Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Hawaii.

5.9 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.2 Earthquake hits Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Invest 94E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

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Global Warming

Ozone Layer Healing

More than 30 years after scientists first spotted a hole in the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer over the South Pole, they are seeing the “first fingerprints of healing,” researchers reported today (June 30).

Measurements of the ozone hole taken in September revealed the breach has shrunk by more than 1.5 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) — about half the area of the contiguous United States — since 2000.

The researchers attributed the ozone’s recovery to the continuing decline of atmospheric chlorine originating from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). These chemical compounds, once commonly used in aerosols, dry cleaning and refrigerators, were banned when nations around the world signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 in an effort to repair the ozone hole.

The ozone layer, which extends from 2 to 19 miles (20 to 30 km) above Earth’s surface, protects the planet from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Thinning of ozone, which is a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms, can occur due to exposure to certain chemicals, like CFCs.

There is still a long road to recovery for the ozone hole, the researchers said. The molecules that deplete ozone have very long life spans, and the study scientists estimate it will still be decades before complete recovery.

The Window for Limiting Temperature rise to 1.5 C Has Closed

Barring some incredible new carbon capture technology, the window for limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius appears to have closed. That’s the stark conclusion of a report out in Nature today, which finds that the carbon reductions pledges penned into the Paris Agreement are ridiculously inadequate for keeping our climate within a safe and stable boundary.

In addition to concluding that “the window for limiting warming to below 1.5 degrees C with high probability and without temporarily exceeding that level already seems to have closed,” the study found that the pledges outlined in the Paris Agreement will likely see global temperatures rise 2.6 to 3.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. A 3 degree uptick in global temperatures could cause sea level to rise up to 20 feet over the next few centuries, displacing hundreds of millions.

Low-lying island nations, which area already drawing up relocation plans in preparation for the inevitable, fought long and hard to get the 1.5 target included in the Paris Agreement. Recently, marine biologists have also been raising their voices, reminding the public that coral reefs around the world will experience catastrophic collapse if we exceed this threshold.


Urban Mortality

Birds growing up in the stress of urban environments have a greater risk of dying young than those raised in the country, according to new Swedish research.

Scientists from Lund University separated groups of young sibling great tits, then raised half in the city of Malmö and the rest in the countryside.

Within only 13 days, those exposed to city life had much shorter DNA components that are markers of anticipated life expectancy.

“Although there are advantages to living in cities, such as the access to food, they seem to be outweighed by the disadvantages, such as stress — at least in terms of how quickly the cells of the great tits age,” said biologist Pablo Salmón.

The findings raise questions about the effects of urban stress on other creatures.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 124.0 degrees Fahrenheit (51.1 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus -75.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 59.4 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.


Wildfires – Arizona

Lightning strikes have ignited more fires across Tonto National Forest, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Three new fires were burning Thursday, the result of lightning strikes, bringing the total number of active fires in the Tonto National Forest to six.

The fires are in remote wilderness locations and currently pose no threat to any structures and cover several thousand acres altogether.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kilauea (Hawai’i): The new active lava flow headed to the southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues to advance and spread laterally. On 28 July it had reached a length of 6.9 km (4.3 mi) from the vent and reached the Pulama pali in the western area of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. Most likely, it will reach the coastal plain today or in the next days, but then slow down and widen, reducing its advance towards the ocean. At the summit caldera, a phase of deflation is in progress. The level of the Halema’uma’u lava lake dropped by about 10 m (33 ft) during 27-28 June.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): There has been no particular surface activity at the volcano since the violent summit eruptions in late May, but the volcanic tremor amplitude has been gradually rising over the past days. This could [speculation!] indicate a phase of magma migrating to the surface, and possibly herald new activity in the near future. Etna, always good for surprises, will tell.