Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.5 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Nias region, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Central Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Cyclone Victor is located approximately 410 nm west of Rarotonga, and is tracking southwestward at 06 knots.

Sp201607 5day

Global Warming

This is where 90 percent of global warming is going

Scientists have long known that more than 90 percent of the heat energy from man-made global warming goes into the world’s oceans instead of the ground. And they’ve seen ocean heat content rise in recent years. But the new study, using ocean-observing data that goes back to the British research ship Challenger in the 1870s and including high-tech modern underwater monitors and computer models, tracked how much man-made heat has been buried in the oceans in the past 150 years.

The world’s oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy from 1865 to 1997, and then absorbed about another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

To put that in perspective, if you exploded one atomic bomb the size of the one that dropped on Hiroshima every second for a year, the total energy released would be 2 zettajoules. So since 1997, Earth’s oceans have absorbed man-made heat energy equivalent to a Hiroshima-style bomb being exploded every second for 75 straight years.

Because the oceans are so vast and cold, the absorbed heat raises temperatures by only a few tenths of a degree, but the importance is the energy balance, Gleckler and his colleagues said. When oceans absorb all that heat it keeps the surface from getting even warmer from the heat-trapping gases spewed by the burning of coal, oil and gas, the scientists said.

The warmer the oceans get, the less heat they can absorb and the more heat stays in the air and on land surface, the study’s co-author, Chris Forest at Pennsylvania State University, said.

This image shows Pacific and Atlantic meridional sections showing upper-ocean warming for the past six decades (1955-2011). Red colors indicate a warming (positive) anomaly and blue colors indicate a cooling (negative) anomaly

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Drought and Hunger in Southern Africa

The United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) is increasingly concerned about food security in southern Africa where an estimated 14 million people are facing hunger following prolonged dry spells.

These dry conditions, caused by the El Niño weather event, led to a poor harvest. El Niño, which is leading to an even worse drought across the region, is affecting this year’s crop.

With little or no rain falling in many areas, the window for the planting of cereals is closing fast or already closed in some countries.

“South Africa, the major breadbasket of the region, has indicated that this El Niño-induced drought is the worst the country has suffered in more than half a century,” said the WFP.

2.8m in Malawi need food, 1.9m in Madagascar and 1,5m in Zim. A third of Lesotho’s people face problems.


Wildfires – Australia

At least one home was destroyed and another severely damaged in a bushfire burning on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula late yesterday.

Homes in Crib Point, near HMAS Cerberus naval base, were under threat last night and smoke could be seen from nearby Phillip Island and French Island.

More than 100 firefighters, with the support of 26 trucks and three firebombing aircraft, were battling the blaze.

All but one of Victoria’s fire districts face a total fire ban as temperatures to top 40C in some areas with strong northerly winds ahead of a gusty cool change.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Egon (Flores): An eruption warning remains in place. Increased sulfur smells have been noted from the volcano which had been raised to second highest alert on 13 Jan. According to local news, evacuation of 3 villages at the feet of the volcano are taking place and so far, 1200 people have been relocated and 2000 dust masks have been distributed (in case of ash emissions). The exclusion zone around Mt Egon volcano is 3 km radius from its summit only (but in case of a larger eruption, this should be drastically increased, especially around rivers draining from the mountain.)

Erta Ale (Danakil depression, Ethiopia): The lava lake of Erta Ale has overflown, our correspondents from Ethiopia reported. The first lava over-spilled the rim of the containing crater at midnight of 15-16 Jan 2016. It seems that the situation is similar to the spectacular events in November/December 2010 when the lava lake last overflowed. More details and images will be posted as soon as possible. During our expeditions in Nov and Dec, the level of the lake had already been occasionally as close as only 1 meter beneath the rim.