Hungary to start the world’s first wild seed bank

The world’s first gene bank for wild plants is to be established in Hungary, reports geographic.hu, the online version of National Geographic magazine’s Hungarian edition. The collection would be stored at the Institute of Agrobotany in Tápiószele, Pest County, and store the genes of 85,000 types of cultivated plants, making it Europe’s fifth largest agrobotany gene bank.
colchicum.jpg

Colchicum hungaricum (Magyar kikerics), one of Hungary’s protected plant species that lives only on the highest hill in the Villány Hills, the Szársomlyó, in Baranya County.

Read moreHungary to start the world’s first wild seed bank

Warming could trigger insect food frenzy

Global warming could bring about a veritable insect explosion, if past performance is an indication of future gains.

Just such a buggy invasion swarmed parts of the northern United States during an abrupt global warming event more than 50 million years ago, a new study of leaf fossils shows.

The study’s findings, detailed in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that the same thing could happen during our current period of warming.

leaf-fossil.jpg

This fossilized leaf shows where insects ate away at the plant some 50 million years ago during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Read moreWarming could trigger insect food frenzy

Tens of thousands camp out after Indonesian quake: official

JAKARTA, Feb 21, 2008 (AFP) – Tens of thousands of people camped outside their homes on the Indonesian island of Simeulue after a 7.5-magnitude quake that killed three, an official said Thursday.

The quake hit just off the remote island located near Sumatra on Wednesday, triggering panic across the region lashed by the earthquake-triggered 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed 168,000 people in Indonesia.

Read moreTens of thousands camp out after Indonesian quake: official

Cyclone heads to Mozambique tourist area and Madagascar

MAPUTO, March 13 (Reuters) – The tropical cyclone that has lashed parts of Mozambique, killing 10 people, is expected to hit the southern tourist region of the country before gathering speed on its way to Madagascar, authorities said on Thursday.

Cyclone Jokwe struck ferociously last Friday, displacing 55,000 people, destroying electricity pylons and uprooting trees in the northern Nampula province.

“It is too dangerous for shipping. It is now over the Mozambique channel on its current course and is likely to strike both Mozambique and Madagascar again,” Mussa Mustafa, head of the National Institute of Meteorology, said in an interview.

Read moreCyclone heads to Mozambique tourist area and Madagascar

Climate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today.It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%.

Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer.

It predicted that there would be an increase in skin cancers due to increased exposure to sunlight and that, over the next half century, air pollution could lead to an extra 1,500 deaths and hospital admissions a year.

While malaria outbreaks were likely to remain rare, the report – Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008 – said health authorities would need to be alert to the dangers posed by possible larger outbreaks of malaria in continental Europe.

eggborough460.jpg

Eggborough power station, near Selby. The report says climate change
could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people.
Photograph: John Giles/PA

Read moreClimate change soon could kill thousands in UK, says report

Fossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum more than 55 million years ago, insects chewed large holes in this leaf.

paleocene-eocene-thermal-maximum-leaf-fossil-bg.jpg

More than 55 million years ago, the Earth experienced a rapid jump in global carbon dioxide levels that raised temperatures across the planet. Now, researchers studying plants from that time have found that the rising temperatures may have boosted the foraging of insects. As modern temperatures continue to rise, the researchers believe the planet could see increasing crop damage and forest devastation.

Read moreFossil Record Suggests Insect Assaults On Foliage May Increase With Warming Globe

Finnland – areas normally covered in snow and ice…

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:23:42 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15687-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:23:42 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Southern Finland had only 20 days of snow, compared to 70 days normally,
while neighboring Estonia had to cancel a popular cross-country ski
marathon in the southern city of Tartu in early February. “I don’t
remember winter like this. We had almost no snow at all in February,”
said Merike Merilain, chief weather forecaster at Estonia’s
meteorological institute, EMHI. “It’s been emotionally very stressful,
especially to many older people, that it’s dark and rainy all the time,”
she added. The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the mild winter
partly resulted from strong southerly and westerly air currents caused
by exceptionally warm surface temperatures of the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, the higher temperatures have only fueled concern that
greenhouse gasses are changing the climate, especially in the sensitive
Arctic region.

“When we were young, back in the ’80s, then winter existed,” said Ronny
Ahlstedt, 28, who works at an outdoor ice-skating rink in downtown
Stockholm. “We are contributing to this warm weather by letting out all
this pollution in the air.” In areas normally covered in snow and ice,
spring-like temperatures have brought premature sightings of flowers
such as winter aconite, snowdrops, wood anemone, daffodils and
coltsfoot. Finland’s coasts are clear of ice up to 350 miles north of
Helsinki, said Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Institute of Marine
Research. “It’s most unusual because now the whole sea should be frozen
along the Finnish coast.” Railway traffic is also being helped by the
warmth. More than 90 percent of all trains this winter have been on time
or less than five minutes late, according to the Finnish state railway,
VR. “Hard frosts and heavy blizzards have always been a bane of rail
traffic. This winter has been punctuated by their absence,” VR spokesman
Herbert Mannerstrom said.

Sweden: Winter ended before it started in Europe’s north

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:22:55 – Climate Change – Sweden

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15686-SWE
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:22:55 [UTC]
Area: Sweden, , Statewide,

Description:Icebreakers sit idle in ports. Insects crawl out of forest hideouts.
Daffodils sprout up from green lawns. Winter ended before it started in
Europe’s north, where record-high temperatures have people wondering
whether it’s a fluke or an ominous sign of a warming world. “It’s the
warmest winter ever” recorded
, said John Ekwall of the Swedish
Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. In December, January and
February, the average temperature in Stockholm was 36 degrees – the
highest on record since record-keeping began in 1756. Record winter
highs were set at 12 other locations across the country, according to
the national weather service, SMHI. Migratory birds have returned from
southern latitudes prematurely. In southern Sweden, they never left.
“The birds that have stayed are robins and chaffinches,” said biologist
Lars-Ake Janzon at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. “They stayed
because there hasn’t been any snow.”

The warm weather also has stirred life inside the vast forests of the
Nordic and Baltic countries, where insects such as ants and ticks
emerged early from winter shelter. For businesses, the mild weather has
been a mixed blessing. For winter sports enthusiasts, the green winter
has been a nightmare. Small ski resorts around Stockholm never opened,
and skating enthusiasts waited in vain for ice to form on the waterways
surrounding the Swedish capital. “There’s not one millimeter of ice,”
said Anders Tysk, organizer of the annual Vikingarannet ice-skating race
on Lake Malaren. After postponing the race several weekends, he had to
tell 500 registered participants on Monday there would be no race this
year. “It’s the first time we’ve canceled since we introduced flexible
dates in 2003,” he said.

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a winter season since 1900

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary

2008-02-29 03:52:25 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080229-15599-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-02-29 03:52:25 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Finland this year has recorded its highest average temperature for a
winter season since 1900, the Finnish Meteorological Institute said
Thursday. The average temperature in the Finnish capital Helsinki in
January was 0.6 degrees Celsius, which was 4.8 degrees higher than that
of the period between 1971 and 2000, said the institute. Global warming
and unusually constant warm currents from the south and the southwest
may have contributed to the extraordinarily mild winter, the institute
added. A recent poll showed that eight out of ten people see climate
change as a great threat and most Finns would be willing to take more
economic responsibility for global climate change.