Disease

Novel Coronavirus – Update

WHO has been informed of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Qatar.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Pakistan.

5.2 Earthquake hits D’Entrecasteaux Islands region.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Francisco has strengthened into a super typhoon (winds of at least 150 mph) over the western Pacific several hundred miles northwest of Guam. Environmental conditions will continue to support a strong typhoon through the weekend. Thereafter, cooler ocean waters and increasing winds aloft should begin to weaken Francisco as it moves toward southern Japan by the early to middle part next week.

NewsBytes

Hail, lightning and high winds hit Southeast Queensland, Australia leaving a trail of destruction. Wind gusts of 124km/h with 2cm hail stones were recorded.

Wildlife

Disappearing North American Moose Alarm Scientists

The sharp and sudden decline in moose populations across North America has researchers concerned over what’s killing the iconic members of the continent’s ecosystem.

One of Minnesota’s two distinct populations of the lumbering animals has dropped from about 4,000 to 100 since the 1990s.

The other population is down to fewer than 3,000 from 8,000 over the same period.

Wildlife experts say manmade climate change appears to be behind most of the declines.

They point to the increased number of winter ticks in New Hampshire that have thrived due to a longer fall and less snow on average.

“You can get 100,000 ticks on a moose,” state biologist Kristine Rines told The New York Times.

Brain worms and liver flukes, which thrive in moist environments, have ravaged the moose populations in Minnesota.

And the loss of forest cover in British Columbia due to an epidemic of pine bark beetles, which thrive in warmer weather, has left the moose exposed to hunters and other predators.

Since moose shape the landscape as they graze, even sometimes creating habitat for nesting birds, wildlife officials fear their loss could have a ripple effect through the environment.

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Wildfires

‘Catastrophic’ Wildfires Hit Australia

About 100 bushfires raging in New South Wales, Australia’s most populated state, forced thousands of people to flee their homes yesterday. Smoke and ash drifted into Syndey on Thursday, casting a yellow pall over the famed Sydney Opera House.

Unseasonably warm temperatures and strong winds fanned the flames, according to news reports. The extreme weather followed a dry, warm winter. There were no reports of deaths, but the extent of damage is unknown, because some fires are too intense for firefighters to safely battle the ‘catastrophic’ blazes, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. More than 30 fires were burning out of control on Thursday night, and several hundred homes may have been destroyed.

Eucalyptus fire

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): Strong explosive and effusive activity continues. KVERT monitors the situation closely and issues alerts every few hours. Last evening, ash emissions again reached almost 30,000 ft (8-9 km) altitude. “The ash plume this morning has decreased in height to 21,300-24,600 ft (6.5-7 km) a.s.l. but by now, an ash plume dangerous for aviation is extending about 736 mi (1188 km) to the south-east and east of the volcano.”

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The eruptive phase that had started on 6 Oct, after a quiet interval of 3 months, continues to increase. The volcano observatory reports ash columns rising up to 3 km above the crater and the first occurrence (so far) small pyroclastic flows. In the early days of this phase, seismic activity was characterised by an increase in the number and energy of the events related to the mobilisation of fluids into the volcano such as long-period events, tremor and explosions and emission signals of variable magnitude. Superficially, low intensity strombolian activity and ash emissions could be observed, resulting in ash fall in the areas of El Manzano, Bilbao, Chacauco , Choglontús , Mocha, Pillate and on the upper slopes of the volcano itself.