Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits central Peru.

5.0 earthquake hits central Italy.

5.0 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical Cyclone 11s (Freddy) is located approximately 212 nm north-northwest of Europa Island, is tracking north-northwestward at 04 knots.

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The End of La Niña – The United Nations weather agency says the unusually prolonged La Niña ocean cooling in the Pacific is coming to an end. It predicts that after three years of cooler ocean temperatures, a new El Niño warming may soon begin. “La Niña’s cooling effect put a temporary brake on rising global temperatures, even though the past eight-year period was the warmest on record,” said World Meteorological Organization chief Petteri Taalas. “If we do now enter an El Niño phase, this is likely to fuel another spike in global temperatures.” His agency predicts there is a 55% chance El Niño will return between June and August.

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Air Pollution – Thailand

More than 1.3 million people have fallen sick in the kingdom since the start of the year as a result of air pollution, with nearly 200,000 admitted to hospital this week alone, according to the public health ministry. The country’s capital, Bangkok – home to an estimated 11 million people and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – is currently shrouded in a thick haze.

The toxic air is an unpleasant yellow-grey mix of vehicle fumes, industrial emissions and smoke from agricultural burning. Anyone going outside should wear a high-quality N95 anti-pollution mask.


High Seas Treaty

After almost two decades of drafting and debating, UN member states agreed on a treaty to protect the ocean’s international waters. It is key to enforcing the 30 by 30 pledge agreed to at the UN biodiversity conference in December to place 30% of Earth’s land and seas under protection by 2030.

New protected areas will limit how much fishing can be conducted, where commercial shipping can sail and where minerals are extracted from the seabed 200 meters or more beneath the surface. The main obstacle that delayed the accord was how the ocean’s living resources would be shared, such as the plants and animals that could lead to new medications and food.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 45.0 degrees Celsius (110 degrees F) at Linguère, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 91.0 degrees Celsius (-74 degrees F) 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.


Australian Wildfires Shredded the Ozone Layer

Massive wildfires that raged across southeast Australia in 2019–20 unleashed chemicals that chewed through the ozone layer, expanding and prolonging the ozone hole. A study, published today in Nature, describes how smoke combined with chlorine-containing molecules in the stratosphere — remnants of chemicals that are now banned — to cause the destruction of the ozone layer.

The Australian fires produced the largest smoke plume on record, releasing roughly one million tonnes of smoke to heights of up to 30 kilometres. That’s well into the stratosphere, the portion of the atmosphere that contains the ozone layer, which protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays. In the months after the wildfires, the hole in the ozone layer, which appears annually over Antarctica, was larger and lasted longer than in previous years.


Measles – South Africa

The South Africa National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports since the first week in October 2022, 727 confirmed measles cases have been detected. A measles outbreak has now been declared in all the provinces in South Africa except for the Eastern Cape. Members of the public are urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against measles.

Plastic Disease

The first disease linked exclusively to exposure to plastics has been identified by experts from the United Kingdom and Australia, who have called it plasticosis.

Writing in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, they say the disease affects seabirds who have ingested plastic debris, inflaming their digestive systems and breaking down their ability to fight infections and parasites, along with harming their ability to digest food. The study authors say it is possible the new disease is also affecting other species, including humans.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing activity for the week 1 March – 7 March 2023

Ahyi – Mariana Islands (USA) : Unrest at Ahyi Seamount continued during 1-7 March. Plumes of discolored water above the seamount were visible in satellite images during 1-2 and 4 March. Pressure sensors on Wake Island, 2,270 km E of Ahyi Seamount, did not detect activity.

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported ongoing eruptive activity at Minamidake Crater and Showa Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 27 February-6 March. Incandescence was visible nightly at Minamidake and during 3-6 March at Showa. Explosions at Minamidake were recorded on 28 February and 1, 3, and 4 March, and non-explosive eruptive events were occasionally recorded. Eruption plumes rose as high as 2.8 km above the Minamidake Crater rim and large blocks were ejected as far as 1.3 km from the vent. Non-explosive eruptive events were occasionally recorded at Showa during 27 February-2 March and four explosions occurred during 3-6 March. Eruption plumes rose as high as 2.7 km above the Showa rim and large blocks were ejected 500-800 m from the vent. Sulfur dioxide emissions were extremely high at 3,500 tons per day on 2 March.

Cotopaxi – Ecuador : IG reported that the eruption at Cotopaxi continued during 28 February-7 March. Several daily ash, gas, and steam plumes rose as high as 1.5 km above the summit during 28 February-2 March and drifted W and SW. Minor ashfall was reported in Mulaló parish (Colcas-Ticatilín) of the Latacunga canton during the afternoon of 28 February. Steam-and-gas emissions were visible rising as high as 700 m and drifting SW and W during 3-7 March. Minor ashfall was reported in Mulaló parish on 5 March.

Dieng Volcanic Complex – Central Java : On 6 March PVMBG lowered the Alert Level for the Dieng Volcanic Complex to 1 (on a scale of 1-4) due to decreased carbon dioxide emissions. During the first half of January carbon dioxide emissions were elevated at Timbang Crater and then significantly increased in mid-January; recent measurements indicated a decreasing trend. On 22 February a mobile instrument measured 112,000 ppm CO2 at the crater, though the concentration dropped to 9,200 ppm at a distance of less than 10 m from the crater rim. Measurements at the multi-gas station indicated concentration of 1,500-1,900 parts per million (ppm).

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that moderate activity at Ebeko was ongoing during 23 February-2 March. According to volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island, about 7 km E) explosions during 24 and 26-27 February and on 2 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km (13,100 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 27 February.

Great Sitkin – Andreanof Islands (USA): AVO reported that slow lava effusion at Great Sitkin likely continued during 1-7 March. Satellite images and web camera views were cloudy. Seismicity was low.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the eruption on the floor of Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u Crater continued during 1-6 March but at a decreased rate. The western lake in the basin of the 2021-2022 lava lake remained weakly active; a few lava flows were visible on 1 March. A small amount of lava circulated within the lake and there were intermittent crustal overturns, but the lake was mostly crusted over and the active area got substantially smaller through the week; by 5 March the lake was completely crusted over. Minor lava ooze outs were visible on 6 March, and the eruption had paused by 7 March.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok was ongoing during 1-7 March. White-and-gray plumes rose as high as 400 m above the summit and drifted E and SE on 2 and 7 March. On most of the other days white gas plumes were seen rising as high as 100 m and drifting E and SE.

Marapi – Central Sumatra : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Marapi (on Sumatra) continued during 1-7 March. On 2 March white steam-and-gas plumes rose 100 m from the summit and drifted NW, SW, and E, and on 4 March white-and-gray plumes rose 200 m and drifted N and NE; weather clouds prevented visual observations on the other days.

Merapi – Central Java : BPPTKG reported that the eruption at Merapi (on Java) continued during 24 February-2 March and seismicity remained at high levels. The SW lava dome produced two lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1 km down the SW flank (upstream in the Bebeng and Boyong drainages). No significant morphological changes to the central and SW lava domes were evident in webcam images.

Nevado del Ruiz – Colombia : Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC) reported that seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz began increasing on 27 February characterized by events indicting fluid movement. The elevated seismicity was sustained. On 4 March the intensity of the signals intensified and were associated with mostly continuous ash emissions with occasional pulses. Ashfall was reported in Manizales (27 km NW).

Papandayan – Western Java : PVMBG issued a special report based on recent observations of Papandayan. The number of shallow volcanic earthquakes had increased in January and although the numbers fluctuated, low-frequency earthquakes also increased overall during January and February. Webcam images from the camera in the parking area showed incandescence emanating from Kawah Baru during the night on 22 February. A team of PVMBG scientists inspected the crater during 2100-2300 on an unspecified date to identify the source of the incandescence. They observed intense emissions rising from Kawah Baru, heard faint rumbling, and detected a strong sulfur odor, but did not see incandescence. Gas plumes rose 300 m from a solfatara. The color of the lake in Kawah Baru was greenish. Rumbling sounds from both the Kawah Mas and Kawah Baru solfatara complexes varied from weak to strong and gas emissions were sometimes intense. Solfatara temperatures were variable at Kawah Mas, Kawah Manuk, and Kawah Baru with a maximum temperature of 123.8 degrees Celsius. Sulfur dioxide gas concentrations were high at a distance of 500 m from the solfatara complexes. Based on the field observations PVMBG concluded that conditions at Papandayan were relatively normal.

Semeru – Eastern Java : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru continued during 1-7 March. Weather clouds sometimes prevented views of the volcano, though on most days no emissions were visible. On 6 March white-and-gray ash plumes rose as high as 200 m above the summit and drifted N and NE.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that the ongoing eruption at Sheveluch was generally characterized by explosions, hot avalanches, lava-dome extrusion, and strong fumarolic activity. A daily thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 23 February-2 March. At 1150 on 5 March local time video images showed an ash plume generated by hot avalanches rising 5.5 km a.s.l. (just over 2.2 km above the summit) and drifting 5 km NE.

Takawangha – Andreanof Islands (USA) : AVO reported that the earthquake swarm at Takawangha that began in November 2022 was ongoing with 120 earthquakes located during 25 February-3 March. The number of events per day was highest on 28 February and 1 March, with over 50 earthquakes located on each of those days. Three earthquakes had magnitudes greater than 3, occurred at shallow depths of less than 6 km, and were located about 6 km E of the volcano. During 3-7 March small daily earthquakes with magnitudes less than M2 occurred in the vicinity of the volcano.