Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.5 earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.2 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Screen Shot 2020 02 17 at 12 27 31

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 16s (Gabekile), located approximately 809 nm south of Diego Garcia, is tracking north-northeastward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

UK – Major incidents have been declared in south Wales and parts of England, as Storm Dennis batters the UK. South Wales Police has been dealing with “multiple” landslides and floods – some trapping residents. Homes have also been flooded, while police in Worcestershire are searching for a person who is feared to have been swept into the River Teme. More than 700 flood warnings and alerts are in place across the UK, as of 23:45 GMT on Sunday. There are currently eight severe flood warnings in England, which mean there is a danger to life.

Screen Shot 2020 02 17 at 12 02 30

Indian Ocean Dipole

Many parts of Kenya have been experiencing torrential rainfall for a couple of months now. This has resulted in floods and landslides.

The unusual weather can be attributed to the Indian Ocean Dipole. This is the difference in sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western tropical Indian Ocean.

In Kenya, when warmer sea surface temperatures are experienced heavy rainfall occurs, while hot dry conditions (conducive for wildfires) are experienced in Australia. When warmer sea surface temperatures are experienced off the West Coast of Australia, Australia is likely to experience heavy rainfall, while Kenya experiences drought conditions.

The larger the difference in temperatures between the eastern and western tropical Indian Ocean, the more severe the climatic effects will be.

This event is similar to the El Niño Southern Oscillation that occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Global Warming

Climate change opens up ‘frontier’ farmland

Kenya’s livestock herders planting chilli peppers, Pakistan’s mountain farmers rearing fish and tropical fruits in Sicily – farmers around the world are already shifting what they grow and breed to cope with rising temperatures and erratic weather.

In a few more decades, potatoes from the Russian tundra and corn from once-frigid areas of Canada could be added to the list as vast swathes of land previously unsuited to agriculture open up to farmers on a hotter planet.

Climate change could expand farmland globally by almost a third, a study by international researchers found this week.

They examined which new areas may become suitable for growing 12 key crops including rice, sugar, wheat, oil palm, cassava and soy.

“In a warming world, Canada’s North may become our breadbasket of the future,” the scientists wrote.

But, they warned, opening up new “agricultural frontiers” would also bring significant environmental threats, including a risk of increased planet-warming emissions from soils.

Arrel Infographic page 0001

Disease

Novel Coronavirus

China’s National Health Commission has announced that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China reached 1,770 as of the end of Sunday, up by 105 from the previous day. At least 100 of the new deaths were from the province of Hubei, the epicentre of the epidemic, the Commission said on Monday morning. Across the country, there were 2,048 new confirmed infections, about 1,933 from Hubei alone, pushing the new total to 70,548.

Dengue Fever – Philippines

Health officials with the Philippines reported a cumulative 15,817 dengue fever cases, including 45 deaths through February 7 this year.