Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits the Belleny islands.

6.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.4 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Balleny islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Philippine Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Santiago del Estero, Argentina.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Global Warming

Greenhouse Gas Deadline Down to the Wire: U.N.

The latest report by the U.N. group responsible for assessing climate change says the world is running out of time to keep global warming from exceeding the 2 degrees Celsius limit (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) agreed to in 2010.

If greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed sharply, and soon, climate experts say that by 2100, temperatures will rise by between 3.7 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (6.6 and 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times.

China, the United States and Europe are the top emitters.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cautions in the new report that there must be a “massive shift” to renewable energy to avert more severe heat waves, droughts and rising sea levels.

Last year, the IPCC said there is a 95 percent probability that climate change since 1950 is mainly due to human activities rather than natural variations.

Nations have pledged to work out a deal to limit global warming by the end of 2015. The latest IPCC report was prepared to help almost 200 governments do that.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.7 degrees Fahrenheit (45.4 degrees Celsius) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 97.1 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 71.7 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.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

New Zealand – Storm continues to pose problems. Thousands are without power and roads are closed in many parts of the country as the remnants of tropical Cyclone Ita washes out the start of the easter holiday.

Residents in the South and North Islands are battling stormy conditions. Weather from ex-tropical cyclone Ita bore down across the country yesterday and overnight, bringing widespread power outages, flooding and slips in many areas. Those along the West Coast – one of the worst hit areas – have been working all morning to clear flooded areas and debris, with more bad weather expected tomorrow.

NewsBytes:

A landslide at a goldmine in Guinea has claimed the lives of at least seven people. The landslide occurred in the Kintinian area of Guinea, West Africa.

An avalanche on Mount Everest has killed 13 Sherpa guides. 9 others are still missing.

Disease

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

On 17 April 2014, the Ministries of Health of Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported an additional 5 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Chirpoi (Kuril Islands, Russia): SVERT reported that on 13 April satellite images over Snow, a volcano of Chirpoi, detected steam-and-gas emissions. Cloud cover obscured views on the other days during 9-15 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): SVERT reported that satellite images of Chirinkotan showed gas-and-steam emissions on 9 April drifting more than 50 km SE. Cloud cover obscured views during 10-15 April. The Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow.

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): A possible explosive eruption occurred this morning; VAAC detected an ash plume at estimated 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude drifting east from the volcano. This could have been caused by a stronger phreato-magmatic explosion (sea water coming in contact with magma).

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has been unusually calm recently. No significant explosion was recorded since 12 April.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): A pyroclastic flow occurred yesterday afternoon (17:40 WIB) at the volcano. Most likely, it was triggered by a partial collapse of the steep lava tongue that had been emplaced on its southern flank during the past months.

Fortunately, the flow was rather small and only reached the now depopulated area at the feet of the mountain.

Dukono (Halmahera): Ash plumes from stronger explosions have become a more or less daily appearance in VAAC Darwin’s reports of volcanic ash clouds. The volcano clearly is in an elevated state of activity at the moment.

Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): Alaska’s Volcano Observatory (AVO / USGS) maintains alert status orange: “Minor steaming was observed in web camera images during clear periods over the past day. Satellite images show no evidence of eruptive activity. No significant changes observed in seismic data.”

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes have occurred in the volcano’s currently low activity. Small to moderate emissions of steam and minor amounts of ash were observed at rates of approx 1 per hour (CENAPRED counted 22 events during 16-17 April).

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): No significant changes in the currently relatively low activity have been reported. Occasional small to moderate explosions and weak avalanches from the active lava flow on the SE side of the dome occurred during 16-17 April.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH only reports steaming and internal tremor, but no visible eruptive activity from the Mackenney crater at the moment.

Fuego (Guatemala): Moderate to strong explosions continue at the volcano with ash plumes rising almost 1 km above the crater.

All the explosions generated rumbling and degassing sounds as well as sometimes shock waves. Fine ash fell in the villages Panimaché, Morelia, Santa Sofia and Sangre de Cristo. Incandescent avalanches could be observed from the crater at night.

Reventador (Ecuador): The volcano continues to produce small to medium explosions with ash plumes rising up to 1.5 km. A MODIS hot spot indicates the presence of fresh lava at the summit, but there seems to be currently no lava flow.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity at the volcano remains high with intermittent small to moderate explosions and ash emissions. Plumes of steam and various amounts of ash have been rising up to 3 km above the summit and drifting into westerly directions. Light ash fall occurred in Bilbao, Cusua, Choglontus, and Manzano.

Incandescence was observed at night, suggesting ongoing strombolian activity.

Ubinas (Peru): The latest report by Peru’s Institute of Geophysics (IGP) issued a series of recommendations to authorities, among which to raise the alert level to orange, given that activity has gradually increased and is now comparable to the eruption during 2006.

IGP also recommends to fully evacuate the villages of Querapi and Tonohaya; according to local press Querapi (the closest to the volcano) seems already to have been more or less evacuated.