Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Babuyan Islands in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

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

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit the Carlsberg ridge.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

The mellow 2014 Atlantic hurricane season ends Today (Nov. 30), marking another year without major hurricanes hitting the Eastern United States.

Tropical storm 21w (Sinlaku), located approximately 138 nm south-southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, and is tracking west-northwestward at 14 knots.

Disease

WHO reports sudden spike in Ebola death toll

The World Health Organization said that almost 7,000 people have died of Ebola in west Africa, adding a further 1,200 to a toll from two days earlier.

Of the 16,169 people who contracted the disease, 6,928 died in the three countries most affected by the outbreak: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the WHO said.

The sudden increase in number of deaths, mostly in Liberia, were because of a “a reconciliation of historical numbers” and not to new deaths in recent days, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

Given the difficulty in collecting figures, the agency has previously said it believes there have been far more deaths than those registered.

The virus, which hit Liberia the hardest, is said to have been slowing down, according to observer.

Nonetheless, Liberia accounts for the lion’s share of the new deaths tallied, now standing at 4,181 out of 7,244 cases. Sierra Leone, which according to the WHO is still seeing a rapid spread of Ebola in many parts of the country, now counts 1,461 deaths out of 6,802 cases, up from 1,398 deaths and 6,599 cases on November 26.

Guinea, where the outbreak began nearly a year ago, meanwhile counted 1,284 deaths out of 2,123 cases, up from 1,260 deaths and 2,134 cases two days earlier.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bardarbunga (Iceland):  As the lava field continues to expand, new branches of red hot rivers reach its edge and cascade down on the sandy plain below in a spectacular ‘water’fall of glowing lava. Scientists report that by now the Holuhraun lava field covers almost 75 square kilometres which represents an area bigger than the Reykjavik metropolitan area. The intensity of the eruption declined so that the present amount of emitted lava is only a quarter of what it was at the eruption’s most intense phase. But according to Ármann Höskuldsson, volcanologist at the University of Iceland Earth Science Institute, there are no indications that the volcanic activity will stop anytime soon. He points out that it remains a very intense eruption despite the recent (temporarily?) weakening of its activity. Scientists observed fluctuations in the eruption plume last week due to sporadic emission of powerful lava jets. The lava flow discharge pulsated accordingly.

Nyamuragira (DRCongo): For the first time in 75 years, a new lava lake appeared on some of Africa’s most active stratovolcanoes: Mount Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The neighbouring volcanoes of Nyamugira and Nyiragongo are both part of the Virunga volcanic chain in the East African Rift, situated along DR Congo’s border with Rwanda. They are famous as two of the few volcanoes on Earth that have sustained lava lakes for several decades. The previous lava lake at Nyamuragira emptied in 1938 as its lava poured out of the summit and flowed more than 30 kilometres down to Lake Kivu. The new lava lake seems to have formed at the bottom of the 500 m deep crater that was left behind by this 1938 lava flood. Nyamuragira’s last eruption started in November 2011 and ended in March 2012 by the partial emptying of the magma chamber through the effusion of large lava flows. This eventually resulted in the collapse of the pit crater, an event after which the magma is likely forced to follow a new route higher up to the volcano’s summit. Such reconstruction of the volcano’s plumbing system with transport of magma higher in the volcano’s cone could trigger the formation of a lava lake. Nyamuragira’s past eruptions all seem to follow a typical eruptive cycle of lava being progressively emitted from the volcano’s base to its summit, ending in the formation of a lava lake.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits central Alaska.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Celebes Sea.

5.2 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm 21w (Sinlaku), located approximately 210 nm southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, and is tracking westward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

France – The flash flooding in France has now claimed the lives of three people and left two others missing. The fatalities are from Mediterranean towns of La Londe-les-Maures, Grimaud and Hyeres. Tornadoes in Serignan and Nissan-les-Enserune in the Herault department injured ten people.

China – Another landslide in southwest China’s Yunnan Province has claimed the lives of six people. A separate landslide blocked a 110-meter-long section of railroad of the Nanning-Guangzhou Railway.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Fogo (Cape Verde): Activity, after having slowed down a bit yesterday, picked up again this morning, as a new vent opened above the eruption fissure. Lava fountaining and associated lava effusion mainly occur from the lower vent, while the upper one shows strombolian explosions, strong degassing and ash emissions. As typical for flank eruptions, eruptive activity has by now concentrated to and continues from two vents (as compared to 6 active ones on the first day).

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): A moderately strong ash emission occurred this morning. A plume at 20,000 ft (6 km) drifted east. Weaker ash venting continued afterwards. (Tokyo VAAC).

Aso (Kyushu): Activity at the volcano picked up and went through an intense phase of strong, continuous ash emissions Wednesday. An ash plume rose to approx. 3 km altitude, according to Tokyo VAAC.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Andaman Islands off India.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Panama-Colombia border region.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical storm 21w (Sinlaku), located approximately 537 nm east of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and is tracking west-northwestward at 15 knots.

NewsBytes:

Philippines – 6,933 people have been affected and displaced by Tropical Depression Queenie (Chebi). More than 30 evacuation centres have been opened for them. Public storm warning signal 1 has been issued in Palawan, including the Calamian group of Islands, Cuyo Islands and Southern Negros, Guimaras Island, LLoiLo and Antique. Winds of 30-60 kph are expected for at least 36 hours in these regions.

Gaza – The United Nations has declared a state of emergency in the Gaza Strip after two days of heavy rains and flooding in the war-battered enclave. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) declared the state of emergency in Gaza City on Thursday, after torrential rain overwhelmed some areas and caused flooding.

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Queensland, Australia – Brisbane residents will wake up to a huge clean-up effort this morning after the city was walloped by an extreme hail storm described by Premier Campbell Newman “the worst in a decade”. The army has been called in to help mop up after golf ball-sized hailstones catapulted by destructive winds up to 141km/h slammed into high rise buildings and vehicles in the CBD and surrounding suburbs leaving a trail of destruction yesterday afternoon. At least four light planes were flipped in severe winds at Archerfield Airport causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says all available emergency personnel have been mobilised to help with the clean-up.

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France – A woman has died and three other people are missing after a heavy storm triggered flash flooding in southeastern France.

Environment

Canadian Lakes ‘Jellified’ by Acid Rain

Decades of acid rain that have made many Canadian freshwater lakes more acidic have also profoundly altered the ecological balance and turned some lake bottoms to jelly.

Even though pollution controls have long since diminished the amount of acid rain, some affected lakes have not recovered from the pollution and have become home to expanding populations of a tiny, slimy crustacean called the Holopedium.

The invertebrate is surrounded by a bulbous coating of jelly.

Swimmers in affected lakes often emerge from the water with the caviar-like balls clinging to their arms and backs.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers document that decades of acid rain have flushed away much of the calcium in the lakes, which Holopedium’s biggest competitor, the Daphnia water flea, needs to create an exoskeleton.

With the formerly dominant Daphnia now deprived of enough calcium to bulk up, and gradually disappearing, Holopedium has been able to reproduce unchecked since it needs far less calcium to make its gooey shell.

This competitive edge is creating a jellied mess that threatens to clog water intake systems in the lakes for residential and commercial use.

Top: Microphotograph of the Holopedium. Bottom: Researcher holds a handfull of the small invertebrates, which have slimed some Canadian lakes.

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Disease

Ebola Outbreak, West Africa – Update

Sierra Leone has appealed to the United States on Wednesday to send military aid to help it battle Ebola as it falls behind its West African neighbours Guinea and Liberia in the fight against the virus.

The worst recorded Ebola outbreak has killed at least 5,689 people, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, as the virus has overwhelmed African countries with weak infrastructure and healthcare systems.

While the outbreak appears to be coming under control in Liberia, thanks partly to a health operation run by U.S. troops, infection rates have accelerated in Sierra Leone.

The rate of transmission is also beginning to slow in neighbouring Guinea, the first country to report an Ebola case, although case numbers are rising in Mali.

Jaundice Outbreak in India

An outbreak of jaundice in Saraspur has left 199 people affected in the last three weeks. There were nine new cases on Thursday across 24 chawl clusters in the area. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) health officials were yet to confirm four additional jaundice cases.

“The jaundice strain is hepatitis E, which is not lethal among all those who are affected,” says a senior AMC health official.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) at Oodnadatta, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 49.3 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Siberian weather station in Agata.

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.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

No tsunami is expected from this earthquake – NWS Pacific Warning Centre.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the northern east Pacific rise.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

Three further 5.0 Earthquakes hit the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – A heavy rain storm flooded large parts of Sao Paulo Tuesday just as evening commuters were leaving work causing travel headaches and traffic jams several miles long. The city of Sao Paulo and the surrounding region is in the midst of the worst drought it has have faced in 80 years. Government agencies said the rain brought some relief, but despite the problems it was causing, it would not be enough to impact stressed reservoirs that collectively sit at about 16% of capacity. The wet season in this part of Brazil usually occurs between November and January and the forecast is for more rain in the coming days. However, the national weather service has said it will not be enough to replenish the areas reservoirs and reverse the drought.

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Disease

Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak in China

China’s Jiangsu Province has reported a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Animals showing signs of the disease were first found on a farm in Dongtai township on Nov. 18. It was confirmed Tuesday by the National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory that the animals had the O-type strain of the disease.

After authorities were alerted to the outbreak, the affected zone was sealed off and the affected pigs were culled and incinerated.

The ministry said that at the current time, the outbreak was under control.