Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Talaud, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the southwestern Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the South Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 05s (Dineo), located approximately 136 nm west-southwest of Europa island, is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.

Newsbytes:

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Western Australia – Update – The deadly floods in Western Australia have claimed another life after heavy rain fell across the state. Large parts of WA remain on alert after ongoing downpours swamped the state. As authorities assess the damage, a second man was killed in the floods.

Indonesia – Flash floods that took place in several parts of Sambelia district in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, over the weekend have inundated residential areas and displaced around 500 people. High-intensity rainfall on Lombok Island from Friday to Saturday caused floods that cut access to some locations. Floods had also caused a bridge to collapse in Sambelia village, while in Sugian village, a section of an embankment in the Kokok Pendek River collapsed, preventing road access, damaging an elementary school building and causing minor damages to at least 75 houses.

Global Warming

Coders Race to Save NASA’s Climate Data

A group of coders is racing to save the government’s climate science data.

On Saturday (Feb. 11), 200 programmers crammed themselves into the Doe Library at the University of California, Berkeley, furiously downloading NASA’s Earth science data in a hackathon, Wired reported. The group’s goal: rescue data that may be deleted or hidden under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The process involves developing web-crawler scripts to trawl the internet, finding federal data and patching it together into coherent data sets. The hackers are also keeping track of data as it disappears; for instance, the Global Data Center’s reports and one of NASA’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) data sets has already been removed from the web.

Climate Change Blocks Expansion of Austrian Airport

An Austrian court has blocked construction of a new runway at Vienna’s airport mainly on the grounds that the project would increase climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in violation of Austrian and European environmental laws.

The decision was seen as affirming Austrians’ constitutional rights to a clean environment, including protection from climate change impacts. It may be the first time a court anywhere in the world has blocked a major public infrastructure project based heavily on climate-related laws or considerations, according to several legal experts.

Environment

India Beats China As Worst Air-Polluted Country On Earth

India now has the world’s worst air pollution. They have beaten China. Specifically, it is New Delhi, India’s capital that has the worst air pollution on Earth.

Industrialization, coal-fired power plants, and low regulation have made the air pollution in India so much worse. Technology Review has reported that there have been 1.1 million deaths recorded last year due to air pollution in India. The country has been tied with China as having deadly air pollution. India’s rapid industrialization, too much use of coal for energy, growing population, and an ageing populace that is affected by air pollution are the factors why there are so many deaths.

Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World’s Deepest Waters

The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity.

But the Mariana Trench is polluted.

At its deepest — about 7 miles down — the water in the trench is near freezing. The pressure would crush a human like a bug. Scientists have only recently explored it.

Among them is biologist Alan Jamieson of Newcastle University in England. His team dropped what they call a mechanical “lander” down into the trench. It had cameras and water samplers and some baited traps. They didn’t really know what they’d find.

When the lander surfaced, the traps contained amphipods — shrimplike crustaceans. That wasn’t terribly surprising, as amphipods are known to live at great depths. But bringing them back from the Mariana Trench was a rarity, and Jamieson thought there might be something to learn from them. He took the creatures to an environmental scientist.

The amphipods were contaminated with PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyls — toxic chemicals used for decades in industry, as well as other industrial pollutants known as persistent organic pollutants.

Every sample we had,” Jamieson says, “had contaminants in it at very high or extraordinarily high levels. How high? He compared the contamination level in his Mariana amphipods to crabs living in waters fed by one of China’s most polluted rivers, as well as amphipods from other parts of the world. “And what we were finding in the deepest place in the world were (levels) hugely higher, 50 times in some cases,” he says.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – New Zealand

Hundreds of people in New Zealand’s second-largest city were evacuated from their homes Wednesday as wildfires burned down several houses and threatened to encroach further into some suburbs. A helicopter pilot who was a decorated soldier died in a crash while fighting the blaze on Tuesday. The region had been unusually dry for three years and the grass in the hills had turned brown over the Southern Hemisphere summer. Smoke and ash were being blown across Christchurch.

Disease

Africa yellow fever outbreak declared over

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared the end of the yellow fever outbreak in that country today following a similar announcement in Angola on 23 December 2016, bringing an end to the outbreak in both countries after no new confirmed cases were reported from both countries for the past six months.

Cholera in Somalia

The Somalia Ministry of Health reported 913 new suspected cases of cholera, including 10 deaths and a case–fatality rate of 1.1% during the past week. This brings the total since the beginning of the year to 4026 cumulative suspected cases of cholera including 57 deaths (case–fatality rate 1.5%).

China – Bird Flu

Two additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported on Mainland China.