Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.8 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.9 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.4 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.2 Earthquake hits Reykjanes ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Bismarck sea.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

El Niño?

Has there been an El Niño over the past few months or not? While some global weather patterns have been similar to what would be expected during an El Niño, the main characters of the phenomenon have not really set in.

This has baffled scientists since computer models had consistently predicted a major El Niño warming event would develop in 2014.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology says that temperatures across the Pacific have recently returned to a “neutral” level between what would be considered an El Niño and a La Niña.

But the Japan Meteorological Agency says the atmospheric jury is still out. It predicts there is a 50 percent chance that El Niño will re-emerge during the Northern Hemisphere summer.

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Global Warming

Stable Sun Not Responsible for Global Warming

New analysis of solar observations dating back to 1610 indicate that the sun is no more active now than in most other times, debunking claims that it is responsible for global warming.

While sunspots virtually disappeared during a period from 1645 to 1715 known as the Maunder minimum, there have also been times in the past 400 years when the sun has been as fired up as in recent decades, scientists point out.

“A proper estimate of the past and present activity of the sun, our main source of light and heat, is crucial in understanding numerous phenomena that occur on Earth, especially to rule out the role of the sun in global warming,” said José M. Vaquero, a researcher at Spain’s University of Extremadura.

“It has been a huge surprise to observe that in the 18th century, the levels of the sun’s activity were practically the same as they are now,” said Vaquero.

Writing in the journal Space Science Reviews, Vaquero and colleagues from the United States and Europe outline how discrepancies in the earliest solar records from North America and Europe were resolved to allow the comparison.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Chile

The government of Chile on Friday requested international help to douse 63 wildfires that have already razed 4,981 hectares (12,310 acres).

Guillermo Maza, acting director of the National Emergencies Bureau, or Onemi, told reporters the government has requested assistance from neighboring Argentina to battle the fires.

Chile has also contacted Brazil to obtain additional help should it become necessary, the official said.

Sixteen of the 63 wildfires raging in four of Chile’s regions are expanding, according to Onemi.

The situation is most serious in the southern region of Bio Bio, where three active wildfires have burned more than 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres), though those blazes no longer threaten populated areas, Maza said.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): Strombolian activity continues. Occasional larger explosions produce moderate ash plumes such as this morning, when Tokyo VAAC reported a plume to 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude extending N.

Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): Weak steam-and-gas emissions were detected in satellite images on 6 and 8 February.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has been comparably active during the past days. Yesterday, 8 vulcanian explosions were reported. Today, an explosion occurred producing a plume rising to 10,000 ft (3.6 km) altitude.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The currently weak, sporadic strombolian activity from the summit vents increased during the past night when explosions became more frequent. A small peak in otherwise low tremor occurred a day earlier.

Reventador (Ecuador): A new lava flow seems to be active on the southwestern flank. Occasional explosions continue from the summit vent where a lava dome is growing. From the thermal webcam images, it seems that the lava flow began yesterday.