Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
5.4 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.
5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.
5.0 Earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.
5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.
5.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
Hurricane Gonzalo is located about 660 mi…1060 km SSW of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds…125 mph…205 km/h. Present movement…NW or 320 degrees at 13 mph…20 km/h. Gonzalo kills 1 in St. Maarten and injures 12 in Antigua
Hazards affecting land – wind…hurricane conditions are possible over Bermuda on Friday…with tropical storm conditions possible by early Friday morning. Surf…large swells generated by Gonzalo are affecting portions of the Virgin Islands…the northern coasts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic…and portions of the Bahamas. Swells will reach much of the East Coast of the United States and Bermuda on Thursday.
Tropical storm Ana is located about 710 mi…1140 km ESE of Hilo Hawaii and about 920 mi…1480 km ESE of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…70 mph…110 km/h. Present movement…W or 275 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h.
Nepal – Three persons have gone missing in an avalanche in the Manang district in Nepal. The incident took place when three herdsmen went to graze yaks in the high hill areas. The rescue team was unable to reach the disaster area due to heavy rainfall and avalanches. In a separate incident, eight foreigners and a local man have been killed in a snowstorm and avalanche in Nepal’s Himalayas.
Australia – New South Wales has been hit by a raging storm, with snowfall covering the Blue Mountains and Sydney Airport flooded – causing massive delays to flights. 30,000 homes are still without power as a storm packing torrential rain and high winds continues to rip through the east coast. Flash flooding across the state has prompted at least 57 rescues, with many people being trapped in cars after driving into floodwaters. On Wednesday morning, some people woke to find their cars covered with snow and even crushed by trees. Across the country, flights that were diverted from Sydney Airport and continuing bad weather has caused knock-on delays at Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne airports.
Global warming: plants may absorb more carbon dioxide than previously thought
Global warming may not be damaging the Earth as quickly as feared after scientists found that plants can soak up more carbon dioxide than previously thought. According to researchers, climate models have failed to take into account that when carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, plants thrive, become larger, and are able to absorb more CO2.
As part of the carbon cycle, plants use light to photosynthesise carbon dioxide, turning it into carbohydrate to grow and releasing oxygen as a waste product. Now a team at Wyoming University has found that carbon dioxide stays in leaves longer than previously thought, acting as a fertiliser and accelerating plant growth.
The team estimates that climate scientists have underestimated the ability of plants to grow and absorb carbon dioxide by as much as 16 per cent.
The finding may mean that it will be easier to fulfil the target of keeping global warming below two degrees since pre-industrial times. The Earth has currently warmed 0.85°C from 1880.
It was originally thought that vegetation on Earth currently removes one quarter of all human emissions. But the new study suggests it is far higher.
Ebola – Update
The Ebola virus is killing 70% of the people who contract the disease, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, and as many as 10,000 new cases a week could be reported by early December.
Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant director-general in charge of the organization’s response to the epidemic, said the Ebola virus is “still moving geographically, still escalating” in some bigger cities.
He expressed concern the disease could spread to West African countries that share borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the epicenters of the current outbreak, singling out Ivory Coast as particularly vulnerable.
The WHO’s latest numbers indicated 8,914 suspected or confirmed Ebola cases and 4,447 deaths from the disease. Based on those numbers, the mortality rate is under 50%.
But Dr. Aylward said that when patients can be monitored throughout the course of their disease, the mortality rate is actually 70% in the affected countries.
Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity
Poas (Costa Rica): (14 Oct) A strong phreatic explosion occurred this morning at the crater lake, ejecting mud and water to more than 200 m height and reaching the observation platform. According to first news articles, nobody was hurt, but the visiting areas have been evacuated. Today’s explosion follows a similar one 6 days ago.
Sinabung volcano (Sumatra, Indonesia) The eruption at the volcano continues. An expedition team is on location and observed near-continuous rockfalls and frequent pyroclastic flows caused by collapses on the lava flow reaching up to 4-5 km distance. The flows travel through two channels, on the south and to the north. The increased phase of lava effusion and associated pyroclastic flows caused began about 2 weeks ago. VSI maintains alert level 3 (out of 4). Seismic activity has been dominantly volcanic earthquakes and low-frequency quakes, representing magma pushing its way up to the surface, according to the volcano observatory.