Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits Kepulauan Sangihe, Indonesia.

5.4 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits the southern mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.2 earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.1 earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 20s (Ferdinand), located approximately 355 nm north of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking westward at 04 knots.

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Global Warming

Antarctic Melt

Images from NASA satellites reveal that the record-breaking heat across parts of Antarctica in early February caused an unprecedented melting of the ice cap.

Ice covering Eagle Island, off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, shrank dramatically as temperatures at times became as warm as those in Los Angeles.

It was the third major melting event of the 2019-2020 southern summer. Scientists say such phenomena have become more and more frequent this century.



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

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 17-25 February there were 34 explosions and 19 non-explosive eruptive events detected by the Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.4 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 600-1,100 m away from the crater. Crater incandescence was visible every night. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was elevated at 1,900 tons/day on 20 February. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 18-25 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1-2.4 km (7,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) :Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 18-19 February that sent ash plumes up to 2.3 km (7,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted SE. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 18, 20, and 22 February ash plumes from Ibu rose to 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, S, and SW. PVMBG stated that at 1113 on 20 February a white-to-gray ash plume rose at least 400 m above the summit (6,800 ft a.s.l.) and drifted SE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea : Based on satellite data and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 23 February an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 14-21 February, and a thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images those same days. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that very small eruptive events recorded at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater during 20-21 February generated whitish plumes that rose 200 m above the crater rim. No changes were observed during field visits on those two days. Sulfur dioxide emissions were 400-600 tons per day during 20-23 February. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the volume of Merapi’s summit lava dome decreased after the 13 February eruption which produced a 2-km-tall ash plume, ejected material within 1 km, and caused ashfall within a 10-km radius. The dome volume the day before the event was estimated at 407,000 cubic meters, and afterwards (19 February) was reduced to 291,000 cubic meters. Visual observations during 17-23 February were mostly hindered due to inclement weather conditions, though on 18 February a white plume was seen rising 100 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to stay outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 18-22 February white-and-gray plumes from Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater generally rose as high as 1.9 km above the rim and drifted mainly SE. An explosion recorded at 1924 on 19 February generated an ash plume that rose 2 km. White plumes rose 100 m during 23-25 February. The volcano Alert Level remained at Orange, the second highest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián, and stated that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the SW flank and 5 km away on the ENE flank.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that during an overflight of Popocatépetl on 18 February volcanologists noted no significant morphological changes at the summit crater; the inner crater was 350 m in diameter and 100-150 m deep, and the crater floor was covered with tephra. Each day during 18-25 February there were 130-263 steam-and-gas emissions from the summit crater. As many as nine low- to moderate-level explosions were recorded each day, generating gas plumes with minor amounts of ash that drifted N, NW, and SW. An explosion at 1737 on 19 February produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, and ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-colour scale).

Reventador | Ecuador : IG reported that during 18-24 January seismic data from Reventador’s network indicated a high level of seismic activity, including explosions, long-period earthquakes, and signals indicating emissions. Daily gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km above the crater rim and drifted NW, W, and SW. Incandescent blocks rolled 600-700 m down the flanks during 18-21 February. Weather sometimes prevented views of the summit area.

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 17-23 February eruptive events at Semeru generated ash plume that rose around 400 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 15-21 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 14-21 February incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. An eruption on 19 February produced a grayish-white ash plume that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village, 4 km SSW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Taal | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 19-24 February steam plumes rose 50-100 m above the vent and drifted SW. Sulfur dioxide emissions were below detectable limits during 19-20 February. According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 4,113 people in 15 evacuation centers, and an additional 191,451 people were staying at other locations as of 25 February. PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone.

White Island | North Island (New Zealand) : On 19 February GeoNet reported that White island remained at an elevated state of unrest, confirmed by two overflights of the island for visual observations and data collection. Results from a gas data showed a steady decline on both carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide flux, though levels were still slightly elevated. Thermal infrared data indicated that the fumarolic gases and the five lobes of lava in the main vent remained very hot at 660 degrees Celsius. A small pond of water had formed in the vent area and small-scale jetting was occurring, similar to September-December 2019 activity. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 and the Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Keyes, Mali.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 69.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.1 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.



Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria and stock markets took a pounding amid fears of a global recession.

China – The National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide. Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected about 83,000 worldwide.

South Korea – South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said..

Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest sites for the “umrah” pilgrimage, an unprecedented move triggered by coronavirus fears that raises questions over the annual hajj. The kingdom, which hosts millions of pilgrims every year in the cities of Mecca and Medina, also suspended visas for tourists from countries with reported infections as fears of a pandemic deepen.

AI Discovers New Antibiotic

Scientists at MIT say they have found one of the most powerful antibiotics ever discovered by using machine learning for the first time in such a quest.

The researchers say the new drug is able to wipe out a range of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in a different way than existing treatments.

Found thanks to artificial intelligence and named after the HAL 9000 computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the antibiotic compound halicin works by altering a bacteria’s electrochemical characteristics.

While tested successfully in mice, there is no word on when human trials of halicin will begin.

Ebola – DR Congo

From 19 to 25 February, no new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported. This was the first time since the beginning of the response that no new confirmed cases were reported over a seven-day period.