Cholera – Yemen – Update
Health officials in Yemen reported another 18,000 cholera cases during the week ending May 5, bringing the total suspected cases to 668,891 through the first four months of the year. In addition, 1,081 cholera-associated deaths were reported during this period.
Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
6.1 earthquake hits the Panama-Costa Rica border.
5.3 earthquake hits central Peru.
5.1 earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.
5.1 earthquake hits east of Severnaya Zemlya, Russia.
5.1 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.
5.0 earthquake hits Fiji.
5.0 earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.
5.0 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 27p (Ann), located approximately 415 nm east-northeast of Cairns, Australia, is tracking westward at 14 knots.
USA – Heavy rains hit New Orleans and Houston over the weekend, flooding areas in and around the cities less than a month before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. The city of New Orleans said it issued a flash flood warning early Sunday morning before water began receding in some places.
CO2 in the atmosphere exceeds 415 parts per million
For the first time in human history carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has topped 415 parts per million, reaching 415.26 parts per million, according to sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory, a research outpost of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency on 11 May 2019.
The increasing proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is important because of its heat absorbing properties. The land and seas on the planet absorb and emit heat and that heat is trapped in carbon dioxide molecules. The NOAA likens CO2 to leaving bricks in a fireplace, that still emit heat after a fire goes out.
Oceans have been such comfortable homes to approximately 2.2 million species since hundreds of thousands of years. Thanks to overfishing, warming, pollution, plastics and other human pressures, now they are turning inhospitable. Apart from all these, there is another major threat to the marine life called the ‘ocean acidification’. It refers to the decreasing pH of ocean water due to the conversion of absorbed CO2 into carbonic acid.
The first victims of ocean acidification are the marine calcifying organisms with shells. Coral reefs, which cradle almost a quarter of marine biodiversity, are also severely affected by acidification. These reefs are formed by the accumulation of calcium carbonate skeletons secreted by the colonies of corals over time over which algae and protozoans grow, imparting beautiful colours to the coral reefs. Due to increased acidification and other reasons, these symbiotic organisms are expelled by the corals, revealing their white calcium carbonate skeleton underneath.
Wildfires – India
Massive forest fires have broken out in the jungles of Almora and Nainital districts. In Nainital district, wildfires have been raging in Bhimtal, Sattal and Devidhura areas; flames raging in inflammable pine jungles on Bhowali Road in the district have left environmentalists particularly worried. The state capital, too, has witnessed around 32 cases of forest fires in the last 11 days. More than 400 ha of forests have been destroyed by the fires which are caused by arsonists.