Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 Earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Colombia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Cuba.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Caspian Sea, offshore Azerbaijan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

Pacific Ocean:

Severe tropical cyclone Ian, a category four storm was located 170 km South-SouthWest of Niuafo’Ou and 295 km NorthWest of Vava’U at 1:00 AM Friday morning.

Following the current track, Tropical cyclone Ian is predicted to bring destructive storm force winds to the Vava’U group in the next 12-18 hours followed by a very destructive hurricane force winds in the next 18-24 hours.

Tropical cyclone Ian updates issued at 4:30 Am Friday morning (January 10, 2014) has kept Ha’apai and Niuafo’ou under gale warning. A storm alert remains in force for the Ha’apai group. Similarly, a tropical cyclone alert remains in force for Tongatapu and ‘Eua. A hurricane warning has also been issued for the Vava’u group in Tonga.

NewsBytes:

An avalanche in Kashmir, India has claimed the life of an army jawan and left other missing.

Lightning strike in Argentina has claimed the lives of at least three people and injured 22 others. The lightning bolt hit Villa Gesell, Argentina on Thursday afternoon and injured 16 adults and six children. Villa Gesell is a seaside village in Villa Gesell Partido on the Atlantic coast located around 400 kilometres from Buenos Aires.

Environment

Atomic Testing Contamination Lingers in Stratosphere: Study

Earth’s upper atmosphere is still littered with radioactive particles from the more than 500 above-ground nuclear tests that took place decades ago, according to a new Swiss study.

Most of the plutonium and cesium isotopes from those blasts have since been rinsed out of the lower levels of the atmosphere by falling in rain or snow, or by being brought down by gravity.

The stratosphere was also thought to be relatively fallout-free before the Swiss team found its contamination to be about 1,000 to 1,500 levels higher than in the troposphere, the layer just above the surface.

Jose Corcho of the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection told AFP that the contamination probably poses no danger to humans, and is “comparable to the levels measured at ground level air at the end of the sixties and in the seventies.”

“Most of the radioactive particles are removed in the first few years after the explosion, but a fraction remains in the stratosphere for a few decades or even hundreds or thousands of years,” said Corcho.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used aerosol samples taken by Swiss military aircraft over the past several decades.

A previous study, conducted by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute, concluded that nuclear fallout from atmospheric testing might have led to approximately 11,000 deaths, mainly from thyroid cancer.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 119.0 degrees Fahrenheit (48.3 degrees Celsius) at Onslow, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 68.1 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 55.6 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Siberian community of Selagoncy.

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

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

WHO has been informed by Canada of a laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in a previously healthy adult, who was first symptomatic on 27 December 2013 and died 3 January 2014.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Activity and tremor have decreased for now, but weak ash emissions continue to be observed from the NE crater.

Fuego (Guatemala): Seismic activity has decreased at the volcano, suggesting that the latest surge in lava emission (both as larger-than-usual strombolian explosions and lava flow) is over.