Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits offshore Atacama, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Texas, USA – Wichita Falls, about 125 miles northwest of Dallas, issued a mandatory evacuation order for hundreds of residents in vulnerable neighbourhoods due to rising water levels on the Wichita River. Wichita Falls and other parts of Texas that had been in an extreme drought for about a year have had their water situation improve vastly this month due to storms that have helped to fill depleted lakes.

China, Update – At least 15 people have now been reported killed and thousands more forced from their homes by flooding in southern and central China, with more rain forecast in coming days. Local authorities said Thursday that Jiangxi province has been hardest hit, with eight people killed and 65,000 displaced. Just to the south, the Guangxi region suffered five deaths with six other people listed as missing. Two other deaths were recorded in Hunan province, one of China’s main rice producers, where 2,000 other people were moved to shelters. Fujian evacuated 17,000 people from danger areas, but no one was reported dead or missing in the coastal province. Heavy rain forced the delay or cancellation of hundreds of passenger flights as flood waters in some areas rose to more than 2 metres (6 feet).

Global Warming

Earth Absorbing 50 Percent of CO2 Emissions

The Earth appears to be increasing its ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels even as the planet warms, according to a new study from scientists at Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts.

Writing in the journal Biogeosciences, they say various aspects of the environment have increased their CO2 absorption in proportion to the increase in emissions.

“Without it, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would be twice what it is, and climate change would be much further along,” said study co-author Richard Houghton. “But, there is no guarantee that it will continue.”

He adds that the land and oceans have, for the last 55 years, been taking up about half of the carbon emitted.

The findings do nothing to counter the scientific consensus that drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions must occur in the near future to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit (48.0 degrees Celsius) at Sibi, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 78.5 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

Cholera Among Refugees in Tanzania

At least 27 people have died in an outbreak of cholera at a Burundian refugee camp in Tanzania, humanitarian workers said Thursday.

An estimated 50,000 refugees from Burundi live at a camp in the village of Kagunga, where cholera is suspected of sickening another 15 people, UNICEF said. The World Health Organization says up to 90,000 people live at the camp in the village.

More than 112,000 have fled Burundi in recent weeks during an attempted military overthrow of the government. Many are living in camps along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where conditions are poor.

Between 500 and 2,000 people arrive each day, overwhelming the health system infrastructure where there is already limited camping space, poor hygiene, and inadequate sanitation and drinking water.

WHO says non-cholera-related cases of diarrhea have climbed to more than 1,000.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Florida, USA – Update

The Mud Lake Complex of fires, comprised of several fires caused by lightning strikes in the Big Cypress National Preserve near Naples, has now exceeded 30,000 acres.

The fires have burned a total of 30,250 acres with about 13 percent contained.

Various preserve habitats including dense, course grass; pine timber; and cypress domes, have burned.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Aso (Kyushu): Overall, activity has decreased and incandescence has not been seen during the past nights. The current activity is dominated by strong steam and gas emissions from crater 1 and, to a lesser degree, from crater 2 in the western end of Nakadake crater complex. Intermittent small phreatomagmatic (magma-water interaction) explosions with typical cock-tail emissions of dark ash and blocks, followed by steam trails continue to occur from crater 1. Access to Nakadake remains restricted.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): A peak of activity occurred yesterday, with two strong explosions that produced ash plums that rose to 17,000 ft / 5 km altitude. The activity was followed by continues, noisy smaller explosions and ash venting which lasted and slowly decreased during the night. Today, two normal-sized explosions have taken place so far.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): An explosion occurred Wednesday (20 May) at 15:22 local time and produced an ash plume of approx 1.5 km height. The eruption was accompanied by strong explosion sounds, that caused concern in nearby villages and the town of Tomohon. After the initial explosion, mild ash venting continued for a while. The eruption came from two vents, both the Tompaluan crater and the new crater west of it that had formed in October last year. The eruption had been expected by VSI’s volcanologists who noted changes in seismic activity since early May and saw a rapid increase in earthquakes 2-3 hours before the actual event.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity at the volcano has increased during the past days. Strombolian explosions have been small, moderate and large and occurring frequently. Ash plumes rose to 1 km above the crater and incandescent jets 150 m above the crater. Most explosions generated shock waves and locomotive-like degassing sounds. Ash fall occurred in areas to the W and SW, in the villages of Morelia, Panimache, Sangre de Cristo.

Chaitén (Southern Chile and Argentina): The alert level of the volcano was raised to “yellow”, after an increase in seismic activity was detected. Chaitén had a famous catastrophic plinian eruption in 2008, which followed centuries of quiescence and ended in the construction of a new lava dome.

Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): The eruption continues with stable lava effusion accompanied by stable tremor levels since Monday. Lava fountaining at the vent reaches up to 40 m height and the lava flow continues to move slowly towards the coast, from where it was still 3 km distant yesterday evening.