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Seven spectacular weather events – and what causes them
The weather might seem like it creates weeks of dreary, grey drizzle. But it can also put on a truly sensational – and, often, deadly – show. But what explains these explosive events? The Earth’s atmosphere is driven by heating from the Sun. Weather is the response of the atmosphere to the uneven pattern of heat energy that it receives. Visible and ultraviolet light warms the Earth during the day, more strongly at low latitudes, but the Earth emits an almost exactly equal total amount of infrared radiation in all directions. On average, the Earth receives 340 W m-2 from the Sun. About one third of this energy is scattered straight back into space by clouds and ice on the surface. The remaining energy, roughly the equivalent of placing a small radiator every 2m in a lattice covering the Earth’s surface and…
Four killed by wildfires in Western Australia
Four people have died in one of a series of wildfires sparked by lightening in Western Australia, police said on Wednesday, a deadly start to the country’s summer bushfire season. Western Australia police told the Australian Associated Press the deaths occurred in the North Cascade fire near Esperance, in the state’s southwest, where some 300,000 hectares have been burned. The blaze is one of three major fires burning in the state since Sunday. Wildfires are an annual event in Australia, but signs of rising summer temperatures have prompted some scientists to warn that climate change could increase the length and intensity of the fire season.
Earthquake hits Greek island of Lefkada, leaves two dead
A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 6.1 hit the western Greek island of Lefkada on Tuesday, killing two people and causing extensive damage to infrastructure and buildings on Lefkada and nearby islands. The temblor was felt across western Greece, which is very earthquake-prone, with people on Lefkada and the nearby Ionian Sea island of Kefalonia rushing out onto the streets. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the undersea quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 and occurred at 9:10 a.m. off Greece’s western mainland, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of Athens. The U.S. Geological Survey put the preliminary magnitude at…