Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Alor, Indonesia.

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

5.3 Earthquake hits the Xizang-Qinghai border region, China.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Xinjiang-Xizang border region, China.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

Global Warming

Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds

Stronger Pacific Ocean winds may help explain the slowdown in the rate of global warming since the turn of the century, scientists said.

More powerful winds in the past 20 years may be forcing warmer seas deeper and bringing cooler water to the surface, 10 researchers from the U.S. and Australia said yesterday in the journal Nature. That has cooled the average global temperature by as much as 0.2 degree Celsius (0.36 Fahrenheit) since 2001.

Scientists have been trying to find out why the rate of global warming has eased in the past 20 years while greenhouse-gas emissions have surged to a record. Yesterday’s paper elaborates on a theory that deep seas are absorbing more warmth by explaining how that heat could be getting there.

The net effect of these anomalous winds is a cooling in the 2012 global average surface air temperature of 0.1–0.2 degree Celsius, which can account for much of the hiatus in surface warming observed since 2001.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Fobane is located approximately 646 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius.

NewsBytes:

UK floods – Flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to keep rising for the next 24 hours. Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a “horror movie”. Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.

Australia – Major flooding forecast for the Pilbara. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting that a tropical low will cause moderate to major flooding in Nullagine, Newman and Marble Bar, in the Pilbara. The tropical low was expected to form into a cyclone after crossing the Kimberley and causing flooding in Kununurra. But the system took a more southerly track, staying over land and not reaching cyclone intensity. Now the tropical low is expected to produce falls of up to 200 millimetres in the upper areas of the De Grey River catchment. The Pilbara has already received widespread rainfall this wet season, which increases the risk of flooding.

Disease

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

The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China has notified WHO of seven additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including one death.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Another new effusive vent opened up on the eastern side of the New SE crater around 04:00 this morning, erupting a new short-lived lava flow that stopped being active around 09:00. Lava emission at the established effusive vents on the lower eastern flank of the New SE crater has dropped or even ceased, the new vent that opened yesterday morning on the upper eastern flank just beneath the summit is becoming more and more active and now feeds a new lava flow. It also produces dense brown ash plumes as a result of lava pushing its way out and meeting snow and ice on its way, resulting in increased fragmentation (so-called phreatomagmatic activity). Tremor continues to fluctuate strongly at elevated levels.

Kelud (East Java): VSI raised the alert status to the second highest level 3 (out of 4), “Siaga” (meaning eruption warning). In its latest report, VSI informs that an ongoing slight deformation, suggesting magma intrusion, has been detected since September and that a strong increase in seismic activity started on 7 February. A seismic swarm occurred with hypocentres between 1.5-3.5 km depth beneath the summit area. The increased seismic activity triggered the decision to raise the status once more, after the volcano had put on alert level 2 already on 2 Feb.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): (10 Feb) 32 earthquakes were strong enough to be located beneath Kilauea Volcano in the past 24 hours, including 21 scattered broadly beneath the summit caldera.