Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits Yunnan, China.

5.1 Earthquake hits Timor.

5.0 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Cyclone Chapala (tc) 04a, located approximately 245 nm east-northeast of Socotra Island, Yemen, is tracking westward at 09 knots.

NewsBytes:

Texas, USA – Strong storms and heavy rains thundered across central and southern Texas Friday, causing floods that trapped school buses and other vehicles. The formation of several short-lived tornadoes is suspected.

El Nino’s Global Weather Havoc Intensifying

Weather shifts believed caused by a strengthening El Niño in the tropical Pacific are gaining momentum around the world, according to officials.

Drought in parts of Brazil, northern South America and the Caribbean are reportedly draining rivers and sparking wildfires.

The head of Colombia’s environment ministry says El Niño has caused “a rise in temperatures of between 5 and 6 degrees Celsius (9 to 10.8 F) in some regions of the country.”

Flooding from East Africa’s “short rains” are washing out roads and destroying crops in Kenya and Somalia, but the destruction is not as severe as during the 1997-98 record El Niño because there isn’t an accompanying warming of the Indian Ocean as seen back then.

The aid agency Oxfam warns that once the short rains end later this year, a protracted drought is likely to bring famine to some of the most impoverished areas of Africa.

The strengthening El Niño is also being blamed for the explosive development of Category-5 Hurricane Patricia off Mexico.

NOAA predicts a 95 percent chance the ocean warming will linger into next year, but says it will peak during the northern winter.

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Wildlife

Drought pushes endangered California salmon to the brink

Chinook salmon were already endangered in California’s Sacramento River, but the record drought parching the western United States has brought the iconic fish even closer to extinction. Chinook, also known as king salmon, need very cold water for their eggs to develop.

If everything goes right, the young salmon hatch and eventually make their way downstream toward the ocean, before later returning to the rivers to spawn and die. But the migration has dropped off in recent years.

There were 4.4 million juvenile Chinook in 2009 – half the number of four years earlier.

Last year, the number of juveniles passing by the dam in Red Bluff, at the northern end of California’s Central Valley, was just 411,000.

To date, only 217,000 juveniles have been counted passing through Red Bluff in 2015, versus 280,000 over the same period last year.

The Sacramento Chinook, designated an endangered species in 1994, have been struggling for years, for a number of reasons, but the drought has only exacerbated the problems. Access to the historical spawning habitat of winter-run Chinook salmon on the Sacramento is cut off by the Shasta and Keswick dams, built in the 1940s.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images:

Huge crack in the earth opens up in US mountains.

The formation occurred in the foothills of Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains in the last fortnight. It estimated that it was 750 yards long and 50 yards wide. Wyoming Geological Survey’s manager of groundwater and geological hazards said the formation is most likely the result of a slow-moving landslide.

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Drought

Brazil’s drought deeper than thought

New satellite data shows Brazil’s drought is worse than previously thought, with the southeast losing 56 trillion liters of water in each of the past three years – more than enough to fill Lake Tahoe, a NASA scientist said on Friday.

The country’s most severe drought in 35 years has also caused the Brazil’s larger and less-populated northeast to lose 49 trillion liters of water each year over three years compared with normal levels, said NASA hydrologist Augusto Getirana.

Brazilians are well aware of the drought due to water rationing, power blackouts and empty reservoirs in parts of the country but this is the first study to document exactly how much water has disappeared from aquifers and reservoirs, Getirana said.

The Cantareira water reservoir system providing water for 8.8 million residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, for example, was filled to less than 11 percent of its capacity last year, local officials reported.

Home to the Amazon River, Brazil does not have an absolute shortage of water, he said. The problem is that heavily populated regions, particularly the country’s southeast, depend on local reservoirs and aquifers which are not being replenished due to the drought.

Water could theoretically be shipped into drought-affected cities from other parts of the country, he said, but the financial and logistical costs would be huge.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Samar in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical Cyclone Chapala (tc) 04a, located approximately 395 nm south-southeast of Masirah Island, is tracking westward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

Iraq – A heavy rainstorm has triggered flooding and destruction in and around Baghdad, Iraq leading to the death of a toddler. Flood water swept away a three-year-old girl at a camp for displaced people near Tuz Khurmatu. The storm damaged at least 500 tent houses in Amriyat al-Fallujah, a town in Anbar just west of Baghdad causing the evacuation of 1,000 families

Wildlife

Warming Gulf of Maine Contributes to Cod Collapse

Cod populations off New England are collapsing because waters of the Gulf of Maine have been rising 99 percent faster than anywhere else in the world since 2004, researchers say.

Scientists from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute say they found that the rapid warming has reduced the number of new cod being spawned.

While quotas for fishing fleets are carefully calculated to keep fish stock sustainable under historic conditions, the warming has not been considered as a factor, allowing overfishing to occur in recent years even though fishermen stayed within their quotas.

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Global Warming

New Refrigerant Gases Also Harm Ozone Layer

A class of chemical refrigerants that replaced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in past decades because they were believed not to damage Earth’s ozone layer has been found to inflict a small but measurable depletion of stratospheric ozone.

The ozone hole is believed to be gradually healing thanks to a global ban on the production of CFCs.

But a new NASA study says the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) now in use are not only a strong greenhouse gas, but they are also weak ozone-depleting substances.

“We are not suggesting HFCs are an existential threat to the ozone layer or to ozone hole recovery, but the impact is not zero as has been claimed,” said NASA’s lead study author Margaret Hurwitz.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 119.1 degrees Fahrenheit (48.4 degrees Celsius) at Vredendal, South Africa.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 76.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60.2 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.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 17 and 24 October 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 12 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 1 death.

Guinea records new cases of Ebola

Three more people in Guinea have been infected with the Ebola virus, a senior health official said on Wednesday, further dampening hopes of an imminent end to the world’s worst recorded outbreak of the disease.

The three were infected in Forecariah in western Guinea from the family of a woman who died of Ebola and whose body was handled without appropriate protection.

In all, nine sick people are being treated at centres throughout the country and most are connected to the dead woman.

Zimbabwe runs out of money to contain outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease

Zimbabwe has run out of money to vaccinate millions of domestic animals to curb the spread of Foot and Mouth and protect against Newcastle Disease, acting Agriculture Secretary John Gondo said.

“We are in the process of vaccinating over 1.5 million cattle and 8 million chickens for FMD and Newcastle Disease, but the challenge is that there’s no money to buy more vaccine from Botswana”.

South Africa, which borders an affected area, has raised pressure on Zimbabwe to prevent further transmission of the disease, which could have an impact on beef exports.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano’s activity seems to have picked up a bit compared to recent weeks. A partial collapse of the active dome generated a pyroclastic flow that traveled several km to the south, accompanied by an ash plume that rose to 4-4.5 km altitude and drifted east.

Mauna Loa (Big Island, Hawai’i): Seismic unrest continues at the volcano, but at lower levels than during mid-late summer, HVO reports: “Earthquakes occurred beneath Mauna Loa’s upper Southwest Rift Zone at depths less than 13 km (8 miles). Deformation data are still consistent with inflation of magma reservoirs beneath Mauna Loa’s summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone.”

Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion): Another (the third) eruptive phase began at the volcano yesterday evening. From 16:00 local time, the volcano observatory recorded an increase in tremor and new lava was seen in the vent after 20:00. Shortly after 04:00 this morning, activity intensified further and formed a new active lava pond inside the large new crater that had formed early in the eruption near Piton Rivals. The activity is currently observable from the path leading to Piton Bert.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical Cyclone (tc) 04a (four), located approximately 489 nm southeast of Masirah Island, is tracking northwestward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Somalia – Flash floods in Somalia have destroyed thousands of makeshift homes, as well as latrines and shallow wells, the United Nations said, predicting that up to 900,000 people could be hit by the strongest El Niño weather phenomenon in decades. The floods, which have made roads impassable and cut thousands off from aid, could reverse many of the humanitarian gains made in southern Somalia since 2011 when the Horn of Africa nation was devastated by famine. Some 3.2 million Somalis – one-third of the population – already needed life-saving aid and over one million were internally displaced before the rains began on Oct. 7.

Israel – Residents of Herzliya, Ra’anana and Kfar Saba in central Israel faced heavy floods Wednesday as a brief but intense winter storm swept the area, closing major roads and flooding whole neighbourhoods. Three days after a storm knocked out power for tens of thousands of Israeli homes, Wednesday’s downpour left some 15,000 households in the dark for the second time in less than a week.

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