Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Somalia – The 2020 Gu (April-June) seasonal rains continued to intensify across Somalia during the 4th week of April. Compared to the previous two weeks, there was a significant increase of rainfall in most parts of Somalia as well as the eastern Ethiopian highlands. Many areas observed more than three days of consecutive heavy rains across the country. The good rains received so far have continued to replenish water and pasture resources. An improvement in livestock body conditions and milk production has been reported as well. On the downside, parts of the country experienced flash flood and flooding has begun in the Juba and Shabelle rivers.

Canada – Floods have forced mandatory evacuations in parts of Fort McMurray, the hub for Canada’s oil sands industry, even as the province of Alberta tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, ordered mandatory evacuations of some residents that began on Sunday and were expanded on Monday. Ice jams caused the Athabasca River to spill its banks.

Wildlife

Climate Change Affecting Antarctic Seals

Crabeater seals have historically been quite successful. Their population ranges around 15 million, and conservationists haven’t had to worry too much about them—until now. Climate change is quickly changing the habitat of these cute Antarctic critters, and a new study shows that these seals will have to work harder for their food in a warmer world.

Despite the name, these ice-loving animals eat krill. In fact, that’s about all they eat. So the team followed seals and looked at their foraging patterns to predict krill habitat and project how that might change moving forward.

The results show that increased heat and loss of sea ice (which helps keep the sun’s heat out of the water) could reduce krill populations and push them to seek shelter farther south. That’s bad news for these seals that love to hang out near the coast on the ice where krill are typically found these days. If the krill move away from coastal waters—as the models in this study predict—the crabeater seals will need to swim farther to find them and eat.

The animals may spend more energy in search of a food source that may be less abundant. But understanding the changes here is crucial not just for the seals’ fate, but krill and other animals that rely on it as the base of the food chain.

The shift in krill habitat away from coastal waters in the north has big implications for species like penguins and fur seals, which can’t make long foraging trips because they have to come back to land to feed their offspring.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires in Siberia, Russia, are bringing even more misery to an area which is already on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. On April 23, 2020, strong winds helped to push fires set by locals to dry grass out of control. The regions of Kemerovo and Novosibirsk among others have been the hardest hit to date. Nine Siberian regions have been affected by these wildfires. Clouds of smoke have swept across the Siberian landscape.

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Disease

COVID-19

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

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Zimbabwe – Malaria

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa reports a surge in malaria cases in Zimbabwe. According to officials, the increase in malaria cases began in early March 2020. The week ending April 12, Zimbabwe saw more than 35,000 cases and 25 deaths. Since the beginning of the year through last week, Zimbabwe has seen a cumulative total of 170,303 malaria cases, including 152 deaths (CFR 0.1%).