Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical depression 04w (Four), located approximately 48 nm west of Pohnpei, is tracking west-northwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Oklahoma, USA – An extremely dangerous tornado in Tulsa, Oklahoma has claimed the life of one person and injured several others. The death occurred inside a mobile home park near suburban Sand Springs on Wednesday.

Tulsa oklahoma tornado damage

Kazakhstan – Heavy rains and melting snow have caused severe flooding in the Qaraghandy region on the steppe in central Kazakhstan. The Central Asian nation’s Emergency Department said on March 26 that dozens of residents had been evacuated from three five-storied apartment blocks in the town of Qarazhal, where streets, highways and buildings have been damaged. It said dozens of apartment buildings and roads were threatened by flooding in the town of Atasu.

Saudi Arabia – The recent heavy rains that caused floods in various parts of the Kingdom have killed 11 people, left three missing and trapped 456 vehicles, the Directorate General of Civil Defence announced on Thursday. It said four people died in Makkah region, three in Asir, three in Najran and one in Riyadh.

Environment

Planet Heading Toward Acute Water Shortages

The United Nations says the world is on the brink of at least a 40 percent shortfall in water supplies due to climate change and an accelerated use of the precious commodity to feed a surging global population.

A report by the world body says that the demand for water will exceed its rate of replenishment by 40 percent in just the next 15 years.

“The fact is, there is enough water to meet the world’s needs, but not without dramatically changing the way water is used, managed and shared,” the report says.

It points to improvident use of rapidly disappearing groundwater sources, pollution and erratic weather patterns caused by manmade climate change as the major challenges for future water supplies.

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Wildfires

Chilean Wildfires Ravage Rare Species

Huge firestorms raging across parts of drought-stricken southern Chile have “wiped out” hundreds of rare plant species and threatened wildlife as well, according to environmental advocates.

“There have been whole species lost, such as the Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle tree),” Accion Ecologica chief Luis Mariano Rendon told Agence France-Presse.

“They are trees that take hundreds of years to reach maturity. So this is a practically irreparable loss for current generations.”

Rendon bemoaned the lack of enough aerial firefighting equipment to protect the ecological heritage of Latin America’s most wealthy country, given how much it spends on fighter jets.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 111.2 degrees Fahrenheit (44.0 degrees Celsius) at Isisford, Queensland, Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 89.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.5 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

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.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 11 and 22 March 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 15 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 3 deaths.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): Mild activity (small explosions and light ash emissions) continues at the summit crater of the volcano from the Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 18-24 March 2015:

Medvezhia (Kurile Islands, Russia): Satellite images showed a weak thermal anomaly over Kudryavy, a stratovolcano of the Medvezhia volcanic complex, on 18 March.

Sinarka (Shiashkotan Island ): Satellite images showed steam-and-gas emissions from Sinarka on 16 March and a weak thermal anomaly on 21 March.

Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): SVERT reported that during 19-21 March a thermal anomaly over Chirinkotan was detected in satellite images. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow on 20 March.

Lewotobi (Flores): The alert level of the volcano was raised after a significant increase in seismic activity was detected recently. from the Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 18-24 March 2015:

Kilauea (Hawai’i): As the June 27th lava flow is no longer active in the vicinity of Pahoa town, HVO downgraded the volcano alert level for Kīlauea from WARNING to WATCH. HVO issued the following report: “The eruption of lava continues at both the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone and in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the volcano’s summit.

Semisopochnoi (United States, Aleutian Islands): The Alaska volcano observatory (AVO) detected significantly increased earthquake activity under the volcano and warns of a possible eruption: “Earthquake activity that began in January continues, and has increased in intensity over the past few days. In addition, we have detected brief periods of seismic tremor, which can indicate movement of magma or magmatic gases. Thus we are increasing the aviation color code to YELLOW and the volcano alert level to ADVISORY.” (AVO)