Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake his the southeast Indian ridge.

Earthquake swarm shakes east-central Idaho

More than 40 small earthquakes have been recorded in east-central Idaho this week in what experts say is another earthquake swarm in the region.

The temblors ranging up to 2.9 magnitude have perked up scientists trying to understand the fault system in the area where a 5.0 magnitude quake struck in January.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 05s (Bohale), located approximately 592 nm east of port Louis, Mauritius, and is tracking southward at 10 knots.

Tropical depression 28w (Melor), located approximately 695 nm east-southeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking west-northwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Singapore – A heavy downpour on Friday (Dec 11) caused flash floods and fallen trees across various parts of Singapore.

Oregon, USA – Extreme rainfall this week has claimed its first two deaths in Oregon and prompted a state of emergency in Washington state.

Global Warming

727 People on Chesapeake Bay Island Could Become America’s First ‘Climate Refugees’

The Chesapeake Bay’s Tangier Island, the site of the town of Tangier (population 727), will become uninhabitable under a midrange estimate of sea level rise due to climate change by 2063, researchers report in the Dec. 10 issue of the journal Scientific Reports.

Already, more than 500 lower-level islands in the Chesapeake Bay have vanished since Europeans first arrived in the area in the 1600s, said study leader David Schulte, an oceanographer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District. Engineering efforts could shore up Tangier, but saving the island and its neighbours will ultimately require action on climate.

Tangier is one of the Tangier Islands, a series of grassy spits of land about 14 miles (22 kilometers) east of mainland Virginia, within the Chesapeake Bay. Tangier is the southernmost of the islands, which also include Goose Island, Uppards Island and Port Isobel.

Thirty-nine islands in the Chesapeake Bay were once habitable, Schulte said. Today, Tangier and Smith Island in Maryland are the only two that remain so. Erosion and sea level rise (and, to some extent, other factors like land subsidence due to groundwater pumping) have eaten away at the rest.

Tangier island 1

Melting glaciers blamed for subtle slowing of Earth’s rotation

The melting of glaciers caused by the world’s rising temperatures appears to be causing a slight slowing of the Earth’s rotation in another illustration of the far-reaching impact of global climate change, scientists said on Friday.

The driving force behind the modest but discernible changes in the Earth’s rotation measured by satellites and astronomical methods is a global sea level rise fuelled by an influx of meltwater into the oceans from glaciers, the researchers said.

“Because glaciers are at high latitudes, when they melt they redistribute water from these high latitudes towards lower latitudes, and like a figure skater who moves his or her arms away from their body, this acts to slow the rotation rate of the Earth,” Harvard University geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica said.

The movement of ice and meltwater is also causing a slight migration of the Earth’s axis, or north pole, in a phenomenon known as “polar wander.

“These are small effects,” but are another indication of the profound impact of human-induced climate change on the planet, Mitrovica said. The observed rotation slowdown does not pose a danger to the planet.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews are working to contain bushfires across the NSW Hunter region, including one at Lake Macquarie. There are 30 fires burning across the state, of which 17 remained uncontrolled, but all the fires have been downgraded to advice level.

Meanwhile, an out-of-control bushfire is burning in Wollongong’s north, on top of the escarpment. The fire that started on Maddens Plains has reached the edge of the rocky escarpment above the leafy residential suburb of Wombarra.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Karymsky (Kamchatka): A stronger (probably vulcanian) explosion seems to have occurred this morning. Based on satellite data, Tokyo VAAC reported an ash plume that rose to 18,000 ft (5.4 km) altitude.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The volcano continues to slowly extrude viscous lava at its dome, which sometimes results in smaller or larger avalanches as well as explosions, both producing ash plumes. Over the past weeks, this activity has been a bit lower than previously.

Canlaon (Central Philippines): Small ash emissions occurred this morning at 05:13 local time, producing a plume that rose approx. 500 m from the volcano’s summit.

Bromo (East Java, Indonesia): Activity at the volcano has increased during the past two weeks. Ash emissions of fluctuating intensity began early December and have been near-continuous. On 7 Dec, a narrow plume extended 150 km south from the volcano. The past few days, the ash emissions have been weaker and mainly drifted westwards, causing Malang’s airport in only 30 km distance to close down temporarily.

Dukono (Halmahera): Ash emissions continue from the crater with little significant changes since our last tour group was there in October. Darwin VAAC regularly reports ash plumes drifting at 7-10,000 ft (2-3 km) altitude for up to 100 km distances before dissipating.