Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Hurricane Barbara

Tropical Storm Barbara intensifies to hurricane strength.

Hurricane Barbara, which made landfall Wednesday on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico has claimed the lives of at least two people. At least 14 fisherman in Tapanatepec, Oaxaca are still reported to be missing. Oaxaca officials have prepared emergency shelters and suspended schools in coastal areas.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre, Barbara had weakened to a tropical storm by evening.

Heavy rainfall in Salvador, Brazil

Heavy rainfall has damaged the roof of the Confederations Cup stadium (Mane Garrincha stadium) in Salvador, Estado de Bahia, Brazil.

Landslide on Whidbey Island, Washington

A 300-foot landslide has been reported north of Langley on Whidbey Island. According to officials, the landslide isn’t threatening any homes and there have been no evacuations.

Other News:

Overnight thunderstorms in Toronto, Canada, led to severe flooding across the Greater Toronto Area Wednesday, with the Don River overflowing its banks and GO Transit lines washed out.

A colossal river ice jam that caused major flooding in Galena, a remote Alaska town was starting to churn Wednesday as water finally chewed ice chunks away from the stubborn, frozen mass after most of the residents were forced to flee from the rising water.

Global Warming

135-Year-Old Data Helps Understand Climate Change

Ocean data collected over 135 years ago by the crew of the HMS Challenger oceanographic expedition has helped confirm global warming.

Researchers from NASA and the University of Tasmania used the data to provide further confirmation that humans have played a part in today’s changing global climate. The team combined the ship’s measurements of ocean temperatures with modern observations from the international Argo array of ocean profiling floats. They used state-of-the-art climate models to get a picture of how the world’s oceans have changed over the last century.

The Challenger voyage was the world’s first global scientific survey of life beneath the ocean surface. During this expedition, scientists measured ocean temperatures, lowering thermometers hundreds of feet deep on hemp ropes.

“Our research revealed warming of the planet can be clearly detected since 1873 and that our oceans continue to absorb the great majority of this heat,” said researcher Will Hobbs of the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

“Currently, scientists estimate the oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases, and we attribute the global warming to anthropogenic causes.”

Challenger’s measurements revealed that thermal expansion of sea water caused by global warming has contributed to about 40 percent of the total sea level rise seen in tide gauges from 1873 to 1955. The remaining 60 percent was likely to have come from the melting of ice sheets and glaciers.

“This research adds yet another suite of compelling data that shows human activity continues to have a dramatic influence on the Earth’s climate,” said Hobbs, lead author of the paper which was published in the latest edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

HMSChallenger 052813 617x416

Disease

Bird Flu Outbreak in China – Update

The incidence of new infections seems to be decreasing. The National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of one additional laboratory confirmed case of human infection with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Six suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, just six months after an outbreak of the deadly virus ended in the area, the United Nations said Wednesday.

To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 percent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus.

The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Ebola, one of the world’s most virulent diseases, was first discovered in the DRC in 1976, and the country has had eight outbreaks.

The most recent epidemic, in the same region, infected 62 people and left 34 dead between May and November last year.

Wildlife

Wooly Mammoth Blood Recovered From Frozen Carcass

The frozen body of a 10,000 to 15,000 year old mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean has yielded a stunning find: blood so well preserved that it flowed freely from the ancient mammal, according to Russian scientists.

The muscle tissue of the frozen carcass was also stunning – the color of fresh meat, totally unlike meat that is centuries old.

“The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice, and the upper part was found in the middle of tundra.”

Wooly mammoths are thought to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although scientists think small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on Russia’s Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast.

Mammoth blood

Wildfires

Wildfires in Fort McMurray area, Alberta, Canada

Despite the Wildfire Hazard Level for the Waterways area being lowered slightly to “High,” five new wildfires were ignited in the Fort McMurray area Tuesday evening, each caused by lightning.

There are currently four wildfires still burning in the area, all of which are northeast of the city. Two of the fires are classified as “being held” and two are considered “under control.” No communities or industrial sites are being threatened by the fires.