Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 20s (Ferdinand), located approximately 342 nm north of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 02 knots.

NewsBytes:

South America – Heavy downpours have continued to batter parts of South America. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the northern provinces of Argentina last Thursday due to widespread flooding. Meanwhile, intense thunderstorms accompanied by hail and at least one tornado hit the province of Cordoba on the previous Sunday. The same system went on to affect Brazil and Paraguay, resulting in landslides and flash-flooding which caused widespread destruction.

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UK – An emergency evacuation took place as rising waters on the River Severn “overwhelmed” a town’s flood defences. Buckled barriers at Ironbridge, Shropshire, meant water seeped underneath, resulting in police evacuating part of the town. Residents were earlier evacuated from their homes in Bewdley, Worcestershire. There, water came over the top of some of the town’s flood defences. The barriers in both areas have been trying to keep a swollen River Severn from residents’ doors.

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Global Warming

Climate Change is Pushing Giant Ocean Currents Poleward

The world’s major wind-driven ocean currents are moving toward the poles at a rate of about a mile every two years, potentially depriving important coastal fishing waters of important nutrients and raising the risk of sea level rise, extreme storms and heatwaves for some adjacent land areas.

The shift was identified in a new study by researchers with the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany, and published Feb. 25 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The poleward shift is bad news for the East Coast of the U.S., because it makes sea level rise even worse, the researchers said. At about 40 degrees latitude north and south, where the effects of the shifting currents are most evident, sea level rise is already 8 to 12 inches more than in other regions.

On the West Coast, salmon are being pushed out of traditional fishing waters. In densely populated coastal Asia, the changes could unleash more intense rainstorms, and the shift also makes heat waves more likely in subtropical areas.

Eight major wind-driven ocean currents, known as gyres, circulate around vast areas of ocean: three in the Atlantic, three in the Pacific, and one each in the Indian and Antarctic Oceans. The rotating currents shape the weather and ocean ecosystems in coastal regions, where parts of the currents have regional names, like the Gulf Stream along the East Coast of the U.S.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

In a post-mortem of the Australian bushfires, which raged for five months, scientists have concluded that their intensity and duration far surpassed what climate models had predicted, according to a study published yesterday in Nature Climate Change.

The bushfires were far more catastrophic than any climate crisis models out there, leading the scientists to call the devastation, “a fiery wake-up call for climate science,” as the BBC reported.

The study said that the bushfires were “unprecedented” after they burned more than one-fifth of the country’s forests.

In fact, the models were so far off target that not only did they say that fires of such magnitude could not happen this year, but they predicted that fires of this magnitude would not happen before the year 2100.

Disease

COVID-19

The coronavirus is spreading more quickly in Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world than in China where the virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan at the end of last year. The number of new infections inside China was for the first time overtaken by fresh cases elsewhere on Wednesday, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as new hotspots for COVID-19.

The disease was also detected for the first time in Estonia, Denmark, Georgia, Brazil, Pakistan, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Romania and Algeria.

China – Mainland China reported 433 new cases of coronavirus infections on February 26. The total number of confirmed cases on mainland China has now reached 78,497, the health authority said. The number of new deaths stood at 29, the lowest daily rate since January 28, and down from 52 the previous day. A total of 2,744 people have now died as a result of the outbreak.

South Korea – South Korea reported hundreds of additional cases of the new coronavirus, raising the total tally to 1,766, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Lassa fever – Nigeria

Nigerian health officials reported an additional 102 confirmed Lassa fever cases, bringing the total to 689 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year through Feb. 23. This is a slight decrease in cases from the prior week.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 19 February 2020 – 25 February 2020

Huaynaputina | Peru : IGP reported that during 11 and 20-21 February small- to moderate-sized lahars descended the El Volcán drainage, on the S flank of Huaynaputina, and traveled to within 500 m of Quinistaquillas, in the province of Sánchez Cerro, Moquegua region.

Reykjanes | Iceland : On 25 February IMO reported that seismic activity at Reykjanes, in an area N of the town of Grindavík, had significantly decreased during the previous few days, and inflation was not detected in GPS and InSAR data. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Green. Preliminary data suggested a small deflation signal beginning mid-February, though further analysis was needed for confirmation. The report warned the public not to explore lava tubes in the Eldvörp area as gas measurements showed a dangerous level of oxygen depletion; there are no pre-unrest measurements existing for comparison.

San Miguel | El Salvador : SNET reported that local observers of San Miguel reported a series of rumbling noises that occurred from 1900 on 20 February to 0750 on 21 February. The report noted an increase in amplitude of microearthquakes and minor gas emissions form the main crater. Sulfur dioxide levels had also increased. Beginning at 1055 on 22 February an ash emission that lasted 10 minutes long resulted in a small gas-and-ash plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim. Minor ashfall was reported in the area of Piedra Azul, 5 km SW. RSAM peaked at 510 units during the period of emissions, above the normal values of 150, as recorded by station VSM located on the upper N flank. The number of low-amplitude tremor events increased after a quiet period of about 11 hours and were associated with gas emissions; RSAM was 33-97 units and minor gas plumes were visible rising 400 m during 23-24 February.

Semisopochnoi | United States : AVO reported that intermittent, low-level tremor was detected at Semisopochnoi during 19-25 February. Brief periods of elevated tremor were recorded during 19-20 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.