Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 earthquake hits Colorado, USA.

5.0 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 17s (Haleh), located approximately 950 nm east of St Denis, Reunion, is tracking south-southwestward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Colombia – Heavy rains and flooding have been affecting the Colombian department of Chocó since last week, provoking the overflow of the Rivers San Juan, Iró, Condoto, Cértegui and Quito. More than 3 000 families in at least six municipalities (Condoto, Tadó, Cértegui, Andagoya, Río Iró e Istmina) are affected. According to the Red Cross, which is already providing support to the victims, these floods have caused severe damage to both residential and commercial areas. The damages could be more serious, since some rural areas in the same department have not been monitored yet.

Global Warming

Ocean heatwaves devastate wildlife

Invisible to people but deadly to marine life, ocean heatwaves have damaged ecosystems across the globe and are poised to become even more destructive, according to the first study to measure worldwide impacts with a single yardstick.

The number of marine heatwave days has increased by more than 50 percent since the mid-20th century, researchers reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Sustained spikes in sea-surface temperatures can also have devastating consequences. A 10-week marine heatwave near western Australia in 2011, for example, shattered an entire ecosystem and permanently pushed commercial fish species into colder waters.

Corals have been the marquee victims of shallow-water heatwaves, and face a bleak future. Even if humanity manages to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius — mission impossible, according to some scientists — up to 90 percent of corals are likely to die, the UN’s top climate science body said in October.

But other bedrock species have suffered too: the 2011 surge of heat killed off large swathes of seagrass meadows and kelp forests, along with the finfish and abalone that depend on them.

Another ocean hot spell off the coast of California warmed waters by 6 C (10.8 F) and lasted for more than a year. Known at “The Blob”, it generated toxic algae blooms, caused the closure of crab fisheries, and led to the death of sea lions, whales and sea birds.

As manmade global warming heats the planet, oceans have absorbed some 90 percent of the extra heat generated. Without that heat sponge, air temperatures would be intolerably higher.

Wildlife

Russia’s Arctic plans add to polar bears’ climate woes

Last month’s visit by roaming polar bears that put a Russian village on lockdown may be just the beginning.

For as Moscow steps up its activity in the warming Arctic, conflict with the rare species is likely to increase.

More than 50 bears approached Belyushya Guba, a village on the far northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in February. As many as 10 of them explored the streets and entered buildings.

Local authorities declared a state of emergency for a week and appealed for help from Moscow.

Photos of the incident went viral, with some observers blaming officials for ignoring a sprawling garbage dump nearby where the animals feasted on food waste.

But polar bear experts say the main reason the Arctic predators came so close to humans was the late freezing of the sea. It was this that kept them from hunting seals and sent them looking for alternate food sources.

And as Russia increases its footprint in the Arctic, pursuing energy projects, Northern Passage navigation and strategic military interests, experts expect more clashes between humans and bears.

33b5159e96448f81181c708ac221d1ea

Disease

Measles – Dublin, Ireland

The Ireland Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed an outbreak of measles in north Dublin. Since the beginning of February, five cases, affecting adults and children, have been reported.

Measles – Madagascar – Update

While health authorities report seeing decreases in the number of measles cases in Madagascar in recent weeks, the numbers are still astounding (reporting more than 7,000 new cases in the most recent week). According to UN officials, since the beginning of September 2018, 82,905 cases have been reported in all 22 regions of the country. There is an attack rate of more than 3,100 per 100,000 population nationally. In addition, 926 deaths have been reported.

Measles – Philippines – Update

In a follow-up on the measles epidemic in the Philippines, government officials are now reporting 16,349 cases in all 17 regions through Mar. 2. In addition, the death toll to this epidemic is 261 through the first two months of the year.

Nipah Virus – Bangladesh

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Bangladesh is reporting that between February 9 and 24, five members of a family in Baliadanga upazila, Thakurgaon died after complaining of fever, headache, nausea, and pain in muscles and joints. The IEDCR reports one of them was found to have carried the deadly Nipah virus (NiV).

Anthrax – Australia

Victoria agricultural officials are responding to a confirmed incident of anthrax in sheep on a single property near Swan Hill. The Victorian Acting Chief Veterinary Officer said quarantine notices had been put in place until the necessary biosecurity requirements, including carcass disposal and site disinfection, were completed.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman

Between 12 and 18 February 2019, the National IHR Focal Point of Oman reported eight additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.