Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Nepal.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southeast Indian ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the West Pacific: Tropical Depression 29w (Tokage), located approximately 242 nm west-northwest of Manila, Philippines, is tracking southwestward at 17 knots.

Newsbytes:

Italy, Update = The rain across northern Italy has finally eased, a great relief to those living close to the banks of the River Po, the country’s longest. More than two and a half months worth of rain fell in less than three days, swelling the Po and its tributary, the Tanaro. The Po overflowed in Turin, causing widespread flooding. At one point the Po was more than one metre above its danger level and most bridges in the city had been closed because of safety concerns. It is reported that the floods claimed the lives of two people.

Greece – Fire officials in Greece say a 32-year-old man drowned on the island of Zakynthos after flash floods hit the island early Sunday. Heavy rains drenched both Zakynthos and the Greek capital of Athens late Saturday and early Sunday, resulting in 470 emergency calls. Several major roads in Athens became impassable.

Global Warming

We can attack global warming without Trump

It would be nice if President-elect Donald Trump took one of the most serious threats to life on earth seriously, but he does not. Trump called global warming a Chinese “hoax” during the campaign, and he’s assigned a science dunce to lead the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The comforting news is that America can move past the black hole of ignorance in Trump’s Washington — or New York or wherever he is. Enlightened state and city governments, as well as the private sector, can provide the leadership. As it happens, they’re already on the case.

Huge example: During the Paris climate change conference last December, Bill Gates organized a handful of billionaires and came up with $15 billion for his Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The group’s mission is to fund research on radical new clean energy technologies.

California’s war on greenhouse gases is already 10 years old. Its original goal was to reduce the state’s carbon footprint to the 1990 level by the year 2020. The new goal is to shrink the carbon footprint to 40 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. California is the world’s sixth-biggest economy.

Regional compacts in the West, in the Northeast and elsewhere are following California’s lead. There’s also one in South Florida, where “king tides” are now flooding streets on perfectly sunny days.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, again running for the office, vows to slap a carbon tax on American imports if Trump pulls us out of the Paris climate deal. Could that happen?

Absolutely, according to Esty. Countries failing to meet international standards that form the base line for fair competition can be punished. And 195 nations have joined the Paris agreement.

Climate change has become a major priority for the U.S. Department of Defense. Rising waters already threaten Navy installations along the mid-Atlantic coast. And as the Arctic ice melts, Russia is opening bases in the region.

Global Warming

West Antarctic ice shelf breaking up from the inside out

Westantarcti

A key glacier in Antarctica is breaking apart from the inside out, suggesting that the ocean is weakening ice on the edges of the continent.

The Pine Island Glacier, part of the ice shelf that bounds the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is one of two glaciers that researchers believe are most likely to undergo rapid retreat, bringing more ice from the interior of the ice sheet to the ocean, where its melting would flood coastlines around the world.

A nearly 225-square-mile iceberg broke off from the glacier in 2015, but it wasn’t until Ohio State University researchers were testing some new image-processing software that they noticed something strange in satellite images taken before the event.

In the images, they saw evidence that a rift formed at the very base of the ice shelf nearly 20 miles inland in 2013. The rift propagated upward over two years, until it broke through the ice surface and set the iceberg adrift over 12 days in late July and early August 2015. They report their discovery in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“It’s generally accepted that it’s no longer a question of whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt, it’s a question of when,” said study leader Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State. “This kind of rifting behaviour provides another mechanism for rapid retreat of these glaciers, adding to the probability that we may see significant collapse of West Antarctica in our lifetimes.”

While this is the first time researchers have witnessed a deep subsurface rift opening within Antarctic ice, they have seen similar breakups in the Greenland Ice Sheet—in spots where ocean water has seeped inland along the bedrock and begun to melt the ice from underneath.

Howat said the satellite images provide the first strong evidence that these large Antarctic ice shelves respond to changes at their ocean edge in a similar way as observed in Greenland.

“Rifts usually form at the margins of an ice shelf, where the ice is thin and subject to shearing that rips it apart,” he explained. “However, this latest event in the Pine Island Glacier was due to a rift that originated from the centre of the ice shelf and propagated out to the margins. This implies that something weakened the center of the ice shelf, with the most likely explanation being a crevasse melted out at the bedrock level by a warming ocean.”

The origin of the rift in the Pine Island Glacier would have gone unseen, too, except that the Landsat 8 images Howat and his team were analyzing happened to be taken when the sun was low in the sky. Long shadows cast across the ice drew the team’s attention to the valley that had formed there.

More than half of the world’s fresh water is frozen in Antarctica. The Pine Island Glacier and its nearby twin, the Thwaites Glacier, sit at the outer edge of one of the most active ice streams on the continent. Like corks in a bottle, they block the ice flow and keep nearly 10 percent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet from draining into the sea.

Studies have suggested that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is particularly unstable, and could collapse within the next 100 years. The collapse would lead to a sea-level rise of nearly 10 feet, which would engulf major U.S. cities such as New York and Miami and displace 150 million people living on coasts worldwide.

Disease

Venezuela malaria update

In a follow-up on the malaria epidemic in Venezuela this year, according to a statement from the Venezuelan Society of Public Health Network, the local transmission case tally has grown to 200,000 through Nov. 5. “In the first 44 weeks of the year, 199,902 new indigenous malaria cases were reported throughout Venezuela, 75 percent in Bolivar State.

Wildfires

Wildfires – North Carolina, USA

Authorities say 2,500 firefighters and other personnel are making progress on containing some of the biggest wildfires in western North Carolina.

As of Saturday morning, five of 11 wildfires listed in the Joint Information Center’s update were more than 50 percent contained. Two of the fires also were affecting parts of South Carolina and Georgia.

The Party Rock fire near Lake Lure was 80 percent contained as nearly 300 firefighters and other workers continued to fight it. That’s down from a peak of about 900 personnel.

The Maple Springs fire in Graham County, the Chestnut Knob Fire in Burke County and the Boteler Fire in Clay County were also all above 70 percent containment.

Two other large fires were less contained. The Pinnacle Mountain Fire includes parts of Transylvania County and Pickens County in South Carolina. About 250 fire personnel had that fire about 40 percent contained after completing a fireline Friday night. A public meeting will be held Sunday in Cleveland, South Carolina.

The Rock Mountain Fire, which crosses into Georgia from Clay and Macon counties, was 40 percent contained by nearly 600 firefighters.

Rain expected to help fighting North Carolina wildfires over the next few days.