Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits Greece.

5.0 earthquake hits Valparaiso, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Norman is located about 785 mi…1265 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…140 mph…220 km/h. Present movement…wsw or 250 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Super Typhoon 25w (Jebi), located approximately 253 nm northwest of Saipan, is tracking west-northwestward at 14 knots.

In the Central Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Miriam is located about 905 mi…1455 km e of Hilo Hawaii and about 1100 mi…1770 km e of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…90 mph…150 km/h. Present movement…n or 360 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h.

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Global Warming

CO2 Capture

A Swiss company has received a $31 million investment to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an expensive process that uses high-tech filters and fans.

Climeworks AG says it now costs about $600 to extract a ton of carbon from the air, but the company hopes to bring down the cost enough to pull out 1 percent of man-made CO2 emissions by 2025.

Scientists now believe that only a combination of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and extracting existing CO2 from the air can reduce the effects of climate change brought on by the burning of fossil fuels.

Kelp Migration

Undersea kelp forests are being transformed by warming oceans, affecting the species that rely on them for food and shelter.

“The warm-water kelp Laminaria ochroleuca was actually first detected in the U.K. in the late 1940s, but is now a common sight along the southwest coast,” said Dan Smale of Britain’s Plymouth University.

The warmer water and resulting northward expansion of the kelp is causing warm-water fish to move north too.

It’s also allowing the cool-water species they are displacing to migrate into Arctic waters that are rapidly becoming warmer.

Bubbling Lakes in the Arctic

NASA has released videos of bubbling lakes in the remote Arctic tundra, where warming continues to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at unprecedented rates.

The international research team, funded by NASA as part of their Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE), recently published their results in Nature Communications. What they found are bubbling lakes as greenhouse gases are released from the previously frozen ground, leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions and a warming positive feedback.

The Arctic is one of the largest natural reservoirs of organic carbon, trapped within the frozen soils. If a tree dies, say in the Amazon rainforest, it is quickly eaten (rot) away by bacteria, which respire the same as humans. As bacteria eat the tree they inhale oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Hence, the carbon taken up by the tree through photosynthesis is then released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide for the cycle to start all over again.

However, in the case of the Arctic, when something dies (trees, algae, animals, etc.) they are immediately frozen. This, in essence, stops the carbon cycle as both bacteria and their food are frozen in place for potentially tens of thousands of years. This means the Arctic continues to pack away carbon from the atmosphere and store it in frozen soil, which can be over 250 feet thick.

However, when that soil begins to thaw, the bacteria wake up and find a feast of untouched carbon laid out for them, they begin to eat the carbon, releasing carbon dioxide and methane gas as they do. In the NASA video what you see is the resulting carbon dioxide and methane gases released from the thawing of Arctic lake beds. As the sediment beneath these lakes begins to melt, they become greenhouse gas factories.

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Bees get hooked on harmful pesticide – study

Bumblebees acquire a taste for food laced with a pesticide known to harm them, according to a study suggesting the chemicals pose an even greater threat to pollinators than previously thought.

In experiments, researchers showed that bees initially put off by sugar water containing neonicotinoids – the most widely-used class of insecticide worldwide – soon started seeking them out to the exclusion of untainted food. The findings were published on Wednesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Neonicotinoids, earlier research has shown, disrupt the ability of bees to reproduce and lower their resistance to disease. Global bee populations are on the decline. And in Southwest China they have become so rare that fruit plantations are no longer being pollinated. Farmers are now doing it themselves.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in As Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 116.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 82.2 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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.


Climate Change Making People Sick

Man-made climate change is now so pervasive that it is making people sick, a leading expert warns.

Beyond the heat-related deaths and illnesses around the Northern Hemisphere this summer, Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of Boston University School of Public Health, says the warming climate is also sending disease-carrying insects into new territories.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that ailments caused by flea and tick bites tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016, with Maine seeing a 20-fold increase in cases of tick-borne Lyme disease.

Galea describes climate change as acting like a disease, with its symptoms including polluted air, flooded streets, burning forests and death.

Mad cow disease found in Florida, USA

A cow in America has tested positive for deadly Mad Cow Disease – the ultra-contagious bug that was feared to have claimed 177 British lives after an outbreak in the 1990s.

The diseased animal had belonged to Florida livestock ranchers, and was destined to be slaughtered and sold for meat. The illness can be passed to humans who eat infected beef.

The cow is one of just six in America that has tested positive for H-type BSE – the bacteria that triggers the disease – in the last 15 years. It was detected on August 26 as part of a routine surveillance of cattle found to be unfit for slaughter.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 22 August -28 August 2018

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that there were three events and 12 explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 20-27 August, with ash plumes rising as high as 2.1 km above the crater rim and material ejected as far as 1.3 km. Crater incandescence was sometimes visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Ambrym | Vanuatu : On 22 August the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department reported that the lava lakes in Ambrym’s Benbow and Marum craters continued to be active, and produced sustained and substantial gas-and-steam emissions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5); the report reminded the public to stay outside of the Permanent Danger Zone defined as a 1-km radius from Benbow Crater and a 2.7-km radius from Marum Crater.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : Low-level unrest at Cleveland continued, though on 22 August AVO noted a pause in activity and lowered the Aviation colour Code to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory. The report noted that elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images the previous day, suggestive of hot gas emissions from the summit crater vents.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-23 and 25-28 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 17-24 August that sent ash plumes as high as 5.2 km (17,100 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted 235 km SE during 21-22 August, and a thermal anomaly was visible during 21-23 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 0838 on 24 August an event at Ibu generated an ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater rim and drifted S. Seismicity was characterized by explosions and rock avalanches. 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.

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that during an overflight on 25 August a small lava pond was visible deep within the vent at Kilauea’s Fissure 8 cone; the pond was no longer visible on 27 August. Lava continued to ooze into the ocean and produce minimal laze plumes, but by 27 August only a small single breakout from the Kapoho Bay lobe was active. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Pacaya | Guatemala : Based on information from INSIVUMEH, CONRED reported a slight increase in explosive activity at Pacaya, with 3-5 explosions per hour recorded by the seismic network. A 600-m-long lava flow originating from Mackenney Crater was visible on NW flank.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosions at Sabancaya averaged 25 per day during 20-26 August. Hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and low magnitude. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 4.5 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km SE, E, NE, and N. The MIROVA system detected seven thermal anomalies, and on 25 August the sulfur dioxide gas flux was high at 2,230 tons/day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : Based on analysis of satellite images and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 23-27 August ash plumes from Semeru rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, W, NW, and SE.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that satellite images showed a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch on 17, 19, and 23 August; cloudy weather prevented views of the volcano on the other days during 17-24 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Sierra Negra | Isla Isabela (Ecuador) : IG reported that during 20-21 August both steam-and-gas emissions and incandescence from lava flows were visible on the Sierra Negra webcam. No activity was noted when the weather was clear during 22-28 August.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 27-28 August emissions from Turrialba rose continuously to 200 m above the crater rim, and drifted SW.

Yasur | Vanuatu : The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department reported that ongoing explosions at Yasur were sometimes strong during August. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, within a 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits Costa Rica.

5.1 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands, Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Norman is located about 600 mi…965 km sw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…115 mph…185 km/h. Present movement…w or 275 degrees at 7 mph…11 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Typhoon 25w (Jebi), located approximately 303 nm northeast of Anderson AFB, is tracking westward at 10 knots.

In the Central Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Miriam is located about 985 mi…1585 km ese of Hilo Hawaii and about 1195 mi…1920 km ese of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…80 mph…130 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 300 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.


Myanmar – As many as 85 villages were flooded in Myanmar after a dam failed, unleashing waters that blocked a major highway and forced more than 63,000 people from their homes, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday. The disaster spotlights safety concerns about dams in Southeast Asia after last month’s collapse of a hydroelectric dam in neighboring Laos that displaced thousands of people and killed at least 27. Firefighters, troops and officials launched a desperate rescue effort on Wednesday after the spillway of an irrigation dam burst at Swar creek in central Myanmar, sending a torrent of water through villages and the nearby towns of Swar and Yedashe. By Thursday morning the water was receding, but two people remained missing and were feared to have been washed away.


Extreme Heat ‘Cooks” Fish in California Lagoon

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Some fish just can’t take the heat. And unfortunately, that’s probably why an estimated 2,000 striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) suddenly died in Malibu Lagoon and Malibu Creek in Southern California last week.

The higher-than-average water temperatures in the lagoon: 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 28 degrees Celsius) are thought to be the upper limit in which striped mullet can survive, causing the fish to effectively be cooked in the warm water.

A New ‘Brown Tide’ Could Make Florida’s Dangerous Red Tide Worse

The beaches of southwest Florida are once again graveyards for marine life, thanks to a deadly “red tide” algal bloom floating just beneath the surface of the water offshore. The algae bloom has gone on way longer than usual, since November 2017. And it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better, as a separate bloom — this one called a “brown tide” — appears to be on track to intermingle with the ride tide and feed it.

Brown tides are caused by a cyanobacterium called Trichodesmium that derives its energy from the sun, just like Karenia brevis, the alga that causes toxic red tides. While Trichodesmium can produce toxins on its own, the real danger is that the brown tide could become a food source for the red-tide alga if they mix.

Currently, the ongoing red tide threatens wildlife and humans along about 145 miles (233 kilometers) of coastline between Pinellas and Collier counties in southwest Florida. The offshore brown tide is not yet known to have mixed with the red tide.

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Global Warming

Global warming is intensifying El Niño weather

As humans put more and more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth warms. And the warming is causing changes that might surprise us. Not only is the warming causing long-term trends in heat, sea level rise, ice loss, etc.; it’s also making our weather more variable. It’s making otherwise natural cycles of weather more powerful.

Perhaps the most important natural fluctuation in the Earth’s climate is the El Niño process. El Niño refers to a short-term period of warm ocean surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific, basically stretching from South America towards Australia. When an El Niño happens, that region is warmer than usual. If the counterpart La Niña occurs, the region is colder than usual. Often times, neither an El Niño or La Niña is present and the waters are a normal temperature. This would be called a “neutral” state.

The ocean waters switch back and forth between El Niño and La Niña every few years. Not regularly, like a pendulum, but there is a pattern of oscillation. And regardless of which part of the cycle we are in (El Niño or La Niña), there are consequences for weather around the world.

A new study just published in Geophysical Research Letters, has found that weather associated with El Niño events is becoming more severe. It means if you live in an area that is affected by an El Niño or La Niña, the effect is likely becoming magnified by climate change. For instance, consider California. There, El Niño brings cool temperatures with rains; La Niña brings heat and dry weather. Future El Niños will make flooding more likely while future La Niñas will bring more drought and intensified wildfire seasons.

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Wildfires – Borneo

Vulnerable orangutans in West Borneo are under threat from wind whipped wildfires that have been exacerbated by the season’s extreme weather. Around 100 apes are safely housed in the International Animal Rescue (IAR) centre in Ketapang but local conservationists fear they will not be able to protect them if the blazes head their way. One large fire is already in the vicinity of the facility where the orangutans are undergoing rehabilitation.

The Indonesian government’s meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency (BMKG) warned last week of nearly 800 wildfire “hotspots” in the Bornean province of West Kalimantan. Tinderbox conditions have dried out vegetation and made fires far more likely in recent weeks, putting people’s health at risk as the resulting air pollution can lead to respiratory problems.


Nigeria – diarrhea outbreak

The Nigerian government says 1,068 people have been infected following an outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) in at least 10 local government areas of Borno State. Borno State Commissioner for Health Haruna Mshelia said the disease was becoming an epidemic.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 22 August -28 August 2018

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that during 20-26 August activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters, Strombolian activity, and ash emissions. Strombolian explosions continued from vents in Bocca Nuova (including from a vent that had opened on 16 August) and Northeast Crater (NEC). Activity at New Southeast Crater (NSEC) was characterized by modest and occasional explosions and Strombolian activity. Beginning at 1700 on 23 August Strombolian activity from the cone in the saddle between the Southeast Crater (SEC) and NSEC cone complex rapidly intensified; explosions ejected tephra 100-150 m above the vent rim. At 1730 Strombolian activity occurred at NSEC’s E vent, and a lava flow from the same vent traveled a few hundred meters towards the Valle del Bove. Just after 1730 lava overflowed the vent in the saddle cone and flowed N; Strombolian activity at that vent continued through the night and then stopped no later than 0620 on 24 August. At 0622 Strombolian activity from a vent on the S flank of NSEC produced a small lava flow that traveled a few dozen meters. During 25-26 August the activity at the saddle cone gradually decreased, and ash emissions were weak and occasional.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that at 1807 on 23 August an event at Anak Krakatau generated a dense, black ash plume that rose about 700 m above the crater rim. Based on satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 27-28 August ash plumes rose to altitudes of 1.2-1.5 km (4,000-5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and WSW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were warned not to approach the volcano within 2 km of the crater.

Manam | Papua New Guinea : RVO reported that an eruption at Manam began at around 0600 on 25 August after island residents reported increased activity beginning an hour before. According to the Darwin VAAC ash plumes visible in satellite data rose to 15.2 km (50,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WSW. The plume drifted W and NW, causing ash and scoria to fall in areas from Dangale in the NNE to Jogari in the SW part of the island. The most affected areas were Baliau and Kuluguma; residents reported fallen tree branches from the deposits, and conditions so dark that flashlights were needed to move around. Lava flows traveled down the NE valley and pyroclastic-flow deposits were evident in the NE valley all the way to the sea. The pyroclastic flows buried six houses in Boakure village though the occupants escaped to the nearby Abaria village. According to a news article about 2,000 people evacuated. The eruption ceased around 1030 with dense white emissions visible afterwards. During brief periods of good visibility after the eruption, and through 26 August, observers noted dense white vapor emissions and occasional light gray ash plumes.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the new lava dome within the fracture of Merapi’s 2010 dome grew at a rate of 4,300 cubic meters per day during 18-28 August, and by 28 August the volume of the lava dome was an estimated 44,000 cubic meters. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and resident were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

6.4 earthquake hits the Anatahan Region, North Mariana Islands.

5.7 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.5 earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

5.4 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.3 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Timor, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

5.0 earthquake hits south-east of the Loyalty Islands.