Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits northern Xinjiang, China.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Singapore – Heavy rain triggered flooding in several areas of Singapore Saturday afternoon. Flash floods at Lorong Buangkok made traffic impassable.

Britain – Flooding caused by stormy weather has claimed life of an elderly man in Britain. A number of houses have been flooded as rivers burst their banks making roads impassable across the North of England, Scotland and Wales. Dozens of highways and main roads have been closed Saturday due to landslides or flooding.

India – Update – At least 383 people have died in the flooding in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and the union territory of Puducherry. As of Sunday morning, December 6, 2015, at least 300 people died in Tamil Nadu followed by 81 in Andhra Pradesh and two in Puducherry. Chennai was hit by heaviest rainfall in a century. Chennai received 1,049 mm of rainfall in November, the highest since receiving 1,088 mm in November 1918. At least 350,000 people have been rescued by multiple agencies which include army, police and the National Disaster Response Force.

Chennai flooding 2015

Chennai airport flood

Global Warming

Paris Climate Talks – Update

Negotiators from 195 countries agreed Saturday on a blueprint deal aimed at reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming, a significant but far from conclusive step in the multinational effort to keep climate change in check.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) posted on its website a copy of the draft agreement, which officials have been working on intensively for some time.

The document addresses deforestation, food security, poverty and a host of other issues, with chunks of the document focused on what developed countries can do to reduce carbon dioxide missions by a yet to be determined level by 2050.

This includes what they can do to help other countries. To this point, one line in the draft states, “Developed countries shall provide developing countries with long-term, scaled-up, predictable, new and additional finance, technology and capability-building.”

Officials will now work through next week at the COP21 conference in Paris to craft a complete, final agreement.

Doing so may not be easy, but that didn’t stop those involved in the process from celebrating Saturday’s announcement.

Disease

Zika virus infection – Panama

On 2 December 2015, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of Panama notified PAHO/WHO of the first 3 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease.

Zia Virus Causing Birth Defects

The devastating outbreak of a tropical disease known as the Zika virus has been plaguing regions of Latin America, leaving a trail of horrendous birth defects in its wake.

Zika, which was previously believed to be mild, now has the attention of the World Health Organization after rapidly spreading through Brazil and eight other surrounding countries. Microcephaly, an untreatable condition which inhibits the development of an unborn nfant’s brain and head, has been one of the major impacts to the infected.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, some of the affected children will only experience mild disability, but most will be at high risk of developmental disabilities such as Down’s syndrome. The impacts on the children who experience microcephaly are similar in nature to the impacts a child might experience if the mother heavily used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.

In Brazil alone, over 1,200 babies that were born with microcephaly were linked to Zika. In Brazil’s worst hit state of Pernambuco, 646 instances of the defect were recorded, up from a mere 12 last year.

Dengue Fever in Hawaii – Update

Hawaii Department of Health officials say there are 136 confirmed cases of dengue fever on Hawaii’s Big Island. The people impacted Friday included 119 Hawaii Island residents and 17 visitors. It’s the largest outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease since 2001.

In the 2001 outbreak, there were 122 confirmed dengue fever cases. The outbreak, which lasted for 10 months, began in a rural region of the island and then spread to areas with thick vegetation and heavy precipitation.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Activity at the volcano remains elevated, but a significant change is occurring: While explosions continued from Voragine crater and tremor levels remain high, it seems that since a few hours ago, most magma has now been using another vent: the new pit crater on the upper flank of the New SE crater. It already has had intermittent activity throughout the current eruption, but this morning started to produce intense strombolian activity and dense ash plumes.