Global Warming

Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Caused Southern Africa Warming

The infamous hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica may have caused warming in southern Africa over the past two decades, researchers say.

However, as the hole in the ozone layer continues to shrink due to international policies that limit the chemicals that eat away at the ozone, temperatures may cool down in southern Africa, the study researchers also said.

Ozone is a cousin to the oxygen molecules people breathe, consisting of three atoms of oxygen instead of the regular oxygen molecule’s two. This gas is concentrated in a layer about 12 to 19 miles (20 to 30 kilometres) above Earth’s surface. This ozone layer absorbs most of the ultraviolet light from the sun, helping to defend people against sunburns and skin cancer.

Now, researchers have found that the ozone hole may be linked to warming in southern Africa.

Previously, scientists found that surface air temperatures in southern Africa had risen significantly over the past two decades, mostly in the early summer. Investigators had suggested this heating was due to the global warming caused by human-linked greenhouse-gas emissions changing climate around the planet. However, climate models hinted that global-warming effects from greenhouse gases should not differ between seasons in southern Africa, but instead be uniform throughout the year.

Scientists recently found that the ozone hole might help boost global warming slightly. By letting more energy penetrate deeper into the atmosphere, the ozone hole apparently shifted wind patterns over Antarctica. This shift pushed clouds closer to the South Pole, affecting how much of the sun’s radiation the clouds reflect and, in turn, slightly warming the planet.

Effects on southern Africa

To see if the ozone hole might also explain the warming in southern Africa, scientists compared climate data on southern Africa from before the development of the ozone hole with the climate data from after the ozone hole had developed. They found that the ozone hole would have altered Southern Hemisphere wind patterns. These changes, in turn, would have intensified the Angola Low, a low-pressure system in the atmosphere mostly located over Angola, situated on the west coast of southern Africa. This, in turn, would have led warm air from near the equator to flow into southern Africa.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Nari is located approximately 192 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam.

Typhoon Wipha is located approximately 395 nm southwest of Iwo To, Japan.

Category 2 Typhoon Nari is headed for landfall in Vietnam, after battering the Philippines on Friday. Nari killed thirteen people and left 2.1 million people without power on the main Philippine island of Luzon, after hitting on Friday night near midnight local time as a Category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds. The core of the storm passed about 80 miles north of the capital of Manila, sparing the capital major flooding, but the storm dumped torrential rains in excess of ten inches to the northeast of Manilla. Nari is expected to be at Category 1 strength when it makes landfall in Vietnam near 20 – 23 UTC on Monday.

Huge and powerful Category 4 Typhoon Wipha continues intensifying as it heads northwest towards Japan. The storm is expected to peak at 145 mph winds on Monday near 12 UTC. By Tuesday, Wipha will recurve to the northeast and begin weakening, passing just offshore from Tokyo, Japan, sometime between 00 – 06 UTC on Wednesday. Wipha will be rapidly weakening as it makes its closest approach to Tokyo, due to high wind shear and cooler waters, and the coast of Japan should experience winds below hurricane force if the core of Wipha passes offshore as expected. High winds and heavy rains from Wipha may be a concern for the Fukushima nuclear site, where rainfall from Typhoon Man-Yi on September 16 complicated clean-up efforts of the reactors damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical storm Octave is located about 315 mi (505 km) S of the southern tip of Baja California. Continuing to strengthen.

Moisture associated with Tropical Storm Octave in the Eastern Pacific bringing rain to Texas. In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Octave is headed NNW towards Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, but is expected to dissipate before making it there. Octave is embedded in a large plume of tropical moisture that is riding up to the northeast over Mexico and Texas. Flood Watches are posted over large regions of Texas, where widespread rains of 2 – 4″, with some 6 – 8″ amounts, are expected.

In the Indian Ocean:

Tropical Cyclone Phailin weakened to a tropical storm over northern India after making landfall on the northeast coast of India near the town of Gopalpur (population 7,000) at 15:45 UTC (11:45 am EDT) on Saturday. The cyclone brought a storm surge in excess of 3 meters (10 feet) to portions of the coast, and at least fourteen people were killed by the storm. Phailin was weakening substantially at landfall, due to interaction with land, and was rated a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre four hours before landfall.

Cyclone Phailin Ruins 15% of Odisha Rice Growing Area. India carried out the largest evacuation in the nation’s history, shifting one million people from the path of the cyclone that slammed into its eastern coast. The mass evacuations helped to limit fatalities to 14.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

WHO has been informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Reykjanes (Reykjanes peninsula (SW Iceland)): (13 Oct) A shallow (10 km) magnitude 4.8 earthquake with many pre- and aftershocks (or a seismic swarm) occurred this morning (Sun) at 07:34 UTC at the SW tip of the Reykjanes peninsula, on the SW active rift zone. The swarm of earthquakes included several quakes of magnitude 3 and higher. The strongest earthquake was widely felt in SE Iceland. Whether the earthquakes are related to magma intrusions (a possibility) or purely tectonic is unclear.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): The eruption continues with little changes; strong strombolian activity / lava fountaining from the summit vent can even be seen on the KVERT webcamera.

Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): A thermal hot spot remains visible on satellite data, suggesting continuing activity.

Dukono (Halmahera): Sometimes strong strombolian to vulcanian-type explosions continue. An ash plume rose to 8,000 ft Saturday VAAC Darwin reported.

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): Seismicity remains elevated and hot spots remain visible in the caldera on MODIS data. The seismic activity has been gradually declining over the past several days, and no clear views could be obtained from webcam images to see if lava effusion continues.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has increased today, the volcano observatory reports in its special bulletin. The number and size of explosions rose and produced incandescent fountains of up to about 200 m and an ash plume rising about 1 km which drifted 8 km S and SW. Shock waves that rattled windows and roofs of houses in nearby villages accompanied the explosions. The lava effusion increased as well, feeding a new flow that traveled 700 m on the southern flank this morning. Weak to moderate avalanches detached from the flow front. The main hazard would be a further increase of lava emissions and/or a sudden collapse of the lava flow that could produce dangerous pyroclastic flows such as in previous similar eruptive episodes over the past months.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Continuous strombolian eruptions of fluctuating intensity are observed. This and the presence of a relatively large SO2 plume indicate that the volcano currently has an open conduit allowing fresh magma from deeper storage areas to rise quickly.

Erta Ale (Ethiopia): We are looking for only two more participants to make the expedition to the Danakil (Ethiopia) from 17-29 Nov possible. This is your chance to visit one of world’s most exciting and volcanically impressing places in a small group (max 4 persons) organised by a professional competent tour operator.

Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): The submarine eruption continues. A small steam plume continued to rise from the new eruption site this morning and an SO2 plume hovers above the area.