Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 03s (Alcide), located approximately 542 nm north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

South Island, New Zealand – A wet and wild weather system has bashed the West Coast, forcing the closure of schools, roads and potentially standing students for the night. Meanwhile, a bridge near Arthur’s Pass has been swept away by floodwater. One person is believed to have fallen into a river and remains missing. Hokitika received more than 800 lightning strikes in a 20-minute period.

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Global Warming

Amazon forests failing to keep up with climate change

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A team of more than 100 scientists has assessed the impact of global warming on thousands of tree species across the Amazon to discover the winners and losers from 30 years of climate change. Their analysis found the effects of climate change are altering the rainforest’s composition of tree species but not quickly enough to keep up with the changing environment.

The team, led by University of Leeds in collaboration with more than 30 institutions around the world, used long-term records from more than a hundred plots as part of the Amazon Forest Inventory Network (RAINFOR) to track the lives of individual trees across the Amazon region. Their results found that since the 1980s, the effects of global environmental change – stronger droughts, increased temperatures and higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – has slowly impacted specific tree species’ growth and mortality.

In particular, the study found the most moisture-loving tree species are dying more frequently than other species and those suited to drier climates were unable to replace them.

The ecosystem’s response is lagging behind the rate of climate change. The data showed that the droughts that hit the Amazon basin in the last decades had serious consequences for the make-up of the forest, with higher mortality in tree species most vulnerable to droughts and not enough compensatory growth in species better equipped to survive drier conditions.

The team also found that bigger trees – predominantly canopy species in the upper levels of the forests – are outcompeting smaller plants. The team’s observations confirms the belief that canopy species would be climate change “winners” as they benefit from increased carbon dioxide, which can allow them to grow more quickly. This further suggests that higher carbon dioxide concentrations also have a direct impact on rainforest composition and forest dynamics – the way forests grow, die and change.

In addition, the study shows that pioneer trees – trees that quickly spring up and grow in gaps left behind when trees die – are benefiting from the acceleration of forest dynamics.

The findings highlight the need for strict measures to protect existing intact rainforests. Deforestation for agriculture and livestock is known to intensify the droughts in this region, which is exacerbating the effects already being caused by global climate change.

Wildlife

Lions Suspected In Drowning Of 400 Buffaloes In Botswana

More than 400 buffaloes believed to have been chased by lions drowned in a river in northern Botswana this week. The mass drowning occurred in Chobe River near the border with Namibia.

Early investigations by authorities in both countries “suggest that an exceptionally large buffalo herd was grazing in Namibia when they stampeded into the Chobe River,” Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in a statement late Wednesday. “Initial indications are that they were being chased by a pride of lions,” the ministry said. “It is estimated that more than 400 animals drowned due to the massive movement of buffalo trampling, and falling from steep river banks.”

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 31 October – 6 November 2018

Sarychev Peak | Matua Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that an ash explosion at Sarychev Peak was last noted on 10 October and a thermal anomaly was last identified on 15 October. The volcano was quiet or obscured by clouds during 16-31 October. KVERT lowered the Aviation Colour Code to Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 31 October-5 November there were very small events recorded at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater. Plumes rose 500-1,200 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).