Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits off the coast of Pakistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the coast of central Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

5.1 Earthquake hits offshore Atacama, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm 07w (Dolphin), located approximately 35 nm east of Andersen AFB, Guam, is tracking west-northwestward at 15 knots.

Environment

El Niño

The robust El Niño event anticipated for more than a year is finally coming to fruition, according to the latest observations and forecasts. NOAA’s latest monthly analysis, issued on Thursday morning, continues the El Niño Advisory already in effect and calls for a 90% chance of El Niño conditions persisting through the summer, with a greater-than-80% chance they will continue through the end of 2015.

The Australian weather agency has also declared the on-again, off-again El Niño ocean warming that stumped forecasters last year to be back on with a vengeance.

The phenomenon is associated with extreme weather around the world, and happens when trade winds over the tropical Pacific weaken, allowing sea-surface temperatures to rise. In a classic El Niño, the ocean and atmosphere are synchronized in a mutually reinforcing pattern that pushes warm sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and thunderstorm activity along the equator eastward for thousands of miles, from Indonesia toward South America (see Figure 1). Sometimes the atmosphere doesn’t respond to a “kick” from the ocean, and an embryonic El Niño fails to develop. This was the case last spring, when a powerful oceanic Kelvin wave (a broad, shallow, slow-moving impulse) pushed warm water east across the Pacific tropics.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology now says that a “substantial” El Niño will develop through late this year while the U.S. Climate Prediction Centre says there is an 80 percent chance the warming will persist through all of 2015.

Its early phase may be responsible for recent above-normal rainfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast and Great Plains.

Further ocean warming predicted for the months ahead threatens to devastate India’s agriculture with drought after untimely rains earlier this year already wiped out crops.

El Niño forecasts issued in May tend to be more accurate because models become more dependable from this point on, experts say.

A strong El Niño that was predicted to develop during late 2014 never really set in, leaving forecasters scratching their heads.

Some meteorologists say that the phenomenon could combine with another shift in ocean temperatures called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The PDO brought record warmth to parts of the North Pacific this past December and January, and is predicted to stay strong.

If it were to combine with a significant El Niño, global temperatures would most likely soar even higher than during the recent record warmth.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit (47.7 degrees Celsius) at Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 74.5 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.

Drought

Drought – Queensland, Australia.

Drought has been declared in more than 80 per cent of Queensland, with fears El Nino will only make things worse.

During the past six months western and northern Queensland has generally seen below average rainfall. In the southeastern districts rainfall has actually been above average in some parts. However, the reason for drought declaration of so much of Queensland is that widespread healthy falls haven’t been experienced since the back-to-back La Nina events finished in early 2012.

During the past 26 El Nino events, 17 have resulted in widespread Australian drought.

Drought – North Korea

A severe drought could bring North Korea to the brink of famine this summer, according to experts who keep close tabs on the Hermit Kingdom.

Without significant rainfall soon, North Korean farmers might not be able to grow enough food to feed the country’s nearly 25 million people. The financial excesses of the country’s elite are well documented, and Pyongyang lacks sufficient foreign currency reserves to make up for the shortfall. And while international aid has helped address the country’s food shortages in the past, its distribution to the North Korean people depends on the country’s paranoid government.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Jamaica

Several bush fires have been registered in Jamaica amid an ongoing drought. The wildfires have affected more than five communities in rural areas in St. Andrew Parish, located northeast of the capital city, Kingston. Difficult terrain in the area is complicating efforts to battle the blazes.

Wildfires – North Pole!

Two small wildfires were quickly contained in the North Pole area Thursday afternoon, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry.

Disease

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 9 May 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 6 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, including 2 deaths.

Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak in Laos

Veterinarians in Laos are vaccinating more than 1,000 heads of cattle in a suburb of the capital Vientiane, after hundreds of the animals died from a recent outbreak offootf-and-mouth disease, according to the head of government’s livestock and fisheries department.