Wildlife

Sea Lions Washing Ashore From Disease

An outbreak of a bacterial disease has caused sick or dead sea lions to wash up on Oregon and California beaches.

Researchers say the culprit is leptospirosis, a bacteria that can cause kidney failure, fever, and muscle pain. Young male sea lions are usually affected and may exhibit dehydration and depression.

Leptospirosis can be spread through the urine of an infected animal. So if a dog touches or somehow ingests the urine of that animal they can in turn become sick themselves. Pet owners have been asked to take care when walking their dogs along affected beaches.

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Global Warming

Scientists Find Major Mistake in Water Temperature Readings – Study

Global warming might be far worse than we thought, according to a new study.

The research challenges the ways that researchers have worked out sea temperatures until now, meaning that they may be increasing quicker than previously suggested.

The methodology widely used to understand sea temperatures in the scientific community may be based on a mistake, the new study suggests, and so our understanding of climate change might be fundamentally flawed.

The new research suggests that the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago were much cooler than we thought. If true, that means that the global warming we are currently undergoing is unparallelled within the last 100 million years, and far worse than we had previously calculated.

Until now, scientists believed that the temperature of the ocean depths and the surface of the polar ocean 100 million years ago were about 15 degrees warmer than they are today. But they might in fact have stayed relatively stable – making the warming we’re currently undergoing far more alarming.

The researchers believe that scientists have been overlooking crucial processes when they calculated the temperature of the seas millions of years ago. In so doing, they may have been mistakenly thinking that they were warmer than they actually are.

Until now, scientists have calculated the temperature of the ancient seas by looking at foraminifera, the fossils of tiny marine organisms found in the sediment on the ocean floor. Those form small shells and take on more or less of an oxygen isotope depending on how warm the water is, so by looking at the oxygen content they can estimate the temperature when those fossils were around.

That working led scientists to believe that the temperature of the seas had fallen by 15 degrees over the last 100 million years.

BP and Shell planning for catastrophic 5°C global warming

Oil giants Shell and BP are planning for global temperatures to rise as much as 5°C by the middle of the century. The level is more than double the upper limit committed to by most countries in the world under the Paris Climate Agreement, which both companies publicly support.

The discrepancy demonstrates that the companies are keeping shareholders in the dark about the risks posed to their businesses by climate change, according to two new reports published by investment campaign group Share Action. Many climate scientists say that a temperature rise of 5°C would be catastrophic for the planet.

ShareAction claims that the companies’ actions put the value of millions of people’s pensions at risk. Two years after BP and Shell shareholders voted resoundingly in favour of forcing the companies to make detailed disclosures about climate risks, the companies have made unconvincing steps forward, according to the reports.

Neither company sets targets to reduce emissions and BP’s total investment in renewable and clean technologies has actually shrunk since 2005, the reports said. That’s despite the company’s public-facing image of being “beyond petroleum”.

Both companies assess the resilience of their businesses against climate models in which temperatures warm by between 3°C and 5°C.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Bubble-Blowing Wasp

Several of the industrious insects were recently observed with droplets dangling from their mouths. Turns out, they were removing excess moisture from their nest by hoovering up water and then expelling it as minuscule water globes, which makes the wasps look like they’re blowing perfectly round bubbles.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical storm 27w (Saola), located approximately 253 nm south-southeast of Kadena AFB, is tracking northwestward at 12 knots.

Newsbytes:

Honduras, Nicaragua – Heavy rains have hit Central America, killing up to five people and causing widespread damage in Honduras and Nicaragua. The rains flooded houses and fields, damaged roads, knocked down walls and trees, and made rivers overflow their banks. Three people drowned in rivers in northern and central Honduras, disaster relief coordinator COPECO said.

US Cities Vulnerable to Coastal Floods

Climate Central, a nonprofit organization that analyzes and reports on climate science, has ranked the U.S. cities most vulnerable to major coastal floods.

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Global Warming

Carbon Emissions Pause

The world’s carbon dioxide emissions remain stalled for a third consecutive year, with both the United States and Russia decreasing their output by 2 percent in 2016. Japan cut its CO2 emissions by 1 percent, while those produced by Europe and China held steady. India’s emissions increased by 5 percent.

Despite the overall pause in the growth of the world’s most pervasive greenhouse gas pollution, emissions of methane and nitrous oxide continued to increase. Methane can trap 30 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2, while nitrous oxide traps 300 times more.

Environment

Pollution Kills

Pollution is responsible for illnesses that kill one in every six people around the world each year, according to a new landmark report.

The Lancet, the world’s leading peer-reviewed journal on health, commissioned a study that found toxic air, water, soil and workplace environments kill at least 9 million people annually.

Study authors warn that the crisis “threatens the continuing survival of human societies.” Philip Landrigan, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said the scale of deaths from pollution surprised the researchers, as did the rate at which the fatalities were rising.

Wildlife

Magpie Attacks

Residents of Melbourne, Australia, have been warned of increased attacks by swooping magpie birds that have resulted in an alarming number of eye injuries. “In the last week, we saw five in the one day, including a penetrating eye injury that needed to go to theatre (surgery),” said Dr. Carmel Crock of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

A special online map has been prepared to show where the highest numbers of attacks have occurred. Officials say that since the birds may be less likely to swoop if they think people are watching them, people are advised to draw a pair of “eyes” on the backs of their hats and helmets.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 72.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57.8 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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

Yellow Fever – Brazil

The discovery of one dead monkey infected with yellow fever on the north side of Brazil’s largest city has prompted São Paulo health authorities to launch a massive vaccination campaign.

The virus responsible for the disease has been blamed for at least 261 Brazilian deaths since December, almost entirely in the southeast of the country.

The mosquito-borne disease originated in Africa and was discovered to be back in Brazil after hundreds of dead monkeys were found infected in the country’s Atlantic rainforest late last year.

Yellow fever is one of the world’s most deadly tropical diseases, causing symptoms such as muscle aches and fever, progressing to liver damage and kidney failure.

Typhoid – North Korea

A typhoid outbreak that began in June in the North Korean province of Ryanggang, on the China border, has the country’s health officials struggling to contain the spread of the diseas While there is scant detail on the outbreak, the report notes that typhoid related deaths are increasing among the older people.

The outbreak is attributable to the North’s poor water supply, sewerage system and the Yalu River as many local residents in Ryanggang Province drink the water from the river without boiling it.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 8 and 15 September 2017, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) notified WHO of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China.

Trichinosis – Russia

At least 17 people, including several children have contracted the parasitic infection, trichinosis, after eating smoked brown bear cub in Kataiga village in the Tomsk region of Russia. Local hunters gifted the meat to villagers. Some meat was smoked, some salted. In total, 29 cases of poisoning were detected in the region.

Trichinellosis, or trichinosis is a parasitic disease caused most commonly by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis. If someone ingests undercooked or raw meat with the encysted larvae, the stomach acid releases the larvae which mature to adults in the intestine.

African Countries Should Prepare For Black Death – WHO

South Africa is among nine countries identified by the World Health Organisation as priority areas to be prepared for the plague as the deadly disease spreads through Madagascar. Madagascar, which has travel and trade ties to South Africa, has experienced a large outbreak of plague, also known as the “black death”, since August.

The disease has claimed 124 lives in Madagascar since August 1, according to reports, and about 1200 suspected, probable and confirmed cases have been recorded so far.

WHO said countries should remain prepared – because of their travel and trade links with Madagascar. The list included Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 18 October – 24 October 2017

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that a very small event at Showa Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was detected on 17 October. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that the lava dome in Cleveland’s summit crater continued to grow, and by 15 October it covered an area of about 9,500 square meters with dimensions of 125 x 100 m. No significant change in the size of the dome was identified in satellite data from 15 to 19 October. During 16 and 21-23 October satellite data showed moderately elevated surface temperatures and a small steam plume was visible in web camera images. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 19-20 and 22-23 October ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.1 km (5,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NNE, NE, and E.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 13-20 October generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : On 19 October KVERT reported that gas-and-steam activity at Karymsky continued, and that quiet or cloudy conditions had been observed in satellite data since 3 October. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 18-24 October HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu’u ‘O’o Crater’s E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Surface lava flows were active above the pali and on the coastal plain.

Langila | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 17-18 and 20 October ash plumes from Langila rose 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, W, and NW.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya slightly increased compared to the previous week; there was an average of 47 explosions recorded per day during 16-22 October. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with an increase in signals indicating emissions and a low number of hybrid events. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 3.8 km above the crater rim and drifted 60 km NE, E, and SE. The MIROVA system detected four thermal anomalies. The report warned the public not to approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a plume comprised of re-suspended ash drifted about 230 km SE from the vicinity of the Sheveluch on 13 October. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images during 15-19 October. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on observations by PVMBG, webcam and satellite images, and model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 17-18 and 21-23 October ash plumes from Sinabung rose 2.4-4.6 km (8,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that an event at Turrialba at 0825 on 20 October generated an ash plume that rose 300 m above the crater rim and drifted NW.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical storm 27w (Saola), located approximately 533 nm south-southeast of Kadena AFB, is tracking northwestward at 09 knots.

Newsbytes:

Bulgaria – Three people are dead and several are missing after huge volumes of torrential rain hit the municipalities of Bourgas and Kameno on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast yesterday. Bourgas and surrounds were hit by deluges of water and partial states of emergency were declared in five settlements. Numerous houses were flooded and the residents were evacuated.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Vietnam: Update

After a brutal dengue season earlier this year in Vietnam, the numbers of cases are steadily decreasing. Through Oct. 15, the country has reported 152,924 cases of dengue, including 30 deaths.

Cholera Outbreaks in Eastern and Southern Africa

More than 104,095 cholera/acute watery diarrhea (AWD) cases and 1562 deaths (Case Fatality Rate: 1.5%) have been reported in 12 of 21 countries of Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) since the beginning of 2017. These countries include; Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 18 October – 24 October 2017

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that although foggy conditions at Agung occasionally prevented visual observations, during 18-24 October dense white plumes were seen rising as high as 500 m above the crater rim. Seismicity fluctuated but remained high, though BNPB reported that overall seismicity had decreased. According to BNPB a team launched a drone on 19 October and were able to capture video of the fumarolic emissions from several vents and cracks in the crater. The Alert Level remained at 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone at 9 km, and an additional expansion to 12 km in the SE, S, and SW directions.

Aoba | Vanuatu : According to a news article posted on 20 October, residents that had evacuated from Aoba after the eruption from a vent in Lake Voui were returning home. Based on analyses of satellite imagery and model data, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 22-23 October intermittent events generated low-level ash plumes that rose 2.4-3.7 km (8,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E.

Kirishimayama | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that the eruption at Shinmoe-dake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, began on 11 October and lasted almost continuously until the morning of 17 October. The eruption plume usually rose several hundred meters about the crater rim, though on 14 October the plume rose as high as 2.3 km. Sulfur dioxide flux exceeding 10,000 tons/day was also recorded. Cloudy weather conditions prevented webcam views during 19-20 October. Plumes rose 200-600 m on 21, 23, and 24 October. During an overflight on 24 October scientists observed a white plume rising from the active vent on the E side of the crater, and puddles in multiple low areas of the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Tinakula | Solomon Islands : Based on satellite data, the Wellington VAAC reported that an eruption at Tinakula began around 0620 on 21 October, producing a sulfur dioxide signature, and an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. Another eruption at 1040 generated an ash plume that rose significantly higher that the first, to an altitude of 10.7 (35,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. Later that day ash plumes rose to 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash emissions continued through at least 24 October, rising to altitudes of 3-3.7 (10,000-12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting E and W on 22 October, 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting S and SE on 23 October, and 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. with a SW drift on 24 October. A news article from 24 October stated that water supplies in the Reef Islands had been contaminated with ashfall, and that ashfall was also reported in Fenualoa, and likely in Nupani.