Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Tjörnes Fracture Zone (North of Iceland): The powerful earthquake swarm that started a week ago continues, but at reduced intensity compared to 2 April when the large magnitude 5.4 quake struck. Each day, hundreds of earthquakes have been occurring (more than 200 > magnitude 2 during the past 2 days). The earthquake swarm is the result of release of tectonic stress that has accumulated in the crust and is being released at the moment. The area is one of the main so-called transform zones,- regions where the separating Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates move sideways along strike-slip faults rather than spreading apart directly as is the case in the main rift zones, where also the main volcanoes are located, because the opening movment here allows large batches of magma to rise easily.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): A stronger eruptive phase has been occurring since last night. Several ash plumes reaching 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude have been observed drifting 45 nautical miles to the WSW (VAAC Darwin).

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Explosions continue with sometimes stronger ones that send ash to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude on a daily basis now.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Frequent ash emissions are being reported by VAAC Darwin. Today, ash plumes rose to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude and drifted 45 nautical miles to the WSW.

Galeras (Colombia): Ash emissions have become more frequent since 4 April – the Pasto observatory has reported daily small explosions since then. This marks a significant increase in activity. Before, the volcano had produced such emissions only a few times per month since September 2012. No corresponding increase in seismic activity was reported and the (official) alert level remains at yellow (corresponding to “orange”=”minor activity” on the scale we use).

Sabancaya (Peru): Seismic activity has decreased at the volcano, the latest press release of IGP shows. It seems less likely now that the volcano will produce an eruption soon,- as in many cases, an intrusion has happened at depth without (so far) breaching the surface (= erupting).


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands region.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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

Storms and Floods

Major Sandstorm Headed to the United Arab Emirates

A major sandstorm is expected to hit the UAE this weekend. The storm is expected to create a visibility of less than 500 meters.

The sandstorm was expected to erupt in Iraq and travel through Kuwait to hit the UAE on Friday, gripping the country for two days. Wind speeds of 25-35 knots are expected. In Saudi Arabia, too, a government met centre warned that the kingdom would be hit by extreme climatic conditions over the coming three days. On an average, the UAE faces between 8 and 10 severe sandstorms each year. In many cases these sandstorms can last for several hours or sometimes even the whole day, bring traffic to a standstill, forcing places of work and school to close and significantly increasing the number of hospitalizations.

Tropical Cyclone Twenty-one was located approximately 200 nm south-southwest of Diego Garcia in the South Indian Ocean.

Global Warming

The Ocean Deeps are Absorbing Global Warming

A new study shows that the world’s oceans are warming significantly under the influence of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, especially the deeps. Scientists from the U.S. and European weather agencies reassembled data from 1958 to 2009, using all available sources to create a model of ocean temperature changes.

They found that dimmed sunlight due to massive volcanic eruptions in the early 1980s and 1990s briefly reversed an otherwise profound trend of ocean warming.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers from NOAA and the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts say that the deep waters have absorbed a surprising amount of heat, and did so at an increasing rate over the past decade.

About 90 percent of the energy added to the global environment by human activities was found to have gone into the ocean.

The ocean depths absorbed a surprising amount of heat, which may be related to a cycle of ocean circulation patterns known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Once it changes, researchers believe the ocean surface temperatures will begin to warm more.


Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant says it is moving tons of highly radioactive water from a temporary storage tank to another because of a possible leak.

TEPCO said on Saturday about 108 tonnes the water are believed to have breached the tank’s inner linings, although little is thought to have leaked into the soil. TEPCO is moving the water to a nearby tank. It is part of the water that was used to cool melted fuel at the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors damaged in the March 2011 disaster. So much water was used that TEPCO is struggling to find storage space.

The plant is being decommissioned but continues to experience glitches. A fuel storage pool temporarily its lost cooling system on Friday, a month after a similar 30-hour outage.


Britain ‘running out of wheat’

The spate of bad weather in Britain which saw the Isles suffer drought, then floods and now prolonged cold weather is expected to impact this autumn’s wheat harvest. Britain will become a net importer of wheat for the first time in a decade this year because of the bad weather.

More than two million tonnes of wheat had been lost because of last year’s poor summer. The prolonged cold weather would also hit this autumn’s harvest. But the shortage was unlikely to affect the price of bread because of the global nature of the market and the fact that only 10% of the price of bread is attributable to wheat.


Bird Flu in China – Update

China has now confirmed 16 cases of the H7N9 strain since announcing a week ago that the virus had been found in humans for the first time. Six people have died.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Moderate seismic activity and weak shallow earthquakes were registered. Hot avalanches (collapse of parts of the growing dome) and possibly explosions accompanying this process produced a plume rising to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude yesterday. Strong degassing and steaming are continuous.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Vulcanian explosion-type eruptions have been relatively infrequent recently (only 0-2 per day), but some of them produced ash plumes rising as high as 12,000 ft (3.7 km) altitude.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Recently, the number of earthquakes has dropped to low (normal) levels of 0-3 on average. Still, some inflation in parts of the caldera and slightly elevated CO2 emissions are present and PHILVOLCS maintains yellow alert level.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) was spotted again yesterday, indicating ongoing explosions at the remote volcano in the Flores Sea.

Raung (East Java): VSI has lowered the alert level of the volcano down to 2 out of 4 (Waspada) after Raung had been on orange since October. The seismic activity has gradually decreased and currently, there is only degassing, sometimes intense, from the crater.

Tambora (Sumbawa): VSI raised the alert level to 2 (Waspada) on a scale of 1-4, but does not specify the reason (likely increased seismic activity). No further details are known for the time being.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome continues to produce explosions and avalanches. An ash plume rose to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude today and drifted 25 nautical miles to the west.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes have occurred recently, but the volcano has been a bit calmer again yesterday and today, with an average of 1-2 weak emissions per hour.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Light ash fall from occasional small explosions has been reported in Finca Faro, Finca Florida and until San Felipe Reu. The lava dome otherwise has been very calm over the past days.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH reports no changes during the last week. Mild strombolian activity continues, and is visible especially at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity remains low, with only few strombolian explosions reported.

Telica (Nicaragua): The seismic swarm continues with again increased strength. Especially the amplitudes of (shallow) volcanic quakes have been bigger than before. This volcano remains a good candidate for a next eruption in Central America.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Volcanic earthquakes embedded in weak tremor remain frequent.

Reventador (Ecuador): A slowly decreasing trend of activity is visible, but there are still occasional small explosions and strong degassing. Volcanic earthquakes and tremor fluctuates between low to moderate levels.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Seismic activity has again diminished.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.0 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.7 Earthquake hits the China-Russia-North Korean border region.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Nias region, Indonesia.

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

5.3 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits western Russia.

5.2 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits new Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits Crete.

5.1 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan,

5.1 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.


Starving Seal Pups Arriving at California Beaches

Unprecedented numbers of starving sea lion pups are swimming to shore in California, straining local animal care centres and puzzling marine biologists who have yet to determine what is ailing the sea mammals. According to marine biologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), more fledgling sea lions have beached themselves along the central and southern California coast in 2013 so far than in the previous five years combined.

The agency says 948 sea lion pups, many of them less than a year old, have come ashore this year between San Diego in the south and Santa Barbara in the north as of March 24. That compares to only 88 strandings in all of 2012.

The pups are being found along the beaches malnourished, severely dehydrated and without their mothers. They are being taken to local marine mammal rescue facilities, like SeaWorld in San Diego.

Some are being sent as far as Northern California as regional facilities become overwhelmed. But many of the emaciated pups do not survive.



Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.0 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) at Matam, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 102.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 74.9 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

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.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Today is a very sad day for all free people who like Etna: Etna has become a “forbidden volcano”. Maybe intimidated by the recent lava fountains of Etna, the Prefecture of Catania has decided to take strict measures and published a strict ruleset what is allowed and what not, to protect us from the dangerous volcano!

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): The recent seismic crisis could be over: No further significant earthquake activity has occurred since the last pulse on Wednesday. It becomes more and more likely that the crisis (or, if that is was what caused it, the magmatic intrusion under western El Hierro) has ended. Deformation (inflation and horizontal displacement to the east) has eased a lot. For the vertical movement, the strong inflation has stopped or even began to show a trend of deflation.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 Earthquake hits the eastern Russia – northeast China border region.

5.5 Earthquake hits Myanmar.

5.5 Earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Samoa.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Alaska Peninsula.

Storms and Floods

Floods in Argentina – Update

The death toll in the Argentinian floods has risen to 59.

Tornado in Tehama County, California

A tornado touched down near Gerber in Tehama County of California. The tornado touched down just before 7 p.m. south of Red Bluff and east of Interstate 5.

Flash Flooding in Redding, California

The National Weather service in Sacramento has issued a flash flood warning for Shasta county in Northern California including Redding. The weather service predicts that excessive run off from heavy rainfall would cause flash flooding in Redding, CA.

Other News:

Hailstorm in West Nicholson, Gwanda region in Zimbabwe has destroyed several houses. Hail damage roofs of at least 70 houses in Freda Mine alone.


Andean Ice That Solidified Over 1,600 Years Melted in 25

The Quelccaya ice cap sits 18,000 feet above sea level, high in the Peruvian Andes, where it earns the title of world’s largest tropical ice sheet. But its size is diminishing, and a team of glaciologists have come to a dramatic conclusion about the recent melting. In a paper released yesterday, they assert that ice that took 1,600 years to form melted in, at most, just 25.

The group previously analyzed plants that had been frozen by the glacier, then revealed in recent melting; they were judged to be 4,700 years old. But the ice has melted even more, revealing plants determined to be 6,300 years old; the team concluded it took 25 years to undo what had formed over 1,600 years.