Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the Easter Island Region.

5.4 Earthquake hits North Island, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.


Siberia – A total of 34,000 people have been evacuated over the period of floods in the Siberian Federal District, Eduard Chizhov, Deputy Minister of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry (EMERCOM), told a press conference on Thursday, according to TASS news agency reports. He said 18,000 houses had been flooded.

El Niño

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) puts the odds of an El Niño at 70 percent this month and 80 percent during the fall and winter. But it’s too soon to officially declare an El Niño, because the ocean and atmosphere are sending mixed signals, the CPC said in its monthly El Niño outlook, released today.

Currently, wind and rainfall patterns don’t quite match with a maturing El Niño. As warmer water moves eastward, so do the clouds and thunderstorms associated with it. Tropical rainfall patterns still haven’t shifted away from Indonesia as expected during an El Niño year, the CPC said. Trade winds haven’t slowed down yet, either, though the winds usually don’t weaken until fall during an El Niño.

However, even though the atmosphere isn’t showing strong signs of an El Niño, ocean temperatures have crossed the threshold that forecasters typically use to define an El Niño, the CPC said. Its latest measurements peg temperature anomalies between 1.1 and 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 and 1.6 degrees Celsius), above the 0.9 F (0.5 C) threshold.

The missing atmospheric response to this warm water makes for a tricky forecast. The ocean is clearly heading toward an El Niño, but the atmosphere says “conditions neutral,” the CPC said.



Arctic Melt Could Allow Invasive Species to Arrive

Scientists are sounding the alarm over the threat of invasive species reaching the Arctic due to the recent record melt of the polar ice cap.

Channels of open water now appear nearly each summer across Arctic Canada and north of Alaska, as well as along the coasts of Scandinavia and Russia.

Climate scientists predict the sea ice around the North Pole will disappear entirely each summer later in the 21st century.

Biologists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, say that shipping through the newly opened passages could inadvertently bring in organisms on the hulls and in the ballast water of vessels.

The first commercial cargo to pass through the newly opened Northwest Passage was a load of coal during September 2013.

There has also been a rush to find the estimated 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil that lies beneath the Arctic.

Maritime excursions for tourists into the newly opened Arctic are also increasing.

“If unchecked, these activities will vastly alter the exchange of invasive species, especially across the Arctic, north Atlantic and north Pacific oceans,” said lead author Whitman Miller.

Oil tanker heading toward Valdez, Alaska. Oil discoveries in the melting Arctic Ocean could allow such ships to bring invasive species into the formerly isolated waters.


Global warming damages corals vital to small islands: UN

Global warming is causing trillions of dollars of damage to coral reefs, aggravating risks to tropical small island states threatened by rising sea levels, a U.N. report said on Thursday.

The rise in sea levels off some islands in the Western Pacific was four times the global average, with gains of 1.2 cms (0.5 inch) a year from 1993 to 2012, due to shifts in winds and currents, said the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP).

The study, released to mark the U.N.’s World Environment Day on June 5, said a warming of waters from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean was damaging reefs by killing the tiny animals that form corals with their stony skeletons.

“These 52 nations, home to over 62 million people, emit less than one per cent of global greenhouse gases, yet they suffer disproportionately from the climate change that global emissions cause,” said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.

“Some islands could become uninhabitable and others are faced with the potential loss of their entire territories,” the study said.

The loss of corals is wiping trillions of dollars a year off services provided by nature, usually counted as free. Corals are nurseries for many types of fish, they help to protect coasts from storms and tsunamis and also attract tourists.


California Drought ‘Emaciates’ Hawks and Owls, Forces a Lost Generation

Perpetual drought across the coastal regions of Southern California has left raptors emaciated, contributing to silence in their once populated breeding grounds.

In regions usually swarming with hawks and other birds of prey, nests remain empty, Audubon California Bird Conservation Program Director Andrea Jones said.

“We’re losing an entire generation,” Jones said. “This has been going on for a while and we have seen significant declines in species including red-shouldered hawks, golden eagles and White-tail Kites.”

A major contributing factor is the drastically reduced food supply consisting of insects and small mammals that various bird species feed upon.

“The impact of the drought has been pretty severe,” Jones said. “We know that it is one of the worst breeding seasons on record.”

Jones said that there have been very few active nests spotted, including a webcam set up to observe the nesting of Barn Owls located at Audubon California Starr Ranch Sanctuary. “Birds are just not nesting,” she said. “They’re not laying eggs.”

Even though one Barn Owl egg was laid at Starr Ranch Sanctuary, it was abandoned by its mother because the male quit supplying her with food, Jones said.

Barn Owls can lay many eggs at a time, but even the lonesome egg could not be supported this March. The embryo later died after being completely ignored upon its mother’s return.

Jones said various species of bird are emaciated and are not exhibiting normal breeding behaviours.

The drought is impacting the entire ecosystem – because of a lack of grass, which inhibits insects and small mammals from reproducing, it has reduced the supply of a variety of species, not just birds, she said.

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Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120.2 degrees Fahrenheit (49.0 degrees Celsius) at Sibi, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 84.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 64.9 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.