Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits Myanmar.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit the South Georgia Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the North Atlantic: Tropical Depression Fiona is located about 525 mi…845 km N of the northern Leeward Islands and about 455 mi…735 km S of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 13 mph…20 km/h.

Tropical Storm Gaston is located about 545 mi…880 km W of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds…50 mph…85 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 20 mph…31 km/h.

Invest 99L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Eastern Pacific: Tropical Depression Kay is located about 605 mi…970 km W of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…W or 275 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

Invest 98E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 99E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific: Tropical Depression 10w (Mindulle), located approximately 26 nm east-northeast of Misawa, Japan, is tracking north-northeastward at 28 knots.

Tropical Storm 12w (Lionrock), located approximately 346 nm east of Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, is tracking south-southwestward at 05 knots.

Tropical Depression 14w (Fourteen), located approximately 41 nm east of Andersen AFB, is tracking northward at 15 knots.

Global Warming

Blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica – and that’s a bad thing

In a new study, scientists who study the largest ice mass on Earth – East Antarctica – have found that it is showing a surprising feature reminiscent of the fastest melting one: Greenland.

More specifically, the satellite-based study found that atop the coastal Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica’s Dronning Maud Land, large numbers of “supraglacial” or meltwater lakes have been forming – nearly 8,000 of them during summer months between the year 2000 and 2013. Moreover, in some cases, just as in Greenland, these lakes appear to have then been draining down into the floating parts of the glacier, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.

This is the first time that such a drainage phenomenon has been observed in East Antarctica, the researchers say – though it was previously spotted on the warmer Antarctic Peninsula and was likely part of what drove spectacular events there like the shattering of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002.

When it comes to East Antarctica, however, “that’s the part of the continent where people have for quite a long time assumed that it’s relatively stable, there’s not a huge amount of change, it’s very, very cold, and so, it’s only very recently that the first supraglacial lakes, on top of the ice, were identified,” said Stewart Jamieson, a glaciologist at Durham University in the UK and one of the study’s authors.

The research raises concern, for the following reason: Mounting evidence suggests one reason that Greenland has been melting so fast lately is precisely these kinds of lakes. In the summer as air temperatures warm, lakes form on top of the ice sheet, and on its finger-like glaciers that extend outwards into deep ocean fjords.

These lakes can then suddenly disappear all at once, or flow into rivers that drain into the ice below, lubricating the ice and helping to increase the lurch forward of glaciers. Sometimes, researchers have even been able to document fresh water flowing outward directly into the sea from the base of a glacier. That injection of cold fresh water into salty water can then create tornado-like underwater flow patterns at the submerged glacier front that cause further ice loss.

Wildlife

Whaling – Activists to battle on after Japan whaling court victory

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Japanese whalers on Tuesday celebrated what they described as a court victory in the US to end years of high seas clashes with anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which immediately vowed to fight on.

The arch enemies have waged a legal and public relations battle as Sea Shepherd has sought to disrupt an annual whale hunt in the Antarctic that Japan defends as scientific research.

However, the settlement between the US-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japan’s whaling body is unlikely to end the dispute as operations in Antarctic waters are mostly carried out by Sea Shepherd Australia, which does not come under the ruling.

On Tuesday, the Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku — key players in Japan’s whaling industry — announced a legal settlement that would bar the US group from attacking whaling ships or funding such activities.

The parties involved “successfully resolved the dispute through mediated negotiations earlier this month”, it said.

But Sea Shepherd played down any suggestion of a global agreement, saying the settlement only applied to its US arm and that other branches, including its Australian office, would keep fighting.

The announcement comes after a US court issued a preliminary injunction against Sea Shepherd in late 2012, ordering it to steer clear of the whaling ships.

Japan initiated the legal battle after several hunts in which the anti-whaling activists pursued the fleet for months in the icy waters near Antarctica, seeking to stop the slaughter.

Activists harassed whalers with paint and stink bombs, rammed their ships, and snared ship propellers with ropes.

Japan claims it conducts vital scientific research using a loophole in an international whaling ban, but makes no secret that the mammals ultimately end up on dinner plates.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Washington, USA

A series of wildfires burning in the Spokane region have destroyed at least 16 homes and continued to grow on Monday. The fires started Sunday afternoon amid high winds and temperatures in the 90s.

One fire was near Davenport in Lincoln County, just west of Spokane. It had scorched more than nine square miles by Monday morning and destroyed at least six homes. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said 11 structures had been destroyed, a figure that included homes, garages and outbuildings.

The fire jumped the Spokane River and threatened the small community of Wellpinit on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Residents were told to evacuate after the town lost power.

Another wildfire, south of Spokane near the town of Spangle, destroyed at least 10 homes and numerous other structures on Sunday, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Disease

Antibiotic resistant E. coli found in France – in drinking water

Antibiotic resistant E. coli has been found in multiple drinking water supplies in France. The resistance counters the critically important cephalosporin antibiotics. The findings highlight the presence of expanding reservoirs of these resistance genes, including reservoirs in the environment.

“Drinking water is a well-recognized source of direct human contamination with waterborne pathogens, but the risk of human transfer of resistance genes has rarely been documented,” the investigators write. They note just several studies of resistance gene-contaminated water in developing nations “with poor water supply systems and/or sanitation facilities, coupled with limited controls of antibiotic usage and residues.” But their study is likely the first report from a high income country that documents production of this resistance gene, by E. coli, in drinking water supplies.

In the study, the investigators sampled 28 water supply systems throughout France. They collected one litre water samples from the locations where drinking water enters the distribution system. The water supplies sampled were chosen on the basis of having had water quality failures—detection of coliform bacteria which serve as indicators of faecal contamination—during the previous three years.

Puerto Rico Zika outbreak rises

One week after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a Zika public health emergency for the Commonwealth, health officials in Puerto Rico reported an additional 2,506 Zika virus cases, bringing the total to 13,186 cumulative confirmed cases since the virus arrived on the island.

Of the total cases this past week, seventy-one were in pregnant women, putting the total to over 1100.

Anthrax in Bangladesh

Health officials in Sirajganj, Bangladesh are reporting an addition 25 human anthrax cases in Shahzadpur upazila in recent days, according to local media. This is the third wave of anthrax cases in the upazila since May. The outbreak is linked to anthrax tainted meat. All the cases are considered cutaneous anthrax, according to the report.

Nigeria – Lassa Fever

The Delta State Ministry of Health has confirmed one person dead and 32 others on surveillance following a reported case of Lassa fever.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): The eruption of the volcano continues with the effusion of a lava flow on the eastern flank and intermittent explosive activity at the summit. A phase of near-continuous small to moderate explosions occurred last night (this morning in Kamchatka), generating an ash plume that rose to 23,000 ft (7 km) and drifted southeast.

Chikurachki (Paramushir Island): KVERT lowered the Aviation Colour Code back to green. No more signs of eruptive activity (ash plumes, thermal anomalies) have been detected during the past days, but according to KVERT, a “moderate gas-steam activity of the volcano continues.”

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Small to moderate explosions continue to occur at rates of once or twice per day on average. Yesterday morning (08:53 local time), an eruption generated an ash plume that rose 1300 m above the summit and dissipated into easterly directions. A small pyroclastic flow also descended the eastern flank and reached 1500 m length.