Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Merida, Venezuela.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Typhoon 27w (In-Fa), located approximately 233 nm northeast of Yap, is tracking west-northwestward at 17 knots.

Tropical Storm Rick is located about 485 mi…780 km SSW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…40 mph…65 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 285 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

Tropical cyclone 03s (Three), located approximately 214 nm south-southwest of Diego Garcia, is tracking westward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Kenya – More than 2,500 families have been displaced by floods in Tana River county after the River Tana overflowed. This brings to 10,000 the number of people affected by floods in the county.

Kenya – Floodwaters wreaked havoc in Narok town, blocking the Nairobi-Narok highway and many streets for most of Wednesday. At least 10 people have died in Narok South due to floods since the rains began this month.

El Niño Peaks at Record Level in Pacific

The intensity of El Niño peaked at a record level during the second week of November, leaving scientists wondering how much warmer the tropical Pacific could become during the current outbreak.

Analysis by the U.S. agency NOAA revealed a stretch between South America and Indonesia reaching a weekly average temperature of 3.0 degrees Celsius (5.4 F) above normal — a record.

Despite the peak, the current El Niño has yet to wield the same impacts of previous outbreaks in 1982-83 and 1997-98.

The ability to predict the effects of El Niño on worldwide weather patterns has greatly improved in recent years, but the warming is still likely to inflict considerable damage and even fatalities, according to the U.N.

“This event is playing out in uncharted territory. Our planet has altered dramatically because of climate change, the general trend towards a warmer global ocean, the loss of Arctic sea ice and of over a million square kilometer of summer snow cover in the northern hemisphere,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

He told a news conference that the naturally occurring El Niño and current manmade global warming may interact and modify each other in ways never before observed.

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Environment

Shrinking Amazon forests may lose thousands of trees species

A first-of-its-kind examination of the Amazon’s trees found that as many as half the species may be threatened with extinction or heading that way because of massive deforestation. Among the more than 5,000 tree species in deep trouble: the ones that produce Brazil nuts and mahogany.

An international team of 158 scientists found that depending on the degree to which deforestation comes under control in the next 35 years, between 36 and 57 percent of the 16,000 tree species in the tropical rainforest area would be considered threatened. Their study is published in Friday’s edition of Science Advances.

The range rests on whether cutting down the region’s forest continues at the rate of the late 20th and early 21st centuries or slows down to lesser levels proposed in 2006, study authors said. If deforestation continues at the same pace, nearly 8,700 tree types are in trouble, but the number of species at risk could be as low as 5,500 if nations are able to cut back as planned, said study co-author Nigel Pitman from the Field Museum in Chicago.

About 15 years ago, the Amazon was losing about 11.6 million square miles (30 million sq. kilometres) of forest a year, said Tim Killeen, a scientist from Agteca Amazonica in Bolivia. But that figure has dropped to about 3.8 million square miles (10 million sq. kilometres) a year, he said.

Disease

Microcephaly – Brazil

In October 2015, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil notified PAHO/WHO of an unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly among newborns in the state of Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil.

As of 17 November, a total of 399 cases of microcephaly were being investigated in seven states in the northeast of Brazil. Most of the cases were registered in Pernambuco state (268). Other states that reported microcephaly cases are Sergipe (44), Rio Grande do Norte (39), Paraiba (21), Piaui (10), Ceara (9) and Bahia (8).

Mosquitos Spreading New Invasive Disease in Americas (Zika Virus)

A mosquito-borne disease once limited to Africa and Asia is spreading across parts of South America.

Zika joins dengue and chikungunya as invasive diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

It threatens public health and tourism from the Caribbean to South America. Zika first appeared in Brazil last April, with local authorities linking it to foreign visitors attending the FIFA World Cup competition.

Six cases of the disease have now been confirmed in neighboring Suriname.

Symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea, eyeball pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

The illness typically lasts between four and seven days.

Ebola Returns to Liberia

Two months after Liberia was declared free of Ebola, three confirmed cases of the deadly disease have emerged in the West African nation.

Thee nation’s health ministry said a new case was confirmed Thursday, when blood samples from a patient admitted in a hospital the same week tested positive.

Two other high- risk contacts also tested positive, and all three are undergoing care at an Ebola treatment centre in the capital of Monrovia, the health ministry said in a statement.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Ash plumes from the volcano drifting east at estimated 23,000 ft (7 km) altitude were reported by VAAC Tokyo yesterday.

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands, Japan): The volcano continues to erupt and is approaching its anniversary. It started with the birth of a new island offshore the old Nishino-Shima island on 23 Nov 2013, which by now has joined and completely covered and greatly enlarged the older one. The latest survey of the Japanese Coast Guard on 17 Nov showed that although lava effusion continues at slow rate, thickening the flow field in the interior of the island, they no longer reach the shores and the island’s total surface has decreased a bit due to wave erosion from 2.67 in September to now 2.63 square km. Strombolian to vulcanian-type explosions occur from the main vent, sometimes strong enough to project bombs of meter size into the sea, i.e. to more than 1 km distance.

Shishaldin (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): No anomalous activity at Shishaldin has been observed in satellite data since weakly elevated surface temperatures were detected on October 16. Low-amplitude seismic tremor continues but is not considered to be indicative of an active eruption. AVO is therefore downgrading the status of Shishaldin volcano from aviation color code ORANGE to YELLOW and from volcano alert level WATCH to ADVISORY. (AVO / USGS)

Colima (Western Mexico): Intermittent explosive activity continues with little changes. 

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): The volcano’s activity remains low, with intermittent small ash emissions and continuous steaming. Weak glow can sometimes be observed at night. According to IGEPN, seismic activity remains moderately strong.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Today and yesterday, the activity at the volcano has been lower and emissions much reduced, after a phase of near continuous degassing and ash venting, producing columns of up to 3 km height during 18-19 Nov. In this period, 1-6 mm of ash fell in areas to the NW, including Cotaló, Chacauco, Pillate, Chontapamba, Chonglontus, Cusua, Juive, and Bilbao where it caused significant damage to vegetation and some infrastructure.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): An increase in activity occurred at the volcano during the past two days. Starting Thursday evening, a new pulse of volcanic tremor was detected and ash emissions began during the night Thu-Friday around 3 am. At 03:40, a larger explosive event and emission took place that produced a plume of ash rising approx. 1 km. Also, some incandescent material was seen ejected. Until now, mild ash emissions seem to continue as near-continuous.

Erta Ale (Ethiopia): The lava lake in the southern pit of the caldera, 30-40 meters in diameter, remains very active and approaches again levels close to overflowing the margins of the pit, being only a few meters below the floor of the caldera.