Global Warming

Human Heaters

People have been found to be the cause of a noticeable warmup of big cities during the workweek as commuters flock into the urban landscape from the suburbs.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, found that the heat generated by human bodies, cars and public transport vehicles, along with the operation of office buildings, causes a slow warmup from Monday through Friday.

The effect is broken and temperatures drop over the weekend as most people stay home and activity in the central business districts is relatively calm.

The pattern was observed in the Australian state capitals of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

“Nothing in nature occurs on a weekly cycle, so it must be due to human activity,” said researcher Nick Earl.

Fish migrating to unusual regions due to global warming

Sightings of fish outside their usual regions could be a sign of marine species shifting in response to climate change, an Australian study has found.

The study, lead by Hannah Fogarty from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and the University of Tasmania (UTAS), revealed that initial reports of fish in unaccustomed waters are often a sign of impending species-wide change.

Fogarty compiled a list of verified first sightings from around the world and compared it with long-term data on warming oceans and found a correlation between the early stages of a species range shift and climate change.

“Climate change is leading to global changes in species distribution patterns and the reshuffling of biodiversity is already well underway,” Fogarty said in a UTAS media release on Friday, February 3.

“In Australia, for example, a Lemonpeel Angelfish was found off Lord Howe Island, more than 1,000 kilometres south of its usual coral reef habitat. Tropical and sub-tropical fish such as this are increasingly being found in temperate waters, with species such as wrasse, parrotfish, flounder, and eels well-represented in global reports of unusual sightings.””

“New marine species arriving in an area may become pests, modify the local ecosystem, or represent challenges or opportunities for fisheries and recreation.”

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112.0 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Moomba, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 63.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.8 degrees Celsius) at Seymchan, Siberia.

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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Oklahoma, USA

Crews are battling two wildfires in rural eastern Oklahoma that have burned more than 10 square miles combined.

Oklahoma Forestry Services fire management chief Mark Goeller said the first fire in Haskell County was about 50 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, but might continue to burn for another two days. Goeller said no homes or other structures were immediately threatened.

A second fire was burning about 5 miles northwest of Wilburton in Latimer County, but Goeller said officials haven’t determined how much of it has been contained.

Both counties are located in part of the state experiencing the worst drought conditions.

Wildfires – Australia

A large bushfire that forced the evacuation of residents from their homes at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast this afternoon has been brought under control. Residents who had evacuated their homes have been allowed to return home.

Disease

‘Diarrhoea’ outbreak in Sudan is cholera

All reports and symptoms of an outbreak of deadly and acute watery diarrhoea in eastern Sudanese states point to the spread of cholera, according to a Sudanese epidemiology specialist based in the United Kingdom.

The so-called widespread acute watery diarrhoea in El Gedaref and Red Sea is in fact cholera, UK-based epidemiology and infectious diseases specialist Dr Ezzeldin Gamar told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday.

The disease has continued to claim lives over the past five months: there have been a number of deaths and the federal Health Ministry has acknowledged the spread of the “watery diarrhoea epidemic” in eastern Sudan and Khartoum. The Ministry reported that last week that 333 people were suffering from the deadly disease in El Gedaref, Red Sea, and Khartoum states, but did not announce clear measures to contain the disease.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 25 January-31 January 2017

Bagana | Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 25 January an ash plume from Bagana rose to an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

Bogoslof | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that no further emissions were detected at Bogoslof after an explosion at 0453 on 24 January; the Aviation Color Code (ACC) was lowered to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) was lowered to Watch the next day. An hour-long seismic increase began at 0134 on 25 January though no evidence of eruptive activity was evident. Based on lightning and seismic data an explosive event began at 0650 on 26 January, and another burst of seismicity was recorded at 0706. The ACC was raised to Red and the VAL was raised to Warning. An ice-rich cloud, first identified in satellite data at 0700, likely contained ash, and rose as high as 9.8 km (32,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE at lower altitudes, and NE at altitudes above about 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. The ACC was lowered to Orange and the VAL was lowered to Watch later that day. Lightning and seismic data again indicated an explosive event at 0824 on 27 January, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Colour Code (ACC) to Red and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) to Warning. An ice-rich cloud that likely contained ash rose to an altitude of 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E; seismicity related to ash emissions remained elevated for 48 minutes. The ACC was lowered to Orange and the VAL was lowered to Watch later that day.

Several short bursts of seismic activity were detected at 0520 and 0608 on 30 January. An infrasound signal accompanied the first event indicating an explosion; an eruption cloud was identified in satellite data at 0530, rising to an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. later that day AVO noted that bursts of explosive activity continued and intensified; more than 10 short-duration explosions were detected in seismic, infrasound, and lightning data. The Aviation Colour Code (ACC) was raised to Red and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Warning. Ash plumes rose as high as 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 125 km SE. Trace amounts of ashfall and a sulphur odour were reported in Unalaska/Dutch Harbour (98 km E). By the next day the explosions had subsided or ended. Satellite images acquired on 31 January showed significant changes to the island. AVO stated that freshly erupted volcanic rock and ash had formed a barrier that separated the vent from the sea, suggesting that the change had resulted in the more ash-rich emissions occurring during 30-31 January.

Colima | Mexico : Based on webcam and satellite images, the Mexico City MWO, and model data, the Washington VAAC reported that during 25-29 January ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.7-7 km (17,000-26,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE. Ash plumes were identified in satellite images at least 370 and 650 km NE of Colima on 25 and 27 January, respectively.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-26 and 29-31 January ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.4 km (5,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, ESE, and SW.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate gas-and-steam emissions possibly containing small amounts of ash may have continued at Ebeko during 20-27 January. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : Based on INSIVUMEH notices, CONRED reported that at 1345 on 25 January a Strombolian phase began at Fuego. Weak-to-moderate explosions generated ash plumes that rose 750 m above the crater rim and drifted 10 km W and SW. Lava fountains rose 200 m above the crater rim and fed lava flows that traveled 1 km SSW down the Ceniza drainage. Avalanches of material advanced more than 300 m down the Ceniza and Trinidad (S) drainages into vegetated areas. Ash fell on the SW and W flanks. The report also noted that a previous Strombolian phase had begun on 3 January.

INSIVUMEH reported that during 27-31 January explosions generated ash plumes that rose 500-900 m and drifted 5-10 km W, SW, S, and SE. Avalanches of material descended the Ceniza, Trinidad, and Santa Teresa (W) drainages.

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 25-31 January HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater and from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu’u ‘O’o Crater’s E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. All surface flows were active within 2.4 km of Pu’u ‘O’o.

HVO noted that thermal images showed a high-temperature area about 5-10 m from the edge of the sea cliff, with hot cracks running parallel to the cliff around the entry point, suggesting sea cliff instability. HVO scientists did not observe significant delta development from ground vantage points on 29 January. A stream of lava continued to pour into the ocean from an opening in a lava tube about 20 m above the water.

Langila | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-27 January ash plumes from Langila rose to altitudes of 1.8-3 km (6,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and N.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Maug Islands in the North Mariana Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits south Island, New Zealand.

Disease

China reports more H7N9 avian flu cases

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today closely monitoring four additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in the Mainland, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

Dengue Fever in Malaysia – Update

After reporting more than 100,000 dengue fever cases in 2016, Malaysia’s dengue fever case count continues into 2017. For the first month of 2017, the Malaysia Ministry of Health has reported 8,033 dengue cases through the end of January. Like most months and years, Selangor state accounts for more than half the cases.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 25 January-31 January 2017

Chirinkotan | Kuril Islands (Russia) : Based on satellite images, SVERT reported that on 26 and 29 January ash plumes from Chirinkotan rose to an altitude of 3.5 km (11,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted at most 105 km E and S. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Yellow (on a four-colour scale).

Erta Ale | Ethiopia : According to Volcano Discovery, visitors noted changes at Erta Ale’s lava lake during 16-20 January characterized by waves in the lava lake, intense spattering, fountaining, and rim overflows (mainly on 17 January) which traveled as far as 1 km. During the evening of 20 January explosions of very large gas bubbles ejected spatter 30 m high. Crater rim collapses affected the N crater where a new oval-shaped pit crater (150 x 30 m and 20 m depth) formed during a 24-hour period. A large collapse also occurred in the S part of the crater. The activity was accompanied by ash emissions that rose as high as 800 m. The report noted that on 21 January new fissures opened SSE from the summit caldera, producing large amounts of lava.

Satellite images acquired and processed by Planet Labs showed the new lava flows and gas-and-steam emissions from several vents (about 1.5 km SE from the overflow area at the SE caldera rim) on 23 January, and more new lava flows on 27 January. Both images showed lava flows advancing WSW, about 2.5 km S, and about 3 km NE. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, a satellite image acquired on 26 January showed two distinct infrared hotspots representing the SE lava flows. On 27 January Simon Carn stated that the eruption produced the largest SO2 emissions from Erta Ale ever measured from space.

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that on the morning of 15 December 2016 minor emissions of brownish ash rose from the vent in the saddle between the newer cone and the old cone of Etna’s Southeast Crater (SEC). That evening some of the emissions were more energetic, ejecting incandescent material out of the crater which landed on the steep S flank of the SEC cone. Analysis of samples of the ejected rock revealed no new material, only older material from the conduit walls. During the following five weeks weak ash emissions from the vent were observed, without being accompanied by incandescence.

During the early morning of 20 January the saddle vent was again active, with small black ash puffs and thermal anomalies identified by the surveillance camera. People on the SEC observed ejected incandescent material along with ash and blocks. Cloudy weather prevented visual observations for a few days; the evening of 23 January was cloud free and mild Strombolian activity was observed, accompanied by frequent emissions of small, black ash puffs. The activity gradually intensified through the night, with some explosions launching incandescent material as far as the base of the SEC cone. Fluctuating incandescence was also visible at the 7 August 2016 vent of the Voragine (VOR) crater. The frequency of explosions and ash emissions increased on 24 January but then slightly decreased the next morning.

Takawangha | Andreanof Islands (USA) : On 27 January AVO stated that the seismic swarm that began at Takawangha on 23 January had significantly decreased during the previous day. The rate of earthquakes peaked at 190 events on 24 January and had steadily decreased to 22 detected on 27 January. Most of the events were located 7-8 km ESE, at shallow depths. The swarm continued at a decreased rate and intensity through 31 January. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Unnamed | Tonga Islands : Based on analysis of satellite images, GeoNet reported that a submarine eruption at an Unnamed volcano (GVP volcano number 243030) about 46 km NW of Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa began on 23 January. Activity was also identified in images from 26, 28, 29, and 31 January, characterized by discoloured water, and a volcanic plume on 31 January.

Wildlife

Yellow Fever Taking Heavy Toll on Monkeys in Brazil’s Rainforest

The worst yellow fever outbreak in decades is not just killing Brazilians, it threatens to wipe out monkeys in the Atlantic rainforest that are already close to extinction, experts warned on Tuesday.

So far 400 monkeys have been found dead in the state of Espirito Santo where the fever outbreak has spread from neighbouring Minas Gerais.

At greatest risk is the muriqui monkey, Brazil’s largest primate and one of the planet’s 25 most-endangered species of primates, said biologist Roberto Cabral at the Brazilian environmental agency Ibama.

“The monkeys are vulnerable to yellow fever just like humans but we have vaccines to protect us, they don’t,” Cabral said. “They are being decimated.”

Farmers first alerted authorities about the dying animals when they realized that the forest had gone silent and the monkeys had disappeared.

Global Warming

Coastal Wetlands Mitigate Global Warming, Study

Scientists from the University of Maryland demonstrated in a study released today the positive impact of coastal wetlands in mitigating the effects of global warming. To get to that hypothesis, they analyzed marine systems such as coral reefs, seaweed forests, phytoplankton and fish, according to a paper published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Coastal wetlands store a lot of carbon in their soils and they are important natural carbon sinks in the long term, while kelp – a kind of seaweed – corals and marine wildlife are not.

To give you an idea, they can capture and store more than 200 metric tons of carbon per year around the world. That is why, when we destroy coastal wetlands for coastal development or aquaculture, we transform these natural carbon sinks into additional man-made sources of greenhouse gases. They also recommended protecting other ecosystems, such as coral reefs and seaweed forests, because they safeguard against storms and erosion, and are key habitats for fish

For the authors, blue carbon coastal habitats can be considered as the single most efficient biological reservoirs of carbon stored on Earth.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Australia – Heavy rains brought flash floods to Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

South Africa – Several roads were closed by flooding across Johannesburg yesterday as heavy rains inundated the greater Metro area. However no reports of property damage were received.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Pictures from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park show a scalding stream of bright-red lava plunge from a sea cliff into the cold seawater below, resulting in steamy explosions.

See Video here.

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Firehose lava

Disease

Deadly Fruit: Cause of Mysterious Brain Illness in India is Found

The mystery of why hundreds of children in an Indian city become sick every summer with a deadly brain illness has been solved, researchers say.

According to a new report, the cause of the illness appears to be the lychee fruit, which is grown widely in orchards in the city of Muzaffarpur, where the illnesses occur. Critically, the children who get sick often eat the fruit on an empty stomach, which contributes to the development of the illness, the researchers said.

Since 1995, there have been reports of children in Muzaffarpur suddenly falling ill and having seizures, usually in the morning hours. Often these children would slip into a coma, and about 40 percent died, the Times said. Outbreaks of these illnesses usually begin in mid-May and end in July, around the same time that lychee fruits are harvested.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed nearly 400 cases of children who developed this mysterious brain illness in 2014, and compared these cases with about 100 children who didn’t have this illness.