Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits Puerto Rico.

6.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 earthquake hits Nicaragua.

5.2 earthquake hits Potosi, Bolivia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Souther4n Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 06s (Blake), located approximately 66 nm east-southeast of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 12 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Turkey – Flooding triggered by heavy rainfall has claimed the lives of two people in Southern Turkey.

Global Warming

Russia unveils plan to ‘use the advantages’ of climate change

The Russian government has unveiled a plan to adapt the country’s economy and population to climate change. Climate change, the report says, poses a threat to public health, endangers permafrost, and heightens the likelihood of infections and natural disasters. Russia will likely see longer and more frequent droughts, extreme precipitation and flooding, increased risk of fire as well as the displacement of different species from their habitats, according to the plan.

Expected positive effects of climate change, the plan says, include the reduction of energy consumption during warm periods, shrinking levels of ice which will foster increased access to navigational opportunities in the Arctic Ocean, and expanded agricultural areas.

Russia is warming faster than the global average — its average annual air temperature has increased 2.5 times more rapidly than the average global air temperature since the mid-1970s.

The country is one of the world’s most vulnerable to climate change, with large arctic areas and infrastructure that is built on permafrost. In recent years, Russia has experienced flooding and fires, with the massive wildfires in Siberia in 2019.

Global warming found to give rise to earlier springs

An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests global warming is giving rise to earlier springs in some parts of the world, which contributes to drier summers—at least in the northern hemisphere. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of satellite data over a 30-year period.

The researchers report that they found that earlier greening led to water earlier water depletion from the soil by plants, which led to drier soil as summer came on. Noting that most of the water that is pulled by plants makes its way into the air through pores in leaves, the researchers wondered if that might contribute to more rainfall. The researchers found that it did contribute to more rainfall, but not enough to offset the amount of water pulled from the soil by plants. They suggest that in addition to making conditions more difficult for plants, the drier soil could also lead to higher temperatures in the drier areas due to less evaporative cooling in the summer. They report also that they found drying is worse in Europe, east and west Asia and some parts of North America.

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Disease

Measles – DR Congo

The number of measles fatalities in the world’s worst measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has topped 6,000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The 6,000 deaths are part of the astounding 310,000 measles cases reported since January 2019. UN officials say this massive outbreak is due to multiple factors: low vaccination coverage among vulnerable communities, malnutrition, weak public health systems, outbreaks of other epidemic-prone diseases, difficult access by vulnerable populations to health care and insecurity that has hampered response in some areas.

Unidentified Virus – China

The unidentified viral illness that has sickened dozens in the Chinese city of Wuhan is not severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), according to local health officials. Oficials also confirmed that the mystery illness is not Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bird flu or an adenovirus.

As of Sunday (Jan. 5), 59 people in Wuhan have been diagnosed with the unidentified disease, presenting with symptoms of fever, body aches, breathing difficulties and lung injury. The total number of infected people is up from the 44 cases reported last week.

In addition, 21 people who recently visited the city were hospitalized in Hong Kong between Dec. 31 and Jan. 6, according to a report from the Hong Kong health department.