Earthquakes

5.5 Earthquake hits Fiji/Tonga region.

5.5 Earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Near Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Environment

Greenland and Antarctica have lost four trillion tonnes of ice in 20 years.

A new, definitive study of satellite data has found that polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than they did in the 1990s.

The amount of ice lost from Greenland and Antarctica is enough to raise world sea levels by almost one millimetre a year. Since 1992, it has added more than 1cm to global sea levels – contributing around a fifth of the total rise. About two thirds of the ice loss was from Greenland and the remainder from Antarctica, said scientists.

 

melting ice

 

The new survey is said to be the most accurate assessment to date, ending 20 years of uncertainty. It confirms that, with the exception of East Antarctica, both land masses are losing ice. But big differences in the pace of change were seen at each pole.

The new research concludes that Antarctica is melting, but points to the smaller ice sheet in Greenland, which covers most of the island, as the bigger and more pressing issue. Its melt rate has grown from about 55 billion tons a year in the 1990s to almost 290 billion tons a year recently, according to the study.

The vast polar ice sheets lock up unimaginable amounts of water. The Antarctic ice sheet contains 30 million cubic kilometres of ice and holds around 90% of all the fresh water on the surface of the Earth.

If the whole Antarctic ice sheet melted, sea levels would rise by more than 60 metres. The Greenland ice sheet is much smaller, but would add seven metres to sea levels if it all melted away.

Volcanos

Guatemala is on alert as the Santiaguito volcano dumps plumes of smoke and ash over nearby communities, coating cars and houses in grey dust. Residents of nearby communities woke on Wednesday morning to find a thin layer of ash coating their cars, streets and homes. White columns of smoke reached up to 5km (3.1 miles) into the sky.

Disease

In an update for the outbreak of ebola in Uganda, the Ministry of Health in Uganda reported 7 cases (6 confirmed, 1 probable) with Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Luweero and Kampala districts. Of these cases, 4 died.

Storms and Floods

Tropical storm Bopha is forecast to strike the Philippines as a typhoon on 4 December. It is likely to make landfall over the Visayas or Mindanao.

Moscow, Russia is blanketed by a record-breaking snowfall. A large, early snowstorm raging in Moscow disrupted flights and created havoc on the roads on Thursday.

Renewed flooding of the Niger river threatens Niger’s capital Niamey and parts of the west of the country,

Landslide in Norte de Santander, Colombia

-Ten missing and 50 others are trapped in a huge landslide in the northeastern Colombian province of Norte de Santander.

-Heavy rainfall caused avalanche in the hamlet of Teorama.

-Search efforts are currently suspended due to poor visibility. The landslide disaster area can only be reached by air.

Flooding in Carrara, Italy

-Around 28 people evacuated due to flooding in the city of Carrara.

-The rail line between the cities of Pisa and Genoa, and the Aurelia highway near Carrara temporary closed.

-Heavy snowfall reported in Colle della Maddalena and Colle del Tenda passes in the mountains between Italy and France.

Flooding in Portland, Jamaica

-Three houses in Bybrook and one in Lamy destroyed by flooding in the parish of Portland.