Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits Kapulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Catamarca, Argentina.

5.0 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 01b (Fani), located approximately 612 nm south-southwest of Calcutta, India, is tracking northwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Mozambique – The number of people killed after Cyclone Kenneth slammed into Mozambique has jumped from five to 38, the country’s disaster management institute said on Monday. Cyclone Kenneth made landfall on Mozambique’s northern coast on Thursday, packing storm surges and wind gusts of up to 280 kilometres per hour, stretching resources in a region still recovering from Cyclone Idai, which struck further south in March. Since then it has dumped heavy rain on the region, causing floods. Rains grounded aid flights in northern Mozambique for a second day on Monday, hampering efforts to reach survivors of Cyclone Kenneth. Rescuers managed to use a brief break in the downpours to send one helicopter packed with aid to the island of Ibo, where hundreds of homes were flattened by the second cyclone to hit the country in less than six weeks. But rains started again and conditions were too dangerous for the next flight to take off, the United Nations said. Roads to rural districts further north were swamped and impassable after torrential rains on Sunday.

Global Warming

Alaska’s Excelsior Glacier Is Being Replaced by a Lake 5 Times the Size of Central Park

Seventy years ago, Alaska’s Excelsior Glacier stretched its cold fingers from a vast plain in the state’s southern edge nearly all the way to the North Pacific Ocean. Now, the glacier is separated from the sea by a meltwater lake more than five times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

In a recent blog post on the American Geophysical Union (AGU) website, glaciologist Mauri Pelto of Nichols College in Massachusetts shows how that relatively new lake — now called Big Johnstone Lake — has more than doubled in size over the last 24 years as rising global temperatures force Excelsior Glacier into a hasty retreat. The glacier has lost about 30% of its length in just 24 years.

Even if no more calving ice makes its way into Big Johnston Lake, the glacier will continue to retreat, but probably at a slower pace than the rapid melting observed over the last 25 years. A similar fate has already befallen many neighboring glaciers in Alaska and British Columbia, Pelto wrote, providing yet more examples of how climate change is rapidly redrawing the map of our world.

Disease

Ebola – DR Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo registered a one-day record of 27 new confirmed Ebola cases on Sunday, raising last week’s number of cases to 126, the biggest since the current outbreak was declared last August, the health ministry said. The previous record was 110 confirmed cases a couple of weeks ago.

The outbreak in the country’s eastern regions is now spreading at its fastest rate, due largely to a spate of attacks by militiamen and others distrustful of the international response. In the past two months, five Ebola centers have been attacked and a senior World Health Organisation official was killed by militiamen 10 days ago.

Hepatitis A – Florida, USA

Florida health officials reported an additional 70 hepatitis A cases during the past week, bringing the number of cases in 2019 to 954 and more than 1500 cases since the beginning of last year.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the northern mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits the Lombok region, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Monagas, Venezuela.

5.0 earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 25s (Lorna), located approximately 695 nm southwest of Cocos Island, is tracking south-southwestward at 09 knots.

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 01b (One), located approximately 450 nm east-southeast of Chennai, India, is tracking northwestward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Mozambique – Tens of thousands of people in the far north of Mozambique are bracing for violent flooding as torrential rain pushes up water levels, after the death and devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth. The first floods have already been seen in some parts of Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, as well as in surrounding areas, lashed by heavy rain since daybreak. Fields on the outskirts of the city that had been lush green just a day earlier were now brown with floodwater. According to a preliminary toll published Sunday by the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), five people have died, more than 23,000 people are without shelter and nearly 35,000 homes have been either partly or completely destroyed.

Canada – Over 6,500 people were told to quickly leave their homes near Montreal over the weekend after floodwaters breached a dike in rain-soaked eastern Canada. According to the latest government data, nearly 8,000 people have been forced from their homes in Quebec – more than in 2017, during what was then the area’s worst flooding in half a century. The barrier protecting Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, just west of Montreal, gave way last Saturday night, causing a surge of water of up to 1.5m to crash through the area. Hundreds of policemen, firefighters and soldiers helped evacuate nearly 2,600 homes in the area, a provincial police spokesman said.

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Indonesia – At least 17 people are dead and nine missing after days of heavy rain-triggered floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, authorities said Sunday. Some 12,000 people have been evacuated while hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads have been damaged by the severe weather which affected nine districts or towns across Bengkulu province. The waters have receded in some places but officials warned the full extent of the damage was not yet known and some areas were still cut off.

Wildlife

All the Babies in This Massive Penguin Colony Keep Drowning

The second-largest colony of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the world appears to be collapsing, after rough seas drowned all of its babies three winters in a row.

The Halley Bay colony once accounted for 5 to 9% of the global emperor penguin population, according to the British Antarctic Survey (BAC), which reported the catastrophe. That amounted to about 15,000 to 24,000 adult breeding pairs. But in 2016, the sea-ice platform on which the colony was raising its babies collapsed during rough weather, throwing infant penguins unable to swim into the frigid water. In 2017 and 2018, the rough weather pattern repeated itself.

“For the last 60 years, the sea-ice conditions in the Halley Bay site have been stable and reliable,” the BAC said in a statement. “But in 2016, after a period of abnormally stormy weather, the sea ice broke up in October, well before any emperor chicks would have fledged. This pattern was repeated in 2017 and again in 2018 and led to the death of almost all the chicks at the site each season.”

The birds arrive at the site from their summer sea jaunts each April to breed; for the resulting chicks to survive, the site has to remain stable throughout the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, which lasts until December. These findings, based on satellite images and published April 25 in the journal Antarctic Science, were verified when researchers visited the region.

By 2018, a handful of adults — a “few hundred,” or about 2 percent of the original population — turned up at the Halley Bay site, the researchers reported. The remaining colony appeared in disarray, with adults moving closer to the ice edge than is typical, and was difficult to count scattered among the roughened chunks of ice.

“Whether the adult birds here were failed breeders or non-breeders is difficult to assess from imagery alone,” the researchers wrote.

The good news is that at least some of the colony appears to have moved, rather than died out. The Dawson-Lambton Glacier colony 34 miles (55 kilometers) to the south has significantly swelled in numbers since the devastation of Halley Bay, the BAC reported. That colony, which had hit a low of just 1,280 pairs in the 2015 season, swelled in each succeeding year. In 2016, it reached 5,315 pairs. In 2017, there were 11,117 pairs. And by 2018, a full 14,612 pairs set up camp at the site.

Those numbers are still lower than the original Halley Bay total, but suggest that a significant number of penguins have figured out that it’s better to move than return to the especially dangerous site.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.3 earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Honduras.

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 earthquake hits Ganshu, China.

5.1 earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 25s (Lorna), located approximately 500 nm southwest of Cocos Island, is tracking south-southeastward at 11 knots.

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 01b (Fani), located approximately 508 nm southeast of Chennai, India, is tracking northwestward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

Mozambique – TS Kenneth – which has now receded into a tropical depression – has damaged or destroyed 3,300 homes while about 18,000 people were housed in emergency shelters. The death toll meanwhile has risen to five amidst widespread flooding.

Jakarta – Floodwaters have inundated 37 areas across Jakarta on Saturday. The worst-hit neighborhoods were in East Jakarta with 21 areas being affected, while South and West Jakarta had 14 and two, respectively. The floods, which started on Friday, were caused after the Ciliwung, Angke and Krukut rivers overflowed following heavy rainfall in upstream areas in Bogor, West Java. The floods had killed at least two people.

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Wildlife

Listing Giraffes as Endangered Species

Two giraffe subspecies have been listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for the first time.

Giraffe numbers plummeted by a staggering 40% in the last three decades, and less than 100,000 remain today. Habitat loss through expanding agriculture, human-wildlife conflict, civil unrest, and poaching for their meat, pelts, and tails, are among the reasons for the decline.

Meanwhile US Federal wildlife officials said Thursday that they would officially consider listing the giraffe as an endangered species, a move long sought by conservationists alarmed by the African mammal’s precipitous decline and a growing domestic market for giraffe products. Designating giraffes as endangered or threatened would place restrictions on their import into the United States and make federal funding available for conservation efforts.

Conservationists also hope that a listing could elevate the giraffes’ plight, which they said was often overshadowed by higher-profile initiatives to protect lions, elephants and other distinctive animals.

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Disease

Hepatitis A – Sweden

The Sweden The Public Health Authority, or Folkhälsomyndigheten are reporting an outbreak of hepatitis A where the suspected source of infection is fresh dates from Iran. Of the nine cases reported since late February, eight of the cases are confirmed and have the same type of hepatitis A virus (genotype IIIA) and one case is suspected.

Dengue Fever – Reunion – Update

In a follow-up on the dengue fever epidemic on the island of Reunion, ARS Indian Ocean reports the number of cases is steadily increasing with the most active areas located in the South. However, there are outbreaks in the north and east of the island.

Officials report an additional 1200 cases during the most recent week. This brings the outbreak total to more than 7200 cases since the beginning of the year. Seven deaths have been reported with three directly related to dengue fever this year.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Mozambique – Cyclone Kenneth has killed at least 3 people and left a trail of destruction in northern Mozambique, destroying houses, ripping up trees and knocking out power, authorities said on Friday. The cyclone brought storm surges and wind gusts of up to 280km an hour when it made landfall on Thursday evening. Cyclone Kenneth is expected to weaken on Saturday and Sunday as it moves to southern Tanzania, still causing flooding.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 25s (Lorna), located approximately 495 nm west-southwest of Cocos Island, is tracking southward at 09 knots.

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 01b (One), located approximately 600 nm east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, is tracking north-northwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Canada – Montreal Mayor has declared a state of emergency as the city struggles with flooding. The Pierrefonds, Ile Bizard and Ahuntsic sectors are the most affected. The number of victims across the province is rising: 3,017 homes are currently flooded, 2,736 are isolated by water and 1,7960 residents have evacuated their homes.

Environment

Trump’s Alaska drilling study slammed

The Trump administration failed to adequately consider oil spills, climate change and the welfare of polar bears in its expedited study of proposed drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to comments published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The unusually harsh criticism from federal wildlife regulators could deal a blow to one of the most high-profile items in President Donald Trump’s energy agenda, and reflects the pitfalls of the administration’s drive to speed up big projects with quicker, shorter environmental studies.

The Interior Department wants to hold its first lease sale of at least 400,000 acres (160,000 hectares) in ANWR, America’s largest wildlife sanctuary, later this year, but could face lawsuits if its permitting process is flawed.

Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska: 

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.6 earthquake hits offshore Antofagasta, Chile.

Two 5.3 earthquakes hit Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit Mindanao in the Philippines.