Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 12s (Eloise), located approximately 200 nm north of Antananarivo, Madagascar, is tracking westward at 15 knots.

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Newsbytes:

Syria – At least 41,200 people have been impacted floods brought by heavy rainfall in North West Syria. Flooding swamped over 60 camps housing internally displaced people in parts of northern Idlib and western Aleppo on 18 January 2021. Save the Children said that as many as 2,558 tents were damaged or destroyed, along with people’s already thin belongings destroyed. Families are struggling to protect their tents and find sources of heating. Most of the people affected have already faced years of being uprooted from their homes due to conflict.

Global Warming

Climate change will alter the position of the Earth’s tropical rain belt

Future climate change will cause a regionally uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt — a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator. This development may threaten food security for billions of people.

In a study published today in Nature Climate Change, an interdisciplinary team of environmental engineers, Earth system scientists and data science experts stressed that not all parts of the tropics will be affected equally. For instance, the rain belt will move north in parts of the Eastern Hemisphere but will move south in areas in the Western Hemisphere.

According to the study, a northward shift of the tropical rain belt over the eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean will result in future increases of drought stress in southeastern Africa and Madagascar, in addition to intensified flooding in southern India. A southward creeping of the rain belt over the eastern Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean will cause greater drought stress in Central America.

Environment

The planet is dying faster than we thought

Humanity is barreling toward a “ghastly future” of mass extinctions, health crises and constant climate-induced disruptions to society — one that can only be prevented if world leaders start taking environmental threats seriously.

A eam of 17 researchers based in the United States, Mexico and Australia describes three major crises facing life on Earth: climate disruption, biodiversity decline and human overconsumption and overpopulation. Citing more than 150 studies, the team argues that these three crises — which are poised only to escalate in the coming decades — put Earth in a more precarious position than most people realize, and could even jeopardize the human race.

What will that future look like? Nature will be a lot lonelier. Since the start of agriculture 11,000 years ago, Earth has lost an estimated 50% of its terrestrial plants and roughly 20% of its animal biodiversity. If current trends continue, as many as 1 million of Earth’s 7 million to 10 million plant and animal species could face extinction in the near future.

Such an enormous loss of biodiversity would also disrupt every major ecosystem on the planet, with fewer insects to pollinate plants, fewer plants to filter the air, water and soil, and fewer forests to protect human settlements from floods and other natural disasters.

Meanwhile, those same phenomena that cause natural disasters are all predicted to become stronger and more frequent due to global climate change. Overpopulation will not make anything easier. By 2050, the world population will likely grow to ~9.9 billion. This booming growth will exacerbate societal problems like food insecurity, housing insecurity, joblessness, overcrowding and inequality.

Disease

Covid-19

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

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Lassa fever – Nigeria

After reporting a record year of Lassa fever in Nigeria last year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported nine confirmed Lassa fever cases, including 2 deaths in Bauchi state among the confirmed cases.