Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Greece – Torrential rainfall has caused floods in areas of Ileia in southern Greece. The floods have caused disruptions on the Pyrgos-Tripoli national highway at the Strefiou intersection and on the Pyrgos-Kyparissia highway near the Kallikomo community. Problems were also reported in the community of Latzoi in the region of Pyrgos, as well as other areas in the Olenia municipality, due to the overflowing of the River Enipea. Meanwhile heavy rainfall on the Ionian island of Lefkada on Sunday damaged homes, hotels, a local hospital and a police precinct in the region of Vasiliki, according to reports on Monday.

Wildlife

Hawaii Bans Sunscreen to Protect its Corals

For years, we were told to apply sunscreen, and apply it liberally. Whether lying on the sand or snorkeling among the waves, slathering up seemed almost a moral obligation—the slimy, shiny price of enjoying the sun. The risks of skin cancer were absorbed into our psyches as deeply as we once absorbed UV rays—SPF 50 or go home. With the invention of waterproof sunscreen in 1977 and the rise of sun-safety awareness, the chemical-y smell of sunscreen became an unmissable feature of the beach vacation.

But since research now suggests that oxybenzone and octinoxate, which show up in almost all major sunscreens, are harmful to the marine ecosystem, we seem to have a moral dilemma on our sunscreen-coated hands: ruin your skin, or ruin the environment. In a 2015 study, oxybenzone and octinoxate were found to contribute to coral bleaching (the scourge that has more or less destroyed the Great Barrier Reef), slow new coral growth, and disrupt marine life. The study found the chemicals in especially high concentrations in popular tourist waters, especially in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In response, some resorts and tour companies have chosen to ban or educate against nonbiodegradable sunscreens, while the National Park Service recommends being “reef friendly” by choosing sunscreens made with natural mineral ingredients such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide.

Now Hawaii, seemingly unwilling to go down the same path as the Great Barrier Reef, has become the first state to ban the sale of sunscreen containing the coral-killing chemicals. The legislation, which still awaits the governor’s signature, won’t come into effect until 2021, giving sunscreen producers plenty of time to switch over to a safer formula. Hawaii’s ban leaves producers with two options: continue offering chemical sunscreens without oxybenzone and octinoxate or switch over to natural, mineral-based sunblocks.

Global Warming

Almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted

Almost all the ice covering the Bering Sea has melted, scientists have confirmed, throwing communities living around its shores into disarray.

The region’s ice cover normally persists for at least another month, and this year it has vanished earlier than any other year except 2017.

Located in the northern Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia, the Bering Sea is experiencing the brunt of climate change and has already drawn attention this year for unprecedented levels of winter melting. In February, soaring Arctic temperatures led to around half the region’s ice disappearing in the space of two weeks. This trend has continued into spring, and scientists have confirmed that by the end of April just 10 per cent of normal ice levels remained.

A report released by the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has outlined the real-world effects of these stunning environmental changes on the many communities that inhabit the Bering Sea region. The low sea ice is already impacting the lives and livelihoods of people in western Alaska coastal communities by restricting hunting and fishing, which are the mainstays of the economies of these communities. The lack of sea ice in recent months has exposed these communities to the elements, as it normally acts as a buttress against extreme weather events.

Disease

Syphilis – Palm Springs, California, USA

The Riverside County public health staff is warning of a Syphilis outbreak in the Coachella Valley. he county is still sourcing the reason behind the outbreak, but they do know that men who practice sex with men make-up most of the cases. The county’s number of Syphilis cases in Palm Springs and North Palm Springs are ten times more than the rest of the county. The number of cases was not disclosed.