Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits off the coast of Central America.

5.2 earthquake hits the Maug Islands in the North Mariana Islands.

5.2 earthquake hit Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Atacama, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 24s (Irondro), located approximately 626 nm south of Diego Garcia, is tracking south-southeastward at 16 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 25p (Harold), located approximately 502 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking east-southeastward at 15 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Spain – An area of low pressure has triggered torrential rainfall leading to floods in parts of eastern Spain. Floodwaters have affected Castellon de la Plana, the capital of Castellon province. Further, severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds have been predicted for the Balearic Islands.

Wildlife

Wildlife Return to Urban Areas

Streets and other urban landscapes emptied out around the world in recent weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic are becoming repopulated by wildlife that had historically roamed the areas.

Rafters of turkeys are rambling through Oakland, California, while pumas stalk the streets of Santiago, Chile, returning to habitats once taken from them.

Foxes “change their behavior very quickly. When a place becomes quiet, they’re straight in there,” Romain Julliard, of the French Natural History Museum, told AFP. Lawns left unmowed are also providing conditions for bees and butterflies to thrive, Julliard added.

Trump’s industry-friendly rollback could kill billions of birds

The Trump administration intends to end the long-established practice of threatening criminal penalties to pressure companies into taking action to prevent unintentional bird deaths.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) allows for fines or prosecution for oil and gas, construction, communications and other companies who do not take steps to protect bird populations.

The most notable enforcement case bought under the MBTA resulted in a $100m settlement by BP, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 killed approximately 100,000 birds.

The Trump administration is swiftly pushing through industry-friendly rollbacks on dozens of environmental protections ahead of the election in November.

A rollback on vehicle emission standards was announced on Tuesday. In January, a rule to remove environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater was completed.

The Trump administration says deaths of birds that fly into oil pits, mining sites, telecommunications towers, wind turbines and other hazards should be treated as accidents not subject to prosecution. The proposal would cement that into federal regulation.

The threat of fines and prosecution meant that companies took steps to protect birds such as red lights on communication towers, sirens and loud noises these to prevent birds landing on toxic water sites.

Most notable was the destruction last fall of nesting grounds for 25,000 shorebirds in Virginia to make way for a road and tunnel project. State officials had ended conservation measures for the birds after federal officials advised such measures were voluntary under the new interpretation of the law.

The move to relax the bird law, combined with Trump rollbacks of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act puts birds and their habitat at greater risk, said Audubon Society vice president Sarah Greenberger.

Global Warming

Methane Leaks

The powerful greenhouse gas methane is leaking into the atmosphere from industrial sites around the planet at a rate comparable to carbon emissions generated in Germany and France annually, a French data analysis firm notes.

A report by Kayrros points to data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite that reveal more than “100 high-volume emission events.” They are said to release about 22 million tons of methane from gas storage and transmissions facilities each year.

While relatively short-lived in the atmosphere, methane is dozens of times more potent in causing global warming than CO2.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.7 degrees Celsius) in Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 87.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.1 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.

Disease

COVID-19

Worldwide fatalities are over 54 396. More than 1,033,000 people have been infected.

USA – The number of people infected with the virus in the United States hit more than 245 600 000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, with the number of fatalities reaching 6,000.

New York – New York City has reported 1,562 deaths from nearly 52,000 cases. Some 2,373 deaths have been recorded statewide from 92,231 cases.

Italy – The country’s total cases is 115,242. More deaths were also reported bringing the total to 13,915.

Germany – The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has reached 85,000. Meanwhile, the death toll rose to over 1,100.

Iran – Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has increased to 3,294. Total cases have reached 53,183.

Spain – Spain reported 932 new deaths with owe 117,000 cases.

France – France has confirmed nearly 60,000 cases of the coronavirus and as of Friday 5,387 deaths, the fourth highest tally in the world.

Ebola – DR Congo

Since 17 February 2020, no new cases have been reported in the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While this is a positive development, there is still a high risk of re-emergence of EVD given the current challenges related to limited resources amidst other local and global emergencies, continued insecurity and population displacement in previous hotspots, and limited access to some affected communities.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 25 March 2020 – 31 March 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 23-30 March incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. Twelve eruptive events were recorded along with three explosions during 23-27 March. An eruption at 1041 on 27 March produced an ash plume that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and ejcted material 800-1,100 m away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-31 March ash plumes from Dukono rose to 1.8-2.3 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 24-25 March that sent ash plumes up to 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted NE and W. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1730 on 26 March, at 0642 on 28 March, and at 0855 on 29 March gray ash plumes rose 600 m above Ibu’s summit and drifted W and N. The Darwin VAAC stated that on 30 March an ash plume rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE based on satellite images and weather models. 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.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 23-29 March lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.8 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose up to 75 m above the summit; foggy weather occasionally prevented observations. Incandescence from both summit craters was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 20-27 March, and a bright thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images those same days. Vulcanian activity was visible on 20 and 25 March; ash plumes drifted as far as 180 km E and NE at altitudes of 5.5-6 km (18,000-19,700 ft) a.s.l. on those same days. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported that beginning at 1056 on 27 March a seven-minute-long eruption at Merapi produced an ash plume that rose 5 km above the crater rim and pyroclastic flows that descended the SSE flank as far as 2 km. The ash plume drifted mainly SW and caused ashfall within 20 km, particularly in areas to the W and including the Mungkid subdistrict and in Banyubiru Village. The report noted that there were no clear precursors for the eruption. Eruptions at 2146 on 27 March and at 0521 the next day generated ash plumes that rose 1 km and 2 km, respectively. Each lasted about 2 minutes and 40 seconds based on the seismic data. Minor ashfall was noted in areas within 5 km, especially to the W, including Krinjing subdistrict. 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 : The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 25 and 29-31 March ash plumes from Nevados de Chillán rose to altitudes of 3.7-5.5 km (12,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE.

San Miguel | El Salvador : SNET stated that during 30-31 March the seismic network at San Miguel recorded a period of increased seismicity characterized by continuous, low-frequency, tremor-type signals. RSAM values were between 90 and 116 units, lower than the normal values of 150, at a seismic station located on the upper N flank.

Semisopochnoi | United States : AVO reported that seismicity at Semisopochnoi remained elevated during 25-31 March and no surface activity was observed on most days, though weather clouds often prevented visual confirmation. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 20-27 March. A gas-and-steam plume containing some ash drifted 45 km N on 25 March. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported elevated seismicity at Shishaldin during 25-31 March characterized by continuous low-level tremor. Steam-and-gas plumes rising from the summit crater were occasionally recorded by the webcam and identified in satellite images. Weakly- to- moderately elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images during 29-30 March. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Stromboli | Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported that during 23-29 March activity at Stromboli was characterized by ongoing explosive activity mainly from three vents in Area N (north crater area) and at least three vents in Area C-S (south-central crater area). Lava effused from the northern-most vent located on the edge of Area N for about four hours, beginning at 1856 on 28 March, and traveled down the Sciara del Fuoco all the way to the coast. Variable-intensity explosions from Area N occurred at a rate of 8-13 events per hour and ejected lapilli and bombs 80-150 m above the vents. Ejected tephra fell onto the flanks and some blocks rolled down the Sciara del Fuoco to the coast. Explosions from Area C-S occurred at a rate of 6-10 events per hour and ejected coarse material mixed with ash to heights less than 150 m above the vents.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 19-27 March incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. One explosion was recorded on 23 March and eruptive events were detected during 23-24 March; ringing sounds were noted in a village 4 km SSW. Gray-white plumes rose 700 m above the crater rim on 24 March. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Yasur | Vanuatu : On 27 March the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) reported that activity at Yasur continued to be elevated with ongoing ash and/or gas emissions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-4). VMGD reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, within a 395-m-radius permanent exclusion zone, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.