Global Warming

Scientists Link Southern Ocean’s Rapid Warming to Human Activity

In the past few decades, the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica has gotten less salty and has warmed at roughly twice the rate of global oceans overall.

Now, in a new study, scientists found convincing evidence that these trends are the result of two human influences: climate change from greenhouse gas emissions and the depletion of the ozone layer.

The research, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, was authored by scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

Using climate models, data from the Argo global network of floating ocean sensors and past records, the researchers determined that Antarctica’s warming and freshening waters are directly linked to ozone depletion and greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to natural variabilities.

This is the first time such a connection has been found specifically for the Southern Ocean, lead author Neil Swart of Environment and Climate Change Canada told Canada’s National Observer.

“While the influence of ozone depletion and greenhouse gas increases on the Southern Ocean have been suggested for some time, our research provides the evidence that links the observed changes to these mechanisms, and defines their relative importance,” Swart said.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Croatia, Italy

A wildfire whipped by strong winds has forced dozens of people to evacuate part of a peninsula in southern Croatia as the army joined local efforts to fight the flames. Authorities said the wind prevented firefighting planes from helping ground teams and pushed the fire toward the village of Mokalo on the Peljesac peninsula. Strong winds also disrupted ferry traffic between the Croatian islands, and on bridges and highways along the coastline.

Tinder-dry conditions on the other side of the Adriatic Sea have caused similar problems in Italy. A huge forest fire which broke out in northern Tuscany on Monday night forced the evacuation of around 700 residents from their homes. The fire, which broke out near Pisa was thought to be most critical near the towns of Calci, Montemagno, San Lorenzo, Zambra, Caprona and Noce.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 19 September – 25 September 2018

Ketoi | Kuril Islands (Russia) : Based on a report from SVERT the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 21 September an ash plume from Ketoi drifted NE.

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that, based on visual observations and satellite data, a lava flow at Piton de la Fournaise had traveled 2.8 km S and then SE, and was 500 m from the S wall of Enclos Fouqué by 18 September. It was 660 m wide at the widest part. Volcanic tremor was at a low level and relatively stable on 19 September, and then decreased on 20 September. During fieldwork on 21 September volcanologists observed three active lava fountains that were continuing to build the cone. The E wall was 30 m high, particularly vertical, and appeared unstable with numerous fractures. The lava flows were well-channeled and had advanced several hundred meters since 19 September, threatening an OVPF seismic station. Volcanic tremor levels fluctuated during 21-22 September. Deposits of Pele’s hair were noted in the Grand Coude area (8-10 km SW) on 22 September. During an overflight that same day volcanologists noted that the three lava fountains in the cone were visible, and lava tubes had formed near the uppermost part of the channel. Volcanic tremor had doubled in intensity on 23 September. Compared to the beginning of the eruption on 15 September the sulfur dioxide emissions had decreased by a factor of six; gas plumes were small and drifted S and W, but were confined to the Enclos Fouqué.

Sarychev Peak | Matua Island (Russia) : KVERT reported a continuing eruption at Sarychev Peak (the NW part of Mantua Island) through 21 September. Island observers reported explosions at 1010 on 18 September that sent ash plumes to 4.5 km (14,800 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes identified in satellite images during 17-18 September drifted 265 km E. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Semisopochnoi | United States : AVO reported that during 19-25 September seismicity at Semisopochnoi remained elevated, alternating between periods of continuous and intermittent bursts of tremor. Tremor bursts at 1319 on 21 September and at 1034 on 22 September produced airwaves detected on a regional infrasound array on Adak Island; no ash emissions were identified above the low cloud deck in satellite data, and the infrasound detections likely reflected an atmospheric change instead of volcanic activity. The Aviation Color Code (ACC) remained at Yellow and Volcano Alert Level (VAL) remained at Advisory.

Ulawun | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : According to the Darwin VACC, a pilot observed an ash plume from Ulawun rising to an altitude of 3.7 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting W. Ash was not confirmed in satellite images, though weather clouds obscured views.

Veniaminof | United States : AVO reported that the eruption at Veniaminof continued during 19-25 September, as evidenced by nighttime incandescence recorded by the FAA web camera in Perryville (35 km S), elevated surface temperatures in thermal satellite data, and elevated seismic activity. A gas plume was occasionally visible during clear daytime conditions. A lava flow had traveled 800 m down the S flank of the summit cone by 14 September, though satellite images from 18 September indicated no further advancement. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Storm Kirk is located about 470 mi…755 km e of Barbados and about 595 mi…955 km ese of Martinique with maximum sustained winds…45 mph…75 km/h. Present movement…w or 280 degrees at 18 mph…30 km/h.

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Rosa is located about 470 mi…755 km wsw of Manzanillo Mexico with maximum sustained winds…65 mph…100 km/h. Present movement…wnw or 290 degrees at 10 mph…17 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Typhoon 28w (Trami), located approximately 339 nm south-southeast of Kadena AFB, Japan, is tracking north-northwestward at 04 knots.

Tropical depression (td) 29w (Twenty-nine), located approximately 579 nm east-northeast of Iwo To, Japan, is tracking north-northwestward at 13 knots.

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Global Warming

Climate Change Will Ravage Us National Parks

America’s national parks have warmed twice as fast as the US average and could see some of the worst effects of climate change, according to a new study.

Most of Joshua Tree national park could become uninhabitable for its eponymous trees, glaciers will continue to melt away at Glacier national park, and many other of America’s most treasured beauty spots could be rendered virtually unrecognizable by climate change, Patrick Gonzalez, the lead author of the study, writes in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Even the tiniest of creatures are at risk in the worst-case predictions: the American pika, a small alpine mammal, may no longer be able to survive on park land.

Alaska parks would see the most extreme heat increases, and the US Virgin Islands parks face 28% less rainfall by the end of the century. In Glacier Bay national park, the Muir Glacier melted 640 meters between 1948 and 2000.

In Yellowstone national park, trees are dying because bark beetles are thriving in warmer winters. Yellowstone will also become far more vulnerable to wildfires. The area burned could be up to three to 10 times higher by 2100. Joshua Tree national park in California could lose up to 90% of the habitat suitable for its namesake trees.

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Disease

Chikungunya – Sudan

More than 11,000 people in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala have been infected over the past month by Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, but no deaths have been reported, a Sudanese official said on Tuesday.

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species and can cause severe symptoms, which develop three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, include high fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. There are no dedicated treatments or vaccines for Chikungunya. In rare cases it is fatal.

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.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Atlantic Ocean: Sub-Tropical Storm Leslie is located about 1270 mi…2045 km w of the Azores with maximum sustained winds…40 mph…65 km/h. Present movement…s or 180 degrees at 6 mph…9 km/h.

Tropical Depression Kirk is located about 950 mi…1530 km wsw of the southernmost Cabo Verde islands and about 1615 mi…2600 km e of the Windward islands with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…w or 270 degrees at 24 mph…39 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Super Typhoon 28w (Trami), located approximately 478 nm south-southeast of Kedena AFB, Japan, is tracking northwestward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Tunisia – Torrential rains and flooding in northeastern Tunisia have left at least four people dead. Severe thunderstorms have hit the North African country since the middle of last week, flooding roads and damaging property. Some areas on Saturday received as much as 197mm of rainfall, half the country’s annual precipitation.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Wyoming, USA

The Roosevelt fire has burned more than 60 square miles and destroyed at least three houses since it started Sept. 15. A 53-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 191 was closed between the communities of Daniel and Hoback Junction. Authorities say more than 250 residences in western Wyoming have been ordered evacuated after a wildfire spread toward a state highway that is one of the only ways out of the area.