Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.4 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the west coast of South Island, New Zealand.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

Two 5.2 Earthquake hit the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Tropical Depression 22w (Hagupit), located approximately 194 nm east-northeast of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, and is tracking south-southwestward at 17 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 03s (Bakung), located approximately 1214 nm east of Diego Garcia, and is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.


San Francisco, USA – Ferocious storm system pounded a huge swath of the West Coast with heavy rain, hurricane-force winds and power outages Thursday, causing at least two deaths. In some parts of northern California, the storm produced hurricane-force winds of 78 mph and one gust of 147 mph in the Sierra. There were flash flood warnings in several parts of the Bay Area, and portions of major highways were closed due to flooding. More than 4.5 inches of rain fell on Big Sur in just three hours, according to the National Weather Service. The storm is one of the strongest to hit the West Coast in years.

635539183515582602 AP APTOPIX California Storms

Canada – Wild winter weather flooded many parts of Atlantic Canada Thursday and may have been responsible for three deaths. Roads and bridges all over Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were washed out, and flooding shut down many roads in Halifax just in time for the morning commute. Environment Canada said more than 100 mm of rain fell in some areas. Snow, ice and freezing rain created “treacherous” conditions all over New Brunswick.


El Niño Has Arrived

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) became the first weather bureau in the world to declare that the El Niño ocean warming in the tropical Pacific has returned.

The phenomenon occurs every few years and causes a variety of weather shifts around the world.

The JMA declaration came as the strongest Pacific storm to strike California since the last El Niño five years ago was roaring onshore.

Various weather agencies around the world have issued conflicting El Niño forecasts over the past few months, but JMA meteorologist Ikuo Yoshikawa said on Dec. 10 that it emerged between June and August.

He added that is likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter.

El Niño frequently brings drought to Indonesia and parts of Australia, and potent winter storms into the western United States.

One is officially declared if the temperature of the western tropical Pacific rises 0.95 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average.

The extreme El Niño of 1997-98 saw a rise of more than 5.4 degrees.



Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.7 degrees Fahrenheit (46.5 degrees Celsius) at Oodnadatta, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 56.9 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 49.4 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s small Siberian settlement of Toko.

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.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bardarbunga (Iceland): The Icelandic Met Office (IMO) published two great graphics showing the gradual evolution of the Holuhraun (or now called Nornahraun) lava flow field and compares it with the two largest lava fields erupted on Iceland in historic times, Laki in 1783 and Eldgjá in 934 AD. Even though it is the largest eruption in more than 150 years on Iceland, it still is much much smaller than those two. According to the latest measurements, the lava field from Holuhraun now covers 77,5 km². The eruption which had its 100th day on 9 Dec, continues with little changes and there is no end in sight. Active breakouts are located on the northern margin of the lava field, now called “Nornahraun”. Earthquake activity under the central volcano remains elevated, but over the past weeks, earthquakes larger than magnitude 4 have become more rare. Recent geochemical studies of the lava show that it seems to rise directly from a source at 9-20 km depth, i.e. is generated by decompressing mantle material.

Aso (Kyushu): Strombolian activity and low ash emissions are near continuous at the Nakadake crater.

Azuma (Honshu): Japan’s Met Office (JMA) detected increased seismic activity at the volcano and raised the alert level to 2. Access to the crater, a popular walking trail, is now closed.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The activity at the volcano remains similar as during the past weeks. The extrusion of viscous lava continues to feed a new tongue in the upper part of the southern slope. Its steep front suffers occasional collapses that trigger rockfalls and small to medium pyroclastic flows, sometimes reaching 2-3 km in length such as this morning.