Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

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In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Nari (Santi) is located approximately 255 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines. Arrival expected on Friday in the Philippines, then Tuesday in Vietnam.

Typhoon Nari headed towards the Philippines – In the Western Pacific, Category 1 Typhoon Nari is expected to intensify into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds and make landfall on Luzon Island in the Philippines near 12 UTC Friday. Nari will then make a second landfall in Vietnam around 00 UTC on Tuesday.

Tropical depression 25w has been upgraded to Tropical storm Wipha, which is located approximately 696 nm south of Iwo To, Japan. Could become a typhoon by Saturday afternoon. In the Eastern Pacific:

In the Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Phailin is located approximately 424 nm southward of Kolkata, India. It will continue to intensify, reaching a peak of 135 knots in the next day as favourable conditions persist.

Very dangerous typhoon Phailin, in the North Indian Ocean’s Bay of Bengal, has put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification, going from a tropical storm with 65 mph winds to a formidable Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in just twelve hours. Landfall on the northeast coast of India expected to occur between 06 – 12 UTC on Saturday, possibly as strong as Category 4.

NewsBytes

An early blizzard caught ranchers off guard this week in South Dakota, USA, killing as many as 20,000 head of cattle. Crews are out removing dead cattle blocking roads, where they fell over in their tracks. Herds of livestock still alive are wandering aimlessly far from home. “We have misplaced cattle everywhere. The storm blew them 10 miles or more from where they are normally pastured.” South Dakota’s civil air patrol did flyovers to take pictures of whole herds that keeled over together, dotting the gaping, snow-covered flatlands with big, black blotches. Ranchers who thought they were doing the right thing were blindsided, and they are dazed by their losses. “The smart thing to do this time of year is to have cows and calf off to pasture. Then the storm blew in. We’ve never seen anything quite like this.” They may never know the total number of livestock killed.

A tornado hit the southeast Colorado community of Eads Thursday evening and damaged two houses. The tornado also knocked out power to the communities of Brandon, Sheridan Lake and Towner.

Global Warming

Acid Oceans From Greenhouse Gases Threaten Extinctions

The world’s oceans are now more acidic than they have been for at least 300 million years, which scientists who made the discovery warn poses a threat of mass extinction of marine species worldwide.

The change in the ocean’s chemistry is said to be due to carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

This, combined with overfishing and pollution, imperils marine life on which billions of people depend for food and jobs.

That warning by the International Program on the State of the Ocean came after an international audit of the health of the oceans revealed the magnitude of the man-made threats.

Program officials caution that Earth’s next mass extinction may have already begun in the oceans.

They warn that coral is especially sensitive to changes in pH levels in the water, and it provides the habitat countless fish and other species depend upon to survive.

Findings published in the program’s State of the Oceans report say that there is a lag of several decades between CO2 being created by human activities and the resulting ocean acidification.

This means that even if world leaders drastically reduced emissions now, further acidification and warming of the oceans are inevitable.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110.3 degrees Fahrenheit (43.5 degrees Celsius) at Adrar, Algeria.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 90.9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68.3 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 Organisation sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Wildfires

Australia 

Bushfires are burning in the Gold Coast and NSW Hinterland in extremely hot conditions.

Firefights are expecting a spate of bush fires across the state.

Disease

Scientists find new botulinum toxin

Scientists have discovered the first new type of botulinum toxin in 40 years, and in a highly unusual move, they are keeping the toxin’s genetic sequence data secret for now so that no one can make it in a lab before an effective antitoxin can be developed.

Until now, Clostridium botulinum was known to produce seven types of toxins, all of which cause paralysis by blocking neurotransmitters in humans and animals. The last one was discovered in 1970.

The researchers discovered the new toxin, called botulinum neurotoxin type H, or BoNT/H, as a result of a case of infant botulism. They reported the discovery in two articles published this week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID). Antitoxins are available for the seven other botulinum toxin types, but not for the new one.

Bubonic Plague in Madagascar

A rash of bubonic plague infections is sweeping through Madagascar, raising fears of a black plague epidemic that could cost countless lives. Already, 256 cases were reported last year, causing at least 60 deaths.

The disease is currently spreading through Madagascar’s dilapidated and crowded prison system. Since rats and fleas can easily move in and out of prisons, experts fear that it is only a matter of time before the disease spreads to nearby towns and villages. If and when this happens, the death toll could rise dramatically.

The International Red Cross and other health organisations are now working to bring the outbreak under control. Limited resources and the difficulty of stopping the spread of a disease among dense prison populations, however, is complicating efforts. Health experts now fear that the situation could worsen unless proper steps are taken to eradicate the disease.

Madagascar Plague

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Our friend Petra who climbed the volcano last night reports that activity is rather low at the moment. There were no explosions observed during the time spent at the summit (about one hour).

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The capricious Sicilian lady seems undecided what to do. The sporadic strombolian activity from the New SE crater has last been observed (to our knowledge) about 2 days ago. Tremor is currently low, and generally bad weather doesn’t help detailed direct observations.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): The effusive and mildly explosive eruption continues and has been gaining strength. KVERT reports increasing tremor (amplitude of 73.4 mcm/s today). Strombolian activity at the summit crater accompanies effusion of several lava flows on the north-west, west and south-western volcanic flanks. Satellite data showed a big thermal anomaly over the volcano. Gas-steam plumes containing small amount of ash extended 150 km to the south-east of the volcano.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An explosion yesterday ejected an ash plume rising to an estimated 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude, VAAC Darwin reported.

Dukono (Halmahera): Strombolian to vulcanian activity has been increasing apparently. Ash plumes reaching 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude have been observed again yesterday on satellite data.

White Island (New Zealand): (9 Oct) A small steam and mud eruption occurred yesterday, following the small energetic steam venting on 4 Oct and another increase in seismic activity during 7 Oct. Since then, seismic activity has decreased again. GeoNet reports: “This afternoon (8 Oct) from about 3.05 pm until 3.20 pm there was a period of strong seismicity, which was accompanied by acoustic signals and a minor steam and mud eruption. This generated a steam plume which might have been seen from the mainland. Because these small eruptions have become more frequent the Aviation Colour Code has been raised from Green to Yellow but the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1.”

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): (9 Oct) The eruption of Veniaminof continues with the effusion of lava from the cone in the summit caldera. Seismic activity remains elevated, but constant. Elevated surface temperatures consistent with the continued extrusion of lava were observed in several images during clear periods over the past day. No ash detected. (AVO daily update)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The number of emissions has increased to about 2 per hour, and several smaller explosions occurred during the past days, generating ash plumes reaching up to about 1 km above the crater.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): No significant changes occurred over the past days. INSIVUMEH’s volcano observatory reported two explosions this morning with ash plumes of about 600 m height, causing light ash fall in La Florida and parts of Monte Claro. No activity was observed at the lava flows on the dome’s flanks.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Relatively intense strombolian activity continues and produces a plume of fine ash and gasses. During times when the wind blows from the north, this plume can reach the capital’s airport, INSIVUMEH warned two days ago.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has decreased again to relatively low to moderate levels. The recent increase did not result in another paroxysm. INSIVUMEH reported few small explosions, and continuing but reduced lava effusion. This morning, the lava flow directed towards the Taniluya canyon was 300 m long.