Environment

Greenland and Antarctica have lost four trillion tonnes of ice in 20 years.

A new, definitive study of satellite data has found that polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than they did in the 1990s.

The amount of ice lost from Greenland and Antarctica is enough to raise world sea levels by almost one millimetre a year. Since 1992, it has added more than 1cm to global sea levels – contributing around a fifth of the total rise. About two thirds of the ice loss was from Greenland and the remainder from Antarctica, said scientists.

 

melting ice

 

The new survey is said to be the most accurate assessment to date, ending 20 years of uncertainty. It confirms that, with the exception of East Antarctica, both land masses are losing ice. But big differences in the pace of change were seen at each pole.

The new research concludes that Antarctica is melting, but points to the smaller ice sheet in Greenland, which covers most of the island, as the bigger and more pressing issue. Its melt rate has grown from about 55 billion tons a year in the 1990s to almost 290 billion tons a year recently, according to the study.

The vast polar ice sheets lock up unimaginable amounts of water. The Antarctic ice sheet contains 30 million cubic kilometres of ice and holds around 90% of all the fresh water on the surface of the Earth.

If the whole Antarctic ice sheet melted, sea levels would rise by more than 60 metres. The Greenland ice sheet is much smaller, but would add seven metres to sea levels if it all melted away.

Volcanos

Guatemala is on alert as the Santiaguito volcano dumps plumes of smoke and ash over nearby communities, coating cars and houses in grey dust. Residents of nearby communities woke on Wednesday morning to find a thin layer of ash coating their cars, streets and homes. White columns of smoke reached up to 5km (3.1 miles) into the sky.

Storms and Floods

Tropical storm Bopha is forecast to strike the Philippines as a typhoon on 4 December. It is likely to make landfall over the Visayas or Mindanao.

Moscow, Russia is blanketed by a record-breaking snowfall. A large, early snowstorm raging in Moscow disrupted flights and created havoc on the roads on Thursday.

Renewed flooding of the Niger river threatens Niger’s capital Niamey and parts of the west of the country,

Landslide in Norte de Santander, Colombia

-Ten missing and 50 others are trapped in a huge landslide in the northeastern Colombian province of Norte de Santander.

-Heavy rainfall caused avalanche in the hamlet of Teorama.

-Search efforts are currently suspended due to poor visibility. The landslide disaster area can only be reached by air.

Flooding in Carrara, Italy

-Around 28 people evacuated due to flooding in the city of Carrara.

-The rail line between the cities of Pisa and Genoa, and the Aurelia highway near Carrara temporary closed.

-Heavy snowfall reported in Colle della Maddalena and Colle del Tenda passes in the mountains between Italy and France.

Flooding in Portland, Jamaica

-Three houses in Bybrook and one in Lamy destroyed by flooding in the parish of Portland.

Earthquakes

6.0 Earthquake hits near the northern coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.5 Earthquake hits near the coast of northern Peru.

5.4 and 5.0 Earthquakes hit Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Algeria.

5.0 Earthquake hits north-east of Taiwan.

4.9 Earthquake hits the Chile-Argentina border region.

Environment

The Great Lakes, the world’s biggest freshwater system, are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures, a trend that accelerated with this year’s almost snowless winter and scorching summer. Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages. The decline is causing heavy economic losses, with cargo freighters forced to lighten their loads, marinas too shallow for pleasure boats and weeds sprouting on exposed bottomlands, chasing away swimmers and sunbathers.

Great Lakes Levels

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Victoria in Australia has sweltered on its hottest november day in more than a century, with the heatwave triggering numerous small grass fires in the state. Mildura recorded a high of 45.4ºC at 3.18pm (AEDT) on Thursday, taking it over the record of 45ºC set in the city in November 1905.

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Sea levels are rising 60 percent faster than U.N. projections, threatening low-lying areas from Miami to the Maldives, a study submitted during the U.N. talks in Qatar on combating climate change said on Wednesday.

The study said sea levels had been rising by 3.2 mm (0.1 inch) a year according to satellite data, which was 60 percent faster than the 2mm annual rise projected by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over that period.

In the last century, seas rose by about 17 cm.

The latest best estimate for sea level rise was between 50 cm and a metre this century, possibly more if greenhouse gas emissions surged. Higher temperatures would melt more ice on land and expand the water in the oceans.

That would leave low-lying regions – from Pacific island states and Bangladesh to Tokyo and New York – facing a greater risk of storm surges, erosion and, in a worst case scenario, complete swamping by flood waters.

Volcanos

Russia’s Tolbachik volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula erupts explosively for first time in 36 years. Substantial ash plume rises to 33 000 feet.

Tolbachik fissure and cone

 

Indonesia’s Mount Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi erupted on Wednesday, spewing ash up to 3.5 kilometers to the sky.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storm Bopha continues to intensify in the western North Pacific Ocean as it heads toward Yap State. Storm warnings remain in effect for parts of the Federated States of Micronesia.

A tornado rolled off the sea and hit the port city of Taranto, Italy bringing down a chimney stack and damaging a warehouse and lighthouse at a steel factory, injuring at least 20 people.

One person was killed in a plane crash in the US state of Texas during a thunderstorm.

Heavy rains in Honduras

-Three killed as a result of the torrential rains in northern Honduras.

-Choloma River swept away two children in La Jutosa, Cortes province of Honduras. Another died in a landslide in Baracoa, Cortes.

-Heavy rains also caused flooding in Puerto Cortes and has blocked the road linking the town with San Pedro Sula, the largest city in northern Honduras.

Earthquakes

5.9 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.6 Earthquake hits northern Peru.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Tanimbar Islands region, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits Japan’s Bonin Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Environment

Decline in Amazon forest destruction.

Data released on Tuesday suggests destruction of Amazon rain forests has slowed to the lowest rate since monitoring began in 1988. The figures, based on Brazilian government data gathered by satellite imagery, mark the fourth straight year the overall deforestation levels have slowed.

But scientists warn, they must still confirm by follow-up research whether the reality on the ground matches what seems to be the case from the sky, especially as loggers and farmers clear smaller but more numerous patches of woodland in efforts to evade detection.

Three of the nine Amazonian states measured in the recent data actually showed increases in deforestation. Meanwhile, scientists and environmentalists warn that changes to Brazil’s environmental policies in recent years could soon begin reversing the progress.

Brazil deforestation

Volcanos

Global Volcano Activity:

The Tokyo VAAC reported that an eruption of Tolbachik, Kamchatka began at around 10:45 (GMT). An initial ash plume rose to a height of 10 KM; ash was seen in satellite images. On 28th November, the KVERT raised the Alert Level to ORANGE. The KVERT reported that lava flows and ash explosions have broken out from the northern part of the 1975 eruptive fissure. Heavy ash falls (4 cm thick) have been reported in Krasny Yar, 35 KM away from Klyuchi village to the west. One Russian report stated “volcano’s top caldera is being filled with fresh and gushing lava” suggesting explosive eruptions and fire fountains from the summit.

One newspaper reported an eruption from Lokon-Empung volcano. The eruption occurred at 10:05 (local time) sending an ash plume to a height of 3.5 KM a.s.l. Several ash plumes were also reported by the Darwin VAAC.

Paluweh volcano, Indonesia produced 2 ash plumes. The plume travelled 30 KM to the west.

5 explosions were detected from Fuego volcano, Guatemala producing weak, grey plumes to a height of 4.1 KM a.s.l. that drifted 5 KM southwest.

Santa Maria, Guatemala, is still effusing 4 lava flows from its Santiaguito lava dome complex. Avalanches produced ash plumes that rose to heights of 3 KM and drifted 10 KM SSW. Incandescence was seen at night.

Drought

Mississippi River barge traffic in the US is slowing as the worst drought in five decades combines with a seasonal dry period to push water levels to a near-record low, prompting shippers to seek alternatives. River vessels are cutting loads in an attempt to remain in business while they seek White House aid to keep the river open.

Storms and Floods

An atmospheric river,” a weather phenomenon which channels tropical moisture all the way across the Pacific Ocean like a ‘river of storms’ is heading for California, USA. Sometimes called a “pineapple express,” these storms are viewed by weather experts as California’s equivalent of a hurricane. Weather experts say Sacramento could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, and the mountains of the Northern Sierra Nevada and Shasta regions could be deluged with 12 to 18 inches of rainfall.

A brutal storm has left more than 50,000 homes in Perth and regional Western Australia without power, as emergency services scrambled to cope with widespread damage to schools, heritage buildings and homes across the state.

Flooding in Denbighshire, Wales

-One killed in flooding in St Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales.

-Around 500 people evacuated in the Welsh city of St Asaph after the river Elwy burst its banks.

-Several roads in Worcestershire, County Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland are closed.

-Some schools in Conwy and Denbighshire in Wales are also closed.

-Almost 500 flood warnings and alerts remain in place today in North East England and North Wales.

Snowstorm in Hokkaido, Japan

-Hokkaido snowstorm left about 37,000 houses without electricity.

-About 90 trains and 10 domestic flights were canceled due to the storm.

Earthquakes

5.5 Earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits the northern Mariana Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece – the largest in a cluster of small quakes over the past several days.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Andaman Islands off India.

5.0 Earthquake hits Panay in the Philippines.