Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 127 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 116.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 48.9 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.

Disease

Typhoid Fever – Pakistan

Pakistan Health Authorities have reported an ongoing outbreak of extensively drug resistant (XDR) typhoid fever that began in the Hyderabad district of Sindh province in November 2016. From 1 November 2016 through 9 December 2018, 5 274 cases of XDR typhoid out of 8 188 typhoid fever cases were reported by the Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Unit (PDSRU) in Sindh province, Pakistan.

Viral Winds

Scientists determined that astounding numbers of viruses are swept up from Earth’s surface and blown around the world in the planet’s atmospheric circulation.

Researchers believe there are at least 800 million viruses per square yard from just above the surface to the stratosphere.

The global winds are spreading them and bacteria for thousands of miles, possibly from one continent to another.

The scientists say the bacteria and viruses become air- borne after winds pick them up in dust and sea spray.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.6 earthquake hits Carabobo, Venezuela.

5.4 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Myanmar,

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 35w (Thirty-five), located approximately 579 nm east-southeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking west-northwestward at 04 knots.

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Disease

Classical Swine Fever – Japan

In a follow-up on the initial outbreak report of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) in Japan in September, the first in 26 years, the Ministry of Agriculture reports a sixth farm outbreak of the year. The outbreak was confirmed on a pig farm in the city of Seki in Gifu Prefecture. The outbreak affected nearly 7,500 fattening and breeding pigs.

Foot and Mouth Disease – Bhutan

The movement of live animals and dairy products including meat from Nichula gewog in Dagana is strictly banned from yesterday after an outbreak of foot and mouth diseases (FMD) in cattle were reported from the gewog. The first case was reported on December 22 from Chakramari in Gangtokha chiwog and Maula herd in Nichula gewog. The notification states that the source of the outbreak is suspected to be from across the border area (Assam, India) as cross-border grazing is a common practice along the border.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits Sicily.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 35w (Thirty-five), located approximately 728 nm east-southeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking westward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Drought, Somalia – Parts of the Horn of Africa nation have not received rain for three consecutive years and, as a result, crops and livestock have perished. Many fear a repeat of the 2011 famine in which nearly 260,000 people died.

Wildlife

Climate change strands sea turtles on Cape Cod shores

At the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in a repurposed shipyard building south of Boston, the casualties of climate change swim in tanks as they recover after being pulled stunned from the beach.

Every year, as autumn turns to winter and ocean temperatures off Massachusetts drop below 10C (50F), dead, dying and stricken sea turtles wash up on the shores of Cape Cod as those shelled reptiles that have failed to migrate south start to die in the chilly waters.

In the 1980s, the number of sea turtles stranded on the shores of Cape Cod every year averaged in the dozens. That average went up through the 1990s and 2000s, but over the past decade it has risen dramatically: 2014 saw more than 1,200 turtles make landfall. This year, more than 790 sea turtles have washed up on Cape Cod so far. Some 720 of those are Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, a critically endangered species that nests on the shores of the much warmer Gulf of Mexico.

3500

Reindeer now smaller and lighter due to climate change

Reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland are concerned their prized animals are getting smaller because of climate change.

Finland’s reindeer population reaches 200,000 in the wintertime with around 1,500 herders relying on them for their livelihood, breeding Santa’s favourite animal for its meat, milk and fur. They are also a major tourist attraction with 300,000 people visiting the area annually for sleigh rides.

But climate change in the region — mean temperatures in Lapland have increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past 150 years — make it harder for reindeer to graze on their food as warmer winters mean more rain. Reindeer can’t dig the lichen from the ground through the ice.

Research conducted over 20 years on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago found that although reindeer numbers had doubled, their size and weight had decreased — mostly due to greater competition for food. The survey, released in 2016 by the James Hutton Institute, found that adult reindeers born in 1994 weighed 55kg while those born in 2012, weighed 48kg.

Meanwhile, the number of caribous or wild reindeer in the Arctic region has decreased by more than 50% since the mid-1980s, according to a report released earlier this month by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The study found that “climate indicators accounted for 54% of the variability in vital rates.”

Disease

African swine fever – China

China on Tuesday reported the third outbreak of African swine fever in Guangdong, the southern province that borders Hong Kong, in less than a week. In the latest incident, in Boluo county, Huizhou, 11 of 90 pigs on a farm were killed by the deadly disease, the agriculture ministry said. On Saturday, similar infections were found in 30 pigs on a farm of more than 6,000 in the Huangpu district of Guangzhou. Nine of the animals have since died of the illness. Local authorities responded by sealing off the area and slaughtering 6,027 hogs.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits the Komandorskiye Ostrova region, Russia.

5.4 earthquake hits the Komandorskiye Ostrova region, Russia.

5.3 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

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

5.0 earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Komandorskiye Ostrova region, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 35w (Thirty-five), located approximately 72 nm northeast of Koror, Palau, is tracking northwestward at 09 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 07s (Cilida), located approximately 696 nm southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 13 knots.

NewsBytes:

Indonesia – Indonesian rescuers on Tuesday used drones and sniffer dogs to search for survivors along the devastated west coast of Java hit by a series of tsunamis that killed at least 373 people, warning more victims are expected to be uncovered as the search expands. Thick ash clouds continued to spew from Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island where a crater collapse at high tide on Saturday sending tsunamis smashing into coastal areas on both sides of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java. At least 128 people remain missing. More than 1,400 people were injured, and thousands of residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday.

Global Warming

Climate change is destroying Lebanon’s biblical cedar trees

The cedar trees of Lebanon have survived for millennia. King Solomon is said to have used the tall, strong evergreens to build his temple in Jerusalem. The Phoenicians chopped them down to build ships, the ancient Egyptians to make paper.

But conservationists are warning the usually resilient trees are now facing the biggest threat to their existence – climate change. Today in the Chouf Biosphere Reserve south of the Lebanese capital Beirut, black branchless trunks jut from the ground where young, healthy ones once stood.

The cedars, which grow in Lebanon and a handful of other Mediterranean countries where they enjoy the high altitude and humid climate, are suffering from the longer, hotter summers and drier winters.

In the 1950s, it typically rained or snowed here 100 days a year or more. The relatively cool temperatures through winter would keep snow on the ground for months. However, the last few winters have seen an average of just 40-50. Temperatures, meanwhile, have risen 2 degrees.

The warming earth has encouraged greater numbers of sawflies, the Cephalcia tannourinensis, which burrow into the cedars’ trunks and feast on their needles. While the larvae first began to appear in the 1990s, they have previously gone unnoticed because their cycles did not interfere with the trees, now, the insects mostly target the relatively younger trees – those aged between 20-100 years. Last year, 170 trees dried up completely and died. It was like a fire had ravaged the forest.

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Disease

China reports new African swine fever outbreak in Fujian province

China’s agriculture ministry on Monday reported another new outbreak of African swine fever, this time in the southeastern province of Fujian, which has killed 11 pigs on a farm of 5,776 pigs.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.4 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.7 earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

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

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

5.1 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 07s (Cilida), located approximately 532 nm southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 12 knots.

NewsBytes:

Indonesia – The unt for survivors continues as the Indonesian tsunami death toll tops 280. More than 1 000 people were injured and the death toll is expected to rise further. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed by the wave that left a tangled mess of corrugated steel roofing, timber and rubble at Carita beach, a popular spot for day-trippers on the west coast of Java.

Sri Lanka – Over 45,000 people and 13,646 families have been affected by the recent floods in the Northern Province due to heavy rains and winds. Around 8,539 people have been given shelter at 52 relief camps and all the necessary food and medicinal supplies have been provided. One hundred and fifty-one houses have been partially damaged by the adverse weather. The affected areas had received a rainfall exceeding 350 mm causing flash floods in many places.