Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits Rota, North Mariana Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Typhoon 17w (Atsani), located approximately 528 nm south-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan, is tracking northward at 06 knots.

Typhoon 16w (Goni), located approximately 447 nm southwest of Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, is tracking westward at 06 knots.

Typhoon Goni claims six lives after torrential rain triggers landslides and floods in Luzon in the northern Philippines.

Hurricane Danny is located about 740 mi…1195 km E of the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds…100 mph…155 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 10 mph…17 km/h.

Tropical Depression Kilo is located about 450 mi…725 km SSW of Hilo Hawaii and about 560 mi…900 km S of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…W or 280 degrees at 16 mph…26 km/h.

Tropical Storm Loke is located about 765 mi…1235 km S of Midway Island and about 510 mi…820 km W of Johnston Island with maximum sustained winds…45 mph…75 km/h. Present movement…N or 360 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

Invest 97L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for tropical development.

Invest 95E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for tropical development.

NewsBytes:

Argentina – Argentine wheat output will likely fall this season after record storms lashed the Pampas grains belt, making it difficult for Argentina to compete in a global export market saturated by bumper harvests in western Europe and the Black Sea region. A key supplier of wheat to neighbouring Brazil and the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed, Argentina is one of a handful of key international food suppliers at a time when both global demand and weather-related risks are rising.

Global Warming

Irrigation and Climate Change Threaten African Crops

While the prediction of a warmer and wetter climate for sub-Saharan Africa over the next 20 years holds the promise of a better life for the region’s farmers, researchers warn it could also attract an invasion of foreign pests.

The use of irrigation, combined with climate change, could create conditions that lure insects like the tomato leaf miner, according to researchers from Kenya’s International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre.

The troublesome pest attacks crops such as peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tobacco. Native to South America, the insect reached Europe in 2006 and has since spread across the Middle East and into Africa.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers warn that irrigation and climate change to the south of the Sahara will create a warm and moist environment in which crop-eating insects from other tropical countries and continents can thrive.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images:

A so-called fire rainbow filled the sky with a haze of colors over South Carolina on Sunday (Aug. 16). Tthe halos of light have nothing to do with fire or rainbows, and form when sunlight hits ice crystals rather than raindrops.

Firerainbow tiffany jenks

Environment

Electrojet Threatens Tropical Power Grids

Electricity grids in parts of the world once thought to be safe from power surges brought on by solar storms are actually at considerable risk, according to a new study.

Powerful geomagnetic storms triggered by solar flares have crashed grids across parts of North America and Europe, while those in the tropics have always been thought to be safe.

But, writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Boston College space physicist Brett Carter says that a naturally occurring flow of current about 60 miles above Earth’s equatorial region can be amplified enough even during relatively quiet periods of space weather to damage power grids.

This primarily affects grids in low-latitude developing countries that have typically not been built to withstand such a geomagnetic shock.

The equatorial electrojet streaks across the daytime side of the planet above parts of Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and southern India.

Carter’s findings are likely to prompt other scientists to examine the potential weakness of power infrastructures in the developing countries that lie beneath the electrojet’s path.

“I think this is cause for a new way of looking at the impact of adverse space weather in a largely unstudied region, where health and economic well-being are increasingly reliant on dependable power infrastructure,” said Carter.

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Disease

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 13 and 17 August 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 19 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 1 death. Fifteen (15) of these reported cases are associated with a MERS-CoV outbreak currently occurring in a hospital in Riyadh.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): According to Japanese scientists, the scenario of a major eruption at the volcano is becoming more and more likely. The Asahi Shimbun news agency sent a drone to photograph the crater, confirming that a flat dome is currently blocking the conduit.

This blockage explains the near absence of explosions since mid July and suggests that internal pressure is increasing. The question is, simply put, when will it blow up and how much will come out?