Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits Pueblo, Mexico.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone Nathan is located approximately 496 nm east of Darwin, Australia and is tracking westward at 10 knots.

Nathan continues to track along the northern periphery of a deep layer sub-tropical ridge located over central Australia. Upon re-emerging over water in the Gulf of Carpentaria, it is expected to reintensify as favourable conditions persist. The system is expected to make a second landfall.

Global Warming

Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Forests Drop By A Quarter, U.N. Says

Yearly carbon emissions from the world’s forests have dropped by more than 25 percent in the last 15 years, a U.N. agency said on Friday.

The decrease in annual emissions, which cause global warming, is largely due to slowing rates of global deforestation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported.

Forests hold about three quarters as much carbon as the atmosphere and preserving them is crucial for combating climate change.

“Deforestation and forest degradation increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but forest and tree growth absorbs carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas emissions,” FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva said in a statement.

Emissions from deforestation decreased to 2.9 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide from 3.9 Gigatonnes between 2001 and 2015, the FAO said.

Brazil, Chile, China, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Turkey, Korea, Uruguay and Vietnam have all seen net decreases in deforestation, da Silva said.

Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean all continued to release more carbon than they absorb, the study said. Total emissions from Africa and Latin America, however, decreased between 1990 and 2015, the FAO said.

Brazil alone represented more than 50 percent of the overall estimated reduction in annual carbon emissions from forests between 2001 and 2015, the FAO said.

Environment

Dead Sea Drying Up

Environmentalists say mismanagement of water resources around the Dead Sea has produced more than 3,000 sinkholes.

The saline lake — bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank — is evaporating at nearly four feet per year, which leaves behind the salt pockets responsible for the dangerous sinkholes.

EcoPeace says the construction of dams, storage reservoirs and pipelines has caused the unique salt lake to dry up at a distressing rate. Water simply is not flowing in as freely as it once did from the typical sources, the Jordan River and various tributaries.

The first sinkhole appeared in the 1980s, but new ones appear every single day. They grow in groups and collapse into one another to create massive craters.

In 2005, Smithsonian magazine said that roughly 1,000 sinkholes had been reported. The new 3,000-plus figure indicates that they have been appearing at an accelerated rate in recent years.

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Great Lakes Suddenly Rise From Record Low Levels

One of the most rapid rises in water levels on the Great Lakes in recorded history marks the end of an unprecedented period of low levels that began in 1998.

Levels of the adjacent lakes Michigan and Huron have recently risen by more than 3 feet since they dropped to the lowest level on record in January 2013.

Routine measurements of the Great Lakes’ water levels have been made continually since the mid-1800s, and the recent rise is nearly equal to the record-setting increase that occurred between January 1950 and December 1951.

A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers says that the latest rise shows how quickly short-term climate fluctuations like the 2014 Arctic polar vortex can affect water supplies.

A combination of the elevated water levels on Lake Michigan and a powerful storm on Halloween 2014 resulted in high waves pounding the Chicago waterfront and also caused some lakeside flooding.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Chirpoi (Kurile Islands, Russia): A thermal anomaly continues to be visible at the summit of Snow volcano on cloud-free satellite imagery. The Aviation Color Code remains at Yellow.

Manam (Papua New Guinea): Activity at the volcano remains low, with only internal (seismic) unrest detected recently. The latest Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from 11-17 March 2015 writes: “RVO reported that activity at both Manam’s Southern Crater and Main Crater was low during 1-18 March although inclement weather made crater observations difficult; no noises were reported. Seismicity had slowly and erratically increased since 28 February, peaked on 13 March and remained at that level through 15 March, and then increased again through 18 March. The seismicity was characterized by small-to-moderate, sub-continuous, and continuous volcanic tremor. Discrete low-frequency earthquakes were also recorded.”

Ruang (North Sulawesi & Sangihe Islands): An increase in seismicity starting on 6 March prompted PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) on 12 March. No emissions were observed from the volcano. Residents and tourists were warned not to approach the craters within a 1.5-km radius.

Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): Seismicity at the volcano continues to be above background, and according to AVO, “low-level activity”, i.e. weak strombolian activity for example, could be occurring at the summit crater. Webcam imagery show only minor steaming. Aviation Color Code remains at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Colima (Western Mexico): Intermittent explosions and ash emissions continue, but at lower frequency and intensity as during the previous weeks. On 12 March, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6.1-6.7 km (20,000-22,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E, ESE, and SE.

Ubinas (Peru): The Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) and Observatorio Volcanológico del Sur (OVS) reported sporadic ash emissions on 17 March. During 10 February-17 March seismicity at Ubinas was generally low, although a hybrid event was detected on 11 March. Two main sources of seismicity were located 1 km W of the crater at depths of 1-3 km and 2 km NW at depths of 1-5 km. Water-vapor emissions rose as high as 1.5 km above the crater. Sporadic ash emissions were observed on 17 March. (from: Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 11-17 March 2015)