Typhoon Soulik

One of the less pleasant aspects of living on islands or in the coastal areas of climatically warmer zones is the threat of devastating tropical storms. These are usually referred to as typhoons, hurricanes, tropical depressions or cyclones, depending on the geographical location where they occur, but they are essentially the same thing – vast thunderstorms with sustained winds of at least 119 kilometres per hour and an “eye” of relative calm in the centre of it, clearly visible on satellite pictures. Many scientific studies have been published on the formation and subsequent movements of these storms, but suffice to… Continue reading

The Magnificent Papaya

If you had to pick a tree that best represented the tropics, which one would it be? While there are a number of candidates for the likely symbol of the hot and humid regions, I would probably rate the papaya tree (Carica papaya) near the top. Its long branches stretching horizontally from the crown, the large green to yellow fruits hanging down graciously from the trunk, and the distinctive shape of their leaves give an unusual impression that will enthuse any nature-conscious visitor of the warm climates. This is a tree that is as common and widespread… Continue reading