Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits the Kermedec islands.

5.5 Earthquake hits offshore Oaxaca, Mexico.

5.1 Earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Babuyan Islands in the Philippines.

At least five people died after yesterday morning’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit western Guatemala near the Mexico border. A church collapsed in San Sebastian Retalhuelu in southern Guatemala.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Bangladesh – Heavy rains have triggered a series of landslides and floods in Bangladesh and neighbouring northeast India, killing at least 156 people over two days, and officials warned on Wednesday the toll could rise. Densely populated Bangladesh is battered by storms, floods and landslides every rainy season. The latest casualties come weeks after Cyclone Mora killed at least seven people and damaged tens of thousands of homes. Landslides hit three hilly districts in Bangladesh’s southeast early on Tuesday, killing 100 people in Rangamati, 36 in Chittagong and six in Bandarban. Fresh landslides on Wednesday killed one person in the district of Khagrachari and two in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar.

Screen Shot 2017 06 15 at 12 05 26 PM

Global Warming

Climate change is shrinking the Colorado River

File 20170606 3674 c5tmmx

Lake Powell, photographed April 12, 2017. The white ‘bathtub ring’ at the cliff base indicates how much higher the lake reached at its peak, nearly 100 feet above the current level.

The nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead on the Arizona/Nevada border and Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border, were brim full in the year 2000. Four short years later, they had lost enough water to supply California its legally apportioned share of Colorado River water for more than five years. Now, 17 years later, they still have not recovered.

This ongoing, unprecedented event threatens water supplies to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and some of the most productive agricultural lands anywhere in the world. It is critical to understand what is causing it so water managers can make realistic water use and conservation plans.

While overuse has played a part, a significant portion of the reservoir decline is due to an ongoing drought, which started in 2000 and has led to substantial reductions in river flows. Most droughts are caused by a lack of precipitation. However, research shows that about one-third of the flow decline was likely due to higher temperatures in the Colorado River’s Upper Basin, which result from climate change.

This distinction matters because climate change is causing long-term warming that will continue for centuries.

In the study, researchers found the period from 2000 to 2014 is the worst 15-year drought since 1906, when official flow measurements began. During these years, annual flows in the Colorado River averaged 19 percent below the 20th-century average.

During a similar 15-year drought in the 1950s, annual flows declined by 18 percent. But during that drought, the region was drier: rainfall decreased by about 6 percent, compared to 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2014. Why, then, is the recent drought the most severe on record?

The answer is simple: higher temperatures. From 2000 to 2014, temperatures in the Upper Basin, where most of the runoff that feeds the Colorado River is produced, were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th-century average. This is why we call this event a hot drought. High temperatures continued in 2015 and 2016, as did less-than-average flows. Runoff in 2017 is expected to be above average, but this will only modestly improve reservoir volumes.

High temperatures affect river levels in many ways. Coupled with earlier snow melt, they lead to a longer growing season, which means more days of water demand from plants. Higher temperatures also increase daily plant water use and evaporation from water bodies and soils. In sum, as it warms, the atmosphere draws more water, up to 4 percent more per degree Fahrenheit from all available sources, so less water flows into the river. These findings also apply to all semi-arid rivers in the American Southwest, especially the Rio Grande.


Rare Dolphin

A whale-watching crew has spotted a rare albino Risso’s dolphin off the California coast, likely the only such creature in the eastern Pacific. Here are photos of the cute juvenile dolphin.

Screen Shot 2017 06 15 at 11 44 10 AMScreen Shot 2017 06 15 at 11 43 48 AM


Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires raging through Siberia have swelled by more than 2,000 ha over the past 24 hours engulfing 9,200 ha, the Russian Aerial Forest Protection Service reported on Wednesday.

The Irkutsk Region and the Transbaikal Territory are among the worst-hit areas, according to the service.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 7 June – 13 June 2017

Bogoslof | Fox Islands (USA) : colourAVO reported that a new lava dome at Bogoslof breached the surface of the ocean on or around 6 June, and was the first observation of lava at the surface since the start of the eruption that began in mid-December 2016. The dome was an estimated 110 m in diameter on 7 June, and then grew to 160 m in diameter by 9 June.

An explosive eruption began at 0318 on 10 June with a series of short infrasound signals which then, starting at about 0416, transitioned into several minutes-long continuous seismic and infrasound tremor signals. The events generated an ash-rich cloud that rose to an estimated altitude of 10.4 km (34,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The Aviation colour Code (ACC) was raised to Red and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Warning. The eruption ended at 0528. Satellite data indicated that at least part of the volcanic cloud was more ash-rich than most in the current eruption period. On 11 June AVO noted no detectable activity in seismic or infrasound data after the event the day before. The ACC was lowered to Orange and the VAL was lowered to Watch. Satellite image acquired on 10 June and a photograph from an observer aboard a jet aircraft on 11 June suggested that the lava dome was no longer above the surface of the water, and was destroyed during the 10 June event.

A series of explosive events, each lasting 10-30 minutes, began at 1747 on 12 June and ended around 2035. Ash plumes rose 7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. The ACC was raised to Red and the VAL was raised to Warning. At 0817 on 13 June a six-minute-long explosion was detected in seismic and infrasound data. A plume was not observed, likely because it was too small or below detection limits. The ACC was lowered to Orange and the VAL was lowered to Watch.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images during 3-8 June. Explosions on 8 June generated ash plumes that rose 2-3 km (6,600-9,800 km) a.s.l. and drifted 70 km E, SE, and SW. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Pavlof | United States : On 7 June AVO reported that during the past several days an increase in low-frequency earthquake activity was detected at Pavlof. This kind of activity can sometime precede eruptive episodes. In addition, several short-duration tremor bursts were observed, and a pilot reported a possible ash cloud to 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. Infrasound data from instruments on the volcano and from a more distant network in Sand Point showed no evidence of significant explosive activity. AVO noted that since activity prior to eruptions of Pavlof had always been very subtle, they increased the Aviation colour Code to Yellow and the Alert Level to Advisory based on these observations. During 8-9 June gas emissions from the summit were observed in web camera images and by local observers in Cold Bay (60 km SW). AVO noted that vapor emissions (with or without minor amounts of volcanic ash) are common and may occur from the summit vent at any time.

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that a small, minute-long, phreatic eruption in Rincón de la Vieja’s crater lake began at 0542 on 11 June. Poor visibility prevented visual confirmation of plume details, though the Washington VAAC reported that a thermal anomaly was present in satellite images. A small seismic signal that lasted less than one minute was recorded at 2106 on 12 June. The signal possibly represented an emission, though it was not confirmed.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 3, 5, and 7-8 June powerful explosions at Sheveluch generated ash plumes that rose as high as 8 km (26,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 1,554 km SW, S, and SE. Pyroclastic flows traveled 10 km. Ashfall was reported in Klyuchi Village (50 km SW) on 8 June. A thermal anomaly was identified daily in satellite images. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).