Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 21s (Twenty-one), located approximately 255 nm north-northeast of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 10 knots.

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Global Warming

Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change on land, sea and in the atmosphere

A wide-ranging UN climate report, released on Tuesday, shows that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population.

The report, The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, which is led by the UN weather agency (World Meteorological Organization), contains data from an extensive network of partners.

It documents physical signs of climate change – such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea level rise and melting ice – and the knock-on effects on socio-economic development, human health, migration and displacement, food security, and land and marine ecosystems.

Australia’s 2018-2019 summer was the hottest ever recorded, reaching a peak of 41.9 degrees centigrade on December 18. Australia’s seven hottest days on record, and nine of the 10 hottest, occurred in 2019.

The country was not the only place affected by extreme heat, or wildfires. Heat records were broken in several European countries, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Even Nordic countries saw record-breaking temperatures, including Finland, which registered a high of 33.2 degrees in the capital, Helsinki.

Several high latitude regions, including Siberia and Alaska, saw high levels of fire activity, as did some parts of the Arctic, where it was previously extremely rare. Indonesia and neighbouring countries had their the most significant fire season since 2015, and total fire activity in South America was the highest since 2010.

2020 has seen the warmest January recorded so far.

Greenhouse gas emissions continued to grow in 2019, leading to increased ocean heat, and such phenomena as rising sea levels, the altering of ocean currents, melting floating ice shelves, and dramatic changes in marine ecosystems.

The ocean has seen increased acidification and deoxygenation, with negative impacts on marine life, and the wellbeing of people who depend on ocean ecosystems. At the poles, sea ice continues to decline, and glaciers shrunk yet again, for the 32nd consecutive year.

In 2019, extreme weather events, some of which were unprecedented in scale, took place in many parts of the world. The monsoon season saw rainfall above the long-term average in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and flooding led to the loss of some 2,200 lives in the region.

Parts of South America were hit by floods in January, whilst Iran was badly affected in late March and early April. In the US, total economic losses from flooding were estimated at around $20 billion. Other regions suffered a severe lack of water. Australia has its driest year on record, and Southern Africa, Central America and parts of South America received abnormally low rains.

2019 also saw an above-average number of tropical cyclones, with 72 in the northern hemisphere, and 27 in the southern hemisphere.

Following years of steady decline, hunger is again on the rise, driven by a changing climate and extreme weather events: over 820 million people were affected by hunger in 2018. The countries in the Horn of Africa were particularly affected in 2019, where the population suffered from climate extremes, displacement, conflict and violence. The region suffered droughts, then unusually heavy rains towards the end of the year, which was a factor in the worst locust outbreak in the past 25 years.

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Greenland and Antarctica ice loss accelerating

Earth’s great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, are now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s thanks to warming conditions.

A comprehensive review of satellite data acquired at both poles is unequivocal in its assessment of accelerating trends, say scientists who studied 30 years of satellite images and data.

Between them, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice in the period from 1992 to 2017.

This was sufficient to push up global sea-levels by 17.8mm. Of that combined 17.8mm contribution to sea-level rise, 10.6mm (60 %) was due to Greenland ice losses and 7.2mm (40%) was due to Antarctica.

The combined rate of ice loss for the pair was running at about 81 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s. By the 2010s, it had climbed to 475 billion tonnes per year.

Wildlife

China bans consumption of wildlife

China has banned the consumption of wild animals following the outbreak of COVID-19, which is thought to have jumped from bats to humans at a market in Wuhan.

The ban prohibits the hunting, trade, transportation and consumption of all terrestrial wild animals whether captive-bred or wild caught, where the end purpose is to eat.

Campaigners say the ban is an important first step in keeping people safe and halting China’s wildlife trade, but want Beijing to close loopholes that still allow wild animals to be used in Chinese medicine.

Disease

COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic as Italy tightened its quarantine and the US imposed a ban on flights to Europe.

As US President Donald Trump announced new measures to address the US’s growing outbreak, Italy further tightened the nationwide quarantine it imposed earlier this week – with all but essential services and shops to close for two weeks – after leaders from the European Union promised to do “whatever it takes” to tackle the coronavirus.

Iran – “We have identified 1,075 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, meaning that there are 10,075 infected people in the country. The death toll is 429,” Health Ministry spokesman told state television.

Spain – The president of the Madrid region Isabel Diaz Ayuso said that the Spanish government was considering locking down Madrid as a measure to stem the coronavirus spread in the country.

South Korea – The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there were 114 new cases, as well as six more deaths.

Qatar – Qatar announced 238 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday saying the number of infections was likely to rise. The number of coronavirus infections in the energy-rich Gulf state is now 262 so far.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the Week 4 March 2020 – 10 March 2020

San Miguel | El Salvador : SNET stated that during 28 February-6 March there were no reports of noises or gas emissions at San Miguel from the network of local observers. Seismicity was stable; 50-60 low-magnitude earthquakes were recorded per hour with RSAM values between 40 and 98 units, lower than the normal values of 150. The sulfur dioxide emission flux was 517-808 tons per day.

Sangay | Ecuador : IG reported a high level of activity at Sangay during 3-10 March. Ash plumes rose 870-1,130 m above the summit and drifted NW and W based on Washington VAAC notices. Incandescent blocks rolled down the SW flank during 3-4 March. A seismic station recorded a lahar on 8 March.

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : BNPB and PVMBG reported that on 3 March a pyroclastic flow was generated from collapsing material at the end of a 750-m-long lava flow on Semeru’s S flank. The pyroclastic flow lasted nine minutes based on seismic data, traveled as far as 2.3 km down the S flank, and was documented and reported at 1733 by the Malang Subagyo district Badan Penanggulangan Bencana Daerah (BPBD). During 3-8 March black-gray eruptive plumes rose 200 m above the summit, interspersed with 100-m-high white gas plumes. Incandescent material was ejected 10-50 m above the summit; lava flows 500-1,000 m long continued to be active in the Kembar, Bang, and Kobokan drainages (on the S flank). The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was reminded to stay outside of the general 1-km radius from the summit and 4 km on the SSE flank.