Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
6.4 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.
6.3 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.
5.7 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.
5.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.
5.2 Earthquake hits Kapulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
Tropical cyclone 06p (Ula), is located approximately 259 nm east-northeast of Kingston Island, and is tracking southeastward at 13 knots.
Hurricane Pali is located about 650 mi…1045 km SSW of Johnston Island and about 1320 mi…2125 km SW of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…85 mph…140 km/h. Present movement…SSE or 160 degrees at 7 mph…11 km/h.
USA – Workers with the U.S. Army Corps of engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway to drain water from the Mississippi River on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Norco, Louisiana. The Mississippi River water levels are rising because of heavy December rain in the Midwest. The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway helps relieve pressure on the New Orleans-area levees by making sure the water doesn’t flow faster than 1.25 million cubic feet per second through the city – which is enough to fill the equivalent of the city’s Superdome in less than 2 minutes.
Antarctic icebergs have surprise role in slowing warming
The biggest icebergs breaking off Antarctica unexpectedly help to slow global warming as they melt away into the chill Southern Ocean, scientists said on Monday.
The rare Manhattan-sized icebergs, which may become more frequent in coming decades because of climate change, release a vast trail of iron and other nutrients that act as fertilisers for algae and other tiny plant-like organisms in the ocean.
These extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, a natural ally for human efforts to limit the pace of climate change blamed on man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Ocean blooms in the wake of giant icebergs off Antarctica absorbed 10 to 40 million tonnes of carbon a year, the study estimated, roughly equivalent to annual man-made greenhouse gas emissions of countries such as Sweden or New Zealand.
The scientists studied satellite images of 17 giant icebergs off Antarctica from 2003-2013 and found that algae could turn the water greener for hundreds of kms (miles) around the icebergs, with nutrients spread by winds and currents.
There are typically 30 giant icebergs floating off Antarctica at any one time – they can linger for years. The study said the giant icebergs had an outsized impact in promoting ocean fertilization when compared with small icebergs.
NASA Opens Armageddon Office
NASA has just launched a new office aimed at protecting the planet from potential doomsday asteroids.
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office will oversee all of the space agency’s efforts to detect and track near-earth objects, and coordinate with other federal agencies as well as other nations if and when it becomes necessary.
NASA has been stepping up its efforts to protect the planet from a devastating impact, most recently teaming up with the National Nuclear Security Administration to work on a plan to use nuclear weapons to deflect an asteroid.
If the agency and other international organizations aren’t able to deflect the celestial body, NASA said the new department could work to prepare people on Earth by alerting those in the potential impact zone and assisting emergency response agencies such as FEMA.
Bird Flu in Scotland
An outbreak of bird flu has been detected in chickens at a farm in Fife, the Scottish government has warned. 40 000 birds are to be culled and an 1km exclusion zone has been created around the affected farm.