the south and southwest.

Urban populations are considered highly sensitive to climate change, the study said.



Nearly 100 children dead from Ebola in Congo as crisis worsens



The last five years were the hottest ever recorded

• • • • •

A warming climate doesn’t simply heat up summers and keep winters from getting as cold as they used to: It can also disrupt weather patterns, making storms stronger and rain events more intense. It can change when and where snow falls or lakes freeze.

But the ever-increasing heat is also a challenge for humans and living creatures around the world. Heat waves from Europe to Australia roiled the planet this past year, breaking temperature records and fueling devastating wildfires.

In 2018, NOAA says, there were 14 weather and climate events that cost the country hundreds of lives and $1 billion dollars or more, for a total of at least 247 deaths and $91 billion in damages.

The forecast for coming years points to more of the same.
The U.K.’s Met Office predicts that 2019 will likely be even warmer than 2018!



2018 was the U.S.’s third-wettest year on record—here’s why

• • • • •

On Wednesday, NASA and NOAA announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. But the impacts of a warming planet extend beyond just warming air; the feverish state of the planet is also changing when, where, and how intensely rain and snow fall.

“In a warming climate, one of the things we anticipate seeing is precipitation extremes at both ends,” —meaning the wet places are likely to get wetter and the dry places drier.

Karin Gleason, a meteorologist at NOAA
Why is this happening?

There is growing scientific evidence that a warming planet fuels stronger, wetter storms.
Warm oceans evaporate more water into the air. And warm air holds more water than cooler air—think of a sauna, where the water vapor can hang so thick it’s hard to breathe. So the toasty oceans feed more vapor into the atmosphere. Then, when storm systems come along to sweep that moisture-rich air onto the continent, out rains the water.



Climate is the biggest risk to business (and the world)

• • • • •

Climate and environmental issues dominate a ranking of top global risks produced by the World Economic Forum ahead of its annual summit in Davos.

Business leaders and experts surveyed by WEF said that extreme weather, migration caused by climate change and natural disasters are the three risks they’re most likely to face in 2019.

Natural disasters and extreme weather caused around $160 billion worth of damage in 2018, according to reinsurance company Munich RE. Control Risks, a consultancy, predicts that figure will be surpassed in 2019.

“From storms to floods to droughts and forest fires, the costs of interrupted production, distribution, sales and travel will skyrocket in 2019,” the group said in its annual risk report.

In a landmark climate report last year, the United Nations last year called for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” It warned the world has only 12 years to avert a climate disaster.



Earth’s magnetic north pole is hurtling toward Russia

• • • • •

But its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model — used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and US and British militaries — a year ahead of schedule.
There have been a few theories about why the pole’s movement has increased in recent years — from around 6 miles a year between 1900 and 1980 before accelerating to around 24 to 31 miles a year in the past two decades. Some scientists think a jet stream of molten liquid is pushing the north pole, while others have suggested that the south and north magnetic poles are reversing positions.



New video of Brazil dam burst
Check out this story on CNN.



Sightings of rare oarfish in Japan raise fears of earthquake and tsunami

• • • • •

Traditionally known as “Ryugu no tsukai” in Japanese, or the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace,” legend has it that they beach themselves on shores ahead of underwater earthquakes. But scientists dispute such claims.
“There is no scientific evidence at all for the theory that oarfish appear around big quakes. But we cannot 100% deny the possibility,” Uozu Aquarium keeper Kazusa Saiba told CNN.
“It could be that global warming might have an impact on the appearance of oarfish or a reason we’re just not aware of.”



Meteorites strike western Cuba

• • • • •

Residents in Viñales, Cuba, heard a “large explosion” Friday afternoon.



Australia is sweltering through record-breaking heat. And the worst is yet to come

• • • • •

CSIRO scientist Grose told CNN that analysis of previous Australian heatwaves had found a “very clear” relation to human-caused climate change.

“We’re expecting more heat extremes and more records to be broken in the future, as well as a greater incident of heatwaves,” he said.



Snow squalls bring near-whiteout conditions to Northeast



Polar vortex: Your questions answered



Extreme weather is so bad in some parts of the country, even the US Postal Service won’t be going out

• • • • •

“The coldest air in a generation is sinking south, with below-zero temperatures already in the Upper Midwest,” CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said Tuesday. “And the worst yet to come.”



Here’s your answer when someone asks ‘How can it be so cold if there’s global warming?’

• • • • •

“It is not ‘Where You Live Warming,’ it is ‘Global Warming,'” Shepherd told CNN.



75% of the US population will suffer below-freezing temps this week

• • • • •

Some states could suffer the coldest air in a generation, the National Weather Service said. About 220 million people — or 75% of the continental US population — will endure below-freezing temperatures this week.



As Venezuela creeps towards starvation, soldiers lose patience



34 dead and hundreds missing in Brazil dam collapse, fire department says



Climate change: The more we know, the worse it seems

• • • • •

Roughly three million years ago, in an epoch called the Pliocene, was the last time carbon dioxide levels were
as high in the atmosphere as they are now. In other words, today’s CO2 concentrations
— at about 410 parts per million — are higher than at any time during the existence of Homo sapiens.

But it’s the rate of change that is really off the charts, even geologically. Humans are now transferring 10 billion tonnes
of carbon from the earth’s crust — in the form of combusted coal, oil and gas — into the atmosphere each year.

This is a rate of carbon release probably 10 times faster than anything scientists can find in the geological
record for the past 300 million years, including cataclysmic volcanic eruptions that are linked with several of the mass
extinctions of life that have occurred during that time.

Just recently scientists announced that the oceans are warming much faster than they had previously thought.
The amount of heat now being absorbed in the seas equates to the energy generated by exploding at least three
Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs in the oceans every second, according to a calculation by The Guardian.

Another example is the worsening of climate extremes, like hurricanes. In 2007 I imagined a monster storm, worsened
by global warming, hitting Houston in about 2040. Well that happened already too — in 2017 Hurricane Harvey poured so much
water on the Houston area that it equated to the flow of Niagara Falls for 110 days.

The flooding from hurricanes is often aggravated by storm surges, which are worsened in turn by rising sea levels.
There is news here too: this week scientists announced that the melt rate in Antarctica has increased six-fold since the 1980s,
which contributes to sea-level rise.

Perhaps the scariest thing of all is that millions of people — including the President of the United States — are still climate skeptics.
For them, conspiracy theories and mass psychological denial serve to justify business as usual.

To think that young people alive today will experience all of this within their lifetimes is an extraordinary thought indeed.



The world is two minutes from doom

• • • • •

Humanity faces two dire and simultaneous existential threats: nuclear weapons and climate change. Tragically, things did not improve on either front in the last 12 months.



‘The only thing we can do is adapt’: Greenland ice melt reaching ‘tipping point,’ study finds

• • • • •

“The only thing we can do is adapt and mitigate further global warming — it’s too late for there to be no effect,” said Bevis.

Eight of Earth’s 10 largest cities in the world are near coasts, and 40% to 50% of the planet’s population live in areas vulnerable to rising seas.



Winter storm threatens millions with snow and ice in the Midwest and Northeast



Australia suffers through searing temperatures as heatwave reaches its peak

• • • • •

“Based on the extent and duration, this is the most significant heatwave to have affected inland eastern Australia since January 1939,” Simon Grainger, Bureau of Meteorology climatologist, told CNN.



Climate is the biggest risk to business (and the world)

• • • • •

Natural disasters and extreme weather caused around $160 billion worth of damage in 2018, according to reinsurance company Munich RE. Control Risks, a consultancy, predicts that figure will be surpassed in 2019.
“From storms to floods to droughts and forest fires, the costs of interrupted production, distribution, sales and travel will skyrocket in 2019,” the group said in its annual risk report.

– – – – –
The most dramatic example of a company coming under pressure from risks related to the environment is Pacific Gas and Electric.
The California utility company is facing billions of dollars in claims over the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, and it said earlier this week that it would file for bankruptcy on January 29.
The company cited at least $7 billion in claims from the Camp Fire, which caused 86 deaths and destroyed 14,000 homes. It is believed the fire was started when a PG&E power line came in contact with nearby trees.



Stay indoors: Warning issued as Australia’s heat wave hits record highs

• • • • •

“Fish, bat deaths and fruit cooking from the inside”



Antarctica ice melt has accelerated by 280% in the last 4 decades

• • • • •

Rignot told CNN, “I did not expect the cumulative contribution of East Antarctica melt to be so large,” and said the finding is significant because “melting is taking place in the most vulnerable parts of Antarctica…parts that hold the potential for multiple meters of sea level rise in the coming century or two.”



Cargo plane crashes in Iran, killing at least 15



Extreme winter weather brings fatal avalanches and cuts off Alpine ski resorts

• • • • •

“There are locations, mainly in Austria and southern Bavaria, where we haven’t seen this level of snowfall ever before, or at least not to that extreme,” Florian Pappenberger, the director of forecasts at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, said.



What warmer oceans mean for the planet

• • • • •

“The combination melting ice and expanding water could cause sea levels to rise by up to a meter by 2100. Hundreds of millions of people could be forced to leave their homes. Rising sea levels are already causing more flooding in the US, and within the next 30 years, more than 300,000 US homes could be flooded every other week, according to research from the Union of Concerned Scientists.”



Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam

• • • • •

“Recognition is spreading that communities need to build resilience to climatic and coastal threats even as the world seeks ways to curb emissions driving global warming.”

“The spotty nature of adaptation efforts so far can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael—where one reinforced, raised home famously survived, nearly alone, along Mexico Beach, Florida, after the strongest Panhandle hurricane in at least 155 years. In the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, California, and killed 85 people, a sprinkling of houses built and maintained to withstand embers survived, but—again—were the rare exception.”

By Andrew Revkin



Thousands stranded on Thai islands as Tropical Storm Pabuk hits

• • • • •

It is highly unusual for tropical storms and typhoons to make landfall in Thailand. The last time a tropical storm made landfall in Thailand was in 1962, when Tropical Storm Harriet claimed 900 lives.



Tracking Pabuk



Thousands of tourists flee Thai islands as Tropical Storm Pabuk approaches



Watch beach bonfire spark ‘firenados’
Check out this story on CNN.



At least 60 dead after storm Usman hits Philippines

• • • • •

The storm affected nearly 130,000 people, officials said, with dozens of areas facing power outages as a result of infrastructure damage.



7.0 magnitude earthquake shakes southern Philippines



Australia suffers extreme heat wave up to 14 C above average



Indonesia tsunami: Flights rerouted as Anak Krakatau volcano continues to erupt



Italy’s Mount Etna erupts, closing Sicily’s Catania Airport



Tsunami in Indonesia kills at least 168 without warning



1 weather-related death reported in North Carolina amid snow storm



Extreme cold weather turns hot water into ice in China



Melting of Greenland’s ice is ‘off the charts,’ study shows

• • • • •

Greenland’s massive ice sheets contain enough water to raise global sea levels by 23 feet, and a new study shows that they are melting at a rate “unprecedented” over centuries — and likely thousands of years.



David Attenborough: ‘The collapse of our civilizations is on the horizon’



Alaska hit by more than 230 small earthquakes since Friday



7.0 Alaska quake damages roads, brings scenes of chaos



Congo Ebola outbreak is 2nd largest, 2nd deadliest



Climate change is already here, and heat waves are having the biggest effect, report says



World is woefully short of 2 degree goal for climate change, according to UN report



The coldest Thanksgiving in over a century for millions plus traffic troubles



Giant dust storm sweeps across Australian state



Rain may help California firefighters and bring more misery for Camp Fire evacuees



The catastrophic Camp Fire isn’t even halfway done burning, officials predict

• • • • •

“We had homes on fire on each side,” Dan Newman, Butte County search-and-rescue team captain, said “The fire was moving faster than any vehicle could.”



Congo health workers face violence as Ebola virus spreads



Number of missing grows to more than 1,000 in California’s Camp Fire

• • • • •

“So now we are homeless, have no money, are trying to find a place,” Vaughan said. “And if that isn’t bad enough, when I do close my eyes, I see flashbacks of the fire and the people trapped on our streets.



Ebola outbreak worst in history of Democratic Republic of Congo



Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, Gerard Butler among those to lose homes in California wildfires



Death toll rises to 23 in California’s Camp Fire

• • • • •

The three major wildfires in California that have destroyed a record number of buildings and displaced more than 300,000 people.

“The flames were whipping and spreading so fast,” Whitney Vaughan said after fleeing her home in Paradise.

“It began to jump the road. There wasn’t anywhere to go.”



Flash floods in Jordan kill at least 12



In Congo, Ebola outbreak and war spread fear to neighboring nations



Death toll rises to 29 in Italy’s historic storms, flooding



Venice overwhelmed by worst floods in at least 10 years



Hurricane Willa makes landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast



Ebola experts pulled from Congo amid ongoing outbreak



13 dead after floods hit southern France



Hurricane Michael: Dozens still unaccounted for in hard-hit Mexico Beach

• • • • •

“This (storm) hit so hard and so fast that the different aspects of human nature is going to come out, and people are going to do anything to survive,”

Panama City resident Christopher Donahue told CNN affiliate WEAR-TV.



How to talk about hurricanes now



Hurricane Michael’s 155 mph winds
Check out this story on CNN.



Mexico Beach is ‘wiped out’ by Hurricane Michael as other Florida cities are smashed



Michael weakens to tropical storm as it moves across Georgia



Majorca floods leave at least 10 people dead



Michael, now a Category 1 hurricane, expected to strengthen



Flea-borne typhus spreads across Los Angeles area



Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn



Another powerful typhoon barrels toward Japan



Inside a mud-swamped Indonesian town



Indonesia volcano erupts as officials warn time is running out to save trapped tsunami victims



Indonesia tsunami: Death toll rises sharply as desperation grows



She told her friend to ‘run fast’, but the tsunami swept her away



Indonesia accused of mishandling tsunami warnings



Video shows scale of destruction in Indonesia



Indonesia tsunami and earthquake: Rescuers race to aid victims as death toll passes 840



In pictures: Earthquake and tsunami strike Indonesia



Indonesia earthquake, tsunami death toll tops 400, hundreds more injured



‘Medicane,’ a rare, hurricane-like storm, is on track to hit Europe



Earthquakes hit Indonesia, including 7.5 magnitude tremor near Palu



Residents warned to stay out of coastal waters in Florence aftermath



Typhoon Trami: Images show storm from space as it heads for Japan



Pig poop and coal ash a real concern for people in North Carolina floods



Nigeria declares ‘national disaster’ after severe floods kill 100



Hundreds are still trapped from Florence’s flooding, and ‘the worst is still yet to come’



Super Typhoon Mangkhut: Alerts issued as huge storm nears Philippines



Hurricane Florence starts its slow, prolonged assault on the Carolinas



Super Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on the Philippines and Hong Kong



Hurricane Florence, already a monster, is due to strengthen as 1 million people are told to flee the US East Coast



Hunger rising with global temperatures, UN report says



Hurricane Florence prompts mandatory evacuations as it nears Category 5 strength



Florence could threaten East Coast as a major hurricane late next week



Another hurricane is barreling toward Hawaii



Typhoon Jebi leaves trail of destruction in Japan



Air pollution is making us dumber, study shows



Great Barrier Reef headed for ‘massive death’



Hurricane Lane is heading for Hawaii as a dangerous Category 4 storm



Hurricane Lane, a dangerous Category 4 storm, headed toward Hawaii



Check out this story on CNN:
Father, son drive through fire to escape park



8.2-magnitude earthquake strikes in South Pacific off Fiji



Rain receding in Kerala after the worst floods in nearly a century



Congo Ebola outbreak: 78 cases, 44 deaths, 10 health workers infected



Kerala floods: At least 324 dead as rescue teams take to the air



After wreaking havoc in Africa, ‘impossible to kill’ crop-destroying worm reaches Asia



41 deaths from Ebola in Congo; health officials ‘worried’



‘Unprecedented’ floods in Indian tourist hotspot kill dozens; 40,000 evacuated



France floods: One missing and 1,600 evacuated



Puerto Rico admits Hurricane Maria’s death toll may be 1,427



Indonesian island of Lombok hit by 5.9 magnitude tremor days after deadly quake



Lombok hit by 5.9 magnitude tremor days after deadly earthquake