Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.4 earthquake hits the Bougainville Region, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Santa Cruz, Argentina.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore El Salvador.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain,Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Iran – Update – Iran has ordered the evacuation of about 70 villages in the south-western province of Khuzestan due to a growing risk of floods. The orders come as Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused US sanctions of impeding aid efforts to affected areas. US sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year have caused a shortage of rescue helicopters. Storms forecast for the coming days are predicted to affect the west and southwest of the country. Tens of thousands of people have already been displaced, with many being housed in emergency shelter, according to state media.

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Global Warming

The Effects Of Global Warming Have Reached The World’s Southernmost Coral Reefs

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Previously unaffected areas have also started exhibiting damage now. One such area was the southern parts of Australia, house to the world’s largest coral reef. Bleaching is not the same as dying but, the health of the coral is definitely under extra stress and can lead to eventual death.

This is exactly what has been spotted in the corals near Lord Howe Island, which is 600 km away from the coast of Sydney. This area was previously undamaged from the effects of global warming when the Great Barrier Reef faced severe bleaching in 2017. These are the southernmost coral reefs along the Australian coast and researchers have found them to be around 90% bleached already.

The corals in the deeper regions of the marine park were relatively healthier and didn’t exhibit any bleaching. These effects are also elevated due to the onslaught of summer in the southern hemisphere. The extent of damage is still within the realm of recovery and the scientists will be returning to Lord Howe Island to evaluate if these corals have any chance of recovery. If the water temperatures drop, the corals can recover back to a healthier state, and be attractive for algae to populate them once again.

So technically, there is still hope for these corals to flourish. But if history is any indication, we haven’t really been successful at restoring and undoing the damage caused by global warming, the Great Barrier Reef posing as a poster boy for that statement. At the end of the day, this is another reminder for us, humans, to urgently take up practices that don’t put so much strain on the planet.

Changing snow harms Arctic wildlife

Snow is crucial to survival for Arctic wildlife. But climate change is altering the extent, timing and properties of Arctic snow and little is known about the detail of these changes.

In November 2013 tens of thousands of reindeer starved to death after a “rain on snow” event in Russia’s Yamal peninsula. Just as the reindeer reached their winter foraging grounds, rain created a layer of ice, preventing the reindeer from scraping away the snow to reach the vegetation beneath. It was a classic case of “the wrong kind of snow” and was hard to detect remotely.

Such events are anticipated to become more frequent as climate changes but our knowledge is limited because it’s tricky to observe them directly. Scientists describe three case studies.

For polar bears it’s snow drifts that matter. “In the winter the females den up to have their pups – on sea ice or on land – and the main condition is a sufficient accumulation of snow on the lee side of a ridge of a particular size.

Dall sheep, a species endemic to the mountain ranges of Alaska, seek out wind-exposed patches of vegetation along ridge-lines during the depths of winter. Trends of increased winter precipitation may put the sheep at risk, with the snow too deep to have enough of these windblown “holes”.

Caribou in central Canada undertake their massive spring migration a few weeks before snowmelt begins in earnest. They time their arrival at their calving grounds for when the snowmelt is about to start so that “greening up” of the landscape is imminent. Exactly which cues caribou use to determine when to start their journey isn’t known, but it’s likely they take note of snow depth and hardness.

The scientists propose further studies to better understand the relationship between existing snow patterns and the wildlife that rely on the snow for their survival.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – China

China’s government said on Tuesday that at least 30 people have died fighting a wildfire high in the mountains of the country’s Sichuan province. The blaze was contained on Tuesday as smoke continued to lift into sky from the smoldering forest.

The victims included 27 firefighters and three local residents that were recruited to help battle the blaze, which erupted on Saturday, March 30.

Over 15,000 are battling a forest fire in the country’s Shanxi province. More than 4,600 residents have been evacuated to safety in the region.

Wildfires – Thailand

Wildfires and crop burning are blanketing the region with smog. Chiang Mai’s air quality index was 379, the worst major urban reading globally and a level that’s hazardous, according to IQAir AirVisual pollution data.