Global Warming

Paris Climate Agreement Becomes International Law

The Paris Agreement to combat climate change becomes international law on Friday — a landmark demonstrating that countries are serious about tackling global warming amid growing fears that the world is becoming hotter faster than scientists expected.

So far, 96 countries, accounting for just over two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have formally joined the accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Many more countries are expected to come aboard in the coming weeks and months.

Scientists praised the speed at which the agreement, signed by 192 parties last December in Paris, has come into force, saying it underscores a new commitment by the international community to address the problem which is melting polar ice caps, sending sea levels rising and transforming vast swaths of arable land into desert.

But scientists and policy makers say the agreement entering into force is just the first step of a much longer and complicated process of transitioning away from fossil fuels, which currently supply the bulk of the planet’s energy needs and also are the primary drivers of global warming.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was again 108.0 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) in Beitbridge, Zimbabwe.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 75.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 59.4 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.


Winged Invaders

A colourful bird native to South America is steadily colonising Madrid and other Spanish cities, raising complaints that the interlopers are disturbing the peace with their shrill squawks, and disrupting the local ecology.

Monk parakeets, also known as quaker parrots, first arrived in Spain as pets. But since escaping their cages, their numbers have exploded to around 20,000.


Wildfires – Kentucky, USA

Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday declared a state of emergency because of 38 wildfires burning mostly in eastern Kentucky. The Kentucky Division of Forestry said the fires had burned 3,800 acres in Harlan, Breathitt, Clay, Bell, Knox and other counties. One of the biggest was near Pine Mountain, where remote terrain makes it difficult to battle.

The National Guard has dispatched three helicopters, including two Blackhawks, to help, using 600-gallon water buckets. More could be sent in coming days, officials said. Kentucky Emergency Management officials said several schools were closed in Pike County due to smoke but that no injuries or evacuations were reported. The Red Cross has shelters set up as a precaution. Outdoor burn bans were enacted in a number of counties.


Arkansas, USA mumps outbreak – Update

The number of suspected and lab confirmed cases of mumps in northwest and central Arkansas has increased by a whopping 173 cases in one week, according to newly released numbers from The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) yesterday.

One week ago, the case tally stood at 769 cumulative cases. As of Wednesday, ADH puts the number at 942. The 942 includes individuals who have displayed symptoms related to mumps or have received lab confirmation that they are positive for the virus.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 26 October-1 November 2016

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that daily during 27 October-1 November ash plumes rose as high as 1 km above Turrialba’s active vent. The plumes drifted in variable directions; ashfall was reported in Nubes de Coronado on 28 October.

Nevados de Chillán | Chile : Based on webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 28 October an ash puff from Nevados de Chillán rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and quickly dissipated near the summit.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 21-28 October lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions with ash plumes as high as 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l., and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. According to video and satellite data, ash plumes drifted just over 300 km E, N, and NW on 20, 22, and 26 October. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on satellite images, wind data, and ground reports from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 26 and 29 October ash plumes from Sinabung rose to an altitude of 4.2 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SSE. During 31 October-1 November ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits central Italy.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the western Pacific: Tropical storm 26w (Meari), located approximately 244 nm north of Yap, is tracking west-northwestward at 03 knots.


Vietnam – Flooding triggered by torrential rainfall caused flooding in central Vietnam claiming the lives of two people and leaving several others missing. The flood waters rose to two metres in parts of the neighbouring provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh. Earlier in mid-October, the flooding killed at least 15 people and left tens of thousands homeless.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 26 October-1 November 2016

Ulawun | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 26-28 October ash plumes from Ulawun rose to altitudes of 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, W, and NE.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : BNPB reported that a lahar induced by moderate to heavy rain swept nine sand mining trucks down the Bebeng River on Merapi’s SW flank; at least one truck was buried and six were severely damaged. There were no fatalities as the miners and other people at the scene escaped. Material at the summit and on the flanks produced during the October-November 2010 eruption was an estimated 20-25 million cubic meters, contributing to the continuing high potential of lahars during heavy rain. BNPB recommended that the public remain vigilant during rainy weather because a lahar formed on the upper flanks of Merapi can reach the bottom in less than 30 minutes. The Alert Level remained at 1 (on a scale of 1-4).

Copahue | Central Chile-Argentina border : Based on satellite and webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 27-30 October gas and water vapor plumes with minor ash content remained near Copahue’s summit. The plumes drifted NE on 27 October and E on 30 October.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : On 31 October AVO reported that satellite views of Cleveland late in the last week indicated that the 24 October explosion destroyed most of the previous lava dome, leaving a deep crater. Darkened areas around the summit region in post-explosion web camera images were interpreted as minor ash deposits from the explosion. Unrest continued during 26 October-1 November; clouds often obscured views of the volcano. The Level of Concern Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits off the east coast of Kamchatka.

5.3 Earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.


Mysterious polio-like disease sweeping the US

A six-year-old boy has died after contracting a mysterious paralyzing polio-like disease that is sweeping the US.

Tests revealed he was one of hundreds of children to have recently contracted a rare virus called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), which attacks the brain and the spinal cord. The disease was first identified in 2014 when more than 100 children were hospitalized. Scores of them are yet to make a full recovery. So far, the medical community remains largely ignorant about what causes the disease and how to treat it. The CDC has issued a report warning there has been a surge in the number of children struck down by AFM this year


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 19 October-25 October 2016

Nevado del Ruiz | Colombia : Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 18-24 October seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz was characterized by a slight decrease in the number and magnitude of earthquakes compared to the previous week. Some seismic signals were associated with gas-and-ash emissions which were confirmed by webcam images, and Parque Nacional Natural los Nevados (PNNN) and SGC officials. A steam, gas, and ash plume rose 2 km above the crater and drifted W on 18 October. Two low-energy thermal anomalies were detected on 18 and 20 October. The Washington VAAC reported that on 19 and 20 October ash plumes rose to altitudes of 7.3 and 6.1 km (24,000 and 20,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and SW, respectively. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-color scale).

Papandayan | Western Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 1 August-17 October seismicity at Papandayan fluctuated but decreased overall. Visual monitoring occurred from the Pakuwon Village post where observers noted white plumes rising at most 35 m above the crater. The Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 1-4) on 19 October; residents and tourists were reminded not to approach the craters within a 500-m radius.

Raung | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that, although inclement weather conditions often prevented visual observations of Raung during 1 June-19 October, white plumes were occasionally seen rising as high as 300 m above the crater. Seismicity fluctuated but continued to decrease, and then was stable. The Alert Level remained was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 1-4) on 20 October, and the public was reminded not to approach the crater.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Owen Fracture Zone.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tristan da Cunha.


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 16 September and 10 October 2016 the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia seven (7) additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) including one (1) fatal case.

Zika Virus – Vietnam – Update

The number of Zika virus infections in the southern Vietnam city of Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City)have tripled in recent weeks. Through Oct. 31, HCM City has recorded 17 Zika virus cases detected by the local disease monitoring system.

On Sunday, the Health Ministry confirmed a Zika-related microcephaly case, the 1st in the country.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) | 56.056°N, 160.642°E | Elevation 4754 m

KVERT reported that a Strombolian eruption at Klyuchevskoy continued during 14-21 October. Gas-and-steam emissions with variable amounts of ash rose from the summit crater and from the cinder cone in the Apakhonchich drainage on the E flank. A lava flow traveled down the Apakhonchich drainage. Satellite images showed a large and bright daily thermal anomaly at the volcano, and ash plumes from explosions that rose to altitudes of 5-6 km (16,400-19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 300 km NW, E, and SE during 14 and 18-19 October. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) | 56.653°N, 161.36°E | Elevation 3283 m

KVERT reported that during 14-21 October lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. According to video and satellite data, explosions generated ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 6-7 km (19,700-23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 210 km NW, E, and SE during 14-16, 18, and 20 October. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Turrialba | Costa Rica | 10.025°N, 83.767°W | Elevation 3340 m

OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 18-22 October continuous passive ash emissions rose from Turrialba as high as 1 km above the vent and drifted NE and W. The activity was accompanied by stable, low-to-moderate amplitude tremor with a few brief intervals of rest. Ash fell in Siquirres (30 ENE), Guacimo (23 km NNE), Guapiles (21 km N), and Moravia (27 km W). During 23-25 October emissions were discontinuous and ash content was low; plumes drifted NW and W. Ashfall was reported in San José (36 km WSW), Tibás (35 km WSW), Guadalupe (32 km WSW), Curridabat (32 km WSW), Tres Ríos (27 km SW), Moravia, San Pedro (32 km WSW), and various areas of the Valle Central.