Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits the Rota region in the north Mariana Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 09p (Gita), located approximately 174 nm east-southeast of Noumea, New Caledonia, is tracking west-southwestward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 10s (Ten), located approximately 46 nm west of Broome, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 10 knots.


La Nina Fading – The La Niña ocean cooling across the tropical Pacific is predicted to disappear during the next few months, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. The phenomenon is typically less disruptive to weather patterns than its warming counterpart, El Niño. But the last two months have seen much of North America, Europe and Asia plunged into the coldest polar vortex chills in years. And drought-prone California has suffered from a protracted dry spell this winter.

Global Warming

First ship crosses Arctic in winter without an icebreaker

A ship has made a winter crossing of the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time during the coldest period of winter as global warming causes the region’s ice sheets to melt.

The tanker, containing liquefied natural gas, is the first commercial vessel to make such a crossing alone during the winter months.

The voyage is a significant moment in the story of climate change in the Arctic and will be seized on by those with concerns about thinning polar ice and its implications for the environment.


Ant Triage

A species of sub-Saharan ant has been observed administering medical care to wounded comrades after battle by intently licking the injury.

Matabele ants are among the largest on Earth, and were already known to carry those wounded in battle back to the nest for treatment, where most lived to fight again.

In further studies, lead researcher Erik Frank of the University of Lausanne found that the soldier ants actually conduct a type of triage on the battlefield.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Frank said it is actually the wounded ant that decides whether it lives or dies by simply not cooperating with the helpers if it feels too injured to recover.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Boulia, Queensland.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 62.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.2 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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.


Lassa fever – Nigeria – Update

In a follow-up on the Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria, nineteen new confirmed cases were recorded from seven States– Edo (3), Ondo (7), Bauchi (2), Nasarawa(1), Ebonyi(2) Kogi(2) and Taraba(2) with six new deaths in confirmed cases from four states Ondo (2), Edo(1), Bauchi (2), and Nasarawa (1).

Yellow fever – Brazil Update

According to the Ministry of Health today, from July 1, 2017 to February 15 of this year, 409 cases of yellow fever were confirmed in the country, 183 in São Paulo, 157 in Minas Gerais, 68 in Rio de Janeiro and 1 in the Federal District. There were also 118 deaths throughout the country.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 7 February – 13 February 2018

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : On 10 February PVMBG reported that activity at Agung had declined during the previous month or two leading the observatory to lower the Alert Level to 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and adjusted the exclusion zone to a 4-km radius. The report noted that the tallest eruption plume in January was 2.5 km above the crater rim, occurring on 19 January, and the last event on 24 January generated a plume that rose 1 km. The volume of erupted lava was an estimated 20 million cubic meters in December 2017, and had not significantly changed. Seismicity continued to fluctuate, though the number and magnitude of events had declined. Satellite data showed a decrease in thermal output reflective of a reduced lava flow rate. PVMBG warned that activity at Agung is still high and unstable; tiltmeter data showed low rates of inflation (GPS patterns were stable) and gas-emission data indicated magma movement at depth, though at a lower intensity compared to values measured at the end of November 2017. An event at 1149 on 13 February generated as ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that very small events occurred at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 7-9 February. Crater incandescence from the summit crater was visible during 8-10 February. An event at 2201 on 11 February generated a plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Ambae | Vanuatu : Based on satellite, pilot, and webcam observations, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 8-9 February ash plumes from Aoba rose to altitudes of 2.7-3 km (9,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N and E.

Bagana | Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 7-8 February ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that there was no evidence of significant activity at Cleveland since the last explosion was detected on 18 December 2017. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory. AVO noted that low-level unrest continued.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 7-13 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.1 km (6,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, and SE.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 5-8 February generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.4 km (7,900 ft) a.s.l. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 8 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 3 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 7-13 February HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. Surface lava flows were active above and on the pali, and on the coastal plain.

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 7-13 February Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater ejected material 30 m above the main cone. Lava flows were at most 150 m long on the SW and W flanks.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : Each day during 7-13 February CENAPRED reported 25-101 emissions from Popocatépetl, with emissions during 11-13 February containing slight amounts of ash. Explosions were detected at 0130 and 2213 on 7 February, at 0457 on 8 February, at 1729 on 12 February, and at 0631 on 13 February. Minor crater incandescence was visible on the morning of 9 February, and at night during 11-12 February. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya was similar to the previous week; there was an average of 18 explosions recorded per day during 5-11 February. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 3.9 km above the crater rim and drifted 50 km NW, SW, S, and SE. The MIROVA system detected three thermal anomalies. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 2,062 tons per day on 10 February. The report noted that the public should not to approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Santa Maria | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex, detected by the seismic network during 7-13 February, generated ash plumes that rose as high as 700 m and drifted SW. Avalanches of material descended the E and SE flanks of the lava dome. Ash fell on La Florida ranch (5 km S) on 10 February.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 1-4 and 7 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : On 7 February AVO reported that seismic and infrasound activity from Shishaldin declined to background levels during the previous month, prompting the observatory to lower the Aviation colour Code to Green and the Volcano Alert Level to Normal.