Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.


Warm Ocean ‘Blob’ Triggers Worst-Ever Toxic Algae Blooms

Blooms of algae along the West Coast of the U.S. in 2015 were bigger and more toxic than ever before, contaminating food webs and closing fisheries from southern California to as far north as British Columbia, in Canada. Now, a new study links them to elevated ocean temperatures, with algae growth spurred by a mysterious patch of warmer-than-average ocean that scientists first noted years earlier and had dubbed “the warm blob.”

The warm blob, which first appeared in 2013 and hung around into 2014, helped one species of toxic algae — Pseudo-nitzschia australis — increase in unprecedented numbers and expand farther north than was previously possible, with devastating effects on a wide range of marine life. [Yuck! Photos of ‘Rock Snot’ Algae Infestations]

Toxic algae events that are serious enough to merit fishery closures occur off the coasts of Washington and Oregon every three to five years, but the 2015 bloom was the largest by far, according to Ryan McCabe, the study’s lead author and a researcher at the University of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in Seattle.

Ocean warm blob

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the North Atlantic: Hurricane Matthew is located about 35 mi…55 km S of Tiburon Haiti and about 165 mi…270 km S of the eastern tip of Cuba with maximum sustained winds…145 mph…230 km/h. Present movement…N or 5 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h.

Hurricane Matthew bore down on Haiti on Monday, where towns and villages braced for “catastrophic” floods and mudslides forecasters fear will be triggered by 145 mile-per-hour (230 kph) winds and up to three feet of rain over its denuded hills. Winds and rain started pounding the southwest of the Caribbean country, but the center of Matthew, a violent Category 4 storm, was not due until the early hours of Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre said. It is then forecast to hit Cuba and the Bahamas and possibly reach Florida by Thursday as a major hurricane, though weaker than at present, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Invest 98L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific: Typhoon 21w (Chaba), located approximately 204 nm north-northwest of Kadena AB, Guam, is tracking northward at 16 knots.

In the Central Pacific: Invest 94C is an area of disturbed weather in the Central Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.


Chikungunya in Delhi, India – Update

During the past week, Delhi saw nearly 1600 additional chikungunya cases, a 43 percent increase over the prior week. The total cases in India’s capital is now at 5,293 cases. At least 15 fatalities lined to chikungunya have also been reported. That said, health officials say the worst of the mosquito borne outbreak is over.

India reports first ciguatera poisoning outbreak

For the first time on the Indian subcontinent, an outbreak of ciguatera was reported in Mangaluru, where more than 100 people were sickened Saturday after consuming fish heads.

Biologists in India warn that the risk of additional outbreaks stems from a number of factors such as climate change, ocean acidification resulting in coral reef deterioration, nutrient run-off resulting in toxic algal blooms.

More than 400 species of fish, including barracuda, black grouper, blackfin snapper, cubera snapper, dog snapper, greater amberjack, hogfish, horse-eye jack, king mackerel, and yellowfin grouper have been implicated in this food borne illness that’s relatively common in several areas of the world to the tune of 50,000 cases annually.

This toxin is the result of the accumulation of marine algae and the toxins they produce passing up the food chain. These marine algae hang on to dead coral and seaweed. They are then eaten by herbivore fish which are subsequently eaten by predatory reef fish which concentrates the toxin in its tissue. People get this food borne toxin from eating these contaminated larger fish. The reef fishes are more likely to get contaminated during storms and other turbulence.

After eating the affected fish (the fish does not get sick from the toxin and actually tastes good) in as little as a couple of hours symptoms may appear.Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting tend to appear early. Then a feeling of weakness and hypertension may occur in addition to complaints of intense itching. Some mild to severe neurological symptoms are common with ciguatera; dizziness, impaired coordination, blurred vision and even coma may be seen in severe cases.

Florida, USA – Zika Virus

Florida agricultural officials announced Saturday a 6th Zika virus positive mosquito sample in Miami Beach. The positive sample was from a trap located at 575 W. 49th Street in Miami Beach.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has tested nearly 4,000 mosquito samples, consisting of nearly 64,000 mosquitoes, since May, and these six samples are the only ones to test positive.

Today, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) reported nine additional non-travel related cases today in Miami-Dade County, six of which had exposure in Miami Beach. This brings the total Zika local transmission to 133, while the total cases in out-of-state residents contracted here is now 16.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Colima (Western Mexico): The activity of the volcano remains very intense. Magma continues to rise into the lava dome in the summit crater and spill over the SW flank as a broad, viscous lava flow that has by now reached the base of the cone. Detaching masses from the flow generate continuous glowing rockfalls and occasional pyroclastic flows (extremely dangerous and mobile hot block and ash flows). The volume of the lava dome, which has now completely filled the crater, gas been estimated to have reached and surpassed 1.2 million cubic meters. Strong degassing and explosions generate a steam and ash plume that rises about 3000 m most of the time.


Wildfires – Colorado, USA

Authorities have evacuated more than 500 buildings that are threatened by a wind-driven wildfire near the small mountain community of Beulah southwest of Pueblo.

The fire, which has destroyed at least seven structures and burned about 4 square miles, started on top of Beulah Hill on the east side of the community and jumped Colorado Highway 78 on Monday afternoon.