Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Greenland Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Greenland Sea.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Amara has formed approximately 1,400 miles (2,250 km) east of Madagascar.

Over the next 96 hours, Amara is forecast to track to the west-southwest and slowly strengthen – becoming Category 1 hurricane strength by Saturday 21 December. During this period, Amara poses no threat to land – but could potentially threaten the islands of Mauritius and Reunion early next week should the storm continue tracking to the southwest.

Tropical cyclone Four (Bruce) is located approximately 150 nm north of Cocos Island, Australia.

Bruce is gathering strength off the North-West coast of Western Australia, near Cocos Islands this morning.

Gales with wind gusts up to 100km/h are expected on Cocos Island from this morning and are likely to continue into early Thursday morning. This afternoon winds could reach 120km/h. At 7am today the cyclone had wind gusts of 95km/h at its centre which were intensifying. Heavy rain and thunderstorms will hit the islands today as the system moves closer. Meanwhile, at the other end of the WA, Esperance, 720km south east of Perth, had a record 45.3C maximum temperature yesterday.

NewsBytes:

China – Traffic in Guizhou province affected by icy weather. Extreme weather is also affecting southwest China’s Guizhou province. Freezing rain hit many parts of the region on Sunday, leading to icy situations on the roads, affecting ground traffic in many parts.

Around 150,000 people have been affected by severe storms that swept across southern China this weekend. Flash flooding was reported across 158 villages in 12 townships in the city of Wanning, which is located in China’s southernmost island province of Hainan.

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Floods hit the East Java cities of Bojonegoro and Gresik (Indonesia) when the Bengawan Solo and Lamong Rivers overflowed, thus killing four.

Environment

Hot November – Global

November 2013 was the earth’s warmest November since records began in 1880. The year-to-date period of January – November has been the 4th warmest such period on record. November 2013 global land temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 3rd warmest on record.

November 2013 was the 345th consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. Most of the world’s land areas experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including much of Eurasia, coastal Africa, Central America, and central South America. Much of southern Russia, north west Kazakhstan, south India, and southern Madagascar were record warm.

Meanwhile, northern Australia, parts of North America, and southwest Greenland were cooler than average. No regions of the globe were record cold. Russia observed its warmest November since national records began in 1891.

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Wildfires

California

Big Sur fire burns 500 acres of California coast amid drought anxiety. Threatened by drought, on Tuesday firefighters urgently battled a 500-acre fire with dangerous growth potential in California’s Big Sur. This is a season that residents in this coastal community of rugged hills normally associate with floods, not fire. 15 homes have been destroyed and the fire is only 20% contained.

Disease

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

On 15 and 16 December 2013, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of two new laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

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

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Weak lava effusion continues from the fissure on the lower NE flank of the New SE crater. Explosive activity seems to have ceased and tremor has descended back to low levels.