Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits Alaska.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Depression Thirteen is located about 305 mi…490 km e of the northern Leeward islands with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 285 degrees at 21 mph…33 km/h.

Tropical Depression Fourteen is located about 30 mi…45 km nne of Cabo Gracias a Dios on Nic/Hon border and about 240 mi…385 km ese of Isla Roatan Honduras with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 290 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm 12e (Genevieve), located approximately 575 nm south-southeast of San Diego, is tracking west-northwestward at 09 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Vietnam -= Disaster authorities in Vietnam report that 7 people have died and 1 is still missing after heavy rainfall triggered flash floods and landslides. Some areas of Vietnam saw more than 300mm of rain in a period 16 to 19 August. Initial damage assessments suggest over 1,000 homes have been damaged, with more than 550 of them in Yen Bai.

Pakistan – Torrential rain and thunderstorms on 20 August caused damage and fatalities in Punjab Province, Pakistan. Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) reported that parts of the provincial capital Lahore recorded more than 200mm of rain in 24 hours on 20 August. Heavy rain was reported in other areas of the province, including the city of Hafizabad, which saw over 150 mm of rain during the same period. Several houses were completely destroyed, and roofs and walls of some buildings collapsed. At least 18 people have lost their lives in rain-related incidents.

India – Heavy monsoon rains have flooded parts of India’s capital New Delhi and its suburbs, throwing life out of gear for millions of people, as the death toll from the annual deluge across South Asia rose to nearly 1,300. In New Delhi’s suburb of Gurgaon, dubbed the Millenium City, roads, underpasses and residential areas were flooded on Wednesday forcing power cuts in several areas. Rafts were put into action to evacuate people in some areas. The monsoon is vital to the densely populated region, revitalising land and waterways amid scorching summers. But it also causes widespread death and destruction.

Environment

Indian Ocean Oil Pollution

Wildlife experts say it could take decades for the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to recover from the 1,000 metric tons of oil that spilled into its pristine waters from a grounded and off-course Japanese tanker. The vessel rammed into a reef and begin spilling oil faster than local volunteers and crews, some wading without protective gear, could halt its spread. But it was a losing battle for a country where tourism and fishing drive the economy. Its reefs, endangered animals and plants, mangrove forests and lagoons have already suffered a massive poisonous shock, according to Mauritian environmental scientist Adam Moolna.

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Wildlife

Early Magpie Mayhem

A changing climate appears to be extending the season when Australia’s magpies swoop down and terrorize cyclists and pedestrians, according to bird experts.

While the aggressive birds, which swoop to protect their hatchlings, typically don’t begin calling for a mate until the last full moon of August, they have already been menacing the human population for weeks.

Behavioral ecologist Darryl Jones of Griffith University says that the early swooping is probably because the magpies were tricked into nesting early by recent warmer winters and erratic weather. Authorities warn not to make eye contact with the birds, to carry umbrellas and to walk not run in areas where magpies are nesting.

Global Warming

‘Unprecedented’ ice loss as Greenland breaks record

Scientists say the loss of ice in Greenland lurched forward again last year, breaking the previous record by 15%.

A new analysis says that the scale of the melt was “unprecedented” in records dating back to 1948. High pressure systems that became blocked over Greenland last Summer were the immediate cause of the huge losses.

Using data from the Grace and Grace-FO satellites, as well as climate models, the authors conclude that across the full year Greenland lost 532 gigatonnes of ice – a significant increase on 2012.

The researchers say the loss is the equivalent of adding 1.5mm to global mean sea levels, approximately 40% of the average rise in one year.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The official thermometer at California’s Death Valley measured an air temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit on August 16, which meteorologists say could be the hottest ever recorded on the planet. While a reading of 134 degrees was taken in Death Valley in 1913, recent studies suggest it was incorrect because of observer error. A 131-degree reading at Kebili, Tunisia, during July 1931 is now also suspected to be bogus. This summer’s mid-August heat also baked much of the western United States, triggering lightning storms that sparked a spate of destructive wildfires and blackouts across California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 106.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 76.7 degrees Celsius) at the South Pole, 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 – USA

There were at least 77 large complexes of wildfires burning in 15 states across the country as of Tuesday evening.

Alaska

Number of fires: Seven

Acres burned: More than 26,000 acres

Cause: Lightning strikes have caused most of the 331 fires reported this year to date, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

Arizona

Number of fires: 11

Size: More than 31,000 acres

Cause: A lightning strike caused the largest, the Cassadora Springs Fire, according to information on InciWeb Information System.

California

Number of fires: 25

Total size: More than 345,000 acres

Cause: The August complex, made up of 20 individual fires, was caused by lightning strikes in the Mendocino National Forest, according to information on InciWeb Information System.

Colorado

Number of fires: Five

Size: More than 135,000 acres

Smoke is covering much of Colorado, and the Denver metro area is under an air quality alert.

Cause: The Pine Gulch Fire, the largest burning now, was caused by lightning, according to an incident report on InciWeb.

Florida

Number of fires: One

Size: More than 100 acres

Cause: Unclear

Idaho

Number of fires: Two

Size: More than 490 acres

Cause: The cause of the Muldoon Fire, which has burned about 400 acres, is under investigation.

Montana

Number of fires: Three

Size: Almost 8,000 acres

Cause: The Bear Creek Fire was caused by lightning. It’s burned more than 7,500 acres.

Nevada

Number of fires: Two that are totally contained, meaning they are no longer spreading.

Size: They burned more than 14,000 acres before they were contained.

Cause: Lightning caused the Poodle Fire, which has burned more than 13,600 acres.

New Mexico

Number of fires: Two

Size: More than 2,600 acres

Cause: Lightning also caused the Dark Canyon Fire, which has burned more than 3,000 acres.

Oregon

Number of fires: Seven, with two contained

Size: More than 22,000 acres

Cause: The cause of the Indian Creek Fire is under investigation. It’s burned more than 14,000 acres.

South Dakota

Number of fires: One

Size: More than 500 acres

Cause: Unclear

Texas

Number of fires: Two

Size: More than 4,000 acres

Cause: Unclear

Utah

Number of fires: Four

Size: More than 1,500 acres

Cause: Unclear

Washington

Number of fires: Six

Size: More than 44,000 acres

Cause: The Taylor Pond Fire was caused by lightning, according to a Facebook post by the Southeast Washington Interagency Incident Management Team. It’s burned almost 38,000 acres.

Wyoming

Number of fires: 1

Size: More than 825,000 acres

Cause: The Waddle Creek Fire, on the border with Montana, is still under investigation, according to CNN affiliate KULR.

Disease

COVID-19

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

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Diphtheria – Myanmar

Officials in Myanmar are reporting a diphtheria outbreak in eastern Shan State. Since the end of July, 36 cases of diphtheria have been treated at Kengtung People’s Hospital and five have died.

Ebola – DR Congo

The number of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases increased by seven, bringing the total to 96 cases reported (including 92 confirmed and 4 probable) in Equateur province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 12 August 2020 – 18 August 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that very small eruptive events at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 10-17 August. The daily sulfur dioxide emission rate was just over 1,000 tons/day on 13 August. During an overflight on 14 August observers noted that emissions were rising from multiple vents in 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 12-18 August ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. A discrete ash plume rose to 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W on 17 August; the event was associated with a summit thermal anomaly. 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 on 7, 9, 11, and 13 August that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, S, and E. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 9 August. A thermal anomaly over the volcano was identified in satellite images on 7 and 10 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 12-14 and 16-17 August ash plumes rose 200-800 m above Ibu’s summit and drifted N, W, and S. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations of the summit. 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 and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 16 August an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 7 and 10 August; weather clouds prevented views of the volcano on the other days during 7-14 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kerinci | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that at 1602 on 12 August a brown ash emission from Kerinci rose 1 km above the summit and drifted NE, E, and SE. At 1225 on 13 August and 0731 on 15 August brown ash emissions rose 600-800 m and drifted ENE and NW, respectively. On 16 August brown emissions rose 300-500 m and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nishinoshima | Japan : Based on satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 12-18 August ash plumes from Nishinoshima rose to 2.4-5.5 km (8,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, NW, W, and SW.

Reventador | Ecuador : IG reported that a high level of activity continued to be recorded at Reventador during 11-17 August. Gas, steam, and ash emissions observed sometimes multiple times a day with the webcam or reported by the Washington VAAC rose as high as 1 km above the summit crater and drifted NW and W. Cloudy weather sometimes prevented views of the volcano. Incandescent blocks rolled 500-700 m down mainly the NE and E flanks during 12-13 and 15-16 August. A lava flow traveled 200 m down the NE flank on 13 August. The flow lengthened to 300 m by 15 August and remained active, though did not advance, through 18 August. A small pyroclastic flow descended the NE flank during 15-16 August.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 7-14 August. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported, based on satellite images and weather models, that on 14 and 16 August ash plumes from Semeru rose to an altitude of 4 km (13,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W and WSW. A thermal anomaly was visible on 16 August. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).