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Cold snap wreaks havoc on African penguin population

The cold snap that hit South Africa in June, leading to incessant moaning from English football commentators who had failed to pack appropriately for the World Cup, had a far more malign impact on the nation's wildlife than it did on its showpiece sporting event. Around 600 African penguins, already an endangered species, were killed by the icy temperatures, heavy rain and significant wind chill over a two day period in mid-June on Bird Island, Algoa Bay in Eastern Cape province. The victims were mainly young chicks whose downy feathers provide scant protection against the elements.

Ugandan ice cap splits

Officials from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority have revealed that rising temperatures have caused the ice cap on the country's highest peak to split, blocking access to the summit of Mt Margherita – the third highest spot in Africa. The mountain is located in the Rwenzori mountain range – a place of great natural beauty which was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1994. Rwenzori is one of the few places near the equator where glacial ice can be found, but while the ice cap covered 6 sq km just 50 years ago, it now measures less than 1 sq km.

Behind the folklore: red sky at night: Is red sky delightful for shepherds?

Red sky at night, shepherds' (or sailors') delight

Red sky in the morning, shepherds' (or sailors') warning

Other than the prolonged absence of female company, there hasn't been much that has united shepherds and sailors throughout history. But if the two most common forms of this age-old rhyme are to be believed, a mutual love of nocturnal red skies and antipathy towards red-tinged mornings binds these two ancient professions together.

Ugandan ice cap splits

Officials from the Ugandan Wildlife Authority have revealed that rising temperatures have caused the ice cap on the country's highest peak to split, blocking access to the summit of Mt Margherita – the third highest spot in Africa. The mountain is located in the Rwenzori mountain range – a place of great natural beauty which was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1994. Rwenzori is one of the few places near the equator where glacial ice can be found, but while the ice cap covered 6 sq km just 50 years ago, it now measures less than 1 sq km.

In Wilma's grip: Sheila Snoddy on a Mexican holiday that went drastically wrong

Sheila Snoddy on a Mexican holiday that went dramatically wrong

We can't guarantee you'll be comfortable,"" they told us at the hotel. "And we certainly can't guarantee how long it will last. But we can say one thing with certainty – no one will lose their life on this island."

A year of extremes

BBC TV weather presenter Helen Willetts on an exciting six months at work


Everybody tells me: “Mums return to work for a break.” Well having returned to work six months ago following maternity leave, I have to say they’re wrong - it’s been nothing of the sort. In fact, it’s been a very demanding period for weather forecasting period. But if I’m honest, that’s one of the main attractions of my job.