Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.

5.1 Earthquake hits east of the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Rat Islands in the Aleutian islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm Karina is located about 1275 mi…2050 km E of Hilo Hawaii and about 1785 mi…2870 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Present movement…ESE or 110 degrees at 2 mph…4 km/h.

Tropical storm Lowell is located about 805 mi…1290 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. present movement…NW or 315 degrees at 3 mph…6 km/h.

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NewsBytes:

Arizona, USA – Heavy monsoon season rains that swept across Arizona on Tuesday led to dramatic rescues, road closures and flight delays as a series of fast-moving storms pummelled the state. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for much of the metro area and north of the city where up to 8 inches of rain fell by midday in some of the mountainous regions along Interstate 17.

Sweden – Rain continued to bucket down over parts of Sweden on Wednesday night, adding the town of Kristinehamn, Värmland to the list of towns partially under water. Towns in Halland, Bohuslän, and Värmland have now been affected by flooding.

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Global Warming

Arctic Ice Snow Cover Disappearing

The depth of the late-winter snowpack on sea ice in the Arctic has thinned considerably over the past 70 years, according to a new University of Washington-NASA study.

Writing for the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, lead author Melinda Webster says the conclusion was made after combining data collected by ice buoys and NASA aircraft with historical records gathered by Soviet scientists from the 1950s through the early 1990s.

Those measurements show the snowpack has thinned from 14 inches to 9 inches in the western Arctic and from 13 inches to 6 inches in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, north and west of Alaska.

“This confirms and extends the results of that earlier work, showing that we continue to see thinning snow on the Arctic sea ice,” said Ignatius Rigor, who was also a co-author on the earlier paper.

The authors believe the snowpack could be thinner because the surface of the Arctic Ocean is freezing later, after some of the year’s heaviest snowfalls in September and October.

That snow is now falling on a mainly open ocean.

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Disease

Ebola virus disease update – West Africa

Between 17 and 18 August 2014, a total of 221 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 106 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

WHO continues to engage in high-level communication efforts with affected countries, companies and organizations doing business in and from Africa, and national and global leaders. Currently, some companies have taken the decision to suspend services to the affected countries. This includes airlines and shipping companies. As a result of these decisions, countries are beginning to experience supply shortages, including fuel, food, and basic supplies. WHO is working with the UN World Food Programme to ensure adequate food and supplies, but calls on companies to make business decisions based on scientific evidence with regard to the transmission of Ebola virus.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bárdarbunga (Iceland): The intense earthquake swarm continues with no significant changes. There are no signs of magma migrating towards or reaching the surface are present, although the risk of a subglacial eruption in the near future remains high. This could lead to significant glacial floods and ash emissions, which in turn could cause again disruptions of flight operations in the region, depending on the wind trajectories and the amount of ash released. A slow migration of the quakes towards the NE is visible during the past days, indicating that the intruding magma at shallow depth is currently moving horizontally.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.1 Earthquake hits southwest of Africa.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

Thousands of small intense earthquakes are rocking Iceland amid concerns that one of the country’s volcanoes, Bárðarbunga, may be close to erupting.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm Karina moving slowly westward about 1365 mi (2195 km) E of Hilo, Hawaii.

Tropical storm Lowell moving northwestward with no change in strength about 740 mi (1190 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California.

The Western Pacific remains quiet, with no new named storms expected to develop over the next five days.

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NewsBytes:

Finland – Month’s worth of rain falls in two days. A low-pressure front over Northern Europe is bringing rains into Finland, with the warm sea adding to precipitation figures along the coast. Tuesday saw some 20mm of rainfall in Finland Proper and Western Lapland – and in Somero more than three times that amount has come down in less than two days.

Japan – Huge landslides in the outskirts of Hiroshima have killed at least 36 people after a wall of mud sparked by torrential rain wiped out dozens of houses burying many alive.

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Wildlife

Poachers Killed More than 100,000 Elephants in 3 Years

The insatiable demand for ivory is causing a dramatic decline in the number of African elephants. Poachers are hunting the animal faster than it can reproduce, with deaths affecting more than half of elephant families in the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, a new study finds.

In 2011, the worst African elephant poaching year on record since 1998, poachers killed an estimated 40,000 elephants, or about 8 percent of the elephant population in Africa. In the absence of poaching, African elephant populations grow about 4.2 percent each year, the researchers found based on detailed records from Samburu.

Poachers killed an average of 33,630 elephants every year from 2010 to 2012, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths across the continent, the study found. Illegal killings across Africa decreased somewhat in 2010, but they were still higher than pre-2009 levels, the researchers reported. As more elephants are poached, the number of governmental seizures of illegal ivory increase, and the black market price of ivory goes up.

Poaching rates for ivory are unsustainable and exceed the natural growth rate of wild elephants. “This means that elephant populations currently decline by nearly 60 to 70 percent every 10 years, making it likely for the species to go extinct in the near future if poaching and the illegal ivory trade are not stopped,”.

Much of the ivory demand comes from China and Southeast Asia. Many people see ivory as a status symbol and an artistic investment, especially for religious renditions, whereas others turn to ivory for mass-consumption products, such as bracelets and chopsticks.

A similar ivory boom in the late 1970s and 1980s tapered out when 115 countries opted to ban the international trade of ivory in 1989. Today, researchers hope that conservation organizations, as well as high-profile advocates such as Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, will help to stem the ivory demand.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – California

One of several wildfires burning across California prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people in a central California foothill community near Yosemite National Park.

More than 1,500 people from homes and four hotels near the community of Oakhurst have been told to evacuate, said Erica Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff’s Office. Oakhurst is about 16 miles away from an entrance to Yosemite National Park.

A surging wildfire in Kern County some 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield was threatening buildings and bringing evacuations.

A fire in Wofford Heights near Lake Isabella has grown to about slightly more than 1 square mile.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bárdarbunga (Iceland): The situation remains the same as yesterday. The earthquake swarm continues at high intensity. The quakes are clustered in an area 20 km east of the Bárdarbunga volcano’s caldera under the ice cap and at shallow depths of 10-1 km. During the first 7 hours of today, 200 events were registered, the largest being a magnitude 3 quake at 10 km depth. Police authorities and Civil Protection have decided to close and evacuate the area around the volcano due to possible elevated volcanic hazards, one of the most severe being likely jökulhlaups, glacial floods.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm Karina is located about 1415 mi…2275 km E of Hilo Hawaii.

Tropical Storm Lowell is located about 705 mi…1135 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

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Tornado Swarms More Frequent Under Warming

Florida researchers say they have found a possible link between the strength and frequency of tornadoes in the United States and the magnitude of climate change.

Writing in the journal Climate Dynamics, Florida State geography professor James Elsner says that while the chance of a tornado forming each day has gone down under global warming, when twisters do form on a given day, there are more of them.

Elsner points out that there were 187 days with tornadoes during 1971, and only 79 in 2013.

But he says that a closer look at the data shows a greater severity in tornadic storms on a given day than before climate change accelerated under the influence of greenhouse gas emissions in the late 20th century.

Elsner adds that at least “Tornado Alley” doesn’t appear to be growing in size.

So far this year, there have been 189 tornadoes with a death toll of 43, according to the NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

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Disease

Ebola virus disease update – West Africa

Between 14 and 16 August 2014, a total of 113 new cases of Ebola virus disease (laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 84 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia*, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

The response of WHO and other partners to the Ebola Virus outbreak is continuing to grow in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. To reduce the likelihood that those who are infected will carry the disease outside their communities, the governments have set up quarantine zones in areas of high transmission including severely-affected cities such as Gueckedou in Guinea, Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone and Foya in Liberia.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bárdarbunga (Iceland): Intense earthquake activity continues, but there is no signs of magma reaching the surface, i.e. a new eruption of the volcano yet. So far, 164 quakes of magnitudes 1.2-2.8 have been detected today and tremor remains elevated. The quakes cluster in an area at the NE part of the volcanic system. This is where a new intrusion is likely occurring at the moment, but it is uncertain if it will result in an eruption.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The eruption continues with no significant change, but lava effusion seems to have increased. Several secondary active branches formed on the upper part of the new lava flow field and are visible on webcam images.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

Reports that at least 250 people have been injured in the earthquakes in Iran. The earthquake was felt as far away as Kuwait.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.7 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Mid-Indian ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Samoa Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.