Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.0 Earthquake hits San Juan, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Bio-Bio, Chile..

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Chile – Flash floods in Chile’s Atacama desert, one of the driest regions in the world, have left thousands of people without electricity or water. Chile’s government has declared a state of emergency for the Atacama desert region after heavy rainfall triggered flooding in the region. 2 deaths have been reported and at least 24 persons are missing.

Atacama desert peru flood

Peru – A state of emergency has been declared in Peruvian town of Chosica as a landslide claimed the lives of at least seven people and destroyed 65 houses. According to Reuters, six people are missing and 25 have been injured in the landslide.

Peru landslide picture

Global Warming

Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents

Climate scientists Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf announced the findings of their new study yesterday, which shows that the rapid melting of the polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly since 1970. The scientists say “the slowdown in ocean currents will result in sea level rise in cities like New York and Boston, and temperature changes on both sides of the Atlantic,”.

Mann explains the consequences of the Gulf Stream shutting down and how it would drastically alter the climate in Europe and North America. The last time this happened, about 12,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, North America and Europe went back into a mini-ice age, Mann says. Not only would North America and Europe experience colder temperatures, but “If those current systems shut down, then suddenly the North Atlantic [fisheries] would no longer be productive,” says Mann.

Mann says a shutdown of the Gulf Stream might happen a lot sooner than the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report predicts. “Our studies suggest we are much closer to that than the current model suggests. A full shutdown … could be decades from now.”

Environment

Early Snow Melt – Wyoming, USA

The spring snowmelt now comes more than two weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, a new study finds.

The trend is part of a larger snow shortfall across the Western United States documented by many researchers. Several independent studies have found the spring snowmelt starts up to 20 days earlier in the West than in the past because there’s less snow falling each winter and warmer spring weather means the snow that does fall melts earlier.

The snow is melting 16 days earlier this century than it was in the period from 1972-1999, the study found. Stream flows have decreased, and are also peaking earlier. Weather records from the same time period show a warming trend, with rising spring and summer nighttime temperatures. Higher nighttime temperatures can cause more snow to melt the next day, the study researchers said.

Water resources in states, such as Wyoming, that rely on snowmelt are being adversely affected.

Disease

Typhoid in Uganda – Update

An outbreak of typhoid fever has infected hundreds of people in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and looks likely to spread as the rainy season gets under way, a senior health official said on Wednesday.

At least 4,000 suspected cases of typhoid fever have been reported, 400 of which have been confirmed.

The disease’s epicenter is a slum in downtown Kampala where many were sickened by contaminated water and fruit juices.

The World Health Organization says the majority of water sources that were tested in downtown Kampala were found “heavily contaminated” with fecal matter, and that most of those affected are men between the ages of 20 and 39.