Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Oaxaca, Mexico.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 06p (Ula), is located approximately 201 nm west-southwest of Suva, Fiji, and is tracking northwestward at 05 knots.

Invest 90C is an area of disturbed weather in the Central Pacific that has the potential for tropical development.

NewsBytes:

California – Heavy rains of up to an inch an hour brought flooding to Ojai and San Diego with road closures and homes inundated.

Global Warming

Earth is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt

Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years.

While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change.

A 2014 flip was detected in the sluggish and elusive ocean cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, which also goes by other names, including the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Despite uncertainty about the fundamental nature of the PDO, leading scientists link its 2014 phase change to a rapid rise in global surface temperatures.

The effects of the PDO on global warming can be likened to a staircase, with warming levelling off for periods, typically of more than a decade, and then bursting upward.

“It seems to me quite likely that we have taken the next step up to a new level,” said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

The 2014 flip from the cool PDO phase to the warm phase, which vaguely resembles a long and drawn out El Niño event, contributed to record-breaking surface temperatures across the planet in 2014.

The record warmth set in 2014 was surpassed again in 2015, when global temperatures surged to 1°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial averages, worsening flooding, heatwaves and storms.

The effects of the warm phase of the PDO and the current El Niño may be cumulative in terms of warming the planet. It also seems likely that changes in the ocean cycles are linked, with changes between El Niño and La Niña driving changes in the PDO cycle.

1 5 16 upton PDO Trenberth 720 335 s c1 c c

Cold PDO phases have a blue background; warm phases are red.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A large, out-of-control, bushfire is threatening homes and lives in the communities of Harvey, Waroona and Preston Beach, south of Perth.

The fire, which was sparked by lightning in Lane Poole Reserve and is burning on both sides of the South Western Highway, is moving fast in a south westerly direction. The fire has so far burnt more than 21,000 hectares.

Emergency warnings are in place for the area bounded by Willowdale Road, Johnston Road, Forrest Highway, Dorsett Road, Williamson Road, Mayfield Road and Nanga Brook Road, including the Waroona townsite, in the Shire of Waroona.

Residents in Prestons Beach and east of South Western Highway are advised it is too late to leave and that leaving now would be deadly.

People are advised to actively defend their homes or if in Prestons Beach, seek shelter at the beach if defending the home is not an option.

Wildfires USA – Record

For the first time in U.S. history, wildfires charred more than 10 million acres across the nation in 2015.

That bests the previous mark of 9.87 million acres set in 2006, and it’s the first time wildfire acreage burned has crossed the 10-million acre threshold.

Beyond local impacts like bad air quality and ecological issues, wildfires also emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, rather than those trees sucking carbon out of the air. This year’s intense wildfire season turned California’s forests into carbon polluters. In Alaska, scientists have raised concerns that wildfires could send vast reserves of carbon locked in the soil up in smoke.

Disease

Dengue Fever in Sudan

According to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, a total of 523 suspected dengue fever cases, including 104 deaths, were reported in Sudan between 29 August (when the outbreak started) and 18 December.

In Darfur, 473 suspected cases-including 99 deaths-were reported in 27 localities. In Kordofan, 44 suspected cases-including four deaths-were reported in the eight localities of Abyei, Keilak, Babanousa (West Kordofan), Reif Ashargi, Kadugli, Habila, Lagawa (South Kordofan) and Shiekan (North Kordofan). In Kassala state, six suspected cases-including one death-were reported in the state capital Kassala town.

More Dengue Fever Cases In Penang, Malaysia

A total of 146 cases of dengue fever were reported in Penang between Dec 27 and Jan 2, up by 24 cases or 19.7 per cent from the previous week.

Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said there was an increase of 2,589 cases or 85.6 per cent last year from the 3,141 cases in 2014.

Pakistan – Water Borne Diseases

Four more children died in Civil Hospital Mithi on Tuesday, after an outbreak of water borne diseases which has claimed the lives of at least 16 children in the last six days.

More than one hundred ailing children, meanwhile, have been admitted to different hospitals in the drought-hit Thar district.

Parents of children brought in to Civil Hospital Mithi told Dawn.com that health personnel were responding with indifference to their children’s plight.