Global Warming

Increasing global warming leading to fish mortalities in Arabian Sea

In what is set to aggravate concerns over climate change, a new joint Indo-US study has found that global warming is leading to large-scale fish kills in the Arabian Sea by fuelling the growth of harmful bioluminescent algae.

The striking green algae, Noctiluca scintillans, which is behind the scintillating phenomenon observed in oceans when they glow fluorescent blue at night, are indicators of fish mortality. Scientists highlight that their growing abundance is a cause of concern, because they adversely affect fish, which do not thrive in such waters.

Less dense water comes to the surface because of the warming of oceans, encouraging these intense blooms, which has an adverse impact on fisheries. Currently, the western coast, Persian Gulf, and Oman are largely affected, but if it keeps on increasing, it will have drastic effects on fisheries along the Indian coast.

Wildlife

Humpback Whales May Soon Fill Antarctic Seas

An unusually high number of female humpbacks living in the Southern Ocean around the Western Antarctic Peninsula have gotten pregnant in recent years, according to a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. Researchers are hopeful that the population is recovering from years of commercial whaling that nearly wiped them out in the area in the 20th century.

Humpback whales usually give birth every couple of years and have pregnancies that last for around 11 months. Once the baby is born, the mother is very “protective” and “affectionate” toward its young.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 25 April – 1 May 2018

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1822 on 30 April an eruption at Ibu generated a dark gray ash plume that rose at least 500 m above the crater rim and drifted E. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : On 26 April KVERT reported that the last explosive event at Karymsky occurred on 27 January, and the last thermal anomaly was detected on 26 March; activity remained at a low level. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Green (the lowest level on a four-colour scale). Explosive activity was identified in satellite images beginning at 1825 on 28 April, prompting KVERT to raise the Alert Level to Orange. Ash plumes rose as high as 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 150 km NE.

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 25 April-1 May HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. The lake level was high enough to produce lava flows onto the Halema’uma’u crater floor through 27 April, but afterwards fell to about 15-16 m below the new elevated rim. The lake level rose again, to just below the rim of the Overlook crater vent. Since 21 April about 2/3 of the crater floor had been covered by new lava flows. Episode 61g lava flows were active above Pulama pali, within 2 km of the active vent. A marked increase in seismicity and ground deformation at Pu’u ‘O’o Crater was detected just after 1400 on 30 April, following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone. Within a few minutes a webcam on the crater rim recorded the first of two crater floor collapses; the second collapse began at 1520 and lasted about an hour. Thought poor weather conditions inhibited views at times, a webcam recorded what were likely small explosions from the W side of the crater as the floor collapsed. At 1800 seismicity remained elevated, though ground deformation had significantly slowed. A large amount of red ash was produced from the collapses, and deposited around the crater as well as in areas up-rift as far as Mauna Ulu. Following the collapses of Pu’u ‘O’o’s crater floor, seismicity and deformation increased along a large section of the East Rift Zone, in an area 9-16 km down-rift (with seismicity occurring as far E as highway 130), indicating an intrusion of magma. By 0830 on 1 May activity had significantly decreased. During an overflight that day a new, nearly continuous, 1-km-long crack was found on the W (up-rift) side of Pu’u ‘O’o. The crack was steaming, and aligned in a segment with small pads of newly-erupted lava and spatter. Thermal images of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater suggested that smaller drops of the crater floor likely continued on 1 May.

Kirishimayama | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that a very small explosion at Iwo-yama (also called Ioyama, NW flank of Karakuni-dake), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, occurred at 1815 on 26 April and produced a milky white plume that rose over 200 m. The event continued until around 1826. The event occurred from a fumarole in the vicinity of the highway, on the W side of Iwo-yama, first observed on 20 April. During a field survey on 30 April observers noted muddy water flowing as far as 500 m W. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Kusatsu-Shiranesan | Honshu (Japan) : JMA reported that on 21 April the number of volcanic earthquakes at Yugama crater (Kusatsu-Shiranesan complex) increased and deformation was also recorded. The Alert Level for the crater area was raised to 2 (on a 5-level scale) the next day. Deformation slowed on 23 April. Seismicity decreased on 23 April though continued to be somewhat elevated, and low-frequency events were recorded on 24 April. No surficial changes were noted during an overflight on 26 April.

Marapi | Indonesia : On 27 April a phreatic eruption at Marapi produced an ash plumes that rose 300 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4). Residents and visitors were advised not to enter an area within 3 km of the summit.

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that seismicity at Piton de la Fournaise increased on 21 April, and then significantly on 23 April. A seismic crisis which began at 2015 on 27 April was accompanied by rapid deformation, indicating magma migrating towards the surface. The onset of tremor at 2350 heralded the beginning of the eruption, though the first visual confirmation of the eruption was recorded by the webcams at 0015 on 28 April. The eruption took place from fissures at Rivals Crater, and the SW flank of Dolomieu crater. During an overflight around 0830, scientists noted that four fissures had opened, one of which intersected the crater. Lava fountains less than 30 m high rose from the entire length of the fourth fissure, which was 300 m long and at a lower elevation that Rival Crater. Several small lava flows formed a larger flow which traveled 200-300 m S towards the Enclos Fouqué. Tremor steadily decreased throughout the day, and by the end of the day the lava flow had slowed in an area around 300 m away from the rampart. During 29-30 April tremor levels were relatively stable, with a few fluctuations related to morphological changes at the eruptive site such as cone building. During an overflight around 1020 on 30 April scientists observed three active vents (S of Rival Crater). The third vent, in a 5-m-high cone, was mostly closed over, though it continued to produced lava flows. The middle and most active cone was about 30-40 m long and 10-15 m high, and had a vent with a lava lake. Large bubbles of lava rose from the lake and exploded into lava fountains. Lava fountains from the northernmost vent rose no more than 15 m high. Lava flows had traveled 150 m and 1.2 km; the longer lava flow had reached the S rampart and traveled an additional 400 m E along it.

San Cristobal | Nicaragua : INETER reported that at 1320 on 22 April a small explosion at San Cristóbal generated a gas-and-ash plume that rose 800 m and drifted SW, causing ashfall in the La Bolsa region and Hacienda Las Rojas.

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : Based on analysis of satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that on April a short-lived, discreet eruption at Semeru generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.8 earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge.

5.6 earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.5 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.5 earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.4 earthquake hit the Molucca Sea.

5.3 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.3 earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.2 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.0 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 21s (Flamboyan), located approximately 983 nm southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southeastward at 05 knots. This is the final warning for this system.

NewsBytes:

Somalia – The forces of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Security Service have evacuated over 10,000 people stranded in the south-central city of Beledweyne as a result of the severe floods in the country. Almost 500 000 people have been affected by the floods. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the current floods are some of the worst the region has ever seen, and the current water level exceeds a 50-year return period in most locations.

Environment

Most Polluted Cities

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) global air pollution database released in Geneva, India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations — the worst being Kanpur with a PM 2.5 concentration of 173 micrograms per cubic metre, followed by Faridabad, Varanasi and Gaya.

The report states that 9 in 10 people in the world breathe polluted air. In a statement, it said 7 million people die every year because of outdoor and household air pollution. “Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period,” it said.

More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, followed by low- and middle-income countries in the eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Arizona, USA

Firefighters battling a wildfire in north-central Arizona were hampered Monday by strong winds and dry conditions as residents of surrounding communities remained out of their homes for another day. Authorities said some homes were lost as the wildfire consumed almost 14 square miles (35 square kilometers) south of Flagstaff. Crews on Monday were assessing exactly how many structures have burned, but estimated around 30.

Wildfires – Wisconsin, USA

A total of 43 wildfires have been reported around Wisconsin by the DNR over the past two days. A majority of the fires were in the south-central region of the state. A state of emergency was declared, although the majority of the fires were small, between 10 – 20 acres.

Wildfires – Manitoba, Canada

Wildfires are burning across Manitoba. The province is deploying firefighters and water bombers to several communities where wildfires are consuming forestland. Several fires within Winnipeg have been extinguished, but fire officials say the dry spring teamed with high winds are the perfect recipe for big fires.

Disease

Tick and Mosquito-borne Diseases Are On the Rise

Illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites are on the rise in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report found that during the 13-year study period, the number of reported illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled, going from about 27,300 cases in 2004 to 96,000 cases in 2016. Overall, more than 640,000 cases of these so-called vector-borne diseases were reported during the study period.

What’s more, nine germs spread by these insects — including Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which spread by mosquitoes, and babesiosis, which spreads by ticks — were discovered or introduced to the U.S. during the study period, according to the report.

It has been suggested that the effects of climate change are expanding the range of ticks, fleas and mosquitos as well as the period of their active season.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 21s (Flamboyan), located approximately 901 nm southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southeastward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

Switzerland – A fifth person has died from injuries sustained when an unexpected snowstorm surprised a group of 14 skiers in the Swiss Alps, forcing them to spend the night outdoors. The group had set out from the Dix rest-stop and were heading to Vignettes to sleep, trekking along a route called the Serpentine. But bad weather in the Pigne d’Arolla area struck unexpectedly.

Europe – In Germany, firefighters pumped rainwater from basements and clearing flooded road tunnels after a storm swept through parts of western Germany overnight. Germany’s far-west Aachen region was the hardest hit, with rescue services receiving hundreds of calls. Aachen police say nobody was harmed in the storm. France, Belgium and Luxembourg were also affected by heavy rain and hail — weather that is more often seen during the summer than the spring.

Disease

Disease Outbreak in Philippines

Health officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said a well where residents of three villages in Pata town, Sulu province, were drawing water was the culprit behind the outbreak of disease that killed eight people and downed more than 200 others since March 27.