Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits Coquimbo, Chile.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit Coquimbo, Chile

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Java – Two university students died after they were swept away by a West Java river while taking selfies. The flash flood at an irrigation dam in Sukabami district’s Sukasari village washed away the students.

Mauritius – A torrential rain warning is in effect in Mauritius as widespread flooding has been reported on the island. According to Mauritius Met Service, Pointe aux Canonniers saw the highest rainfall of 86 mm between 07:00 to 09:00 am this morning. Heavy downpours have also been reported in Nouvelle Decouverte, Mon Loisir Rouillard, Queen Victoria, Domaine les Pailles, Champs de Mars, Bagatelle dam, Vacoas and Beau Bassin. Active clouds associated with the tropical disturbance have been influencing the local weather causing widespread heavy thundery showers over the whole island.

USA – Snow, strong winds and floods threatened to snarl travel and shutter schools Tuesday as the Northeast braced for another winter storm. The wintry weather, which was due to hit just as New Hampshire residents cast their primary votes, followed a batch of snow and blizzard-like conditions Monday. More than 30 counties across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and northern Ohio were under a winter storm warning at 5:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Global Warming

Global warming policies we set today will determine the next 10,000 years

The decisions made in the next couple of decades about reducing greenhouse gas emissions will determine the severity of global warming — including potentially catastrophic sea level rise — for the next 10,000 years, according to a provocative statement by prominent climate scientists.

The research, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, examines the “deep time” implications of emissions of global warming pollutants such as carbon dioxide.

The study vividly demonstrates how the lag effects that are inherent in the climate system affect policy decisions that today’s leaders must make through the middle of this century.

These lag effects — namely the ability of carbon dioxide to remain in the air for thousands of years, and the high sensitivity and long memory of global ice sheets to this temperature increase — will ensure that today’s policy choices will play out on a stage longer than the history of human civilization.

“If carbon dioxide emissions continue unchecked, the carbon dioxide released during this century will commit Earth and its residents to an entirely new climate regime,” the study states.

The study reviews evidence from ice cores, tree rings and other sources showing the past 20,000 years of the Earth’s climate history, including how sea levels fell during the last ice age and rose as the climate entered a new, more stable and mild period known as the Holocene.

The study also notably details projections for the next 10,000 years based on different scenarios of rising greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

For example, the study shows that future rates of sea level rise due to melting ice caps and warming, expanding seas, could be on the order of up to 4 meters, or 13.1 feet, per century, which would be unprecedented in more than 8,000 years.

Even if emissions were capped or reduced to some lower rate, we would still be committed to global mean sea level rise that is substantially larger than that experienced over much of recorded human civilization,” the study states.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

On Oct. 4, 2010, a crack extending some 360 feet (110 meters) long and 5 feet (1.7 m) deep opened up in the forest near Birch Creek on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, just north of Menominee. The gaping zigzag was accompanied by a deep booming sound. The strange and sudden earth movement that caused a gaping gash and a deep booming sound in a Michigan forest is being explained as a “pop-up” in the bedrock.

Michigan crack 5

Wildfires

Bushfire Incidence Increases in Australia

The number of bushfires per week in Australia increased by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2013, according to a new study, but experts say it is too early to link this to climate change.

However the modelling, which blends NASA satellite data on bushfires with a host of other environmental data, could be used by fire authorities in the future to predict whether a fire will ignite in any given area that week, said the study’s authors.

NASA data, which gave the latitude, longitude and intensity of fires across the world, showed that in 2013 there were 4,595 fires per week across Australia.

The most seriously affected areas were tropical and subtropical areas in Queensland and Northern New South Wales, he said.

The researchers found there had been a 40 per cent increase in fires from 2008.

Wildlife

Hunters have Bagged 10 000 Lions in Africa Since 2003

Given that in Africa wild lions are in catastrophic decline–the latest International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) figures suggest that fewer than 20 000 remain – it may come as a shock to discover that as many as 10 000 of the continent’s iconic big cats were legally hunted and exported as trophies in the ten years ending in 2013.

The vast majority of these lions were bred in captivity for the purpose of hunting. The mostly American and European sports hunters took the lions to their home countries as trophies–mounted heads or skins for their collections.

The tally for hunted lions is likely even higher than 10 000, says Dereck Joubert, wildlife filmmaker and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, because not all hunters take trophies. Some hunt just for the sport.

Six African countries where lions still range freely–South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania–were analysed using the official CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) trade database, which lists animal and plant products exported and imported internationally.

Kenya and Botswana are two lion-range countries notably omitted from this list. Both countries have outlawed trophy hunting in an effort to boost lion populations, although Botswana only recently adopted this measure.

Of the six nations, South Africa ranks highest in terms of most trophies exported. The country has registered a staggering average of 748 lion trophies exported per year.

Tanzania is next with an annual average of almost 150 lion trophies, followed by Zimbabwe and Zambia (each between 60-70 a year), Mozambique (22) and Namibia less than 20 a year). Botswana, before banning trophy hunting in January 2014, tabled an average of 10 trophies each year.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Explosions at the volcano have been relatively frequent recently and often intense enough to be detected on satellite imagery, monitored by Tokyo’s VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre).

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): Activity of the volcano has picked up again recently. Several explosions occurred during the past days at the volcano, generating ash plumes that rose to approx. 22,000 ft (7 km) altitude and drifted ESE. On a satellite image from this morning, the darker trace of ash from Zhupanovsky (and from nearby Karymsky volcano) is clearly visible on white snow covering Kamchatka at the moment.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): It seems that the volcano is back to its typical activity of intermittent explosions at irregular intervals mostly ranging between few hours or even days. Following the explosion on 5 Feb, several others, mostly weaker ones, have occurred during the past days. Ash plumes recorded rose to 5-10,000 ft (1.5-3 km) altitude. JMA published a report (in Japanese) which shows that the decrease of activity which started to be noticeable last summer and led to the apparent pause in explosions Oct – Jan seems to correlate with a change in deformation. Around August, the year-long steady inflation stopped and changed to rapid deflation over a few weeks’ period. This trend stopped and inflation began again around October. A comparison of thermal images of the crater between 2 December 2015 and 6 February show elevated temperatures in the Showa crater, likely because of the presence of magma in the conduit closer to the surface.

Fuego (Guatemala): A new paroxysm (the 3rd this year) is occurring at the volcano. Over the past days, strombolian and effusive activity had gradually increased into now pulsating lava fountains and well-alimented lava flows. The latter are mostly traveling down the southeastern flank into the large Las Lajas canyon where they have reached approx. 2 km length. Another flow seems to be active on the southern slope towards the Trinidad drainage. Most likely this activity will result in pyroclastic flows, as parts of the lava flows on the steep slope tend to collapse.