Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits eastern Xizang, China.

5.1 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.1 earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Reykjanes ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 05p (Owen), located approximately 401 nm north-northwest of Cairns, Australia, is tracking eastward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Canada – Heavy rains continued to cause mayhem in Metro Vancouver. Pounding rains caused a Burnaby creek to overflow, flooding streets, and a small landslide came down on the SkyTrain’s Millennium Line. A rockslide was also reported overnight on the Sea to Sky Highway, near Horseshoe Bay. Up to nine centimetres of rain is expected to fall by Friday morning.

Global Warming

Satellite spies methane bubbling up from Arctic permafrost

For the first time, scientists have used a satellite to estimate how much methane is seeping into the atmosphere from Arctic lakes. Preliminary data presented this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Washington DC help to explain long-standing discrepancies between estimates of methane emissions from atmospheric measurements and data collected at individual lakes.

As icy permafrost melts to form lakes, microbes break down organic matter in the thawing ground beneath the water and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Researchers have measured the amount of methane seeping out of hundreds of lakes, one by one, but estimating emissions across the Arctic remains a challenge. Understanding how much methane is being released by these lakes is crucial to predicting how much permafrost emissions could exacerbate future climate change.

The results suggest that previous research over-estimated how much methane was coming from many large lakes, partly because scientists have spent more time studying smaller lakes with relatively high emissions.

In a 2,000-square-kilometre area around the Barrow Peninsula in northern Alaska, for instance, the research team calculated that lakes release an average of 0.6 grams of methane per square metre of water surface each year — which equates to around 141 kilograms of methane per square kilometre. That is about 84% lower than some previous estimates based on measurements at individual lakes, but lines up well with estimates based on atmospheric measurements.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) in Nullagine, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 56.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 48.9 degrees Celsius) at Tombo, Siberia.

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.

Volcanos

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

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that at least two events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 3-10 December, producing plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Copahue | Central Chile-Argentina border : The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 6 December a pilot observed ash from Copahue at an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash was not visible in satellite data and could not be confirmed by unavailable webcams. An ash emission observed by a pilot and identified in satellite images on 7 December rose to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 4-11 December ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted mainly W, SW, and SE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 30 November-7 December that sent ash plumes to 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted E, causing ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk on 30 November, and 1 and 4 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that during 3-9 December activity at Etna was characterized by gas emissions at the summit craters, with periodic Strombolian activity from vents in Bocca Nuova, Northeast Crater (NEC), and New Southeast Crater (NSEC). Strombolian explosions at the cone in NSEC became more frequent on 4 December. In addition, lava effusion became continuous with small overlapping flows traveling about 500 m down the E flank of the cone. Incandescent blocks generated by the lava flows rolled to the base of the cone, and occasional small collapses produced minor ash plumes. Strombolian activity and occasional ash emissions were characteristic of vents in the W part of Bocca Nuova’s (BN-1) crater floor. Gas emissions at Voragine Crater continued from a vent on the E rim of the crater, and Strombolian explosions were evident at NEC.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that on 11 December an ash plume from Ibu rose to 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l., according to the Darwin VAAC. Weather clouds prevented views of the plume in satellite data. 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 lava at Kilauea’s Fissure 8 cone was last visible on 4 September, signaling the end of the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruptive phase. Consequently, the end of the LERZ eruption also marks the end of the over-arching, on-going eruption at Kilauea that began at the East Rift Zone (ERZ) in 1983. That determination was made by HVO in part by using the Global Volcanism Program guideline that an eruption should be considered over on the date of the last eruptive activity, and when there has not been renewed activity in the following three months. HVO noted that geophysical data continued to show magma being supplied to Kilauea, including the refilling of the middle ERZ, and reminded the public that Kilauea remains an active volcano. As of 4 December the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory and the Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that events at Anak Krakatau were recorded at 0711 on 7 December, at 1050 on 9 December, and 1413 on 10 December. The event on 9 December generated a dense black ash plume that rose 700 m above the summit and drifted N.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 30 November-6 December the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater grew at a rate of 2,200 cubic meters per day. By 6 December the volume of the dome, based on photos taken from the SE, was an estimated 344,000 cubic meters. White emissions of variable density rose a maximum of 150 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported that at 0313 on 7 December an explosion at Nevados de Chillán was recorded by the seismic network, and produced a high-temperature emission of gas and tephra recorded by a webcam. The Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-colour scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that an average of 17 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 3-9 December. Long-period seismic events were recorded, and hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km E and SW. MIROVA detected seven thermal anomalies, and on 6 December the sulfur-dioxide gas flux was high at 3,600 tons per day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images on 30 November, 1 December, and 3-4 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported continuing activity at Turrialba during 5-11 December. A minor emission from the vent was visible on 5 December, and an ash emission drifted S the next day. An event at 0749 on 8 December produced an ash plume that rose 500 m and drifted NW. Emissions of ash, steam, and gas rose as high as 1 km on 9 December and caused ashfall in areas of Valle Central. On 10 December diffuse emissions were periodically observed during periods of clear viewing. That same day ash fell in Moravia (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and residents of Heredia (38 km W) noted a sulfur odor.

Veniaminof | United States : AVO reported that on 2 December satellite data revealed that a third lobe of lava from the cone in Veniaminof’s ice-filled summit caldera had traveled a short distance down the SE flank of the cone. All three lobes produced sometimes voluminous steam plumes due to their interaction with the ice and snow. The eruption of lava continued during 4-5 December. Satellite and webcam data showed elevated surface temperatures. Steam plumes with possible diffuse ash were periodically identified in webcam and satellite images. On 6 December seismicity changed from nearly continuous, low-level volcanic tremor to intermittent, small, low-frequency events and short bursts of tremor, possibly indicating that lava effusion had slowed or stopped. Variable seismicity continued through 12 December, though there was no visual confirmation of lava effusion. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale) and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch (the second highest level on a four-level scale).