Earthquakes

5.3 and 5.1 Earthquakes hit Samar in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands off Alaska.

Environment

Arctic sea ice is shrinking at a rate much faster than scientists ever predicted and its collapse, due to global warming, may well cause extreme weather this winter in North America and Europe.Decades ago, Arctic ice covered about 6 million square miles of sea in the winter, and would shrink to about 3 million square miles in the summer. The rate of summer melt increased enormously around 2005, however, and today scientists say Arctic ice covers only about 1 million square miles.

The loss of Arctic ice has several effects. Ice reflects heat and solar energy back into space. With less ice cover, that heat energy is instead absorbed by the ocean, which warms and melts more ice. Currently, the Arctic region is the fastest-warming region on the planet, and the change in temperature will probably influence weather patterns here and in Europe.

The heating and cooling of Arctic seawater has been affecting the jet stream – the river of air that flows from west to east high above the Earth’s surface – and has slowed it down, Francis said. The jet stream controls the formation and movement of storm systems, so when its movement slows, weather conditions persist for longer periods of time over the same area. They get “stuck.”

Disease

16 refugees killed by Hepatitis E in camps in South Sudan.

There have been additional confirmed and probable cases with Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Exact numbers have not been released.

Storms and Storms

Tropical Storm Kristy is expected to create life-threatening surf and rip currents off the coast of southern Baja California and southwest Mexico over the next few days.

Floods could wipe out most of Niger’s main rice harvest this year as rain-swollen rivers rose to 50-year highs across West Africa, spreading devastation. At least 81 people have been killed in Niger since annual rains caused flooding along the banks of the Niger River, raising its waters to their highest levels since the 1920s.

Super typhoon Sanba is headed for Okinawa and South Korea. The tropical cyclone is currently classed as a super typhoon. The previous super typhoon Bolaven caused widespread damage and fatalities across Japan and the Koreas earlier this year. Sanba is expected to approach Okinawa late Saturday or early Sunday local time before trudging on toward South Korea, according to projections from regional weather agencies. It is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves north.