Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
5.8 earthquake hits Colima, Mexico.
5.7 earthquake hits Fiji.
5.5 earthquake hits Fiji.
5.2 earthquake hits Antigua and Barbuda.
5.1 earthquake hits Samoa.
5.0 earthquake hits the Rat Islands, Aleutian Islands.
5.0 earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 02w (Two), located approximately 242 nm east-southeast of Yap. Micronesia, is tracking west-southwestward at 19 knots.
In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 09p (Gita), located approximately 136 nm north-northeast of Niue, is tracking southeastward at 13 knots.
Argentina – More than 10,000 people in the northern Argentine province of Salta have now fled their homes after the Pilcomayo River burst its banks, causing extensive flooding. Salta is home to several of Argentina’s remaining indigenous communities.
Malawi – Floods caused by heavy rains that hit Salima on Wednesday night have left at least 27 families homeless. A total of 105 families were affected by the floods that hit most parts of Kalonga and Pemba. The rains on Wednesday night also caused flooding and led to damage of houses in parts of Lilongwe and Karonga. In Karonga, the heavy downpour caused the flooding of the North Rukuru River, affecting a number of households.
Belize – Flash floods have affected families in western and southern Belize after heavy rains on Wednesday.
Sun Expected to Dim by 2020
A periodic solar event called a “grand minimum” could overtake the sun perhaps as soon as 2020 and lasting through 2070, resulting in diminished magnetism, infrequent sunspot production and less ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth — all bringing a cooler period to the planet that may span 50 years.
The last grand-minimum event — a disruption of the sun’s 11-year cycle of variable sunspot activity — happened in the mid-17th century. Known as the Maunder Minimum, it occurred between 1645 and 1715, during a longer span of time when parts of the world became so cold that the period was called the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.
But it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to the extreme cold from centuries ago, researchers reported in a new study. Since the Maunder Minimum, global average temperatures have been on the rise, driven by climate change. Though a new decades-long dip in solar radiation could slow global warming somewhat, it wouldn’t be by much, the researchers’ simulations demonstrated. And by the end of the incoming cooling period, temperatures would have bounced back from the temporary cooldown.
Asteroid in Close Approach to Earth
An asteroid that was only spotted on Sunday (Feb. 4) by the Catalina Sky Survey passed close by Earth yesterday. Early estimates of 2018 CB’s size range between 50 and 130 feet (15 and 40 m) in diameter. The object flew by Earth at about 5:30 p.m. EST (2:30 p.m. PST) at less than 20 percent of the distance from the Earth to the moon. That’s about 238,855 miles (384,400 km) from us. The asteroid was larger than the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013.
Hepatitis E – Namibia
The capital city of Windhoek is on high alert after an outbreak of Hepatitis E that has claimed three lives, while 554 people are undergoing treatment. Namibia has been battling Hepatitis E since mid-December 2017, after the first cases were detected in an informal settlement of Windhoek. The number has since been rising steadily.