Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

5.6 earthquake hits Macquarie Island.

5.2 earthquake hits Greece.

5.1 earthquake hits northern Peru.

5.1 earthquake hits the Revilla Gigedo Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 13s (Francisco), located approximately 816 nm east of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracing southeastward at 11 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 14s (Damien), located approximately 162 nm west-northwest of Broome, Australia, is tracking westward at 11 knots

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NewsBytes:

Indonesia, Jakarta – Floods are still affecting Tangerang four days after heavy rains. Several areas across Tangerang in Banten have been inundated by floodwaters for four days and the levels keep rising. Most of the affected areas were housing complexes, such as the Garden City Residence Periuk, with local authorities estimating that hundreds of families were affected. Power has been interrupted to seven sub.stations across the flooded areas.

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Global Warming

Rapid Permafrost Collapse

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Arctic permafrost can thaw so quickly that it triggers landslides, drowns forests and opens gaping sinkholes. This rapid melt, described in a new study, can dramatically reshape the Arctic landscape in just a few months.

Fast-melting permafrost is also more widespread than once thought. About 20% of the Arctic’s permafrost — a blend of frozen sand, soil and rocks — also has a high volume of ground ice, making it vulnerable to rapid thawing. When the ice that binds the rocky material melts away, it leaves behind a marshy, eroded land surface known as thermokarst.

Frozen water takes up more space than liquid water, so when ice-rich permafrost thaws rapidly — “due to climate change or wildfire or other disturbance” — it transforms a formerly frozen Arctic ecosystem into a flooded, “soupy mess,” prone to floods and soil collapse. This can happen very quickly, causing relatively dry and solid ecosystems (such as forests) to turn into lakes in the matter of months to years.

Global warming is literally dissolving the ocean’s plankton

Ocean acidification is wreaking havoc on the ocean’s tiniest inhabitants, and the entire ocean is likely feeling the effects.

Many of the ocean’s inhabitants have soft bodies protected by hard shells. Clams, oysters, and sea snails have them, as do multiple other types of mollusks and plankton. These seashells are almost always made of calcium carbonate — which, under most conditions, is fine. The ocean water is well-suited to support calcium carbonate under normal conditions.

Seawater is slightly basic (meaning pH > 7). When we increase the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit, not all of it goes into the atmosphere. Much of it, in fact, is absorbed by the oceans. As oceans absorb CO2, their chemistry starts to change, and they become more acidic.

Lyndsey Fox, a researcher from Kingston University in London, analyzed plankton fossils gathered by the 1872–76 expedition of the HMS Challenger and compared them to plankton gathered from a 2011 expedition to the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean called Tara.

All modern plankton had much thinner shells — up to 76% thinner. In some cases, the shells were so thin that the team wasn’t even able to image them. Plankton is at the foundation of the ocean food chain and if it were to collapse, life in the oceans would probably be unable to recover.

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Disease

Novel Coronavirus – China

The death toll and number of people infected by the Wuhan coronavirus continues to grow, with no signs of slowing despite severe quarantine and population control methods put in place in central China.

The number of confirmed cases globally stood at 28,256 as of Thursday morning, with more than 28,000 of those in China. The number of cases in China grew by 3,694, or 15%, on the previous day. There have been 563 deaths so far, all but two of which were in China, with one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

Lassa fever – Nigeria

In a follow-up on the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported an additional 104 confirmed cases the week ending February 2, bringing the outbreak total for 2020 to 365 confirmed cases. Of this total, six additional fatalities were reported. 

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 29 January 2020 – 04 February 2020

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that at 0521 on 3 February an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced an ash plume that rose 7 km above the crater rim, based on satellite images, and ejected material 600 m away from the crater. A pyroclastic flow traveled about 900 m SW, the first one recorded since 29 January 2019. Ashfall was confirmed in the northern part of neighboring Yakushima Island (a large amount in Miyanoura, 32 km ESE) and southern Tanegashima. According to a news article the eruption caused one flight to be diverted and one to be cancelled. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 1213 on 31 January a phreatic eruption at Rincón de la Vieja ejected material onto the N flanks and generated a plume that rose 2 km above the crater rim. Lahars descended rivers on the N flank and reached populated areas 7-10 km downriver around 40 minutes after the eruption.

Taal | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that whitish steam plumes rose as high as 800 m above Taal’s main vent during 29 January-4 February and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 231 tonnes per day (on 3 February). According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 23,915 people in 152 evacuation centers, and an additional 224,188 people were staying at other locations as of 3 February. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 0-5) and PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island and Taal Lake, nor into towns W of the island within a 7-km radius.