Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

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

5.5 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.3 Earthquake hits Azerbaijan.

5.2 Earthquake hits Bio-Bio, Chile.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits southwestern Siberia, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Tropical Storm Fred is located about 960 mi…1540 km WNW of the Cape Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds…40 mph…65 km/h. Present movement…W or 275 degrees at 10 mph…17 km/h.

Hurricane Ignacio is located about 785 mi…1260 km NNW of Honolulu Hawaii and about 550 mi…890 km NNE of French Frigate Shoals with maximum sustained winds…75 mph…120 km/h. Present movement…NNW or 345 degrees at 13 mph…20 km/h.

Typhoon Kilo is located 597 nm east-northeast of Wake Island, and is tracking southwestward at 05 knots.

Hurricane Jimena is located about 675 mi…1090 km E of Hilo Hawaii and about 865 mi…1390 km E of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…90 mph…150 km/h. Present movement…NW or 315 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

Tropical Storm Kevin is located about 420 mi…680 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…60 mph…95 km/h. Present movement…N or 360 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

Invest 91L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that had the potential for tropical development.

NewsBytes:

Assam, India – Update – Assam’s flood situation continued to be alarming on Thursday, even as the deluge claimed two more lives, taking the death toll to 31. Around 14 lakh people in 19 districts of the state are being affected by the floods. Meanwhile, the swirling flood waters of Brahmaputra and its tributaries entered 2,200 villages and submerged 1.8 lakh crop lands.

Assam floods2AFP

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120.2 degrees Fahrenheit (49.0 degrees Celsius) at Al Ahsa International Airport, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 106.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 76.8 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.

Environment

Scientists Want Loud Ocean Noise Regulated

A team of researchers argues that high-decibel noise from explosive seismic testing for oil and gas in the world’s oceans should be regulated and monitored like pollution.

Scientists from leading universities and conservation groups warn that new regulations are urgently needed because of pending government approval of oil and gas exploration as little as three miles from the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, they caution that blasts from seismic tests are loud enough to harm whales and other marine life that rely on natural sounds to find food, communicate, navigate and avoid predators.

Lead author Douglas P. Nowacek of Duke University says that less intrusive technology, including a “marine vibrator” that uses low-pressure sound waves to conduct seismic surveys, will soon be available.

A new study recommends that ocean noise be considered globally as a pollutant — something the European Union already recognizes.

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Wildfires

Massive Wildfires in US Northwest Destroy Habitats, Threaten Wildlife

A heavy toll may be exacted on elk, moose and other wildlife whose habitat has been destroyed by wildfires that have charred hundreds of thousands of acres (hectares) of forests and grasslands across the U.S. Northwest this summer, wildlife managers said on Thursday.

Flames that in recent weeks have destroyed dozens of homes and prompted hundreds of residents to evacuate in Washington and Idaho have probably killed squirrels and small mammals unable to swiftly flee fire zones while fleeter creatures like deer likely escaped unharmed, wildlife biologists said.

Yet a season that has brought the largest wildfire in Washington history and a blaze in southwestern Idaho that killed more than two dozen mustangs pose challenges in the short term that may be offset by benefits in the long term, they said.

For example, a massive blaze in north central Idaho has consumed dense pine, fir and spruce canopies, which will ultimately allow in more light, rejuvenating grasses and forbs favored by ungulates like elk, said Idaho Fish and Game biologist Dave Koehler.

But destruction of crowded conifer canopies will be a hardship for owls and other birds of prey that thrive in such environments.

Prime rangelands in southwestern Idaho considered key habitat for the West’s declining populations of greater sage-grouse – with U.S. wildlife managers to decide this month if the ground-dwelling birds will come under federal protections – were destroyed earlier this summer by a massive wildfire that also burned 27 wild horses to death and forced the euthanization of two other mustangs.

As U.S. land managers scramble to rehabilitate ground ravaged by the 280,000-acre (113,300-hectare) Soda Fire near Boise, wildlife officials in Washington were seeking to assess the impact of blazes in the eastern and north central parts of that state on animals’ winter range.

With fires there still burning, biologists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife already are evaluating how they might manage an influx of browsers like deer into commercial orchards and irrigated croplands in search of food.

Disease

Measles Epidemic in DR Congo

A growing measles epidemic in the province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed 300 people this year, according to official figures, while resources to combat the outbreak are still lacking, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned Tuesday.

More than 20 of Katanga’s 68 health districts are now affected—up from 10 districts in June—but the Congolese government has still not made an official declaration of the epidemic, which may have delayed a timely response.

Measles is now almost endemic in the region and particularly dangerous for the very young who are already exposed to other pathologies such as malaria and acute malnutrition. The absence of free care in public health facilities discourages mothers from taking their sick children to be treated.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): After 3 weeks with almost no or no significant explosions, the volcano seems to be back in its typical state of activity that has been going on for years (but been quite elevated during the past years in comparison): intermittent small to moderately sized vulcanian-type explosions from the Showa crater have resumed since 1 Sep, producing ash plumes that rose to heights of 5-9,000 ft (1.5 – 2.7 km) altitude.

Fuego (Guatemala): Another short, but unusually strong eruptive phase took place at the volcano between Wednesday (30 Aug) and yesterday (3 Sep). The volcano has now returned to average activity levels. During the paroxysm, relatively moderate in size, increased lava effusion produced intense strombolian activity and several lava flows (but probably no pyroclastic flows). The first lava flow traveled down the western slope into the Santa Teresa canyon and reached approx. 1 km length. A second one appeared shortly afterwards and took a path on the southern side, towards Trinidad canyon, and reached more than 1 km length. This marks the 8th such event this year at the volcano.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): IGPEN estimates that the total volume of ash erupted so far is about 630,000 m3 weighing about 700,000 tons. This would make the eruption rank so far as VEI 1 only. (The Volcanic Explosivity Index relates the amount of material erupted during an eruption on a logarithmic scale (from 0 to 9) similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes. For comparison, the eruption of Krakatau in 1883, one of the largest in the past 150 years, was VEI 6). Activity continues at similar levels as during the past days, with emissions of steam and ash, rising to heights of 1-4 km and drifting into westerly directions where fine ash fall occurs and accumulates to now several millimetres in places. Compared to the previous week, activity – both at the surface (ash emissions) and internal (seismicity) has been somewhat lower.