Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.5 earthquake hits the Cream Sea, Indonesia.

5.5 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.1 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Batan Islands in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 16s (Gabekile), located approximately 689 nm south of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southeastward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

UK – Storm Dennis is expected to batter the UK this weekend with winds of up to 70mph and more than a month’s rain expected to fall in just two days in some areas, with hundreds of homes at risk of flooding. With the country hit by horrendous weather for the second weekend in a row, the military is being sent to Calderdale, West Yorkshire, on Saturday to support the recovery and bolster preparations for the latest storm. More than 200 flights have been cancelled, with amber and yellow warnings for rain and wind in place across large swaths of the country from Saturday lunchtime until Sunday evening.

Zimbabwe – Heavy rains have once again hit the eastern province as flash floods damaged bypasses erected to allow for repair works on bridges destroyed by last year’s violent rains. At least two bridges have been swept away in Chimanimani, while cases of flash floods were also reported in Chipinge.

Global Warming

Global warming may cut lifespan of many species

Global warming could reduce the lifespan of hundreds of cold-blooded species around the world, a study by Israeli and Irish researchers has warned.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Queen’s University Belfast analyzed data from more than 4,100 land vertebrate species to test the long-accepted “rate of living” theory, which predicts that the faster the metabolic rate of an organism, the shorter the lifespan.

The researchers found that rates of aging in cold-blooded organisms are linked to high temperatures. Proposing an alternative hypothesis, their findings suggest that the hotter the environment is, the faster the rate of living – which in turn leads to more accelerated aging and a shorter lifespan. If increasing ambient temperatures reduces longevity, it may make these species more prone to go extinct as the climate warms.

Accordingly, global warming could reduce the lifespan of many cold-blooded species, subject to accelerated aging. The findings were published on Friday in Global Ecology and Biogeography, a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Busy Week for Antarctica

This week, an iceberg the size of Atlanta broke off the Pine glacier. Researchers discovered a dramatic decline in Antarctic penguin colonies. And Antarctica may have just registered its hottest temperature ever.

These events are all consistent with trends seen in Antarctica over the past few years. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the potentially record-breaking February temperatures were logged, is one of the fastest-warming regions on the planet.

The decline of the Antarctic penguin colonies provides evidence of the effects of this broader warming on the animals that inhabit these sensitive regions. The number of penguins on Elephant Island, where a recently released survey took place, is half what it was at the last survey in 1971. Climate change has removed these penguins’ primary food source, krill. Penguins, seals and whales all depend on krill, which depends on ice. So if climate change affects the ice, that impacts on everything else.

Another unusually high temperature was logged in the Antarctic Peninsula on February 9, when a weather station on Seymour Island produced a reading of almost 70 degrees.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus

France – French health officials have reported the first death due to the new coronavirus. The case is a 80-year-old Chinese tourist who has been hospitalized for some three weeks. To date, France has reported 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases- 7 men, 4 women.

China – More than 1,700 health workers in China have been infected with the new coronavirus, according to Chinese officials and six have died from the disease.