Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.3 earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.4 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Maule, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.0 earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Iran – Update – Two weeks since the storms started, relentless rain and flooding throughout Iran has left some 2 million people facing a humanitarian crisis. The deluge has swamped large swaths of the country, from the mountains in the north down to the Persian gulf in the south. Twenty-five out of 31 of Iran’s provinces have been affected. Officials say say 76 people have been killed so far, with some 150,000 homes partially or completely destroyed. Bridges across the country and miles upon miles of road have been left unusable. The country’s agriculture sector, which makes up about 14 percent of Iran’s GDP, has been devastated.

Space Events

Lyrid Meteor Shower

The Lyrid meteor shower marks the first significant meteor shower in more than three months. It will be visible from Sunday evening, 21 April, and will peak between 2:00 and 3:00 on Tuesday, 23 April. Lyrids meteor streams are groups of meteoroids originating from dust grains ejected from Comet Thatcher, The meteoroids (small dust grains) are distributed around the comet’s orbit. We get to see the meteors every time Earth passes through that stream of dust particles, or the debris left behind by the comet. These pieces enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up, creating the meteor shower, or shooting stars, as we often refer to them. The Lyrid meteor shower is known for its bright fireballs.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Reunion – Update

According to the Regional Health Agency- Indian Ocean, more than 1,000 dengue fever cases were reported in Reunion the week ending Apr.7. This brings the outbreak total on the island to more than 6,000. The southern part of the island is very active.

Pakistan – Brain-Eating Amoeba

Officials with the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi, Pakistan is reporting the death of a 21-year old student from the Orangi Town area due to the “brain-eating amoeba”, Naegleria fowleri. The patient presented with a high-grade fever and other complaints. Upon suspicion of meningitis, he was transferred to the hospital ICU and died.

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Cholera – Yemen – Update

Yemen Yemeni health officials reported an additional 27,840 suspected cases of cholera with 48 associated deaths during the week ending April 14. Eighteen percent of these are considered severe cases.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Canada – Authorities remain on high alert for flooding across southern Quebec as waters continue to rise with military on the way to assist in evacuations. A least one death can be attributed to the flooding thus far. A woman was killed early Saturday morning in Pontiac, Que., about 50 kilometres west of Ottawa, when she drove into a massive hole created after floodwaters washed out a road.

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Global Warming

Earth Day 2019: 10 amazing places where travelers can see a changing climate

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – El Nino, a cyclical pattern of Pacific storms caused by warm water, has become stronger in recent years, researchers say. And that has affected the famed Ecuadorian islands known for bird, reptile and sea life. The El Nino years can be more intense. The change has even affected finches, which have evolved in just a few years to adapt to the changing environment.

Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan – The lowest place on earth is shrinking, Gunter says. In the last 40 years, the famed salt-laden sea has diminished by a third and dropped 80 feet. Much of the change is due to increased use of water for irrigation from the Jordan River. That’s the key component.

Venice, Italy – Flooding has long plagued the famed canal city, but it has intensified in recent years, with some areas regularly inundated at peak high tides. It’s a regular event, it’s not just something hypothetical that we’re anticipating. The city is developing plans to build flood walls and other barriers to keep the sea at bay.

Fairbanks, Alaska – A drunken forest may sound like something out of a “Harry Potter” book, but it’s actually a change caused by rising temperatures. As permafrost, the layer of permanently frozen ground, disappears in Alaska, trees begin to tilt. There are forests that are leaning like a hurricane blew them. They look like they’ve had too much to drink.

Antarctic Peninsula – When climate changes, not all species react the same. On the southern continent, gentoo penguins are thriving because they build pebble nests on shorelines newly exposed by melting ice. Alternatively, Adélie penguins are having trouble because they fish from floating sea ice, which is less plentiful. There are winners and losers.

Greensburg, Kansas – Although not well-known, this south-central Kansas town is an environmental survivor, Gunter says. It was nearly destroyed by a tornado in 2007, but has since rebuilt as one of the most eco-conscious places in the world. It was the first U.S. city to fully adopt LED street lights, and it gets 100% of its power from renewable energy. It also has the most buildings per capita built to LEED standards. It’s rebuilt itself stronger than before.

Acadia National Park, Maine – Scientists last year collected data in the popular Atlantic Coast park. In the future, the area’s lobster population is predicted to migrate north to seek cooler waters, as will the whales that pass by offshore. You’re seeing a shift in the types of species that exist there.

The Alps – Europe’s famous mountain range still looms over the continent, but warming temperatures are taking their toll. Not only are its glaciers receding, but its plant life is changing as lowland species gain a foothold. The Alps sit lower in elevation than the Rocky Mountains, so they’re more susceptible.

Florida Keys – Coral reefs face pressure due to warming water and a shift in the chemical composition of oceans that has bleached out color. “There’s more carbon in the water,” Gunter explains. “Some corals are more resilient than others. You’ll see parts of a reef that look really good. But in others, change is noticeable.

Glacier National Park, Montana – The glaciers that give the park its name have been in retreat for many years, peaking in the 19th century at the end of a period called the Little Ice Age. Since then the number of glaciers in the park has dropped from about 150 to several dozen today. It’s striking.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Massive steppe wildfires, propelled by strong winds, have destroyed more than a hundred houses in the Siberian region of Trans-Baikal, leaving hundreds of local residents homeless. More than 400 people were affected by the wildfires that got out of control in the remote Russian region on the Mongolian border. At least, 111 houses in 15 villages were lost in the disaster, the governor’s office said. The people evacuated in time and there have been no fatalities related to the fires.

Wildfires – Mexico

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An image from NASA Earth Observatory shows a large wildfire burning in a forest located west of Cienega de Escobar in Durango, Mexico. According to news reports, the fire is one of 95 wildfires burning in 18 Mexican states.

Wildfires – Scotland

A series of wildfires took hold on the north side of the Isle of Bute. The fire service said a large area of moorland and forestry were affected.

Disease

Chikungunya – Republic of the Congo

Reports from the Republic of the Congo show that the chikungunya epidemic that began Jan. 7 has grown to 8,000 cases. The outbreak has affected eight departments ( Kouilou, Bouenza, Pointe Noire, Plateaux, Pool and Brazaville, Niari, Lékoumu).

Measles – Ukraine – Update

With an additional 2,279 people infected with measles during the week ending April 13, the outbreak in Ukraine now stands at 39,549 including 14 fatalities, according to the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. Fifty-four percent of cases have been reported in children.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.3 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits south of Lombok, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

5.0 earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

Wildlife

Botswana Considers Culling Elephants

People living on the outskirts of Botswana’s game parks are anxiously waiting to see if the government is going to do anything to stop roaming wildlife from killing villagers and eating and destroying their crops.

The government is in the process of debating whether to cull elephants, revoke the 2014 ban on hunting or try to keep the wildlife off villagers’ land.

Communities living on the outskirts of fence-less, state-owned parks and forest reserves say their lives are proof that wild animals cannot coexist harmoniously with human beings.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi appears to be sympathetic to the plight of these communities who are attacked and killed by wild animals and whose crops are eaten and destroyed.

Culling and hunting options have sparked widespread opposition and criticism from animal rights groups and conservationists.

In what appears to be a political crusade to justify culling and hunting as options, the Botswana government has said:

– 25 people have been killed by elephants between 2009 and this year so far;

– Botswana has an elephant population of 130 000 against its carrying capacity of 54 000;

– More than 70% of the elephant population lived outside their designated areas.

Global Warming

Melting Glaciers bring threat of Flash Floods

The Himalaya, the breathtaking consequence of the battle between two tectonic plates, is home to spectacular mountains and a family of glaciers whose waters sustain 1.65 billion people across the region. The thawing of these glaciers leaves behind a myriad of lakes, some of which can suddenly burst their banks and flood downstream.

A satellite-based assessment of 1,291 glacial lakes in the Tibetan Plateau and along the main Himalaya range found that 16 percent of them potentially threaten human settlements. Since 1935, around 40 glacial lake outburst flood disasters have taken place across the Tibetan Plateau.

Environment

Cool Roofs

A new study finds that making rooftops a light-reflective colour can reduce heat-related deaths and cool peak daytime temperatures by more than 3 degrees Celsius during heat waves.

Cities store more heat than the surrounding countryside due to the urban heat island effect. This makes cities more susceptible to the increasing number and intensity of heat waves under global warming.

New modelling by the University of Oxford found that introducing cool roofs across a city could prevent about a quarter of heat wave-related deaths and cut the need for air conditioning.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Canada – Municipalities across southern Quebec are preparing for spring flooding that could be particularly bad, and warning residents to do the same. With heavy rain in the forecast, Laval has already declared a state of emergency, and Rigaud, about an hour from Montreal, has told residents to leave their homes ahead of possible weekend flooding, which could be worse than the 2017 deluge.