Extinction Looms for Sumatran Rhino

Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhino has died, leaving just one of the rhinos, a captive female, in the entire country, a region that was once replete with the two-horned beasts.

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Global Warming

Global warming could enlarge world’s largest ocean dead zone

Climate modelling experts ran computer experiments to predict how the world’s largest oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), situated in the Arabian Sea, will react to future warming scenarios.1 First documented in the 1960s, the dimensions of the Arabian Sea’s dead zone, an area the size of Scotland, were only formally established a year ago by marine biologists who dispatched underwater robots.

The most recent simulation, led by Zouhair Lachkar from New York University Abu Dhabi’s Center for Prototype Climate Modelling, showed that an additional warming of 2°C to 4°C is bound to intensify the OMZ. This will further reduce marine habitats for fish species intolerant to hypoxic conditions, strain commercially important fisheries, and accelerate the release of toxic heat-trapping gas into the atmosphere.

Naturally occurring oxygen minimum zones exist in three other locations worldwide. They result from an imbalance between oxygen supply and loss. In any water body, atmospheric oxygen is injected and mixed by waves and eddies, and consumed by bacteria feeding on sinking and decomposing organic matter. Because the Arabian Sea is one of the most productive marine ecosystems, it generates large amounts of organic matter that is decomposed by bacteria, tipping the fragile oxygen balance towards anoxia.

The intensification of the oxygen minimum zone, especially nearer the surface, has huge impacts for local communities. When the low oxygen boundary gets shallower, fish communities are squeezed into a thinner layer. This puts a lot of stress on fisheries.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Albino Panda Spotted in the Wild for the First Time

Pandas are known for their furry black-and-white markings, so wildlife experts were stunned to see an all-white panda with red eyes tramping through a bamboo forest in China last month.

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Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Tanzania – Heavy rains were reported in Dar es Salaam, starting on 8 May 2019 to-date. The floods caused a significant impact to the people in Dar es salaam leading to damage of properties and livelihoods and putting the affected population at risk of diseases. The initial rapid assessment conducted by TRCS from May 20 to May 23rd, indicated that the heavy rains have caused serious flooding in Kinondoni, Temeke and Ilala municipalities of Dar es Salaam.

Georgia – On 12 May 2019, heavy rain and hail affected Kakheti Region of Georgia, mainly Lagodekhi, Akhmeta, Telavi and Dedoplistskaro municipalities. As a result of the heavy rain (125 mm), yards, entrances, basements and first floors of many houses and buildings were flooded. Furthermore, infrastructure, such as roads and bridges connecting the villages, riverbank protections, as well as agricultural lands and fruit trees have been destroyed. The overall population of the affected municipalities is approximately 147,800.

Arkansas, Oklahoma, USA – Residents in parts of Arkansas are preparing for what meteorologists predict will be the worst flooding in recorded history along parts of the Arkansas River over the coming week. Soaked areas of Oklahoma and Arkansas are forecast to receive more rain this week, increasing flooding concerns along the already swollen river. Tulsa County officials say some residents west of Tulsa already have evacuated their homes because of flooding. Downstream in Fort Smith, Ark., officials say flooding has closed roads and flooded buildings.



Wildfires – Russia

As the world watches wildfires tear through the Canadian countryside, a blaze more than twice the size rages on the other side of the world.

According to an exclusive analysis of satellite data, the seasonal forest fires in eastern Russia currently cover more than a million hectares of land — making it twice as big as the roughly 500,000-hectare blaze burning in the heart of Alberta oil country.

Reports from the Russian government have dramatically underplayed the scale of the abnormally severe Siberian wildfire, with officials claiming it is less than one tenth of its true size.

A report undertaken by Greenpeace suggests that at least 2 million hectares of forests were destroyed in Siberia last year due to “prescribed” burns getting out of control. Russian authorities have denied this.


Yellow Fever – Uganda

The Ugandan Ministry of Health declared a yellow fever outbreak earlier this month after laboratory confirmed cases were reported from Koboko and Masaka districts.

Anthrax – Guinea

Health officials in Guinea are reporting an anthrax outbreak in Koubia prefecture in the northwestern part of the country. A total of five human cases of anthrax ( four cutaneous anthrax and one gastrointestinal anthrax) including one death (case fatality ratio 20%) have been reported. The patients became ill after consuming infected goat meat.

Ukraine – Measles – Update

Ukraine health officials reported some 54,000 measles cases and before the end of May 2019, the number has nearly been reached. According to the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine during the past week, an additional 1483 cases were reported.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Kodiak Island region, Alaska.

5.5 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Missouri, USA – Cropland in southern Boone County is filled with floodwater after a levee was breached Sunday morning. The levee, located south of Easley and north of Wilton, has a nearly 300-foot-wide break. Thousands of acres of cropland are a total loss due to the flooding. There are about eight homes impacted by the flooding. Some residents will use all-terrain vehicles or boats to leave their houses.

Hong Kong – Heavy rain brought floods to the north of Hong Kong and sparked an amber warning, as forecasters projected three days of thunderstorms for the city from Monday.

The Observatory issued the amber rainstorm warning at 5am, after which police received five reports of floods in rural areas.

China – Heavy downpours recorded in southern China in several areas of Guangdong province with more than 480mm falling in some places. Several coastal cities in southern Guangdong province including Shenzhen, Zhongshan and Zhuhai – as well as Hong Kong and Macau – experienced more than 12 hours of heavy rainfall. his resulted in severe flash flooding in the port city of Zhuhai, which recorded maximum overnight rainfall of 482.8 millimetres (19 inches) in one area.

Space Events

A ‘hypersonic’ fireball hits Australia

A large meteor lit up the night skies as it passed over the south coast of Australia on Tuesday, May 21. According to NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the meteor entered the atmosphere at 11.5km per second or 25,724mph. The meteor then partially broke up and crash landed in the waters of the Great Australian Bight bay some 186 miles (300km) west-southwest of Mount Gambier. Before this happened, however, the fireball released enough energy in the sky to equal a “small nuclear bomb”.

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Asteroid with its own moon flies by Earth

An asteroid zipping by the Earth this weekend is so big, it has its own moon. Asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4 is a binary system – two asteroids orbiting each other. The larger is 1.5km across and resembles a spinning top or a muffin, and the smaller measures 500m.

Because of its size, 1999 KW4 is classified as potentially hazardous by the Minor Planet Center. But it poses no threat to Earth this time around, and will fly by just over 5 million kilometres away – close on an interplanetary scale, but far enough away we don’t need to worry.

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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – South Africa

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reported an additional confirmed Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) case in a 54-year-old man from the Ventersdorp surrounds, North West province in the first week of May 2019. This is the third case of CCHF reported in South Africa for 2019 to date.

Leptospirosis – Fiji

In a follow-up on the leptospirosis outbreak in Fiji in 2019, the Ministry of Health says eight deaths have been attributed to it in the Central Division since the beginning of the year.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

8.0 earthquake hits northern Peru.

A large earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.0 struck the Amazon jungle in north-central Peru early Sunday. The quake, at a moderate depth of 110 kilometers (68 miles) struck at 2:41 a.m., 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the village of Lagunas and 158 kilometers (98 miles) east-northeast of the larger town of Yurimaguas. There were no immediate reports of casualties, although some buildings collapsed and power cuts were reported in a number of cities. Earthquakes that are close to the surface generally cause more destruction. In Yurimaguas, a number of old houses collapsed, and the electricity was cut, according to the National Emergency Operations Center, which gave the magnitude of the quake as 7.2. In the capital, Lima, people ran out of their homes in fear.

5.7 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Afghanistan – The most recent rain storms started on Thursday and have hit large areas of Afghanistan, including the capital, Kabul. Floods have swamped communities where people had already been displaced by winter flooding. At least 24 people have died and 11 have been injured as a result of the most recent floods. Heavy snowfall during the winter has added to the recent flooding. More than 100 people have died in the last few months.

Oklahoma, USA – Officials on Saturday warned some Tulsa residents to prepare to head to higher ground because old levees holding back the swollen Arkansas River are stressed and more rain is expected for the flood-weary region. The river was four feet above flood stage on Friday and was already causing flooding in parts of Oklahoma’s second-largest city, including in south Tulsa where the murky brown water had inundated low-lying neighborhoods. Levees were built in the 1940s and haven’t had to hold back this much water since 1986. Officials also said they don’t expect the river to recede in Tulsa until Wednesday at the earliest.

Global Warming

Students Strike for Climate Change

Hundreds of thousands of students around the world walked out of their schools and colleges Friday in the latest in a series of strikes urging action to address the climate crisis. According to event organizers Fridays for Future, over 1664 cities across 125 countries registered strike actions, with more expected to report turnouts in the coming days.


Syphilis – Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland District Health Board is warning people of the increased danger of the transmission of syphilis amid an outbreak of the disease. So far this year, there have been 124 cases of the sexually-transmitted disease reported. Regional Public Health Service figures show 78 percent of cases reported in the last year were men. People who had contracted the disease were predominantly between the ages of 20 and 49.

Syphilis is a serious disease that, if left untreated over time, can affect the brain, spinal cord and other organs. The infection can also have a serious impact on unborn babies, leading to stillbirth or congenital syphilis, as well as potentially causing abnormalities such as blindness, deafness and meningitis.

Legionnaires Disease – Belgium

The Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Evergem area, Flanders, Belgium has reached 29 cases, according to Zorg en Gezondheid. Of the 29 patients infected, 10 of these people are at home, 17 patients are still in the hospital, 4 of whom are in intensive care (though not in danger). 2 people died.