Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.5 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits east of the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

A tropical disturbance has formed near Daytona, California. The system is given a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm or hurricane over the next two days.


Turkey – A rare tornado descended on eastern Istanbul Thursday as Turkish officials warned that up to 50 kilos of rain per square meter were expected to fall.


African Elephants Slaughtered for Ivory at Alarming Rate

The slaughter of more than 20,000 African elephants for their ivory last year is putting some local populations at an immediate threat of extinction, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The United Nations-linked conservation agency warns that criminal bands and rebel militias are killing the animals to cash in on the thousands of dollars per kilo the ivory fetches.

CITES says this is the third consecutive year that more than 20,000 elephants were illegally killed in Africa, leaving only about 500,000 left on the continent.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest and best-known elephants was killed and mutilated for its ivory in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park.

“Satao” was a favorite among visitors and rangers alike before poachers hacked off his face and took his long, massive tusks.

“Satao” before poachers killed and mutilated the popular Kenyan tourist attraction for its ivory.


Great white sharks seeing a population boom in waters off Eastern US and Canada

A report that scientists are calling one of the most comprehensive studies of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada after decades of decline.

The study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, says the population of the notoriously elusive fish has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.

The scientists behind the study attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

“The species appears to be recovering,” said Cami McCandless, one of the authors. “This tells us the management tools appear to be working.”

Great whites owe much of their fearsome reputation to the movie “Jaws,” which was released 39 years ago Friday. But confrontations are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks — 13 of them fatal — in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.

They are, though, ecologically critical. They are apex predators — those at the top of the food chain — and help control the populations of other species. That would include the grey seal, whose growing colonies off Massachusetts have provided food.



Near-Record May Warmth Could Lead to Strong El Niño

May 2014 was calculated to be the third-warmest May in the past 35 years of satellite-measured global temperatures, which could portend massive global weather shifts later this year.

It was also the warmest May that didn’t occur during an El Niño ocean warming in the tropical Pacific, according to University of Alabama in Huntsville atmospheric scientist John Christy.

The Earth System Science Centre (ESSC), where Christy is director, determined that May was about 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit above seasonal normal for the month.

The warmest May on record was in 1998 and occurred during the warmest and most influential El Niño in the climate record.

The global seasonal average for that month was about 1.0 degree above normal.

Given that this year is already unusually warm, Christy says the potentially emerging El Niño in the Pacific could challenge the 1998 episode’s record.

“With the baseline so much warmer, this upcoming El Niño won’t have very far to go to break that (1.0 degree) record,” Christy said. “That isn’t to say it will, but even an average-sized warming event will have a chance to get close to that level.”

The ESSC uses data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for nearly all regions of the world. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where surface weather observations are not available.

Antarctica, parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as the northern Pacific, experienced some of the warmest May conditions. The Persian Gulf was cooler than normal.



West Africa’s ebola outbreak is “totally out of control”

The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is “totally out of control,” according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says and the medical group is stretched to the limit in its capacity to respond.

International organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and to increase the public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease, Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the group in Brussels, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Ebola has already been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Janssens said. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.”

The outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

Ebola 620x412

TB crisis in South African mines

The incidence of TB among South Africa’s mineworkers and their partners and children is the highest of any working population in the world.

For every worker who dies each year as a result of an accident on a South African mine, nine more die of tuberculosis, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday.

“There are 41,810 cases of active TB in South African mines every year. It is eight percent of the national total, and one percent of the population.

“It is the highest incidence of TB in any working population in the world. It affects 500,000 mineworkers, their 230,000 partners, and 700,000 children.”