Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.6 earthquake hits the Pagan region in the North Mariana Islands.

5.5 earthquake hits Sao Tome and Principe.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.1 earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 earthquake hits western Xizang, China.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.0 earthquake hits Reykjanes ridge,

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical Storms.

NewsBytes:

Uzbekistan – A landslide in a construction site at Yunusabad metro line in Tashkent, Uzbekistan due to heavy rain has claimed the lives of at least six people.

England – Devon and Cornwall Police have declared a major incident after flash flooding in Heyler. According to the Cornwall Council, around 50 properties have been affected by flooding in the area. There are 18 flood warnings in place across England, mainly across the South, South West and River Severn.

Wildlife

Salmon Bonanza

Fishermen in Canada’s Northwest Territories say they have caught more Arctic salmon this year than in all of the previous 20 years combined.

The fish also emerged earlier than normal, mainly because of the virtual lack of ice in the Mackenzie River during the Arctic summer.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says 2,400 salmon catches were submitted to the agency, compared to only 100 last year.

Agency biologist Karen Dunmall points to a warming climate and disappearing ice for the salmon bounty.

Acidic oceans are corroding the tooth-like scales of shark skin

Shark skin might look perfectly smooth, but inspect it under a microscope and you’ll notice something strange. The entire outer surface of a shark’s body is actually covered in sharp, little scales known as denticles. More remarkable still, these denticles are incredibly similar to human teeth, as they’re also comprised of dentine and enamel-like materials.

Your dentist will no doubt have warned you that acidic drinks like fizzy cola damage your teeth. This is because acid can dissolve the calcium and phosphate in the enamel tooth covering. For the first time, scientists have discovered a similar process acting on the tooth-like scales of sharks in the ocean.

The carbon dioxide (CO₂) that humans release into the atmosphere doesn’t just heat the planet. As more of it dissolves in the ocean, it’s gradually increasing the acidity of seawater. In the past 200 years, the ocean has absorbed 525 billion tonnes of CO₂ and become 30% more acidic as a result. Now scientists worry that the lower pH is affecting one of the ocean’s top predators.

Corrosion and weakening of the denticle surface could degrade the highly specialised drag-reducing ridges, affecting the ability of these sharks to swim and hunt. Many shark species are top-level predators, so if they’re not able to hunt as effectively, this might have an unpredictable impact on the population size of their prey and other animals in the complex marine environment. Some species of shark need to swim constantly to keep oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills and to expel CO₂ – another process which might be hindered by increased drag.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Boulia, Queensland.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 64.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.3 degrees Celsius) at Verkhoyansk, Siberia.

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.

Disease

Wild Poliovirus – Pakistan

Seven additional wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases were reported in the past week in Pakistan–from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces–bringing the total year-to date to 101. In 2018 at this time, Pakistan saw only nine cases.

Thailand: Dengue fever and chikungunya updates

The following are the latest case totals for dengue fever and chikungunya in Thailand through December 16 this year: Dengue fever Since the beginning of the year, the Thailand Bureau of Epidemiology has reported 125,235 dengue cases from all 77 provinces, including 131 fatalities. Health officials have reported 11,046 chikungunya cases this year to date from 59 provinces.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 11 December – 17 December 2019

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible at night during 9-16 December. There were 15 explosions and 10 non-explosive eruptive events detected by the seismic network. Ash plumes rose 2.4 km above the crater rim, although explosions at 0115 and 2109 on 10 December generated ash plumes that rose 3 km above the crater rim. Blocks were ejected as far as 1.3 km away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Asosan that began on 7 October continued through 16 December. Ash plumes rose as high as 1 km and caused ashfall in areas downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 3,000-3,300 tons per day on 11 and 16 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 11-17 December ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 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 6-13 December that sent ash plumes up to 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted E, causing ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk during 10-12 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 9-15 December lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.8 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose to 500 m above the summit. Incandescence from both summit craters was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 5, 7, and 11-12 December, and Strombolian activity was visible during 11-12 December. An ash plume rose to 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 30 km SE. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Sangay | Ecuador : Based on information from the Guayaquil MWO, satellite images, and wind model data, the Washington VAAC reported that during 10-17 December ash plumes from Sangay rose to 5.8-7.3 km (19,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A thermal anomaly was visible on 17 December.

Sangeang Api | Indonesia : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 11-13 and 17 December discrete ash emissions from Sangeang Api rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and W. A thermal anomaly was visible on 27 November. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 6-13 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin remained elevated during 10-11 December; low-level tremor was detected along with three small explosions. Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images and a steam plume drifting from the summit was visible in webcam images. A short-lived explosion began at 0710 on 12 December and lasted about three minutes, coincident with a three-minute long period of elevated tremor. The event generated an ash plume that rose to altitudes of 6.1-7.6 km (20,000-25,000 ft) a.s.l., drifted almost 85 km/hour WNW, and then dissipated a few hours later. Three lightning strokes were detected between 0715 and 0717. The explosion may have collapsed the summit spatter cone. Highly elevated surface temperatures were visible in satellite images during 12-13 December, and the webcam showed nighttime incandescence and a robust steam plume emanating from the summit. Seismicity remained elevated through 16 December and elevated surface temperatures continued to be detected. A plume appearing to contain ash drifted from the summit on 14 December. A lava flow was reported by a pilot on 16 December; the next day satellite images showed a 2-km-long flow on the NW flank. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.