Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.3 earthquake hits offshore Maule, Chile.

5.1 earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Riley), located approximately 345 nm northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – Update – Aerial view of destroyed facilities after the collapse of a dam, near the town of Brumadinho in southeastern Brazil, on January 25 2019. A dam collapse unleashed a torrent of mud on a riverside town and surrounding farmland, killing 37 people, destroying houses and leaving 250 people missing. Firefighters on Sunday called for the evacuation of about 24,000 people from the Brazilian town as continuing rains added to concerns a second dam could collapse.

Unnamed

Philippines – Nearly 20,000 individuals fled their homes in the Davao Region as the trough or extension of a low pressure area triggered floods and landslides. At least one person reportedly died in the floods. A total of 58 barangays across the Davao Region implemented forced evacuation for around 4,116 families.

Australia – Update – Communities were cut off, farmers stranded and cows washed offshore as heavy rain pelted north-east Australia on Sunday (Jan 27), with one major river breaking 118-year-old floodwater records. The Bureau of Meteorology said Queensland’s Daintree River rose to 12.6m – a level not seen in over a century – and local authorities warned that some residents in remote areas could be cut off for days. The heritage listed Daintree Rainforest received more than 300mm of rain in just 24 hours and Northern Queensland is bracing for monsoonal conditions for the rest of the week.

Global Warming

Retreating Ice Exposes Arctic Landscape Unseen for 120,000 Years

Screen Shot 2019 01 28 at 3 08 41 PM

The retreat of Arctic glaciers on Baffin Island is exposing landscapes that haven’t seen the sun for nearly 120,000 years.

These rocky vistas have very likely been covered in ice since the Eemian, a period in which average temperatures were up to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than present, and sea levels up to 30 feet (9 meters) higher.

The island is ringed with dramatic fjords, but its interior is dominated by high-elevation, relatively flat, tundra plains. These tundra plains are covered with thin ice caps. Because the landscape is so flat, the ice caps don’t flow and slide like typical glaciers. Instead, they simply sit on the underlying rock and soil, preserving everything beneath them like the glass of a museum case.

What’s preserved includes tiny Arctic plants and mosses that were last alive when the ice enveloped the land. As the ice melts, it exposes this ancient, delicate vegetation. Wind and water destroy the long-lost plants within months, but if researchers can get to them first, they can use radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the vegetation. The samples were at least as old as the oldest age that radiocarbon dating can detect: 40,000 years. That’s a direct indication that the plants had been under ice for at least that long.

Screen Shot 2019 01 28 at 3 12 41 PM

Over 70,000 march for the climate in Brussels

At least 70,000 people marched on January 27 in Brussels, braving the cold and rain to urge politicians to uphold their promises on countering climate change.

Chanting and holding placards with slogans such as, “Stop denying the Earth’s dying” and “What I stand for is what I stand on,” demonstrators walked through the streets of the Belgian capital towards the European Parliament building to send a message about climate change to European lawmakers.

Protests Across France Call for Action on Climate Change

Thousands gathered in Paris and across France on Sunday to denounce political inaction on battling climate change.

More than 100 demonstrations were planned across France for a weekend of action on the environment. Organisers called on people to come together to discuss practical ideas on how to advance an agenda that would halt or at least slow global warming.

Hundreds of people battled heavy rain and winds in Paris to attend a protest at Place de la République that included representatives from NGOs, scientists and activists as well as the general public.

Throughout the afternoon moderators will run workshops exploring how to make the planet greener and how lawsuits can be an effective tool against climate change. More than 2 million people signed a petition in December to sue the French government for not doing enough to combat climate change, France’s most successful petition ever.

Germany Sets Goal to End Coal Use by 2038

In a pioneering move, a German government-appointed panel has recommended that Germany stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2038 at the latest, as part of efforts to curb climate change.

Germany gets more than a third of its electricity from burning coal, generating large amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Tasmania

Emergency services in Tasmania are battling 72 separate bushfires. Smoke from Tasmania’s numerous bushfires is being spotted as far away as New Zealand as parts of the state remain at threat from blazes up to 20,000 hectares in size. The greatest threat on Monday was posed by an “erratic” fire burning near Geeveston, southwest of Hobart, where about 400 people have evacuated their homes.

Disease

Lassa Fever – Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, last week Tuesday January 22, 2019 confirmed 16 deaths from 60 cases of Lassa fever even as 590 out of 593 contacts are currently under watch in eight states of the federation. The affected states are Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, and FCT. Case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 26.7 percent.