By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Naveen Thukral
BAN NONG TOR, Thailand/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Looking out at his empty, red-earth field, Thai farmer Puang Timdon said his two-week-old maize crop didn’t stand a chance against the fall armyworm pest.
„All the 8 rai (1.28 hectare) I planted were all heavily infested,” said the 42-year-old from his farm in Ban Nong Tor town in Pak Chong district, 180 km (120 miles) northeast of the capital Bangkok.
„The worm ate the whole field in three days, leaving so much damage that it wasn’t worth saving.”
Fall armyworm, a caterpillar that got the name because it invades croplands in droves, much like an army, has rapidly spread across Asia since it was detected in southern India late last year. Fields in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan have fallen victim. In Thailand, it has badly affected the country’s corn crop, much of which is sold to the animal feed industry.
In recent months, the pest has also been found in 18 of China’s 33 provinces and regions and is now threatening to spread across the key corn region in the northeast. China is the world’s second biggest corn consumer and producer.
„It is a major issue for crops. It could pose a food security threat,” said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank. „Management cost is an issue for small farmers.”
Graphic: Spread of fall armyworm in Africa and Asia https://tmsnrt.rs/2XYNbIX
Marjon Fredrix, an agricultural officer at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said some countries have reported damage to crops hit by the pest at 1.2% to about 10%, while others had put the figure at 20% to 40%.
„Once the fall armyworm has arrived, it can’t be eradicated, and farmers will have to manage it,” Fredrix said.
A dip in the production of corn, largely used in Asia to feed animals, could force hog, poultry and cattle growers to rely on expensive imports and dent incomes of millions of small farmers.
The fall armyworm invasion comes against the backdrop of planting delays in the United States which lifted benchmark Chicago corn futures by nearly a fifth last month.
A sea of snow dogs in Greenland found themselves in ankle-deep water this month, due to the rising temperatures hitting the region.
Steffen Olsen, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), snapped a picture of the pack of pooches as they hauled a sled of DMI researchers during an expedition to retrieve oceanographic moorings and weather station equipment at the Inglefield Bredning fjord in northwest Greenland on June 13.
While the dogs typically would be running on a thick layer of snow and ice, they instead trudged through meltwater on top of an approximately 4-foot thick coastal sea ice sheet.
Olsen’s photo made it looks as if they dogs were literally walking on water, their white paws placed lightly in the bright blue waters splashing around them.
The phenomenon was caused by “rapid melt and sea ice with low permeability and few cracks,” Olsen’s colleague at the institute, Rasmus Tonboe, explained on Twitter. “[It] leaves the melt water on top.”
That same day, scientists reported that Greenland was experiencing record-breaking melting this year due to the planet’s climate crisis. Though the country has annual melting over the summer months of June, July, and August, this year’s rate has broken records. Two billion tons of ice has already melted away this season in Greenland, a number that is about 40 percent of the nation’s area.
Typically, peak melting occurs in July. But according to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, temperatures were already hitting around 22C above normal on June 12.
“It’s very unusual to have this much melt so early in the season,” William Colgan, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland’s senior researcher, told the BBC. “It takes very rare conditions but they’re becoming increasingly common.”
The high melt is unusual so early in the season but not unprecedentedhttp://polarportal.dk/en/greenland/surface-conditions/ …
Since it was first shared by Tonboe on Twitter, Olsen’s photo has racked up thousands of retweets and likes, with many expressing concern over the longterm effects the extreme melting will cause globally.
For his part, Olsen is hoping that the photo leads to action.
“Communities in #Greenland rely on the sea ice for transport, hunting and fishing,” he wrote Twitter. “Extreme events, here flooding of the ice by abrupt onset of surface melt, call for an increased predictive capacity in the Arctic.”
The 17 Most Beautiful Highways for Road Trips
The 17 Most Beautiful Highways for Road Trips
Mars, like any other rocky world, has its fair share of craters. These scars of ancient impacts give the dusty surface of the planet some serious personality, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that new craters can happen right before our eyes. That’s exactly what seems to have occurred, and a new image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals a brand new impact site that might only be a few months old.
The image, which was captured by the HiRISE camera built into the orbiter, shows a bold dark patch of material surrounding a circular crater on the Martian surface. Researchers believe it might have been created as recently as February 2019.
Mars has meteors to thank for its wispy clouds
New accountability report finds NASA has been paying Boeing huge bonuses for failing
Scientists just spotted a pair of planets that may be surprisingly similar to Earth
The University of Arizona posted the photo, along with the following caption:
An impressionist painting? No, it’s a new impact crater that has appeared on the surface of Mars, formed at most between September 2016 and February 2019. What makes this stand out is the darker material exposed beneath the reddish dust.
The photo itself was captured in April and is only just now getting the attention it deserves. However, because the orbiter can’t be looking at the entire planet at all times, it’s unclear when exactly the crater formed, and researchers can only narrow it down to sometime between September 2016 and February 2019.
This is yet another great reminder of the fantastic work NASA’s Mars orbiter has been doing for years now. The spacecraft originally launched way back in 2005 and arrived at Mars in March of the following year. When it did, its primary mission was only scheduled to last for two years, but it has since put in over 13 years of faithful service for scientists. As long as it keeps producing images like this one, we hope it keeps going for a long time to come.
BGR Top Deals: