Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.9 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands. No reports of injuries or damage.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands region.

Wildlife

Monarchs Go Missing During Kiwi Summer

New Zealanders are wondering where the country’s iconic monarch butterflies have gone this southern summer. They failed to return in some areas after a cold and tough winter dampened their breeding grounds on the South Island.

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While related to their North American cousins, New Zealand monarchs don’t migrate vast distances.

They instead adapt to local conditions, often wintering along the coast where temperatures seldom fall below 50 degrees.

Experts say climate change may be what has affected the monarchs recently.

“Monarchs are an indicator species, telling us a lot about how other insects are going, and this is something to watch closely as we need our insects,” said an expert.

Experts say the colorful insects are likely to rebound in the years to come as colonies recover from last winter’s adverse conditions.

Environment

Global Hottest and Coldest Temperatures

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.5 degrees Fahrenheit (46.4 degrees Celsius) at Gobabeb, Namibia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 72.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.9 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Space Events

Planetary Meteor Defense Shield Proposed

Russia is proposing a unified international monitoring system to prevent Earth from being struck with a catastrophic blast from space.

Following the destructive meteor breakup over southern Russia on February 15, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev assigned a deputy, Dmitry Rogozin, to find ways to prevent far worse disasters.

Rogozin had proposed in 2011 an “international initiative” to prevent such threats by harnessing the “intellectual and technological efforts of industrial nations.”

Anti-missile and aerospace defense technologies in use today are mostly ground-based and designed to detect incoming objects launched from the ground, rather than those coming from space.

A network structured under the umbrella of the United Nations to detect and deflect meteors or asteroids long before they reach the planet is proposed.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Firefighters are being brought in from around Western Australia to help battle a 1 200 Ha bushfire raging through Perth’s semi-rural northeast amid fears that stronger winds will increase its intensity. More than 150 firefighters tackled the blaze near Shady Hills and Bullsbrook.

After burning more than 85,000 hectares of land for over six weeks, the last two bushfires burning in Victoria’s Gippsland region have been contained.

Storms and Floods

Mudslide in Ipoh, Malaysia

Heavy rainfall has caused huge mudslide in Taman Kledang Permai in Ipoh, Malaysia. The mudslide has blocked Ipoh-Lumut highway.

Thailand authorities have declared Narathiwat a natural disaster zone. Continuous rainfall from some days has flooded almost the entire area of Narathiwat.

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Tropical Cyclone Rusty

Tropical cyclone Rusty has damaged the power infrastructure in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, leaving thousands without electricity. Fallen trees and high winds have led to power outages in almost all districts. Kupang suffered a power blackout on Tuesday evening after the storm damaged the electricity cable network and forced the shutdown of a local power station.

The remnants of tropical cyclone Rusty are causing major flooding in the Pilbara catchment areas and river levels are expected to remain high for days. Around 4pm yesterday, two hours after all cyclone warnings were cancelled, emergency services said minor to major flood levels had been reached in the Nullagine, Oakover, Coongan and De Grey rivers, with further peaks possible in coming days.