Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.8 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

Storms and Flood

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), located approximately 154 nm northwest of Niue, is tracking westward at 05 knots.

Tropical cyclone 13s (Uriah), located approximately 859 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southwestward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

New Zealand – Torrential rain and high winds caused overnight havoc in the Nelson region, with flooded homes and roads, felled trees and swollen rivers. Civil Defence said the rain-swollen Wairoa River at Brightwater caused extensive surface flooding, including over State Highway 6 at Brightwater bridge. Police alerted residents in the worst-hit areas, but there were no evacuations. The Tasman District Council said with more than 300mm recorded in the Upper Lee Catchment, the Wairoa River at the Irvines site above Brightwater reached 1300 cubic metre/sec, the second largest flood at this location since recording commenced in 1957. River berms were flooded down much of the lower Waimea River.

Wildlife

Around 10,000 sharks swarm Palm Beach County coast

Blacktip sharks head south for the winter. But this year the sharks didn’t show up for their Florida migration on time.

The sharks will typically first arrive in mid-January, but the waters off the coast of Palm Beach were empty until the end of the month.

But now that they’re here, the blacktip sharks are congregating in huge numbers.

Dr. Kajiura, Florida Atlantic University biologist, estimated more than 10,000 of the sharks are swimming just off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. “The interesting thing is these sharks are right up against the shoreline. You could stand on the shore and toss a pebble and hit a shark, they’re that close,” Dr. Kajiura said.

So what’s up with the bizarre behavior from the sharks? Part of the reason could be 2016’s particularly strong El Nino. The phenomenon’s effects can be felt across the globe, changing the behaviours of sharks and other marine animals including sea snakes, sea lions and seals.

Warming ocean temperatures could also play a role. If waters farther north are staying warmer for longer, then there’s less reason for the blacktips to leave on time.

However, Dr Kajiura said the blacktip sharks are relatively harmless.

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Environment

Plume from Mumbai’s Burning Landfill Seen from Space

The end of January had a smoky surprise for Mumbai, India, after the city’s largest landfill caught fire and burned for four days. The billowing smoke was so thick that the massive plume could be seen from space . Mumbai’s Deonar dumping ground extends across 0.5 square miles (1.3 square kilometers) near Thane Creek. Each day, the landfill receives more than 8.1 million pounds (3.7 million kilograms) of trash. All that garbage gets tossed into towering piles that measure up to 100 feet (30 meters) in places, which is equivalent to the height of a nine-story building.

Large-scale fires are never good, but when trash burns, it can be even more problematic. For one, landfill fires are difficult to extinguish because they are fueled by highly flammable substances, such as methane, which is produced by decomposing organic materials. And the Mumbai fire was sizeable enough to be spotted by the Earth-watching Landsat 8 satellite.

Equally problematic are the large quantities of smoke produced by the landfill fire, which is located near a densely populated area. The burning trash potentially contains dangerous chemical compounds that can cause respiratory disorders or other medical conditions.

On Jan. 29, pollution in Mumbai was measured at its highest levels since air quality data monitoring began last June. The smoky air also forced government schools in central Mumbai’s suburbs of Shivaji Nagar and Deonar to close.

Mumbai fire

Wildfires

Wildfires – Hawaii

Fire and police officials are asking people in the Puuanahulu area of Hawaii Island to report any suspicious activity after a series of wildfires over the past week.

The latest fire sparked a little after midnight Wednesday, south of the Kona hunter check station in the Puuanahulu Game Management Unit. Fire crews were able to extinguish the small brush fire quickly.

More than 775 acres of mostly brush and grass burned, starting last Thursday in the same area.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Ambrym (Vanuatu): Wellington VAAC reported an ash plumes from the volcano this morning. Based on satellite observations, an ash cloud rose to 9,000 ft (2,7 km) altitude and drifted east. This suggests that some explosive activity is occurring at its active vents, at least intermittently, most likely at Marum or Benbow, both of which contain active lava lakes. Similar reports arrived already earlier this month, but there are no indications of a significant change in activity otherwise.

Colima (Western Mexico): Activity has not changed since the last update. The volcano produces intermittent weak to moderate explosions (every few hours on average) with ash plumes typically rising 500-2000 meters. Glow at the summit craters is visible most of the time as well.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano’s activity has been comparably low, with less than 10 (and only weak) explosions in the past 7 days combined. Seismic activity is low, but glow continues to be visible from the crater at night, indicating that very slow extrusion of lava continues.