Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Shikoku, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Texas, USA – Heavy rain and flooding forced schools to close in the Houston area Friday after an overnight deluge swamped the nation’s 4th-largest city. The sodden city was at the epicenter of a sprawling storm system that brought soaking rain to much of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In all, some 21 million people live where flooding is possible Friday and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The rains stem from a cold front in the western Gulf that is setting up a multi-day period of heavy, excessive rainfall.

Indonesia – The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said on Thursday that a tropical cyclone emerging from the Banda Sea in Maluku, called Lili, hit several villages hard in the form of severe rain and strong wind. Water as deep as 1.5 meters on average had reportedly inundated three villages in three separate districts in the province: Laitutun village in Letti Island district, Tounwawan in Moa Lakor and Luang Timur in Mdona Hiera. No casualties were reported in the disaster, but scores of houses and a number of public facilities were damaged. TC Lili has since dissipated, but the system is still expected to bring further rain to the area.

Global Warming

Climate Change – The Basics

The term, climate change is used to describe a long-term change in global temperatures and weather patterns.

The earth’s temperature has changed drastically in its 4.5 billion year history, from the Huronian Ice Age that covered vast portions of the planet in ice for nearly 300 million years, to a period about 50 million years ago, when scientists believe that palm trees and crocodiles were native above the Arctic Circle.

Today, climate change is commonly used as a term to describe the effects of global warming that have occurred as a result of human activity following the industrial revolution in the 18th century.

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Earth’s atmosphere is full of gases. Some gases, including nitrogen and oxygen — that together accounts for 99% of the gas in the atmosphere do not absorb heat from the sun, allowing it to reflect back into space from the Earth’s surface.

Other gases, known as greenhouse gases — including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — absorb heat and make up roughly 0.1% of the atmosphere. When these gases absorb solar energy, they radiate it back towards the planet’s surface and to other gas molecules, creating the greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect plays an important role in naturally regulating the temperature of our climate. Without it the Earth’s average temperature would -18C. That’s roughly the temperature of a domestic freezer.

Since the industrial revolution the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been increasing as a result of human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation and modern farming practices. Which means more greenhouse effect, and more heating.

A 2013 report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body of climate scientists, found that the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration had risen by 40% since the industrial revolution, resulting in earth’s temperature increasing by 1C.

In 2018, the IPCC released a stark report on the effects of a 1.5C temperature increase. These include more extreme weather conditions, sea-level rising, the destruction of coastal ecosystems, loss of vital species and crops, population displacement and a huge cost to the global economy.

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In 2018, the United Nations warned that without urgent action global temperatures are set to rise above 3C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.

At that temperature the outlook begins to look even worse — Entire cities could be swallowed by the rising oceans, species of plants and animals face extinction as their ecological systems fail to adapt to the heat, and hundreds of millions of people could be forced to migrate due to coastal flooding, longer-lasting draughts and depleting crop yields.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Maldives

The Health Protection Agency, Ministry of Health, Maldives is reporting a 200 percent increase in dengue fever cases thus far in 2019 compared to the same period last year. Official data shows 1,912 cases of dengue were reported by the end of last month. This compares with 539 cases reported during the same period in 2018.

Rift Valley Fever – Mayotte – Update

Health officials with the prefecture of Mayotte, ARS Indian Ocean and the Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Forestry of Mayotte (DAAF) reminds the public of the importance of prevention measures to protect against Rift Valley fever (RVF) as it continues to circulate on the island. During the past 2 weeks, 10 new animal foci and 4 new human cases have been reported, a total of 119 animal foci and 130 human cases, since the first cases occurred at the end of November 2018.