Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.3 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Atlantic:

Post-tropical cyclone Erin has degenerated into a remnant low about 1080 mi (1740 km) WNW of the Cape Verde Islands.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Pewa is located approximately 769 nm east-southeastward of Wake Island.

Tropical storm Trami is located approximately 420 nm southward of Kadena Air Base, Japan. Trami is forecast to strike China at about 06:00 GMT on 22 August.

Tropical Storm Trami (Maring) has caused heavy rainfall and widespread flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

In the Central Pacific:

Tropical storm Unala is located about 1360 mi (2190 km) W of Honolulu, Hawaii.

NewsBytes:

Floods in Yobe state in Nigeria destroy more than 300 houses.

Worst flooding in three decades in Heilongjiang Province in China has claimed the lives of at least 11 people and left 3 others missing. Flooding has destroyed more than 1 million hectares of farmland and affected two million people.

Global Warming

European forests near ‘carbon saturation point’

European forests are showing signs of reaching a saturation point as carbon sinks, a study has suggested. Since 2005, the amount of atmospheric CO2 absorbed by the continent’s trees has been slowing. This was a result of a declining volume of trees, deforestation and the impact of natural disturbances.

Carbon sinks play a key role in the global carbon cycle and are promoted as a way to offset rising emissions. The carbon cycle is the process by which carbon – essential for life on the planet – is transferred between land (geosphere and terrestrial biosphere), sea (hydrosphere) and the atmosphere. Carbon sinks refers to the capacity of key components in the cycle – such as the soil, oceans, rock and fossil fuels – to store carbon, preventing it from being recycled, eg between the land and the atmosphere. Many of Europe’s forests are reaching an age where growth, and carbon uptake, slows down.

The continent’s forests had been recovering in recent times after centuries of stock decline and deforestation. The growth had also provided a “persistent carbon sink”, which was projected to continue for decades.

However, the team’s study observed three warnings that the carbon sink provided by Europe’s tree stands was nearing a saturation point.

First, the stem volume increment rate (of individual trees) is increasing and thus the sink is curbing after decades of increase. Second, land use is intensifying, thereby leading to deforestation and associated carbon losses. Third, natural disturbances (like wildfires) are increasing and, as a consequence, so are the emissions of CO2.

53356577 forestfinlandbbc

Wildfires

Wildfires – Idaho – USA

Firefighters step up battle against Idaho blaze

On Sunday, firefighters mounted an all-out ground and air attack on an Idaho wildfire that has forced the evacuation of some 2,250 homes and threatened the world-class ski resort of Sun Valley, where snow-making water cannons were used to keep the flames at bay.

The fire raging across parched sagebrush, grasslands and pine forests near high-end developments in the Sun Valley area has consumed 101,000 acres and destroyed one home and seven other buildings since lightning sparked the blaze on August 7. More than 1,000 firefighters were engaged in what fire officials called “a heavy air show” and ground assault in a drive to gain the upper hand over a blaze stoked by dry, hot weather and strong, gusting winds.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Sakurajima volcano (Japan): large explosion sends ash plume to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude

A very large vulcanian explosion, one of the largest during this year occurred yesterday morning. It produced a mushroom shaped ash column that rose to about 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude that drifted over the Kagoshima.

People in Kagoshima city were seen wearing masks and raincoats and using umbrellas to protect themselves from the volcanic ash.

Sakurajima volcano eruption 2013 photo