Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the Nias region, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

California, USA – A storm that brought more than an inch of rain in an hour on Thursday afternoon has triggered flash flooding in places hit by the massive Camp Fire in Northern California, sending trees toppling and stranding motorists caught in high waters, according to officials. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued across swaths of Butte County where rain is expected to hammer the area over the next three days. It is unclear when the latest evacuation orders might be lifted.

California, USA – San Francisco received almost an inch of rain between Wednesday and Thursday nights, with the heaviest of the downpour coming overnight flooding numerous freeways in the Bay area.

Global Warming

Weaker Ocean Currents

A new study has found evidence that the ocean circulation in the North Atlantic has become the weakest of the past 1,500 years, mainly as a result of a warming climate.

Many climate models predict a weakening, or even a collapse, of this branch of the ocean circulation under global warming — partly due to a surge of fresh water from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong write in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has far-reaching impacts on the climate from North America to Europe, and can influence the monsoon rainfall in South Asia and Africa.

CO2 Emissions Surge

Global emissions of the most prevalent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, rose to a new historic high last year, according to a U.N. report that warns the time for action to avoid disastrous climate change is running out.

It adds that emissions began rising again during 2017 for the first time in four years. Levels of accumulated atmospheric CO2 reached a global average of 405.5 parts per million during 2017, almost 50 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3 to 5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 F) warmer and sea level was 10 to 20 meters (33 to 66 feet) higher,” said World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Proserpine, Queensland, Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 51.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 46.1 degrees Celsius) at Oimyakon, Siberia.

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 100 wildfires burned across Queensland in eastern Australia on Thursday, the second day of evacuations and rapidly changing conditions affecting thousands of people during a sweltering heat wave.

Conditions improved on Thursday, but residents remain in danger as the heat wave is expected to continue for days.

On Wednesday, when there were as many as 190 fires, the government rated the danger “catastrophic” for the first time in the state’s history. Schools were closed and there were scattered reports of property damage, but there were no immediate reports of any deaths.

Disease

Yellow Fever – South Sudan

The South Sudan Ministry of Health on Thursday declared a Yellow Fever (YF) outbreak in Sakure, Nzara County, Gbudue state. Addressing a press conference in Juba, the Acting Minister of Health, urged the general public to be vaccinated against yellow fever to protect themselves from the risk of the yellow fever virus.

Volcanos

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

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that four events at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) were recorded during 19-22 November, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 1.6 km above the crater rim. Material was ejected 500-700 m from the crater. Occasional, very small events occurred during 22-26 November. Crater incandescence was visible at night during 20-21 November, for the first time since 20 September, and continued through 26 November. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 21-27 November ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.5-2.1 km (5,000-7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE, E, and SE.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 15-23 November that sent ash plumes to 3.2 km (10,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted NE and S. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that on 26 November an ash plume from Ibu was identified in satellite images rising to 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting SE. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that events at Anak Krakatau were recorded at 0611 on 24 November, at 0810 on 25 November, and at 0900 and 1037 on 26 November, each lasting between 30 and 42 seconds. Ash plumes from the events rose 300-600 m and drifted NE and SW; the ash plumes from the 1037 event were dense and black. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4); residents and visitors were warned not to approach the volcano within 2 km of the crater.

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 22-26 November intermittent events at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater generated plumes that rose as high as 2.1 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 16-22 November the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater grew at a rate of 2,600 cubic meters per day, slower than the previous week. By 21 November the volume of the dome, based on photos taken from the SE, was an estimated 308,000 cubic meters. White emissions of variable density rose a maximum of 125 m above the summit. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 24-27 November Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney Crater ejected material as high as 25 m above the crater rim. As many as three lava flows were active on the NW flanks, advancing towards Cerro Chino. Minor avalanches of material descended the SE flank during 26-27 November.

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 0237 on 27 November a hydrothermal explosion at Rincón de la Vieja produced a plume of water vapor and gas that rose 600 m above the crater rim and drifted SW.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that an average of 20 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 19-25 November. Long-period seismic events were recorded, and hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 2.7 km above the crater rim and drifted 40 km NW and N. MIROVA detected six thermal anomalies, and on 22 November the sulfur-dioxide gas flux was high at 3,000 tons per day. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Sangay | Ecuador : IG reported that since 8 August activity at Sangay was characterized by the extrusion of lava flows on the ESE flank and ash emissions that rose between 500 and 1,500 m and mainly drifted W and NW. Lava flows were 1-2 km long, though block avalanches from the flow fronts traveled additionally as far as 5 km. The seismic network recorded more than 50 signals per day indicating explosions. The activity continued at least through 21 November; the report noted that this phase has lasted longer than any other since 2015.

Santa Maria | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 24-27 November explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated ash plumes that rose 700-900 m and drifted SW, causing ashfall in Monte Claro. Avalanches of material descended the SE and NE flanks of the lava dome.

Semisopochnoi | United States : AVO reported that no evidence of activity at Semisopochnoi had been detected since an explosion was recorded in infrasound data on 31 October. The satellite link for transmitting seismic data failed on 1 November, though no activity was observed in satellite or infrasound data since then. As a result, the Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow and Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory (both are the second lowest levels on four-level scales) on 21 November.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 16-17 and 19-20 November. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that at 0710 on 22 November an event at Turrialba generated an ash plume that rose 100 m above the crater rim and drifted W. The next day there were frequent pulses of ash. During 23-25 November occasional Strombolian explosions ejected lava bombs that were deposited near the crater; residents of Cascajal de Coronado reported hearing several booming sounds. Ash plumes rose as high as 500 m. During 26-27 November passive emissions with small quantities of ash were visible. Minor ashfall was reported in San Jose (Cascajal de Coronado and Dulce Nombre), San Pedro Montes de Oca, and neighborhoods of Heredia.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Myanmar-India border.

5.1 earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits the central east Pacific rise.

Mystery Indian Ocean seismic waves

Mysterious seismic waves in the Indian Ocean that were picked up by monitoring stations from Madagascar to Canada three weeks ago have baffled scientists.

Researchers and earthquake enthusiasts who spotted the signals have narrowed down the origin to a region just off the coast of the island Mayotte.

The slow waves detected on November 11 rumbled for more than 20 minutes, unbeknownst to most people.

They are similar to those typically seen after large earthquakes, which are known to travel great distances – but, no such earthquake took place.

Theories as to what caused the cryptic rumble have ranged from a slow earthquake or underwater volcanic eruption to an undetected meteor strike.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Australia – Torrential rain and gale force winds continued t lash Australia’s biggest city Sydney on Wednesday and Thursday morning causing commuter chaos, flooding streets, railway stations and homes, grounding flights and leaving hundreds of people without electricity.

Global Warming

Global warming increases the risk of an extinction domino effect

The complex network of interdependencies between plants and animals multiplies the species at risk of extinction due to environmental change, according to a JRC study.

In the case of global warming, predictions that fail to take into account this cascading effect might underestimate extinctions by up to 10 times.

As an obvious, direct consequence of climate change, plants and animals living in a given area are driven to extinction when the local environmental conditions become incompatible with their tolerance limits, just like fish in an aquarium with a broken thermostat.

However, there are many elusive drivers of species loss that go beyond the direct effects of environmental change (and human activity) which we still struggle to understand.

In particular, it is becoming clearer that co-extinctions (the disappearance of consumers following the depletion of their resources) could be a major culprit in the ongoing biodiversity crisis.

While the concept of co-extinction is supported by a sound and robust theoretical background, it is often overlooked in empirical research because it’s extremely difficult to assess.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Thousands of people were being evacuated from their homes in northeast Australia late on Wednesday, as bushfires raged across Queensland state amid a scorching heatwave. More than 100 fires continue to burn across the state but favourable conditions overnight allowed firefighters to make some progress on one major fire at Gracemere, near Rockhampton.

About 8,000 people were told to leave the town of Gracemere, south of the central coast area of Rockhampton, as a fast-moving blaze threatened homes.

Early on Thursday, residents of two more communities – Campwin Beach and Sarina Beach, south of Mackay – were woken by police and emergency text messages telling them they must leave.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 21 November – 27 November 2018

Fuego | Guatemala : colourOn 23 November INSIVUMEH reported that during the previous few days moderate explosions at Fuego generated shock waves that vibrated structures within 20 km. Ash plumes from the explosions rose 1.3 km above the cone in the summit crater and drifted 20 km W and SW, causing ashfall in areas downwind including Panimaché (8 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Palo Verde Estate, and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Incandescent material was ejected 150 m high, causing avalanches, some that traveled long distances in the Las Lajas (SE), Ceniza (SSW), and Seca (W) drainages and reached vegetated areas. During 24-25 November there were 12-15 weak-to-moderate explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km and drifted 20-25 km W and SW. Shock waves continued to vibrate local structures, and ashfall was again reported in Panimaché, El Porvenir, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde Estate, and San Pedro Yepocapa. Moderate-to-strong Vulcanian explosions on 26 November generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.2 km and drifted N. The explosions were heard, and shock waves felt, mostly within 25 km, though some explosions were audible to residents of Guatemala City (city center is about 40 km ENE). Explosions continued the next day at a rate of 10-15 per hour. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted 20-25 km W and SW. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high, and avalanches of material descended multiple drainages. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1314 on 25 November an eruption at Karangetang produced an ash plume that rose at least 500 m above the crater rim; weather clouds prevented clear views of the plume. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Orange, though the Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 21-26 November white steam plumes periodically emitted from Mayon rose as high as 750 m and drifted WSW and SW. Crater incandescence was visible at night during 24-27 November. Two phreatic explosions were recorded during 0759 and 0805 on 26 November. The events generated grayish ash plumes that rose 300-500 m and drifted SW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (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.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that 16 explosions at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater were recorded during 16-22 November. The highest ash plume rose 2 km, and material was ejected 300 m from the crater. Ashfall was reported in an area 4 km SSW on 17 November. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Veniaminof | United States : Ash emissions from the cone in Veniaminof’s ice-filled summit caldera significantly increased overnight during 20-21 November, prompting AVO to raise the Aviation colour Code to Red and the Volcano Alert Level to Warning (the highest levels on four-level scales). Ash emissions rose to below 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted more than 240 km SE. On 21 November observers and webcam views in Perryville (35 km SE) indicated continuous ash emissions through most of the day; ash plumes drifted SE, extending as far as 400 km by around 1445. A short eruptive pulse was recorded during 1526-1726, and then afterwards ash plumes rose to below 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Low-altitude ash emissions on 22 November drifted 100 km S. Minor ashfall was reported in Perryville. AVO lowered the Aviation colour Code and Volcano Alert Level to Orange and Watch, respectively, because of decreased ash emissions. Elevated thermal anomalies were identified in satellite data overnight, and incandescence was visible from a Perryville webcam, suggesting continuing lava effusion which had been obscured by the increased period of ash emissions. Lava effusion was persistent through 27 November.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Britain – Freezing fog caused travel chaos across Britain on Tuesday as the UK braced itself for Storm Diana’s 80mph winds. Hundreds of flights serving London airports were cancelled or delayed amid the thick fog and by noon some 62 flights to or from London Heathrow on Tuesday were cancelled and a further 380 were delayed by more than 15 minutes. Storm Diana will bring gales of up to 80mph to Britain and Ireland amid warnings that homes and business could be flooded with heavy rain expected. Train services were also affected on Tuesday with drivers having to slow down because they couldn’t see through the fog.

Australia – Swathes of coastal New South Wales around Sydney have been deluged with more than a month’s worth of rainfall in less than a day, with the State Emergency Service preparing to mobilise thousands of volunteers and police warning commuters to stay off the roads. Two people have already died. The floods have been described as the worst rain event in 44 years.

Wildlife

Biggest coral reseeding project launches on Great Barrier Reef

Scientists have launched the largest-ever attempt to regenerate coral on the endangered Great Barrier Reef by harvesting millions of the creatures’ eggs and sperm during their annual spawning.

The researchers said Wednesday they plan to grow coral larvae from the harvested eggs and return these to areas of the reef which have been badly damaged by climate-related coral bleaching.

“Our team will be restoring hundreds of square meters with the goal of getting to square kilometres in the future, a scale not attempted previously,” the researchers said.

The “Larval Restoration Project” launch was timed to coincide with the annual coral spawn on the reef, which began earlier this week and will last only about 48 to 72 hours.

“Our approach to reef restoration aims to buy time for coral populations to survive and evolve until emissions are capped and our climate stabilises.”

The scientists hope that coral which have survived bleaching have a greater tolerance to rising temperatures so that a breeding population produced from this year’s spawn will grow into coral better able to survive future bleaching events.

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