Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Oaxaca, Mexico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Colombia – Authorities in Colombia’s Antioquia department said 435 families, as well as infrastructure and farmland, have been affected by flooding.

Global Warming

Global Warming will shrink Mammals

A remarkable new study claims that global warming will have a major effect on humans in the future in one key way: it will shrink us. A new study claims that major warming events results in dwarfism in mammals, and even shorter periods of warming can result in patterns of shrinkage.

Scientists examined one of the largest of the hyperthemal periods, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and found that while temperatures rose between nine and 14 degrees Fahrenheit, mammals shrank by 30 percent. So they started looking at other warming events to see if the trend holds.

By examining the molar teeth to gauge body size on ancient bones dated from different warming periods, researchers determined that two species they examined shrank 14 and 15 percent. Why does this happen? Scientists think it may be possible that CO2 levels diminished the nutrients in plant, and stunting the mammals’ growth.

Mammoth

Environment

Beijing Moves from Coal to Natural Gas

The last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city’s electricity now generated by natural gas, as the city battles a long term heavy smog problem. The shuttering of the Huangneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant comes on the heels of China’s annual legislative sessions, where Premier Li Keqiang promised to “make our skies blue again” in his state-of-the-nation speech.

The Huangneng plant is the fourth to be closed and replaced by gas thermal power centres between 2013 and 2017, cutting nearly 10 million tonnes in coal emissions annually. Smog has cloaked the capital for several days and is expected to continue through the week.

However, PM2.5 (harmful particulate) levels have remained between 200 and 330 micrograms per cubic metre –well above the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum average exposure of 25 micrograms per cubic metre in a 24-hour period.

The pollution often vanishes during prominent events like the legislative sessions and the 2008 Summer Olympics as authorities order factories to halt activity and force cars off the road.

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Disease

Anthrax – India

Odisha media reported Saturday that two people are dead and nine other are sickened due to anthrax in the Bisra block of Sundargarh district of Odisha in eastern India. The nine affected are currently being treated.

Anthrax in the Philippines

Health officials in Lagangilang, Abra province in the northern Philippines are reporting at least 15 suspected human anthrax cases, according to a GMA Network report.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Lara, Venezuela.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Burundi – At least six people have died in Burundi in a night of torrential rain and flooding that triggered landslides and caused widespread damage, the government said on Friday. In the northwestern town of Mabayi, a landslide smothered several houses, and rescuers found five victims.

Namibia – Flooding in Namibia’s Cuvelai-Etosha catchment area has reached alarming levels in recent weeks, with residents being warned to take the necessary precautions in expectation of the worst possible floods experienced in the region in living memory. Authorities have warned that the magnitude of flooding expected in the northern central regions is likely to surpass that of 2011, which saw the highest level of flooding in Namibia’s recent history.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Florida, USA

Wildfires burned through four Southwest Florida counties on Friday.

The first scorched 150 acres in the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation and Big Cypress Natural Preserve, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fire Management Division said. A second brush fire ignited Friday afternoon around 1:09 p.m. on Oil Well Road in Punta Gorda, which burned 302 acres and threatened several homes. A third fire burned about 114 acres in San Carlos Park near U.S. 41 and Unique Circle, the San Carlos Park Fire District said. It was 100 percent contained by 7 p.m.

Disease

Nigeria: Meningitis in Sokoto, Rabies in Lagos

Nigerian health officials report five deaths due to bacterial meningitis in Sokoto state, according to a Premium Times report. The five victims in Gada and Wauru towns of Gada Local Government area. In Lagos, two human rabies deaths have been reported at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

Avian influenza update: China

The China National Health and Family Planning Commission reported 21 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including four deaths, from March 10 to 16.

Mumps arrives in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reports that cases of mumps are beginning to appear in Louisiana. As of Wednesday, there have been 12 cases of mumps reported by the LDH Office of Public Health.

“There has been a large outbreak of mumps cases in Arkansas and we’re starting to see cases in Louisiana now,” said Dr. Frank Welch, medical director of the state Immunization Program, Louisiana Department of Health.