Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits offshore Bio-Bio, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Taluad, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Super Typhoon Haiyan is located approximately 310 nm southeast of Manila, Philippines.

Category five Typhoon Haiyan is the strongest storm to hit the Pacific region this year. Typhoon Haiyan is battering the Philippines with sustained winds of 235 km/h (146mph). Meteorologists say that if initial estimates based on satellite images are borne out, it COULD BE THE MOST POWERFUL STORM EVER TO MAKE LANDFALL. The damage from Haiyan’s winds must have been “perhaps the greatest wind damage any city on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century”.

Schools and offices have been closed in the path of the storm, and thousands of people have been evacuated amid fears of serious damage. The region was already struggling to recover from an earthquake last month. The category-five storm was centred 62km (40 miles) south-east of Guiuan, in the country’s Eastern Samar province. The governor of the Southern Leyte province tweeted on Friday morning that fallen trees were blocking roads, hampering the relief effort. The storm is not expected to directly hit the capital Manila, further north.

UPDATE – Powerful Typhoon Causes Mass Disruption in Philippines. One of the most powerful storms in recent history ripped through the Philippines Friday morning, killing at least three people, forcing the evacuation of thousands and putting millions of people at risk. Two people were killed in Cotabato province – an adult and a one-year-old – and a woman was fatally hit by a falling tree in Cebu.

Haiyan first bowled into fishing communities on the central island of Samar, about 600km southeast of Manila, earlier today with maximum sustained winds of 315km/h an hour. It is cutting across the central and southern Philippines and is expected to exit into the South China Sea then move on towards Vietnam late on Saturday. Authorities warned more than 12 million people were at risk from the typhoon. Its wind strength makes it equivalent to an exceptionally strong Category 5 hurricane.

Haiyan had winds of 190 – 195 mph at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history. The previous record was held by the Atlantic’s Hurricane Camille of 1969, which made landfall in Mississippi with 190 mph winds.

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El Niño / La Niña

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Thursday it expected neutral El Niño weather conditions to persist in the Northern Hemisphere through spring. In its monthly report, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre said that atmospheric and ocean conditions during October indicated the weather phenomenon was unlikely to cause extreme weather for the Northern Hemisphere through the spring.

Wildlife

Ladybug Swarms Alarm US Homeowners

Unusually high numbers of non-native ladybugs are moving into homes across a broad swath of the eastern United States as chilly weather sends the insects inside, looking for a warm place to spend the coldest months of the year.

While American ladybugs normally winter under tree bark or fallen leaves, those imported decades ago from Asia to control the aphid population seem more comfortable in the walls of houses.

Entomologists say the Asian ladybugs see those structures as like the rocky outcroppings in which they sheltered back in their native habitats.

Ladybugs are generally beneficial, but can stain household surfaces if frightened, and they do have a bit of an odour in large numbers.

Once inside a home, experts say the best way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner.

The Asian ladybugs are said to have displaced most of their American cousins in areas where they have proliferated.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 114.3 degrees Fahrenheit (45.7 degrees Celsius) at Dampier, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 76.9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60.5 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 Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Bats Found Carrying Viruses Like SARS and Influenza

A consortium of scientists from around the world announced the discovery of a new virus from a Chinese horseshoe bat that is a close genetic match to the coronavirus that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak.

Nearly 8,500 people in 29 countries were sickened by that viral strain, with 916 dying from complications.

Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers call the new virus WIV1 and say stored antibodies from seven earlier SARS cases were able to knock it out.

Other researchers announced the discovery of a new flu virus in Peruvian bats.

Called A/bat/Peru/10, it belongs to a family of viruses known as influenza A. Initial tests indicate that the new strain is unable to infect humans.

Bats are known reservoirs of many types of pathogens that have developed the ability to infect people.

The flying mammals are the suspected source of the virus causing the current outbreak of MERS in the Middle East.

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Newcastle Disease in Cyprus

The Cypriot veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of Newcastle disease in Larnaca, affecting broilers and laying hens.

Space Events

Bizarre Asteroid with Six Tails Spotted by Hubble Telescope

Astronomers have spotted a never-before-seen phenomenon in our solar system’s asteroid belt: a space rock with six tails, spewing dust from its nucleus like spouts of water radiating from a lawn sprinkler.

Scientists using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the summit of Maui’s Haleakala volcano in Hawaii first detected the six-tailed asteroid in August. They dubbed it P/2013 P5 and noted that it looked fuzzier than typical asteroids, which usually appear as tiny points of light. More detailed observations with the powerful Hubble Space Telescope in September revealed a clearer picture of asteroid, showing it had six comet-like tails.

In the time between Hubble’s first observation on Sept. 10 and its second peek at the asteroid on Sept. 23, the tails appeared to have completely swung around.

The tails seem to have formed in bursts and not all at once, which is why the researchers don’t think they formed as the result of an impact with another asteroid.

P/2013 P5 could have sprouted dust tails after it started spinning out of control. The researchers suspect radiation pressure caused the asteroid to start rotating faster and faster until its weak gravity no longer could hold it together, sending the surface material of the space rock flying off at several points in the asteroid’s recent history.

Hubble asteroid tails

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Explosions from the New SE crater continued over night and this morning, although their frequency and size has decreased. Tremor levels have remained essentially unchanged and are still low.

Momotombo (Nicaragua): A small seismic swarm occurred at the volcano today. A cluster of small earthquakes of magnitudes around 1 were detected on 6 Nov under the southern flank.