According to the Bible, to punish the Egyptian Pharaoh for enslaving the Israelites and refusing to let them leave, God sent down ten plagues on Egypt. "For the Seventh plague, God sent several storms. Thunder and lightening and hail flashed down on the land of Egypt. It was the worst storm in the land of Egypt since it had become a nation." Reports of hail disasters have become more common. Insurance claims for hail damage have doubled every two years. The storms have devastating results for farms and destroy crops. Some attribute the increase in these events to global warming.
Almost sixty years after his first visit to the Great Barrier Reef, David Attenborough embarks on a personal journey of discovery to understand how the Reef was created and meet the animals that call it home.
In this second episode, David Attenborough continues his exploration of the Great Barrier Reef aboard the research vessel The Alucia. This time he discovers the incredible animals that visit the Reef every year, some travelling thousands of miles to get there.
David travels out to one of the most inaccessible corners of the Coral Sea, the stunning Osprey Reef - a mountain in the ocean just off the edge of the Great Barrier. Here he dives into shark infested waters in the Triton submersible, to take a closer look at the animals that use Osprey to navigate huge distances to particular locations on the Barrier Reef. One of these is the tiny Raine Island, a destination for tiger sharks because of another arriving visitor - the green sea turtle. David witnessed a baby turtle hatching here almost 60 years ago. Now, the tens of thousands of turtles that return to lay eggs every year are under threat, but an incredible plan by scientists may save this island and its turtles from disaster.
David's journey also takes him to the forested Heron Island to witness thousands of nesting birds, the waters of Lady Elliot Island to marvel at the manta rays that come here for a good clean, and to the Ribbon Reefs to meet a mysterious dwarf minke whale who visits each winter and seeks out human contact. When David first visited the Reef, science knew very little about visiting creatures and why they came, but new tracking technology allows him to follow the story of these visitors like never before, revealing their surprising reasons for returning, and why the Reef is vital for their survival.
To punish the Egyptian Pharaoh for enslaving the Israelites and refusing to let them leave, God sent down ten plagues on Egypt. The fourth was the plague of locusts. Hans-Joerg Ferenz of the University of Halle in Germany is researching ways of combating locust plagues and has found, that under certain conditions, solitary locusts develop into swarming locusts.
The ninth Bible plague meant three days of darkness, nowadays commonly believed to have been caused by a sandstorm. Sandstorms have ravaged the face of the earth for millions of years and transformed entire continents. Grains of sand from deserts are often blown huge distances, carrying with them not only fungi and viruses but also pollutants and environmental toxins. Beijing suffers particularly badly from violent sandstorms and the Chinese government has launched an ambitious program of prevention.