Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Four 5.0 Earthquakes hit the Solomon Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Xinjiang-Qinghai border region, China.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

India – The remnants of cyclone Vardah continue to bring heavy rain across India particularly in Andhra and northern Tamil Nadu Pradesh. Significant flooding could unfold for communities and along streams and small rivers.

Global Warming

Global Warming Takes A Toll On Antarctica: Ice Sheet Is Melting From Surface Down

East Antarctica’s massive ice sheet may be more exposed to global warming than previously thought, a new study suggests.

Antarctica and global warming

In 2014, scientists were left baffled when they found a huge, 2-mile-wide circle over an Antarctic ice shelf. Some speculated that a meteorite may have caused it. Now, a new study by researchers from Belgium and Netherlands revealed that strong warm winds can erode the ice shelf in the eastern peninsula of Antarctica.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers visited the circle on foot for the first time and they found a deep depression with raised edges. In the centre, there were three moulins, which are vertical well-like shafts in the ice, which drains two melt water streams.

They drilled through the ice and found what they called “englacial” lakes, which is water sandwiched between the ice’s surface and its base, Washington Post reports. In fact, the researchers discovered 55 lakes on or in the ice shelf.

The research team combined climate models, satellite data and on-site measurements. They concluded that strong winds carrying warm air were blowing away reflective snow, paving way for the rays of the Sun to be absorbed into the ice, rather than bouncing back into space.

These winds, which often blow in one direction over the ice sheet, erode the surface snow, exposing the blue ice underneath. Usually, the erosion is compensated by the formation of fresh snow and ice from above. However, oceans are absorbing excess heat generated by global warming, increasing the global air temperatures by 1 degree Celsius.

The frightening part of the discovery shows that even though the Antarctic ice sheet is a sold mass of ice, it has vulnerabilities and weaknesses in some of its parts. There is a greater potential of collapse, and when this happens, the glacial ice behind it flows more quickly to the ocean, increasing sea levels.

Disease

Sweden no longer rabies free

Researchers from Folkhälsomyndigheten (Sweden’s Public Health) and Uppsala University are reporting that rabid bats are present in the southern areas of the country, saying Sweden is no longer rabies free. They studied and analyzed saliva and blood samples from bats over six years and found that of the 450+ bats tested, 14 had rabies specific antibodies in their blood.

H7N9 avian influenza: China

The Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission reported five additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) on the Mainland

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews are battling around 50 bushfires burning across NSW which are being fuelled by strong winds and scorching temperatures. Firefighters are working to contain two bushfires burning in bushland north of Patonga where about 100 properties are at risk. More than a dozen crews are on the scene, including some brought in from Hornsby.