Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the western Pacific: Typhoon (td) 03w (Jelawat), located approximately 256 nm west of Agrihan, is tracking northeastward at 06 knots.

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Environment

Sahara Desert Expanding

The Sahara — the world’s biggest hot desert — is getting even bigger. In fact, it is currently about 10 percent larger than it was nearly a century ago, and scientists suggest that climate change is partly responsible.

In a new study, researchers examined rainfall data gathered across Africa, consulting records dating back to 1920 and noting how changing conditions affected regions around the boundaries of the great desert.

They discovered that while some natural climate cycles could partly explain reduced rainfall and desert expansion southward, human-driven climate change is also playing a part. And if climate change continues unchecked, the Sahara’s slow growth will likely continue.

Disease

Chicago, USA: Severe bleeding reported after using synthetic cannabinoids

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning people about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids -often called fake weed, K2 and spice- after a number of people in Chicago who used synthetic cannabinoids suffered life-threatening bleeding. Additional cases have been reported across the state. Eight people in Chicago and 32 people in Illinois have suffered severe bleeding, some of whom are in the ICU with threatening illness, after reporting using synthetic cannabinoids.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) issued a threat warning for the country’s coastline located within 300 km of the quake’s epicentre, but later advised that the threat had passed. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The shallow quake struck close to the coast, around 100 miles (162 km) southwest of Rabaul, a much more remote region than the country’s mountainous mainland highlands where a magnitude 7.5 tremor struck on 26 February, killing 100 people.

5.8 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.7 earthquake hits Tajikistan.

5.5 earthquake hits near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan.

Two 5.3 earthquakes hit New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua and New Guinea.

5.1 earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua and New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the western Pacific: Typhoon (td) 03w (Jelawat), located approximately 388 nm north-northwest of Ulithi, is tracking northeastward at 08 knots.

Newsbytes:

Siberia – The government of Russia’s Republic of Tuva in southern Siberia says the region has been hit by floods triggered by melting snow. In a March 29 statement, the Tuva government said 88 homes were hit by flooding in the Kyzyl district, adding that hundreds of residents were affected by the floods, while rescue teams are providing people with shelter and food. Authorities in the neighboring Republic of Khakasia announced a state of emergency on March 28 as snowmelt caused massive floods there as well. Authorities in the nearby Altai Krai, where a state of emergency was declared on March 27, said on March 28 that two men had died in the floods.

Texas, USA – Severe thunderstorms caused flash floods in parts of Texas on March 28. The Woodlands cataloged the most rainfall in the Greater Houston area over a 24-hour period, with 6.3 inches recorded by the National Weather Service. In Harris County, rainfall ranged from a high of 5.56 inches in Westfield to a low of 1.1 inches near Holcombe. Houston meteorologists confirmed that a weak tornado producing winds of 60 mph went through Iowa Colony in Brazoria County Thursday morning. The West Fork of San Jacinto River is expected to rise above 51 feet through mid-day, causing moderate flooding.

Wildlife

Puffing Pachyderm

Wildlife experts say they are baffled at footage captured of an Asian elephant “smoking” in a southern Indian forest — a behavior never seen before.

Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society filmed the female pachyderm at Nagarhole National Park picking up lumps of charcoal with its truck, placing them in its mouth and exhaling with a large plume of ash.

In a self-medicating behavior known as zoopharmacognosy, the elephant could have been using the charcoal as a laxative since it is plentiful in the forest after wildfires or lightning strikes, researchers say.

Screen Shot 2018 03 30 at 1 04 56 PM

Global Warming

Ancient climate change catastrophe

The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum is the time considered one of Earth’s best analogues to this era of modern, human-caused global warming. The clues it left behind might help stop history repeating itself.

The PETM is the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum — an ungainly name for the time that’s considered one of Earth’s best analogues to this era of modern, human-caused global warming. In a matter of a few thousand years, huge amounts of carbon were injected into the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to rise between five and eight degrees Celsius. The rapid climate change disrupted weather, transformed landscapes, acidified oceans and triggered extinctions. It took more than 150,000 years for the world to recover.

If history is allowed to repeat itself, the consequences for modern life could be similarly long-lasting.

The first major evidence for the PETM was uncovered in the early 1990s by scientists looking at the transition from the Paleocene, the epoch after the extinction of the dinosaurs, to the Eocene, when modern mammal orders first emerged. Chalk deposits at the bottom of the ocean began to dissolve as carbon dioxide made seawater more acidic. Fossils of tiny, deep sea-dwelling creatures showed evidence of an oxygen shortage — a sign that the water was getting warmer. Everywhere in the ocean, creatures adapted to the changed environment, or else they died out.

On land, mammals got smaller and smaller. Ancient ancestors of horses, tiny to begin with, shrunk 30 percent to the size of house cats.

Weather also got wilder. Geologists have uncovered huge rocks that were carried long distances by intense floods — something that happens when dry spells are followed by extreme rains.

The pace at which we are changing the climate outstrips anything in the geologic record. The carbon surge that set off the PETM unfolded over the course of as long as 5,000 years. At our current rate, humans will produce a comparable surge in a matter of a few centuries.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) in Nawabshah, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 90.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.8 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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

More than 200 firefighters are still battling peat fires that have been burning in south-west Victoria for weeks, creating a carbon monoxide poisoning risk for local residents.

Specialist compressed air foam trucks were due to arrive in the region on Friday to help minimise smoke and carbon monoxide around the main fire near Cobrico, east of Warrnambool.

That blaze now covers 58 hectares and is seven metres deep. It is burning in a similar fashion to briquettes, releasing large quantities of smoke.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 21 March – 27 March 2018

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : In a VONA, PVMBG reported that at 1009 on 26 March an event at Agung generated an ash plume that rose at least to an altitude of 3.6 km (11,650 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 4-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that there were 20 events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 19-26 March, two of which were explosive. The first explosive event, at 0138 on 21 March, generated a plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and into weather clouds. At 0228 on 26 March the second explosive event ejected tephra as far as 900 m from the crater and produced a plume that rose 2.8 km. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-25 March ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SE, and E.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 18 and 21-22 March generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.8 km (5,900 ft) a.s.l. Ashfall was reported in Severo-Kurilsk on 17 and 21 March. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 21-27 March HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Surface lava flows were active above and on Pulama pali. Webcams recorded incandescence from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater, and increased spattering which began on 22 March. Lava flowed out of a vent on the SE part of the crater onto the crater floor on 25 March, and expanded over the next few days.

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 21-27 March activity at Mayon included periods of gravity-driven lava advancement, gas-and-steam emissions, rockfalls, and quiescence. Lava flows were about 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 1.9 km long in the Mi-isi (S), Bonga (SE), and Basud (E) drainages, respectively. Steam-and-gas emissions drifted mainly SW. At 1039 and 2133 on 23 March pyroclastic flows traveled 4-5 km down the Mi-isi drainage, producing light brown ash clouds that drifted SW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 0-5 scale) and PHIVOLCS reminded residents to stay away from the 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the SSW and ENE flanks.

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that during an overflight of Popocatépetl on 16 March scientists observed a small lava dome, number 78, at the bottom of the inner crater. The dome was 50 m in diameter and 30 m thick, and produced gas plumes visible above the main crater rim. The inner crater was 320 m in diameter and about 100 m deep; remnants of the previous dome had been deposited on the walls of the inner crater. Each day during 21-27 March there were 20-233 emissions, often containing slight amounts of ash. Incandescence from the crater was visible at night. Plumes of gas and water vapor drifted WSW, SSW, SSE, and SE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya was similar compared to the previous week; explosions averaged 17 per day during 19-25 March. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.7 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km SW. The sulfur dioxide flux was high, at 5,180 tons per day on 21 March. At 0853 on 7 March an ash plume rose 3.5 km and drifted more than 30 km NW. The report noted that the public should not to approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 18-19 and 21-22 March. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : Based on JMA notices and satellite data, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 22-23 and 25-26 March events at Suwanosejima produced plumes that rose 1.2-2.4 km (4,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE and NW.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that an event at Turrialba at 0605 on 23 March generated a small ash plume that rose 100 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Villarrica | Chile : On 20 March POVI reported very weak and sporadic incandescence emanating from Villarrica’s crater, noting very low rates of activity since mid-December 2017.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua and New Guinea.

5.2 earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.1 earthquake hits the Gulf of Alaska.

5.0 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

Disease

Listeriosis – South Africa

In South Africa, the outbreak of listeriosis, a serious foodborne disease, has been ongoing since the start of 2017. Between 1 January 2017 through 14 March 2018, 978 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) from all provinces.

Following the identification of the source of this outbreak, a food processing company, the incidence of cases has dropped dramatically after a mass recall of affected products.

Epicurve

Nigeria – Mystery Disease

An outbreak of a strange disease in Dungurawa community, Dawakin Tofa local government area of Kano state has killed at least 10 people mostly children below the age of nine.

Although the children showed signs thought to be malaria, this tested have been found to be negative. A diagnostic team from the local government has been sent to the village to determine the cause of the deaths.