Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits the central Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.2 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore El Salvador.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Super Typhoon 02w (Wutip), located approximately 304 nm west-northwest of Andersen AFB, Guam, is tracking northward at 03 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 16p (tc) (Sixteen), located approximately 235 nm southwest of Avata, Samoa, is tracking southward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

USA – Residents are using boats to reach flooded-out neighborhoods and schools are shut down after days of torrential rains in north Alabama. The National Weather Service says many areas got around 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain last week, and some spots received more than 12 inches (30 centimeters). The city of Decatur says water levels already have exceeded 100-year levels and could rise another 2 feet (0.6 meters). Schools are closed in at least a half-dozen systems in the region.

Global Warming

Climate Change Could Make Common Clouds Extinct, Which Would Scorch the Planet

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If humanity pumps enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, one of Earth’s most important types of cloud could go extinct. And if the stratocumulus clouds — those puffy, low rolls of vapor that blanket much of the planet at any given moment — disappear, Earth’s temperature could climb sharply and radically, to heights not predicted in current climate models. That’s the conclusion of a paper published today (Feb. 25) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Clouds have long been one of the great uncertainties of climate models. Clouds are complicated, small and fast-changing. Computer models that easily capture the complexity and detail of most climate systems just aren’t powerful enough to predict worldwide shifts in cloud behavior.

But clouds are important. They dye a wide swath of the atmosphere white, as seen from space, reflecting sunlight away from Earth’s surface. And stratocumulus clouds are an important part of that picture; they’re those white blankets you might have seen as you looked out the window of an airplane, rolling out below you and hiding the ground. Researchers suspect that certain sudden, past jumps in temperature may have been caused by changes to clouds like these.

And once the stratocumulus clouds are gone, Wolchover reported, they likely wouldn’t reappear until atmospheric carbon dioxide levels dropped below where they are currently.

Evidence for Man-Made Global Warming Hits ‘Gold Standard’

Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a “gold standard” level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said Monday.

“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the U.S.-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years.

They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth’s surface had reached a “five-sigma” level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Kenya

Kenya Forest Services (KFS) has mobilized it’s human and equipment assets to assist in putting out a huge fire that is fast spreading in Mt Kenya Forest. The 6km long forest fire line has moved from Lake Ellis area towards Lake Alice and Marania spreading to the moorlands an area under Kenya Wildlife Service.

Disease

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer – Kansas

Officials with the Kansas wildlife department released new numbers of the monitoring of the prevalence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Kansas deer in an update and what they report is of the 360 deer tested this year to date, 37 were confirmed positive for the transmissible spongiform encephalopathie (TSE).