Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Hurricane Blas holding its strength as a category 3 hurricane, about 1125 mi (1810 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

Tropical depression Four-E forecast to intensify as it moves away from Mexico. Located about 725 mi (1165 km) S of the southern tip of Baja California. The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm on Thursday. No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

In the Western Pacific – Category 5 Super typhoon Nepartak is located approximately 275 nm southeast of Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan is on high alert ahead of the arrival of “near-perfect” super typhoon Nepartak, expected to slam into the island early on Friday morning local time.

Newsbytes:

China – Update – Flood relief and rescue efforts have been stepped up in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has been hit by severe flooding. Transport links and water and power supplies in the city of 10 million are severely affected. Flooding across central and southern China has killed 186 people and 45 are missing. The Chinese premier has called upon local authorities across the country to be prepared for further downpours. 32 million people in 26 provinces across China have been affected by severe flooding. 1.4 million people have been relocated. 56,000 houses have collapsed.

Nepal-China Border – Flooding in Bhotekoshi River has swept away at least 21 houses of Tatopani area in Sindhupalchowk district along Nepal-China border on Tuesday night. It is believed to be the biggest flood in the Bhotekoshi River in 35 years. However, no human casualties have been recorded as of Wednesday evening.

Victoria, Australia – Much of Victoria is under water with heavy rain since Wednesday morning. Rivers and creeks across the Gippsland region have broken their banks, swamping houses and businesses.

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Global Warming

Scientists reconcile growth in Antarctic sea ice with global warming models

The small minority of climate change models accurately predicted the expansion of Antarctic sea ice, and now scientists think they know why.

Even as sea ice was disappearing globally at an average rate of 13,500 square miles, or about an area the size of Maryland, every year, Antarctic sea ice went on a record streak beginning in 2012, expanding annually until reaching a new record high extent of 7.78 million square miles in fall of 2014.

A new study, published Monday in Nature Geoscience, suggests that the explanation of the phenomenon lies not in the Southern Ocean itself, but in the Pacific.

Researchers with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., together with colleagues in Seattle and Australia, identified that the expansion in Antarctic ice began to accelerate around the turn of the 21st century. At approximately the same time, the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), a prolonged fluctuation in atmospheric pressure that affects sea temperatures, shifted into a negative phase, cooling the ocean surface in the tropical Pacific, with global ramifications.

The few climate change models that take the IPO into account accurately predict the growth in Antarctic sea ice – and the global warming slowdown in the early 2000s.

Looking forward, the scientists behind the study predict that the IPO has turned back, so the Antarctic ice won’t continue to expand. Notably, measurements of the extent of Antarctic sea ice in 2015 were only the 16th highest on record.

But scientists have suggested other possible drivers of Antarctic ice expansion, including the possibility that the Antarctic ozone hole changed the circulation of winds around the continent.

In the end of May, NASA and the NOAA set forward another explanation for the gains in Antarctic ice coverage. Geophysical characteristics, including local ocean depth and continental surface features, influence the region’s wind and ocean currents in such a way as to produce and protect sea ice. Winds push building ice out and around the continent in the summer months, when the ice is growing, creating a “Great Shield” zone that shelters young ice in the interior, allowing it to grow quickly.

Disease

Yellow fever – Update

Yellow fever has now killed 356 people in Angola and infected more than 3,400 infected since late last year, according to World Health Organization (WHO) and Angolan government figures.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which shares a frontier to the northeast of Angola, suspected cases numbered about 1,307 and deaths 75 as of late June, according to the WHO.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne haemorrhagic virus and has death rates as high as 75 percent but can be prevented with a vaccine. More than 11 million yellow fever vaccines have been administered in Angola between Dec. 5, 2015 and July 5, 2016.