Earthquakes

6.0 Earthquake hits Myanmar.

5.5 Earthquake hits off the coast of southern Alaska.

5.4 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Nepal.

5.1 Earthquake hits Antofagasto, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg Ridge (Indian Ocean). Also multiple 4.0+ Earthquakes: Three 4.9; two 4.8; five 4.7 and one 4.6.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-atlantic Ridge

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Environment

Tip of Greenland Drives Atlantic Ocean Circulation

The steep topography at the southern tip of Greenland has been found to create a profound effect on local wind currents and the ocean circulation of the entire North Atlantic. Researcher Kent Moore of the University of Toronto Mississauga documented that the sharp cliffs of Cape Farewell, at the very bottom of the massive island, make the site the windiest place in the world.

Winds forced around the cape instead of over it by topography become “tip jets” in wind acceleration similar to what allows an airplane wing to create lift.

The jets interact with the ocean below, chilling the warm Gulf Stream current and causing it to sink as it becomes colder and denser.

“The winds are what cause the return flow for the Gulf Stream, and are an example of how the atmosphere drives ocean circulations,” Moore says in his findings, published in the journal Geophysical Review Letters.

Similar tip jets affect the flow of sea ice in northern Greenland and create ocean storms over the Labrador Sea, Moore adds.

Cloud eddies form when winds bunch up against the rough terrain of southeastern Greenland:

Ew130104c

Wildfires

Wildfires in Australia

Bushfires have been raging out of control across Australia’s most populous state, fanned by intense heat and high winds in “catastrophic” conditions that triggered evacuations.

Bushfires NSW

 

Of the more than 140 fires burning across New South Wales state late on Tuesday, around 40 of them were uncontained.

The fires were clearly visible from the International Space Station:

Nasa wildfires 1

 

Nasa wildfires

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli volcano (Italy): The magma column inside the NE vent system remains at very high levels with continuous, strong spattering from the hornito in the western end of the NE crater. Large fluid lava bubbles burst from the main vent at irregular intervals of 10-40 minutes, and throw bombs, visible from the village, to heights of several hundreds of meters. On 7 Jan, a small lava flow issued from an effusive vent through a breach in the northern outer flank of the SE crater cone and traveled about half way down the Sciara del Fuoco.

Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) (Italy) : According to a recent report by INGV Naples, the ground deformation of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) near Naples has increased considerably lately. During the last 12 months, the ground in some places near the town of Pozzuoli was uplifted by about 8 cm.

Colima (Mexico): After more than 2 years of quiet, Colima volcano erupted with an ash explosion on 6 January. The eruption was preceded by a day of increasing seismic activity and came as a surprise to many.

Popocatépetl (Mexico): In the last 24 hours (7-8 Jan), 16 low-intensity emissions of steam and gas and occasionally minor amounts of ash. During the night, glow was visible at the volcano. During the morning, a steam and gas plume rising about 300 m above the crater could be seen.

Fuego in Guatemala has mild strombolian eruptions with incandescent lava thrown to about 100 m above the crater. The lava flow towards the Taniluya drainage remained stable and was about 900 m long this morning.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): A few explosions with ash plumes rising up to 700 m occurred today.

Pacaya (Guatemala): The volcano produces numerous small volcanic earthquakes, but has not had any other surface activity. This could change quickly, though.

Reventador (Ecuador): Seismic activity continues to show an increasing trend with numerous volcanic quakes, long-period events and some explosion signals. A 500 m steam plume could be observed.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): A weak lava flow remains active on the on the coastal plain and is entering the ocean at multiple locations.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Another explosion occurred yesterday sending an ash plume to 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude.

Raung (East Java) has picked up strombolian activity. Raung volcano was seen emitting gray ash clouds on Sunday (6 Jan) morning. The plumes rose about 300 m above the crater. At night, “fire” could be seen around the crater and there were occasional thundering explosion sounds.

Sakurajima (Japan): The volcano has been relatively constant in its activity during the past days, having 2-3 “normal” small to moderate vulcanian explosions a day. Ash plumes reached elevations between 6-8,000 ft (1.8-2.4 km) altitude.

Mammoth Mountain (California): A small seismic swarm occurred between 4-5 January with quakes at depth of 12-15 km.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): 3 seismic swarms and volcanic tremor on 6 Jan, accompanied by increased crater glow and elevated degassing.

Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease in China

A small outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), has been reported by authorities in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

New Strain of Norovirus Spreads Around the World

A new strain of the winter vomiting disease norovirus has spread to France, New Zealand and Japan from Australia and is overtaking all others to become the dominant strain in Britain.

The norovirus variant, known as Sydney 2012, was identified in a scientific paper last week and Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said genetic testing showed it was now causing more cases in England and Wales than other strains.

Sydney 2012 does not carry worse symptoms than others but, like other norovirus strains, it can cause violent and projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes fevers, headaches and stomach cramps.

Norovirus cases have risen earlier than expected this winter in Britain, across Europe, Japan and other parts of the world.

Although norovirus mostly causes just a few days of sickness, it is responsible for millions of infections every year and is notorious for its ability to evade control.

Drought

2012 Hottest Year on Record for USA

The US sweltered under its hottest year on record in 2012, breaking the previous yearly average by 0.6°C which occurred in 1998. Last year the average US temperature was 13°C amid widespread drought and a mild winter. July broke the record for hottest month. Nineteen states set yearly heat records in 2012. Alaska, however, was cooler than average.

Drought in Thailand

A disaster zone was declared due to drought in the northern province of Phichit, Thailand. A drought disaster zone was issued for the drought hit districts of Muang, Saklek, Dong Charoen and Wangsai Poon.

Drought Relief in US

Some modest relief is expected this week from the worst drought in over 50 years in the U.S. crop belt and volatile weather patterns are shifting attention to potential harm or winterkill in the U.S. Plains hard red winter wheat region.

Heavy rainfall is expected this week in the U.S. Delta extending into central Texas and the showers will move into portions of the southern Midwest.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Narelle forms in the Southern Indian Ocean north-northeast of Learmonth, Australia. It is expected to move along the northwestern Australia coast with the potential to make landfall.

Flash Floods in Palestine and Israel

Two killed in flash floods in West Bank of Jenin, Palestine.

Two Palestinian women bodies were swept away by surging waters.

Storms have also cut electricity in thousands of home across Gaza.

It is beleived to be the fiercest storm to hit the area in a decade.

Heavy snowfall blocked all streets in Jordan’s capital, Amman.

Yesterday stormy weather in Israel injured 10 people.

Floods in Tel Aviv closed a major highway and stopped trains.

Avalanche on Vancouver Island, Canada

An avalanche on Vancouver Island injured 18-year-old skier. Four other skiers were rescued immediately.

The avalanche occurred near Moat and Circlet Lakes in the backcountry of Strathcona Provincial Park, outside the boundaries of Mount Washington Ski Resort.

The Metro Vancouver area has predicted to get at least 30 mm of rain by early today (Wednesday).

A travel advisory has been issued for the Coquihalla Highway.

A further high avalanche warning is issued for the North, the Columbia, Monashee and Selkirks region and the South Columbia region.