Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

5.5 earthquake hits east of North Island, New Zealand.

5.3 earthquake hits the island of Hawaii, Hawaii.

5.2 earthquake hits southern Qinghai, China.

5.0 earthquake hits South East of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression (td) 15w (Jongdari), located approximately 45 nm east of Shanghai, China, is tracking west-northwestward at 28 knots.

Tropical storm (ts) 17w (Shanshan), located approximately 413 nm northeast of Andersen AFB, is tracking west-northwestward at 02 knots.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Hurricane Hector is located about 1320 mi…2125 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…105 mph…165 km/h. Present movement…w or 270 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.


Austria – Unusually strong thunderstorms in Austria on Wednesday evening unleashed exceptionally heavy rainfall in the region of Tyrol giving way to major flash floods. The storms began in the afternoon of Friday releasing 60mm of rain, nearly a month’s worth of water, according to the Central Institute of Meteorology and Geodynamics. Trees were reportedly uprooted as strong gusts of winds battered the Western Austria region while basements were flooded when rivers overflowed their banks.


Canadian Geese – Death-Defying Strategy For Surviving Hailstorms

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These Canadian geese stare up into the sky as hail pounds the pavement all around them.

If you or I were to try this form of high-intensity storm watching, we’d likely walk away with bruises or a black eye. However, according to Jeremy Ross, a biologist and bird expert at the University of Oklahoma, this behavior has been spotted before in feathered creatures when hail is falling. And it probably helps them survive the storms, by presenting a smaller target for the falling ice, he said.

What’s more, “a few individuals seem to be actually reacting to individual hailstones,” Ross said. “So not only are they looking up into the sky to reduce their profile, but perhaps when a hailstone was imminently going to hit them in the face, they dodge it really quickly.”

Vanishing Penguins

The population of king penguins in what was once the world’s largest colony has plummeted by nearly 90 percent over the last 35 years, and scientists say they don’t know why.

The Île aux Cochons colony in the southern Indian Ocean was also once the second-largest colony of all penguins. But satellite images revealed the number of birds there dropped from 502,400 breeding pairs in 1982 to 59,200 in April 2017.

Scientists say overfishing, feral cats and invasive diseases or parasites could be responsible for the disappearing penguins in the remote French territory.


Global Warming

Earth’s Soil Is Hyperventilating

According to a new study published Aug. 1 in the journal Nature, there’s about twice as much carbon dioxide (CO2) stored in Earth’s soil as there is floating around the atmosphere, and for the last few decades, that underground greenhouse gas has been leaking out at a significantly increased rate.

Based on more than 2,000 sources of climate data taken from ecosystems around the world, a team of soil scientists found that the rate of CO2 released from Earth’s soil has increased globally by about 1.2 percent in just 25 years — and you can blame that on hot, hungry microbes.

Dirt doesn’t actually breathe, of course, but it sort of looks that way when tiny, underground organisms help release the CO2 stored in plant roots, dead leaves and other natural detritus. Hungry microbes gorge on the tasty carbon stored in this plant matter, and then release carbon dioxide as a natural byproduct of this feeding, just as you do when you exhale after a deep breath.

This process is known as “soil respiration,” and it’s an important complement to photosynthesis — the process by which plants turn CO2, water and light into energy — helping to keep ecosystems around the world running smoothly.

But lately, researchers have found that as global temperatures rise, microbes in the soil have been releasing CO2 faster than plants can snatch it up again. Previous studies have indicated that tree roots and certain microbes both respire more frequently at higher temperatures (up until a certain point, when the intense heat causes the organisms to stop functioning completely). But the exact effects of that increase in respiration had never been studied on a global scale until now.

The data showed that the rate of global soil respiration had increased by about 1.2 percent in the 25-year window between 1990 and 2014. Most of that growth was due to increased microbial action; the tiny creatures in Earth’s soil are freeing more and more greenhouse gases from our planet’s surface.

While a 1.2 percent increase might not seem significant on its face, the researchers made it clear that even a modest change like this represents a “massive” ecosystem shift over a relatively short time. And while the full effects of this microbial huffing and puffing are hard to estimate, it’s possible that all that extra CO2 will feed a self-intensifying loop of atmospheric warming and soil respiration over the years to come.

Global warming threatens Arctic fauna

Infections, untypical for the Arctic, have been coming into the Arctic zone due to climate change, Director of the Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Ecology and Evolution Studies Vyacheslav Rozhnov said in St. Petersburg. “The new information is alarming,” he said. “Animals in the Arctic are facing infections, which have not been typical there.” The new infections adapt quickly to the changing temperatures and threaten the animals, he continued.



Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 127 degrees Fahrenheit (52.8 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 78.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 61.1 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.


Reunion dengue outbreak update

Health officials in Reunion are reporting an additional 59 dengue fever cases from the week of July 16, bringing the outbreak total to 6,345 cases confirmed since the beginning of 2018 (including 5 imported from Polynesia, Brazil and Thailand). To date, 134 patients required hospitalization and one death has been assessed as indirectly related to dengue fever.

Measles – Ukraine – Update

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Ukraine, the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine reports 822 cases in week 30 of 2018, bringing the case total to 27,502 this year. The good news is Ukraine officials are reporting a 7 percent decrease in cases compared to the previous week.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 25 July – 31 July 2018

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : According to PVMBG a ground-based observer reported that at 0041 on 25 July an event at Agung produced a dense ash-and-gas plume that rose 700 m and drifted E and SE. Seismic data recorded the event for two minutes and 15 seconds. At 1406 on 27 July an event lasting one minute and 32 seconds produced a dense ash-and-gas plume that rose 2 km and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone was stable at a 4-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that there were four events and 11 explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 23-30 July, with ash plumes rising as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and material ejected as far as 1.3 km. Crater incandescence was sometimes visible at night. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 2,100 tons per day on 26 July. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Bagana | Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 29-30 July ash plumes from Bagana rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. A thermal anomaly was visible on 29 July.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that unrest at Cleveland continued during 25-31 July, though nothing significant was detected in seismic or infrasound data. Meteorological cloud cover prevented views of the crater on most days, though steaming from the crater was visible in satellite and webcam views during 25-26 July. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on PVMBG observations and satellite data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-31 July ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-3.4 km (6,000-11,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, E, and S.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 20-21 and 25-26 July that sent ash plumes as high as 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. An ash plume drifting about 15 km E was identified in satellite images on 20 July. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 29-30 July avalanches of material descended the Cenizas drainage on Fuego’s SSW flank. Hot lahars generated by heavy rains on 30 July descended the Taniluyá (SW), Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE), and Cenizas drainages, carrying blocks 2-3 m in diameter and smelling of sulfur.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that an ash cloud from Karymsky was identified in satellite images drifting 100 km SE on 20 July, and thermal anomalies were visible on 25 and 27 July. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the eruption at Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 18-24 July. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated at Fissure 8, feeding lava flows that continued to spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and entered the ocean at Ahalanui.

Inward slumping of the crater rim and walls of Halema`uma`u continued, adjusting from the withdrawal of magma and subsidence of the summit area. Explosions from collapse events occurred about every other day (38.5 and 53.5 hours in between a few of the events). Sulfur dioxide emissions from the summit were very low.

Fountaining at Fissure 8 continued, producing Pele’s hair and other volcanic glass that fell within Leilani Estates. The fountains continued to feed the lava flow that traveled NE, and then SSE, W of Kapoho Crater; lava occasionally overflowed the channel, and on 28 July ignited nearby vegetation. Small plumes of laze (a corrosive steam plume mixed with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic glass particles) were generated at several points along a broad 2-km-wide flow front at Ahalanui. The westernmost edge was less than 175 m NE of the boat ramp in Isaac Hale Park (by 30 July).

Kirishimayama | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 23-30 July white fumarolic plumes rose 300-500 m above a vent on the S side of Iwo-yama (also called Ioyama, NW flank of Karakuni-dake), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group. A hot pool of water was visible on the S side, and muddy water flowed down the W side. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that inflation at Piton de la Fournaise resumed after 13 July, the end of the last eruption. A period if increased seismicity was detected on 26 July, with 32 volcano-tectonic events less than 2 km deep being recorded during 0400-1600; 23 of those events were detected during 1200-1300.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that each day during 25-31 July there were 24-42 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, and nightly crater incandescence. Explosions were detected almost every day: five on 26 July; nine on 27 July; one on 28 July; three on 30 July. A series of gas-and-ash emissions began at 0307 on 31 July and lasted for 215 minutes. Ejected incandescent tephra landed on the flanks. The gas-and-ash plumes rose 2 km above the crater rim and drifted WSW, causing ashfall in Tetela del Volcán, Yecapixtla, Tlalnepantla, and Totolapan (Morelos state), and in Amecameca, Acuautla, Ecatzingo, Ozumba, and Tepetlixpa (Mexico state). The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Rinjani | Lombok Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG and BNPB reported that a M 6.4 earthquake was recorded at 0547 on 29 July, shaking the islands of Lombok, Bali, and Sumbawa, and causing significant damage to buildings (including collapses) and roads, ground cracks, multiple injuries, and the death of 17 people in Lombok. The hypocenter was 24 km deep, and 47 km NE of Mataram City. Aftershocks were numerous and as large as M 5.7. The earthquakes caused remobilization of ash deposits on Rinjani as well as landslides. There were 1,226 visitors to the Mount Rinjani National Park Area at the time, and, according to news articles, about 690 climbers were on the volcano and had to be rescued. One person in the national park died from rockfalls. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); the public was warned not to approach the crater within a 1.5-km radius.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosions at Sabancaya averaged 19 per day during 23-29 July. Hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and low magnitude. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km SE and E. On 26 July the sulfur dioxide gas flux was high at 4,195 tons/day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Santa Maria | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 28-30 July explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated white plumes that rose 600-800 m and drifted SW. Avalanches of material descended the NW, E, and SE flanks of the lava dome.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that satellite images showed a weak thermal anomaly over Sheveluch during 19 and 21-22 July. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 23-31 July activity at Turrialba was characterized by sporadic, passive gas-and-ash emissions detected almost daily. The plumes rose no higher than 300 m above the vent rim, and drifted NW, W, and SW. Ashfall was reported in several neighborhoods in the Valle Central, including Coronado, Tibás (35 km WSW), Goicoechea (28 km WSW), and Moravia (31 km WSW) on 24 July, and in Tres Ríos (27 km SW) on 31 July. A sulfur odor was occasionally reported.