Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern California.

Global Warming

2016 ‘Arctic Report Card’ Gives Grim Evaluation

Arctic sea ice

The average surface air temperature for the year ending September 2016 is by far the highest since 1900, and new monthly record highs were recorded for January, February, October and November 2016.

In 37 years of Greenland ice sheet observations, only one year had earlier onset of spring melting than 2016.

After only modest changes from 2013-2015, minimum sea ice extent at the end of summer 2016 tied with 2007 for the second lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1979.

The Arctic Ocean is especially prone to ocean acidification, due to water temperatures that are colder than those further south. The short Arctic food chain leaves Arctic marine ecosystems vulnerable to ocean acidification events.

Spring snow cover extent in the North American Arctic was the lowest in the satellite record, which started in 1967.

Thawing permafrost releases carbon into the atmosphere, whereas greening tundra absorbs atmospheric carbon. Overall, tundra is presently releasing net carbon into the atmosphere.

Small Arctic mammals, such as shrews, and their parasites, serve as indicators for present and historical environmental variability. Newly acquired parasites indicate northward shifts of sub-Arctic species and increases in Arctic biodiversity.

Arctic sea ice extent graph


Vietnam dengue fever and Zika virus – updates

The number of dengue fever cases in Vietnam are up 23 percent during the first nine months of 2016, compared to the same period last year, according to WHO data released this week. From Jan. 1 through Sep. 30, there were 79,204 cases of dengue including 27 deaths, reported in 44 out of 63 provinces in Viet Nam.

Concerning Zika virus infection in Vietnam, news reports note that the case tally has reached 136 confirmed cases nationally through Monday. Eighty-eight percent (119) of the cases in the country were reported in Ho Chi Minh City. Zika infection has been reported from 10 provinces since the virus was first reported in April.

South Korea – Bird Flu

South Korea’s agriculture ministry raised the country’s bird flu alert status to the highest level for the first time on Thursday as the disease has spread quickly nationwide.

The heightened alarm status comes as the country grapples with an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu that started a month ago. Since then, South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, has culled over 12 percent of its poultry population to contain the spread of the virus.

The ministry had already ramped up quarantine measures to tackle the spread of the H5N6 virus including issuing a temporary nationwide movement ban as an increasing number of farms have reported outbreaks.

There have been 53 cases of the virus confirmed since mid-November, with another 21 cases being tested, according to the ministry statement.

Outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported in Japan and several European countries including France, which raised its bird flu risk level to high last week.

Cases of human infections from the H5N6 virus have been previously reported elsewhere including China, where it killed 10 people, but no cases of human infections have been detected in South Korea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.


Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean government has urged villagers to evacuate from low-lying areas after flooding swept away more than 30 people and destroyed homes and schools in parts of the country. About 400 homesteads and 13 schools were swept away following the heavy downpours in areas such as Bulilima, Mangwe and Nkayi in the south and the northern Guruve.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 7 December-13 December 2016

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : Based on KBGS RAS (Kamchatka Branch of Geophysical Services, Russian Academy of Sciences) data, KVERT noted that seismicity at Bezymianny began to increase on 18 November. The temperature of a thermal anomaly detected in satellite images increased on 5 December, and then significantly increased on 13 December, which was likely caused by lava-dome extrusion. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange.

Copahue | Central Chile-Argentina border : Based on satellite and webcam images, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 7-9 and 11 December diffuse gas, water vapor, and ash plumes from Copahue rose to altitudes of 3-3.3 km (10,000-11,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, ESE, and SW. Inclement weather mostly prevented observations on 10 December.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that, according to observers in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island) about 7 km E, a gas-and-steam plume containing a small amount of ash rose from Ebeko to an altitude of 1.5 km (4,900 ft) a.s.l., and drifted 6 km N during 8-9 December. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Yellow (the second lowest on a four-color scale). During 9-10 December gas-and-steam plumes with minor amounts of ash rose from two vents, in Sredniy Crater (middle part) and Severny Crater (N part), to altitudes of 1.8-1.9 km (4,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 4-5 km NW.

Langila | New Britian (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 8-9, 11, and 13 December ash plumes from Langila rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 110 km W, WNW, and N.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 2-9 December 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 thermal anomaly over the dome on clear days, and ash plumes drifting 60 km NW on 8 December.

On 10 December explosions generated ash plumes observed in satellite images that rose to altitudes of 10-11 km (32,800-36,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 320 km NNE and N. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. Satellite images later that day showed a thermal anomaly over the volcano but no ash emissions; the leading edge of the ash plume released earlier was 910 km NNE, drifting at an altitude of 11 km (36,000 ft). The Aviation Color Code was lowered to Orange.