Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Mayotte region.

5.2 earthquake hits Chiapas, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Singapore – “Intense rain” caused flash floods in three locations across central and western Singapore on Tuesday morning, leaving vehicles and pedestrians to wade their way through murky waters as they made their way to work during peak hour.

Wildlife

Feral Cats Are Devouring Australia’s Reptiles

Outdoor cats are feasting on the reptiles of Australia, and conservationists are concerned about the toll their snacking habits might take on the country’s biodiversity.

Feral cats kill, on average, 1 million reptiles each day in Australia, according to a new study published today (June 25) in the journal Wildlife Research.

Feral cats (Felis catus) are those animals that used to be (or their ancestors used to be) domesticated, but who now roam in the wild. In the 18th century, the Europeans who came to Australia introduced these furry felines to the continent, bringing them along as pets, according to the study. But 230 years later, the descendants of those cats — totaling more than 2 million — are now menacing populations of lizards, turtles and snakes. [Here, Kitty, Kitty: 10 Facts for Cat Lovers]

To figure out the toll cats took on Australian reptiles, the researchers looked at more than 80 studies that included, in total, analyses of more than 10,000 samples of cat poop or stomach samples. They found that the feral cats in the studies eat 258 different kinds of Australian reptiles, including 11 threatened species such as the Christmas Island forest skink (Emoia nativitatis), the pygmy copperhead snake (Austrelaps labialis) and some turtles. They also found that the cats hunted reptiles much more in areas that were hotter and drier.

However, the actual number is likely higher. That’s because many reptiles are local to specific areas of Australia, and the researchers weren’t able to sample every region of the country. Rainforests, for example, were largely unsampled, they wrote.

Some of the cats in the studies truly indulged: For example, one cat was found to have the remains of 40 reptiles in its stomach, most of which were lined earless dragons (Tympanocryptis lineata), and another cat was found to have ingested 27 skinks, according to the study.

In total, feral cats were responsible for killing, on average, 466 million reptiles a year in Australia, most of which were native to the continent. But when the researchers also added in pet cats and cats who roam in areas where they can find food from humans (such as cities or dumps), they found that all cats in the country were responsible for killing, on average, 649 million reptiles a year.

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Environment

The Coldest Place on Earth Is Even Colder

Scientists already knew that the lowest temperatures ever measured on Earth were on a frozen ice ridge in eastern Antarctica, near the South Pole. But they recently discovered that temperatures there can drop even lower than those previously measured.

In 2013, analysis of satellite data pinpointed scattered pockets of intensely cold air on the East Antarctic Plateau between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji — temperatures that dipped to a staggering minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 93 degrees Celsius).

However, new analysis of the same data suggests that under the right conditions, those temperatures can drop to nearly minus 148 degrees F (minus 100 degrees C), which is probably the coldest it can get on Earth, researchers reported in a new study.

Wildfires

Wildfires – UK

A large wildfire has broken out on Saddleworth Moor above Manchester sending a huge plume of smoke into the air. Dozens of homes were evacuated. The heatwave that the UK is currently experiencing has created tinderbox conditions. The fire started on Sunday night and now stretches over more than a square mile of land between Dove Stone Reservoir and Buckton Vale.

Disease

Rift Valley Fever – Kenya – Update

In a follow-up on the Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak in Kenya, the outbreak has rapidly increased in the last week, with more cases reported and two new counties affected.

In the past two and one-half weeks, , a cumulative total of 54 cases, with 11 deaths (case fatality rate 20.4%), have been reported from three counties: Wajir (25 cases, 6 deaths), Marsabit (28 cases, 4 deaths) and Siaya (1 case, 1 death).