Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.6 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.6 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

5.4 earthquake hits the Alamagan region in the North Mariana Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 earthquake hits central California.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Chantal is located about 765 mi…1225 km w of the Azores with maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h. Present movement…se or 140 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm (td) 12w (Bailu), located approximately 417 nm south-southeast of Taipei, Taiwan, is tracking northwestward at 10 knots.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Ivo is located about 455 mi…735 km sw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…60 mph…95 km/h. Present movement…nnw or 330 degrees at 10 mph…17 km/h.

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Radioactive Spike

Tiny amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in the air along Norway’s border with Russia following a deadly explosion that occurred during a secret rocket engine test in northern Russia’s Arkhangelsk region.

Russia’s meteorological agency said radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk spiked by up to 16 times following the nearby blast.

U.S. experts believe Russia was testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile when the explosion occurred, killing five research staff and military personnel.

Four of the five stations in Russia that scan for radionuclide particles in the air for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization went silent for days following the blast.

Rain Tree

A team of Chinese and international researchers say they have developed an inexpensive solar-powered “tree” that desalts enough water each day from the sea to provide clean drinking water for at least three people per “leaf.”

The scientists say roots made of cotton fibers soak up water and send it up a metal stem, where leaves made of black-carbon paper convert sunlight into heat.

After the water is heated by the leaves to nearly 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting water vapor is cooled and condensed back as fresh water.

The technology could be deployed in small communities or on remote islands to help ease water shortages.


Wildlife summit votes down plan to allow sale of huge ivory stockpile

An attempt to allow a huge sale of stockpiled elephant ivory has been defeated at an international wildlife conference. The rancorous debate exposed deep divisions between African nations with opposing views on elephant conservation.

About 50 elephants are still being poached every day to supply ivory traffickers and all countries agree the world’s largest land animal needs greater protection. But southern African nations, which have some of the largest elephant populations, want to allow more legal sales of ivory to fund conservation and community development. But 32 other African nations argue all trade in elephants must end, including the trophy hunting legal in some states.

The new sale proposal was comprehensively voted down by 101 votes to 23.

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Giraffes to be protected as endangered species for the first time

The Cites nations did give new protection to the giraffe by voting to end the unregulated international trade in the animal’s parts.

There are fewer giraffes alive than elephants and their population has plunged by 40% since 1985 to just 97,500. However, this debate also exposed the same north-south divide in the continent.

The proposal was passed when countries voted by 106 to 21.

New Mexico proposes ban on wildlife trapping near cities

New restrictions on wildlife foot traps and wire snares were proposed Thursday by regulators seeking to resolve conflicts over trapping traditions and evolving attitudes about animal suffering.

The New Mexico Game and Fish agency outlined a proposal to ban traps and snares on select tracts of public lands outside of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Taos, along with a half-mile no-trapping buffer at officially recognized hiking trailheads.

The proposal includes mountainous areas east of Albuquerque that are popular for outdoor recreation, along with swaths of national forest along mountain highways leading to ski areas near Santa Fe and Taos. Trappers would be required to attend training. Also, design specifications for traps and snares are being suggested to reduce the risk of animals being maimed by snares and to ensure they don’t walk away with traps attached.

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Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) in Basra, Iraq.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 107.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 77.2 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok base, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.


Wildfires – Australia

Firefighters are working to contain a bushfire north of Brisbane but have warned they may not be able to protect every property in the semi-rural area and conditions could get worse.

Meanwhile Pilots flying over Bribie Island’s northwestern beaches were met by a heartbreaking scene this afternoon. Numbers of dead kangaroos were spotted from the air. They had been killed fleeing the bushfires. The bushfires at Bribie Island engulfed campsites on Wednesday and Thursday, with water bombers deployed from helicopters top douse the remaining flames today.


Wildfires – Bolivia

Bolivian authorities warned this week that 70% of the department of Santa Cruz — where more than a quarter of the country’s population lives — is under “extreme risk” from forest fires.

According to the government, nearly 500,000 hectares of forest have now been turned into ashes.

According to Brazil’s space research centre (INPE), 72,843 fires have hit the country’s side of the Amazon — an 83% increase on last year and the highest number registered since records began in 2013. The smokes from the wildfires on Wednesday caused an hour-long blackout in Sao Paulo, located 2,700 kms away.

Greenpeace has blamed the record number of wildfires in the Brazilian Amazon on deforestation. It also warned that it could have severe meteorological consequences for the region but also for the globe.

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Anthrax – Armenia

Armenia health ministry officials reported three additional human cutaneous anthrax cases in the village of Geghhovit, Gegharkunik Province, bringing the total cases to eight. All the patients are receiving treatment, the ministry said. The Food Safety Inspectorate has reported the outbreak has been linked to a single unvaccinated, diseased cow.

West Nile Virus – Las Vegas, USA

In the Las Vegas/Clark County area, health officials have declared an outbreak of West Nile virus (WNV) after receiving reports of 28 cases of the disease in humans – the highest case count in a season since the virus was first detected in the state in 2004.

African Swine Fever – South Africa

Gauteng officials have warned farmers of a new outbreak of African swine fever, after it was detected in an informal set up in the Swaniesville area. A group of about five pig owners were affected. There are around 1 000 pigs in the area and the culling process was still pending.


Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 14 August – 20 August 2019

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 13-16 August crater incandescence at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was occasionally visible in webcams at night. A small eruptive event was recorded on 18 August. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that increased eruptive activity at Asosan that began on 28 July paused at 1110 on 16 August. An eruptive event was recorded at 1627 on 18 August; elevated eruptive activity continued at least through 19 August. The Tokyo VAAC reported that the eruptive event on 18 August produced an ash plume that rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes rose to 1.5-2.1 km (5,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N and NW during 19-20 August. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 14-20 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, N, NE, and E. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 10-16 August that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images on 10 and 12 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1107 on 14 August an ash plume from Ibu rose at least 800 m above the summit and drifted N. Seismicity was characterized by an explosion signal and earthquakes indicating rock avalanches. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea : Based on satellite data and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 19 August an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 12-18 August lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main and Dua craters. Avalanches of material traveled 1-1.5 km SW down the Nanitu and Pangi drainages, as far as 1.4 km down a drainage W of Pangi, and as far as 1.8 km down the Sense drainage. Sometimes dense white plumes rose to 500 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 11-12 and 15 August. Volcanologists doing fieldwork on 14 August observed explosions and ash plumes that rose to 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. Satellite images showed ash plumes drifting S and SE that same day. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was visible in satellite images during 13-14 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 12-18 August the lava-dome volume at Merapi did not change and was an estimated 461,000 cubic meters, based on analyses of drone images. Extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the SE flank, generating a total of two block-and-ash flows that traveled as far as 950 m down the Gendol drainage on 13 and 14 August. Diffuse white plumes rose as high as 100 m above the summit on some days. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to stay outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported multiple explosions at Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater during 14-20 August, each associated with long-period earthquakes. Two explosions on 14 August, at 0000 and 0029, produced gas emissions and ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An explosion at 1200 on 16 August produced a grayish ash plume that rose 110 m. Another explosion was detected at 1625 on 17 August. A grayish gas plume from an explosion at 1343 on 18 August rose 400 m, and an explosion at 1938 on 20 August ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. The Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián, and stated that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the SW flank and 5 km away on the ENE flank.

Piton de la Fournaise : OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise that began on the E part of l’Enclos Fouqué at 1620 on 11 August paused for about four hours beginning around 0420 on 15 August; tremor and deep earthquakes indicating magma movement continued to be detected. Lava fountaining resumed at 0830 at two vents residing along the second fissure at 1,500 m elevation, producing flows that did not extend beyond 500 m in length. The lava-flow front from the main flow did not advance past 600-650 elevation. Activity ceased around 2200 on 15 August.

Poas | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that an eruptive event from vent A (Boca Roja) at Poás generated a 1-km-high plume of steam, gas, and fine particulates at 0650 on 17 August. The event was preceded by an increase in tremor amplitude starting at 0500 that same day.

Sabancaya | Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that an average of 25 low-to-medium intensity explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 12-18 August. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 3 km above the summit and drifted SE, S, and SW. There were eight thermal anomalies identified in satellite data. The Alert Level remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale) and the public were warned to stay outside of a 12-km radius.

Sangeang Api | Indonesia : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 14-20 August intermittent ash plumes from Sangeang Api were identified in satellite images rising to 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and quickly dissipating to the N, NW, W, and SW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch’s lava dome was identified daily in satellite images during 9-16 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).