Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.1 Earthquake hits Potosi, Bolivia.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 Earthquake hits Easter Island.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 19s (Fantala), located approximately 414 nm north of Port Louis, Mauritius, and is tracking southeastward at 01 knot.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 20p (Amos), located approximately 383 nm west-northwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa, and is tracking eastward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Afghanistan – A landslide in Maimana, the capital of northwestern Faryab province in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of two children and injured one other.

Houston, Texas, USA – More rain has drenched the Houston area with eight people now reported to have died. More than 1 100 homes have been substantially damaged in the floods. Schools and businesses have been closed. The Governor has declared a state of disaster.

Argentina – Floods have swamped much of Argentina’s soy crop, causing heavy losses to one of the world’s top grains suppliers. Rains stemming from El Nino weather phenomenon have hit farmers in the grain belt of northeastern Argentina particularly hard. Some farmers have opted to stop the harvesting of soy while fields dry out. Grains are the backbone of Argentina’s economy. The South American country is the world’s third-biggest exporter of soy and a major supplier of corn and wheat. The Argentine Red Cross estimates more than 2,000 people have been evacuated and more 30,000 people have been affected after the rains swelled rivers, swamping fields and towns nationwide.

Wildlife

Polar Bears – Swimming Fatigue

Researchers have confirmed that polar bears are being forced to swim more frequently and for much longer distances as sea ice around the North Pole experiences more extensive melt under the influence of climate change.

A team from the University of Alberta, Climate Change Canada and the Zoological Society of San Diego used GPS tags placed on bears in the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay to determine their altered swimming behaviour.

Study co-author Andrew Derocher says that the longer swims are particularly hard on mothers with cubs, possibly explaining the decline in the number of bears in the southern Beaufort Sea.

Great Barrier Reef Devastated by Coral Bleaching

We knew coral bleaching was a serious issue in the Great Barrier Reef, but the scope of just how widespread it was has been unclear — until now.

Extensive aerial surveys and dives have revealed that 93 percent of the world’s largest reef has been devastated by coral bleaching. The culprit has been record-warm water driven by El Niño and climate change that has cooked the life out of corals.

The Centre conducted aerial surveys and dives at 911 sites spanning the full 1,430-mile length of the reef. They show the hardest hit areas are in the northern part of the reefs, which have also endured some of the hottest water temperatures for prolonged periods.

More than 80 percent of reefs surveyed there showed signs of severe bleaching. The southern end of the reef fared better, but overall the bleaching represents a massive blow to biodiversity at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Great Barrier Reef also faces pressure from ocean acidification and fishing impacts, ramping up concerns over how to protect one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet.

Great barrier reef lizard island

Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths

Vietnam said on Thursday said it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.

Tons of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.

The strange situation first came to light when farmed fish in the area began dying in great numbers, he said, with locals later discovering huge numbers of dead fish on beaches.

Signs point to t.he fish having been poisoned by “unidentified substances,” Tran Dinh Du, deputy director of agriculture in Quang Binh province, said.

Central Ha Tinh province is home to a sprawling economic zone which houses numerous industrial plants, including a multi-billion dollar steel plant run by Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa.

Hanoi has dispatched teams of environmental experts and officials to investigate the phenomenon.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

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

The week’s coldest temperature was minus -102.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 74.4 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

Zika virus infection – Peru

On 17 April 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Peru notified PAHO/WHO of a confirmed case of sexual transmission of Zika virus. This is the country’s first case of Zika virus infection.

Anthrax in India

Days after the state government confirmed the resurgence of anthrax in Maharashtra after five years, officials from the state animal husbandry department have assured that the outbreak has so far been confined to just one village, where 110 sheep died in the last few days.

The officials also made it clear that animal flocks from the affected area cannot migrate or move to newer areas till the outbreak has completely subsided as an order has been issued in this regard