Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

No tsunami warning was issued.

5.1 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

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

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Atlantic:

Tropical storm Dorian is located about 1550 mi (2500 km) E of the northern Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast through late Saturday. Dorian is moving in the direction of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cuba and Florida.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical Storm Flossie is located about 1355 mi (2185 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja, California. Moving westward towards Hawaii – 1940 mi (3125 km) E of Honolulu.

Strong storms in southern Kansas

Hail as large as baseballs was reported in east Hutchinson on Tuesday night. Winds estimated as high as 100 miles an hour were reported in southern Reno County near Pretty Prairie. The town itself was hit hard by hail and strong winds, knocking down trees and blocking streets.

Other News:

Heavy rains and thunderstorms have caused flooding in Dublin, Ireland leaving thousands of homes without power.

The Maluku dam in Indonesia collapsed and claimed life of at least one person and injured thirty two others. Around 5,200 people have been evacuated from a village near Ambon. More than 400 mm of rain was recorded in 24h locally which caused the dam to break.

Environment Canada has confirmed a tornado touched down in southern Manitoba on Wednesday. Wednesday’s tornado is the third one in southern Manitoba since July 18, when a twister went through Sioux Valley First Nation and damaged homes and trees and sent two people to hospital. The other happened on July 21 but caused no damage, touching down in a field between the communities of Deloraine and Boissevain.

Environment

Arctic Cyclone Tears Up Sea Ice

Arctic scientists are watching in awe this week as a raging summer cyclone tears up what could become a record amount of rotting northern sea ice.

Arctic cyclones are driven by low-pressure systems in which winds of up to 100 km/h blow counter-clockwise in a spiral more than 1,000 kilometres across. They occur in both winter and summer, but are usually stronger in winter. Cyclones are not unusual in the Arctic, but seem to be changing in recent years. “These cyclones are not getting more frequent, but they are getting deeper — which means stronger.”

And they’re getting harder on sea ice, which they break up through wave action associated with high winds and through rainfall, which darkens the ice and makes it absorb more solar energy. The storms also bring up water from the depths, which is actually warmer than surface water.

Cyclones can destroy large amounts of ice very quickly. “In 2009, we actually documented one of these events in which large, multi-year ice floes – Manhattan-sized – broke up in a matter of minutes.” Last year, a particularly powerful cyclone is thought to have wiped out 800,000 square kilometres of ice. That contributed to record low sea-ice levels at the end of the 2012 melt year.

This year’s storm over the Beaufort Sea formed about mid-week and is expected to die out on the weekend. It isn’t as strong as last year’s, but the ice is thinner and weaker. As well, the ice has already been pummelled by earlier storms. “The effects of (the storm) are nowhere near what we saw last August. But because the ice is thinner and it’s already been pre-conditioned, and because there’s less volume, it’s much more vulnerable to impacts from this sort of thing.”

The ice is getting so weak that new categories have had to be created for it. “We have a whole new class of sea ice in the Arctic, which we’re calling ‘decayed ice. We started seeing it in 2009. It’s extremely weak.” Changing sea-ice cover is increasingly being linked to southern weather patterns. The jet stream, which strongly influences weather at mid-latitudes, is driven by temperature differences between the Arctic and the equator, a difference that shrinks with the sea ice. Ice coverage is slightly about last year’s record low but still well below the 30-year average.

Much remains unknown about the role of Arctic cyclones in the annual freeze-thaw cycle. Back when the sea was thick and lasted for years, cyclones tended to spread the ice out and actually increase its extent. Now, when ice gets spread out, it simply breaks up and disappears. “As our ice cover has thinned, some of our old rules are changing…This year has been very stormy. The month of August is definitely one to watch in the Arctic.”

Disease

Legionnaires’ disease outbreak claims 2 more lives

Two more people have died from Legionnaires’ disease at a Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA retirement community, bringing total deaths to four and those sickened to 35.

CDC Warns Of Rare Parasite Outbreak – USA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials are warning about potentially tainted produce that may have caused sickness in over 250 people across several US states.

The produce, which would have been shipped across state lines, is believed to have been contaminated with a rare parasite known as cyclospora. Almost 120 people have reportedly tested positive for the rare protozoan in Iowa, an additional 65 tested positive in Texas and another 68 in Nebraska, according to state officials. Several other cases have been reported in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kansas, although the Illinois case may yet be traced back to Iowa.

Officials have yet to formally identify a source for the illnesses. Cyclospora are not known to thrive in the US – making the possibility that imported produce may be the culprit highly likely.

Wildlife

Fish Die From Oxygen Starvation in England

A large amount of fish found dead in the lower Lea river and surrounding waterways were starved of oxygen.

The fish were spotted at various locations along the river, including Springfield Marina and Lea Bridge Weir pool in Walthamstow.

Recent hot weather reduced oxygen levels in the river, the Environment Agency said.

And storms on Monday night, which swept toxins from nearby roads into the river, meant oxygen levels were further depleted.

Fisheries officers from the agency worked through the night carrying out work to return levels to normal by running water through locks and pumping oxygen into the water at Three Mills Boatyard.

The agency reported that oxygen levels have risen around 25 per cent in the area, creating a refuge for fish including bream, perch, pike and roach.

Dead fish

Drought

New Zealand Drought

The 2012-13 drought has been confirmed as the worst in nearly 70 years for large parts of the country.

An assessment published today said the dry conditions had been unusually widespread, with a severity similar to that of 1945-46.

Although drought conditions had dissipated with the onset of winter, and many farms had started to recover following good autumn conditions, the economic and social impact of the drought continued to be felt around the country. Recent snow made it harder for farmers to see themselves through the winter and manage feed supply and pastures.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity has been at relatively low to moderate levels recently. Explosions of small to medium size occur regularly from the “usual” (mainly the eastern and western) vents.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no changes in the ongoing mainly effusive eruption; tremor has remained stable (3.3 mcm/s). No significant changes were reported for either of the other currently erupting / restless Kamchatkan volcanoes:

Chirinkotan (Northern Kurils): A thermal hot spot and steam plume remain visible on satellite images (when there is no cloud cover), indicating that some activity continues at the remote volcano.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The IAVECI 2013 conference over, activity has dropped a bit, it seems. The volcano still has a few vulcanian explosions per day, but smaller in size, and phases of near-continuous ash emissions have become a bit weaker and shorter when observed last night.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): An explosion occurred Monday (22 July) morning at 05:06 local time, producing an ash plume of about 1200 m height.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Emissions have been up to 2 per hour on average, but remained very small. A volcano-tectonic magnitude 2.3 quake occurred at 00:47 (local time) yesterday.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The lava dome has been very calm during the past day. No explosions and no movement at the previously active lava flow (on the southern slope) were observed.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Seismic and surface activity have increased during the past days, characterized by the appearance of continuous tremor and more frequent strombolian explosions, the latest special bulletin of INSIVUMEH notes. This suggests a batch of fresh magma is currently rising. The Guatemalan scientists think that it is likely that strombolian activity will increase and perhaps a lava flow will appear on the flanks of the volcano in the coming days.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has remained low. INSIVUMEH reports only few and weak explosions (producing ash plumes up to 400 m height) and the active lava flow decreased to 50 m length.

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has decreased a bit, although small earthquakes are still frequent.

Galeras (Colombia): A magnitude 3.2 earthquake occurred under the volcano yesterday morning. The quake was felt by some nearby residents.

Reventador (Ecuador): Activity remains at high levels, characterized by small explosions and the likely effusion of lava flows. Unfortunately, near-constant cloud cover makes direct observations difficult.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): An increase in activity has occurred since yesterday. For 24 July, IGPEN reports an eruption column of steam and ash reaching 5 km above the crater drifting into westerly directions. During the past night, a further rise in activity has likely occurred, as the increasing tremor signal suggests. Weak to moderate explosion sounds could be heard overnight and ash fall was reported from El Manzano, Choglontus, Puela, Cahuaji, and in the sectors of Cevallos, Quero and Mocha.

Sabancaya (Peru): Seismic activity has picked up. A number of earthquakes in the magnitude 2-3 range have appeared recently.

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): A single hot spot is again visible at the summit crater. It is not known what activity exactly occurs there, but it could be that there is a small lava lake or strombolian-type activity from the crater at Dawson Peak.