Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.3 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville Islands region in Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Caribbean Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

Storms and Floods

Tropical cyclone Mahasen

Bangladesh rides out the weakened storm. Cyclone Mahasen weakened Thursday afternoon into a tropical storm and then dissipated, causing far less damage than had been feared as it passed over Bangladesh and spared Burma almost entirely. Category 1 Mahasen struck the southern coast of Bangladesh on Thursday, lashing remote fishing villages with heavy rain and fierce winds that flattened mud and straw huts, killing 12 people. Cyclone-induced rains have had much of the Bangladesh capital city knee-deep in water since Thursday morning.

Tropical storm Alvin was located about about 770 mi [1240 km] SW of Manzanillo, Mexico. Alvin is in a hostile environment. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Alvin could degenerate into a trough of low pressure at any time.

Severe Storms in China

Big storms in China have killed at least 33 people and destroyed thousands of houses. 12 people are missing. At least nine provinces have had storms and some flooding and landslides since Tuesday. Guangdong province has been hit the hardest with 19 deaths and 11 missing people. Guangdong’s weather service said some areas received more than 8 inches (21 centimetres) of rain in nine hours on Thursday. It forecasts more rain in the coming days and warns of mudslides.

Wildlife

First Gray Whale Sighted South of Equator on Record

A gray whale that was sighted off the coast of Namibia in early May was the first-ever appearance of the marine mammal south of the equator.

The species has been extinct in the Atlantic since the 18th century and has been mainly confined to the North Pacific. One was also sighted in the Mediterranean in May 2010.

Experts say this could suggest the leviathan is recovering from the disastrous whaling hunts that ended in the 20th century, or it could mean changing climate is disrupting its feeding habits.

Another possibility is that the increasing population of the gray whale could be allowing it to regain some of its ancient migratory routes.

“The question is now, what is the origin of this whale,” said John Paterson of the Walvis Bay Strandings Network.

He said photographs taken of it prove it is not the same individual that turned up in the Mediterranean.

“Is it another individual that has traversed the Northwest Passage, or perhaps travelled around the southern tip of South America and across the Atlantic?” asked Paterson.

“Unfortunately, we’ll never know the route it followed to get here.”

Gray whales grow up to 45 feet in length and undertake the longest known migration of any mammal.

They complete a round trip of over 18,000 miles between their summer feeding grounds in the high Arctic and winter breeding area off the coast of Mexico, then usually return to the high Arctic.

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Environment

Global Hottest and Coldest Temperatures

The week’s hottest temperature was 117.5 degrees Fahrenheit (47.5 degrees Celsius) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 101.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 74.2 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.

Drought

Queensland Drought – Australia

The Australian Environment Minister has rejected a plan to let starving cattle loose in conservation reserves and national parks in Queensland, infuriating the state government and drought-hit graziers.

Monsoon Failure in India

Drought triggers shortage of fodder for cattle in India – The monsoon failure and the consequent crop loss have caused a severe shortage of paddy straw, the staple fodder for cattle, across the district.

Sugarcane acreage in India seen at four-year low on drought – “The drought certainly seems to be serious and will impact production for next year and India will certainly have to come back to the import market more.”

USA Drought

The winter wheat crop is expected to be far smaller this season compared to last, particularly for hard red varieties used in bread, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Friday. The US drought and cold have crippled the nation’s wheat crop. The government’s forecast comes amid a season marked by drought and late spring freezes in the Midwest’s major wheat growing areas, particularly in Kansas – the nation’s biggest wheat-producing state.

Wildfires

Wildfire in California National Forest, USA

The Grand fire burns into the Los Padres National Forest near Gorman, California, where the blaze charred more than 3,000 acres of wild lands on Wednesday. Cooler temperatures and lighter winds are helping hundreds of firefighters combat the wildfire which was still just 25 percent contained Thursday night.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Pavlov (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues with lava fountaining at the summit that feeds a lava flow now over 100 m long and produces a continuous ash, steam, and gas plume extending downwind from the volcano for 50 to 100 km at an altitude of about 20,000 ft above sea level. This morning the cloud was carried to the southeast. Satellite images show persistent elevated surface temperatures at the summit and on the northwest flank. Seismic activity remains elevated with nearly continuous tremor recorded on the seismic network.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity remains intense. Last night at 22:14 h local time, a strong explosion ejected incandescent fragments on all the volcano´s flanks to distances of 1,500 m from the crater, and triggered an eruption plume rising at least 3 km above the volcano, drifting northeast.