Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits Pakistan.

5.0 earthquake hits New Caledonia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Pagan region in the North Mariana Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 05p (Owen), located approximately 362 nm east-southeast of Darwin, Australia, is tracking eastward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

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Australia – Drivers trapped on the roofs of their cars have been dramatically airlifted to safety after becoming caught in rising floodwaters on the Hume Freeway as torrential rain lashes Victoria. Flash flooding also disrupted traffic in Melbourne.

Vietnam – The death toll from flooding in central Vietnam has risen to 14, state media reports say. Towns across central Vietnam began reporting rapid flooding beginning on Saturday as the region was hit by an unseasonal monsoon.

Global Warming

Climate Change will Strengthen El Niños

El Niños will be stronger and more frequent in the decades ahead because of global warming, causing “more extreme events” in the United States and around the world, a study said Wednesday.

A natural phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average seawater in the tropical Pacific Ocean, El Niño is Earth’s most influential climate pattern. A weak one is forecast to form at some point this winter, scientists have said.

Rather than once every 15 years, powerful El Niños will occur roughly once every 10 years. They found that the physical processes in the ocean and atmosphere that produce strong El Niños will be supercharged by human-caused climate change.

The entire natural climate cycle is officially known as El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which swings between warmer and cooler seawater in the tropical Pacific. Cooler-than-average ocean water is known as La Niña. The cycle is the primary factor government scientists consider when announcing their winter weather forecast.

Strong El Niños can lead to floods in the western United States, Ecuador and northeast Peru and to droughts in nations that border the western Pacific Ocean, the study finds.

During extreme El Niños, marine life in the eastern Pacific can die off, and mass bleaching of corals across the Pacific and beyond can occur.

Disease

Lassa Fever – Benin

Benin health officials announced this week of three Lassa fever cases (2 confirmed, 1 probable) reported in the municipality of Parakou in Borgou Department in the northern part of the country.

Chikungunya – Thailand – Update

Since our last report on the chikungunya outbreak, primarily in the southern provinces of Thailand one month ago, the number of cases has quadrupled from 538 to 2,143 cases through Dec. 10. No deaths have been reported.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 5 December – 11 December 2018

Manam | Papua New Guinea : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 6 December ash plumes from Manam were identified in satellite images rising to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SE. RVO noted that at 1215 on 8 December seismicity increased and indicated an eruption had begun, according to a news article. The eruption was characterized by forceful ash emissions, explosions that ejected lava fragments above the crater, and rumbling and roaring noises. Around 1300, based on pilot observations, information from RVO, and satellite images, large ash plumes rose as high as 15.2 km (50,000 ft) a.s.l and drifted E. Island reports noted that ejections of material ceased around 1900; audible noises ended around 1930. Satellite data indicated that ash from the high-altitude plume had begun to dissipate by 2020, and that on-going ash emissions rose to 8.2 km (27,000 ft) a.s.l. Island residents described heavy ashfall and that the sun was blocked by airborne ash, based on second-hand social media posts. News reports indicated that residents in Bokure and Kolang (NE and ENE flanks, respectively) had evacuated. Seismicity had declined by the end of the day. Dark ash plumes continued to be visible the next day, rising as high as 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting E, though were less frequent.

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 5-11 December white steam plumes periodically emitted from Mayon drifted mainly WSW. Crater incandescence was sometimes visible at night. A four-minute long event recorded by the seismic network began at 1224 on 9 December, and produced a grayish-brown ash plume that drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 0-5 scale) and PHIVOLCS reminded residents to stay away from the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the SSW and ENE flanks.