Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits western Honshu, Japan.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Timor region, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the North Atlantic:

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

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 90E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific:

Super Typhoon 25w (Haima), located approximately 77 nm northeast of Hong Kong, is tracking north-northwestward at 13 knots.


China – Typhoon Haima barreled into southern China on Friday after hammering the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain, triggering flooding, landslides and power outages and killing at least 13 people. Chinese meteorological services said the typhoon made landfall shortly after noon in the city of Shanwei in Guangdong province, packing winds of up to 166 kilometers (103 miles) per hour before weakening to a tropical storm. No major damage was immediately reported, though reports said some villages had experienced power outages and officials were on alert for heavy flooding and landslides. China had suspended dozens of flights and rail services in several southern provinces. In the city of Shenzhen, authorities ordered schools, markets and factories to close, halted public transportation and evacuated some areas.

Hong Kong – Hong Kong hunkered down as Haima lashed the financial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 109 kph (68 mph). Schools and offices were shut, trading on the stock market suspended and commuter ferry services halted after the third most serious storm signal was hoisted, leaving an eerie calm in the streets of the normally bustling city. More than 740 flights to and from the city’s international airport were canceled or delayed. By early afternoon, the storm was about 110 kilometers (70 miles) east of the city and moving away.

La Niña Reborn

Some worldwide weather agencies have shifted predictions toward a developing La Niña in the Pacific this Northern Hemisphere autumn, only a month after writing the obituary for the ocean-cooling phenomenon.

The U.S. agency NOAA now says there is a 70 percent chance of a weak La Niña. The World Meteorological Organization gives it a 50 to 60 percent probability of forming by the end of the year and persisting through the first three months of 2017.

While La Niña appeared to be developing a few months ago as the tropical Pacific began to cool, the surface winds above it failed to develop the distinct east-to-west circulation associated with the phenomenon until late September.


Study finds Brazil isn’t counting all deforestation in official estimates

Brazil drew widespread praise for drastically lowering Amazon deforestation over the past decade and half. But as forest destruction in the country is on the rise once again, new research finds that Brazil’s official estimates are missing large swaths of deforestation.

News broke last November that deforestation had jumped 16 percent in the Brazilian Amazon for the year ending on July 31, 2015, with an estimated 5,831 square kilometres (about 2,250 square miles) of rainforest, an area half the size of Los Angeles, destroyed that year.

The Brazilian government revised that figure earlier this month, however, stating that some 6,207 square kilometres (about 2,397 square miles) of Amazon rainforest were actually destroyed in the year that ended on July 31, 2015. Though this represents a six percent increase over the previous estimate and the highest annual loss in the Brazilian Amazon since 2011, it is still well below historical levels of deforestation.

Now a new study published in the journal Conservation Letters finds that, between 2008 and 2012, close to 9,000 square kilometres (about 3,475 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared without being detected by the government’s official monitoring system.

Brazil’s Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Satellite Project (known as PRODES) has played a key role in Brazil’s recent efforts to rein in deforestation. According to PRODES, 25,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest were lost to deforestation in 2003. That dropped to an average of just 5,300 square miles between 2009 to 2013.

But when researchers with Brown University compared data from PRODES with two independent satellite measures of forest loss — from the Global Forest Change project and the Fire Information for Resource Management Systems — they found that about 9,000 square kilometres of rainforest destruction, an area roughly the size of Puerto Rico, were not included in the PRODES monitoring.

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As Arctic Sea Ice Keeps Melting, Desperate Bears Threaten Alaska

Alaskan villages are seeing an increased presence of polar bears in their communities, according to a Monday report from PBS NewsHour, as the animals move inland to try and find food. The bears have been forced from their former hunting grounds as Arctic sea ice — which reached the second lowest recorded level over the weekend — has receded. Now, instead of finding their dinner in Arctic waters, the bears are poking around the ice boxes of Alaskans.

The altered behavior of the polar bears in Alaska, which are classified as a “vulnerable” species, illustrates the danger of melting Arctic ice for wildlife and communities in the region. Arctic sea ice, which researchers say could be gone sometime between two and 15 years from now, plays an important role in providing a habitat for polar bears and also in reflecting sunlight out of the atmosphere instead of allowing darker ocean water to absorb that heat.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was again 111.0 degrees Fahrenheit (43.9 degrees Celsius) in Caxias, Brazil.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 87.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.1 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.


Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis have reached a record high levels in USA

Total combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis reported in 2015 reached the highest number ever, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released today by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There were more than 1.5 million chlamydia cases reported (1,526,658), nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhoea (395,216), and nearly 24,000 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis (23,872) – the most infectious stages of the disease. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are the three most commonly reported conditions in the nation and have reached a record high level.

In recent years more than half of state and local STD programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in more than 20 health department STD clinic closures in one year alone. Fewer clinics mean reduced access to STD testing and treatment for those who need these services.

Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are curable with antibiotics. Widespread access to screening and treatment would reduce their spread. Most STD cases continue to go undiagnosed and untreated, putting individuals at risk for severe and often irreversible health consequences, including infertility, chronic pain and increased risk for HIV. STDs also impose a substantial economic burden: CDC estimates STD cases cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $16 billion each year.

Young people and gay and bisexual men continue to face the greatest risk of becoming infected with an STD, and there continue to be troubling increases in syphilis among newborns.

India still accounts for 60 percent of world’s leprosy cases

Despite achieving elimination of leprosy as a public health problem ten years ago (a prevalence of < 1 case per 10 000 population), India still reports the highest number of leprosy cases on the globe by a long shot.

In 2015, there was more than 210,000 new leprosy cases reported worldwide and India accounted for some 60 percent of the global case count (127,326). The next closest country was Brazil with just over 26,000 cases.

In fact, India has recorded greater than 125,000 new cases annually since at least 2010.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says high numbers of new cases are detected in pockets of endemicity in India.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The activity of the volcano has increased considerably since about a week ago and is now again at moderate to high levels, similar sometimes to many periods prior to the 2014 effusive eruption. Several vents are active in the eastern, central and western crater, the most active one being the eastern vent (towards Stromboli village). When observed during the past days, we saw strombolian explosions at intervals of 15-20 minutes average, some ejecting incandescent bombs to more than 200-250 m height.