Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Langila (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): Darwin VAAC reported that during 6-7 April ash plumes from the volcano rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 55 km NE and E.

Kerinci (Sumatra): Based on a pilot observation and reports from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 10 April ash plumes from Kerinci rose to altitudes of 4-4.3 km (13,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and E.

Fuego (Guatemala): The 6th paroxysmal eruption of the volcano in 2016 ended already this morning, after having lasted approx. 24 hours only. The volcano’s activity returned to its typical style of intermittent weak to moderate strombolian explosions. No pyroclastic flows were generated during this latest eruptive phase, INSIVUMEH reported.

Wildlife

Salmon Deaths

An algae bloom brought on by El Niño’s ocean warmth off the coast of Chile that killed up to 20 percent of the country’s farmed salmon is receding, according to officials.

The loss of up to 25 million fish caused global salmon prices to soar in recent weeks and prompted Chile’s salmon farmers to lay off 10,000 workers, union officials said.

While the algae isn’t a major threat to wild salmon, fish raised in enclosures can’t escape it, leading them to gradually die of asphyxiation as the tiny organisms accumulate in their gills.

Radioactive Raiders

Wild boars that root around the highly contaminated landscape surrounding Japan’s meltdown-plagued Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are reproducing so rapidly that they threaten nearby towns.

The feral marauders, rife with cesium-137, have grown in numbers from about 3,000 in 2014 to 13,000 at latest count. They have also inflicted an estimated $900,000 in damage to agriculture, according to the Japanese daily Yomiuri.

Mass graves and incineration facilities have been unable to cope with the growing numbers of boar corpses brought in by local hunters.

Alaskan Moose Flourishing Because Of Global Warming

Global warming in the 20th century has allowed moose to recolonise the Alaskan tundra for the first time since 1880, researchers say. Warmer and longer summers have allowed shrubs to grow taller, meaning moose now have ample food for the cold winter periods.

The research compared historic changes in Alaska’s summer temperatures from 1860 to 2009 to the height of shrubs that are eaten by moose. High carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and an extended summer growing season caused Alaskan plant life to thrive, which increased the amount of shrubbery in the state. Since the animal’s food supply expanded, the number of moose in Alaska expanded as well.

Alaska’s moose were able to range much farther north in recent years as the average shrub height increased from 1.1 meters in 1860 to around 2 meters in 2009, which increased the amount of food sticking up above the snow in the winter.

The scientists believe that tall shrubs were too rare and sparse prior to the late 20th century in the tundra to support moose populations in the northern sections of Alaska.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 19s (Fantala), located approximately 488 nm north-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, and is tracking westward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Iran – Heavy rains in Iran’s western and southwestern provinces has resulted in flash floods that killed two people. Iran’s railway authority canceled all trains scheduled for Friday to and from the southern part of the country. Flash floods have washed away cars and blocked roads between several cities and villages in Lorestan and Khuzestan provinces.

Saudi Arabia – Eighteen people have been killed during heavy rains and floods over the past week in Saudi Arabia, the civil defence agency said on Thursday. In a statement, it said the toll covered much of the country, from Riyadh to Hail, Mecca, Medina, Al-Baha, Asir, Najran and Jazan. Another 27 people in Al-Baha were injured over three days because of accidents during heavy rains. Severe downpours have struck Saudi Arabia this week, including in the desert capital Riyadh where schools closed on Wednesday after floods caused traffic chaos during a storm.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 118.0 degrees Fahrenheit (47.8 degrees Celsius) in Dori, Burkina Faso.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus -98.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 72.2 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

6.4 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

At least nine people were killed in Thursday night’s 6.4-magnitude quake, which also toppled houses and buckled roads on the southwestern island of Kyushu. With widespread damage to infrastructure, several companies – including in the steel, auto and technology sectors – said they had temporarily ceased production. Exporter giants Toyota, Honda and Sony were carrying out safety checks assess possible damage to plants and those of suppliers. Other firms shutting down included Mitsubishi Electric, Renesas and Fujifilm as well as tyre maker Bridgestone and beverage titan Suntory Holdings. There was no danger of a tsunami.

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6.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

6.0 Earthquakes hit Kyushu, Japan.

5.7 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.5 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.3 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits north of Ascension Island.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit Vanuatu.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 18 and 31 March 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 16 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 6 deaths.

Elizabethkingia Outbreak – USA – Update

The mystery infection Elizabethkingia has spread to another state from Wisconsin, where an outbreak has already killed 18 people. The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed one case of Elizabethkingia in a woman who died in March. Meanwhile, infectious disease experts still don’t know where it has come from.

Another case has surfaced in Michigan, and is also of the same strain. Little else has been reported about this case, except that the infected person didn’t die.

The mysterious disease infects the blood. Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chills, and a bacterial skin infection called cellulitis. Unfortunately, Elizabethkingia is resistant to bacteria and therefore hard to treat. The Elizabethkingia bacteria is found in soil, river water, and reservoirs, but usually doesn’t make people sick. It’s not transmitted person-to-person. Anyone with a weakened immune system or an underlying health issue is at risk of contracting the bacteria.