Wildfires

Wildfires in Australia

Slightly cooler weather has prompted officials to withdraw the alert of ‘catastrophic’ conditions, but the danger cannot be considered to be past.

Pictures have emerged of a brave family that clung to a pier with their grandmother in Dunalley, Tasmania to escape the destructive fires.

Tasmanian Family Clings to Pier

Earthquakes

5.1 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua, New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Space Events

Doomsday Asteroid

A near-earth asteroid once considered a potential killer is even bigger than expected, but still not a threat to humanity – now or in the future.

When asteroid 99942 Apophis was discovered in June 2004, initial analyses of its trajectory suggested a small chance that it could collide with the Earth in the year 2029, causing an explosion equivalent to 1480 megatons of TNT–nearly 30 times larger than the biggest hydrogen bomb ever detonated. But later observations have given astronomers a better view of the object, and made it clear that the likelihood of a collision was so small as to be negligible.

Disease

Haiti Cholera Epidemic

The death toll in Haiti’s cholera epidemic is approaching 8,000, and more than 6% of Haitians have had the disease since it invaded the country in October 2010 after the major earthquake.

Boston Mayor Declares Public Health Emergency

Signs of an increasingly severe flu season prompted city officials to declare a public health emergency in Boston, where infections have increased tenfold compared with last season. So far about 700 cases and four deaths, all seniors, have been reported in Boston, which is experiencing its worst flu season since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Storms and Floods

Tornado in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Tornado hits Batam, damages hundreds of houses, injuring dozens.

Tropical Cyclone Narelle

Strong winds and high waves, the result of the Narelle tropical cyclone, have affected many areas across Bali as, causing the island’s ferry ports in Gilimanuk and Padang Bai to stop operations yesterday. Strong winds have also caused severe damage to public facilities, as well as houses and trees in Gianyar, Denpasar, Badung, Tabanan and Bangli.

Severe Winter Storm in Eastern Mediterranean

The worst winter storm in two decades has hit the eastern Mediterranean this week, bringing destruction and death to Syria and its neighbours who are already dealing with a refugee crisis from the country’s civil war. Many Syrians living in ruins, were burning chairs and doors to keep warm.

Opposition activists in Syria, where war has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and cut off access to food, fuel and power for cities and towns, say dozens of people have died there in four days of relentless extreme weather.

At least 17 people have also died due to the storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Roads in Lebanon were washed away and electricity cut. Schools in some areas have been shut for days, refugee camps flooded and villages isolated by closed roads.

Earthquakes

6.0 Earthquake hits Myanmar.

5.5 Earthquake hits off the coast of southern Alaska.

5.4 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands off New Zealand.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Nepal.

5.1 Earthquake hits Antofagasto, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg Ridge (Indian Ocean). Also multiple 4.0+ Earthquakes: Three 4.9; two 4.8; five 4.7 and one 4.6.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-atlantic Ridge

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Environment

Tip of Greenland Drives Atlantic Ocean Circulation

The steep topography at the southern tip of Greenland has been found to create a profound effect on local wind currents and the ocean circulation of the entire North Atlantic. Researcher Kent Moore of the University of Toronto Mississauga documented that the sharp cliffs of Cape Farewell, at the very bottom of the massive island, make the site the windiest place in the world.

Winds forced around the cape instead of over it by topography become “tip jets” in wind acceleration similar to what allows an airplane wing to create lift.

The jets interact with the ocean below, chilling the warm Gulf Stream current and causing it to sink as it becomes colder and denser.

“The winds are what cause the return flow for the Gulf Stream, and are an example of how the atmosphere drives ocean circulations,” Moore says in his findings, published in the journal Geophysical Review Letters.

Similar tip jets affect the flow of sea ice in northern Greenland and create ocean storms over the Labrador Sea, Moore adds.

Cloud eddies form when winds bunch up against the rough terrain of southeastern Greenland:

Ew130104c

Wildfires

Wildfires in Australia

Bushfires have been raging out of control across Australia’s most populous state, fanned by intense heat and high winds in “catastrophic” conditions that triggered evacuations.

Bushfires NSW

 

Of the more than 140 fires burning across New South Wales state late on Tuesday, around 40 of them were uncontained.

The fires were clearly visible from the International Space Station:

Nasa wildfires 1

 

Nasa wildfires

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli volcano (Italy): The magma column inside the NE vent system remains at very high levels with continuous, strong spattering from the hornito in the western end of the NE crater. Large fluid lava bubbles burst from the main vent at irregular intervals of 10-40 minutes, and throw bombs, visible from the village, to heights of several hundreds of meters. On 7 Jan, a small lava flow issued from an effusive vent through a breach in the northern outer flank of the SE crater cone and traveled about half way down the Sciara del Fuoco.

Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) (Italy) : According to a recent report by INGV Naples, the ground deformation of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) near Naples has increased considerably lately. During the last 12 months, the ground in some places near the town of Pozzuoli was uplifted by about 8 cm.

Colima (Mexico): After more than 2 years of quiet, Colima volcano erupted with an ash explosion on 6 January. The eruption was preceded by a day of increasing seismic activity and came as a surprise to many.

Popocatépetl (Mexico): In the last 24 hours (7-8 Jan), 16 low-intensity emissions of steam and gas and occasionally minor amounts of ash. During the night, glow was visible at the volcano. During the morning, a steam and gas plume rising about 300 m above the crater could be seen.

Fuego in Guatemala has mild strombolian eruptions with incandescent lava thrown to about 100 m above the crater. The lava flow towards the Taniluya drainage remained stable and was about 900 m long this morning.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): A few explosions with ash plumes rising up to 700 m occurred today.

Pacaya (Guatemala): The volcano produces numerous small volcanic earthquakes, but has not had any other surface activity. This could change quickly, though.

Reventador (Ecuador): Seismic activity continues to show an increasing trend with numerous volcanic quakes, long-period events and some explosion signals. A 500 m steam plume could be observed.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): A weak lava flow remains active on the on the coastal plain and is entering the ocean at multiple locations.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Another explosion occurred yesterday sending an ash plume to 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude.

Raung (East Java) has picked up strombolian activity. Raung volcano was seen emitting gray ash clouds on Sunday (6 Jan) morning. The plumes rose about 300 m above the crater. At night, “fire” could be seen around the crater and there were occasional thundering explosion sounds.

Sakurajima (Japan): The volcano has been relatively constant in its activity during the past days, having 2-3 “normal” small to moderate vulcanian explosions a day. Ash plumes reached elevations between 6-8,000 ft (1.8-2.4 km) altitude.

Mammoth Mountain (California): A small seismic swarm occurred between 4-5 January with quakes at depth of 12-15 km.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): 3 seismic swarms and volcanic tremor on 6 Jan, accompanied by increased crater glow and elevated degassing.

Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease in China

A small outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), has been reported by authorities in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

New Strain of Norovirus Spreads Around the World

A new strain of the winter vomiting disease norovirus has spread to France, New Zealand and Japan from Australia and is overtaking all others to become the dominant strain in Britain.

The norovirus variant, known as Sydney 2012, was identified in a scientific paper last week and Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said genetic testing showed it was now causing more cases in England and Wales than other strains.

Sydney 2012 does not carry worse symptoms than others but, like other norovirus strains, it can cause violent and projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes fevers, headaches and stomach cramps.

Norovirus cases have risen earlier than expected this winter in Britain, across Europe, Japan and other parts of the world.

Although norovirus mostly causes just a few days of sickness, it is responsible for millions of infections every year and is notorious for its ability to evade control.

Drought

2012 Hottest Year on Record for USA

The US sweltered under its hottest year on record in 2012, breaking the previous yearly average by 0.6°C which occurred in 1998. Last year the average US temperature was 13°C amid widespread drought and a mild winter. July broke the record for hottest month. Nineteen states set yearly heat records in 2012. Alaska, however, was cooler than average.

Drought in Thailand

A disaster zone was declared due to drought in the northern province of Phichit, Thailand. A drought disaster zone was issued for the drought hit districts of Muang, Saklek, Dong Charoen and Wangsai Poon.

Drought Relief in US

Some modest relief is expected this week from the worst drought in over 50 years in the U.S. crop belt and volatile weather patterns are shifting attention to potential harm or winterkill in the U.S. Plains hard red winter wheat region.

Heavy rainfall is expected this week in the U.S. Delta extending into central Texas and the showers will move into portions of the southern Midwest.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Narelle forms in the Southern Indian Ocean north-northeast of Learmonth, Australia. It is expected to move along the northwestern Australia coast with the potential to make landfall.

Flash Floods in Palestine and Israel

Two killed in flash floods in West Bank of Jenin, Palestine.

Two Palestinian women bodies were swept away by surging waters.

Storms have also cut electricity in thousands of home across Gaza.

It is beleived to be the fiercest storm to hit the area in a decade.

Heavy snowfall blocked all streets in Jordan’s capital, Amman.

Yesterday stormy weather in Israel injured 10 people.

Floods in Tel Aviv closed a major highway and stopped trains.

Avalanche on Vancouver Island, Canada

An avalanche on Vancouver Island injured 18-year-old skier. Four other skiers were rescued immediately.

The avalanche occurred near Moat and Circlet Lakes in the backcountry of Strathcona Provincial Park, outside the boundaries of Mount Washington Ski Resort.

The Metro Vancouver area has predicted to get at least 30 mm of rain by early today (Wednesday).

A travel advisory has been issued for the Coquihalla Highway.

A further high avalanche warning is issued for the North, the Columbia, Monashee and Selkirks region and the South Columbia region.

Earthquakes

5.8 Earthquake hits the Aegean Sea.

5.5 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Wildfires

Wildfires in Australia

New wildfires flared across Australia on Tuesday as temperatures soared to near record levels, fanned by hot outback winds.

Fire officials declared five areas of southern NSW as catastrophic, meaning if fires ignited they could not be controlled and advised people to evacuate. Of the more than 100 fires, 20 fires were burning out of control on Tuesday.

A String of bushfires continue to burn across northern South Australia but are not causing concern. The fires, including some which have been burning since Christmas, are in remote areas and are just being left to burn.

Disease

Bacterial Disease Outbreak in Mexico

A bacterial disease has killed five babies and sickened 41 others in a remote indigenous community in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas