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December 5 – 13, 2014: Nature and Climate

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A boy sifts through the debris Wednesday, December 10, 2014 following an overnight fire at an informal settlers’ community of Tonsuya in Malabon city, north of Manila, Philippines. The fire razed more than 200 houses and affected close to a thousand people. Fire officials said five people were injured and currently investigating its cause. (Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP Photo)

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Incredible Storm Chaser Pictures

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A photographer has weathered some of America’s most violent storms to capture these stunning snaps. Storm chaser Mike Mezeul II, 30, has traveled all over the US to shoot the likes of mammoth thunderstorms and surreal cloud patterns. His incredible collection of storm images are the result of more than 15 years of photography and thousands of miles of travel. The photographer, from Frisco in Texas, USA, became interested in storm chasing aged 16 when he got his first car. He has since shot ferocious storms as far north as the Canadian border and as far south as Mexico. Here: Mike waiting for the storm at Cheyenne, Wyoming, June 2014. (Photo by Mike Mezeul II/Caters News)

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November 29 – December 5, 2014: Nature and Climate

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Vehicles drive through a muddy road outside Beyla, Guinea, November 25, 2014. (Photo by Fabien Offner/Reuters)

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Europe Faces Cold Winter

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Ice covered leaves of a tree hang over a roadside shrine near Kottes in northern Austria, December 2, 2014. Freezing fog and rain covered parts of the region with ice, causing blocked roads due to fallen trees and closed schools for security reasons, local media report. (Photo by Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)

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Peru Attacks Illegal Mining Ahead of Climate Talks

“Peru has sent 1,000 police into its southeastern jungles to dismantle illegal gold-mining camps, just weeks before the country hosts global climate talks. Even before the officers began blasting away at miners’ makeshift shelters, the Amazon rainforest nearby looked like a war-scape, pocked with craters and littered with the trunks of amputated trees. Peru’s anti-illegal mining czar, retired army Gen. Augusto Soto, marched the men 6 miles (11 kilometers) to the wasteland known as La Pampa, where 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in the past six years. They destroyed motors and dynamited a dozen motorcycles as they tore down dwellings that included at least one mud-flanked bordello. The miners had removed and hidden some machinery.

Peru first criminalized unlicensed gold mining in 2012 but only began enforcing the law vigorously this year with serious manpower and explosives. The operations have displaced thousands of the estimated 40,000 people who authorities say moved to the jungle to mine gold. In addition to contributing to deforestation, which scientists blame for between 12 and 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the illegal alluvial gold mining contaminates the jungle with tons of mercury. Mercury is a toxin and has already contaminated the food chain, including fish, the local population’s main protein source. Peru’s environment minister says the country loses about 400 square miles (between 100,000 and 120,000 hectares) a year to deforestation. The South American country will host U.N.-sponsored climate talks that start on December 1”. – The Associated Press.

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In this November 12, 2014 photo, a column of policemen occupy a gold mining camp as part of an operation to eradicate illegal mining in the area known as La Pampa, in Peru’s Madre de Dios region. Less than a month before Peru plays host to global climate talks, the government sent a battalion of police into southeastern jungles to dismantle illegal gold-mining mining camps. Peru’s anti-illegal mining czar, retired army Gen. Augusto Soto, marched the men to the wasteland known as La Pampa, where 50,000 hectares of rainforest have been obliterated in the past six years. (Photo by Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo)

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Open Space Office by Tito Mouraz

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The photos, created by Tito Mouraz in Portugal, look too surreal, and it takes a while to realize that these are actually not painting but reality.

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Hawaii Volcano Lava Prompts Evacuation Concerns

“Dozens of residents in a rural area of Hawaii were placed on alert as flowing lava from an erupting volcano continued to advance. Authorities on Sunday said lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii had advanced about 250 yards since Saturday morning and was moving at the rate of about 10 to 15 yards an hour, consistent with its advancement in recent days. The flow front passed through a predominantly Buddhist cemetery, covering grave sites in the mostly rural region of Puna, and was roughly a half-mile from Pahoa Village Road, the main street of Pahoa. Darryl Oliveira, director of civil defense for Hawaii County, told reporters during a late Sunday morning teleconference that the nearest home was at least 300 yards from the flow front”. – Becky Bohrer via The Associated Press.

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This October 25, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows lava flow advancing across the pasture between the Pahoa cemetery and Apa’a Street, engulfing a barbed wire fence, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dozens of residents in this rural area of Hawaii were placed on alert as flowing lava continued to advance. Authorities on Sunday, October 26, 2014 said lava had advanced about 250 yards since Saturday morning and was moving at the rate of about 10 to 15 yards an hour, consistent with its advancement in recent days. The flow front passed through a predominantly Buddhist cemetery, covering grave sites in the mostly rural region of Puna, and was roughly a half-mile from Pahoa Village Road, the main street of Pahoa. (Photo by AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey)

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Watching the Partial Solar Eclipse

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The Angel Moroni statue on the top of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple in Brigham City, Utah, is silhouetted by a solar eclipse, Thursday, October 23, 2014. (Photo by Eli Lucero/AP Photo/The Herald Journal)

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Northern Lehigh County Scenes Fall, Pennsylvania, US

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This is the scene along Kistler Road in Heidelberg Township on a fall day. Fall scenes from the northern Lehigh County area on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. (Donna Fisher/The Morning Call)

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Beauty and the Beast

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A man has photographed a stunning set of images of beauty and the beast – as his wife poses in front of epic storms. Nicolaus Wegner, 34, snaps other half Daow, 32, dangerously close to tornadoes and lightning storms. But the results are spectacular – as she stands fearlessly looking towards Mother Natures most extreme creations. The couple use forecast tools to predict where storms will show before chasing them down and waiting for them to materialise. Most of their shots are taken across Wyoming, but sometimes they travel to neighboring states like Montana and Nebraska. The pair, who live in Casper, Wyoming, admit there is an element of danger in their work. Here: Monster vs. Daow. (Photo by Nicolaus Wegner/Caters News)

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Volcano Eruption in Indonesia

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In this photo made with a slow shutter speed, Mount Sinabung spews hot lava and volcanic ash as seen from Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia, early Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Mount Sinabung, among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, has sporadically erupted since 2010 after being dormant for 400 years. (Photo by Binsar Bakkara/AP Photo)

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Mount Sinabung Volcano Erupts in Indonesia

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Mount Sinabung volcano erupts, as seen from Tiga Pancur village, Karo Regency in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province October 8, 2014. (Photo by Y. T. Haryono/Reuters)

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Polluted Rivers in India

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A boy throws a banana after collecting it from the polluted waters of river Sabarmati, in Ahmedabad July 18, 2013. (Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters)

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Typhoon Phanfone Slams Japan

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Pedestrians make their way through a street in Tokyo while a powerful typhoon approaches Tokyo, Monday, October 6, 2014. Typhoon Phanfone made landfall in central Japan Monday morning after washing three American airmen in Okinawa out to sea the previous day, killing at least one. Bullet train service was suspended between Tokyo and Osaka because of heavy rain, and more than 600 flights were canceled at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. (Photo by AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Red Sprite Lightning – Explosions in the Sky

“Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground. Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes. They often occur in clusters within the altitude range 50–90 km (31–56 mi) above the Earth’s surface. Sporadic visual reports of sprites go back at least to 1886, but they were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times. Sprites are sometimes inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges”. – Wikipedia

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These spectacular pictures show the incredible moment a rare natural phenomenon happens in the night sky. Red sprite lightning lasts only a millisecond and takes place high above a tunderstorm cloud.The breathtaking flashes of light are caused by huge electrical discharges of lightning in the sky. Marko Korosec, 32, was lucky enough to catch these sprites on camera after months of trying. Mr Korosec, from Sezana in Slovenia, took the shots whilst he was following storms in Vivaro, Italy. (Photo by Marko Korosec/Solent News/SIPA Press)

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