Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Gulf of Aden.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the coast of northern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits Jalisco, Mexico.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in Canada

More than 200 Canadians have been evacuated after flooding in the northern Ontario town of Moosonee.

An emergency has been declared in Kashechewan First Nation.

Global Warming

NASA Study Projects Warming-Driven Changes In Global Rainfall

A NASA-led study provides new evidence that global warming may increase the risk for extreme rainfall and drought.

The study shows for the first time how rising carbon dioxide concentrations could affect the entire range of rainfall types on Earth.

Analysis of computer simulations from 14 climate models indicates wet regions of the world, such as the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Asian monsoon regions, will see increases in heavy precipitation because of warming resulting from projected increases in carbon dioxide levels. Arid land areas outside the tropics and many regions with moderate rainfall could become drier.

The analysis provides a new assessment of global warming’s impacts on precipitation patterns around the world. The study was accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The models project for every 1 degree Fahrenheit of carbon dioxide-induced warming, heavy rainfall will increase globally by 3.9 percent and light rain will increase globally by 1 percent. However, total global rainfall is not projected to change much because moderate rainfall will decrease globally by 1.4 percent.

Heavy rainfall is defined as months that receive an average of more than about 0.35 of an inch per day. Light rain is defined as months that receive an average of less than 0.01 of an inch per day. Moderate rainfall is defined as months that receive an average of between about 0.04 to 0.09 of an inch per day.

Areas projected to see the most significant increase in heavy rainfall are in the tropical zones around the equator, particularly in the Pacific Ocean and Asian monsoon regions.

Some regions outside the tropics may have no rainfall at all. The models also projected for every degree Fahrenheit of warming, the length of periods with no rain will increase globally by 2.6 percent. In the Northern Hemisphere, areas most likely to be affected include the deserts and arid regions of the southwest United States, Mexico, North Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, and northwestern China. In the Southern Hemisphere, drought becomes more likely in South Africa, northwestern Australia, coastal Central America and northeastern Brazil.

Wildfires

Wind Sparks Wildfires in Oregon, USA

Winds gusting to 40 mph wreaked havoc on parts of Central Oregon Saturday, toppling trees that blocked roads and downing power lines that sparked at least two small wildfires and forced two dozen people to evacuate their homes.

California Wildfires

Nearly 2000 California firefighters are battling a wildfire north of Malibu, as one of the fiercest blazes shuts the Pacific Coast Highway for a second day. The blaze is now nearly 60% contained. The wildfire raging on the coast of southern California had nearly tripled in size.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): A possible explosion occurred this morning at the volcano at 5:00AM AKDT (13:00 UTC) by AVO infrasound recorders. The infrasound signals suggest that this was a relatively short duration, low-level explosion. No eruption cloud has been detected in available satellite views. AVO received no other reports of activity.

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Storms and Floods

Floods in France

Torrential rainfall and floods hit eastern France.

The River Ouche burst its banks and flood water trapped three people who were later rescued by Firefighters.

About 100 people were evacuated near Pont-et-Massene lake. A month’s average rainfall fell in 12 hours in Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy.

Yesterday France’s meteorological service Metéo France issued flood warnings in Ain, Cote-d’Or, Isère, Loire, Rhône et Saône-et-Loire. Metéo France had issued Orange Alert for those regions.

Landslide in Kalaw, Myanmar

Landslide in Kalaw, Myanmar after heavy rain has claimed the lives of at least 16 people.

Flash floods in Kalaw, Myanmar also destroyed 50 houses. Bad weather and thunderstorms are forecast till May 5 in Upper Myanmar.

Flooding in Florida

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for southern Florida.

A heavy storm caused flight delays in both Broward and Miami-Dade. Miami International Airport cancelled 11 flights.

A tornado touched down in Boca Raton.

Flooding in Argau, Switzerland

Flooding caused by heavy rainfall has claimed the life of one woman in the Argau region of Switzerland. Storm and flood damage is high in Aargau, Zurich, and Thurgau.

Flash floods in Klang Valley, Malaysia

Heavy storm has caused flash floods in the Klang Valley in Malaysia. Jalan Duta-Mahameru and Jalan Parlimen areas are worst affected by the flood.

Tornado in Modena, Italy

A tornado has hit Modena, southeast of Milan and damaged several homes, injuring at least 11 people.

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Flooding in Auckland, New Zealand

Torrential rain has caused flash flooding in Auckland today. About 15mm of rain was recorded in one hour at Alexandra Park, in Epsom.

Other News:

A floating sandstorm has been reported in Yinchuan, China.

Heavy spring floods are engulfing communities in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, Canada, washing out roads and highways, threatening homes and prompting evacuations. Heavy snowfall and a late-blooming spring season have been the major factors.

More than 8,500 homes have been affected by floods in Tana River county in Kenya since last month.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Space Events

Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower from Halley’s Comet can be observed on May 5, 2013. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower occurs each year in early May.

Solar Flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 1:32 pm EDT on May 3, 2013, NASA reports.

This flare is classified as an M5.7-class flare. M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, as the sun’s normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in late 2013.

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Wildfires

Wildfires in Southern California, USA.

The Springs fire continues to grow near Camarillo, California. The wildfire has spread to more than 18,000 acres on day two and is 20% contained.

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A fast-growing wildfire along the Pacific Coast Highway northwest of Los Angeles nearly doubled in size Friday and was threatening more than 4,000 homes as crews battled strong winds and tinder-dry conditions.

Drought

Drought in Australia

The spectre of another big drought is now casting its shadow across northern and southern Australia, only three years after the millennium drought broke. A dry summer has left the region in drought and an estimated one million cattle from the Northern Territory and and far Western Queensland are at risk.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Since 1 May, activity has been increasing again from relatively low levels during the weeks before. Over the past 3 days, several explosions have produced ash plumes rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude and on most days, there have been 3-4 daily explosions (for Sakurajima, this is a large number).

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Some small earthquake swarms have occurred at the volcano in the past days, probably associated with some batches of fresh magma intruding into the system at shallow depth. This resulted in increased degassing, visible as a significant SO2 plume on NOAA satellite data. Surface activity, however, has remained low with very few emissions and only faint glow at the summit.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has further decreased with very few explosions reported since yesterday, and no activity at the lava flows. Also, Santiaguito has been rather calm today, and no direct observations could be made at Pacaya.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Seismic activity is still elevated, but has been decreasing today, possibly meaning that the most recent magma intrusion is coming to an end (with no eruption).

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Eruptive activity has not changed much. The volcano observatory reported ongoing steam and ash emissions producing a plume oscillating between 1.5-3 km height above the crater and drifting into westerly directions, and occasional small to moderate explosions. Light ash fall occurred in Cevallos and Mocha. Incandescence was visible at the summit.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

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

5.2 Earthquake hits Kamchatka, Russia.

5.2 Earthquake hits offshore Atacama, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Storm in Meghalaya, India

Cyclonic storm in West Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya, India has claimed the life of at least one person and injured 25 others.

Environment

Humanity Faces Possible Extinction

A team of mathematicians, philosophers and scientists at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute say there is ever-increasing evidence that the human race’s reliance on technology could, in fact, lead to its demise. The group argues that we face a real risk to our own existence. And not a slow demise in some distant, theoretical future. The end could come as soon as the next century.

“There is a great race on between humanity’s technological powers and our wisdom to use those powers well. I’m worried that the former will pull too far ahead.”

There’s something about the end of the world that we just can’t shake. Even with the paranoia of 2012 Mayan prophecies behind us, people still remain fascinated by the potential for an extinction-level event. And popular culture is happy to indulge in our anxiety. This year alone, two major comedy films are set to debut (“The World’s End” and “This is the End”), which take a humorous look at the end-of-the-world scenarios. Interestingly, well-known threats, such as asteroids, super-volanic eruptions and earthquakes are not likely to threaten humanity in the near future. Even a nuclear explosion isn’t likely to wipe out the entire population; enough people could survive to rebuild society. “Empirical impact distributions and scientific models suggest that the likelihood of extinction because of these kinds of risk is extremely small on a time scale of a century or so.” Instead, it’s the unknown factors behind innovative technologies that pose the greatest risk going forward.

Machines, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence could become our own worst enemy, if they aren’t already, “threats we have no track record of surviving.” “We are developing things that could go wrong in a profound way. With any new powerful technology we should think very carefully about what we know – but it might be more important to know what we don’t have certainty about.”

However, it’s not all bad news. While a lack of understanding surrounding new technology posts huge risks, it does not necessarily equate to our downfall. “The Earth will remain habitable for at least another billion years. Civilization began only a few thousand years ago. If we do not destroy mankind, these few thousand years may be only a tiny fraction of the whole of civilized human history. It turns out that the ultimate potential for Earth-originating intelligent life is literally astronomical.”

Environment

Global Hottest and Coldest Temperatures

The week’s hottest temperature was 114.8 degrees Fahrenheit (46.0 degrees Celsius) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 86.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 65.9 degrees Celsius) at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in 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.