Wildlife

‘Pizzly’ Bears

‘Pizzly bears’, which are a crossbreed of polar bears and grizzly bears, could soon start growing in number as a result of global warming, a leading biologist has warned.

The animal, also known as a grolar bear, was reported to have first been spotted in 2006 after an American hunter shot a creature with white fur and brown patches.

A DNA test of the animal, which also had the long claws and humped back commonly associated with a grizzly bear, revealed that it was the new hybrid.

Grolar

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.2 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.1 earthquake hits Kepulauan Sangihe, Indonesia.

Wildfires

Wildfires – North Dakota, USA

Firefighters worked through the night battling a wildfire north of Wannagan Campground on the Little Missouri National Grassland. The fire is estimated at 4000 acres and is burning in the rugged North Dakota Badlands.

A second grassland fire in southwestern North Dakota remains ablaze near the town of Manning, in Dunn County. That fire developed faster than crews could initially put out and resulted in citizens being asked to evacuate.

Disease

Covid-19

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.7 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.7 earthquake hits Panama.

5.3 earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.3 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.2 earthquake hits the mid-Indian ridge.

Environment

New Lightning Capital?

Florida, especially around the Tampa Bay Area, has long been renowned as the capital of lightning strikes in the United States.

But researchers from the Finland-based environmental monitoring company Vaisala say that Oklahoma has narrowly surpassed the Sunshine State for that distinction. Its research found there were 83.4 lightning events per square kilometer in Oklahoma between 2016 and 2020 compared with 82.8 in Florida. But Vaisala meteorologist Chris Vagasky says with statistics that close, it’s hard to say that one state has truly overtaken the other.

Disease

Covid-19

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – Spain

Spanish Health Services have confirmed a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in the province of Salamanca. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is caused by a virus, the main transmission mechanism of which is the bite of a tick.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.1 earthquake hits the Sannta Cruz Islands.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

ST Vincent and Grenadines – Heavy rain has caused floods, landslides and lahars (volcanic mudflows) in several areas the Caribbean island country of St Vincent and the Grenadines. As of 30 April the worst affected areas were in parts of the main island of St Vincent. NEMO reported rainfall accumulations ranging from 75 to 125 mm during a 6 hour period on 29 April 2021. Flooding brought traffic to a standstill after roads were swamped in areas around the capital Kingstown. Landslides blocked roads on the city’s outskirts. At least 2 houses collapsed and several others were damaged in areas around the capital.

Global Warming

Polar Drift

Earth’s axis is being shifted by the human activities causing the current climate emergency and the redistribution of water resources through the pumping of groundwater for irrigation.

An international team of researchers says the shift started in the 1990s when global heating began to melt glaciers, sending much of the runoff into the oceans. Earth’s axis naturally drifts a little bit each year due to changes in winds, ocean currents and atmospheric pressures. But the redistribution of water from land to the oceans accelerated the drift between 1995 and 2020 by about 17 times. Vincent Humphrey of the University of Zurich says the drift is tiny and imperceptible to humans.

Melting Hazards

Boulders and rocks long frozen in place high across the world’s mountainous regions are now tumbling downslope due to the glacial melt brought on by global heating.

A tragic example occurred in February when rock and ice broke loose from a Himalayan peak, killed more than 200 people and destroyed a hydroelectric dam. Researchers in Switzerland have begun releasing “test rocks” from high in the Alps to better understand the dangers posed to humans and the landscape by the growing phenomenon. “Where a rock will land, how it will bounce, how high it will jump … we can answer all that,” said physicist Andrin Caviezel, one of the scientists involved in the experiments.

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Wildlife

Lion Famine – Namibia

A protracted drought and unbridled livestock grazing, which have parched parts of Namibia, are also causing desert-adapted lions to perish or appear emaciated near human settlements in the southwest African nation.

There was an outcry after images of an emaciated lioness, too weak to get up next to a goat enclosure on a communal farm, appeared on social media. Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation told The Namibian daily that the hyper-arid conditions have caused several of the big cats to either die from starvation or be euthanized by the environment ministry.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Kayes, Mali.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 93.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 69.4 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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 21 April 2021 – 27 April 2021

Aira – Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 19-26 April incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. There was a total of 16 explosions, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 2.3 km above the summit and ejected bombs 1-1.3 km away from the crater. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was somewhat high at 1,800 tons per day on 21 April. An explosion at 0109 on 25 April produced what was initially thought to be a pyroclastic flow, triggering JMA to warn residents beyond a 2-km radius to be cautious and vigilant. Scientists conducting field observations later that day did not observe pyroclastic flow deposits or damaged vegetation, and concluded that the plume phenomenon was generated by winds. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale), and residents were warned to stay 2 km away from the crater.

Ebeko – Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 16-18 and 22 April that sent ash plumes to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, and SW. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 16 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna – Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that during 19-25 April activity at Etna was mainly characterized by gas emissions rising from the summit craters, though inclement weather conditions often prevented visual observations. Bocca Nuova in particular produced frequent steam puffs. A strong explosion at 0030 on 25 April from the E vent of Southeast Crater (SEC) ejected incandescent material up to 350 m above the crater rim. An ash plume dispersed to the S.

Fuego – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 5-14 explosions were recorded per hour during 21-27 April at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim. Shock waves rattled buildings around the volcano, especially in areas as far as 20 km W and SW. Block avalanches descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Ashfall was reported on most days in several areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Explosions ejected incandescent material 100-400 m above the summit almost daily.

Kilauea – Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the W vent on the inner NW wall of Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater continued to supply the lava lake during 21-27 April. Lava flowed at a low rate from the main vent into the lake through crusted-over channels and submerged inlets. The depth of the lake was about 226-227 m and lava continued to circulate in the W part, though the active area continued to shrink; the E half of the lake remained solidified. Lava sometimes overflowed the margins of the lake. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 350, 550, 300, and 350 tons/day on 21, 22, 23, and 24 April, respectively. The rates were the lowest measured during the eruption, though elevated above the levels recorded in the months before the start of the eruption (20 December 2020). The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Krysuvik-Trolladyngja – Iceland : IMO reported that the fissure eruption in the W part of the Krýsuvík-Trölladyngja volcanic system, close to Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes Peninsula, continued during 21-27 April. A M 4.1 earthquake was recorded at 2305 on 21 April about 6 km WSW of the fissures and followed by several aftershocks; it was the largest on the Reykjanes Peninsula since 15 March, before the eruption began. The average lava-flow rate was calculated by the University of Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences using photographs most recently collected during an overflight on 26 April. They reported that during the previous five days the flow rate from all of the active craters averaged just over 6 cubic meters per second; the average rate during the 38 days of the eruption was 5.6 cubic meters per second. The area of the flow field was 1.13 square kilometers, the total volume was over 18.4 million cubic meters, with an average thickness of just over 16 m. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange due to the lack of ash and tephra emissions.

Lewotolok – Lembata Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Lewotolok continued during 20-27 April. Black, gray, and white plumes rose as high as 1 km above the summit and drifted E, SE, and W on most days. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the public was warned to stay 3 km away from the summit crater.

Merapi – Central Java (Indonesia) : BPPTKG reported that the lava dome just below Merapi’s SW rim and the lava dome in the summit crater both continued to extrude lava during 16-22 April. The SW rim lava-dome volume was an estimated 1,069,600 cubic meters on 21 April, with a growth rate of about 11,900 cubic meters per day; the dome continued to shed material down the flank. A total of nine pyroclastic flows traveled a maximum of 1.8 km down the SW flank. Incandescent avalanches, recorded 144 times, traveled as far as 1.6 km down the SW flank and twice down the SE flank as far as 400 m. The volume of the summit lava dome was 1,794,000 cubic meters on 22 April. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay 5 km away from the summit.

Pacaya – Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 20-21 April explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater generated minor gas-and-ash plumes that rose 250 m above the summit and drifted S and SW. The lava flow on the SW flank continued to be active, though did not advance. White gas plumes were visible the next day rising as high as 200 m. On 23 April lava effusion ceased. The lava flows on the SW flank remained hot and gas plumes rose from parts of the flow; no advancement was visible through 27 April. Gray-and-white emissions were visible during 24-27 April, rising 100-200 m above the summit and dispersing S and SW. Occasional minor explosions ejected incandescent material 50-150 m high during 26-27 April.

Semeru – Eastern Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 21-22 and 24-25 April ash plumes from Semeru rose 500-700 m above the summit and drifted SW, S, and SE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 1 km and extensions to 5 km in the SSE sector.

Sheveluch – Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 16-23 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Sinabung – Indonesia : PVMBG reported that the eruption at Sinabung continued during 21-27 April. Weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations of the volcano, though white fumarolic plumes were visible almost daily rising as high as 700 m above the summit and drifted E and SE. Pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km on 21 April. Avalanches of material traveled 1 km E and SE during 23-24 April. Ash plumes rose 2 km above the summit on 24 April and to 1 km on 25 April, drifting ESE both days. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km in the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector.

Stromboli – Aeolian Islands (Italy) : INGV reported that during 19-25 April activity at Stromboli was characterized by ongoing explosive activity from Area N (North Crater area) and in Area C-S (South-Central Crater area), though sometime weather conditions prevented visual observations. Explosions from two vents in the N1 vent (Area N) ejected lapilli and bombs 250 m high, and produced minor ash emissions. Explosions at N2 vents (Area N) averaged 11-14 events per hour. Periods of visible spattering were most notable on 24 April. Explosions from at least three vents in Area C-S occurred at a rate of 1-5 events per hour and ejected coarse material more than 250 m high.

Suwanosejima – Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was occasionally visible at night during 16-23 April. Five explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.7 km above the crater rim and ejected bombs 600 m away. The Alert Level remained at 2 and the public was warned to stay 1 km away from the crater.

Villarrica – Chile : SERNAGEOMIN reported that during 1-15 April gas-and-steam emissions with no or very small amounts of ash rose from Villarrica to heights less than 1.2 km above the crater rim. Crater incandescence was not visible at night and sulfur dioxide emissions were low. Observations from multiple sources suggested that the lava lake level was lower, decreasing the likelihood that material ejected by minor explosions would reach beyond 100 m from the crater. The Alert Level was lowered to Green on 23 April, the lowest level on a four-colour scale. ONEMI declared a “Preventative Early Warning” for the municipalities of Villarrica, Pucón (16 km N), Curarrehue, and the commune of Panguipulli, and the exclusion zone for the public of 100 m around the crater.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Krmedec Islands.

5.5 earthquake hits Bio-Bio, Chile.

5.5 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.2 earthquake hits off the coast of Oregon, USA.

5.1 earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit off the coast of Oregon, USA.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Pagan region, North Mariana Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Peru.