Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.8 earthquake hits off the coast of Ecuador.

5.3 earthquake hits the mid-Indian ridge.

5.2 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Tarapaca, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits the Mayotte region.

California’s Earthquake ‘Pause’

California is experiencing a century-long lull in large, ground-rupturing earthquakes, temblors that actually offset the earth at the surface. The 7.9-magnitude Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was a ground-rupturing quake. Now, new research finds that this 100-year earthquake gap is very unlikely to be a statistical fluke. Instead, something geological is probably causing the peaceful period. The average number of ground-rupturing earthquakes per century is about three or four. This century has had zero, so a good bet is that the next century will be busier.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 23s (Wallace), located approximately 833 nm northwest of Learmont7, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 09 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Iran – Update – Iran moved on Saturday to evacuate more towns and villages threatened by floods after continued rain in the southwest of the country, state television reported, as the nationwide toll from the flooding reached 70.

Global Warming

The Bering Sea Should Be Frozen Right Now – It Isn’t

Humans are living through a dramatic transformation of the planet’s surface due to climate change, with the most obvious sign being the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice. And now, imaging has revealed perhaps a new chapter in that decline: The Bering Sea, which under normal circumstances should remain frozen-over until May, is almost entirely free of sea ice in early April. Open water is darker and absorbs more sunlight, turning it into heat. So, while sea ice loss is caused by climate change, it also causes climate change to speed up.

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Environmental Groups to Sue Shell Over Climate Change

Climate activists delivered a court summons Friday to oil company Shell in a court case aimed at forcing it to do more to rein in carbon emissions.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands, one of the groups involved, said it wants a court in The Hague to order Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and to zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Climate Accord.

The summons, more than 250 pages long and backed up by boxes of supporting documents, was wheeled into the headquarters on a trolley as a couple of hundred activists looked on.

The Shell case, which has more than 17,000 claimants, follows a groundbreaking ruling by a Hague court in 2015 that ordered the Dutch government to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels.

The new case is not seeking compensation; it focuses instead on pushing Shell to take more action to rein in emissions.

Wildlife

Rare White Whale

A whale-watching guide struck white gold last month when he encountered a rare, albino gray whale breaching off the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. The sighting has drawn comparisons to Moby Dick, the white whale of literary legend described by Herman Melville in 1851. Unlike Moby, who was a gargantuan sperm whale with an appetite for New England mariner limbs, the gray whale recorded here was probably just chilling in the area for its annual mating season.

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Disease

Bird Flu – China

Officials with the National Health Commission in China have reported the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) this year in Gansu.

Cholera – Yemen

Cholera is surging once again in Yemen, with the U.N. reporting that the number of suspected cases has doubled in March over previous months and doctors in overwhelmed health facilities fearing it could rival a 2017 outbreak that spiraled into the world’s worst flare-up.

The surge underscores how Yemen, which has endured multiple outbreaks of cholera amid four years of civil war, still isn’t able to stop its spread.

There were 76,152 new suspected cases and 195 deaths in March, compared to about 32,000 cases in February and 39,000 in January. The March toll brought the number of those believed to have died from cholera this year to nearly 300.

Monkeypox – Africa – Update

In a follow-up on the monkeypox situation in Africa in 2018, several countries are still reporting cases in 2019 according to World Health Organization numbers:

Central African Republic

Three cases, including one confirmed, were reported in Ippy in the week ending 3 March 2019.

Since 2 October 2018, clusters of cases have been identified across three health districts, namely; Mbaiki district with nine cases including eight confirmed, Bangassou district with five cases including three confirmed, and Bossembele district with four cases including three confirmed. One death was reported in Bossembele.

In total, 34 cases have been reported, including two deaths.

Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo is reporting cases of monkey pox since February 2019. Two samples from Makontipoko village in Gambona district tested in the INRB-Kinshasa turned positive for Monkey pox (PCR OPX).

Nine total cases have been reported with no fatalities.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the week ending 3 March 2019, 90 new suspected cases including two deaths were reported. The cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the Provincial Health Divisions of Ecuador, North Ubangi and South Ubangi.

824 total cases have been reported, including 12 deaths.

Nigeria

In January 2019, six new suspected cases were reported from six states. Three were confirmed in two states (Rivers – 1 and Bayelsa – 2). Since September 2017, 26 states have reported suspected cases with 17 having reported a confirmed case. Rivers State is the most affected. The South-South region of the country has the highest burden of monkeypox.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 311 cases (132 confirmed) and seven fatalities have been recorded.