Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
5.2 earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.
5.2 earthquake hits off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.
5.1 earthquake hits northern Peru.
5.0 earthquake hits France.
5.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.
5.0 earthquake hits Atacama, Chile.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm 25w (Nakri), located approximately 193 nm northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is tracking westward 07 knots.
UK – An entire village in South Yorkshire has been evacuated amid record flooding and seven “danger to life” warnings along the same river. About 700 people in Fishlake, north of Doncaster, were told to leave their homes for their own safety after the River Don burst its banks and hit its highest level ever recorded. By then homes were already under 400ft of water and stranded residents were being rescued by firefighters in boats.
Melting Arctic Ice Spreading Deadly Virus to Marine Mammals
A deadly virus is rapidly spreading among marine mammals in the Arctic. In a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, scientists have found a link between the disease and melting sea ice due to climate change.
Phocine distemper virus (PDV) has been a known pathogen in certain seal populations for decades, resulting in several mass mortality events involving tens of thousands of animals since 1988.
Researchers studied 15 years of data that tracked 2,500 marine mammals in a variety of locations via satellite.
Scientists also found a record amount of sea ice melt in August 2002 was followed by a widespread outbreak of PDV in North Pacific Steller sea lions in 2003 and 2004. During those years, over 30% of the animals tested positive for the virus.
Researchers concluded that melting Arctic sea ice caused by human-driven climate change paved the way for PDV to spread to new regions and infect new populations of marine mammals, especially along the northern Russian coast and along the coast of northern Canada.
Scientists believe the spread of pathogens could become more common as ice continues to melt, with the increased opportunity to affect more species.
Dought-hit Zimbabwe readies mass wildlife migration
Zimbabwe is planning an enforced mass migration of wildlife away from a park in the country’s south, where thousands of animals are at risk of death due to drought-induced starvation. At least 200 elephants have already died at two other parks due to lack of food and water, along with scores of buffalo and antelope.
The animals will continue to die until the rains come. The biggest threat to the animals right now is loss of habitat. The El Nino-induced drought has also taken its toll on crops, leaving more than half of the population in need of food aid.
Zimparks plans move 600 elephants – as well as giraffe, lions, buffalo, antelope and spotted wild dogs – from Save Valley Conservancy in southern Zimbabwe to three other national parks.
This is the biggest translocation of animals in the history of wildlife movement in Zimbabwe across distances of more than 1,000 kilometers.
It will start once the summer rains come. Those are expected to start this week, which would offer major relief for the stricken animals and for farmers who are preparing for the 2019/20 planting season.
The migration will also help to save the conservancy’s ecosystem by depopulating it because the animals “are now becoming a threat to their own survival.Zimbabwe is home to some 80,000 elephants, around a fifth of Africa’s total, conservationists estimate. Overall numbers have declined sharply in recent years, mostly due to a combination of poaching, illegal hunting and drought.
Wildfires – Australia
Authorities declared a state of emergency across a broad swath of Australia’s east coast on Monday, urging residents in high-risk areas to evacuate ahead of looming “catastrophic” fire conditions.
Bushfires burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland states have already killed three people and destroyed more than 150 homes. Officials expect adverse heat and wind conditions to peak at unprecedented levels on Tuesday. More than 100 schools will be closed on Tuesday.
Diphtheria – Scotland
Local media in Edinburgh, Scotland are reporting that two people have been admitted to a local hospital being treated for diphtheria.