Wildfires – Australia

Water bombing has being used for the first time in a decade in Central Australia to fight a fire that has been burning in the West MacDonnell Ranges since early March. The blaze has already burnt 100,000 hectares in the region. The AS350 B3 helicopter, capable of lifting 1 000 litres, was flown in from Katherine on Wednesday.

At least one home has been destroyed and several other dwellings impacted by a bushfire that tore through an Alice Springs rural area Friday afternoon. More than a dozen vehicles and a number of other structures were burnt out by the blaze which has since been brought under control and the alert level downgraded.


Bird Flu in Humans – Chile

The Ministry of Health reports the first case of bird flu in humans in Chile, reported in northern Chile. The individual is a 53-year-old man affected by a severe influenza case. He is currently stable.

Covid-19 – Brazil

Three years after the first case of Covid-19 registered in the country, Brazil reached another sad milestone this Tuesday, March 28: 700,000 deaths caused by the disease.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New activity for the week 22 March – 28 March 2023

Asamayama – Honshu (Japan) : JMA reported that inflation on Asamayama’s W flank began to be detected on 15 March, and the number of shallow volcanic earthquakes increased on 21 March. On 22 March JMA warned the public that very small eruptions may impact areas within 500 m of the crater.

Bezymianny – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that at 1825 on 29 March an ash plume from Bezymianny rose as high as 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

Kita-Ioto – Volcano Islands : JMA reported that a submarine eruption occurred at Funka Asane, a submarine vent 4-5 km NW of Kita-Ioto, at around 1800 on 27 March based on satellite images.

Ulawun – New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : RVO reported a short eruption at Ulawun, during 0408-0425 on 28 March, based on seismic data. A local volcano observer reported minor ashfall in areas to the NW including Ubili village, and the Ulamona Mission, Saltamana, and Ibana Village Oil Palm areas. According to the Darwin VAAC at 0600 an ash plume was visible in a satellite image drifting W at 3.4 km (11,000 ft) a.s.l.; the plume had dissipated by 1000.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.4 earthquake hits southern Italy.

5.2 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits northwest of the Ryukyu Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits south off Fiji.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 17s (Herman), located approximately 907 nm west-northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking southeastward at 10 knots.

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Ecuador – Over 60 people are feared missing after a huge landslide buried homes in the community of Alausí, Chimborazo Province, Ecuador late on 26 March 2023. As of late 27 March, the government of Ecuador confirmed 7 fatalities. More than 30 people have been rescued and 23 people hospitalised. Around 163 homes and a school have been damaged or destroyed, directly impacting the lives of around 500 people. Water and power infrastructure were also negatively impacted and a 150-metre section of road was severely damaged. Authorities ordered the evacuation of about 600 homes in the area considered to be at risk.

Global Warming

Trees Grow for Extra Month as Planet Warms

Researchers studying hardwoods in northwest Ohio say a century of warming has extended their annual growing season by a month on average.

Between 1883 and 1912, farmer Thomas Mikesell made meticulous notes on local tree growth, precipitation and temperature in his home town of Wauseon, Ohio. Researchers say Mikesell’s observations are a near unique pre-warming dataset to compare with modern times. They found that leaves stayed on trees about 15% longer than they did in Mikesell’s day. “An entire month of growing season extension is huge when we’re talking about a pretty short period of time for those changes to be expressed.”

Species responded to warmer temperatures in different ways – most kept their leaf colour longer into Autumn but some budded early.


Dengue Fever, Chikungunya – Argentina

The Argentina National Ministry of Health reports that up to epidemiological week 11 of 2023 (from March 12 to 18), 9,388 cases of dengue were reported in the country, of which 8,504 acquired the infection in Argentina.

Regarding chikungunya fever, 528 cases have been registered so far, of which 166 acquired the infection in Argentina, 129 are under investigation and 233 acquired the infection outside the country

Leptospirosis – Peru

The recent intense rains that were recorded in Lambayeque caused the collapse of the drainage system in various parts of the region, as well as the presence of sewage in the streets of the affected neighborhoods. This has resulted in the proliferation of leptospirosis, a disease that is contracted by being in direct contact with the urine of an infected animal or surfaces contaminated with said substance.

Opisthorchiasis – Russia

In 2022, the number of cases of opisthorchiasis morbidity increased in the Novosibirsk Region. This is a parasitic disease caused by flatworms. According to data provided by the Rospotrebnadzor Office for the region, last year the number of cases was 2,566 people, which is 1,076 more than in 2021


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.5 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.3 earthquake hits Luzon, Philippines.

5.2 earthquake hits the Lac Kivu region, DR Congo.

5.0 earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are currently no active tropical storm systems.


Bolivia – Flooding has affected thousands of people after the Acre River broke its banks in the northern Pando Department of Bolivia. Further south, the Pirai and Rio Grande rivers have caused flooding in parts of the Santa Cruz department. One person died in the Pirai river in Limoncito in El Torno municipality and another in the Pirai river north of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Flooding was reported in the city after heavy rain on 23 March. Authorities in Pando Department have helped evacuate at least 150 families living close to the Acre River in the departmental capital, Cobija.

Brazil – More heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in areas of Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on 25 March 2023. The city government reported 172 families lost their homes. Manaus City Hall reported more than 135 incidents of flooding and landslides across the city as a result of the heavy rainfall on 25 March. Around 113 mm of rain fell in the east of the city in a few hours. Numerous homes were swept away by flood water. Many others were damaged or destroyed by landslides.

Mississippi, USA – A massive tornado that was nearly a mile (1.2 kilometers) long has killed at least 26 people and injured dozens more after devastating parts of western Mississippi on Friday (March 24) night. The storm is the deadliest in over 50 years in Mississippi. It hit several small towns with violent, 166 to 200 mph (267 to 322 km/h) gusts of wind, and has received a preliminary rating of EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.


Measles – Kazakhstan

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Kazakhstan, the Health Ministry reports 145 suspected measles cases, of which 75 (68 among kids under 14, and seven in adults) are confirmed nationally through March 27.

Meningitis – Togo

In a follow-up on the meningitis outbreak in Togo, the Togolese Ministry of Health now reports a total of 123 suspected cases of meningitis reported in the Oti Sud district, including 12 deaths, through March 19.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits the Masbate region, Philippines.

5.4 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 earthquake hits Atacama, Chile.

5.1 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.


Seaweed Raft

A massive 8,000km long blob of seaweed is floating towards Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt – a raft of biomass stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico – contains scattered patches of seaweed on the open ocean.

It’s not a new occurrence, but scientists say that this year’s bloom could be one of the biggest ever recorded. The thick, brown seaweed is already carpeting some beaches in Florida, releasing a pungent smell as it decays and entangling humans and animals who step into it.

Sargassum is a leafy brown seaweed festooned with berry-like air pockets. The seaweed floats on the open ocean and – unlike other marine plants- reproduces on the water’s surface. The air-filled structures help to give it buoyancy. Sargassum originates in a vast stretch of the Atlantic Ocean called the Sargasso Sea, well off the southeast coast of the US.

The matted brown mass of seaweed stretches across the ocean and provides breeding grounds, food and habitat for fish, sea turtles and marine birds.

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Wildfires – North Carolina, USA

A North Carolina fire has spread across several thousand acres and had reached about 34 percent containment by late Sunday afternoon. The Last Resort Fire is burning on both private and federal lands in rural Tyrrell County. After firing operations on Saturday, the fire was estimated at 5,800 acres.


Syphilis – Canada

The number of infectious syphilis and congenital syphilis cases in Canada have risen sharply during the period of 2017 to 2021. According to the numbers, there were seven confirmed cases of early congenital syphilis in 2017. However, the number rose to 96 cases in 2021, an increase of 1,271 per cent.

In addition, the rate of infectious syphilis cases in adults increased by 166 percent over the same four year period to 30 cases per 100,000 people, and to a total of 11,268 by 2021.