Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits south of Africa.

5.3 Earthquake hits off the coast of Pakistan.

5.1 Earthquake hits east of North Island, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits northern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits Nepal.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of central Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm 07w (Dolphin), located approximately 234 nm west-northwest, Guam, is tracking northwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Finland – Floodwater is still on the rise in parts of Finland on Friday as rivers have elevated further. Raudanjoki River has risen to 117 metres. It is on average a once in 60 years occurrence. The water level in Pudasjärvi is feared to continue to rise close to the 1982 flood peak levels. At present, the flood situation is even worst on the Iijoki River threatening residential buildings in Pudasjärvi. Several Pudasjärvi cottages have been flooded and a dozen local roads are closed due to the flooding.

New Zealand – Some areas of Wellington saw the heaviest hourly rainfall in more than 50 years during the deluge on Thursday, data from the regional council shows.

California, USA – Street flooding moved parked cars and prompted the evacuation of apartment residents in Mission Hills late Thursday as San Diego received the brunt of rainfall from a pair of wintry storms headed toward Southern California.

Global Warming

Sea Levels Rising Faster Under Climate Change

Australian scientists have pinned down a variety of errors in observations of sea level during the past 23 years, revealing that the world’s oceans are rising at an accelerating rate.

Previous studies based on tide gauges or satellite data alone have suggested there has been a slowing in the rate of sea level rise over the past decade as compared to the one before it.

But a team led by University of Tasmania geophysicist Christopher Watson found there was a considerable “bias drift” in observations from the first of three satellites used to measure sea level, mainly due to the degradation of the spacecraft’s electronics.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, lead author Watson says that data from the most reliable tide gauges in the world and from corrected satellite data reveal the mean global sea level rise from 1993 to mid-2014 was between 0.10 and 0.11 inches per year.

This is in line with projections made by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicts a 3.2-foot rise by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed.

Wildlife

‘Spider Rain’

Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents whose properties were suddenly covered with not only the creepy critters, but also mounds of their silky threads. But that’s not where the frightful news ends: Experts say that such arachnid rains aren’t as uncommon as you might think.

This month’s spider downpour in the country’s Southern Tablelands region is just the most recent example of a phenomenon commonly known as “spider rain” or, in some circles, “angel hair,” because of the silky, hairlike threads the spiders leave behind.

Ballooning is a not-uncommon behaviour of many spiders. They climb some high area and stick their abdomen up in the air and release silk. Then they just take off. This is going on all around us all the time. We just don’t notice it.

The reason people don’t usually notice this ingenious spider behaviour is that it’s not common for millions of spiders to do this at the same time, and then land in the same place. There was probably a change in the weather and conditions were optimal for ballooning and resulted in the large numbers of spiders flying about simultaneously.

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Disease

Rapidly growing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Niger

From 1 January to 12 May 2015, Niger’s Ministry of Public Health notified WHO of 6,179 suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, including 423 deaths. This is a rapidly growing outbreak with some unprecedented features.

Suspected cases have been increasing very quickly, tripling over the last two weeks. This is the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by Neisseria meningitides serogroup C to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt.

Wildfires

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

A massive wildfire approximately 70 kilometres southwest of Prince George, B.C. continues to burn aggressively, forcing the evacuation of 80 people and putting nearly 700 homes in danger.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A new paroxysm is occurring at the volcano. Increasing near-continuous strombolian eruptions occur from the summit vent of the New SE crater and a lava flow is issuing from a vent at its eastern base into Valle del Bove. Tremor is still rising. After the onset of mild strombolian activity on 12 May, activity first decreased during the night 12-13 May and then started to rise again gradually. Early in the morning (between 06:11-06:23 local time), an effusive fissure opened on the eastern flank of the cone, from where a lava flow emerged. Accompanied by violent collapse events, triggering small pyroclastic flows, the fissure enlarged during the morning and lava effusion increased. At the same time, explosive activity at the summit vent continued intermittently. The eruption continues (May 15), although its intensity has decreased compared to yesterday. Moderate strombolian explosions occur at the summit vent of the New SE crater and lava effusion from the fissure vents at its base continues to feed the lava flow, which since yesterday has 3 active lava flow fronts in the northern Valle del Bove between Monte Simone, Rocca Musarra and Monte Finocchio.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano remains in a very active state, with up to 10 or more vulcanian-type explosions occurring per day. Ash plumes from these eruptions have been rising to 9-15,000 ft (2.7-4.5 km) altitude.

Villarrica (Central Chile): Mild activity continues – a small lava lake remains active inside the vent of the inner summit crater producing steaming, small strombolian explosions, and related ash emissions. A lenticular cloud over the summit this morning was beautifully illuminated by the lava glow.