Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia.

5.0 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression 30w (Phanfone), located approximately 336 nm east-southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, is tracking westward at 13 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04p (Sarai), located approximately 132 nm south-southwest of Suva, Fiji, is tracking southeastward at 06 knots.

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NewsBytes:

England – Floods have closed roads in south-west England and dozens of warnings remain in place. The rain is expected to ease into the weekend but groundwater levels continue to rise in parts of southern England after prolonged downpours. The Environment Agency (EA) has warned of flooding in 30 areas.

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Global Warming

Global Warming Defined

The terms “climate change” and “global warming” are often used interchangeably but have distinct definitions.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) defines global warming as the “long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900).” Global warming focuses on the changes in global average surface temperatures caused by human activity, mainly the burning of fossil fuels, which increases the overall amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Climate change is the long-term change in the average weather patterns that are typical for a local, region, or the globe; these changes can be natural or human-induced. Human activities that contribute to climate change include urbanization, fossil fuel burning, agriculture, deforestation, and many others. Natural processes that contribute to climate change include volcanic activity, mountain growth, El Nino and La Nina, changes in solar output, and shifts in the planet’s orbit.

Wildlife

African Locust Swarms

Somalia’s worst locust swarms in 25 years have devoured vast tracts of crops and grazing land across the country and parts of neighbouring Ethiopia.

Farmers faced with starvation have urged their governments to request aid from the international community to avert the looming famine.

The swarms were made worse by unseasonably heavy rainfall and the resulting floods that have killed hundreds of people across the Horn of Africa in recent months.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says the infestations have become far worse than its experts feared earlier this year.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.8 degrees Celsius) in Birdsville, Queensland.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 62.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.2 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

Measles – Tonga

The Tonga Ministry of Health reported an additional 18 new measles cases with onset dates in the last week, bringing the outbreak total to 596 confirmed or suspected cases of measles.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week 18 December-24 December 2019

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : Activity at Bezymianny remained elevated during 13-20 December; nighttime crater incandescence, strong fumarolic emissions, and a lava flow on the W flank of the lava dome were visible. The temperature of a thermal anomaly had continued to increase. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Semisopochnoi | United States : AVO reported that ash plumes below 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. from Semisopochnoi were identified in satellite images on 14 and 17 December; ash plumes on 17 December drifted about 15 km SE. During 17-20 December seismicity was characterized by tremor bursts and small explosions, though cloudy weather conditions prevented visual confirmation. Elevated seismicity was recorded on 21 December. Nothing significant was detected during 22-24 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

White Island | North Island (New Zealand) : GeoNet reported that during 18-23 December the level of volcanic tremor at White Island remained low and gas-and-steam plumes were strongly emitted from the new vent area. The highest-temperature emissions were more than 650 degrees Celsius measured during an overflight on 19 December. Volcanologists also measured about 1,300 tons/day of sulfur dioxide, slightly lower than 12 December measurements of about 1,730 tons/day. A small part of the SW slope of the 1914 landslide (inside the crater rim and opposite the former viewing area) had collapsed into the crater lake and active vent area, leaving a scarp 12 m high. The area had been unstable prior to the 9 December eruption. According to the New Zealand Police the death toll from the 9 December eruption had reached 17. Two people remained missing; the search was suspended on 24 December.