Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm 02w (Wutip), located approximately 557 nm north-northwest of Yap, is tracking west-northwestward at 12 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 16p (tc) (Pola), located approximately 377 nm south-southeast of Suva, Fiji, is tracking southward at 12 knots.

NewsBytes:

Peru – Two more people have been killed in a landslide in Peru, bringing to at least 50 the number of people who have died since the rainy season started in September, according to the Centre for National Emergency Operations. The landslide was triggered by torrential rain in the city of Huancavelica, where hospitals and schools have been inundated, and severe flooding has blocked roads and damaged bridges, the centre said. Thousands of families have been affected by the flood waters, with many calling on the government to do more to alleviate the situation.

California, USA – Rivers swollen by days of heavy rain inundated portions of northern California on Wednesday, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes. However, about half of the 4,000 people ordered to leave have refused to do so. Two towns – Guerneville and Monte Rio – were islands surrounded by water, local officials said. The only way to reach the two communities now is by boat.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – UK

Firefighters have contained a blaze that erupted on moorland in West Yorkshire in northern England, one of the three wildfires that broke out across the United Kingdom as temperatures hit record seasonal highs. The fire, on Saddleworth Moor, burned throughout Tuesday night across about 1.5 square kilometers (370 acres) near the village of Marsden.

Other fires broke out in Edinburgh, on the city’s famed Arthur’s Seat hill, and in the southern English county of West Sussex, in woodland immortalized by A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Swimming in the open ocean entangled this loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in a dangerous trap posed by a discarded fishing net. Luckily, photographer Eduardo Acevedo encountered the turtle near the Canary Islands, and released her from the net after capturing this striking image.

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This tiny sea slug, the Cyerce nigra was photographed near the Philippines. This photo allows us to enjoy the visual feast of a creature too small to appreciate with the naked eye.

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Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 20 February – 26 February 2019

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : On 27 February KVERT reported increased activity at Bezymianny characterized by nighttime crater incandescence, hot avalanches originating from the lava dome, and occasionally strong fumarolic activity. The report noted that the temperature of the thermal anomaly was gradually increasing. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 20-26 February dense white plumes rose as high as 500 m above the rims of Karangetang’s Main Crater and Kawah Dua (North Crater). The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 2.5-km exclusion zone around the N and S craters, and additionally within 3 km WNW and 4 km NW.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that ash plumes from Karymsky were identified in satellite images drifting 200 km E during 16-20 February, and a thermal anomaly was visible during 16 and 18-20 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that activity continued during 20-26 February from the fissure that opened on 19 February; the site is at 1,800 m elevation at the foot of Piton Madoré, E of Piton de la Fournaise’s Dolomieu Crater. On 21 February scientists mapped the slowly eastward-advancing flows (and also those that had erupted on 18 February). They noted that the cone at the vent was growing, and hosted a lava lake that ejected spatter from bursting gas bubbles. A channelized lava flow traveled 1 km E and descended 200 m elevation before splitting into two flows near Guyanin Crater. The more northern of the two flows was 50 m wide and had progressed as far as 1,320 m elevation. The second more southerly flow was 200 m wide and itself split into two flows about 300 m SE of Guyanin Crater; one branch went to about 1,350 m elevation and the other to 1,300 m. Overall the longest part of the lava flow had traveled 1.9 km from the vent. During 22-26 February the lava emission rate was variable up to 16 cubic meters per second (based on satellite data), though webcam images from 24 February indicated that the flow had not significantly advanced.

Poas | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 23-26 February seismicity at Poás was dominated by low-frequency events. Robust gas emissions rose from four fumarolic vents in the area previously covered by a lake, though the most vigorous emissions originated from vent A (Boca Roja). Minor incandescence from vent A was sometimes visible at night. A sulfur odor was reported in areas downwind including Naranjo, Zarcero, and Grecia (16 km SW). Particles of molten sulfur were included in ash deposits collected in Naranjo. Ashfall was reported in Canoas de Alajuela on 26 February.

Semeru | Eastern Java (Indonesia) : Based on analysis of satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 24 February an ash plume from Semeru rose to an altitude of 4.3 km (14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Typhoon 02w (Wutip), located approximately 320 nm west-northwest of Navsta, Guam, is tracking north-northwestward at 05 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 16p (tc) (Pola), located approximately 259 nm east-southeastt of Suva, Fiji, is tracking south-southwestward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

USA – The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reports 14 counties in the state have declared local states of emergency after floods over the weekend. In california the Russian River will crest at 45.9 feet by 10 p.m. Wednesday night. That would be the highest crest since 1997 and the 6th highest crest on record.

Global Warming

Climate change is revealing, and threatening, thawing relics

Since the scorching hot summer of 2006, almost 3,000 archaeological artifacts have appeared from the melting ice in Oppland, Northern Norway. Among them, an Iron Age tunic, a 1,500-year-old arrow and a 3,400-year-old shoe.

Here, a a glacier archaeology program called Secrets of the Ice is documenting the finds being made on local ice patches — static or slow-moving ice fields that are ideal locations to find objects that were once lost in the snow. Instead of having to dig like traditional archaeologists, Oppland’s archaeologists simply survey areas of the ice, looking out for artifacts that have thawed.

Many of Norway’s glaciers have experienced increased melting this century, caused by warmer temperatures. But whilst the changing climate is presenting archaeologists with exciting finds, it is also threatening to destroy ancient relics before archaeologists ever see them. Once an artifact is exposed to oxygen and sunlight, it will start to degrade.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Tasmania

Australia’s tallest tree ‘Centurion’ has survived Tasmania’s fierce bushfires, with the only damage a scorched, gaping hole at the base of the 100-metre tall Eucalyptus tree.

The tree’s survival is a silver lining to the devastating Riveaux Road fire, which destroyed thousands of hectares in the Huon Valley, in southern Tasmania.

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Disease

Dengue Fever – Brazil

Brazil health officials are warning the public of a big increase in dengue fever in the country during the first month of 2019. Through Feb. 2, there were 54,777 probable cases of the disease. The cases are at 26.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

On 6 February 2019, the National IHR Focal Point of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of an ongoing outbreak of MERS-CoV infection in Wadi Aldwasir city and one of its hospitals. Between 29 January and 13 February 2019, 39 cases of MERS-CoV infection, including four deaths, were reported. At the time of writing, this outbreak remains ongoing.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific Ocean: Super Typhoon 02w (Wutip), located approximately 304 nm west-northwest of Andersen AFB, Guam, is tracking northward at 03 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 16p (tc) (Sixteen), located approximately 235 nm southwest of Avata, Samoa, is tracking southward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

USA – Residents are using boats to reach flooded-out neighborhoods and schools are shut down after days of torrential rains in north Alabama. The National Weather Service says many areas got around 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain last week, and some spots received more than 12 inches (30 centimeters). The city of Decatur says water levels already have exceeded 100-year levels and could rise another 2 feet (0.6 meters). Schools are closed in at least a half-dozen systems in the region.

Global Warming

Climate Change Could Make Common Clouds Extinct, Which Would Scorch the Planet

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If humanity pumps enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, one of Earth’s most important types of cloud could go extinct. And if the stratocumulus clouds — those puffy, low rolls of vapor that blanket much of the planet at any given moment — disappear, Earth’s temperature could climb sharply and radically, to heights not predicted in current climate models. That’s the conclusion of a paper published today (Feb. 25) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Clouds have long been one of the great uncertainties of climate models. Clouds are complicated, small and fast-changing. Computer models that easily capture the complexity and detail of most climate systems just aren’t powerful enough to predict worldwide shifts in cloud behavior.

But clouds are important. They dye a wide swath of the atmosphere white, as seen from space, reflecting sunlight away from Earth’s surface. And stratocumulus clouds are an important part of that picture; they’re those white blankets you might have seen as you looked out the window of an airplane, rolling out below you and hiding the ground. Researchers suspect that certain sudden, past jumps in temperature may have been caused by changes to clouds like these.

And once the stratocumulus clouds are gone, Wolchover reported, they likely wouldn’t reappear until atmospheric carbon dioxide levels dropped below where they are currently.

Evidence for Man-Made Global Warming Hits ‘Gold Standard’

Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a “gold standard” level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said Monday.

“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the U.S.-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years.

They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth’s surface had reached a “five-sigma” level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Kenya

Kenya Forest Services (KFS) has mobilized it’s human and equipment assets to assist in putting out a huge fire that is fast spreading in Mt Kenya Forest. The 6km long forest fire line has moved from Lake Ellis area towards Lake Alice and Marania spreading to the moorlands an area under Kenya Wildlife Service.