Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits the island of Hawaii, Hawaii.

5.1 earthquake hits the southern East Pacific rise.

5.1 earthquake hits the Tristan Da Cunha region.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kashmir – Xinjiang border region.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Aletta is located about 445 mi…715 km sw of Manzanillo Mexico with maximum sustained winds…65 mph…100 km/h. Present movement…w or 280 degrees at 7 mph…11 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression 05w (Ewiniar), located approximately 175 nm west-southwest of Hong Kong, is tracking northeastward at 05 knots.

Hurricanes are slowing down, making floods worse

Last year, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 5 feet of rain on the Houston area in just a few days making it the heaviest rainstorm the U.S. has ever recorded. Now, a new study shows that multiple factors, each of them climate change-related, are raising the risk of similar, meandering hurricanes in the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

A new study published Wednesday in Nature finds that tropical cyclones — which is a catch-all term for hurricanes and typhoons — move more slowly than they used to. This, combined with the increase in rainfall already expected to occur from such storms as the seas and air temperatures warm, paints a troubling picture of future storms.

Over land areas affected by hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean Basin, the study found that hurricanes have shown a decrease in forward speed of about 20% during the period.

In the western North Pacific Ocean, where some of the world’s most intense and damaging storms strike, that slowdown over land areas has been closer to 30%.

Storms have also slowed down over Australia, by about 19%.

Slower storms have more time to dump greater amounts of rainfall, and this, combined with the capacity of a warmer atmosphere to hold more moisture, means we should expect tropical cyclones to pose more water dangers than ever before.

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Wildlife

Toxic Toad Could End Up Killing the Predators on Madagascar

An invasive species of toad in Madagascar is even more dangerous to local wildlife than previously suspected — its poisonous slime is deadly to just about any local predator, including endangered lemurs, that tries to eat the amphibian.

The Asian common toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) is a newcomer to the island of Madagascar, and in just a few years it has spread rapidly. Invasive species upset the balance of local diversity and can cause big problems for native animals, but scientists recently learned that the runaway success of the toad could have even more troubling consequences than thought.

In the evolutionary arms race of predator versus prey, animals that habitually eat toxic creatures often evolve resistance to their poison, in the form of genetic mutations.

But when invasive species suddenly arrive in an ecosystem — as the Asian common toad did — would-be predators that have never encountered the toxic invader before are exceptionally vulnerable to the unknown threat lurking in the body of their next meal.

77 Malagasy species that would be likely to eat the poisonous pests, including 28 birds, 27 snakes, 12 frogs, eight mammals and two lizards. And except for one type of rodent, every species lacked the genetic mutations associated with resistance to the toad’s poison.

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Wildfires

Wildfire in Chernobyl exclusion zone – Russia

Ukrainian authorities said yesterday that a bushfire had broken out in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986, but radiation levels remained within safe limits.

The fire broken out in dry grass yesterday morning in the area of high radiation less than 10km (six miles) from the power station and later spread over some 10 hectares (25 acres) of woodland, the state emergency service said in statements. Bushfires occur regularly in the woods and grassland around the power station. In 2015 a forest fire burned for four days.

But scientists remain sceptical because trees and brush in the zone have absorbed radioactive particles that can be released into the air by the smoke of a wildfire.

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