Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Cambodia – Since early September, Cambodia has experienced flooding along the Mekong River Basin and around the Tonle Sap Lake, which was triggered by heavy rainfall. 238 communes in 62 districts in 10 provinces have been affected. Current reports indicate that flood waters from the Mekong River have receded in many affected areas, though flash floods have affected areas around the Tonle Sap Lake. 93,319 households affected, 11,579 households displaced and 16 persons have died.

Chicago, USA – Heavy rain overnight has left many roads across the Chicago area flooded. Flash flooding was also an issue in Skokie. A number of residential streets were underwater, but water is now receding throughout the area.

Global Warming

Ozone Changes

The hole in stratospheric ozone that develops over Antarctica as the frozen continent emerges from winter is now acting in ways never before observed.

Scientists at Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service say the hole is not only about half as large as normally seen in September, but it has been off-center and far from the South Pole.

They point to a sudden and significant warming of the stratosphere over Antarctica during the month. This appears to have destabilized the process in which ozone has been destroyed since the now-banned chlorofluorocarbons began causing the ozone hole during the 1960s and 1970s.



Demand for charcoal threatens Madagascar’s forests

In the southwestern part of the country, charcoal is everywhere: sold on the side of major roads as well as next to coffee shops in remote villages. At about $1 for a sack the size of a large garbage bag, it is cheap even by Malagasy standards. But charcoal comes with a high environmental price that has to be paid by somebody.

Firewood, while not without its own environmental costs, typically entails collecting branches that are already dead and fallen. But to make charcoal people cut down living trees. They then burn the wood in a low-oxygen environment inside a kiln to turn it into nearly pure carbon that burns hotter, weighs less and lasts much longer than firewood — hence its popularity.

At least 15,000 hectares (37,100 acres) of dry forest located to the north and south of Toliara, the closest major city to Mikea Forest, are razed each year for fuelwood, according to the NGO World Wide Fund for Nature Madagascar. Much of this logging is done illegally.

Looking at 323,000 hectares of forest that includes Mikea National Park, the forest monitoring platform Global Forest Watch reports that approximately 37,000 hectares (91,400 acres) of tree cover was lost between 2001 and 2018 — nearly 11.5 percent of the total area.

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Earthworms vs Plastic

A new study finds that one of the world’s most common earthworms cannot thrive in ground polluted with high levels of microplastics.

Lead researcher Bas Boots of Britain’s Anglia Ruskin University says the finding adds to the growing body of evidence of how increasing plastic pollution is affecting the natural world.

“These effects include the obstruction and irritation of the digestive tract, limiting the absorption of nutrients and reducing growth,” Boots said.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) in Rafha, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 93.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 69.4 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, 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.


Lung Injury, Vaping – USA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated numbers related to the multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Through Oct. 1, 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported to CDC from 48 states and the US Virgin Islands. Of this total, 18 deaths have been confirmed.

Ebola – DR Congo

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues this week with 20 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces from 25 September-1 October 2019, versus 29 in the previous week.


Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 25 September – 1 October 2019

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was occasionally visible at night during 24-30 September. Very small eruptive events were recorded. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 25-30 September ash plumes rose as high as 1.6 km above Asosan’s summit crater rim and drifted NE and NW, causing ashfall in areas downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 2,600 tons per day on 26 September. 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 25 September-1 October ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. 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 22-23 September that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted E and NE, causing ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that intense Strombolian activity from vents at the bottom of Etna’s Voragine Crater (VOR) continued during 23-29 September. Gas emissions from Northeast Crater (NEC) were intense and continuous, and ash plumes were occasionally visible and sometimes accompanied by incandescent flashes. A large ash emission rose from the crater on 27 September and drifted S.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 28 September ash plumes from Ibu rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,00-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted WNW based on satellite images and weather models. PVMBG reported that at 1806 on 30 September an ash plume rose about 800 m above the crater rim and drifted N. 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.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 25 September-1 October lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.5 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose to 300 m above the summit. On 27 and 29 September the Darwin VAAC noted that ash plumes rose to 2.1-2.4 km (7,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. (about 330-640 m above the crater rim) and drifted SW and W. 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 on 19 September. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that Anak Krakatau’s seismic network recorded 10 eruptive events during 23-29 September. A webcam at the summit recorded diffuse white plumes rising as high as 150 m from the vent at the bottom of the crater. Eruptive events recorded by the webcam at 0813 on 25 September, 0555 and 0835 on 26 September, and 1520 on 27 September generated dense gray-and-white ash plumes that rose 150-200 m from the vent and generally drifted N. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km-radius hazard zone from the crater.

Manam | Papua New Guinea : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 29 September diffuse ash plumes from Manam rose to altitudes of 2.4-2.7 km (8,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, based on satellite data and weather models. A sulfur dioxide signature in the plume was also detected. On 30 September RVO reported increased seismicity; the VAAC noted ongoing emissions and a persistent thermal anomaly.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the lava dome at Merapi slowly grew during 20-26 September and was an estimated 468,000 cubic meters, based on 19 September measurements based on drone photos. Extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the SE flank, generating three block-and-ash flows that traveled as far as 1.5 km down the Gendol drainage. Diffuse white plumes rose as high as 75 m above the summit. 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 that during 24 September-1 October white-to-gray gas plumes from Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater rose as high as 1.3 km above the rim and drifted NE, E, and SE. Explosions sometimes ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. A lava flow on the NNE flank continued to advance at a low rate. Ashfall was reported 15 km WNW in Las Trancas on 24 September. 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.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that each day during 25 September-1 October there were 123-224 steam-and-gas emissions from Popocatépetl, some of which contained ash. As many as 10 explosions were recorded each day and crater incandescence was sometimes visible at night. During an overflight on 27 September observatory staff, scientists, and civil protection staff observed a lava dome, 30 m in diameter, at the bottom of the inner crater. The inner crater was 350 m in diameter and 150 m deep based on thermal images and photographs. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-colour scale).

Sabancaya | Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that an average of 15 low-to-medium intensity explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 23-29 September. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 1.7 km above the summit and drifted NW, W, and SW. There were 11 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.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch’s lava dome was identified daily in satellite images during 20-27 September. Explosions recorded during 20-21, 23, and 26 September produced ash plumes that rose to 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 580 km ESE. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : On 26 September AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin had decreased during the previous few weeks to levels slightly above background. Satellite images indicated decreased surface temperatures at the summit over the same period and showed collapse and slumping of the floor of the summit crater, suggesting a withdrawal of magma. Tiltmeter data suggested that the collapse may have occurred on 19 September. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 20-27 September white plumes rose 800 m above the rim of Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater and crater incandescence was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Tangkubanparahu | Western Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 23-29 September diffuse white water vapor plumes rose 200 m above the vent on Tangkubanparahu’s Ratu Crater floor. The seismic network recorded continuous tremor. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 1.5 km away from the active crater.

White Island | North Island (New Zealand) : GeoNet reported observing small-scale geyser-like explosions of mud and steam at White Island’s active vent area during the previous three weeks. The ejecta rose as high as 10 m above the active vents on the W part of the crater floor. An increase in frequency of these events was caused by crater lake water that has been rising since early August, covering the active vents. The geysering does not represent increased volcanic activity; the Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (the second lowest level on a 0-5 scale) and the Aviation colour Code remained at Green.