Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits the Philippine Islands.

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

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 07b (Gaja), located approximately 623 nm south-southwest of Calcutta, India, is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Kuwait – State-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has suspended work at all of its companies on Wednesday due to the extreme weather which has hit the Gulf state in recent days bringing heavy rains and floods.

Venice – Flooding Will Continue

The spectacular centerpiece of Venice, St Mark’s Square, now floods more than 60 times a year, up from four times a year in 1900. Recent storms reportedly helped cover over 70% of the city in water, which rose by up to 156cm above its normal level.

Upcoming research conducted with our colleagues at the National Research Center of Venice (CNR) shows that, without intervention, within 50 years this kind of flooding could occur with nearly every high tide. In fact, some experts have argued that Venice will be gone by the year 2100.

The increase in flooding in Venice is due to the combined effects of land subsidence causing the city to sink, and climate change causing the global sea level to rise. But the city’s chosen solution to the problem, an unfinished scheme of 78 storm gates known as MOSE, is likely to cause damage to the ecological health of the surrounding lagoon and, in the long run, could have no effect on Venice’s preservation.

Venetians have been managing Venice lagoon with engineering since the 12th century. The city is built on 118 small islands drained by a network of canals and located within a tidal lagoon sat between the Italian coast and several barrier islands known as the Murazzi. Interventions have included diverting six major rivers away from the lagoon to stop its waterways filling with silt, rebuilding and extending the Murazzi and reducing the inlets between them from the original nine to three.

Venetians have also combated flooding by periodically raising pavements and walkways and building embankments, but this is no longer possible without damaging the city’s architecture. So in 2003, the MOSE project was launched as a way of protecting Venice from the worsening floods.

Records held in the city show the Venice sea level has consistently risen by a total of 26cm since 1870. Around 12cm of that comes from the fact that Venice’s islands are subsiding because of the amount of water removed from the aquifer beneath Venice lagoon. Further measurements show that sea level is still rising 2.4mm a year.

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Wildlife

Shorebirds in Peril

Across the planet, shorebirds are in serious trouble. In the past 50 years their well-documented North American populations are estimated to have plummeted by at least 70 percent on average, and shorebirds elsewhere are hardly doing better, if not worse.

Reasons are many—the shorelines and mudflats where the birds feed are polluted or disappearing, and many of the migrants among them struggle to find food and resting places in areas where they used to. Some are also targeted by hunters.

For a species to survive in the face of such an onslaught, a large number of healthy baby birds need to enter the population each year. Biologists have long believed this is one of the reasons many birds migrate north to breed; the challenging Arctic climate should keep them from being bothered by nest predators as frequently as birds in the tropics.

The results of a large analysis featuring data on 38,191 nests in 237 shorebird populations around the world that ornithologists have monitored during breeding seasons by looking for signs of predation such as broken egg shells, published last week in Science, are pretty clear: In the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s tropical shorebird nests were indeed suffering the most predation—but since then, as nests around the world have been losing more eggs to predators, the ones in the Arctic have been especially hard-hit. The tropics did see a statistically insignificant increase, but the numbers in the Arctic are staggering: Just a few decades ago only one Arctic egg in three would be lost to predators. Today two out of three are eaten.

The researchers believe climate change is a major culprit. “Our analysis shows that the faster the annual mean temperature has increased, the higher the predation on eggs has become.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – California, USA

The “Camp Fire” in Northern California has scorched some 130,000 acres and is 35 percent contained, according to officials Tuesday night. In addition, the “Camp Fire” death toll has now reached 48. Statewide there are a total of 50 deaths.

Some 9,000 firefighters have been battling the wildfires, which have become the deadliest and costliest in state history. Search teams have been using power saws and cadaver dogs to try to locate victims of the “Camp Fire.”

Those who survived have been scrambling to find a place to stay. In Southern California, evacuation orders were lifted for many of the areas affected by the “Woolsey Fire,” but some came home only to be told to leave again.

Camp Fire

Location: Butte County

130,000 acres burned

35 percent contained

48 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured

228 people unaccounted for

8,817 structures destroyed, 7,600 of them homes

Woolsey Fire

Location: Los Angeles County, Ventura County

97,114 acres burned (roughly the size of Denver)

40 percent contained

2 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured

Some 370 structures destroyed, 57,000 in danger

Hill Fire

Location: Ventura County

4,531 acres burned

92 percent contained