Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 02a (Vayu), located approximately 264 nm south-southwest of Karachi, Pakistan, is tracking south-southeastward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

Florida, USA – Heavy rain across South Florida impacted people’s commute and caused some roads in Aventura to flood. The rain swept through parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Friday afternoon. Some drivers found themselves stranded while the water rose quickly.

Global Warming

What would life be like in a zero-carbon country?

Drastic restrictions on almost every aspect of people’s lives, from the cars they drive, the way they heat their homes, to the fridges they buy — even the food stored in them. That is the reality of what awaits us in 2050 if a UK government pledge to cut greenhouse emissions to “net zero” is to be met.

If it can do it, the country will become the world’s first major economy to stop contributing to climate change. Net zero means the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere is no more than the amount taken out.

Petrol and diesel vehicles will need to be phased out and replaced by electric or hydrogen powered ones by 2035. Consumption of beef, lamb and dairy must be cut by 20% by 2050. No houses built after 2025 will be connected to the gas grid. The owners of older buildings will need to switch their heating system to a low carbon one by around 2035. Aviation and shipping are other sectors where low-carbon alternatives don’t yet exist.

Emissions that can’t be cut, like the ones created by belching animals, must be offset for the country to reach the net zero target. Trees take carbon out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, so planting more of them is one way to do this. But growing more trees is not always practical. Britain is a small island and space is limited, so the government wants the option of paying other countries to plant trees instead. Groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are sounding the alarm about that idea. They worry that being able to pay someone else to act could undermine UK’s domestic efforts.

Another way to offset emissions is by storing greenhouse gases underground or under the sea. But scientists are still figuring out how exactly to do that in a cost-effective and safe way.

Reaching net zero will cost about £1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), a price that for some, is simply too much. There are also those who argue the UK and other countries should move much faster. Extinction Rebellion, which recently staged major protests in central London and pushed the UK parliament to declare a climate emergency, wants the net zero target to be set for 2025.

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Disease

Dengue hemorrhagic fever

Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) has officially declared a dengue hemorrhagic fever epidemic this year as there have been 28,785 patients, 43 of whom died, according to a Bangkok Post report Friday.

Malaria – Trinidad and Tobago

Health officials in Trinidad and Tobago are reporting that the majority of malaria cases reported so far this year are in Venezuelans. The Health Ministry said of the 17 malaria cases reported, 13 are in Venezuelans.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Mayotte region.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexico.

5.1 earthquake hits the northern mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 02a (Vayu), located approximately 252 nm south of Karachi, Pakistan, is tracking westward at 04 knots.

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Wildlife

Elephant Poaching in Botswana Rises

Botswana—widely considered a safe haven for elephants in Africa—appears to be suffering from its own surge in poaching, according to aerial survey work published today in the journal Current Biology. Botswana is estimated to be home to more than 130,000 savanna elephants—about a third of Africa’s remaining population. Until recently, the southern African country had largely escaped the scourge of elephant killings for ivory, still in high demand in China and elsewhere.

In 2014 there were no incidents of suspected elephant poaching in Botswana. But in 2018, across five areas, 156 fresh or recent carcasses whose skulls had been cut open and the tusks removed were counted. Many of the carcasses were hidden under bushes, suggesting, that those animals were victims of the illegal ivory trade.

Zero elephants poached in a year in Northern Mozambique Park

One of Africa’s largest wildlife preserves is marking a year without a single elephant found killed by poachers, which experts call an extraordinary development in an area larger than Switzerland where thousands of the animals have been slaughtered in recent years.

The apparent turnaround in Niassa reserve in a remote region of northern Mozambique comes after the introduction of a rapid intervention police force and more assertive patrolling and response by air, according to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the reserve with Mozambique’s government and several other partners.

Aggressive poaching over the years had cut the number of Niassa’s elephants from about 12,000 to little over 3,600 in 2016, according to an aerial survey. Anti-poaching strategies from 2015 to 2017 reduced the number killed but the conservation group called the rate still far too high.

Following the new interventions, the last time an elephant in the Niassa reserve was recorded killed by a poacher was May 17, 2018.

Although the low number of remaining elephants is also a factor in the decline in poaching, a year ago, it was estimated that fewer than 2,000 elephants remained in Niassa, now preliminary analysis of data from a survey conducted in October and not yet published indicated that about 4,000 elephants are in the reserve.

A year that appears to be free of elephant poaching in the sprawling reserve drew exclamations from some wildlife experts. “It is a major and very important development that poaching has ceased. This represents a major success.”

Global Warming

Trump Seeks Strategy Advice from Climate Change Deniers

The Trump administration sought advice from a vocal climate-change denier to help shape its environmental message, according to the Associated Press, which saw emails acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. The emails, written in 2018 and 2019, included correspondence between William Happer, a member of the National Security Council, and officials from the Heartland Institute, one of America’s most vocal climate-change challengers. The AP quotes a March 3 email exchange between Happer and Heartland adviser Hal Doiron in which the Trump official was given arguments that would help counter environmentalists’ messaging. In those emails, Happer admitted he had also discussed the issue with another Heartland adviser. “It’s the equivalent to formulating anti-terrorism policy by consulting with groups that deny terrorism exists,” Matthew Nisbet, a professor of environmental communication and public policy with Northeastern University said.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Oregon, Arizona USA

Scattered thunderstorms across Lake and Klamath Counties produced more than 1,500 lightning strikes Wednesday night causing at least ten small wildfires. Fire-fighting crews were on scene to quickly control the fires.

Meanwhile wildfires are continuing to burn throughout Arizona. There are currently a dozen wildfires burning in Arizona. Most notably – the Woodbury Fire northwest of Superior which has grown to more than 10,000 acres. There are now about 450 firefighters working to contain the flames. Air quality in the area has been a big issue and crews are telling hikers to avoid the area.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.4 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.4 earthquake hits south of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

5.3 earthquake hits Guam.

5.3 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits Coquimbo, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 02a (Vayu), located approximately 248 nm south- southeast of Karachi, Pakistan, is tracking west-southwestward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

China – At least 61 people have now been killed and 356,000 evacuated from their homes as heavy rain and floods swept through large parts of southern and central China this week, Chinese rescue authorities said. In a notice published late on Thursday, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said 9,300 homes have collapsed and 3.71 million hectares of farmland damaged during the floods.

Indonesia – Indonesian authorities warned of more flash floods and landslides after days of flooding forced the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from Central and Southeast Sulawesi, the nation’s main nickel ore producing region. Heavy rainfall may continue to lash Southeast Sulawesi and many other provinces until Saturday, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency said on its website. Authorities evacuated 5,703 people until Tuesday after hundreds of hectares of paddy and corn fields were inundated and several houses damaged.

Global Warming

Arctic Permafrost Is Going Through a Rapid Meltdown — 70 Years Early

In the Canadian Arctic, layers of permafrost that scientists expected to remain frozen for at least 70 years have already begun thawing. The once-frozen surface is now sinking and dotted with melt ponds and from above looks a bit like Swiss cheese, satellite images reveal.

Permafrost is ground that remains frozen for at least two years. It underlies about 15% of the unglaciated Northern Hemisphere and serves a critical role in the transfer of carbon from living things to the atmosphere.

The researchers recorded permafrost thawing to depths that were not expected until air temperatures reached levels the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has predicted will occur after 2090, according to one of its “moderate” climate change models.

The researchers believe higher summer temperatures, low levels of insulating vegetation and the presence of ground ice near the surface contributed to the exceptionally rapid and deep thawing.

The most striking evidence is visible to the naked eye. As upper layers of permafrost thaw and ice melts, the land settles unevenly, forming what is known as thermokarst topography. Landscapes in the Canadian Arctic that had been defined by gently rolling hills are now pockmarked with ditches and small ponds. The ground at the northernmost study site sank by about 35 inches (90 centimeters) over the course of the study.

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Environment

Locusts in Sardinia

Locusts are devouring crops across the Italian island of Sardinia in the worst such invasion seen there in 70 years.

While the ravenous insects are often seen on the Mediterranean island during the summer, farmers say they are now greater in number than at any time since World War II because of extreme weather swings during the past two years.

“We had droughts in 2017 and a lot of rain in 2018, the ideal climate for locusts to emerge from fallow land and then move to cultivated fields to eat,” Michele Arbau from the agricultural association Coldiretti Sardinia told Reuters.

Heat and Dust in India

A searing heat wave across India that brought Delhi its hottest ever temperature of 118 degrees F. has killed dozens of people and severely affected wildlife.

Officials say as many as 36 people have perished in the heat so far this year.

At least one troop of monkeys died from suspected heatstroke, or from violent conflicts with other monkeys over dwindling water supplies. Similar deadly conflicts among the human population have also been reported.

Tigers that are dying from thirst in parched forests have been observed moving into communities in search of water.

Wildlife

Plant Extinctions

After analyzing the populations of more than 330,000 seed-bearing plants around the world, the study authors found that about three plant species have gone extinct on Earth every year since 1900 — a rate that’s roughly 500 times higher than the natural extinction rate for those types of plants, which include most trees, flowers and fruit-bearing plants. Unsurprisingly, human activity plays a key role in this elevated extinction trend.

The researchers found that, while roughly 1,300 seed plant species had been declared extinct since 1753, about half of those claims were ultimately proven to be false. In the last 250 years, more than 400 plants thought to be extinct have been rediscovered, and 200 others have been reclassified as a different living species. That leaves approximately 571 species confirmed extinct in the last 250 years, vanishing at a rate of roughly 18 to 26 extinctions per million species per year.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius) in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 116.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 82.2 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok base, Antarctica.

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.

Disease

Brain Disease – India

At least 43 children have died in less than two weeks in the Indian state of Bihar from a brain disease that scientists believe could be linked to consumption of lychee fruit. The children died at two hospitals in Muzaffarpur, a region of the state that is well known for its many lychee orchards harvested throughout May and June.

The state government is yet to confirm the cause of the outbreak but is attributing most of the deaths to hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar level. But doctors said that more than 150 children under the age of 10 had been admitted with symptoms of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) since 1 June, and that of these 43 had died. They said hypoglycaemia is one of the features of AES.