Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

At least one person has been missing after a 4.4 magnitude earthquake caused a landslide in Ancona, Italy. The Earthquake also damaged one government building and a fire station.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Pewa is located approximately 242 nm northeastward of Wake Island.

Tropical storm Trami is located approximately 107 nm west-northwestward of Taipei, Taiwan.

Severe Tropical Storm Trami has struck a heavily populated northern Taiwan, prompting schools and offices to close down as heavy rains – up to 2 feet – triggered landslides. A deadly combination of monsoon rains and heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Trami swamped the northern Philippines on Monday and Tuesday.

Typhoon Trami batters China – Packing winds of 126 km/h, the 12th tropical storm to hit China this year made landfall in the coastal areas of Fuqing City early on Thursday. Trami has slammed into China, bringing more rain and threatening to worsen severe flooding that has so far left 575 dead and 340 missing.

NewsBytes:

Floods in Darfur, Sudan have claimed the lives of at least five people and injured seventeen others.

Environment

Global sea level rise temporarily dampened by 2010-11 Australia floods

Three atmospheric patterns came together above the Indian and Pacific Oceans in 2010 and 2011. When they did, they drove so much precipitation over Australia that the world’s ocean levels dropped measurably.

Unlike other continents, the soils and topography of Australia prevent almost all its precipitation from flowing into the ocean.

Australia’s vast interior, called the Outback, is ringed by coastal mountains and is often quite dry.

Because of the low-lying nature of the continent’s eastern interior, and the lack of river runoff in its western dry environment, most of the heavy rainfall of 2010-11 remained inland rather than flowing to the oceans.

While some of it evaporated in the desert sun, much of it sank into the dry, granular soil of the Western Plateau or filled the Lake Eyre basin in the east.

The 2010-11 event temporarily halted a long-term trend of rising sea levels caused by higher temperatures and melting ice sheets, according to a team of researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and other institutions.

Now that the atmosphere’s circulation has returned to its previous patterns, the seas are again rising.

The scientists conclude that the Outback region in Australia played a crucial role in trapping a large amount of rainfall when widespread floods occurred over the continent.

The researchers concluded that the smallest continent in the world can affect sea level worldwide. Its influence is so strong that it can temporarily overcome the background trend of rising sea levels we see with climate change.

As the climate warms, the world’s oceans have been rising in recent decades by just over three millimetres annually.

This is partly because heat causes water to expand, and partly because runoff from retreating glaciers and ice sheets is making its way into the oceans.

But for an 18-month period beginning in 2010, the oceans mysteriously dropped by about seven millimetres, more than offsetting the annual rise.

Fasullo and co-authors published research results last year demonstrating that the reason was related to the increased rainfall over tropical continents.

They also showed that the drop coincided with the atmospheric oscillation known as La Niña, which cooled tropical surface waters in the eastern Pacific and suppressed rainfall there–while enhancing it over portions of the tropical Pacific, Africa, South America and Australia.

However, an analysis of the historical record showed that past La Niña events only rarely accompanied such a pronounced drop in sea level.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images:

University of Alaska, Fairbanks, graduate student Jason Ahrns captured stunning images of red sprites during several flights over the Midwest this summer aboard the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Gulfstream V research plane.

Red sprites 2 columnar

Red sprites 4 big red

Wildfires

Wildfires – USA

Strong and shifting winds are pushing an Oregon wildfire that has burned across 5,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge, forcing the evacuation of a several dozen structures.

For the second time in as many days, residents of Atlanta, Idaho, were told to evacuate late Aug. 20 as the Little Queens Fire grew in strength, burning more than 9,500 acres and reported to be within two miles of the town’s limits. Officials had previously said that they believed the fire was human-caused.

Meanwhile, the nation’s highest wildfire priority, the Beaver Creek Fire, continues to rage in Blaine County, burning more than 106,000 acres. Close to 2,000 firefighters have been working the fire lines and as of the night of Aug. 20, the fire was 30 percent contained.

Approximately 1,800 homes still remain under mandatory evacuation in and around the communities of Ketchum, Hailey and Sun Valley. Another 8,150 remain on pre-evacuation notice.

Closer to Boise, wildfire erupted late Aug. 20 near Lucky Peak, burning about 600 acres and destroying six structures.

Forest fires near two of the nation’s most popular national parks have forced evacuations and closed roads. A large fire near Yosemite National Park in Northern California was only 5% contained Wednesday morning. Four fires burning in the Wyoming part of Yellowstone National Park have closed several roads into the park.

130821034101 Yosemite wildfire

Huge Wildfires near Sofia, Bulgaria

A huge wildfire is raging by the village of Lokorsko in Sofia district. Firefighters are currently putting the fire down and trying to localize it in order to prevent it from reaching the nearest settlements.

Fires are also burning in the districts of Stara Zagora, Kyustendil, Plovdiv and Yambol.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia (MERS)

The virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been found in bats in Saudi Arabia, suggesting a potential origin for the disease, according to a new study.

Researchers tested samples from bats living about 7 miles away from the home of the first person known to be infected with MERS in Saudi Arabia.

A virus found in one of the bats was 100 percent identical to the MERS virus seen in people, the researchers said.

Cholera in Cuba?

The U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana has issued an alert for cholera, triggering fresh allegations that Havana is hushing up an outbreak of the potentially fatal disease to avoid damaging its $2.5 billion-a-year tourism industry.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Kizimen (Kamchatka): The lava dome continues to grow at the top of the volcano and produce incandescent rockfalls and small pyroclastic flows, generating ash plumes. A new prominent spine is being extruded at the top and visible on the webcam. The following time-lapse movies show this activity during the day and night:

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Activity has remained elevated. A series of ash emissions caused by moderately strong vulcanian-type explosions occurred over the past days. This morning, an ash plume rose to 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude and drifted east.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano continues to extrude a new lobe of viscous lava (visible as the dark patch in the webcam image) at the lava dome, as well as produce occasional (usually small) ash explosions.

Poas (Costa Rica): A series of small phreatic eruptions occurred on 20 August at the crater lake. The first occurred at 09:55 (local time), ejecting mud and water to 2-3 m height, and a second one, more powerful, at 11:16 reached heights of 10-20 m.