Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.9 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.6 earthquake hits the Izu Islands, Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Global Warming

Water

Water and climate change are inextricably linked. Climate change affects the world’s water in complex ways. From unpredictable rainfall patterns to shrinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, floods and droughts – most impacts of climate change come down to water. Climate change is exacerbating both water scarcity and water-related hazards (such as floods and droughts), as rising temperatures disrupt precipitation patterns and the entire water cycle.

About two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water today (SDG Report 2022), and roughly half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year. Only 0.5 per cent of water on Earth is useable and available freshwater.

Rising global temperatures increase the moisture the atmosphere can hold, resulting in more storms and heavy rains, but paradoxically also more intense dry spells as more water evaporates from the land and global weather patterns change.

Since 2000, flood-related disasters have risen by 134 per cent compared with the two previous decades. Most of the flood-related deaths and economic losses were recorded in Asia. The number and duration of droughts also increased by 29 per cent over this same period. Most drought-related deaths occurred in Africa.

Disease

Cholera – Zambia

An outbreak of cholera was declared by the Ministry of Health on January 26. The epidemic count of 21 cases registered from 21st to 30 January 2023 in the Vubwi district. On 27 January, there were 13 suspected cases, 6 confirmed, 12 admitted, 7 discharged, and one death.

Diphtheria – Dominican Republic

Four children are admitted with a diagnosis of diphtheria at the Robert Reid Cabral hospital in Santo Domingo. The minors come from the communities of Barahona and Duvergé. These are children from two different families in two distant communities, implying an active outbreak in both communities.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits northern Qinghai, China.

5.2 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 earthquake hits north Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits northern Qinghai, China.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storm systems.

Newsbytes:

Indonesia – More heavy rain has caused havoc on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Disaster authorities report at least 2 people have lost their lives, one person is missing and thousands have been affected after floods in South Sulawesi Province. Flooding has also affected areas of Borneo Island in recent days. Hours of heavy rain late on 01 February 2023 triggered flooding in the city of Parepare. The flooding has impacted over 5,000 residents from 1,345 families. Hundreds of homes and public buildings have been flooded or damaged. Heavy rain has affected other parts of the country in recent days in particular on Borneo Island. Floods damaged 3,189 homes and affected 18,912 people in Sambas Regency in West Kalimantan Province on 31 January 2023.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Chile

Chile’s government has declared a widened state of emergency amid wildfires that have killed at least 13 people and consumed about 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres), as the South American country endures a summer heatwave across southern and central swaths of the country. Eleven people, including a firefighter, had died in the Biobío town of Santa Juana, local authorities said. Hundreds of homes had been damaged while 39 fires raged across the country. Earlier, four people were reported to have died and hundreds were evacuated on Friday when the flames reached the town of Santa Ana. Elsewhere wildfires consumed more than 750 hectares (1,853 acres) of forest, destroying houses and threatening farms and forests as the South American nation faces a summer heatwave across southern and central swathes of the country.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits Guadeloupe, Leeward Islands.

Environment

Seaweed Farms

A new Australian study finds that expanding seaweed farming around the world could help feed the planet’s growing human population and livestock while also being a sustainable source of fuel. “Seaweed has great commercial and environmental potential as a nutritious food and a building block for commercial products, including animal feed, plastics, fibers, diesel and ethanol,” said researcher Scott Spillias from the University of Queensland. Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, Spillias says millions of acres of ocean territory have already been identified around the world where at least 22 commercially viable species of seaweed could be harvested. But the report warns that care should be taken to avoid harming marine habitats.

Lake Titicaca Level Drops

Bolivian officials say a prolonged drought has caused the water levels of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, which straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru, to plunge to historic low levels. Bolivia’s National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology forecaster Ana Luz Mendoza warned that the drop directly affects the aquatic fauna, birds and human populations settled around this lake. This includes the indigenous Uros, who have lived on human-made islands on parts of the lake for centuries.

532fc1 b0ee0f305a164e4492e22861164e1b27

Drought – Argentina

One of Argentina’s worst droughts in 60 years and accompanying record heat have left many rivers and lakes littered with dead fish, and its staple crops ravaged. The climate disaster has been fueled by the third consecutive year of La Niña cooling across the tropical Pacific, according to meteorologists. But a shift from La Niña to a fresh El Niño this year promises to break the drought and deadly heat during the next few months. “Precipitation will pick up (slowly), improving soil moisture reserves and moderating the intensity of heat waves,” writes the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.

Wildlife

Shark Recovery

The decline in the number of some shark and ray species in the northwestern Atlantic appears to have been reversed, thanks to improved fisheries management and conservation efforts.

Shark and ray populations have crashed by as much as 71% over the past 50 years, with about one-third of those marine creatures threatened with extinction. But writing in the journal PNAS, Nathan Pacoureau of Simon Fraser University says the implementation of the 1993 U.S. Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean is responsible for the turnaround. That act mandates catch reports and a ban on the catching of some species.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 42.0 degrees Celsius (107 degrees F) at Port Hedland, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 53.0 degrees Celsius (-63 degrees F) at Sholohonsky, Siberia.

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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing activity for the week 25 January – 31 January 2023

Ahyi – Mariana Islands (USA) : Unrest at Ahyi Seamount continued during 24-31 January. Pressure sensors on Wake Island, 2,270 km E of Ahyi Seamount, detected a possible explosion signal on 25 January. Plumes of discolored water were identified in satellite images during 27-31 January.

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 23-30 January and crater incandescence was visible nightly. Two explosions were recorded on 24 January, though weather clouds prevented visual confirmation. Sulfur dioxide emissions were high at 2,800 tons per day on 26 January. An explosion at 2342 on 28 January produced an ash plume that rose 2.2 km above the crater rim and ejected large blocks as far as 700 m from the crater.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 19-26 January. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 20-24 January generated ash plumes that rose as high as 3.7 km (12,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, NE, and N. An ash plume was identified in satellite images drifting 40 km NE on 21 January and a thermal anomaly was visible during 21-22 January.

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that the vents at the NE base of Etna’s SE Crater, in the Valle del Leone at about 2,800 m elevation, continued to feed lava flows during 23-29 January, without notable changes compared to the week before. Intense gas emissions rose from Bocca Nuova Crater while gas emissions at Northeast Crater (NEC) and Voragine were minimal. Activity at Southeast Crater was characterized by fumarolic activity localized along the crater rim and from the May-June 2022 eruptive vent which also occasionally produced flashes of incandescence at night. Diffuse ash emissions rapidly dispersed with the wind.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that the eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 24-31 January, characterized by almost daily gas-and-steam and ash emissions; inclement weather conditions prevented views of the volcano on 29 January. During 24-25 January steam-and-gas plumes rose to the crater level and drifted W. During 26-27 January gas-and-ash plumes rose less than 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SW and W. Minor ashfall was reported in San Agustín de Callo (18 km WSW), Lima Villacís, Mulaló, Barrancas, Ticatilín and Caspi (20 km WSW), and San Ramon (127 km W). Steam-and-gas emissions rose 600 m and drifted S on 28 January. A significant increase in the size and density of ash emissions was evident in satellite images at 0820 on 30 January. The plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted SW, S, and SE. Minor amounts of ash fell in Mulaló and Latacunga (18 km WSW). Ash plumes rose as high as 1.7 km and drifted S and SE on 31 January.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that slightly elevated surface temperatures at Great Sitkin were identified in satellite images during 25-26 January. Seismicity was low during 25-31 January and a few small earthquakes recorded during 27-28 January. Satellite and webcam views were mostly cloudy. A 26 January radar image confirmed growth of the flow field to the E.

Kaitoku Seamount – Volcano Islands (Japan) : Discolored water around the Kaitoku Seamount was visible in a 26 January Sentinel 2 satellite image. The plume was diffuse and dispersed a few kilometers E. No discolored water was visible in a 31 January image.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA): HVO reported that lava continued to erupt in the E portion of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater floor during 24-31 January. Activity was concentrated in the E half of the crater in a large, perched lava lake with well-defined levees, covering about 10 hectares. A smaller lake to the W was active in the basin of the 2021-2022 lava lake. One dominant lava fountain, 6-7 m high, was active in the E lake. Small daily overflows occurred along the margins of the E lake.

Krakatau – Sunda Strait : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Anak Krakatau continued during 24-31 January. Eruptive events at 0231 and 2256 on 25 January and 0003 on 26 January ejected incandescent material from the vent, based on webcam photos. Eruptive events at 0512, 0633, and 0732 on 26 January and 1312 on 27 January produced dense gray ash plumes that rose 300-500 m above the summit and drifted NE, E, and SE. Webcam images showed incandescent ejecta at 2135, 2144, and 2328 January.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 24-31 January. Nighttime webcam images captured near-daily incandescent material that was ejected above the summit crater. Almost daily emissions that were white and gray and had variable densities rose as high as 600 m above the summit and drifted SE, E, and NE.

Merapi – Central Java : BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi continued during 20-26 January and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced 14 lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1.8 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Kali Bebeng drainage). Avalanche sounds were heard on seven occasions. No significant morphological changes at the SW dome were observed but the central dome decreased in height based on webcam images.

Popocatepetl – Mexico : CENAPRED reported that there were 81-238 steam-and-gas emissions, often containing ash, rising from Popocatépetl each day during 24-31 January and explosions occurred almost daily. Two explosions were recorded at 1424 and 1426 on 24 January. Minor ashfall was reported on 25 January in San Nicolás de los Ranchos (15 km ENE). Later that day, at 2231, an explosion ejected incandescent material onto the flanks. An overflight was conducted by Instituto de Geofísica de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Guardia Nacional on 27 January to observe the crater. They saw a small lava dome that was about 30-40 m in diameter and 5-10 m tall on the inner crater floor. The inner crater floor had remnants of the previous domes mixed with fine tephra deposits and was 160-180 m deep. The rim of the inner crater was 390-410 m in diameter, similar to previous observations. A minor explosion later that day at 2214 produced an ash plume, based on a webcam image. Minor explosions were recorded at 0451, 0521, 1828, and 2232 on 28 January. A webcam image from 0343 on 29 January showed deposits of incandescent material that was ejected onto the flanks. Another explosion occurred at 2254. Explosions were noted at 0141 and 0621 on 30 January; minor ashfall was recorded in Amecameca (19 km NW), Temamatla (32 km NW), and Tenango Del Aire (28 km NW). A moderate explosion at 0029 on 31 January produced an ash plume that rose 1.8 km above the crater rim and ejected incandescent material onto the flanks almost 2 km from the crater rim. Minor explosions occurred at 0533, 0619, and 0721.

Sabancaya – Peru : Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported moderate levels of activity at Sabancaya during 23-29 January with a daily average of 59 explosions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.1 km above the summit and drifted SW and W. Four thermal anomalies originating from the lava dome in the summit crater were identified in satellite data. Minor inflation continued to be detected near Hualca Hualca (4 km N).

Semeru – Eastern Java : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 24-31 January. Dense white-and-gray ash plumes rose 500-600 m above the summit at 0450 and 0540 on 25 January and drifted N. A dense gray ash plume rose 600 m at 0534 on 27 January and drifted NW, and at 0802 a dense white-and-gray ash plume rose 500 m and drifted N. At 0602 and 0639 on 29 January dense gray ash plumes rose 500-600 m and drifted NE.

Semisopochnoi – Aleutian Islands (USA) : AVO reported that eruptive activity at Semisopochnoi’s Mount Young was ongoing during 24-31 January. Seismicity was elevated and daily weak tremor was recorded. Minor steam emissions were visible in webcam images on 24 January and 29-30 January. Discolored snow observed at the summit in webcam images during 28-29 January possibly indicated minor, low-level explosive activity at the vent.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch during 19-26 January was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images, and minor ash plumes from explosions and lava-dome collapses drifted 25 km SW on 22 January.

Stromboli – Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported that both explosive and effusive activity at Stromboli occurred during 23-29 January at four vents in Area N, within the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco, and at two vents in the Area C-S (South-Central Crater area) in the crater terrace area. Explosions at vents N1 and N2 in Area N were variable in intensity and ejected coarse material (bombs and lapilli) 80-150 m at a rate of 4-6 explosions per hour. Intense spattering occasionally occurred at N2 vents. Explosive activity at the Central-South area (CS) ejected fine-to-coarse material as high as 150 m above the vent at a rate of 6-7 explosions per hour during 23-27 January; the rate decreased to less than one event per hour the rest of the week. At 1419 on 24 January lava overflowed vents in the N2 area after a period of intense spattering. The lava flowed partially down the Sciara del Fuoco, and by the next morning, they were cooling. A major explosion began at 1007 on 30 January that lasted three minutes long. Coarse pyroclastic material was ejected several hundred meters high and was deposited on the crater terrace and the upper parts of the Sciara del Fuoco. An ash cloud quickly dispersed to the S.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater continued during 23-30 January. The number of explosions increased on 26 January; a total of 13 explosions were recorded during the week. The explosions produced eruption plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and entered weather clouds. Large blocks were ejected as far as 400 m from the crater’s center. Nighttime crater incandescence was observed starting on 26 January. Ashfall was reported in Toshima village (3.5 km SSW).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 earthquake hits off the coast of Ecuador.

5.0 earthquake hits the Dominican Republic.

Environment

Greenwashing

Greenwashing – when companies make misleading claims about their environmental credentials. Corporations from Ryanair to Shell have been called out in recent months for making false or unsubstantiated claims about their environmental impact to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes.

A climate activist group is urging the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Shell Plc’s claims about its investments in renewable energy are misleading to investors by materially misstating its financial commitment to renewable sources of energy.

The Nanterre public prosecution office in France started investigations against oil and gas giant TotalEnergies in December 2021 for allegedly misleading commercial practice. The French multinational has been under fire from environmental NGOs for years, but this is the first time it faces formal prosecution regarding “greenwashing” practices.

Exxon Mobile has reported a 51 billion Euro profit in 2022, while alleging its commitment to sustainable energy is only 5%.

More needs to be done to encourage or compel companies which had profited enormously from the exploration of natural resources to commit significant resources to sustainable energy initiatives.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week 25 January – 31 January 2023

Asosan – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that the amplitude of volcanic tremor signals at Asosan increased at around 1200 on 30 January and then increased again around 1220 and remained high.

Chikurachki – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that an explosive eruption at Chikurachki likely began at 0630 on 29 January. Ash plumes rose to as high as 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 75 km SE based on satellite data. At 1406 and 1720 ash plumes were identified in satellite images rising to 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting 70 km E. Ash plumes had dissipated by 2320.

Epi – Vanuatu : The Wellington VAAC reported that a low-level plume of ash and sulfur dioxide from a new eruption at Epi was identified in satellite data at 0730 on 31 January. According to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) residents saw steaming at the ocean’s surface in the area over the vents at around 0748, and phreatic explosions that ejected steam and tephra 100 m above the water. Observers reportedly saw a growing cone from ongoing ash emissions. The VAAC noted that the eruption was short-lived and had ceased by 1548; the ash had dissipated. Three submarine cones, Epi A, Epi B, and Epi C, and smaller cones and craters, are located 10-16 km NNE from the summit of Epi Island and are aligned along the N rim of an inferred caldera. Epi B is the shallowest of the seamounts and has been historically active, most recently in February 2004. A March 2004 bathymetric survey revealed that Epi B was about 300 m tall, with a diameter of about 1.8 km at the base. The summit crater was about 150 m in diameter and the crater floor was at a depth of 90 m. The highest point was on the NW rim of the summit crater, at a depth of 34 m.

Erta Ale – Ethiopia : Small thermal anomalies in both of Erta Ale’s N and S pit craters were identified in satellite images on 23 January. On 28 January the anomaly in the N pit crater was large and intense.

Lascar – Northern Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported increased seismicity at Láscar on 26 January with long-period (LP) events indicating fluid movement at shallower depths. ONEMI declared an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-color scale) for San Pedro de Atacama (70 km NW). A seismic signal at 2259 corresponded to the ejection of incandescent material and the emission of a plume that likely contained tephra and rose almost 1.9 km and drifted NW. The intensity of LP events significantly increased at 2300 on 27 January and remained at anomalous levels. A series of four LP events were recorded at 0015, 0032, 0043, and 0052 on 28 January and corresponding emissions rose 380 m above the crater rim and drifted NW. An M 3.2 volcano-tectonic earthquake was recorded at 0115 and felt by residents. LP earthquakes continued to be detected, along with tremor and volcano-tectonic events to a lesser extent. Minor crater incandescence was visible and gas plumes rose as high as 760 m. Elevated levels of seismicity continued to be detected during 28-30 January. Whitish-gray gas plumes possibly containing tephra rose to low heights and minor crater incandescence was occasionally observed. On 31 January SERNAGEOMIN stated that a satellite image from the day before showed a dome-like feature on the crater floor that was 81 m by 93 m in dimension and covered an area of about 5,332 square meters. The exclusion zone was increased to 10 km.

Myojinsho – Izu Islands : According to JMA an area of pale yellow-green discolored water with a diameter of about 100 m was visible about 65 km SSE of Myojinsho on 26 January, based on an overflight conducted by the Japan Coast Guard. An eruption warning was issued to mariners. Discolored water was last observed in March 2017.

Nishinoshima – Izu Islands : The Japan Coast Guard reported that during an overflight of Nishinoshima on 25 January scientists observed intermittent activity and small, blackish-gray plumes rising 900 m from the central part of the crater. The fumarolic zone on the E flank and base of the cone had expanded and emissions had intensified. Dark brown discolored water was visible all around the volcanic island.