Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical depression 28w (Melor), located approximately 145 nm west-southwest of Manila, Philippines, is tracking south-southwestward at 0 knots.

Tropical depression 29w (Twenty-nine), located approximately 527 nm east of Zamboanga, Philippines, is tracking westward at 05 knots.

Gl sst mm

Global Warming

What Climate Change is doing to our Lakes

A new study has found that global warming is resulting in rapidly increasing temperatures in lakes worldwide, an alarming find that means freshwater supplies and ecosystems are being threatened by climate change.

The study, conducted by NASA and the National Science Foundation, is the largest study of its kind, using satellite temperature data and long-term ground measurements to examine 235 lakes.

The result were stunning: there was an increase of 0.34 degrees Celsius on average each decade for lakes worldwide, which would have massive effects on drinking water and the habitat for animals and fish.

The 235 lakes the study examined represents half the world’s freshwater supply.

The 0.34 degree increase is greater than the warming rate for both the ocean and the atmosphere. That can mean only one thing: more algal blooms, which can suck up oxygen and water. The study suggests that such blooms will increase 20 percent over the next century, and the kind of blooms that are toxic to wildlife would jump 5 percent.

It would also result in a 4 percent increase in methane emissions. That’s concerning because methane is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

But rapid changes in temperature like this are more than just bad in terms of creating algal blooms or resulting in methane releases. A quick change in temperature can dramatically alter the survival rate of life forms in a lake, causing some species to suddenly disappear from the Earth. That can upset the balance of an ecosystem, causing further havoc in the wildlife kingdom — which will certainly have ripple effects for mankind.


Arctic air temperature highest since 1900 — Report

The Arctic is heating up, with air temperatures the hottest in 115 years, and the melting ice destroying walrus habitat and forcing some fish northward.

Air temperature anomalies over land were 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) above average, “the highest since records began in 1900,” said the 2015 Arctic Report Card, an annual peer-reviewed study issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Meanwhile, the annual sea ice maximum occurred February 25, about two weeks earlier than average, and was “the lowest extent recorded since records began in 1979.”

“Warming is happening more than twice as fast in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. We know this is due to climate change, and its impacts are creating major challenges for Arctic communities,” said NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad at the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco.

The average annual air temperature was measured over land between October 2014 and September 2015. It marked a 5.4 degree F (3 degree C) increase since the beginning of the 20th century.

The minimum sea ice extent, measured on September 11, 2015, was the fourth lowest in the satellite record since 1979. “Arctic minimum sea ice extent has been declining at a rate of 13.4 percent per decade” relative to the 1981-2010 average, said the findings.

In the 1980s, older, thicker ice made up about half of the ice sheet, but now, what is known as “first year ice” dominates the winter ice cover and made up 70 percent of the March 2015 ice pack. This thinner, younger ice is more likely to melt in the summer than thicker ice, said the report.

Snow cover across the Arctic has also been declining and is down 18 percent per decade since 1979.

This year, Greenland experienced its first significant melting event since 2012, and lost more than half of its surface area.



Turkey – Foot and Mouth Disease

There have been 217 cases in a new foot-and-mouth disease outbreak since Sept. 29, Faruk Çelik, minister for food, agriculture and livestock said on Dec. 16.

Speaking at a press conference, Çelik said 117 of these outbreaks are under control while 100 others are still active.

An area of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) around the affected area has been quarantined, with livestock barred from both leaving and entering the area.

France reports new bird flu strain

France has detected the first cases of low pathogenic H5N3 bird flu and found more cases of highly infectious strains in an outbreak of the disease in the southwest of the country.

Three cases of H5N3 bird flu were found at three different farms in the southwest, the French agriculture ministry said in a report posted by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Wednesday.

“There is no risk for human health and no impact on our management of the crisis,” a ministry official said.

France, the European Union’s largest agricultural producer, has been facing cases of bird flu since late last month involving three highly pathogenic strains – H5N1, H5N2 and H5N9.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kirishima (Kyushu): New fumaroles have been detected on the SW flank of the Iozan Ebino crater and a strong sulfur smell was reported. No other signs of significant unrest have been detected at the volcano.

Egon (Flores): Seismic unrest has been detected at the volcano. On 15 Dec, VSI raised the alert level of the volcano from 1 to 2 (“waspada”, watch), on a scale of 1-4. It is recommended not to approach the crater within a radius of 1.5 km, as unexpected explosions could occur.

Fuego (Guatemala): Effusive activity increased yesterday, when 3 lava flows descended from the summit, reaching 1500 m length on the southern flank (Trinidad ravine), 1500 m on the SW flank (Las Lajas) and 1200 m on the western flank (Santa Teresa ravine). Over night, activity seems to have decreased a bit.