Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Pakistan.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.1 Earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 14s (Glenda), located approximately 573 nm east=southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, and is tracking southward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

Bolivia – Flooding in Bolivia’s Pando Province has displaced more than 4,000 people in the town of Cobija after the river Acre burst its banks. Heavy rains have also caused the nearby river Tahuamanu to burst its banks. The river waters rose to 14m [46ft] above their normal level, so between community and the authorities have decided to rebuild a new town to avoid more damage,

Bolivia flooding 2015

Pakistan – Heavy rains and hailstorms have claimed lives of at least six people in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Nepal – Heavy rainfall together with hailstorm have destroyed crops in various parts of Kailali and Doti districts. Heavy snowfalls have been reported in Mugu and Rasuwa districts. 2 people died after being struck by lightning.

Global Warming

Cool Pacific Ocean Slowed Global Warming

The Pacific Ocean has been a planetary air conditioner for the past two decades, but the relief may soon end, a new study finds.

The Pacific and Atlantic oceans undergo decades-long natural oscillations that alter their sea surface temperatures. These natural cycles flip-flop between cooler and warmer phases. Over the past 130 years, the tempo of global warming has revved up or slowed down in tune with changing ocean temperatures, researchers reported today (Feb. 26) in the journal Science.

“The Pacific Ocean appears to be driving the slowdown in warming over the past 15 years,” said lead study author Byron Steinman, a climate scientist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The period since 1998 is often called a global warming pause or global warming hiatus, because the planet’s thermometer slowed its steady climb. However, it’s more accurate to call the intervening years a global warming slowdown. Temperatures never stopped rising, and the 10 hottest years ever recorded have all happened since 1998. And though global surface temperatures have plateaued, the oceans are still warming — studies have found the “missing” heat is going into deeper layers of the sea.

“We are in a turning point right now, and the slowdown will presumably reverse in the decades ahead,” Mann said. “When we do, we may see warming even faster than what the models are predicting.”

Environment

Surge in Radiation From Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Fresh leaks of highly radioactive water have been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant four years after a massive tsunami disaster resulted in explosions and meltdowns at the facility.

Sensors detected contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already high levels of radioactive cesium and strontium-90.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says the leaks came from gutters that sent accumulated rainwater on top of the highly contaminated facility into a drainage ditch that carries runoff to the Pacific.

The company concedes it has known about the leak since last April, but failed to disclose the finding.

A spokesman said workers have blocked the gutters from sending any more roof runoff into the ocean.

The company is also plagued by a flow of groundwater from mountains to the west, which becomes contaminated as it passes beneath the plant and into the Pacific.

Efforts to freeze the ground with refrigeration equipment and halt that flow are underway, but are being met with great public skepticism.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit (47.0 degrees Celsius) at Wad Madani, Sudan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 66.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.7 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.

Disease

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

Between 20 and 22 February 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 4 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 1 death. Cases are listed by date of reporting, with the most recent case listed first.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 23 February 2015, the Department of Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China notified WHO of 1 additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Anthrax – Australia

A dairy cow has died of Anthrax on a farm in northern Victoria. The farm has been placed under quarantine.

Volcanos

New volcano island getting bigger in Japan

Famously crowded Japan is getting a bit more space as a newly-formed volcanic island just keeps on growing.

New footage of the remote Nishinoshima, some 1 000km south of Tokyo, shows a volcano erupting up to six times a minute, spewing huge volumes of magma, and scientists say there is plenty more still to come.

A tiny islet emerged in November 2013 right next to the original Nishinoshima, when molten rock cooled and began to poke its head just above the water.

That speck of land grew as the volcano kept going, and soon engulfed its once larger neighbour.

The new super-island is now a respectable 2.46 square kilometres, the Japan Coast Guard says — roughly the size of 345 football pitches, while the still-spewing volcano is now a healthy 100m tall.

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