Earthquakes

5.9 Earthquake hits the Near Islands in the Aleutians Islands.

5.8 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 and 5.1 Earthquakes hit the New Ireland region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 and 5.0 Earthquakes hit near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore El Salvador.

Environment

Human link to climate change stronger than ever

International climate scientists are more certain than ever that humans are responsible for global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, according to a leaked draft report by an influential panel of experts.

The early draft, which is still subject to change before a final version is released in late 2013, showed that a rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times was set to exceed 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and may reach 4.8 Celsius.

“It is extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the 1950s,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) draft report said.

“Extremely likely” in the IPCC’s language means a level of certainty of at least 95 percent. The next level is “virtually certain”, or 99 percent, the greatest possible certainty for the scientists.

The IPCC’s previous report, in 2007, said it was at least 90 percent certain that human activities, led by burning fossil fuels, were the cause of rising temperatures.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity:

A probably larger than normal explosion today at Batu Tara volcano in Indonesia produced an ash plume spotted on satellite images drifting at 8,000 ft altitude (2,4 km).

The new lava dome of Paluweh volcano produced an ash plume rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude today.

Strong volcanic tremor at Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka again today. Ash plumes were rising to approx. 10-13,000 ft (about 3-4 km) altitude.

A small swarm of earthquakes has started today about 10 km west of the Askja volcano caldera in Iceland.

Activity of Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has picked again. During 13-14 Dec, gas and steam emissions have increased to more than 2 per hour again. The larger ones were at 11:13 h, 11:19 h yesterday and today at 09:23 h and 09:31 local time. These produced plumes rising more than 1 km and drifting NE. Crater glow was seen at night.

4 weak explosions were observed at Fuego volcano during the past 24 hours; the lava flow was 200 m long this morning.

Activity of Santiaguito has not changed, the strongly degassing dome continues to produce viscous lava flows descending its flanks.

Numerous small volcanic earthquakes have recently been occurring at Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador.

A strong pulse of volcanic tremor and volcanic earthquakes occurred at Reventador volcano earlier today, suggesting a possible small emission. Visible observations remain difficult due to cloud cover and there are no other reports of activity.

In Japan, Sakurajima volcano has produced more frequent explosions of small to moderate size, 6 during yesterday and 3 so far (GMT time).

Increased numbers of small earthquakes were visible at Tongariro and Ruapehu volcano in New Zealand.

At White Island volcano, continuous volcanic tremor continues to be visible. We have no news about whether the observed new lava dome has changed.

Disease

Plague Ship Docks At Southampton

About 400 people on board the P & O cruise ship Oriana were struck down by the novovirus winter vomiting bug. It is believed that 6 people boarded the ship with active symptoms. Most of the infected people were taken to hospitals immediately when the ship docked.

Fungus responsible for 5 deaths in the wake of massive tornado

A fast growing, flesh-eating fungus killed 5 people following a massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, USA in 2011, according to new studies by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The common fungus Apophysomyces, which lives in soil, wood or water — usually has no effect on people. But once it is introduced deep into the body through a blunt trauma puncture wound, it can grow quickly if the proper medical response is not immediate. Five of the 13 people infected through injuries suffered during the Joplin tornado died within two weeks.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in Dublin and Cork City, Ireland

-The Irish Coast Guard and Met Éireann have issued a weather alert for Dublin and Cork City of Ireland. Met Éireann warns of very high tides and 25mm of rainfall.

-Flooding expected in low-lying areas of Cork city, in parts of Kilkenny city and on the Gorey to Wexford Road.

-High tides have already caused flooding in Clontarf. Dublin City Council have a stock of sandbags for use in Sandymount and Clontarf. Coastal towns in the county including in Cobh, Bantry and Youghal are also flooded.

Flooding in Long Beach, California

-High tides caused flooding in Long Beach, California

-King tides occurs several times in a year when the Earth, moon and sun align in a way that increases gravitational pull on the Earth’s oceans, raising water levels several feet above normal high tides.

Tropical Cyclone Evan

-As of 12:00 UTC, TC Evan was located 585 nm east-northeast of Nadi, Fiji.

-Cyclone Evan is expected to hit Fiji on Sunday and is forecast to intensify into a category four or five storm.

Tornado in Cromwell, New Zealand

-Tornado destroyed several houses in Cromwell in Central Otago.

-No injury reported.

Cold wave in Bulgaria

-Severe Cold killed three people in Bulgaria. Bodies were found in Dupnitsa and Kyustendil in southwestern Bulgaria.

-Code orange alert is issued in the western Kyustendil and Pernik region of Bulgaria. A more moderate code yellow has been declared for 15 regions

– Blagoevgrad, Sofia, Sofia City, Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven, Lovech, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Ruse, Targovishte, Razgrad, Shumen and Silistra.

-In western Bulgaria, the temperature is expected to fall to minus 22C.