Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.7 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Xinjiang, China.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 08s (Danilo), located approximately 629 nm east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking west-southwestward at 11 knots.

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Global Warming

Native biodiversity collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean

The coastline of Israel is one of the warmest areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, most marine species have been at the limits of their tolerance to high temperatures for a long time — and now they are already beyond those limits. Global warming has led to an increase in sea temperatures beyond those temperatures that Mediterranean species can sustain. Consequently, many of them are going locally extinct.

The research team quantified this local extinction for marine molluscs, an invertebrate group encompassing snails, clams and mussels. They thoroughly surveyed the Israeli coastline and reconstructed the historical species diversity using the accumulations of empty shells on the sea bottom.

The shallow habitats at scuba diving depths are affected most. Here, the researchers were not able to find living individuals of up to 95 per cent of the species whose shells were found in the sediments. The study suggests that most of this loss has occurred recently, presumably in just the last few decades.

Additionally, most of the species still found alive cannot grow enough to reproduce, “a clear sign that the biodiversity collapse will further continue.

Environment

CO2 Fuel

Oxford University researchers say they have found a way to cheaply and simply convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into jet fuel. The technique uses heated citric acid, hydrogen and an iron-manganese-potassium catalyst to turn the CO2 into a fuel that would power jet aircraft. Even though the process would include capturing carbon emissions, the Oxford team says the process could be the most viable option for many commercial airline fleets to go carbon neutral until they can convert to electric propulsion or other greener options.

Wildlife

Domestic Kangaroos

Kangaroos have shown they can use body language to ask humans for help, busting earlier beliefs that only domesticated animals have such an ability.

Alan McElligott and colleagues at the City University of Hong Kong tested 16 roos living in captivity with the same methods used to study horses, dogs and goats. After blocking food from the kangaroos with a transparent box door that made it impossible for the marsupials to get it, they observed the animals’ behavior. The roos almost always turned to a nearby human for help. “They’d look straight up at my face, like a dog or a goat would do, and back at the box, and some even came up and scratched my knee like a dog pawing [for attention],” said McElligott.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) in Dampier, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 64.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.3 degrees Celsius) at Toko, Siberia.

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 – Australia

The two Hercules C130 heavy water bombers stationed in WA have been deployed to a fast-moving bushfire that became out of control this afternoon, about 50km north of Perth. The out of control fire has burnt through more 2700 hectares of land and is moving in a south westerly direction. Residents have been urged to flee the area.

Disease

Covid-19

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

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Legionnaires Disease – Portland, USA

A bacterial pneumonia outbreak, known as Legionnaires’ disease has hit a Portland-based senior housing complex, leaving 1 dead and 4 hospitalized as more than 100 residents were evacuated from the housing complex. A report released by the Multnomah County Health Department said that the outbreak is caused by contaminated water that has entered the Rosemont Court senior living complex.

Bird Flu – India

The Indian states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have reported bird flu outbreaks in their respective states.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 30 December 2020 – 5 January 2021

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 28 December-4 January incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was often visible nightly. The sulfur dioxide emission rate remained high. Four explosions were recorded during 28 December-1 January; an explosion at 1614 on 29 December generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3.5 km above the crater rim and ejecting bombs 1.3-1.7 km away from the crater. Very small eruptive events were recorded during 2-4 January. 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 1-2 January ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, and SW. 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 25 and 30-31 December; ash plumes rose up to 3.1 km (10,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 3-15 explosions were recorded per hour during 29 December-5 January at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim that drifted 7-30 km generally N, NW, W, SW, and S. Shock waves rattled buildings around the volcano and were detected as far as 25 km away. Block avalanches descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), El Jute, Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Incandescent material was ejected 100-300 m above the summit almost daily. Ashfall was reported most days in several areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales, La Soledad (11 km N), San Miguel Dueñas (10 km NE), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW).

Kadovar – Papua New Guinea : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 3 January two ash puffs from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW.

Karymsky – Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 24-28 December. Explosions on 26 and 30 December produced ash plumes that rose 4-5 km (13,100-16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 70 km NW. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Klyuchevskoy – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian and sometimes Vulcanian activity at Klyuchevskoy continued during 25 December-1 January and lava advanced down the Kozyrevsky drainage on the S flank. A large bright thermal anomaly was identified daily in satellite images. Steam-and-gas plumes with some ash rose to 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 250 km in multiple directions. Kamchatka Volcanological Station observers reported that at about 1720 on 2 January a landslide descended the Apakhonchich drainage on the SE flank, producing a cloud of ash that rose about 1 km and quickly drifted SE. The Aviation colour Code remined at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Lewotolo – Lomblen Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that a Strombolian eruption at Lewotolo continued during 30 December-5 January. Gray-and-white ash plumes were visible daily, rising as high as 1 km above the summit. Rumbling and banging sounds were reported almost daily, and incandescent material was ejected as far as 1 km SE from the crater during 30-31 December and 4-5 January. Strombolian explosions ejected material 100-200 m above the summit crater during 1-5 January. The Alert Level was remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 4 km away from the summer crater.

Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that Strombolian activity and lava effusion continued at Pacaya during 29 December-5 January. Explosions from the cone in Mackenney Crater ejected material as high as 300 m above the vent and away from the crater. Lava flows on the SW and W flanks were active and varied in length between 400 and 650 m; the lava flow on the SW flank had numerous branches. Activity was most notable on 1 January; gas-and-ash plumes rose 100-300 m above the summit and drifted 10 km NW, and explosions that were sometimes strong rattled nearby houses.

Santa Maria – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 29 December-5 January explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated ash plumes that rose 800-900 m above the complex. Plumes sometimes drifted about 1 km SW. The extrusion of blocky lava at Caliente dome generated block-and-ash flows that descended the NW, W, SW, and E flanks, often reaching the base of the complex. Ashfall on the flanks was noted almost daily, though during 1-2 January ashfall was also reported in Loma Linda (6 km WSW) and San Marcos Palajunoj (8 km SW).

Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that incandescent material ejected 50 m above Semeru’s summit was visible most nights during 30 December-5 January. Cloudy weather often obscured visual observations during the daytime. A pyroclastic flow traveled 3.5 km down the Kobokan drainage on the SE flank on 31 December. Incandescent material from the ends of lava flows descended 300-1,000 m, reaching a maximum distance of 550-1,250 m from the crater during 1-3 January. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 4 km in the SSE sector. According to BNPB, observers at the Gunungsawur Observatory, 12 km SE of Semeru, recorded heavy rain around the volcano on 30 December, resulting in multiple lahars. At 0939 a lahar in the Koboan River drainage on the SE flank was seen and also recorded by the post’s seismic station. A lahar detected at 0950 was followed by an increase in water flow in the Curah Koboan, Rejali Bondeli, and Regoyo watersheds. At 1111 the seismic station recorded a lahar and accompanying pyroclastic flow that traveled 3.5 km down the Curah Koboan drainage. At 1130 lahars in Curah Koboan drainage damaged bamboo stalls owned by a local resident in Sumberwuluh Village (15 km SE).

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 25 December-1 January. A strong explosion on 29 December generated ash plumes that rose as high as 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting 250 km W. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Sinabung – Indonesia : PVMBG reported that white-and-gray plumes generally rose as high as 500 m above Sinabung’s summit during 30 December-5 January. Avalanches of material traveled 500-1,200 m down the E and SE flanks each day. Three eruptive events recorded on 4 January (at 0854, 1150, and 1412) produced dense gray ash plumes that rose 700-1,000 m above the summit and drifted N, NW, and W. Three eruptive events were detected the next day as well. The first, at 0825, generated an ash plume that rose 800 m above the summit. Ash emissions were not visible from the second and third events, recorded at 2027 and 2108. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km in the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector.

Ubinas – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that at 1659 on 31 December and at 1746 on 1 January low-volume lahars descended the Volcánmayo drainage on Ubinas’s SE flank and damaged parts of the highway linking Arequipa, Querapi, Ubinas, and Huarina. The Alert Level remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Villarrica – Chile : POVI reported that during an overflight of Villarrica on 2 January scientists observed an incandescent vent at the bottom of the crater that had a solidified lava bridge connecting across a partially crusted-over top. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, the commune of Panguipulli, and the exclusion zone for the public of 500 m around the crater.