Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Philippine Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical depression Three is located approximately 308 nm south-southeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

NewsBytes:

Fiji – Fiji has been hit by heavy rains and flooding as the latest tropical depression approaches the country. Fiji will likely be spared the worst of a tropical depression that’s formed over the country. Heavy rain over the past two days has brought flooding to several parts of the main island of Viti Levu, including the capital Suva.

India – At least four people have been killed when heavy rains accompanied by a hailstorm and winds hit several parts of Marathwada, India.

Environment

Toxic Chinese Smog Making Capital Unfit for Life: Study

China’s frequent outbreaks of toxic air pollution have become so bad that a report by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences says Beijing is “barely suitable for life.”

Other scientists warn that the smog’s sun-dimming effects resemble those that would occur during a “nuclear winter.”

Li Guixin, a resident of the capital of northeast China’s Hebei province, has become the first person to sue the communist government for failing to rein in air pollution.

Despite late February’s extremely hazardous pollution levels, officials still didn’t feel the smog was bad enough to curb the use of cars and trucks.

But they did ban barbecues, fireworks and demolition work.

A new report by the China Agricultural University warns that the country’s growers will suffer conditions “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter” if something isn’t done to combat air pollution.

It says the smog is impeding photosynthesis, especially in greenhouses that are becoming covered with airborne pollutants.

The coating can cut the amount of light from the sun by about 50 percent, the report says.

A tree losing its leaves in an outbreak of Beijing smog:

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Wildlife

Whales Moving Into Thawed Arctic Ocean

Microphones submerged in the waters of the Bering Strait recorded an increasing number of whale calls from 2009 to 2012, including some from whales that normally live further south. The whales may have expanded north as the Arctic warmed and the animals’ populations recovered from hunting.

The increase in whale numbers coincided with more ship traffic in the region. More shipping could lead to whales being injured or killed in collisions and interfere with whale communications.

Along with native Arctic whales including belugas and bowheads, the microphones recorded the songs of sub-Arctic whales, such as humpbacks, minkes, fins and orcas.

The microphones recorded humpbacks’ melodious songs into late autumn. And oceanographers observed fin and minke whales from July to September, and their vocalizations were recorded into early November.

The northern seas provide more hospitable habitat for southern species, as the far north warms quicker than the rest of the planet and sea ice retreats.

4 000 penguins threatened after diesel spill – South Africa

A fishing trawler that spilled 10 000 liters of diesel fuel after it collided with rocks near the Stony Point Penguin colony has placed the lives of 4 000 penguins in jeopardy.

The collision occurred 5km away from the colony and resulted in the death of one crew member.

CapeNature’s seabird and animal rescue team has been stationed near the accident epicentre to determine the extent of the diesel contamination on the wildlife.

Conservationists are trying to rescue as many penguins and seabirds as possible by creating a perimeter around the colony, in the hopes of isolating the birds away from the spill site.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit (43.0 degrees Celsius) at Vredendal, South Africa.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 70.1 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.7 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 Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Drought

Drought in Thailand

According to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, 15 provinces in Thailand have been declared drought disaster zones.

Wildfires

Forest Fires in China

Forest fires have been reported around Caiyun in Lufeng County in Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in China.

More than 1,270 people have been mobilized to put out the fire.

Disease

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

On 23 and 24 February 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of five additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

On 25 February 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.