Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning – NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Etna (Sicily, Italy): Views of the summit area have been limited due to mostly poor weather, but except for occasional weak glow from the New SE crater and Voragine, probably weak strombolian activity, there has not been any new major activity. Looking at the intervals of the past 7 paroxysms, it would be not surprising if an 8th one was to occur.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no changes at any of the volcanoes in Kamchatka. Tolbachik continues to erupt fluid lava and tremor has stayed at constant high levels (a bit higher than last weak).

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano remains in a state of heightened activity, with many and relatively powerful vulcanian explosions. Yesterday alone, it produced at least SIX (6) explosions with ash plumes rising to 7-10,000 ft (2.1-3 km) altitude.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Another relatively large explosion (and/or partial dome collapse) occurred this morning. According to local press, an explosion at around 10:00 am this morning, and followed by an earthquake at 10:15 local time produced an ash plume rising 1500-2000 m above the island, drifting east. Darwin VAAC reported the volcanic ash plume at 13,000 ft (4 km) altitude and extending 20 nautical miles to the east.

Yasur (Tanna Island, Vanuatu): Strombolian activity has been comparably low recently and the volcanic activity level has been set to 1.

Ruapehu (North Island): The latest lake water temperatures readings and seismic recordings showed no particular signs of unrest in recent weeks and the volcanic alert status level has been reduced back to normal=green.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has remained stable, with 1-2 weak weak to moderate steam-gas-ash explosions per hour, some of which generated small ash plumes. Incandescent bombs can sometimes be seen ejected at night.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity remains essentially unchanged, and overall low. Explosions (1-2 per hour) from the dome produce ash plumes up to about 800 m high, and the viscous block lava flows descending the sides of the dome produce weak to moderate avalanches.

Pacaya (Guatemala): No new explosive activity or other surface activity except degassing / steaming has been observed over the past days.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity remains weak, with few (8 counted during 10-11 Mar) strombolian explosions producing light-gray ash plumes rising about 500 m.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): A phase of increased degassing and weak ash venting is taking place. INGEOMINAS observed a continuous steam-gas-ash plume rising about 300 m high and drifting southwest. This activity was accompanied by weak volcanic tremor and volcanic-tectonic earthquakes, located northeast of Arenas Crater with magnitudes less than 1.5 on the Richter scale at depths less than 3 km.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Strombolian activity at moderate intensity continues, with incandescent lava bombs falling onto the outer slopes and rolling down. A strong SO2 plume is drifting southwest from the volcano and minor ash fall occurred in the areas of El Manzano, Choglontús and Pillate.

Space Events

Meteor Sighted – Cape Town

A small meteor streaked across the sky over Cape Town, South Africa yesterday. The meteor was probably a pebble-sized piece of rock and is no cause for alarm because of its size, an astronomer from the South African Astronomical Observatory said.

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Storms and Floods

Landslide in Uttarakhand, India

Landslide in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand has killed 10 pilgrims.

A taxi was hit by a landslide along Dehradun-Yamnotri highway which fell into the Yamuna river.

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Flash flood in Mbale, Uganda

Flash flood in the Mbale district of Uganda has injured 12 people.

The storm has damaged the building of Munira school, Good Samaritan primary school and Namabasa Secondary School. In Doko Nsambya, one mosque, two churches and one health Centre have been destroyed.

The floods have displaced more than 1 300 people.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern California, USA.

5.0 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

Southern California has been hit by multiple moderate Earthquakes today with the epicenter close to Anza. A mini swarm of four Earthquakes of 2.5, 4.6, 4.7 and 4.7 magnitude were felt within 16 minutes.

Nature – Images

Sinkholes:

A 30 feet wide by 12 feet deep Sinkhole has opened in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

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A sinkhole created by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on May 29, 2010.

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Environment

Tropical Forests Unexpectedly Resilient to Climate Change

Tropical forests are unlikely to die off as a result of the predicted rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases this century, a new study finds. The analysis refutes previous work that predicted the catastrophic loss of the Amazon rainforest as one of the more startling potential outcomes of climate change.

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In the most extensive study of its kind, an international team of scientists simulated the effect of business-as-usual emissions on the amounts of carbon locked up in tropical forests across Amazonia, Central America, Asia and Africa through to 2100. They compared the results from 22 different global climate models teamed with various models of land-surface processes. In all but one simulation, rainforests across the three regions retained their carbon stocks even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased throughout the century.

The fertilizing effect of carbon dioxide, which boosts plant growth, counteracts the release completely if it is as large as expected due to climate change.

That tropical forests will retain their carbon stocks long term gives a major boost to policies aimed at keeping forests intact, such as the United Nations’ REDD programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

But there may be more immediate threats to forests in the next 20 to 30 years from extreme weather events. And those events will only become more common in a warming world.

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2,800 Dead Pigs in Shanghai River, China

A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai — with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday — has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts.

The effort to keep infected pork off dinner tables may be fuelling new health fears, as Shanghai residents and local media fret over the possibility of contamination of the city’s water supply, though authorities say no contamination has been detected.

Authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday.

China dead pigs

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Tungurahua (Ecuador): IG reports violent strombolian activity with incandescent blocks being thrown up to 500 m distance onto the upper outer slopes of the crater. Ashfall was reported from the sectors of El Manzano and Choglontus. A strong steam, gas and ash plume, visible on NOAA satellite data, is drifting westwards.

Storms and Floods

Cyclone Tim is forming off northern Queensland – Australia’s eighth cyclone of the season is likely to form in the Gulf of Carpentaria on Wednesday.

Storm in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Heavy storm in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil bringing floods and landslides which killed two including a 14-year-old girl.

The storm also damaged the shopping continental mall in the Jaguare district but nobody was injured.

Brazil flood photo

Severe Cold Across Europe

Hundreds of drivers have been left stranded after snow brought some roads in Sussex, England to a standstill. Tailbacks of up to 15 miles were reported on the A23 between Crawley and Brighton, with some motorists stuck for up to eight hours. Police said snow and ice had caused hazardous conditions and officers were trying to help gritting lorries through to treat roads.

Heavy snow in north-western Europe is causing severe travel disruption, including the cancellation of hundreds of flights via Frankfurt and Paris.

Heavy storm in Ashanti, Ghana

Heavy storm has affected the people in Kodie, Mpobi, Ahenkro, Ahenkro- Kwamang and Ankaase area of Ghana.

The storm has also damaged the Kodie Junior High School.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

Today is the two year anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude Earthquake and resulting tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan in 2011.

6.5 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.7 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits southern Xinjiang, China.

5.3 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the New Britain region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Alaska.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea

Environment

Amplified Greenhouse Effect Shifts North’s Growing Seasons

Vegetation growth at Earth’s northern latitudes increasingly resembles warmer and lusher latitudes to the south, according to a NASA-funded study based on a 30-year record of ground-based and satellite data sets.

An international team of university and NASA scientists examined the relationship between changes in surface temperature and vegetation growth from 45 degrees north latitude to the Arctic Ocean. Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.

Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more. In the north’s Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems.

As a result of enhanced warming and a longer growing season, large patches of vigorously productive vegetation now span a third of the northern landscape, or more than 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometres). That is an area about equal to the contiguous United States. This landscape resembles what was found 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 kilometres) to the south in 1982.

The Arctic’s greenness is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and trees in locations all over the circumpolar Arctic. Greening in the adjacent boreal areas is more pronounced in Eurasia than in North America.

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Of the 10 million square miles (26 million square kilometers) of northern vegetated lands, 34 to 41 percent showed increases in plant growth (green and blue), 3 to 5 percent showed decreases in plant growth (orange and red), and 51 to 62 percent showed no changes (yellow) over the past 30 years. Satellite data in this visualization are from AVHRR and MODIS.

Wildlife

‘Historic’ Day For Shark Protection

Three types of critically endangered but commercially valuable shark have been given added protection at the Cites meeting in Bangkok.

The body, which regulates trade in flora and fauna, voted by a two-thirds majority to upgrade the sharks’ status.

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Campaigners hailed the move as historic and said the vote represented a major breakthrough for marine conservation.

The decisions can still be overturned by a vote on the final day of this meeting later this week.

The oceanic white-tip, three varieties of hammerheads and the porbeagle are all said to be seriously threatened by overfishing.

Their numbers have declined dramatically in recent years, as the trade in shark fins for soup has grown.

Manta rays are killed for their gill plates which are used in Chinese medicine.

Shark supporters have been attempting to get Cites to protect these species since 1994. But there has long been strong opposition to the move from China and Japan.

But a number of factors have changed the arithmetic.

Experts say the critical factor has been a shift in South American nations, who’ve come to understand that sharks are more valuable alive than dead.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Askja (Central Iceland): A swarm of earthquakes at shallow depths, mostly around 2-5 km has been occurring in an area about 12 km NE of the caldera. 27 quakes including 6 between magnitudes 2.1-2.7 were recorded yesterday.

Gorely (Southern Kamchatka): Strong degassing continues to be accompanied by unchanged moderate seismic activity. KVERT reports no eruptive activity.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): KVERT reports only weak seismicity and steaming/degassing. It seems that the phase of strombolian activity at the summit crater has ceased or only continues at very reduced intensity.

Kizimen (Kamchatka): The lava dome continues to grow at the summit, and produces hot avalanches on the western and eastern volcanic flanks. Moderate seismicity and strong gas-steam activity accompany this process.

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Seismic and external activity have been weak recently. No significant explosions were reocrded in the past days.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An ash plume, presumably from an explosion at the dome, rose to 19,800 ft (6.0 km) altitude yesterday, KVERT reported. Seismicity continues to be moderate, and strong steaming-degassing accompanies the process of the lava dome growth.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no significant changes, but the tremor has increased again a bit, suggesting that lava output from the southern fissure vent had been a bit higher as well.

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): The strong seismic activity from Tolbachik obscures the seismicity of Bezymianny, but a thermal anomaly at the summit remains visible on satellite data and suggests that the lava dome continues to grow as well.

To-shima (Izu Islands): A swarm of earthquakes can be recognized that has been going on at shallow depths a few km north of the island during the past days. Many quakes have been recorded at magnitudes above 2.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Earthquakes have decreased to averages of 2-3 per day, but there is still slight inflation of the Volcano Island in the caldera, PHILVOLCS reports. Recent CO2 emission measurements (from 3 March) showed a modest increase to 947 tonnes per day compared to 720 tonnes per day from the previous measurement on 27 November 2012.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The dome continues to be very active. An ash plume was observed rising to 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude this morning.

White Island (New Zealand): The recent period of increased activity has apparently come to an end for now. Tremor has dropped again to low levels.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The frequency of emissions has increased to almost 3 per hour, with some explosions producing low ash plumes. Degassing remains strong and an important SO2 plume is drifting eastwards from the volcano.

Galeras (Colombia): Activity has remained generally low, with occasional ash explosions such as on the afternoon of 7 March.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Since Friday, activity has been elevated. Ash emissions have been causing light ash falls in areas near the volcano. Strong degassing and odor of sulfur was noted in parts of the National Park. INGEOMINAS reports continuous volcanic tremor, and keeps the alert level at yellow (2 on a scale 1-4).

Reventador (Ecuador): Mild activity continues, but is rarely visible. At night, glow from the crater can sometimes be seen. IG reports sporadic weak explosions, and continued elevated seismic activity with numerous long-period events, explosion signals and tremor pulses.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity continues to increase gradually. When the volcano is not hidden in clouds, explosions with incandescent material landing on the upper slopes could be seen, and a low ash plume is rising from the volcano. The seismic signal shows near continuous tremor.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Sandra

As of 02:00 UTC, TC Sandra was located 510 nm northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia.

A Cyclone warning is issued for Solomon Islands.

A huge dust storm has surrounded Tokyo, Japan.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.5 Earthquake hits offshore El Salvador.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Africa.

5.0 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.