Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits south of Java, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Moro Gulf, Mindanao in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 1383 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking east-southeastward at 26 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 233 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking southward at 02 knots.

NewsBytes:

Western USA – Rain, snow and wind hit the U.S. West on Wednesday, flooding roads, toppling trees and cutting power while raising threats of debris flows from wildfire scars. The tempest, aimed at California and southern Oregon and barreling toward Nevada, was feeding on a deep plume of moisture stretching across the Pacific Ocean to near Hawaii. The storm followed more than a week of severe weather in the Pacific Northwest and was the latest in a series that has all but eliminated drought-level dryness in California this winter. Winter storm warnings were posted in the snow-laden Sierra Nevada, where the forecast says up to 7 feet (2.1 meters) of new snow could be dumped at elevations above 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). A backcountry avalanche warning was issued throughout the Sierra.

Disease

Measles – Philippines

The Philippines Department of Health in the Eastern Visayas are reporting an increase in dengue fever cases during the first five weeks of 2019. According to the data, the number of cases in the region from Jan. 1 to Feb. 9 totals 1,169 cases.

Dengue Fever – Jamaica

In a follow-up on the dengue fever outbreak in Jamaica, local media report that the number of dengue cases now stands at 1,166 suspected, presumed, or confirmed cases with dates of onset in 2019. 6 deaths have been confirmed.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 6 February – 12 February 2019

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : On 8 February PVMBG reported that lava from Karangetang’s Kawah Dua (North Crater) continued to advance over 3.5 km down the Malebuhe River drainage on the NW flank into the ocean. Levees had formed at the margins channeling the lava down the middle of the flow. Avalanches from the edges of the flow generated brown and gray plumes. A lava delta was building out into the ocean and generating a dense steam plume. Drone footage acquired on 9 February showed that the flow was about 160 m wide where it crossed a road (about 210 m from the coast) and about 140 m wide at the coast. Seismicity remained high. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 2.5-km exclusion zone around the N and S craters, and not enter within 3 km WNW and 4 km NW.

Poas | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that seismic and infrasound data indicated multiple events at Poás during 7-8 February. On 8 February events were centered at vent A (Boca Roja) and produced plumes that rose no higher than 200 m and drifted SW. A sulfur dioxide odor was reported in areas downwind including San Jose de Naranjo, Grecia (16 km SW), Poás, Sarchá, Naranjo, and Atenas (32 km SW). Incandescence in the crater began to be visible at 0151 on 11 February. Passive ash emissions rose 200 m and drifted SW.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits the Maug Islands in the North Mariana Islands.

5.8 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits south of Tonga.

5.2 earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka.

Two 5,0 earthquakes hit the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 1114 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking eastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Fifteen), located approximately 262 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Ohio, USA – Heavy rains pushed the Ohio River into flood stage Tuesday, causing landslides that downed trees and blocked several roads, including a major route into downtown Cincinnati. Flooded roads also closed two casinos in Anderson Township and southeastern Indiana, and a Northern Kentucky school district. Hamilton County EMA officials estimate at least a dozen roads are closed in the Tri-State.

Global Warming

Interactive Map Shows What Climate Change Will Do to US Cities by 2050

The US National Climate Assessment, a stunning report released in November by 13 federal agencies and the White House late last month, showed that climate change has already had devastating impacts on our health and economy, and that costs could mount to hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.

The report maps out what we can expect if we aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions now, and what would happen if we do nothing. As part of the Weather 2050 project, researchers used the latter scenario to look at what could happen to temperature and precipitation in US cities by the middle of the century.

They found that by 2050, many US cities may resemble hotter, more southern parts of the country today. A few of the most striking transitions are shown here:

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Five homes have reportedly been lost in northern NSW as a result of out-of-control bushfires in the area, with more than 40 fires still burning across the state. Firefighters are still working to contain two large bushfires that destroyed the properties, amid concerns they could flare up due to hot, dry and windy conditions.

The out-of-control blaze at Tabulam, west of Casino, has already burnt through nearly 4000 hectares, while almost 6000 hectares of bush has been lost in Tingha, south of Inverell, and around the community of Old Mill.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits the Bismarck Sea.

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kamchatka Peninsula.

5.0 earthquake hits the Samoa Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 961 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking east-southeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Fifteen), located approximately 310 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking northeastward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Malawi – Although Tropical Cyclone Desmond did not reach Malawi its effects resulted in continuous rainfall in the southern part of the country since 22nd January through to 26th January 2019. A total of 15,974 people were affected, 3,154 houses damaged or destroyed, and 5,078 people were reported to be displaced across at least seven camps set up by communities and government.

Australia – An estimated 500,000 are feared dead after historic floods inundated Queensland, Australia, according to the state’s cattle industry. Days of “unprecedented” rainfall earlier this month led to widespread flooding across the state, causing power outages, damaging roads and buildings and prompting evacuations. Some areas received three years’ worth of rain in about a week. Tragically, farmers in northwest Queensland initially welcomed the rains, as the region had suffered years of back-to-back drought. The loss of hundreds of thousands of cattle after five, six, seven years of drought, is a debilitating blow not just to individual farmers, many of whom have lost literally everything, but to rural communities as well.

Malaysia – Bintulu district was hit by floods early Tuesday (Feb 12) – with waters rising as high as one metre and inundating several locations in northern Sarawak.

Wildlife

Worldwide Catastrophic Decline Of Insect Species

Nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains.

“Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” concluded the peer-reviewed study, which is set for publication in April.

The recent decline in bugs that fly, crawl, burrow and skitter across still water is part of a gathering “mass extinction,” only the sixth in the last half-billion years. “We are witnessing the largest extinction event on Earth since the late Permian and Cretaceous periods,” the authors noted.

The Permian end-game 252 million years ago snuffed out more than 90% of the planet’s life forms, while the abrupt finale of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago saw the demise of land dinosaurs.

“We estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline – 41% – to be twice as high as that of vertebrates,” or animals with a backbone, Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney and Kris Wyckhuys of the University of Queensland in Australia reported. “At present, a third of all insect species are threatened with extinction.” An additional one percent join their ranks every year, they estimated. Insect biomass – sheer collective weight – is declining annually by about 2.5% worldwide.

Insects 696x522

Environment

USA Withdraws from US-Russian Nuclear Treaty

When President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from a long-standing nuclear weapons treaty with Russia on Feb. 1, his actions set the stage for what many fear could be a new arms race between the global superpowers.

Trump’s decision was announced less than two weeks after scientists and policy experts with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) presented the 2019 position for the Doomsday Clock — a hypothetical clock whose time symbolizes how close the Earth is to destruction from nuclear war and other global threats.

On Jan. 24, BAS representatives declared that the clock’s hands would continue to stand at 2 minutes to midnight, the closest to absolute annihilation since the peak of the Cold War in 1953. Their dire warning came on the heels of the Trump administration’s statement of intent in October to withdraw the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was established in 1987 to restrict nuclear arsenals.

On Feb. 2, Russia announced that it, too, would abandon the INF treaty.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

The fire danger in New South Wales will peak today as firefighters battle 33 blazes across the state with some rural properties under threat. Watch-and-act alerts were issued for bushfires at Warrabah near Tamworth and Tingha Plateau in the state’s north-east with Fire and Rescue NSW warning fire activity was increasing in the area.

Wildfires – Chile – Update

Wildfires have now destroyed 41,200 hectares of forest land in southern and central Chile, the country’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) said on Monday. The figure represents an increase of 45 percent from last year in the area of forest land razed in the fire season.

California Loses 18 million trees in 2018

It’s a measure of how severe the tree die-off in California has been in recent years that when the state announced Monday it lost another 18 million trees in 2018, a top forestry official pronounced the result “encouraging.”

That’s because California lost far more trees in the three prior years, including a jaw-dropping 62 million dead trees in 2016, due to a combination of drought and bark beetle infestation.

With rain and snow in the state increasing over the last two winters, experts proclaimed an end to the seven-year drought. But the state still faces a heightened fire danger after more than 147 million trees were lost over the last nine years.

Officials at the California Department of Forestry said that it typically takes at least three years of substantial rain and snow for trees stressed by drought to return to good health. That would mean the state’s forests could benefit from at least one more year of wet weather to recover from the brutally dry period of 2010 to 2016.

Disease

Measles – Madagascar

The scale of the measles outbreak in Madagascar is of grave concern, as is its geographical spread-World Health Organization In a follow-up on our coverage of the measles outbreak in Madagascar, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports from Sep. 3, 2018 to Feb. 5, 2019, a total of 53,459 measles cases were recorded (lab confirmed).

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia, Oman

The spike in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections in Saudi Arabia continues with the kingdom’s health ministry reporting seven additional cases yesterday, bringing the total cases for the year to 50. The town of Wadi Aldwasir has been hit particularly hard reporting 30 cases in just the past two weeks. From 27 January and 31 January 2019, the International Health Regulations (IHR) National Focal Point of Oman reported five cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Yellow Fever – Brazil

Brazil is currently in the seasonal period for yellow fever, which occurs from December through May. From December 2018 through January 2019, 361 confirmed human cases, including eight deaths, have been reported in 11 municipalities of two states of Brazil.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.3 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.3 earthquake hits Golfo de Fonseca, El Salvador.

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.