Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Thailand – The Bang Saphan Noi municipality was flooded again on Monday after overnight heavy rains pounded the town and nearby areas. The downpour made reservoirs overflow, flooding Bang Saphan Noi district. The water levels downstream are still rising. Municipality workers are reinforcing sandbags in the town centre to prevent more water flowing into the area.

Global Warming

Climate change is not only influencing extreme weather events, it’s causing them

Extreme weather events that spanned the globe in 2017 have been directly linked to — and in some cases were even caused by — continued warming of the planet via human influence through greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

For the second year in a row, the annual report from the American Meteorological Society found weather extremes that could not have happened without human-caused warming of the climate. Advances in scientific modeling and additional climbs in temperatures are making the connection between global warming and extreme weather much more concrete.

Scientists found that record warm waters in the Tasman Sea in 2017 and 2018 “were virtually impossible without global warming,” and they concluded that a crippling drought in East Africa that has led to food shortages for millions of people would not have occurred naturally before the Industrial Revolution, when humans began to interfere with the climate system.

Included in the 17 events identified in the report in which global warming played a role were major floods such as those with Hurricane Harvey, fires, heat waves over land and in the ocean, and even record low sunshine in Japan in August 2017.

The findings are part of an annual report titled “Explaining Extreme Events in 2017 from a Climate Perspective,” which reveals clear ties between recent extremes in weather and human influences of the climate

Environment

Scientists Reveal a Massive Biosphere of Life Hidden Under Earth’s Surface

Earth is not the home you think it is. Far below the scant surface spaces we inhabit, the planet is teeming with an incredibly vast and deep ‘dark biosphere’ of subterranean lifeforms that scientists are only just beginning to comprehend.

Hidden throughout this subsurface realm, some of the world’s deepest and oldest organisms thrive in places where life shouldn’t even exist, and in new research, scientists have quantified this ‘dark matter’ of the microbial world like never before.

In a preview of results from an epic 10-year collaboration by over 1,000 scientists, Lloyd and fellow researchers with the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) estimate the deep biosphere – the zone of life under Earth’s surface – occupies a volume of between 2 to 2.3 billion cubic kilometres (0.48 to 0.55 billion cubic miles).

That’s almost twice the volume of all the world’s oceans – another enormous natural environment that lies largely unexplored by humans.

And just like the oceans, the deep biosphere is an abundant source of countless lifeforms – a population totalling some 15 to 23 billion tonnes of carbon mass (between 245 to 385 times greater than the equivalent mass of all humans on the surface).

The findings, representing numerous studies conducted at hundreds of sites around the world, are based on analyses of microbes extracted from sediment samples sourced 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) under the seafloor, and drilled from surface mines and boreholes more than 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) deep.

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Space Events

Voyager 2 Spacecraft Reaches Interstellar Space

It’s time to say goodbye to one of the most storied explorers of our age: Voyager 2 has entered interstellar space, NASA announced Dec. 10.

Voyager 2, which launched in 1977, has spent more four decades exploring our solar system, most famously becoming the only probe ever to study Neptune and Uranus during planetary flybys. Now, it has joined its predecessor Voyager 1 beyond the bounds of our sun’s influence, a milestone scientists weren’t able to precisely predict when would occur.

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Disease

Plague count grows in Madagascar

In an update on the human plague situation in Madagascar this season, since early August, 124 cases of plague have been recorded with 91 bubonic form (73.4 %), 31 pulmonary form (25%), 1 septicemia case and one unspecified.

Ebola Update – DR Congo

In a update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Health Ministry is now reporting 498 cumulative cases (450 confirmed) and 285 deaths (237 confirmed).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.1 earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Alaska.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

West Java, Indonesia – Four people were killed and as many as 236 villagers were forced to flee home as landslides and floods struck East Java province of western Indonesia, a disaster agency official said on Sunday. The landslides occurred after soils of a hill slid down and hit a house, where the four were staying, situated in Sidomulyo village of Kebonagung sub-district in Pacitan district.

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Malaysia – Parts of Bintulu district in northern Sarawak were hit by flash floods on Monday (Dec 10) morning. The downpour that began in the early hours of the morning led to several roads in and out of Bintulu being flooded by 8am, including Jalan Sebiew.

Global Warming

US, Russia block key global warming report from climate summit

A landmark study on global warming has been blocked from being endorsed by a world climate summit by the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“I think it was a key moment,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The fact that a group of four countries were trying to diminish the value and importance of a scientific report they themselves, with all other countries, requested three years ago in Paris is pretty remarkable.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on what would happen if average global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and how to ensure they don’t go higher, was widely regarded as a wake-up call for policy-makers when it was released in October.

As diplomats wrapped up a week of technical talks on Saturday (Sunday NZT), almost all 200 countries present in Katowice, Poland, had wanted to “welcome” the IPCC report, making it the benchmark for future action.

Space Events

Meteor over Mexico City – Geminids

A spectacular meteor lit up the sky of Mexico City in the early hours of Sunday. The meteor is estimated to have been travelling at more than 12,000mph and could be seen hurtling through the skies over Acapulco and Mexico City’s Xochimilco neighbourhood. Although the precise size of the meteor is hard to determine, experts say its diameter is estimated to be around 500 metres.

Later this week the stunning cosmic light show known as the Geminids meteor shower is expected to reach its peak.

Disease

Leisgmaniasis – Uruguay

Uruguay health officials reported the first human leishmaniasis case in a minor from Salta, according to a news release Wednesday. The sandfly vector was first found in the country in 2010 and canine infections had been reported prior to this human case.

Epidemic and emerging disease alerts in the Pacific

An increasing number of dengue positive cases (serotype unknown) has been reported in Nauru. From 25 October to 5 December 2018, 114 samples were tested in the laboratory using NS1Ag Combo and 42 were positives..

Diarrhoea outbreak in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia: A total of 270 diarrhoea cases were reported from September 4th to November 30th, 2018. The Majority of cases are children under 4 years of age.

Three (3) imported cases of DENV-1 with travel history to Nauru were reported by Queensland Health (notifiable conditions data).

Eighteen (18) imported cases of dengue (4 cases of DENV-1, 1 case of DENV-2, 7 cases of DENV-4 and 6 cases of dengue serotype unknown) with travel history to Papua New Guinea were reported by Queensland Health (notifiable conditions data).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Kurdistan – The latest floods caused by yet another bout of rainfall in the Kurdistan Region have resulted in the death of a teen, shut down multiple roads linking cities, and caused substantial damage to a camp for displaced persons and to local infrastructure in several areas. In southern Sulaimani Province, a bridge on a road linking the cities of Kalar and Darbandikhan collapsed, halting all intra-city traffic.

Texas, USA – Harris County Flood Control District officials are keeping a close eye on several Houston area waterways after the Houston area was inundated heavy rain, causing flooding along some creeks and bayous.

Disease

Typhoid – Fiji

The Fiji Health Ministry is reporting a typhoid outbreak in Naitasiri subdivision. To date, 31 confirmed typhoid cases have been reported and an additional 14 cases are classified as suspected at this time. The source of the outbreak is still under investigation.

Hepatitis A – West Virginia, USA

In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak in West Virginia, through Dec. 7, 2,018 Hepatitis A outbreak cases have been reported, including 5 fatalities. Slightly more than half the cases required hospitalization (1035).

Foot and Mouth Disease – Vietnam

A new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been reported among pigs in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District. Local reports say 261 pigs belonging to 19 households in six communes of the rural district have been affected by the disease. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health has asked provincial authorities to kill the affected pigs. Local veterinary units have initiated vaccinations of cattle in the area and disinfected the infected farms with chemicals and lime powder in an effort to control the spread of the disease.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

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

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.