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

5.0 Earthquake hits the south-west Indian ridge.

4.9 Earthquake hits the Fiji Islands.

4.9 Earthquake hits near the south coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Environment – Wildlife

Finland study tracks global warming impacts on bird populations.

Researchers in Finland say they’ve documented bird populations trends that are at least partly linked with global warming. Comparing data from extensive bird counts conducted between 1981 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009, the biologists said that, in general, northern species have decreased and southern species increased.

Mean temperatures in Finland rose between the two periods, with April to June mean temperatures climbing by 0.7 degrees Celsius. According to the study, population densities of common forest habitat generalists remained the same between the two periods, while species preferring old-growth or mature forests increased, but those living on mires and wetlands, and species of Arctic mountains decreased.

The trends suggest that climate change impacts on species in natural boreal and Arctic habitats most probably are habitat-specific with large differences in response times and susceptibility. Open mires and mountain heaths change more rapidly in consequence of climate warming than old-growth forests, for which reason populations on mires and mountain heaths may also be more affected by climate change.


Global Volcanic Activity:

The eruption of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continues with vigorous lava emission and strong tremor as during the beginning of the eruption. Lava flows have now reached a reported length of 20 km. The seismic activity from the volcano is so strong that the seismic recordings from nearby Klyuchevskoy and Bezymianny are obscured.

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador remains very active, although the strength of explosions, compared to Saturday-Sunday, has calmed down since yesterday. Constant ash emissions, strong strombolian explosions and pulses of lava fountain up to 1 KM (!) height above the crater were reported seen during the night. In the morning, a small small pyroclastic flow descended through the gorge of La Hacienda. Occasionally, roars of varying intensity were heard. A dark ash column rises about 1.5 km and drifts westward. Tremor remains at high near saturation levels.

Seismicity has recently decreased and become more discontinuous at Reventador volcano, the second currently active volcano in Ecuador.

A stronger phase of activity occurred at the lava dome of Paluweh volcano this morning. VAAC Darwin reported an ash plume rising to 11,000 ft (3.4 km), i.a. 2.5 km above the crater.

The number of emissions of Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has further increased; there were 121 events, i.e. about 4 per hour counted since yesterday. Most produced only puffs of steam and gas, and in some cases very small amounts of ash. Other monitoring parameters remain unchanged. During the night glow was observed in the crater. In the morning, a steam and gas plume was seen rising about 800 meters above the crater and drifting to the southeast.

A relatively strong SO2 cloud was detected over Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica today, suggesting increased degassing.

Mild strombolian activity was observed at Fuego volcano with with ash plumes rising up to 400 m and incandescent bombs reaching 150 m above the crater. The lava flow remains active and was about 300 m long this morning.

Weak incandescence was seen from the Santiaguito lava dome at night and the lava flows descending its flanks remained active.

Pacaya volcano remains calm at the surface, but small volcanic earthquakes are occurring frequently.

Occasional weak ash explosions continue to occur from time to time at Galeras volcano in Colombia, such as observed during exceptionally clear weather yesterday. Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia continues to have pulses of small quakes and produces a significant steam and gas plume, occasionally accompanied by ash venting. Seismic unrest continues at Cerro Machin volcano. On December 14 and 16, 2 felt earthquakes occurred under the volcano.

Storms and Floods

Tropical cyclone Evan

-A State of natural disaster has been declared in the Northern and Western divisions of Fiji.

-Heavy storm and floods hit western parts of Viti Levu.

Flooding and landslide in Sri Lanka

-Flash floods and landslides have killed at least nine people and left thousands homeless in Sri Lanka.

-Three people died when a tree collapsed on a van and other six were buried in landslides. Eight people had died in Matale and one is Kandy in central Sri Lanka.

-Around 4,000 displaced people are living in 17 relief camps.

-Landslides also blocked roads from Laggala to Wilgamuwa, Raththota to Illukumbura and Matale to Galewela.

-Sluice gates of Kalawewa and Rajangana tanks (reservoirs) have been opened.

-A landslide danger zone has been declared in several districts of the central hill province.

Srilanka flood 2010 natural disaster


Flooding in Merto Vancouver Coastal region, Canada

-High winds and high tide flooded the seawalls in West Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Tornado in Laurel Bay, South Carolina, USA

-Tornado destroyed homes in the Laurel Bay military housing community in northern Beaufort.

Two weeks after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people, almost a million survivors are living outside evacuation centres and need urgent assistance, especially shelter, according to aid agencies. The most intense storm to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year struck Mindanao island, flooding farming and mining towns and burying many people in mudslides. On the eastern coast of Mindanao, where the typhoon hit first and the hardest, even many evacuation centres were not spared and collapsed during the storm. According to the United Nations’ latest report on the disaster, about 26,000 people are in 63 evacuation centres while 960,000 others are living in the ruins of their homes, open areas or with host communities.