Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.1 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits Chukotka, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Israel – Heavy rain this week has caused deadly flooding in Israel from the border with Lebanon to the Negev desert, increasing tension in a week already filled with threats of war. With rains continuing Thursday, rising waters had killed at least seven people, including a man swept away as he tried to rescue a family stuck in a drifting vehicle. The fierce rainfall has shuttered schools and government offices in some areas and submerged cars and low-lying buildings. Some Israelis were forced from their homes, and others were asked not to leave them, even as they were bracing for potential spinoff attacks from spiking violence between the United States and Iran.

Indonesia – Indonesia will replant trees in tens of thousands of hectares of lands along the upstream areas of a river following the floods and landslides in and surrounding the country’s capital of Jakarta that left over 67 people dead, an official said on Thursday.


More Locust Swarms

Kenyan officials began aerial spraying for hordes of arriving desert locusts that have ravaged vegetation across parts of Ethiopia and Somalia in recent weeks.

The worst infestation in 70 years has already destroyed 175,000 acres of crops across the Horn of Africa and parts of northeastern Kenya, threatening famine in a region that had already suffered devastating flooding last year.

“We have seen drought and torrential rains kill our people and animals, and now we have locusts,” Kenyan legislator Adan Keynan told reporters at the country’s parliament in Nairobi.

Microplastics Affect Coastal Wildlife

Microplastics (plastic particles under 5 mm) are an abundant type of debris found in salt and freshwater environments. In a Limnology & Oceanography Letters study, researchers demonstrated the transfer of microplastics through the food chain between microscopic prey and larval fish that live in coastal ecosystems. They also found that microplastic ingestion interferes with normal growth in fish larvae.

The investigators also looked at the effects of a common pollutant (the pesticide DDT) that attaches to microparticles in coastal waters. Organisms were not able to detect or discriminate against ingesting microparticles with high levels of DDT.


Wildfires – Australia

Australian authorities issued new warnings and evacuation notices across the country’s heavily populated southeast on Thursday as a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.

A disaster notice in Victoria state, already in place for the past week, was extended by two days and people in danger zones were told to leave. In neighbouring New South Wales state, authorities told residents to prepare for worsening weather conditions on Friday.

The ongoing Australian firestorms that have caused such misery and death to the human population may have also killed billions of animals in recent weeks.

Beyond the scorched koalas and kangaroos, scientists also fear the long-footed potoroo marsupial may now be extinct in the wild due to the southeastern bushfires.


Experts fear the ecosystems there will never recover, with several other animal and plant species left critically endangered or extinct.

Snipers were dispatched in helicopters to cull up to 10,000 feral camels that were nearing remote aboriginal towns in search of water.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Penrith, New South Wales.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 61.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 51.7 degrees Celsius) at Thomsen River, North West Territory.

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.


Ebola – DR Congo

Twelve new confirmed cases were reported from 1 to 7 January in the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces.

Dengue Fever

Bangladesh – The number of dengue fever cases in Bangladesh dropped to 1247 in December 2019 in a year that saw more cases reported in the country than was seen since the first cases in 2000. The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) closed out the record year with 101,354 cases and 164 deaths.

Vietnam – According to data from the General Department of Preventive Medicine with the Ministry of Health in VietNam, the number of dengue fever cases reported in 2019 was a significant increase compared to 2018. Since Jan. 1 through Dec. 14, 2019, there have been a total of 320,702 cases with 54 deaths reported.

Measles – Gaza Strip

From 1 January through 19 December 2019, a total of 124 laboratory confirmed cases of measles, including two deaths, were reported in the Gaza Strip (case fatality ratio=1.6%).


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 1 January 2020 – 7 January 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported nighttime crater incandescence at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 30 December-6 January. Small eruptive events were occasionally recorded by the seismic network. An explosion on 6 January produced an ash plume that rose 1.7 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 1.1 km away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 1-4 and 6 January 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 1-2 January that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted N. Satellite images showed a thermal anomaly over the dome on 1 January and an ash cloud drifted almost 30 km N on 2 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 30 December-5 January 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 600 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).

Kerinci | Indonesia : The Darwin VAAC and PVMBG reported that during 3-6 January brown ash plumes rose 200-600 m above Kerinci’s summit and drifted S and ESE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 28-30 December and 2 January, and ash plumes drifted 150 km SE during 29-30 December. Strombolian and Vulcanian activity were observed during 29-31 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that a relatively high number of deep volcanic earthquakes were recorded at Merapi during 30 December-5 January. The seismic network recorded a pyroclastic flow that began at 2036 on 4 January and lasted for one minute and 45 seconds. The event was not visually observed due to foggy weather conditions. Minor ashfall was reported in Cepogo (4 km NE) and Boyolali (16 km E). 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.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 27 December-3 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that the eruption at Shishaldin continued during 1-7 January. Seismicity was low during 1-2 January and elevated surface temperatures identified in several satellite images indicated continuing lava effusion. Seismicity began increasing at 0930 on 3 January and within several hours a brief period of sustained ash emissions produced plumes that rose as high as 8.2 km (27,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 120 km SE. The ash plume produced minor amounts of volcanic lightning. Seismicity declined abruptly after the event. Satellite images acquired the next day showed no noteworthy activity; ash deposits from the day before mantled the upper flanks, lahars on the upper parts of the edifice and on the SW flank were visible, and lava flows on the upper NW and NE flanks were 1-2 km long. During 5-6 January seismicity was low but above background levels and elevated surface temperatures were visible in satellite images. A photo taken from Cold Bay (93 km NE) on 6 January showed glowing lava flows on the flank. Seismicity increased at around 0500 on 7 January and was followed by observations of an ash plume drifting NE at an altitude of about 5.8 km (19,000 ft) a.s.l. Seismicity then decreased for a few hours. Another episode of elevated seismicity was accompanied by an increase in the altitude of the ash plume; it rose to 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and seemed to have a denser ash content. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Red and the Volcano Alert Level was raised to Warning. Volcanic lighting was detected in the cloud and volcanic infrasound signals were detected at regional stations. Seismcity significantly decreased around 1200 and remained low. Later that day the Aviation colour Code was lowered to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Watch.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that on 28 December a very small eruptive event was recorded at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater. Explosions occurred on 31 December and 3 January; the latter explosion produced a gray ash plume that rose 800 m above the crater rim and entered the weather clouds. Crater incandescence was visible at night during 28 Deecmber-3 January. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Ulawun | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : RVO reported that during 16-22 December 2019 white vapor plumes rose from Ulawun’s Main Crater with some brief periods of no emissions. Occasional emissions rose from the new WSW flank and along the lava flow. A webcam sometimes recoded nighttime incandescence from the area. Seismic activity was low with RSAM values between 100 and 200 units. The Alert Level remained at Stage 1.