Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits northeast of Taiwan.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Australia – Port Lincoln is experiencing severe flooding after being hit by the remnants of Cyclone Stan more than 3,200km away. The city located on the Eyre Peninsula in the Australian experienced strong rainfall after ex-Cyclone Stan crossed the South Australian border last night. The rain has hampered drivers and businesses with reports that there was 50mm of rain recorded at 9am with an additional 20mm recorded at lunchtime.

Atlantic Ocean – Global Weather Oscillations says the 2016 – 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be the strongest in over 4 years. GWO has issued the most accurate predictions of any organization over the past 7 years, and says – unlike the past three hurricane seasons that were dominated by hostile atmospheric conditions that subdued hurricane activity since 2013, and during the 2015 El Niño season – The next few years will be in a “Climate Pulse Hurricane Enhancement Cycle” that will provide very favourable conditions for development of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Argentina – An invasion of poisonous snakes washed downriver in recent floods forced authorities to close beaches to summer holidaymakers in northern Argentina, officials said Monday. Floodwaters in the Rio Plata and Rio Parana carried a species of water lily and with it countless crawling, slithering creatures, south to beaches at the mouths of those rivers near Buenos Aires.

United Kingdom – Village suffers ‘biblical’ non stop rain for 81 DAYS and even the livestock are ‘depressed’. Rain has fallen every day in the Welsh village of Eglwyswrw since October 26 and residents, farmers and their animals are all fed up.

Australia – Darling Downs residents have been warned to brace for a massive storm and ‘super cell’ expected to reach the region tomorrow, bringing with it damaging weather conditions. Higgins Storm Chasers have issued a warning with a surface and upper trough bringing large hail, up to 8cm in diameter, damaging winds over 90 km/hr, heavy rain with flash flooding and frequent lightning. The system will peak on Friday as a very potent storm set up.

USA – Winter storm in Midwest; tornadoes punch Deep South – Heavy snow and high winds continued to sweep across much of the Midwest with near-blizzard force on Tuesday, causing highway closures in Nebraska and flight cancellations in Colorado. Nasty weather also hammered the South, with tornado warnings issued in Mississippi and Alabama. At least two tornadoes hit Mississippi.

Ethiopia – ‘Fish Rain’ in Dire Dawa. Unusual fish-rain occurred on Sunday at 11; 30 pm in Dire Dawa City Eastern part of Ethiopia for a few minutes both in rural and urban areas. This typically happens when a cyclone offshore sucks up water from the ocean along with fish and deposits the moisture as rain over land.

Wildlife

California Salmon Hit by Drought

A second disastrous drought year for endangered California salmon – Endangered native salmon suffered a second straight disastrous year in California’s drought, with all but 3 percent of the latest generation dying in too-shallow, too-hot rivers, federal officials said Monday.

Drought

Drought in Southern Africa

Low water levels at Victoria Falls highlight southern Africa’s worst drought in 30 years Tourists post pictures on social media of iconic falls known as “The Smoke That Thunders” looking decidedly tame as farmers endure record drought that will cause hunger across the continent.

Southern Africa is in the grip of an historic drought which has slashed crop production, killed cattle, shut off water supplies to rural communities and even diminished the mighty Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border to a shadow of its former self.

A view of Victoria Falls from the Zambian side, where the ‘smoke that thunders’ is a shadow of its usual self:

Victoria Falls4 3559659b

Official data from the Zambezi River Authority shows that flows were 20 per cent lower on January 18 than the previous year, and that Lake Kariba, the world’s largest manmade reservoir that sits upstream of Victoria Falls, is only 12 per cent full at present. The dam that sits across the lake supplies both Zambia and Zimbabwe with up to half of its power and yet ZRA said water levels were within two metres of its massive hydropower plants having to be shut down.

Both countries are already feeling the effects. Zambia relies on hydroelectricity for 99.7 per cent of its power in total.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, a similar power crisis means that urban residents go without electricity for more than 18 hours a day, with a knock-on effect for industry and business. At least 7,000 cattle are reported to have already died and northern herders are reportedly driving their animals into the country’s national parks, meaning they will compete with wildlife for scarce food resources.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government has struck a secret deal to buy expensive power from Eskom, the state power firm of its southern neighbour South Africa. The move prompted outrage from South Africans who have also been blighted by a lack of capacity this year, leading to frequent “load shedding” power cuts.

South Africa’s drought is said to be the worst for at least 27 years. Five provinces are close to being declared disaster zones because of a lack of water and citizens’ groups have been organising whip-rounds for water trucks to conduct deliveries to rural areas. The country will also be forced to import an unprecedented five to six million tonnes of corn, its staple, from overseas.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images: Nacreous Clouds

Clouds in the stratosphere are very rare. Yet for the past week they have been seen every day. Yesterday, Feb 2nd, Sean Crane of Harrogate UK hopped out of his bath to photograph the display:

Sean Crane IMG 0283 1454449609

These fantasticaly-colored clouds are floating more than 80,000 feet above Earth’s surface. Normally, the thin air up there is crystal clear. Not this week. Water molecules are crystalizing in the lower stratosphere and the resulting ice crystals are assembling into polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs).

Also known as “nacreous” clouds, PSCs form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures drop to a staggeringly-cold -85ºC. High-altitude sunlight shining through tiny ice particles ~10µm wide produce bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference.

Because these clouds require extreme cold, they are most often seen around the Arctic Circle. In recent days, however, they have been spotted as far south as the UK.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Karymsky (Kamchatka): Several ash plumes reaching estimated 13-16,000 ft (4-5 km) altitude have been reported by Tokyo VAAC during the past days, suggesting that the volcano’s intermittent explosions are currently more frequent and relatively intense.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): Weak, passive ash venting occurred yesterday at the western pit crater, showing that volcanic unrest continues.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): During the past weeks, the El Agrio crater has continued to emit weak, but near-continuous emissions of fine gray ash. Incandescence remains visible at night. According to SERNAGEOMIN, this current activity, mainly phreatic, is caused by interaction of a small body of new magma interacting with the hydrothermal system at shallow depth. Seismic activity, although above background, is relatively low as are other monitored parameters (e.g. deformation, SO2 output etc). No larger eruption is expected for the near future.

Barren Island (Indian Ocean): Minor eruptive activity (possibly strombolian) seems to continue on the remote island, at least intermittently. Yesterday and the day before, a weak steam and possibly ash plume was visible on satellite imagery as well as a thermal hot spot.