Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Myanmar – A severe hailstorm in Myanmar has claimed the lives of at least eight people and destroyed around 7,500 houses.

Ethiopia – Flash floods in drought stricken parts of Ethiopia have killed more than 28 people and numerous drought-weakened livestock and are blocking food aid deliveries to hungry communities. Ethiopia regularly suffers hunger crises as eight out of ten people are farmers who depend upon the rains.

Global Warming

Carbon dioxide making earth greener, reveals new research

The earth is getting greener because of higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, new research shows.

Observations by Nasa satellites over the past 33 years show that there has been a steady increase in leaves on plants and trees, which scientists think is because of the higher CO2 levels. Leaves absorb CO2 and combine it with water to produce food for the plants. The study was done by an international team of 32 scientists from 24 institutions in eight countries and has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Burning oil, gas, coal and wood for energy releases CO2 in to the air. The amount of CO2 in the air has been increasing since the industrial age and currently stands at a level not seen in at least half-a-million years. It is the chief culprit of climate change.

About 85% of the Earth’s ice-free lands is covered by vegetation. The area of all green leaves on Earth is equal to, on average, 32% of the Earth’s total surface area – oceans, lands and permanent ice sheets combined. “The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times the size of mainland USA (18 million km2), and has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system.

Every year, about one-half of the 10 billion tons of carbon emitted in to the atmosphere from human activities remains temporarily stored, in about equal parts, in the oceans and plants.

Does this mean that high emissions are beneficial for the earth and humanity? Although many contrarians have argued this, the study authors warn that this is not so.

The fallacy of the contrarian argument is two-fold. First, the many negative aspects of climate change, namely global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice, more severe tropical storms, etc. are not acknowledged. Second, studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising CO2 concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.

CO2 fertilization is only one, albeit a predominant, reason why the Earth is greening. The study also identified climate change, nitrogen fertilization and land management as other important reasons.

Environment

Chernobyl Anniversary

Ukrainians held candlelit vigils to mark 30 years since the world’s worst nuclear accident – as Chernobyl spewed radiation across Europe and left several thousand people dead or dying.

At least 30 people were killed on site and several thousand more are feared to have died from the radiation fallout in one of the world’s worst man-made disasters, which forced a global rethink about the wisdom of relying on atomic fuel.

The exact number of dead remains a subject of intense debate because the Soviet authorities kept most of the information about Chernobyl under wraps.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Nepal

Wildfires have been raging on in more than 50 community forests and national forests in Kanchanpur for more than a week, putting more than 10,000 hectares of forestland in peril, Kanchanpur district forest office informed. Shuklafanta wildlife reserve is among the forests that are at risk, the office said, adding that 10,200 hectares of forestland has caught fire.

9 homes were gutted in the Panchthar district by the wildfires.

Wildfires – Scotland

Dozens of firefighters were battling two large wildfires in separate parts of the Highlands last night. Although no evacuations have been ordered, the fires came within a quarter mile of Stroupster wind farm and the nearest residential property.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Bahrain

On 10 April 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Bahrain notified WHO of a fatal case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This is the first case reported in Bahrain.

Newcastle Disease – Israel

Nine more outbreaks of Newcastle disease have been found in Israel. The outbreaks occurred in the Hazafon, Haifa and Hamerkaz provinces.

Over 70,000 birds died and 260,000 were destroyed in the nine outbreaks, which occurred in broilers, breeders and backyard chickens. Some of the outbreaks were not detected by clinical signs, but rather by active surveillance measures put in place to combat the disease.

The source of the outbreak was unknown, and the authorities are fighting the outbreak by disinfection, stamping out, movement controls, zoning and quarantine measures.