Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.2 earthquake hits Guam.

5.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Bouvet Islands.

Global Warming

Oil and gas production is contributing even more to global warming than was thought

Among greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the most significant contributor to global warming and therefore, public enemy No. 1 when it comes to stopping the climate crisis.

But methane — the main component in natural gas and an even more effective heat-trapping gas — is a close second. Scientists say that atmospheric methane is now responsible for about 25 percent of the human-caused warming we see today.

Now, a new study finds that methane emissions from fossil fuels are between 25% and 40% larger than past research had estimated, revealing that oil and gas production is contributing far more to warming the planet than previously thought.

The study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, sheds new light on just how much fossil fuel production and use is changing the atmosphere — and in turn, warming the planet.

Environment

Locust Swarms Arrive in South Sudan

Swarms of locusts which are wreaking havoc across East Africa have now arrived in South Sudan, the government said on Tuesday, threatening more misery in one of the world’s most vulnerable nations.

Billions of desert locusts, some in swarms the size of Moscow, have already chomped their way through Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda.

Their breeding has been spurred by one of the wettest rainy seasons in the region in four decades.

Experts have warned the main March-to-May cropping season is at risk. Eggs laid along the locusts’ path are due to hatch and create a second wave of the insects in key agricultural areas.

The arrival of the locusts could be catastrophic in South Sudan, where war followed by drought and floods has already left six million people – 60% of the population – facing severe hunger.

Disease

COVID-19

China – China’s National Health Commission reported on Thursday said at least 114 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as of the end of Wednesday, bringing to at least 2,118 the number of fatalities nationwide. The national health commission also reported 394 new confirmed cases, significantly lower than the 1,749 cases reported nationwide the previous day, bringing the total to 74,576.

South Korea – The South Korea CDC has seen the number of COVID-19 cases soar over the past 48 hours from a few dozen to more than 100 today. The latest figures show there are now 104 confirmed cases and two deaths.

Japan – Japan has reported 2 deaths from the Diamond Princess Cruise Liner.

Iran – Iranian health officials reported earlier today of the first two COVID-19 cases in the country in the city of Qom. They later confirmed that both the patients died.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 12 February 2020 – 18 February 2020

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that at 1211 on 13 February a very small eruption at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced a grayish white plume that rose 300 m above the crater rim and drifted NE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that the longest-travelling lava flow that began to effuse on 10 February from fissures on the E flank of Piton de la Fournaise’s Dolomieu Crater was no longer advancing by 13 February. The end of the longest active flow was located below Marco Crater around 1,900 m elevation, based on field an aerial observations. A cone was building over three vents and had grown to 30 m high; lava fountains from the three vents rose 10-15 m above the rim of the cone. Tremor levels rapidly decreased around 1400 on 15 February, though inclement weather conditions prevented visual confirmation of changes to the surficial activity. Observers noted no activity while aboard an overflight during 0730-0800 on 16 February, though tremor continued to be recorded. By 1412 tremor ceased, signifying the end of lava effusion.

Reykjanes | Iceland : On 15 February IMO reported that seismicity at Reykjanes, in an area N of the town of Grindavík, remained above background levels even though activity had been decreasing since the end of January. Two earthquakes larger than M 3 were detected; one of them, an M 3.1, was recorded at 0826 on 14 February. The rate of deformation had slightly increased. The Aviation Code remained at Yellow.

Semisopochnoi | United States : A series of explosions and tremor bursts at Semisopochnoi were detected by the seismic network beginning on 14 February, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation Colour Code to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch. Tremor bursts lasting from three to twelve minutes every few hours were recorded the next day. Ash plumes were not visible, though a weather cloud deck persisted between 1.5 and 4.6 km (5,000 and 15,000 ft) a.s.l. Seismic data continued to record small explosions and tremor bursts lasting from six to ten minutes every few hours on 16 February, but by 17 February there were almost no events recorded. Weather clouds continued to obscure views of the volcano.