Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands region.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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

Storms and Floods

Major Sandstorm Headed to the United Arab Emirates

A major sandstorm is expected to hit the UAE this weekend. The storm is expected to create a visibility of less than 500 meters.

The sandstorm was expected to erupt in Iraq and travel through Kuwait to hit the UAE on Friday, gripping the country for two days. Wind speeds of 25-35 knots are expected. In Saudi Arabia, too, a government met centre warned that the kingdom would be hit by extreme climatic conditions over the coming three days. On an average, the UAE faces between 8 and 10 severe sandstorms each year. In many cases these sandstorms can last for several hours or sometimes even the whole day, bring traffic to a standstill, forcing places of work and school to close and significantly increasing the number of hospitalizations.

Tropical Cyclone Twenty-one was located approximately 200 nm south-southwest of Diego Garcia in the South Indian Ocean.

Global Warming

The Ocean Deeps are Absorbing Global Warming

A new study shows that the world’s oceans are warming significantly under the influence of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, especially the deeps. Scientists from the U.S. and European weather agencies reassembled data from 1958 to 2009, using all available sources to create a model of ocean temperature changes.

They found that dimmed sunlight due to massive volcanic eruptions in the early 1980s and 1990s briefly reversed an otherwise profound trend of ocean warming.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers from NOAA and the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts say that the deep waters have absorbed a surprising amount of heat, and did so at an increasing rate over the past decade.

About 90 percent of the energy added to the global environment by human activities was found to have gone into the ocean.

The ocean depths absorbed a surprising amount of heat, which may be related to a cycle of ocean circulation patterns known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Once it changes, researchers believe the ocean surface temperatures will begin to warm more.

Environment

Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant says it is moving tons of highly radioactive water from a temporary storage tank to another because of a possible leak.

TEPCO said on Saturday about 108 tonnes the water are believed to have breached the tank’s inner linings, although little is thought to have leaked into the soil. TEPCO is moving the water to a nearby tank. It is part of the water that was used to cool melted fuel at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors damaged in the March 2011 disaster. So much water was used that TEPCO is struggling to find storage space.

The plant is being decommissioned but continues to experience glitches. A fuel storage pool temporarily its lost cooling system on Friday, a month after a similar 30-hour outage.

Drought

Britain ‘running out of wheat’

The spate of bad weather in Britain which saw the Isles suffer drought, then floods and now prolonged cold weather is expected to impact this autumn’s wheat harvest. Britain will become a net importer of wheat for the first time in a decade this year because of the bad weather.

More than two million tonnes of wheat had been lost because of last year’s poor summer. The prolonged cold weather would also hit this autumn’s harvest. But the shortage was unlikely to affect the price of bread because of the global nature of the market and the fact that only 10% of the price of bread is attributable to wheat.

Disease

Bird Flu in China – Update

China has now confirmed 16 cases of the H7N9 strain since announcing a week ago that the virus had been found in humans for the first time. Six people have died.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity and weak shallow earthquakes were registered. Hot avalanches (collapse of parts of the growing dome) and possibly explosions accompanying this process produced a plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude yesterday. Strong degassing and steaming are continuous.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Vulcanian explosion-type eruptions have been relatively infrequent recently (only 0-2 per day), but some of them produced ash plumes rising as high as 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Recently, the number of earthquakes has dropped to low (normal) levels of 0-3 on average. Still, some inflation in parts of the caldera and slightly elevated CO2 emissions are present and PHILVOLCS maintains yellow alert level.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) was spotted again yesterday, indicating ongoing explosions at the remote volcano in the Flores Sea.

Raung (East Java): VSI has lowered the alert level of the volcano down to 2 out of 4 (Waspada) after Raung had been on orange since October. The seismic activity has gradually decreased and currently, there is only degassing, sometimes intense, from the crater.

Tambora (Sumbawa): VSI raised the alert level to 2 (Waspada) on a scale of 1-4, but does not specify the reason (likely increased seismic activity). No further details are known for the time being.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome continues to produce explosions and avalanches. An ash plume rose to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude today and drifted 25 nautical miles to the west.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes have occurred recently, but the volcano has been a bit calmer again yesterday and today, with an average of 1-2 weak emissions per hour.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Light ash fall from occasional small explosions has been reported in Finca Faro, Finca Florida and until San Felipe Reu. The lava dome otherwise has been very calm over the past days.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reports no changes during the last week. Mild strombolian activity continues, and is visible especially at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity remains low, with only few strombolian explosions reported.

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm continues with again increased strength. Especially the amplitudes of (shallow) volcanic quakes have been bigger than before. This volcano remains a good candidate for a next eruption in Central America.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Volcanic earthquakes embedded in weak tremor remain frequent.

Reventador (Ecuador): A slowly decreasing trend of activity is visible, but there are still occasional small explosions and strong degassing. Volcanic earthquakes and tremor fluctuates between low to moderate levels.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Seismic activity has again diminished.