Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.2 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake has struck about 535km southeast of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu was initially registered with a magnitude of 7.6 but was later downgraded. The quake briefly triggering a tsunami warning which was later cancelled. There were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

6.1 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.4 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Sichuan-Yunnan-Guizhou region, China.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 94E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm 08w (Conson), located approximately 151 nm northeast of Minami Tori Shima, Japan, and is tracking northward at 12 knots.

Newsbytes:

New Zealand – Two weeks worth of rain in less than a day has flooded the upper North Island and Great Barrier Island. Heavy rains closed roads, schools and stranded residents yesterday as the region felt the strain of 110mm of rain in less than 24 hours.

Wisconsin, USA – Flash flooding in parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota washed out roads, caused mudslides and prompted several water rescues after more than seven inches of rain fell in some areas Thursday. Motorists were stranded in the floods, and there were also reports of basement collapses in the Minnesota towns of Willmar and Olivia, according to the Associated Press. According to the National Weather Service, there were reports of mudslides and landslides near the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota, where floodwaters have undermined several roads. Floodwaters also washed out some bridges, and in northern Buffalo County, Wisconsin, highways 37 and 88 were closed.

Wildlife

Long-Lived Greenland Sharks

Unnamed

Greenland sharks are slow. They swim through the cold waters of the Arctic and the North Atlantic at a sluggish pace that has earned them the nickname “sleeper sharks.” Seal parts have been found in their bellies, but the sharks move so slowly that experts have suggested that the seals must have been asleep or already dead when the sharks ate them.

They’re also not too swift when it comes to growing, eking out a mere 0.4 inches (1 centimetre) per year, studies have found. Researchers suspected that Greenland sharks’ exceptionally slow growth meant that they lived a long time, but they had no idea just how long that might be. That is, until now.

A new study provides the first estimates for Greenland shark longevity, and shows that these slowpokes of the sea stick around a very long time — at least 272 years, and perhaps as long as 390 years on average, making them longer-lived than any other vertebrate in the world.

Bee Decline

Honeybee populations around the world plunged by nearly 12 percent on average last year, sparking further concerns for the future of the important pollinators.

Researchers from the Swiss honeybee research association COLOSS, at the University of Bern, found that the losses were due to undiscovered problems involving the hives’ queens as well as various harsh winter conditions.

Global Warming

Climate Instability

New research nds that current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are enough to warm land areas of the plan- et by more than the 1.5 degrees Celsius many policymakers had hoped to avoid.

Scientists from the University of Exeter say there are two reasons for the predicted warming above pre-industrial times.

They say the atmosphere is out of equilibrium with current CO2 levels, causing the oceans to draw down huge amounts of heat from the atmosphere. The scientists say this will end as the planet is brought to a more stable climatic state.

Another factor is that land areas are warming far more quickly than the air above oceans.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120.0 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus -93.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 69.4 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.

Disease

Wild-Polio Outbreak in Nigeria

Nigerian health officials announced on Thursday, the same day they expected to celebrate the anniversary, that two children have been paralysed by wild polio in the country’s northeastern Borno State.

Borno State will now undergo three rounds of emergency immunizations, he added. Neighbouring countries have also been put on alert to look for cases of wild polio.

Other than Nigeria, only Afghanistan and Pakistan still experience outbreaks of wild polio virus. The two countries have had 19 cases of wild polio so far this year.

Wild polio is not to be confused with vaccine-derived polio, a weaker form of the virus that sometimes emerges when a country’s health system is under considerable stress. Last year, two children in Ukraine contracted this less virulent form of the disease.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): INGV Catania volcanologist Boris Behncke visited the summit region of Etna yesterday and observed a new active pit crater, about 20-30 m wide, located in the eastern inner wall of the Voragine crater. The new vent formed on 7 Aug 2016 and has been the site of the recent weak strombolian activity (which likely continues, but bad weather is currently hiding the view).