Global Warming

Renewables Slowing Record High CO2 Pollution

Carbon dioxide emissions hit a record high in 2012, but could have been even higher, according to a new report. The increase in emissions was only 1.1 percent in 2012, compared to an average 2.9 percent over the past decade. The slowdown in emissions growth suggests renewable energy, efficiency and cleaner fuels are having a beneficial effect.

A report by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre crunched the numbers for 2012′s carbon dioxide emissions.

Pacific Ocean Warming 15 Times Faster Than Before

Although the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere may have hit the “pause” button recently — with little global warming measured over the past few years — that hasn’t been the case with the oceans.

In a study out today in the journal Science, researchers say that the middle depths of a part of the Pacific Ocean have warmed 15 times faster in the past 60 years than they did during the previous 10,000 years.

Most of the heat that humanity has put into the atmosphere since the 1970s from greenhouse gas emissions has likely been absorbed by the oceans, according to the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored group of scientists that issues reports every few years about the effects of global warming.

Increases in ocean heat content and temperature are robust indicators of global warming during the past several decades,” according to today’s Science study.

“We’re pumping heat into the ocean at a faster rate over the past 60 years,” said study lead author Yair Rosenthal, a climate scientist at Rutgers University. “We may have underestimated the efficiency of the oceans as a storehouse for heat and energy,” he added. “It may buy us some time — how much time, I don’t really know. But it’s not going to stop climate change.”

Wildlife

Show Monkeys Rescued in Jakarta, Indonesia

The practice of using trained monkeys for shows on the streets of Jakarta, which some people say is cruel and a public health threat, is being eradicated under orders from the head of the Indonesian capital.

Officers have begun fanning across the city to rescue the macaques dressed up for shows that often involve them wearing plastic doll masks on their faces.

Some are outfitted in dresses or cowboy attire, forced to carry umbrellas or ride tiny bicycles.

The monkeys’ teeth are pulled out so they can’t bite, and their owners are accused of torturing them to remain obedient.

Gov. Joko Widodo says the practice will be gone by next year. The monkeys are being purchased from the owners and will be sheltered at a large preserve at Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.

Those who used to depend on the monkeys for a living are to be given vocational training and helped to find new jobs.

Animal rights groups that have long campaigned against the roadside monkey performances are praising the governor for the crackdown.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

6.3 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits offshore Antofagasta, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Mauritius – Reunion region.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

There are no tropical cyclone threat areas in the Atlantic, and none of the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting development during the coming five days.

In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Krosa is located approximately 408 nm east-southeast of Hong Kong.

Typhoon Krosa hits Philippines with another tropical storm due there on Monday, followed by another, potentially stronger storm, arriving on Thursday, November 7. Category 2 Typhoon Krosa is battering the northern end of Luzon, the main Philippines Island, after making landfall in extreme northeast Luzon. The typhoon should be able to re-intensify once it emerges over the South China Sea on Friday, then weaken to Category 1 strength as it encounters higher wind shear and cooler waters before brushing China’s Hainan Island on Sunday.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 97E is spinning 350 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. 97E is moving north-northwest at 5 mph, and will likely move ashore on the Mexican coast near Mazatlan, due east of the tip of the Baja Peninsula, on Sunday night or Monday morning. Heavy rains from 97E will begin affecting the southern Baja Peninsula and portions of Mainland Mexico to its east beginning on Sunday morning. This moisture will spread northeastwards into Southwest Texas by Monday.

NewsBytes

Today marks the official start to the tropical cyclone season in Queensland. The weather bureau is predicting four cyclones to form off the state’s coast, with one reaching landfall. The cyclone season ends in March.

Two men were killed as heavy rains across Central Texas swelled rivers and creeks and triggered flash flooding Thursday, prompting dozens of rescues across a region that’s been dealing with a long, punishing drought.

Global Warming

Holy Smoke Contributes to Global Warming

Smoke created by the burning of Hindu and Sikh funeral pyres and the smoldering of incense in Buddhist temples, Muslim graveyards and various shrines is creating almost a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions on the Indian subcontinent, according to a new study. Such gasses are blamed for global warming and even the melting of the Himalayan glaciers that nourish the population creating doing the faith-based pollution.

Researchers from Nevada’s Desert Research Institute and India’s Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla University made the discovery while studying emissions between 2011 and 2012 from marriage ceremonies, funeral cremations and from the burning of incense sticks in temples and graveyards.

They found mango bark, cow dung, camphor, leaves, vermillion and cow urine being burned in the process.

Such burning creates toxic volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, benzene, styrene and butadiene, the researchers told the journal Nature.

Funeral pyres emit large quantities of “brown carbon aerosol” gases, which are considered the second-largest contributor to global warming.

“There are 3 million religious places of worship in India alone and over 10 million marriages take place every year in this country, according to the 2011 census. When these results were multiplied to fit these scales, the quantum (amount) of emissions was just baffling,” said Indian researcher Shamsh Pervez.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109.2 degrees Fahrenheit (42.9 degrees Celsius) at Curtin Air Force Base in Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 86.5degrees Fahrenheit (minus 65.9 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.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

WHO has been informed of an additional four laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). These include the first laboratory-confirmed case from Oman and three additional laboratory-confirmed cases from Saudi Arabia.

US Malaria Cases At 40 Year High

The number of malaria cases in the United States is the highest in more than 40 years, according to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011, there were 1,925 reported malaria cases in the country, the highest since 1971, and a 14 percent increase from 2010, the CDC said.

Almost all U.S. residents who got malaria acquired the disease while traveling in another country. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. malaria cases in 2011 were acquired in Africa, the CDC said. India had the most imported cases of any single country, with 223, followed by Nigeria, which had 213.

Dengue Fever in Nacaragua

According to the Nicaraguan government, more than 5,000 cases of dengue have been reported this year, claiming 14 lives. Dengue, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, occurs in Central America mostly during its rainy season from May to November. The disease causes fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.