Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Three 5.0 Earthquakes hit Vanuatu.

South Africa – Two miners have died at AngloGold Ashanti mine in Carltonville on Gauteng’s West Rand following an earth tremor of 3.5 magnitude that happened in the early hours of Friday morning.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Kenya – Heavy rains kill four people in Nairobi as floods cause havoc across the city. A six-storey residential building collapsed under the heavy rain in the Kenyan capital late on Friday, killing at least three people.

Argentina – Water levels in the flood-hit Argentine town of Villa Paranacito have risen so much that the best way for residents to commute is by boat. The floods have swamped the soy crop causing substantial losses to farmers and the local economy.

Disease

Zika Virus – Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico announced Friday that it has recorded the first Zika-related U.S. death amid an outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus in the U.S. territory.

Officials said the unidentified man recovered from initial Zika symptoms, but then developed a condition in which antibodies that formed in reaction to the Zika infection started attacking blood platelet cells. He died after suffering internal bleeding in less than 24 hours after seeking help at a health centre.

Bovine Disease – India

Outbreak of Haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS), an acute, fatal, septicaemic disease of cattle and water buffaloes in the districts of Peren and Dimapur is under control, according to the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department. At least 90 % of the disease outbreak among the buffaloes has been brought under control.

The disease had affected six villages under Peren district namely Punglwa, Gaili, Ngwalwa, Heninkunglwa, Dunki-Lamhai and Saijang. An estimate of 314 buffaloes succumbed to the disease within a span of one month.

Farmers in the said areas are fully dependent on the buffaloes for ploughing the rice fields. There more than 1500 buffaloes owned by the six villages. With the outbreak of HS, around 20% of the buffaloes have already died.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Ireland

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) has voiced concerns about the amount of wildfires taking place. The organisation said it received reports of 19 separate wildfires across Ireland over the 10 days from 16-26 April.

Some 11 of the fires took place in areas protected for nature conservation, with Killarney National Park, the Slieve Aughty mountains, the Blackstairs mountains, and the Beara peninsula in Cork all being affected.

The organisation said repeated fires across Ireland’s uplands have become an annual feature and are “causing tremendous damage to wildlife, landscape, water and air”.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka): As had been previously suggested, the volcano’s most recent eruptive phase had become both effusive and explosive: in addition to ash-generating strombolian explosions from the summit vent, a new, but short-lived lava flow appeared during 23 or 24 April and descended approx. 800 m on the south-eastern flank of the volcano (along the Apakhonchich ravine). It seems that the lava flow remained active at least until Tue (26 April) according to KVERT’s daily reports and images from the local observatory, but seems to have stopped by now; glow is no longer visible on clear webcam imagery from yesterday and today. A significant, continuous steam plume suggests that mild explosive activity continues.

Ruapehu (North Island): An earthquake swarm has been occurring at the volcano since 26 April. According to Geonet, such seismic swarms indicating small rock-fracturing events have been rare at the volcano in recent years. Ruapehu’s typical seismic activity is rather dominated by events reflecting internal circulation of fluids such as tremor.

White Island (New Zealand): A small phreatic explosion occurred inside the main crater of the volcano on the evening of 27 April around 21:50 local time, Geonet reported. The volcanic alert level was raised to 3 and aviation color code to Orange. Since the eruption, the volcano has returned to quiet / normal activity and the alert level was again lowered to 2 (although aviation color code remains orange for the time being as other explosions could occur).

Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): The Alaska volcano observatory lowered the alert level to yellow, after no more activity has been observed at the volcano since the small explosion on 16 April. “Seismicity returned to low levels within an hour of the explosion, and there have been no infrasound (pressure sensor) signals detected. Recent satellite views indicate that the August 2015 lava dome is gone and has been replaced with a small cinder cone within the summit crater. Based on seismic levels remaining low since the eruption, and no observations or reports of continued eruptive activity, AVO is reducing the Aviation Color Code to YELLOW and the Volcano Alert Level to ADVISORY.”

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

A magnitude 7.1 powerful earthquake rocked Vanuatu at 06:33 am local time Friday morning on April 29, 2016 prompting a tsunami warning in the area. The National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) warned that the earthquake could generate tsunami waves of up to three metres (10 feet) on parts of the Vanuatu coast within 300 km of the epicentre along the coast of Vanuatu. The NTWC cancelled the tsunami alert in less than two hours, saying “there is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake”.

6.8 earthquake hits the northern east Pacific rise.

5.1 Earthquake hits Kodiak Island, Alaska.

5.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Guatemala – Landslide triggered by heavy rainfall has claimed the lives of two people and left 20 others missing in a Guatemalan landfill Wednesday afternoon.

Mississippi Gulf Coast, USA – The Mississippi Gulf Coast was inundated with flood waters Thursday morning after severe weather pushed water into some homes and prompted rescues. Roadways were covered in water, and schools in Biloxi, Gulfport and Ocean Springs had to delay opening. Some areas received up to 10 inches of rain in just a few hours.

Viewer-submitted photo of severe flooding in Gulfport

Alaska – Flooding caused by an ice jam on the Yukon River near Eagle appeared to have crested overnight Wednesday — but meteorologists were monitoring the situation as well as the threat it could pose to another village downriver. An initial advisory Wednesday evening reported minor flooding along the road linking Eagle and nearby Eagle Village, as well as yards of homes along the river’s lower banks.

Wildlife

Kenya holds summit to stop elephant slaughter

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From anti-poaching commandos deployed by helicopter to boosting court prosecutions: Kenya on Friday hosted a summit on how to end ivory trafficking and prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is heading the meeting which groups African heads of state and conservationists in the central town of Nanyuki to boost awareness of the threat of poaching.

On Saturday, the country sets fire to nearly its entire ivory stockpile.

The bonfire will be the largest-ever torching of ivory, involving 105 tonnes from thousands of dead elephants, dwarfing by seven times any stockpile burned before.

Africa is home to between 450,000 to 500,000 elephants, but more than 30,000 are killed every year on the continent to satisfy demand for ivory in Asia, where raw tusks sell for around $1,000 (800 euros) a kilo (2.2 pounds).

The summit aims to raise global awareness and eventually achieve a total ban on ivory trade, while highlighting the multiple methods used in the fight against poachers, from the frontline, where rangers are out on patrol, to the court room.

The Last Dance for Mountain Chicken Frogs

Conservationists will try to bring Montserrat’s two remaining mountain chicken frogs together in the hope they will breed and save the species from local extinction. The male and female are the only known survivors of chytrid fungus disease, which has ravaged amphibian populations worldwide. They currently live about 1,500 feet apart along one of the island’s rain forest streams. Artificial nests will be built to entice the female.

Locust Warnings

The embattled Middle Eastern country of Yemen is bracing for what officials fear will be a large locust plague, which they are afraid to combat with pesticides out of fear of killing the bees that are vital to the country’s agriculture. Ongoing civil conflict, amplified by foreign intervention by the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia, is also hampering locust control and monitoring. Teams say this resulted in them being unable to kill the locusts before the insects matured enough to swarm.

Global Warming

Deoxygenation Due To Climate Change Threatens Marine Life

A drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large parts of the ocean between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study.

Scientists know that a warming climate can be expected to gradually sap oceans of oxygen, leaving fish, crabs, squid, sea stars, and other marine life struggling to breathe. But it’s been difficult to determine whether this anticipated oxygen drain is already having a noticeable impact.

The entire ocean—from the depths to the shallows—gets its oxygen supply from the surface, either directly from the atmosphere or from phytoplankton, which release oxygen into the water through photosynthesis.

Warming surface waters, however, absorb less oxygen. And in a double whammy, the oxygen that is absorbed has a more difficult time traveling deeper into the ocean. That’s because as water heats up, it expands, becoming lighter than the water below it and less likely to sink.

Thanks to natural warming and cooling, oxygen concentrations at the sea surface are constantly changing—and those changes can linger for years or even decades deeper in the ocean.

For example, an exceptionally cold winter in the North Pacific would allow the ocean surface to soak up a large amount of oxygen. Thanks to the natural circulation pattern, that oxygen would then be carried deeper into the ocean interior, where it might still be detectable years later as it travels along its flow path. On the flip side, unusually hot weather could lead to natural “dead zones” in the ocean, where fish and other marine life cannot survive.

16 25 Deoxygenation

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.0 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Boutilimit, Mauritania.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus -88.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.6 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

Salmonellosis – United States of America

On 20 April 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of the United States of America notified PAHO/WHO of an ongoing investigation of four multistate outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to exposure to small turtles (with shell length <4inches/10 centimetres) or their environments (e.g., water from a turtle habitat) in the United States.

A total of 124 cases with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 22 U.S. states. Of these, 33% of patients have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Of the total, 51 cases (41%) were aged less than 5 years. The earliest illness associated with the four outbreaks began on 1 January 2015. Initial investigations have identified four turtle farms in Louisiana as potential sources of the turtles linked to these 2015 outbreaks. Pond water testing from the four farms resulted in the identification of additional non-outbreak Salmonella isolates.

A ‘tropical’ parasitic disease emerges in the Canadian Arctic

An outbreak of an intestinal parasite common in low income areas in the tropics, known as Cryptosporidium, has been identified for the first time in the Arctic. The discovery was made in Nunavik, Quebec.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that lives in the intestine of mammals, including humans, and is transmitted by the fecal-oral route from ingestion of contaminated food or water or contact with infected individuals. The parasite causes an illness known as Cryptosporidiosis which is characterized by diarrhea, cramps and vomiting.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits offshore Chiapas, Mexico.

5.6 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.5 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.4 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits France.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Batan Islands in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Ecuador – Natural disasters continue to take their toll on Ecuador after two rivers overflowed, claiming the lives of four people Wednesday. The Damas and Toachi rivers, located near the city of Santo Domingo, caused around 25 landslides in the area after torrential rainfall struck the region Tuesday. The storm hit the town of Alluriquin, around 74 miles to the west of Quito. Much of the area was engulfed by rapidly rising waters as roads were quickly flooded, hampering the rescue operation. Around 80 homes were damaged by the mudslides while scores of cars and buses were unable to complete their journeys after becoming submerged in mud along the Aloag Highway. Meanwhile, Uruguay’s National Emergency System reported earlier this week that 11,943 people have been displaced after heavy rains and floods lashed the country over the past 11 days. Of Uruguay’s 19 provinces 16 have recorded evacuations as heavy rainfall continues to pelt the small South American nation. The Durazno province has been the worst affected with 5,163 people leaving their homes.

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Greenland Warming brings Storms to Britain

Soaring temperatures in Greenland – one of the fastest-warming parts of the planet – are causing storms and floods in Britain, according to a new study that provides further evidence climate change is already happening.

The west coast of the island has seen temperatures rise by up to a staggering 10 degrees Celsius during winter in just two decades.

This surge helps create static areas of high pressure that can block the jet stream which heavily influences the northern hemisphere’s weather. If forced to go south, the jet stream picks up warm and wet air – and Britain can expect heavy rain and flooding. If forced north, the UK is likely to be hit by cold air from the Arctic.

Global Warming

Some Plants Are Adapting To Global Warming

Plants are much more adaptable to temperature changes and global warming than previously thought, according to a 30-year long study by Norwegian scientists published Wednesday.

The study showed that a tree called the Norwegian spruce can adjust its growth rate to cope with different environmental conditions and temperature extremes, rebutting the claim that plants won’t be able to adapt to changing climate conditions.

“There is a kind of flexibility in the genetic material. Environmental conditions during seed development create a memory of those temperature conditions. Much like a ‘molecular thermostat’ that can shift the growth cycle of the plant”, Carl Gunnar Fossdal, a senior research scientist with the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, said in a press statment. “This phenomenon has great importance for the discussion around climate change. It shows that the memory mechanism at least in these plants, and maybe in all, adapt to changes in the environment.”

The Norwegian spruces and other trees may even pass these adaptions to their offspring, according to the research. The scientists suggest that many animals may also have similar ways to adapt to changing global temperatures.