Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Cyclone Victor is located approximately 360 nm east of Tonga, and is tracking west-southwestward at 04 knots.


Odessa, Ukraine – A heavy snowstorm in Ukraine’s port city of Odessa has claimed the lives of two people who were sleeping on the streets. Severe weather conditions have caused cancellations of flights and closed the port.

France – An avalanche in Savoie, eastern France has claimed the lives of five soldiers on Monday afternoon. Eleven soldiers were caught up in the avalanche. Six soldiers were saved by rescuers. The soldiers were skiing in the Petit Argentier area at a height of 2,200m when they were caught up in the avalanche shortly before 13:00 GMT.


The Planet’s Fisheries Are In Even Worse Shape Than We Thought

The world’s oceans have been overfished far more than reported, according to a new study.

The report, published in the journal Nature Communications, reanalyzed worldwide catch data and compared it to information that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations uses. Researchers found that from 1950 to 2010, up to 30 percent more fish — more than 35 billion tons a year — were caught than reported to the agency.

Much of this unreported seafood stems from small-scale fisherman, illegal operations and millions of tons of bycatch, or fish accidentally caught and then discarded.

In the same time period, global catch rates have fallen nearly three times faster than estimated as the industry struggles to find healthy populations to fish.

A long history of commercial enterprises jumping from fishery to fishery has decimated global populations. While some countries like the United States, Australia and parts of Europe have quota systems in place when numbers grow dire, many other nations offer no such protection.

Throughout most of the world there is effectively no management. Aside from fisheries in Antarctica, which remains one of the last bastions of ocean, most have been grossly mismanaged. Around 9 percent of all fish caught — equating to billions of tons — are thrown out, the unintended victims of bycatch from mass fishing enterprises like shrimp trawlers.

Last year, a World Wildlife Fund study found many of the planet’s fish populations were on the “brink of collapse,” pointing to stocks of tuna and other fish that have declined by more than half since just 1970.


Global Warming

Warming sea has killed 20% phytoplankton that fish eat

A new study has revealed shocking data that shows the adverse effects of rising temperature on the water bodies and organisms living in them too. According to the study, there has been significant fall in the number of fishes present in the rivers and oceans in last five years due to which fishermen are finding it difficult to fill their boats for the living.

Researchers started testing and found that rising temperature has affected the population of phytoplankton. There has been 20 percent reduction in the amount of phytoplankton over last six decades said Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist at the Centre for Climate Change Research at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.

Phytoplankton is a microscopic plant that plays an important role in food chain cycle as fishes eat them as their food. Reduction in the amount of phytoplankton means lesser food available for fishes which further may cascade through the food chain, potentially turning this biologically productive region into an ecological desert.

These changes are due to the rising temperature as Indian ocean has witnessed 1.2 degree Celcius average temperature rise over last century. Study authors explained that ground water is nutrient rich and surface water mixes with groundwater to receive necessary nutrients. Hotter surface temperature leads to improper mixing. Since planktons grow in surface water, there has been nutrient deficit which has led to the population decline.

The impact can be seen near the coast line around India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Countries including America, Europe and Japan will also soon experience the impact. Thus, researchers have warned that strict steps are required to control the catastrophic condition.


Pacific Air Pollution Traced to Africa and Asia

Burning down forests in Africa and South-East Asia causes ozone pollution in the air as far as the western Pacific Ocean, researchers say, calling for revision of global climate models to reflect their findings.

In a paper published in Nature Communications last week (13 January), the scientists say their data contradicts earlier theories on the origins of ozone-rich air parcels above the tropical western Pacific, which were thought to descend naturally from a higher atmospheric layer.

Ozone, a greenhouse gas, occurs naturally in the atmosphere. But it is also created from the reactions of pollutants produced by combustion engines and burning trees to clear land for agriculture.

Flying in two research planes at two different heights, the scientists analysed the air composition over Guam, the largest island of Micronesia, in the western Pacific.

Using data and models on wind, rainfall and forest fires, the researchers found that the Guam skies contained a cocktail of chemicals, alongside ozone, similar to the signature chemicals from fire smoke in Africa and South-East Asia.

Thunderstorms and winds from South-East Asia could carry this polluted air high up to the atmosphere and far from its source in countries where deforestation is common, such as Indonesia – 3,750 kilometres away from Guam – and even those in tropical Africa.


Wildfires – Tasmania

A fire alert for Lake Mackenzie in the Great Western Tiers in Tasmania’s north has been downgraded as conditions ease for crews battling dozens of blazes across the state.

The fire is burning in a forested area but the Tasmania Fire Service said residents in surrounding towns should remain vigilant and continue to monitor conditions.

Of the 82 bushfires burning across the state, 45 are not contained. Most of them are not directly threatening townships or properties.

A total fire ban has been declared in the northern regions, and authorities expect the number of fires to grow as blazes sparked by lightning strikes last week flare up.


Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 11 January 2016, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 10 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, including 3 deaths.

The cases were reported in the provinces of Zhejiang (6), Jiangsu (2), Guangdong (1) and Jiangxi (1).