Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits Mendoza, Argentina.

5.5 Earthquake hits central Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

Disease

French Polynesia reports Zika virus outbreak

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was notified by Public Health Authorities in French Polynesia on Nov. 6 that an outbreak of sub-febrile and eruptive syndrome due to Zika virus infection has emerged.

More than 400 cases of Zika virus infection were reported between the onset of the outbreak and October 30. The cases are isolated in three archipelagos of French Polynesia, which include the Tuamotu, Society and Marquesas islands. All cases that have been reported to date are mild.

Infection was confirmed through sequencing the virus from three early cases. The infection is said to be spreading quickly; all age groups and genders are affected.

Zika virus infections cause mild and short-term febrile illness in its victims. Infected persons may experience conjunctivitis and a macula-papular rash, with no hemorrhagic symptoms.

Treatment is purely symptomatic. It is believed that the zika virus is carried by Aedes mosquitoes.

Aedes Mosquito

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical depression 32w (Podul) is located approximately 213 nm east-northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Current forecast calls for it to cross all the way over to other side and eventually approach India.

NewsBytes:

Storm leaves trail of damage in western Alaska coastal villages: A storm that battered western Alaska over the weekend destroyed water lines in Kotlik and Unalakleet and left a trail of damage along the Bering Sea coast.

Environment

Amazon deforestation in Brazil rose 28% in a year

Brazil says the rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased by 28% between August 2012 and last July, after years of decline.

The government is working to reverse this “crime”, Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said.

Activists have blamed the increase in destruction on a controversial reform to Brazil’s forest protection law.

Last year Brazil reported the lowest rate of deforestation in the Amazon since monitoring began.

The provisional statistics from August 2012 to last July suggest that the area suffering deforestation was 5,843 sq km (2,255 sq miles), compared to 4,571 sq km (1,765 sq miles) in the previous 12 months.

Despite the interruption of the decline sequence started in 2009, the latest deforested area still remains the second lowest ever recorded.

The result frustrated the government’s expectations, but several scientific institutions had suggested increases in their monthly deforestation reports.

Environmentalists say the controversial reform of the forest protection law in 2012 is to blame for the upwards trend.

The changes reduced protected areas in farms and declared an amnesty for areas destroyed before 2008.

The reform, a long-standing demand of the country’s farmers’ lobby, known as the ruralists, was passed after several vetoes by President Dilma Rousseff.

Agriculture accounts for more than 5% of the Brazilian GDP.

“If you sleep with the ruralist lobby, you wake up with deforestation,” Amazon expert Paulo Adario from Greenpeace wrote on Twitter.

Ms Teixeira said the destruction rate was “unacceptable” but denied President Dilma Rousseff’s administration was to blame.

“This swing is not related to any federal government fund cuts for law enforcement,” she told reporters, adding that around 4,000 criminal actions have been taken against deforesters in the past year.

As soon as she returns from Poland, where she is representing Brazil at the United Nations summit on climate change, Ms Teixeira said she would set up a meeting with local governors and mayors of the worst hit areas to discuss strategies to revert the trend.

The majority of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, believed to be one of the main causes of global warming, stem from deforestation.

The Brazilian government made a commitment in 2009 to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% by the year 2020, in relation to the average between 1996 and 2005.

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Wildlife

Deadly Dolphin Virus Now Killing Whales

The measles-like virus that has killed hundreds of dolphins as it spread down the U.S. Atlantic coast over the past few months has now begun infecting whales.

The dolphin morbillivirus has killed more than 750 dolphins since June, when it first emerged off beaches from Long Island to Virginia.

The southward migration of the marine mammals since then has spread the disease all the way to Florida.

Resident Florida bottlenose dolphins are now at risk of catching the virus, which spreads through close contact.

And the U.S. environment agency NOAA says the virus is also the cause of death of two pygmy sperm whales and three humpback whales found dead or dying along the Atlantic coast.

The outbreak of the virus is the worst on record and has killed more than 10 times the number of dolphins that would normally turn up dead along the Atlantic seaboard during the period.

And wildlife officials say that if the current outbreak is anything like the previous record 1987-1988 die-off, it’s only halfway through, and fatalities will go much higher.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110.1 degrees Fahrenheit (43.4 degrees Celsius) at Curtin AFB, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 56.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 49.1 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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): The volcano remains active. It produces a variable but often intense steam plume with possibly some ash. On webcam images, there are sporadic small explosions visible, suggesting that weak strombolian activity continues at the summit. A large steam ring was produced this morning.

Aso (Kyushu): The Japan Meteorological Agency reported in its latest activity summary (for September 2013) a seismic crisis that started on 23 September evening. An survey of SO2 emissions 2 days later showed an increase of gas release as well, suggesting a magmatic intrusion was taking place. No eruption has taken place since then. Japanese volcanologists immediately raised the alert level from 1 to 2, as there is a possibility of sudden explosions that could throw blocks to distances of perhaps as far as 1 km. The new alert level means that the active Nakadake 1 crater is currently closed for access. In late September seismicity remained high, but with a declining trend. No other information was given in the report.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has picked up activity again. Over the past days, the Showa crater has been producing near-constant ash emissions and several vulcanian explosions with ash plumes rising up to 14,000 ft (4.2 km) altitude.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): Explosions continue. An ash plume was spotted this morning at 9,000 ft (2,7 km) altitude extending 60 nautical miles to the west.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Eruptions seem to increase. Over the past days, ash explosions have occurred at rates of 1-2 per day. Ash plumes rose to 10,000-12,000 ft (3-3.6 km) altitude. At least one pyroclastic flow occurred on 11 Nov, reaching about 1 km length. Several 1000 people have been evacuated from nearby villages at the foot of the volcano and a (dangerously small) 3 km exclusion zone around the volcano is in place.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has remained stable at low levels. CENAPRED reported 61 weak emissions of mostly steam, gas and only occasionally minor amounts of ash during the 24 hour observation interval between 12-13 Nov.

Reventador (Ecuador): The activity consisting of sporadic small to moderate explosions continues but has decreased after 2 November. On that day, a small pyroclastic flow descended on the west flank of the active cone, reaching a length of 300-400 m. Explosions produced plumes of up to about 2 km height and light ash fall occurred in San Rafael village located 8 km east of the volcano.

Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): Signs of weak continuing or renewed activity could be spotted again on recent satellite data after few weeks with no evidence of activity. The MODIS / Terra satellite image from 11 Nov shows a gas plume drifting NE from the new island as well as a discoloured water plume extending south. The discoloured sea water is likely caused by dissolved volcanic gasses (H2S in particular). The absence of steam suggests that there is no lava entering the sea and no submarine effusive activity.

Heard (Australia, Southern Indian Ocean): A thermal hot spot was visible on satellite data from 9 Nov, suggesting that some activity continues or has resumed at the remote volcano.