Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.1 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Thailand – The Bang Saphan Noi municipality was flooded again on Monday after overnight heavy rains pounded the town and nearby areas. The downpour made reservoirs overflow, flooding Bang Saphan Noi district. The water levels downstream are still rising. Municipality workers are reinforcing sandbags in the town centre to prevent more water flowing into the area.

Global Warming

Climate change is not only influencing extreme weather events, it’s causing them

Extreme weather events that spanned the globe in 2017 have been directly linked to — and in some cases were even caused by — continued warming of the planet via human influence through greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

For the second year in a row, the annual report from the American Meteorological Society found weather extremes that could not have happened without human-caused warming of the climate. Advances in scientific modeling and additional climbs in temperatures are making the connection between global warming and extreme weather much more concrete.

Scientists found that record warm waters in the Tasman Sea in 2017 and 2018 “were virtually impossible without global warming,” and they concluded that a crippling drought in East Africa that has led to food shortages for millions of people would not have occurred naturally before the Industrial Revolution, when humans began to interfere with the climate system.

Included in the 17 events identified in the report in which global warming played a role were major floods such as those with Hurricane Harvey, fires, heat waves over land and in the ocean, and even record low sunshine in Japan in August 2017.

The findings are part of an annual report titled “Explaining Extreme Events in 2017 from a Climate Perspective,” which reveals clear ties between recent extremes in weather and human influences of the climate

Environment

Scientists Reveal a Massive Biosphere of Life Hidden Under Earth’s Surface

Earth is not the home you think it is. Far below the scant surface spaces we inhabit, the planet is teeming with an incredibly vast and deep ‘dark biosphere’ of subterranean lifeforms that scientists are only just beginning to comprehend.

Hidden throughout this subsurface realm, some of the world’s deepest and oldest organisms thrive in places where life shouldn’t even exist, and in new research, scientists have quantified this ‘dark matter’ of the microbial world like never before.

In a preview of results from an epic 10-year collaboration by over 1,000 scientists, Lloyd and fellow researchers with the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) estimate the deep biosphere – the zone of life under Earth’s surface – occupies a volume of between 2 to 2.3 billion cubic kilometres (0.48 to 0.55 billion cubic miles).

That’s almost twice the volume of all the world’s oceans – another enormous natural environment that lies largely unexplored by humans.

And just like the oceans, the deep biosphere is an abundant source of countless lifeforms – a population totalling some 15 to 23 billion tonnes of carbon mass (between 245 to 385 times greater than the equivalent mass of all humans on the surface).

The findings, representing numerous studies conducted at hundreds of sites around the world, are based on analyses of microbes extracted from sediment samples sourced 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) under the seafloor, and drilled from surface mines and boreholes more than 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) deep.

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Space Events

Voyager 2 Spacecraft Reaches Interstellar Space

It’s time to say goodbye to one of the most storied explorers of our age: Voyager 2 has entered interstellar space, NASA announced Dec. 10.

Voyager 2, which launched in 1977, has spent more four decades exploring our solar system, most famously becoming the only probe ever to study Neptune and Uranus during planetary flybys. Now, it has joined its predecessor Voyager 1 beyond the bounds of our sun’s influence, a milestone scientists weren’t able to precisely predict when would occur.

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Disease

Plague count grows in Madagascar

In an update on the human plague situation in Madagascar this season, since early August, 124 cases of plague have been recorded with 91 bubonic form (73.4 %), 31 pulmonary form (25%), 1 septicemia case and one unspecified.

Ebola Update – DR Congo

In a update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Health Ministry is now reporting 498 cumulative cases (450 confirmed) and 285 deaths (237 confirmed).