Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.7 earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Nias region, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Screen Shot 2019 03 12 at 12 11 39 PM

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 18s (Idai), located approximately 253 nm north-northeast of Europa Island, is tracking southwestward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – Intense rains that started Sunday and continued Monday in the Sao Paulo region in Brazil caused floods and mudslides that killed at least 12. According to G1, seven of the deaths were caused by drownings in roads in Ipiranga, Sao Caetano, Santo Andre and Sao Bernardo. Four were killed by mudslides in the Riberao Pires area. A child died in a mudslide in Embu das Artes. The rain is forecast to continue. Firefighters reported 601 areas flooded in Sao Paulo and 54 mudslides.

Global Warming

Planting Trees Not Enough

There is so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that solely planting trees won’t be enough to save humans from global warming, a study has revealed.

It was recently found that young trees can absorb carbon dioxide better than established tropical rainforests, which seemed to be a dose of good news.

But research has found there just isn’t enough space on earth to plant the amount of trees that would be required to make a real dent in our carbon emissions.

It has been calculated that if we planted 1.7 billion acres of trees, we could remove 3 billion tons of atmospheric carbon a year, according to Business Insider.

That’s about 10 percent of what humans emit every year, which can total up to 40 billion tons.

Scientists have looked at trees as a potential solution because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, using it to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure and function. Trees also release oxygen back into the atmosphere as a byproduct.

But 1.7 billion acres of trees would be equivalent to the entire contiguous US.

And planting that many trees would cover half the land that is used to farm crops worldwide, plus land we would need to eventually farm as populations continue to grow.

Thus, studies have found that this solution could actually lead to starvation of the human population.

9966784 6717881 image a 2 1550513843479

Wildlife

Africa’s rare carnivores face threats from disease-carrying dogs

The Ethiopian highlands, which stretch across much of central and northern Ethiopia, are home to some of Africa’s highest peaks. They’re also the last — the only — stronghold of the continent’s rarest carnivore: the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis).

Domestic and feral dogs are frequent carriers of rabies and distemper and can, in turn, pass these diseases on to wild animals. In the highlands, the dogs of herders are semi-feral, used more as an alarm system against leopards and spotted hyenas than as shepherds. They are not spayed or neutered, nor vaccinated, and they are left to their own devices to find food and water. That means they head out to hunt the same rodent prey as the wolves, bringing the two predators into contact with one another.

Diseases like rabies and distemper are particularly problematic for highly social species like Ethiopian wolves. If one member of a pack comes into contact with infected dogs, or with the remains of infected animals, while out hunting, it can spread the disease to the rest of the pack in a matter of days. If that pack encounters wolves from other packs, the disease can spread quickly through the entire population.

Wolf populations are always subject to cyclical crashes and recovery periods as diseases hit and packs rebound. But if another outbreak strikes before a pack has had a chance to recover, it is more likely to wipe out the pack altogether. Scientists worry that the one-two punch of a rabies outbreak immediately followed by a distemper outbreak, like the combination that occurred in both 2010 and 2015, is exactly the scenario that could lead to extinction.

1466355 jpg 990x0 q80 crop smart

Wildfires

Wildfires Destroying Forests Permanently in American West

Climate change in the American West may be crossing an ominous threshold, making parts of the region inhospitable for some native pine and fir forests to regrow after wildfires, new research suggests.

As temperatures rise, the hotter, drier air and drier soil conditions are increasingly unsuitable for young Douglas firs and ponderosa pines to take root and thrive in some of the region’s low-elevation forests, scientists write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wildfires in these areas could lead to abrupt ecosystem changes, from forest to non-forest, that would otherwise take decades to centuries.

The two iconic species are important to both the region’s forest ecology and its economy, particularly its timber industry.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)- Middle East

The World Health Organization’s regional office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO EMRO) reported a total of 76 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in the month of February. Officials say 68 of the cases were reported from Saudi Arabia with 10 associated deaths and 8 from were reported from Oman with 2 associated deaths.

Plague – Uganda

Zombo District, Uganda is located in the eastern part of the country bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Earlier this month, officials with the country’s health ministry reported two probable cases of pneumonic plague. The initial case has died.

Measles – Philippines

The measles epidemic in the Philippines has increased by some 2,200 cases in a five day span, according to the latest government numbers. From Jan. 1 through Mar. 7, 18,553 cases were reported, up from 16,349 reported on Mar. 2.

Hepatitis A – Florida, USA

The number of hepatitis A cases continue to rise in Florida, State health officials reported 232 additional cases in February 2019, bringing the outbreak total to 971 cases since last year.