Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.4 earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.5 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.4 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Batan Islands in the Philippines.

5.0 earthquake hits Jujuy, Argentina.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 282 nm northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia, is tracking southwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Crete – Four people are missing after floods sweep through Crete. A search operation is currently underway in the area of Mires in Heraklion, Crete, as four people in a car were swept away by flood waters at the passage of Geropotamos.

Zimbabwe – Floods that have affected Chiredzi following heavy rains on Wednesday last week claimed the lives of two schoolchildren at Muhlanguleni Primary School in Chiredzi South, who drowned in a flooded pit latrine.

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Global Warming

Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions

Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.

Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.

If such a goal were accomplished, ecologist Dr Thomas Crowther said it would outstrip every other method for tackling climate change – from building wind turbines to vegetarian diets.

Lack of accurate information meant for years experts severely underestimated the number of trees on Earth. Combining data from ground-based surveys and satellites, Dr Crowther and his colleagues arrived at a figure of three trillion – over seven times more than a previous Nasa estimate. Dr Crowther said undervaluing trees means scientists have also been massively underestimating the potential for forests to combat climate change.

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Disease

Measles – Philippines

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in the Philippines, the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported a dramatic increase in measles cases and deaths. According to the most recent data from the beginning of the year through Feb. 13, a total of 6,921 cases of measles was reported in 17 regions of the archipelago. In addition, officials report the death toll has increased to 115 nationwide.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 earthquake hits northeast of Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the South Georgia Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 249 nm west-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking southward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Malawi – A report from Salima District Council indicates that floods, that came about as a result of heavy rains, have affected 643 people in Mtauchira Village, T/A Pemba. The report further states that 257 people, of which 93 are under the age of 18, have been displaced and have since sought refuge at Kanduku Evacuation Centre.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews have taken advantage of favourable conditions overnight to gain the upper hand on three blazes burning in northern NSW. The mostly mild weather conditions over the weekend have provided much needed relief for the NSW Rural Fire Service, after 22 homes were destroyed and 15 houses damaged when fires raged through the towns late last week. A further 74 outbuildings have been razed and 24 outbuildings damaged.

The Bruxner Highway fire at Tabulam has burnt more than 5800 hectares of land and is still considered to be out of control.

Nearby, just over the NSW and Queensland border in Wallangarra, north of Tenterfield, a bushfire has burnt through more than 32,700 hectares of land and is being controlled by firefighters.

A blaze at Tingha, near Inverell, which has been burning since last Tuesday remains at Advice warning level as crews work to control the blaze. It has burnt more than 21,300 hectares of land with firefighters extinguishing hotspots along the edge of the fire overnight.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Reunion

Since the beginning of the year, the island of Reunion has seen a 10-fold increase in dengue fever cases as compared to the period in 2018, according to French health officials. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 3, 476 locally transmitted cases have been reported, including 145 in the past week.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits south of Alaska.

5.2 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.2 earthquake hits the western Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Azores.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 275 nm west-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking west-southwestward at 02 knots.

NewsBytes:

Zimbabwe – Thirty-eight miners are feared dead after water from a collapsed dam flooded two mines in Zimbabwe. While panning for gold, 34 miners went underground at Silver Moon Mine and four miners entered Cricket Mine in Battlefields near Kadoma Tuesday evening before both mines flooded. Heavy rains overnight Tuesday led to the collapse of the dam wall. An emergency was declared after the dam burst. The flooding from the collapsed dam flooded mine shafts, which the miners entered illegally.

South Africa – Bloemfontein in the Free State has been experiencing heavy rains for the past few days resulting in floods across the city.

Wildlife

Reindeer Cyclones Are Real

Vikings hunting reindeer in Norway were once confounded by “reindeer cyclones”; a threatened herd would literally run circles around the fierce hunters, making it nearly impossible to target a single animal.

Faced with this spinning reindeer stampede, any predator — wolf, bear or human — would have a very tough time targeting and overpowering a single reindeer, making this a formidable defense strategy.

 

Environment

Black Snow Is Falling from the Skies in Siberia

A pall of eerie black snow has covered several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass, which is home to 2.6 million people and one of the world’s largest coal fields.

According to the Guardian and the Siberian Times, the snow is tainted with toxic black coal dust that was released into the air from open coal pits and improperly maintained factories in the region. One coal plant official told the local media that a shield meant to prevent coal powder from escaping out of the factory had malfunctioned — however, toxic black snowfall seems to be a regular phenomena in the area and it isn’t necessarily tied to a single source.

Kuzbass (short for Kuznetsk Basin) is one of the largest coalfields in the world, spanning more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers). A 2015 report from Ecodefense found that the citizens of Kuzbass have an average life expectancy 3 to 4 years shorter than the Russian national average and have nearly twice the risk of contracting tuberculosis and childhood mental disorders.

Black snows like this one are a frequent winter feature in the region, the report found, and mitigation attempts have been… lacking. For instance, in December 2018, regional authorities were accused of trying to hide the toxic black stuff by literally painting over it with white pigment.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.4 earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.2 earthquake hits central Peru.

5.0 earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 1426 nm south-southwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking east-southeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 245 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking northeastward at 01 knot.

NewsBytes:

California, USA – Waves of heavy rain pounded California on Thursday, flooding streets, triggering a mudslide that destroyed homes and forcing residents to flee communities scorched by wildfires last year. The powerful system swept in from the Pacific Ocean and unleashed damaging rain, snow and wind across the US west into Wyoming and Colorado after walloping northern California and southern Oregon a day earlier.

Wildlife

Huge muddy plume of water seeps into Great Barrier Reef

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Images show Australia’s Great Barrier Reef being hit by an “extremely large” patch of muddy flood water that experts say could harm the world wonder. The polluted floodwater is flowing out as far as 60 kilometres from the Queensland coast following weeks of heavy rain.

It’s thought that around 600km of the reef’s outer edges have been affected by the dirty water. Scientists say that the water is likely to contain nitrogen and pesticide chemicals that could potentially kill coral and seagrass should it stay around for some time.

Smart Swimmers

A lowly reef-dwelling fish known as the cleaner wrasse has been elevated into an exclusive club in the animal kingdom whose members have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror.

Other than humans, only great apes, killer whales, Eurasian magpies and bottlenose dolphins had demonstrated that ability. The trait is viewed as an indication of self-awareness.

The cleaner wrasse had previously been observed living complex social lives where it formed allegiances and even demonstrated the capacity for deception. “These fish are fascinating in their breadth of cognitive abilities – and underappreciated,” said Alex Jordan, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute and the study’s lead researcher.