Climate

Tens of thousands trapped in Mexico floods
November 2, 2007 11:37 AM - Luis Manuel Lopez, Reuters

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Mexicans were trapped on rooftops and others clung to lampposts on Thursday after heavy rains flooded nearly the entire southern state of Tabasco.

At least 500,000 people were made homeless and one person was killed in the worst flooding the swampy state has seen in more than 50 years.

President Felipe Calderon said it was one of the worst natural disasters in Mexico's history.

Television images showed rescue workers hauling people out turbulent, brown waters that rose as high as the roofs of houses. Children floated down a street in a plastic tub.

Quake in west Japan could kill 42,000: report
November 2, 2007 08:10 AM - Reuters

Up to 42,000 people could be killed if a strong earthquake struck the Osaka metropolis and surrounding areas of western Japan, government experts said.

The worst-case scenario would be a magnitude 7.6 tremor shaking central Osaka on a winter morning around 5 a.m., as the deadly Kobe earthquake did in 1995, said a report issued by the Central Disaster Management Council on Thursday.

Noel becomes hurricane, moves toward Bermuda
November 1, 2007 09:47 PM - Michael Christie, Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Noel, whose rains have killed at least 108 people in the Caribbean, strengthened into a hurricane in the Atlantic on Thursday as it moved away from the Bahamas toward Bermuda, U.S. forecasters said.

The center of Noel was about 810 miles west-southwest of Bermuda by 8 p.m. EDT and its maximum sustained winds had reached near 75 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Noel is now a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest level on the Saffir/Simpson scale.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the northwestern Bahamas as Noel moved farther away on a long-anticipated shift to the north-northeast that would eventually bring it as a possibly fierce but nontropical storm to Nova Scotia, Canada.

Climate Bill Seen as Sign of Political Shift
November 1, 2007 08:47 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A milestone, a landmark and "the political center of gravity is finally shifting on global warming."

Those accolades greeted a Senate subcommittee's approval on Thursday of a bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because it is the first of a dozen such measures that might have a chance of becoming law.

The approval vote, 4 to 3 ,means the bill will be debated in the full Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by longtime environmentalist Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Australian man killed in water-rage attack
November 1, 2007 12:31 PM - Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage. Australia is in its sixth year of severe drought and most towns and cities have imposed strict limits on household water use, prompting a rise in suburban arguments and neighbors informing authorities about those who waste water. In the latest incident, police said 66-year-old Ken Proctor was using a hose to water the front lawn of his suburban Sydney home when a man walking past made a remark about water waste.

Storm warning in Florida as Noel edges northward
November 1, 2007 11:00 AM -

MIAMI (Reuters) - Southeast Florida came under a storm warning on Thursday as Tropical Storm Noel edged northward off the peninsula's Atlantic coast after dumping days of torrential rain in the Caribbean and killing at least 91 people. The storm had grown in size and some of its outer winds could reach coastal areas of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, U.S. forecasters said, but the worst of its fury was expected to rumble over the northwestern Bahamas as strong westerly winds carried Noel eventually to the northeast. The storm's winds were "close enough to the Florida coast that any deviation to the left of the forecast track would bring them on to the Florida coast," hurricane expert Jack Beven at the U.S. National Hurricane Center wrote in a report. "Thus a tropical storm warning is being issued at this time for the immediate coastal area of Miami-Dade and Broward counties."

California wildfires unleash climate-warming carbon
November 1, 2007 09:43 AM - Deborah Zabarenko -Reuters

California wildfires pumped nearly 8 million metric tons of climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in just a week, about one-quarter as much as fossil fuels do in that state in a month, scientists said on Wednesday. The release of carbon dioxide in wildfires is part of the natural cycle in which burning plays an important role, the scientists reported in the online journal Carbon Balance and Management. And the ebb and flow of carbon that is alternately sucked up and emitted by plants is different from that spewed by fossil-fueled factories and vehicles.

Nordic nations sound alarm over melting Arctic
October 31, 2007 02:18 PM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - Nordic nations sounded the alarm on Wednesday about a quickening melt of Arctic ice and said the thaw might soon prove irreversible because of global warming. Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland also urged all governments to agree before the end of 2009 a broader U.N. plan to curb greenhouse gases in succession to the Kyoto Protocol. "The Arctic and the world cannot wait any longer," environment ministers from the five nations said in a joint statement after talks in Oslo. The five all have Arctic territories.

La Nina seen persisting into 2008
October 31, 2007 01:58 PM - Reuters

A "La Nina" cooling of sea temperatures is under way in the Pacific Ocean and the phenomenon is likely to persist into next year, the United Nations weather agency said on Wednesday.

 

Even with "blue skies," is Beijing's air safe?
October 31, 2007 01:03 PM - Emma Graham-Harrison

Beijing has vowed that next year's Olympic Games will take place under blue skies, but even on an apparently clear day the pollution levels may not be safe for athletes. In an attempt to clean up the capital and appease the International Olympic Committee, factories have been closed, construction halted and cars cleared from the roads in an effort to lift the grey cloak that often shrouds the city.

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