Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits southern Alaska.

5.3 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.3 earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits Guam.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits the Myanmar-India border.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Oaxaca, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Iran – More severe flooding has affected parts of southern Iran over the last few days, with around 1,200 homes damaged and thousands of people displaced in Kerman Province. Flooding has affected 300 villages in 11 counties of Kerman Province since around 18 January. IRCS teams have supported over 12,000 people affected by the floods, and provided emergency shelter to 1,050 households. Roads have been blocked, hindering access to some affected areas. Furthermore, severe weather conditions until late 19 January, including heavy rain, fog and wind, made it impossible to carry out relief and rescue efforts by air.

Zambia – An estimated 15,000 people from 3,500 households have been affected by flooding in Southern Province in Zambia over the last few days. As of 17 January 2022, flooding had affected wide areas of Namwala District, Southern Province, which is situated close to the Kafue River. Flooding has inundated land and homes and disrupted the lives of at least 3,000 households. Flooding was also reported in Choma district of Southern Province, close to Lake Kariba and the border with Zimbabwe. Around 500 families are thought to be affected and 110 households displaced. Flooding has cut road access in parts of both districts, making it impossible for some affected families to relocate.


Manatee Deaths

A record number of Florida’s protected manatees died during 2021, with the 1,101 deaths more than double the five-year average. Most were along the state’s eastern coast, where pollution-fed algae blooms were the main cause. The blooms are responsible for wiping out thousands of acres of seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon, a major feeding area for manatees.

Pristine Coral Reef Discovered

Scientists have discovered a vast, pristine reef of giant rose-shaped corals off the coast of Tahiti apparently unharmed by the bleaching effects of the warming ocean due to climate change, UNESCO announced Thursday.

Mapping approximately 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) long and up to 65 meters (213 feet) wide, UNESCO said it was “one of the most extensive healthy coral reefs on record.”

The United Nations heritage agency said it was “highly unusual” to find healthy coral in cooler waters between 30 and 65 meters deep and that it could suggest that there are more reefs in that ocean depth range that are safer from the impacts of warming waters.

Fish-Breeding Seabed

Scientists say they have discovered the world’s largest fish-breeding area, located in the south of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea.

Trolling with underwater cameras, they captured images of thousands of Jonah’s icefish nests on the seabed, with a density of about one nest per 30 square feet, which suggests about 60 million breeding sites blanket the seabed. “I went on an expedition to this region about 25 years ago, and one of the big questions then was where do these icefish breed,” said British Antarctic Survey scientist Katrin Linse. “Finding an assemblage on this scale is just mind-blowing to me.”

Global Warming

No Quick Fix for Global Warming in Greenland

The warming that humans cause today may have ripple effects far into the future, scientists warned in a study yesterday that finds the vast Greenland ice sheet could continue melting for centuries after greenhouse gases are stabilized. Greenland has a delayed response to changes in the Earth’s climate, and even if the planet stopped warming tomorrow, Greenland may continue losing ice for hundreds or even thousands of years.

During periods of natural cooling, for instance, the ice sheet has begun to grow—and then it continued to grow for some time even after the climate starts warming again. Eventually, the ice sheet flips and starts to shrink again. Then it continues shrinking even after temperatures stop rising.

That’s because the Greenland ice sheet is such a large, complex system. The ice sheet is so large that once it starts losing ice at faster and faster speeds, it can take a long time to slow back down again.


Mass Extinction

Earth’s sixth mass extinction is currently accelerating, and a new study points out that it is the only one in the planet’s history to be caused by human activity.

“Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction,” said lead researcher Robert Cowie. Writing in the journal Biological Reviews, he and his colleagues estimate that between 7.5% and 13% of Earth’s 2 million known species may already be lost. Some critics of the alarm over the man-made “biological annihilation” of wildlife say this it merely a new and natural trend, with humans just playing the dominant role in Earth’s evolutionary history.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 46.7 degrees Celsius (116 degrees F) at Oodnadatta, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 51.7 degrees Celsius (-61 degrees F) at Oimyakon, 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 – Australia

For the past two weeks, pastoralists, including Tim and Chris Higham, in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region have been battling ferocious bushfires that have destroyed property and livestock. When lightning struck on January 6, three fires broke out in the area, plus another further north. Combined with strong winds and a significant fuel load, two of the fires joined together to form one mammoth blaze.

More than 340,000 hectares have been burnt across the Gascoyne Complex fires, according to DFES incident controller Peter Norman. Although the fires have now been brought under control, firefighters remain cautious about possible flare-ups.



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

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Dengue Fever – Brazil

Health officials in Minas Gerais, Brazil are reporting 814 probable and 178 confirmed dengue fever cases through January 20. No deaths from dengue have been confirmed to date.

DR Congo

Monkeypox – Health authorities reported an additional 189 total monkeypox cases. including two deaths in the past two weeks, bringing the country total for 2021 to 3,087 cases with 83 deaths (CFR 2.7%) through December 26.

Plague – Eight additional human plague cases were reported in the DRC since the last update two weeks prior. This year through December 26, 138 suspected pneumonic plague cases including 14 deaths (CFR: 10.1%) were reported in eight health zones in Ituri province.

Polio – The World Health Organization reports two additional circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases, bringing the total for 2021 to 19 confirmed.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week 12 January – 18 January 2022

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible at night during 10-17 January. Seismic data showed a decreasing number of volcanic earthquakes.

Fuego – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 6-13 explosions per hour were recorded at Fuego during 12-18 January, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim. The ash plumes mainly drifted 10-20 km S and SW causing almost daily ashfall in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and La Rochela. Ash plumes drifted as far as 20 km E and NE during 14-16 January. Daily, periodic shock waves rattled structures in communities around the volcano. Block avalanches descended the flanks in all directions, but most commonly were visible in the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Honda, and Las Lajas (SE) drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Explosions ejected incandescent material up to 150-350 m above the summit during 12-16 January.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that slow lava effusion at Great Sitkin continued during 12-18 January, though cloudy conditions prevented satellite and webcam confirmation. Seismicity was very low and small events were occasionally recorded. Steam emissions were observed in webcam views during 14-15 January.

Karymsky – Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported increased explosive activity at Karymsky and a thermal anomaly visible in satellite images during 7-8 and 11-12 January. Explosions during 11-13 January produced ash plumes that drifted almost 130 km in various directions.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that lava effusion resumed at the vent in the lower W wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater at around 1840 on 11 January. The level of the lava lake had increased 13 m by about 0300 on 12 January, slightly surpassing the level prior to the pause that began on 10 January; the lake has risen a total of 70 m since the beginning of the eruption. During 12-14 January the lake was active and lava oozed out along the crusted-over E margins. A surge in lava effusion at the vent was recorded at 0545 on 15 January, coincident with a peak in summit inflation. Effusion had paused by the afternoon, though minor activity at the vent on the N side of the spatter cone, minor overturns of the lake, and small oozes of lava at the lake’s margins persisted. The lake level dropped 10 m by the morning of 16 January. Small overturns of the crusted lake were visible during 16-17 January. By 18 January the lake was completely crusted over and a small wispy plume rose from the vent.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 11-16 January. Ash plumes rose as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted E, SE, and W during 11-14 January. Incandescent material ejected up to 300-700 m SE from the vent was accompanied by rumbling and banging noises. Eruption noises persisted through 16 January but weather prevented visual confirmation of activity during 15-16 January.

Merapi – Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported no significant morphological changes at Merapi’s lava domes, located just below the SW rim and in the summit crater, during 6-13 January. The intensity of the seismic signals remained at high levels. As many as 123 lava avalanches traveled a maximum of 2.2 km SW down the Bebeng drainage, and four pyroclastic flows traveled a maximum of 2.5 km SW.

Pavlof – United States : AVO reported that elevated seismicity at Pavlof during 12-18 January was characterized by daily periods of tremor. Elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava effusion near the vent and the active lava flow on the SE flank were identified in satellite images almost daily; weather clouds prevented views for periods of time during 12-13 January.

Rincon de la Vieja – Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 0024 on 13 January a two-minute eruption was recorded at Rincón de la Vieja, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. Residents to the N heard the eruption and felt vibrations, and lahars were seen in the Rio Azul. Small eruptive events were recorded at 1153 on 15 January and 1243 on 18 January, but plumes were not visible due to weather clouds.

Semeru – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 12-17 January. White steam plumes that were sometimes dense rose as high as 1 km above the summit almost daily, and crater incandescence was visible nightly. Incandescent avalanches traveled as far as 500 m down the Kobokan drainage on the SE flank during 11-12 January. White-and-gray ash plumes rose 300 m during 14-15 January. At 1020 on 16 January a collapse from the end of the active lava flow in the Kobokan drainage produced a pyroclastic flow, and an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted N. An eruptive event at 0534 on 17 January generated an ash plume that a ground observer reported rising 400 m.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that low-level eruptive activity and elevated seismicity at Semisopochnoi’s North Cerberus cone continued during 12-18 January. A small explosion was recorded by local seismic and infrasound sensors during 12-13 January. The weather was mostly cloudy, though low-level ash clouds were occasionally visible in webcam images during 12-15 January. Steam emissions were visible in 15-16 January webcam images.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 8-14 January. Intense steam-and-gas emissions with ash were visible during 6-7 and 9-11 January; plumes rose as high as 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 175 km W.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly during 10-17 January. There were 157 explosions recorded, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 2 km above the crater rim and ejected material up to 800 m away from the crater. Eruption sounds were heard in Toshima village (4 km SSW). Volcanologists observed ash-and-steam plumes rising from the crater during an overflight on 17 January.

Turrialba – Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that incandescence from Turrialba’s West Crater was visible overnight during 15-16 January. Eruptive events were recorded at 2126 and 2132 on 17 January; the second event was stronger and produced an ash-and-gas plume that rose 1 km above the crater. Ashfall and a sulfur odor were reported by residents in Coronado, Tres Rios (30 km SW), Alajuela (50 km W), and Santa Ana (46 km WSW). At 1115 on 18 January an eruptive event produced a plume that rose 300 m and drifted SW.

Whakaari/White Island – North Island (New Zealand) : On 18 January GeoNet reported results from an overflight of Whakaari/White Island the week before, noting a significant decrease of temperatures at the active vent area and a small decrease in gas emissions. Temperatures in the main vent area were as high as 191 degrees Celsius, a decrease from a high value of 516 measured in December. Gas emissions had slightly decreased since December; both sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide gas emission rates were slightly below the 10-year average. Both the gas-emission and temperature data were consistent with a degassing magma body below the surface. Very minor ash emissions continued to be visible with deposits only extending around the active vents. The water in the lake had receded likely due to recent dry weather conditions.

Yasur – Vanuatu : The Wellington VAAC reported that on 15 January intermittent low-level ash plumes from Yasur rose 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. Ashfall was reported in nearby villages. A Sentinel satellite image acquired that same day showed a strip of ash deposits in areas to the NW. Continuous, low-level ash plumes were visible in satellite and webcam images on 17 and 18 January rising to 1.5 km a.s.l. and drifting SE and W, respectively.