Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits the Myanmar-India border.

5.3 earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kodiak Islands, Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Bio-Bio, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Global Warming

Arctic stratospheric ozone depletion hits record low

Ozone levels above the Arctic reached a record low for March, NASA researchers report. An analysis of satellite observations show that ozone levels reached their lowest point on 12 March, at 205 Dobson units.

While such low levels are rare, they are not unprecedented. Similar low ozone levels occurred in the upper atmosphere, or stratosphere, in 1997 and 2011. In comparison, the lowest March ozone value observed in the Arctic is usually around 240 Dobson units.

March 12, 2019, shows in reds and yellows the higher concentration of stratospheric ozone over the Arctic which are much more typical from year to year. Usually, from December through March, waves in the upper atmosphere disrupt the circumpolar winds and cause the mixing of ozone brought from the mid-latitudes as well as warming that leads to less ozone depletion.

“This year’s low Arctic ozone happens about once per decade,” says Paul Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “For the overall health of the ozone layer, this is concerning since Arctic ozone levels are typically high during March and April.”

The March Arctic ozone depletion was caused by a combination of factors that arose due to unusually weak upper atmospheric “wave” events from December through March. These waves drive movements of air through the upper atmosphere akin to weather systems that we experience in the lower atmosphere, but much bigger in scale.

In a typical year, these waves travel upward from the mid-latitude lower atmosphere to disrupt the circumpolar winds that swirl around the Arctic. When they disrupt the polar winds, they do two things. First, they bring with them ozone from other parts of the stratosphere, replenishing the reservoir over the Arctic.

Wildlife

Avian Tragedy

Thousands of migrating swallows and swifts were found dead across parts of Greece during the first week of April after they were killed by freak high winds and downpours. Others were found gravely injured.

The country’s ornithologist association blamed currents that blew the birds from northern Africa into the strong winds from the north of the Aegean Sea, especially around the Greek Islands.

The association warned residents to take care not to drive or walk over exhausted birds that may have landed after flying for many hundreds or thousands of miles.

Environment

Hungry Rodents

Desperate rats, deprived of their usual food sources outside shuttered restaurants and other sources of snacks, have begun to invade nearby rodent colonies, eating the flesh of their own species.

While food supplies have pretty much remained the same for vermin living hear human households, rodentologist Bobby Corrigan told NBC News that those living near eateries, malls and airports have resorted to cannibalism, rat battles and infanticide to cope with their starvation diets.

The crazed rats are also threatening the homeless population, according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

A viral video posted in March showed areas in the French Quarter overrun by rats taking to the streets in search of food.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) in Podor, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 94.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70.0 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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Ukraine

Three new wildfires have started in the radiation-contaminated evacuation zone around Ukraine’s wrecked Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident 34 years ago, emergency officials said Thursday.

Disease

COVID-19

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covod-19 cases:

Screen Shot 2020 04 17 at 13 52 28

Ebola – DR Congo

From 10 to 14 April 2020, three new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

African Swine Fever – China

China began to repopulate the country’s swine farms, decimated by a rampant African swine fever outbreak that reached its peak last year, by flying in more than 4,000 high-quality breeding pigs from France aboard six jet aircraft.

Tens of millions of hogs, including 60% of China’s sow herd, were either put down to halt the spread of the disease or died. Pork is exceedingly popular on Asian dinner tables, and the shortage has caused prices for the commodity to soar.

The pigs being imported must undergo a month of health checks before leaving France, along with another 30 days in quarantine under Chinese supervision. Once they arrive in China, they spend another 45 days in quarantine to guarantee they are free of disease.

African Horse Sickness – Thailand

Thailand, already battling the spread of coronavirus, is now contending with another deadly viral outbreak—in horses. With hundreds of horse deaths reported there in the last 3 weeks, horse owners are rushing to seal their animals indoors with netting, away from biting midges that spread the virus for African horse sickness (AHS). Some scientists suspect that zebras, imported from Africa, led to the outbreak.

The disease’s sudden appearance, far from its endemic home in sub-Saharan Africa, has surprised Thai veterinary authorities, who are ramping up testing for the disease and ordering the vaccination of thousands of horses, donkeys, and mules. It is the first major outbreak of the disease outside Africa in 30 years

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 8 April 2020 – 14 April 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 6-13 April incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. The seismic network recorded 16 eruptive events and 6 explosions. Ash plumes rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 300-500 m away from the crater. 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 8-14 April ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 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 4-5 and 9 April that sent ash plumes up to 1.5 km (4,900 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted NE. A thermal anomaly was visible in satellite images on 5 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : In a special report from 6 April INSIVUMEH reported a change in the eruptive pattern at Fuego indicated by seismic and acoustic data. Lava effused from a summit vent and traveled 400 m down the Ceniza (SSW) drainage. Avalanches of material descended the flank as far as 1 km, reaching vegetated areas. Explosions caused rumbling, shock waves, and ash plumes that rose 1.1 km above the summit. The report noted that this activity was similar to the eight-day phase during 16-24 March. There were 5-14 explosions per hour recorded during 7-14 April, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and generally drifted 10-20 km in multiple directions. Minor ashfall was reported in several areas downwind including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Quisache, and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW). Explosions sometimes produced shock waves that rattled houses in communities within a 25-km radius. Incandescent material was ejected 100-600 m high. Lava flows in the Ceniza drainage had variable lengths during the week, from 200 to 600 m long. Avalanches of blocks from the lava flows traveled sometimes long distances, and in some cases set fire to vegetated areas.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 8-10 and 13 April ash plumes from Ibu rose 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, SE, and S 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.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 3-10 April along with a bright thermal anomaly identified in satellite images. Vulcanian activity was visible during 6-9 April; ash plumes drifted 200 km S, SE, and E 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.

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 7-14 April white steam plumes periodically emitted from Mayon rose as high as 400 m above the summit and drifted mainly NW, W, and SW. Crater incandescence was visible nightly. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 0-5 scale) and PHIVOLCS reminded residents to stay away from the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the SSW and ENE flanks.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that an eruption at Merapi began at 0910 on 10 April and lasted for one minute and 43 seconds. A gray ash plume rose as high as 3 km above the summit and drifted NW. 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.

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported periodic hydrothermal explosions at Rincón de la Vieja during 8-14 April. A possible small eruption occurred at 0658 on 8 April and was followed by a decrease in the amplitude of tremor signals. Beginning at 0033 on 11 April a small-scale hydrothermal explosion was recorded by the infrasoiund and seismic networks for 20 seconds. Water and sediment was ejected onto the upper flanks of the volcano. The event was recorded by the webcam located in Sensoria, 4 km N of the crater. In the morning local residents noted that the water in the Pénjamo River was milky white. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0251 on 13 April produced a plume of steam and gas that rose 500 m.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 3-10 April. Explosions on 8 April generated ash plumes that rose to 10 km (32,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 526 km SE during 8-9 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 3-10 April incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. Small eruptions occasionally occurred, producing gray-white plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the crater rim; rumbling sounds were noted in a village 4 km SSW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Taal | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 8-9 April steam plumes rose 100-300 m above the Taal’s main vent and drifted SW. Weak steaming (plumes up to 20 m high) from ground cracks was visible during 8-14 April along the Daang Kastila trail which connects the N part of Volcano Island to the N part of the main crater. PHIVOLCS had lowered the Alert Level to 1 (on a scale of 0-5) on 19 March and recommended no entry onto Volcano Island, the area defined as the Permanent Danger Zone.