Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits northern Qinghai, China.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Kermedec islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of southern Peru.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Cyclone Victor is located approximately 432 nm south of Pago Pago, and is tracking westward at 07 knots.

Global Warming

2015 Shatters Hottest Year Record

It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping, U.S. government agencies announced Wednesday. But this new record may not stand for long, as one of the strongest El Niños ever measured combines with the continued warming of the planet to potentially push 2016 to yet another record.

The year’s incredible heat serves as a stark reminder of how much the Earth’s temperature has risen due to the steady buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities like power generation, transportation and forest clearing. That temperature reached the point in 2015 where it was 1°C (1.8°F) above that of the late 19th century at the same time as carbon dioxide levels likely permanently rose above 400 parts per million.

Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2015 easily took over the top spot from 2014. By NASA’s measure, 2015 was 0.23°F (0.13°C) warmer than 2014 — the second largest-ever jump from a previous record. By NOAA’s measure it was 1.62°F (0.9°C) above the 20th century average and the largest jump from a previous record, at 0.29°F (0.16°C) above 2014.

The oceans were one of the clear warm areas of the globe during the year, particularly the Indian Ocean and the tropical Pacific Ocean, which was under the influence of an incredibly strong El Niño. Record warmth was found in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, South Africa and North America. It was the second warmest year on record for the U.S., helped by an incredibly toasty December in the eastern half of the country.

While El Niño contributed to the record, a Climate Central analysis has shown that 2015’s high temperature was overwhelmingly the result of manmade warming.

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Space Events

New planet beyond Pluto postulated

Astronomers investigating the alignment of rocks beyond Pluto have concluded that an undetected icy planet four times the size of Earth must exist.

Some distant objects far beyond Pluto were behaving very oddly. The orbits of a handful of space rocks had aligned for no apparent reason. Though stumped at first, astronomers now have an explanation: a huge ninth planet at the edge of the solar system.

If the researchers have their sums right, the mysterious new world is 10 times more massive than Earth and up to four times the size. Nicknamed Planet Nine, it moves on an extremely elongated orbit, and takes a staggering 10 000 to 20 000 years to swing once around the sun.

The icy world, if it exists, has evaded detection because it is so far away. Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) calculate that the closest it comes to the sun is 15 times the distance to Pluto. It then heads into uncharted territory, 75 times further out than Pluto, or about 93 billion miles from the sun. A ray of light would take a week to get there.


Zika virus infection – Bolivia

On 16 January 2016, Ministry of Health of Bolivia, through its National IHR Focal Points (NFP), notified PAHO/WHO of the first laboratory-confirmed cases of locally-acquired Zika virus infection in the country. The case is a 32-year-old pregnant woman from Portachuelo, Santa Cruz Department, with onset of symptoms on 8 January. She has no recent history of travel.

Zika virus infection – Guyana, Barbados and Ecuador

Between 14 and 15 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Points (NFP) for Guyana, Barbados and Ecuador notified PAHO/WHO of further cases of Zika virus infection.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Fuego (Guatemala): Another phase of increased explosive activity and lava effusion is taking place at the volcano. Small pyroclastic flows were observed this morning.

After the violent phase during the first days of 2016, this is the second paroxysm of the volcano this year already. Over the past months, such phases have occurred at astonishing rhythmic intervals of 3-4 weeks (see the peaks on the thermal signal graphic).

Egon (Indonesia) Nearly 1,000 people have been evacuated as Mount Egon volcano in East Nusa Tenggara of Indonesia erupted with hot ash and toxic gas. As many as 927 people living in the dangerous evacuation zone of 3 kilometres have been evacuated to safer grounds.