Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.0 earthquake hits Mindoro in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 18s (Eighteen), located approximately 195 nm south-southwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 08 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 19s (Nineteen), located approximately 616 nm east-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking southward at 05 knots.

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Wildlife

Square Dung

Researchers say they have finally solved the mystery of why the poop of Australia’s iconic wombats comes out in cubes rather than in rounded forms. The fecal phenomenon has long puzzled scientists.

Writing in the journal Soft Matter, a team from the U.S. and Australia found the cubes are formed within the last section of the intestines as the dung dries out in the extremely long wombat colon. The sculpting of the poop into cubes happens as stiff and flexible regions of the colon contract in tandem. “Our research found that … you really can fit a square peg through a round hole,” said Scott Carver of the University of Tasmania.

EWCOLOR

Shark – Ray Decline

A new study reveals overfishing has decimated the populations of sharks and rays in the world’s oceans, with numbers dropping more than 70% on average between 1970 and 2018. Oceanic whitetip sharks are now near extinction, dropping in numbers by 98% in 60 years.

Sharks and rays take years to reach sexual maturity and have few offspring, contributing to their dwindling numbers.

Scientists say the loss of the top predators leaves a “gaping hole” in the marine food web. Those predators have been described as the lions, tigers and bears of the sea, keeping its ecosystem in balance.

Global Warming

Net Zero Emissions

California scientists say the goal of reaching zero net emissions of carbon dioxide from industry and energy production in the U.S. can be accomplished by 2050 by shifting energy infrastructure to operate mainly on renewable energy.

The team says the transition would cost about $1 per day for each U.S. resident, but it is crucial to averting the worst effects of climate change. “It means that by 2050 we need to build many gigawatts of wind and solar power plants, new transmission lines, a fleet of electric cars and light trucks, millions of heat pumps to replace conventional furnaces and water heaters, and more energy-efficient buildings,” said lead researcher Margaret Torn.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Learmonth, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 69.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.1 degrees Celsius) at Verkhoyansk, 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

Hundreds of Australians have fled to evacuation centres as a bushfire on the outskirts of the locked-down city of Perth continues to grow and threaten communities. The blaze – the largest the city has seen in years – has burnt through 9,000 hectares, destroying 71 homes. Six firefighters have suffered injuries.

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Disease

Covid-19

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

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Monkeypox – Central African Republic

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported today that monkeypox has resurfaced in the Central African Republic (CAR). Two confirmed and six suspected cases of monkeypox were detected in the Kembé Satema health district, after the epidemic was declared over on 27 December 2020.

Dengue Fever – Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, a country of 15 islands in the Pacific, is experiencing an outbreak of dengue fever. According to the Cook Islands government, eight cases of dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) were confirmed this week.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 27 January 2021 – 2 February 2021

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 25 January-1 February incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was often visible at night. Ten explosions generated eruption plumes that rose 1.8-2.3 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 800-1,100 km away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono – Halmahera (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 26 January-2 February ash plumes from Dukono rose 100-600 m above the summit and drifted W, SW, and W. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations. 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 22, 24-25, and 27 January that sent ash plumes to 3.1 km (10,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ESE. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 24 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karymsky – Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over a lava dome in Karymsky’s summit crater was visible in satellite images during 21-24 and 27 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that lava from a vent on a cone on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater fed flows that traveled down a channel into a perched lava lake during 27-29 January. The vent was mostly crusted over during 30 January-2 February, though several incandescent areas on cone were visible and lava slowly effused from the base of the cone. The western half of the lake deepened from 209 to 212 m and was elevated ~5 m above the stagnant E half.

Klyuchevskoy – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian and sometimes Vulcanian activity at Klyuchevskoy continued during 22-29 January and lava advanced down the Kozyrevsky drainage on the S flank and the Apakhonchich drainage on the SE 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 125 km in multiple directions. On 24 January collapses from the lava flow sent large amounts of material and pyroclastic flows down the Apakhonchich drainage. An ash cloud rose to 9.6 km (31,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 60 km N then NE. The Aviation colour Code remined at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Lewotolo – Lomblen Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolo continued at least during 26-28 January. Gray-and-white ash plumes rose 500 m above the summit and drifted E, SE, and W. Strombolian explosions ejected material 500 m above the summit, and incandescent material was ejected as far as 500-600 m SE from the crater. Rumbling was reported during 29-30 January; weather conditions prevented visual observations of the crater during 29 January-2 February. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 4 km away from the summer crater.

Nevados de Chillan – Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported that activity at Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater was ongoing with sporadic gas-and-ash emissions and continuing lava effusion through 1 February. Lava effusion began in mid-2020 though the rate had increased in the past two months. A satellite image from 25 January showed a thermal anomaly over the lava dome in Nicanor Crater and one on the N crater rim, at the vent producing lava flows. A minor thermal anomaly was visible at the end of the active “L5” lava flow, about 600 m N of the vent. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-colour scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI stated that Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) remained in place for the communities of Pinto and Coihueco, noting that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the W and SW flank and 5 km away on the NE flank.

Semeru – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 27 January-2 February, though weather conditions often prevented visual confirmation. On 28 January incandescent material was seen being ejected 50 m above the summit. According to a news article a pyroclastic flow from the end of a lava flow traveled 2 km down the flank on 2 February. 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.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 22-29 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Sinabung – Indonesia : PVMBG reported that at 1822 on 27 January an ash plume from Sinabung rose 500 m above the summit and drifted SE and E, according to a ground-based observer. Dense white plumes rose as high as 1 km above them summit during 28 January-2 February. 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.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was occasionally visible at night during 22-29 January. Intermittent explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.4 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 200 m away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Whakaari/White Island – North Island (New Zealand) : GeoNet reported that during the previous year temperatures of Whakaari/White Island’s steam and gas vents were regularly captured during helicopter overflights. These data showed a downward trend from temperatures of over 700 degrees Celsius in February 2020 to temperatures around 300 degrees Celsius recorded on 21 January. The recent gas-emission temperatures were similar to those measured in July 2018. There was no evidence of eruptive activity observed during overflights in January nor signs of collapse in or near the active vents. A small amount of water had ponded on the 1978/90 Crater floor. Gas continued to be emitted from the active vents and from cooling lava that had erupted in December 2019, though the emission rates were the lowest recorded since that eruption. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 and the Aviation colour Code remained at Green.