Climate change causes glacial river in Yukon to change direction

from CBC News…

Glacier retreated so much that its meltwater switched course, in an event not documented in modern times.

Climate change has caused the massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon to retreat so much that its meltwater abruptly switched direction, in the first documented case of “river piracy” in modern times.

Instead of flowing into the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea, the water has changed course and now flows south toward the Kaskawulsh River, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, scientists have found.  Read more…

Weekend Wandering 11: EarthLabs

EarthLanbsCongratulations to Carlton College in Minnesota. Through their Science Education Resource Lab (SERC), they have created dozens of Earth Science labs on their EarthLabs website. The labs are designed for high school students to discover, in their words…

What could be cooler than learning about the planet you live on?

The labs are all online with numerous links to data, graphics and animations.

Even better, they have a corollary site EarthLabs for Educators as a guidebook for teachers using the labs. Included are State and National Science Teaching Standards to make it easier to link the labs into courses.

Take a few minutes or, indeed, a few hours to wander through…


Just added – El Niño page

New El Nino page on

New ElNino page on

As we are in the midst of another El Niño, and the affects are being felt far and wide, I thought should reflect that by adding a page devoted to it. There are graphics, videos and links to many sites to help us understand the phenomenon and how it affects people.


El Niño and this strange weather we’re having

ElNinoUnprecedented warm weather here in southern Ontario reminds us of the El Niño weather pattern creating it. Here are some backgrounders just added to the main page of

From National Geographic:

CBC’s take on this:

And, just in case you missed it…

Happy Christmas everyone!

Climate Change done right

It’s quite astonishing that one of the best climate change information sites comes out of a country well-known for its climate change denyers. NASA’s Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet is excellent. The first menu option is FACTS presenting the evidence, causes, effects and consensus exactly as one would expect from good and proper science. If only my own government could do the same – allow scientists to say what’s really going on. [Aside: For those who don’t know, I don’t live in an oppressive developing nation, but in Canada, where our democratically elected government has been muzzling federal scientists (and here) for years now. Yes, it’s the same Canada of UN peacekeeping fame and the country that once promoted openness, fairness and democracy, but has gone through a difficult time under its current right-wing leadership. Perhaps the Oct 19 election will change that.]

It’s also surprising that a whole government agency (NASA) can be saying something that someone who hopes to be president (Donald Trump) calls a complete hoax

Back to the NASA site: In particular, you will find the Infographics page and the EarthMinute animations helpful, especially in a classroom setting. There are also a number of Interactives to allow some independent exploration of the issue. It’s the kind of site you could spend hours exploring. And if you have contact with Mr. Trump, you may want to suggest he reads this!

Weekend Wandering 5 – The 25 Biggest Turning Points in Earth’s History

BBC25I know – it sounds like another “Big History” website, and it is, but in a simpler format. BBC Earth takes us through the big events in a visually-pleasing, easy-to-navigate way with simple (perhaps a bit simplistic) text and animations.

I find the page provides a great overview of Earth history with its strongest quality being that it is not anthropocentric as so many “Earth history” websites are. Humans are left to the very end; let’s face it, we are but a blip in Earth’s history. (Perhaps that’s the next phase of development: 25 Biggest Turning Points in Human History over on BBC History.) Even better, from an Earth science and biology perspective, is how we can learn about each successive stage as Earth as we know it unfolds. I found it easier to make mental connections between events because each was given as an overview and I didn’t get lost in the details. It is especially helpful to students new to Earth science.

Additionally, although the information is presented linearly (of course it would be), one can use the navigation buttons to the right to skip ahead and back as needed. One improvement would be to add a “hover” title or tag to each button so we know where we’re going.

One highlight for me was learning about C4 photosynthesis. I probably learned about it in botany 30+ years ago, but the short article sparked my interest and caused me to search for more information about it.

So, in one sense, where I would like to see this site develop further is in providing “places to go” to answer the myriad questions spawned by the one, simple paragraph of text per “Turning Point”. Instead of the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ icons, how about links to further knowledge?!

But perhaps that, too, is a strength in that the pages are not polluted by more links. With the world at our fingertips, further questions can be answered with a quick Google/Bing search, albeit, that, too, leads to visual pollution and a form of knowledge pollution with the thousands of “answer” pages out there. I suppose, one could always visit for more information – perhaps you’ll find the answer there! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend!

How big is space?

bbcspaceGeography has traditionally been rooted on or in the ground of planet Earth. To Geographers, “space” and “spatial” refer to an area of land, but more and more, the knowledge and skills of Geographers are being applied to the Space around Earth and the planetary bodies found there.

So, this BBC website – How Big is Space? – is especially helpful for students new to Earth and Space Science to better understand just what we’re talking about when we say “Space”. It has many references to the history of space exploration and features and phenomena of Earth’s atmosphere and Space itself.

Oddly, though, and perhaps a result of the confines of webpages, the rocket takes off and proceeds downwards as one scrolls the webpage (almost as if the site was designed, tongue-in-cheek, by a group of Aussies). I suppose no one has invented a way for webpages to start at some bottom point and scroll upwards to better reflect the reality of blasting off “up” into space!