Earthquakes

5.8 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.2 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

Environment

Law enforcement and wildlife officials along the northern Gulf of Mexico are trying to track down who has been shooting, stabbing and mutilating dolphins there. At least four dolphins have been found savaged to death this month in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, USA.

injured dolphins

Disease

An outbreak of dengue fever on the Portuguese island of Madeira has worsened as infections of the mosquito-borne disease accelerated. Reported cases of the potentially lethal disease rose to 1,672 as of Nov. 18. The disease is spreading due to many holiday makers returning home. Cases have so far been diagnosed in Britain, mainland Portugal, Germany, Sweden and France. The epidemic is the first sustained outbreak of dengue fever in Europe since the 1920’s.

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A coral disease outbreak along Kauai’s North Shore in Hawaii has been described as an epidemic by local scientists due to the large numbers of coral infected (59%). The disease appears to be caused by the large amounts of suspended solids in the water coming from nearby human habitation.

A diseased piece of rice coral is pictured below. This photo shows a cyanobacterial/fungal disease attacking a piece of coral — the black ring is the disease, and the white area is the coral’s dead skeleton.

coral disease

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Cholera kills 3 in southern Nigeria. Three people died in the southwestern state of Osun after being infected. Another 42 people were hospitalized in different centers across the region.

Global Warming

A U.N. conference in Qatar next week is the latest attempt to combat global warming after mounting evidence that human activity is disrupting the climate.

Here is a timeline of the road to action on global warming:

300 BC – Theophrastus, a student of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, documents that human activity can affect climate. He observes that drainage of marshes cools an area around Thessaly and that clearing of forests near Philippi warms the climate.

1896 – Sweden’s Svante Arrhenius becomes the first to quantify carbon dioxide’s role in keeping the planet warm. He later concluded that the burning of coal could cause a “noticeable increase” in carbon levels over centuries.

1957-58 – U.S. scientist Charles Keeling sets up stations to measure carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere at the South Pole and at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The measurements have shown a steady rise.

1988 – The United Nations sets up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess the scientific evidence.

1992 – World leaders agree the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets a non-binding goal of stabilising greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 at 1990 levels – a target not met overall.

1997 – The Kyoto Protocol is agreed in Japan; developed nations agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions on average by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The United States stays out of the deal.

2007 – The IPCC says it is at least 90 percent certain that humans are to blame for most of the warming trend of the past 50 years. It also says signs that the planet is warming are “unequivocal”.

2009 – A conference of 193 countries agrees to “take note” of a new Copenhagen Accord to fight climate change, after U.N. talks in Denmark. The accord is not legally binding and does not commit countries to agree a binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol when its first stage ends in 2012.

2011 – U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, agree to negotiate a new accord by 2015 that is “applicable to all” and will come into force from 2020.

Volcanos

Volcanic Activity Worldwide:

Strombolian activity has resumed at the New SE crater of Etna volcano in Italy. Tremors began rising on 20 November. On the night of 21 November, incandescence was seen in Etna’s New Southeast crater. On 22 Nov, a swarm of earthquakes has started in the NW sector of the volcano at depths mostly around 20 km.

Another small eruption at Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi (Indonesia) was observed by our reporters at the volcano observatory on 20 Nov.

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico remains with about 1 emission per per hour. Sometimes, incandescent tephra is ejected to the crater area during the more vigorous explosions.

Fuego volcano in Guatemala has an active lava flow now 800 m long and some weak mild strombolian explosions every few hours, ejecting bombs to about 100 m above the crater and producing ash clouds rising 200-500 m height above the crater.

The lava flows from the Santiaguito lava dome remain very active. At 06:09 on 22 Nov morning, a moderate pyroclastic flow was triggered by collapsing material of one of the flow fronts on the SE side.

Sakurajima volcano in Japan has returned to its normal average activity level of 1-2 moderate explosions per day, with ash clouds reaching 6-9,000 ft (1.8-2.7 km) altitude.

Thermal anomalies continue to be detected almost daily at the Snow cone, Chirpoi volcano in the Kuriles. No ash plumes have been detected which means the activity produces little to no ash.

SO2 plumes are visible on today’s NOAA satellite images from Ambrym volcano on Vanuatu and Nyiragongo volcano in the DR Congo.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in England continues as heavy rainfall has caused flooding in South Cumbria. Train services in Barrow, Whitehaven and Carlisle, and Barrow through to Preston and Lancaster have been affected. A flood alert was also issued for Upper Derwent, from Seathwaite to Derwentwater. Public transport has been affected near Barrow and Ulverston in Cumbria.