Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.4 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Kuril islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Near Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexiao.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Southern Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Ivanoe is located approximately 1664 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia. The final advisory has been issued on this system.

Tropical cyclone Ita is located approximately 525 nm east-northeast of Cairns, Australia.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical depression Peipah is located approximately 61 nm west of Koror, Palau.

Philippines – Domeng is coming. Tropical storm Domeng (international name: Peipah), the fourth storm to hit the country this year, is also the also the fourth to hit Mindanao, showing a weather pattern that has changed from only six typhoons making landfall in Mindanao from 1996 to 2010 to nine typhoons in 28 months since Typhoon Sendong in December 2011.

NewsBytes:

Canada – Flooded Prince Edward Island homes, businesses cope with melting snow. This year’s snow amounts have been exceptional, leading to flooding.

Solomon Islands – The devastating flooding in the Solomon Islands has now claimed the lives of at least 21 people, left 40 missing and made up to 49,000 homeless.

El Niño

Record warm subsurface Pacific waters may Bring Moderate to Strong El Niño Event. There have been tremendous changes in the Pacific Ocean over the past two months which continue to favour a moderate to strong El Niño event later this spring and summer.

To begin, we are currently observing what looks to be The strongest downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave event since satellite records began in the 1970s. This still needs to be verified in reanalysis, but a large swath of 6°C (11°F) ocean temperature anomalies at a depth of 100 – 200 meters clearly illustrate the significance of this event. Oceanic Kelvin waves travel only from west to east at extremely slow speeds (2-3 m/s). These waves have been alluded to as the facilitators of El Niño.

There are two phases of an oceanic Kelvin wave, the “Upwelling” phase and the “Downwelling” phase. The Upwelling phase of an oceanic Kelvin wave pushes colder water from the sub-surface towards the surface, resulting in cooling at the surface. The Downwelling phase is the opposite, where warmer waters at the surface of the West Pacific warm pool are forced to sink, resulting a deepening of the thermocline and net warming in the sub-surface.

The entire West Pacific Warm Pool has begun to shift eastward, and there is a large adjustment in the Pacific Ocean currently underway. That being said, we still need to see some favourable atmospheric forcing this month to continue the forward advancement of a full-basin El Niño. In particular, west-to-east blowing winds along the Equator are needed to keep pushing warm water eastwards towards South America.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

As at 4 April 2014, the Ministry of Health of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 143 clinically compatible cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), of which 54 are laboratory confirmed by PCR. The total number includes 86 deaths (CFR 60%). New cases have been reported from Conakry, Guekedou and Macenta; 23 patients are currently in isolation units. The date of onset of the most recent laboratory confirmed case is 3 April.

A crowd angry about an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 86 people across Guinea attacked a centre where victims were being held in isolation, prompting an international aid group to temporarily evacuate its team, officials said Saturday.

The violence took place in the southern town of Macenta, where at least 14 people have died since the outbreak emerged last month. The mob who descended upon the clinic accused Doctors Without Borders health workers of bringing Ebola to Guinea, where there had never previously been any cases.

Some young people threw rocks at the aid workers, though no one was seriously hurt, said Sam Taylor, a spokesman for Doctors Without Borders.

Drought

Drought

Drought begins to bite in Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka has had six months of drought and could face severe crop losses and electricity shortages.

Drought in Thailand – Thailand is facing its worst drought in eight years as the dry spell continues in the country’s upper regions.

Wildfires

Wildfires in Siberia

Seventeen forest fires have already been reported across 2,000 hectares (for some perspective, that’s about 5,000 acres), and across Siberia last week century-old temperature records were shattered.

Siberian wildfires may seem like a very remote threat to most of the world, but what happens in this region has consequences on a global scale.

Smoke from wildfires in Siberia is often lofted high enough into the atmosphere that it travels across the Pacific Ocean, blanketing the western coast of North America with hazy, hard to breathe air. In 2012, smoke from Siberia caused record ground-level ozone in British Columbia.

Smoke can also drift north from Siberia depositing soot across the fragile Arctic ecosystem. Darker, dirty ice reflects less solar radiation back into space. Ice that absorbs more radiation melts faster and, in turn, less ice in the Arctic can affect weather patterns around the world. When land-based ice melts it also contributes to sea level rise.

Wildfires hasten the thawing of vital permafrost as well. Globally, the trees and frozen soils of the boreal forests lock up an incredible 30 percent of the world’s carbon. But when permafrost melts it releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane — leading many scientist to fear that these ecosystems may switch from being a giant carbon sink to being an unprecedented carbon source.

Siberia wildfire 1 638x422

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An explosion occurred at the volcano this morning (Kamchatka time). An ash plume rose to approx. 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude (VAAC Tokyo).

Ubinas (Peru): Ash emissions and small explosions originating at the new lava dome in the crater seem to increase in frequency. The resulting ash plumes have all been relatively small (so far).

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): The ongoing eruption continues to add new land to the island with what seems a relatively steady effusion of lava flows. A new overflight by the Japanese Coast Guard shows that at least the second vent that appeared in late January is still active, feeding lava flows that continue to spread and currently have active fronts all along the eastern coast. The first original vent (cone 1, right in the picture) that build the new island and grew to a nice, symmetrical cone, seems to be inactive at present. The other vent is still active and has grown a bit since the previous overflight, with a crater that emits an ash and steam plume, presumably from mild explosive activity caused by infiltrating sea water that becomes in contact with the magma. Bluish gas on the pictures shows areas where active lava flows near their vents. Landsat 8 infrared images from 30 March show that there are active flow fronts all along the eastern coast, while only 2 lobes are active towards the west.