Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits the Philippines.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits offshore Guerrero, Mexico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Sub-Tropical Depression Leslie is located about 1165 mi…1870 km wsw of the Azores with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…se or 140 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression Twenty-E is located about 365 mi…590 km ssw of Manzanillo Mexico with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…w or 280 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Super Typhoon 28w (Trami), located approximately 401 nm south of Kadena AFB, Japan, is tracking north-northeastward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

India – Himachal Pradesh continued to experience heavy rainfall on Sunday and the rivers were flowing in full spate. Roads, bridges, houses and vehicles were washed away in many places and the Beas waters even flooded the Manali-Chandigarh highway. There was heavy snowfall in Lahaul Spiti, Kullu and Kinnaur districts too, with 1.5 feet snow recorded at Rohtang Pass. Flooding in the Beas wreaked havoc in Kullu district and 19 people, including two girls, were stranded near Dobhi village due to a flash flood in an adjoining nullah.

Global Warming

Climate change kills Antarctica’s ancient moss beds

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Emerging from the ice for a brief growing season every Antarctic summer, the lush green mosses of East Antarctica are finally succumbing to climate change.

That is according to a study of the small, ancient and hardy plants – carried out over more than a decade which revealed that vegetation in East Antarctica is changing rapidly in response to a drying climate.

“Visiting Antarctica, you expect to see icy, white landscapes,” said lead scientist Prof Sharon Robinson from the University of Wollongong, in Australia. “But in some areas there are lush, green moss beds that emerge from under the snow for a growing period of maybe six weeks.”

While West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula are some of the fastest warming places of the planet, East Antarctica has not yet experienced much climate warming, so the scientists did not expect to see much change in the vegetation there.

“After a pilot study in 2000, we set up monitoring in 2003. When we returned in 2008, all these green moss beds had turned dark red, indicating they were severely stressed. It was a dramatic change.

The red pigments are the sunscreen and drought stress protective pigments they produce to protect themselves – antioxidant and UV screening compounds.

Grey means they are dying.

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By dating the mosses, the researchers could tell they have been growing here for hundreds of years. As they grow, the mosses preserve a record of how dry or wet the environment is along their shoots – preserving a record of Antarctic coastal climate over the centuries.

[They might be only] 4-14 cm tall, but [the moss beds] are home to tiny animals and fungi and lichens and algal cells – think of them as a forest and at least 40% of it is suffering drought.

“The mosses are our sentinel for the whole ecosystem.”

Environment

Planet Earth Wobbles As It Spins

Since 1899, the Earth’s axis of spin has shifted about 34 feet (10.5 meters). Now, research quantifies the reasons why and finds that a third is due to melting ice and rising sea levels, particularly in Greenland — placing the blame on the doorstep of anthropogenic climate change.

Another third of the wobble is due to land masses expanding upward as the glaciers retreat and lighten their load. The final portion is the fault of the slow churn of the mantle, the viscous middle layer of the planet.

Also, Earth’s spin isn’t perfectly even, as scientists know thanks to slight wiggles in the movements of the stars across the night sky that have been recorded for thousands of years. Since the 1990s, space-based measurements have also confirmed that the Earth’s axis of rotation drifts by a few centimeters a year, generally toward Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada.

Researchers knew that a proportion of this wobble was caused by glacial isostatic adjustment, an ongoing process since the end of the last ice age 16,000 years ago. As the glaciers retreat, they relieve the land underneath of their mass. Gradually, over thousands of years, the land responds to this relief by rising like bread dough. (In some places on the edges of the ancient ice sheets, the land might also collapse because the ice had forced it to bulge upward.)

The remaining proportion of Earth’s wobble is accounted for by the melting of the Greenland ice cap and melting glaciers redistributing mass as well as the convective movement of the Earth’s mantle as hotter material rises and cooler material sinks.

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Disease

Cholera – Zimbabwe – Update

In a follow-up on the Zimbabwe cholera outbreak, the Ministry of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe says the cholera outbreak that was officially declared earlier this month remains persistent. As of 21 September 2018, a total of 5891 suspected cases with 38 deaths (case fatality ratio 0.65%) have been reported from six provinces.