Oct. 22, 1707: The British Royal Navy loses a major battle with Mother Nature. Four warships and more than 1,400 men are lost when the ships veer into the Scilly Rocks (at right) near England’s Cornwall Coast during a fierce storm.
Oct. 22, 1990: A team of U.K. Royal Geographic Society scientists declare the draining of the Aral Sea to be the "world’s worst ecological disaster." Once the world’s fourth-largest lake, the rivers that drain into the Aral were diverted in an ambitious Stalin-era irrigation project. Choking dust blows off the dry lakebed, and the heavy use of agricultural chemicals in the region creates high rates of cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and infant mortality.
Oct. 22, 2010: Colin Barnett, the premier of the state of Western Australia, announces the creation of four marine parks and one land-based national park in the Kimberley region along Australia’s largely unspoiled northwestern coast.
Oct. 22, 2011: University of California physicist Richard Muller, one of the science community’s most prominent climate skeptics, releases a report affirming that climate change is real, and human-caused. The study represents an inconvenient truth for its primary funders, the Koch Brothers, who have bankrolled climate skepticism for years.
Oct. 22, 2012: The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Sandy has formed near Jamaica. One week later, renamed “Superstorm Sandy,” it becomes one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons