Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kyushu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits east of the Kuril Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the North Atlantic: Invest 99L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Eastern Pacific: Invest 90E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 91E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.


Pennsylvania, USA – Strong storms hit pockets of western and central Pennsylvania early Friday, bringing up to 7 inches of rain, turning roads into rivers, damaging homes in communities as far as 150 miles apart and killing one person. Flash floods swept away at least two homes in Sullivan County, west of Scranton. Hundreds more were damaged in Centre County, home to Penn State’s main campus.


Thousands of ‘Scrotum Frogs’ Dying Off in South America

More than 10,000 endangered frogs and other water-dwelling animals living near a lake in South America were found mysteriously dead this month, according to reports from Peru’s wildlife and forestry service Serfor, leaving many people to wonder what could have caused this bizarre die-off.

The Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius culeus), also known as the “scrotum frog” for its loose skin, is one of the most critically endangered frogs in the world. The large, entirely aquatic frog adapted to the high altitudes of Lake Titicaca, which flows along the border between Bolivia and Peru, by taking in oxygen through its skin folds. This evolutionary adaptation also makes the frog highly sensitive to changes in its habitat, such as environmental contamination, according to Tom Weaver, curator of reptiles and fish at the Denver Zoo.

Researchers are currently investigating the latest massive die-off, which they think may have been caused by some sort of contamination. In 2014, an algae bloom that removed oxygen from the water, killed a number of frogs and fish, Weaver said.

Lake titicaca frog

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the North Atlantic:

Invest 99L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 90E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific:

Super Typhoon 25w (Haima), located approximately 77 nm northeast of Hong Kong, is tracking north-northwestward at 13 knots.


China – Typhoon Haima barreled into southern China on Friday after hammering the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain, triggering flooding, landslides and power outages and killing at least 13 people. Chinese meteorological services said the typhoon made landfall shortly after noon in the city of Shanwei in Guangdong province, packing winds of up to 166 kilometers (103 miles) per hour before weakening to a tropical storm. No major damage was immediately reported, though reports said some villages had experienced power outages and officials were on alert for heavy flooding and landslides. China had suspended dozens of flights and rail services in several southern provinces. In the city of Shenzhen, authorities ordered schools, markets and factories to close, halted public transportation and evacuated some areas.

Hong Kong – Hong Kong hunkered down as Haima lashed the financial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 109 kph (68 mph). Schools and offices were shut, trading on the stock market suspended and commuter ferry services halted after the third most serious storm signal was hoisted, leaving an eerie calm in the streets of the normally bustling city. More than 740 flights to and from the city’s international airport were canceled or delayed. By early afternoon, the storm was about 110 kilometers (70 miles) east of the city and moving away.

La Niña Reborn

Some worldwide weather agencies have shifted predictions toward a developing La Niña in the Pacific this Northern Hemisphere autumn, only a month after writing the obituary for the ocean-cooling phenomenon.

The U.S. agency NOAA now says there is a 70 percent chance of a weak La Niña. The World Meteorological Organization gives it a 50 to 60 percent probability of forming by the end of the year and persisting through the first three months of 2017.

While La Niña appeared to be developing a few months ago as the tropical Pacific began to cool, the surface winds above it failed to develop the distinct east-to-west circulation associated with the phenomenon until late September.


Study finds Brazil isn’t counting all deforestation in official estimates

Brazil drew widespread praise for drastically lowering Amazon deforestation over the past decade and half. But as forest destruction in the country is on the rise once again, new research finds that Brazil’s official estimates are missing large swaths of deforestation.

News broke last November that deforestation had jumped 16 percent in the Brazilian Amazon for the year ending on July 31, 2015, with an estimated 5,831 square kilometres (about 2,250 square miles) of rainforest, an area half the size of Los Angeles, destroyed that year.

The Brazilian government revised that figure earlier this month, however, stating that some 6,207 square kilometres (about 2,397 square miles) of Amazon rainforest were actually destroyed in the year that ended on July 31, 2015. Though this represents a six percent increase over the previous estimate and the highest annual loss in the Brazilian Amazon since 2011, it is still well below historical levels of deforestation.

Now a new study published in the journal Conservation Letters finds that, between 2008 and 2012, close to 9,000 square kilometres (about 3,475 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared without being detected by the government’s official monitoring system.

Brazil’s Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Satellite Project (known as PRODES) has played a key role in Brazil’s recent efforts to rein in deforestation. According to PRODES, 25,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest were lost to deforestation in 2003. That dropped to an average of just 5,300 square miles between 2009 to 2013.

But when researchers with Brown University compared data from PRODES with two independent satellite measures of forest loss — from the Global Forest Change project and the Fire Information for Resource Management Systems — they found that about 9,000 square kilometres of rainforest destruction, an area roughly the size of Puerto Rico, were not included in the PRODES monitoring.

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As Arctic Sea Ice Keeps Melting, Desperate Bears Threaten Alaska

Alaskan villages are seeing an increased presence of polar bears in their communities, according to a Monday report from PBS NewsHour, as the animals move inland to try and find food. The bears have been forced from their former hunting grounds as Arctic sea ice — which reached the second lowest recorded level over the weekend — has receded. Now, instead of finding their dinner in Arctic waters, the bears are poking around the ice boxes of Alaskans.

The altered behavior of the polar bears in Alaska, which are classified as a “vulnerable” species, illustrates the danger of melting Arctic ice for wildlife and communities in the region. Arctic sea ice, which researchers say could be gone sometime between two and 15 years from now, plays an important role in providing a habitat for polar bears and also in reflecting sunlight out of the atmosphere instead of allowing darker ocean water to absorb that heat.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was again 111.0 degrees Fahrenheit (43.9 degrees Celsius) in Caxias, Brazil.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 87.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.1 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

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.


Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis have reached a record high levels in USA

Total combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis reported in 2015 reached the highest number ever, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released today by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There were more than 1.5 million chlamydia cases reported (1,526,658), nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhoea (395,216), and nearly 24,000 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis (23,872) – the most infectious stages of the disease. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are the three most commonly reported conditions in the nation and have reached a record high level.

In recent years more than half of state and local STD programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in more than 20 health department STD clinic closures in one year alone. Fewer clinics mean reduced access to STD testing and treatment for those who need these services.

Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are curable with antibiotics. Widespread access to screening and treatment would reduce their spread. Most STD cases continue to go undiagnosed and untreated, putting individuals at risk for severe and often irreversible health consequences, including infertility, chronic pain and increased risk for HIV. STDs also impose a substantial economic burden: CDC estimates STD cases cost the U.S. healthcare system nearly $16 billion each year.

Young people and gay and bisexual men continue to face the greatest risk of becoming infected with an STD, and there continue to be troubling increases in syphilis among newborns.

India still accounts for 60 percent of world’s leprosy cases

Despite achieving elimination of leprosy as a public health problem ten years ago (a prevalence of < 1 case per 10 000 population), India still reports the highest number of leprosy cases on the globe by a long shot.

In 2015, there was more than 210,000 new leprosy cases reported worldwide and India accounted for some 60 percent of the global case count (127,326). The next closest country was Brazil with just over 26,000 cases.

In fact, India has recorded greater than 125,000 new cases annually since at least 2010.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says high numbers of new cases are detected in pockets of endemicity in India.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The activity of the volcano has increased considerably since about a week ago and is now again at moderate to high levels, similar sometimes to many periods prior to the 2014 effusive eruption. Several vents are active in the eastern, central and western crater, the most active one being the eastern vent (towards Stromboli village). When observed during the past days, we saw strombolian explosions at intervals of 15-20 minutes average, some ejecting incandescent bombs to more than 200-250 m height.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Volcano Islands off Japan.

5.4 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Pakistan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific:

Invest 90E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 99E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

In the Western Pacific:

Super Typhoon 25w (Haima), located approximately 325 nm southeast of Hong Kong, is tracking west-northwestward at 15 knots.


Philippines – Super Typhoon Haima weakened and blew out to sea Thursday after smashing the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain overnight. Flooding, landslides and power outages were evident, but large casualties appeared to have been averted after nearly 100,000 people fled to safer ground. Haima’s blinding winds and rain had rekindled fears of the catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, but there were no immediate reports of any major damage. Several villages are cut off by fallen trees, landslides and floods. At least seven people were killed in the storm. Haima, with sustained winds of 225 kilometres (140 miles) per hour, hit northeastern Cagayan province late Wednesday then barrelled northwestward before blowing out into the South China Sea with sustained winds of 150 kilometres (93 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 185 kph (115 mph), according to forecasters. Although weakening, the typhoon was expected to blow toward China, Filipino forecasters said.


Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease at USA Universities

Hand, foot, and mouth disease has hit the University of Illinois campus. College officials revealed more than 60 cases of the highly contagious rash have afflicted students since the fall semester began. The latest health scare on the Illinois campus came on the heels of a massive mumps outbreak earlier this semester.

Florida State University and a handful of other college campuses scattered about the United States have also been battling cases of the skin rash since the school year began.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease hit rural southern Ohio hard in late July. Children seemed to contract and spread the skin rash when visiting county fairs and street festivals, which occurred back-to-back in Vinton, Athens, Ross, and Jackson Counties. The rash peaked by early August but has now surfaced again in the same region.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) | 32.884°N, 131.104°E | Elevation 1592 m

JMA reported that no further explosions were detected after the 7-8 October eruption at Asosan’s Nakadake Crater; white plumes rose as high as 400 m above the crater rim during 11-17 October. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Bulusan | Luzon (Philippines) | 12.77°N, 124.05°E | Elevation 1565 m

PHIVOLCS reported that during 12-16 October the seismic network at Bulusan recorded 2-6 volcanic earthquakes per day. During 12-13 October steam plumes rose as high as 500 m above the active vents and drifted SE and SSE. The network recorded 24 volcanic earthquakes from 16 to 17 October. At 0736 on 17 October a 24-minute-long phreatic explosion at the SE vent generated an ash plume that rose 1 km.

PHIVOLCS noted that while the SE vents are within the 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) they are part of a fissure that extends 2 km down the upper S flank. Eruptions from this area pose a greater risk to the populated barangays of Mapaso and Patag in Irosin, and San Roque in Bulusan. In response the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) was increased and as of 18 October stretched an additional 2 km past the PDZ. The Alert Level remained at 1, indicating abnormal conditions and a 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Colima | Mexico | 19.514°N, 103.62°W | Elevation 3850 m

Based on webcam and satellite images, and information from Colima Towers, the Washington VAAC reported that ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 5.2-7 km (17,000-23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 35-215 km W, NW, N, and NE during 11-18 October.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) | 54.049°N, 159.443°E | Elevation 1513 m

Based on satellite image analysis, KVERT reported that during 7-8 October gas, steam, and ash plumes rose from Karymsky and drifted 390 km E and SE. A weak thermal anomaly was detected over the volcano on 7 and 12 October. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange. Ulawun | New Britian (Papua New Guinea) | 5.05°S, 151.33°E | Elevation 2334 m

RVO reported that during 1 September-15 October white vapor plumes with varying densities rose from Ulawun, although on 12 October pale gray ash plumes rose from the vent. A report from officers at Hargy Palm Oil dated 13 October stated that a “minor eruption” had occurred after 1800 on 12 October, and that there were a few low noises from the volcano and nighttime glow during 12-13 October. RVO noted that the seismic record did not indicate an eruption.

Seismicity was at a low to moderate level, dominated by small low-frequency volcanic earthquakes. RSAM values increased and by mid-October were at the highest values (peak of 200) so far in 2016. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 16-17 October ash plumes rose to an altitude of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW and W.

Yasur | Vanuatu | 19.53°S, 169.442°E | Elevation 361 m

On 15 October the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory stated that the Alert Level for Yasur was raised to 3 (on a scale of 0-4), noting that explosions could become more intense. The Alert Level was lowered back to 2 on 18 October. VGO reminded residents and tourists that hazardous areas were near and around the volcanic crater, within a 600-m-radius permanent exclusion zone, and that volcanic ash and gas could reach areas impacted by trade winds.