Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.3 earthquake hit southern Iran.

5.3 earthquake hits offshore Antofagasta, Chile.

5.3 earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.2 earthquake hits the Dominican Republic.

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 earthquake hits the western Indian-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Eleven is located about 415 mi…670 km ene of the Windward islands with maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h. Present movement…nw or 315 degrees at 6 mph…9 km/h.

Tropical Storm Kirk is located about 465 mi…745 km ssw of the southernmost Cabo Verde islands with maximum sustained winds…40 mph…65 km/h. Present movement…w or 280 degrees at 18 mph…30 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Typhoon 28w (Trami), located approximately 660 nm southeast of Kedena AFB, Japan, is tracking west-northwestward at 09 knots.

NewsBytes:

Texas, USA – A record-setting rainfall drenched the Dallas-Fort Worth area throughout Friday night, flooding dozens of homes. The heaviest rain was in the southeast and eastern portions of Tarrant County, with a few pockets in the east getting as much as 8 inches of rain, said meteorologist Tom Bradshaw with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. Throughout the rest of the county, widespread rain dropped 3 to 5 inches of water. Heavy rainfall and flash flooding was also reported foreparts of Oklahoma.

East coast, USA – At least 44 people have died since hurricane Florence slammed the coast last week. While the rain has subsided, some rivers are still rising, and North and South Carolina officials warn the flooding danger is far from over.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Colorado-Wyoming, USA

Warm temperatures and dry conditions allowed a wildfire burning along the Colorado-Wyoming border to continue to spread, officials said Saturday. The Ryan Fire has burned at least 2,986 acres in Jackson County, Colorado and Carbon County, Wyoming. It is burning about 27 miles northwest of Walden. Containment remains at 0 percent.

Wildfires – Australia

An emergency warning has been issued for a bushfire raging in remote WA, with residents told it is now too late to leave. Those living in the suburb of Lakeside in Kununurra, at the eastern extremity of the Kimberley, close to the Northern Territory border, have been told to shelter in their homes.

Disease

Plague – Madagascar

In an update on the plague situation in Madagascar, the Ministry of Health is now reporting plague has affected eight districts in the country–Central Highlands, Ambalavao, Ambatofinandrahana, Ambositra, Ankazobe, Fandriana, Miarinarivo and Antisirabe. In these eight districts, 16 suspect cases have been reported in one month, including four fatalities.

West Nile Virus – USA

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) is reporting 11 human West Nile virus (WNV) cases since August, while the number of human West Nile virus (WNV) cases in Massachusetts has increased to 24 with the addition of ten additional cases reported Friday.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Galapagos Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Ascension Island.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Eleven is located about 505 mi…810 km e of the Windward islands with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…w or 270 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 28w (Trami), located approximately 866 nm southeast of Kedena AFB, Japan, is tracking west-northwestward at 12 knots.

NewsBytes:

South Carolina, USA – A new round of evacuations was ordered in South Carolina as the trillions of gallons of water dumped by Hurricane Florence meanders to the sea, raising river levels and threatening more destruction. With the crisis slowly moving to South Carolina, emergency managers on Friday ordered about 500 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday, and shelters are open.

Global Warming

Melting Arctic Permafrost Releases Acid that Dissolves Rocks

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As temperatures rise in the Arctic, permafrost — permanently frozen ground — is defrosting at an alarming rate. But the permafrost isn’t the only thing in the Arctic that’s melting.

Exposed rock that was once covered in ice is dissolving, eaten away by acid. And the effects of this acid bath could have far-reaching impacts on global climate, according to a new study.

Icy permafrost is rich in minerals, which are released when the ice melts. The minerals then become vulnerable to chemical weathering, or the breakdown of rock through chemical reactions, scientists recently reported. They investigated areas once covered by permafrost in the western Canadian Arctic, finding evidence of weathering caused by sulfuric acid, produced by sulfide minerals that were released when the permafrost melted.

Another type of naturally occurring chemical erosion is caused by carbonic acid, and it also dissolves Arctic rock. But although carbonic-acid weathering locks carbon dioxide (CO2) in place, sulfuric-acid erosion releases CO2 into the atmosphere, and it does so in quantities that were not previously accounted for, researchers wrote in the study.

Hundreds of mummified penguins in Antarctica can tell us a lot about climate change

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New research has connected hundreds of mummified penguin carcasses to two disastrous weather events thought to be influenced by climate change.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, warns that these events might foreshadow what’s to come if the Earth continues to get hotter.

A team of Chinese and Australian researchers found the mummified Adélie penguins under a remarkably thick layer of sediment in Long Peninsula, East Antarctica, which usually has a dry climate.

Then, using radiocarbon dating, the scientists found that most of the mummified carcasses were from two specific incidents that affected breeding colonies from 750 and 200 years ago.

The two instances of unusually thick sediment were evidence to the researchers that a lot of water flowed over the area in a short amount of time.

Since penguin chicks do not develop waterproof feathers until a later stage of development, a particularly wet or snowy season would put them in danger of getting hypothermia and dying — which is why scientists believe they found the large number of dead chicks in the two breeding colonies.

The weather event they suspect to be the cause is called zonal wave 3 (ZW3), which produces near-shore ice and adds a lot of moisture to the atmosphere.

Research showed that this meteorological pattern became more frequent in the late 20th Century due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the world hasn’t done enough to curb our collective greenhouse gas emissions, researchers fear that ZW3’s will become more frequent than ever before and penguin populations will continue to face unfavorable conditions that will jeopardize the survival of the populations.

This particular breed of Antarctic penguins have seen a slough of catastrophic breeding seasons recently.

In 2017 all but two penguins from a colony of 40,000 died from starvation. Earlier that year, only two chicks from a colony of 18,000 breeding penguins survived. That same colony lost every chick in 2013.

Wildlife

Invading Crabs

An aggressive breed of green crab is invading Maine’s waters.

The crabs (Carcinus maenas) threaten blue mussels, soft-shell clams and the eelgrass beds off the state’s rocky coast. The crustaceans are also just plain nasty: Researchers who work with the crabs say that instead of hiding from threats, the critters rush forward, pincers waving.

The crabs, which measure about 5 inches (13 centimeters) long, belong to the same species that has long lived in Maine’s waters. But in the past few years, a genetically distinct population of this species has traveled south from Nova Scotia, Canada, according to research led by Markus Frederich, a professor of marine sciences at the University of New England. These non-native crabs chow down on marine animals that are important for Maine’s economy, including mussels and clams, and the invaders shred native eelgrass habitat as they hunt.

Green crabs probably arrived in North America in the 1800s in the ballast water of ships from Europe. In the past decade, Maine’s green crab population has exploded, a cycle probably linked to rising ocean temperatures, according to the marine resources department.

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Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Scientists observed the first-ever evidence of praying mantises hunting fish.

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A family on New Zealand’s North Island were enjoying an early morning walk on Pakiri Beach last week when they came across a monstrous, gooey blob with a gelatinous grape-colored center. The glob was an enormous lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata).

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Disease

Diptheria – India

Two Delhi, India government hospitals have reported a dozen diphtheria deaths in children over the past two weeks, according to a local media report. Eleven children have died in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital and one child died in the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital.

Hepatitis A – Kentucky – USA

Kentucky state health officials have reported two additional hepatitis A (HAV) fatalities during the past two weeks, bringing the death toll to 14. Since the outbreak was declared last November, Kentucky has seen 1,701 cases in 72 percent of the state’s counties. Of this total, 952 cases required hospitalization.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.8 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 28w (Twenty-eight), located approximately 121 nm northwest of Andersen AFB, is tracking northwestward at 10 knots.

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04b (Four), located approximately 264 nm southwest of Kolkata, India, is tracking northwestward at 14 knots.

NewsBytes:

Mexico – As strong monsoon storms moved into the sister cities, known colloquially as Ambos Nogales, on Tuesday afternoon residents uploaded numerous videos and photos of the flooding in the area. Two people died in the flooding, their bodies washing into Arizona. The floods are not uncommon during the Monsoon season. Nogales, Sonora is a densely built city of 350,000 people perched along deep canyons. When heavy storms hit, large amounts of water collect along ravines and washes. But because the Mexican city sits at a higher elevation, the rainwater ends up draining northbound into Arizona.

Global Warming

World’s Largest River Floods Five Times More Often Than It Used to

Extreme floods have become more frequent in the Amazon Basin in just the last two to three decades, according to a new study.

After analyzing 113 years of Amazon River levels in Port of Manaus, Brazil, researchers found that severe floods happened roughly every 20 years in the first part of the 20th century. Now, extreme flooding of the world’s largest river occurs every four years on average—or about five times more frequently than it used to.

This increase in flooding could be disastrous for communities in Brazil, Peru and other Amazonian nations, the researchers pointed out. There are catastrophic effects on the lives of the people as the drinking water gets flooded, and the houses get completely destroyed.

This dramatic increase in floods is caused by changes in the surrounding seas, particularly the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and how they interact. Due to a strong warming of the Atlantic Ocean and cooling of the Pacific over the same period, we see changes in the so-called Walker circulation, which affects Amazon precipitation. The effect is more or less the opposite of what happens during an El Niño event. Instead of causing drought, it results in more convection and heavy rainfall in the central and northern parts of the Amazon basin.

With temperatures in the Atlantic expected to continue warming, the scientists expect to see more of these high water levels in the Amazon River.

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Environment

El Niño Return?

Weather agencies around the world predict there is a 60 to 70 percent chance the weather-altering phenomenon El Niño will emerge during the next two months.

The last time the ocean-warming stretched across the tropical Pacific was in late 2015 into 2016.

It was among the strongest on record and caused weather-related crop damage, wildfires and disastrous flooding in various parts of the planet. But researchers say they don’t expect the new one to be as intense.

A recent study predicts that climate change is altering the dynamics of both El Niño and its ocean-cooling counterpart, La Niña, making their weather impacts more severe as the planet warms.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Squirrel Knot

Five infant squirrels that got their tails caught together in a giant knot were rescued and untied by the Wisconsin Humane Society. They were taken to the group’s vets by someone who came across the bizarre scene of their tails caught in what the rescuers called a “Gordian knot” of squirrel tail and nest material. “You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was, so our first step was to anesthetize all five of them at the same time,” the Humane Society said. The squirrels were frazzled but unharmed by the experience.

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