Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Africa.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone 10p (Ola), forms approximately 354 nm northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia, and is tracking southeastward at 04 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 09s (Eunice), forms in the southern Indian Ocean, is located approximately 710 nm east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius and is tracking south-southeastward at 09 knots.

NewsBytes:

China – A coal mine flooding in east China’s Anhui Province has claimed the lives of seven people. Thirty four miners were working underground when flooding happened. Twenty-seven miners managed to escape while seven others were trapped, according to the Huaibei Mining (Group) Co. Ltd., the owner of the coal mine.

Borneo – Heavy rainfall starting and strong winds caused flash floods in the city centre of Miri slowing traffic and flooding buildings.

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Wildlife

Tanzanian Villagers Fear Lion ‘Revenge’

The killing of six lions near northern Tanzania’s Olasiti village has residents living in fear of “revenge” attacks by the predators. Six lions were killed by Tanzanian villagers who say they lost livestock to the protected predators.

The Arusha Times reports the lions were killed by young warriors “proving their manhood,” while also eliminating the threat of future attacks on the village’s livestock.

People now venturing outside their homes are staying in groups, armed with traditional weapons such as sticks, machetes and spears.

Five of the warriors who were injured while slaughtering the lions later fled into the bush out of fear of being arrested once they were treated for their wounds.

Villagers complained to the daily that the government doesn’t react when humans or livestock are killed by wild animals, but said it does respond quickly and decisively when any wildlife is killed.

A resident of Olasiti, Saning’o Ole Nigi, said that communities surrounding wildlife areas have always been guardians of the animals by preventing poaching. However, it does not seem that the villagers took any steps to protect their livestock from the predators – choosing rather to kill the lions.

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Drought

Taps May Soon Run Dry in Drought-Plagued Brazil

Brazil’s worst drought in 80 years is causing an acute water shortage in the country’s three most highly populated states.

The company that provides São Paulo’s water warned that taps could run dry except for just two days a week if the level of the main reservoir continues to drop.

“If the rains insist on not falling, we’ll have to start rationing in a very burdensome way to save the water we need (and) to keep the dam levels from continuing to drop the way they are,” said the firm’s director, Paulo Massato.

The Cantareira reservoir, which serves Brazil’s largest city, has dwindled to about 5 percent of storage capacity following two consecutive dry years.

In an odd twist of fate, lightning from severe thunderstorms on Jan. 23 knocked out two pumping stations, halting delivery of what little water remains available to São Paulo.

A view of what’s left of southeastern Brazil’s Rio Jacarei following two consecutive years of drought.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Several homes have been destroyed by a bushfire south of Perth after strong easterly winds pushed the blaze into Waroona town.

The fire was sparked by lightning and began in the steep terrain of the Darling range to the town’s east.

About 325 hectares have been burnt by the fire, which remains out of control and unpredictable.

Disease

Norway reports 1st case of ‘mad cow disease’

For the first time, Norway has reported a case of Bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE) in a cow on a Nord-Trøndelag county farm. Dre Kristina Landsverk, Chief Veterinary Officer, Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Brumunddal, Norway notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Thursday.

The farm is a beef cattle farm with a herd of 27 Scottish Highland cattle, according to the report. The affected cow’s carcass has been completely destroyed.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bardarbunga (Central Iceland): A small earthquake swarm at 1 km below the eastern rim of the Bardarbunga caldera occurred yesterday evening at 21:22 local time, accompanied by a rise in tremor. John Friman who closely follows the events in Iceland suspects on his blog that a minor subglacial eruption could have taken place. If so, a meltwater flood should be expected in the course of the day.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): The volcano’s activity today consisted of continuing mild to moderate strombolian activity. Probably the lava flow on its upper flank is still active, but seems to have decreased. Frequent incandescent avalanches occurred, accompanied by mild ash emissions. VAAC Tokyo issued a warning about a possible ash plume rising to 34,000 ft (10 km) altitude at 02:57 UTC, although it stated that no ash was visible on satellite imagery, and no such plume is visible on webcam imagery, only a rather diluted ash plume at much lower altitude.i

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 09s (Eunice), forms in the southern Indian Ocean, is located approximately 608 nm east-northeast of port Louis, Mauritius and is tracking south-southeastward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Fiji – Parts of Labasa experienced flash flooding yesterday as heavy rain pelted parts of the Northern Division.

Malawi Update – Malawian floods have killed at least 79 people, forced over 170,000 from their homes and cost about 160,000 people their livelihoods. A state of emergency has been declared in 15 of Malawi’s 28 districts, and 63,000 hectares of land are under water.

Wildlife

England’s First Wild Beavers in Centuries Can Stay

England’s first beavers to live in the wild for more than 400 years will not be evicted from a Devon river and taken to a zoo, thanks to the efforts of locals, tourists and wildlife campaigners.

But Natural England says that the approximately nine beavers living in the River Otter must be proven to be of Eurasian origin and free of disease.

The nongovernmental public body also licensed the Devon Wildlife Trust to conduct a five-year study on the returning beavers’ impact on the environment.

Results of the study could eventually lead to the reintroduction of the toothy dam builders in other waterways across England.

Beavers were hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

But last January, night-vision footage revealed that a few had set up home along the river.

Plans to remove them prompted a public outcry. If the small group of wild beavers being studied in the River Otter doesn’t pose environmental risks, the animals could later be reintroduced elsewhere in England.

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Rare Red Fox Reappears in Yosemite Park

The elusive and rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in nearly a century, park officials said yesterday.

Camera traps caught the sleek animal in a remote northern corner of the park on Dec. 13, 2014, and again on Jan. 4 of this year.

here hasn’t been a verified sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox inside Yosemite National Park since 1916, said Ben Sacks, director of the University of California, Davis Veterinary School’s Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit. That year, two animals were killed in Yosemite’s Big Meadows, northeast of El Portal, for the University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Until recently, only a handful of Sierra Nevada red foxes were thought to still exist in the wild, in a remnant population near Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeastern California. The subspecies, which is genetically distinct from other red foxes, once ranged more widely, across the snowy high mountains from Oregon to California.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112.1 degrees Fahrenheit (44.5 degrees Celsius) at Nyang, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 64.3 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.5 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Siberian community of Verkhoyansk.

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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Two bushfires across Western Australia are continuing to test the mettle of the state’s firefighters and volunteers.

Bushland is burning in Waroona in Perth’s south. Twenty volunteer firefighters are pitched against the blaze near Lyons road in Waroona. It is moving north at 300 metres an hour. While the fire is moving away from the township and not threatening homes, some roads are closed in the area and drivers have been advised to avoid the area or reduce speed and drive carefully.

In the state’s northwest a deliberately lit fire at a rubbish tip in Gap Ridge, near Karratha, was burning out of control overnight. Thirty Fire and Rescue volunteers were on the scene between Exploration Drive and Madigan Road fighting the outbreak that was slowly moving east. There is no threat to homes or lives overnight but residents are advised to stay alert, keep headlights on and be careful when driving through the area.

Meanwhile firefighters north of Perth continue to mop up a blaze which has burned more than 1300 hectares in the Pinjar pine plantation in the city of Wanneroo.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kilauea (Hawai’i): The June 27th lava flow remains active, but its advance is slow. The leading edge is currently stalled roughly 500 meters from Highway 130 at Pahoa. Breakouts remain active a short distance upslope of the leading tip of the flow, and continue to slowly widen the flow.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (Tonga, Tonga Islands): (29 Jan) An exceptional satellite image taken by the European Pléiades satellite from 19 January shows the new island that formed during the eruption near Hunga Ha’apai island (left in images) earlier this month and joined it by forming a new peninsula, composed of a broad, flat ash cone with a water-filled crater. The image also shows that activity seems to have already stopped by 19 Jan when the image was taken. Most likely, the new land addition will be eroded within months, because it seems mainly to be composed of loose materials, as opposed to more resistant solid lava flows.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits offshore northern California.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the west coast of South Island, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits west of the Galapagos Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.0 Earthquake hits Crete.