Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

6.0 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 earthquake hits the Bali Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Flooded Farms, USA – Across the Midwest, torrential rains have soaked the fields, leaving the sodden soil unsuitable for planting millions of acres with corn, soybeans, and other crops, presaging a terrible harvest. Seeds are usually in the ground this time of year. But thanks to floods, unrelenting rains, hail, and scores of tornadoes—nearly 200 more than average by this point in the year—the season is off to one of the worst starts in history. Every day tractors don’t enter the fields means a higher chance of crop failure. On May 28, the USDA announced that US farmers have just 58% of their corn crop in the ground (versus a five-year average of 90% by this time) and 29% of the soybean crop (compared to 66%). Those are among the lowest rates in history. Other farmers may end up planting nothing and have declared a total crop loss.

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Environment

Nuclear Testing Legacy

Cracks in a dome built over a crater left by a 1958 nuclear blast in the Marshall Islands may now be leaking radioactive contamination around Enewetak Atoll.

The Runit dome was built by the United States in 1977, designed to also contain radioactive debris from other nuclear tests in the Pacific between 1946 and 1958. But the new cracks and rising sea levels threaten to inundate the atomic dump, further contaminating the Pacific atoll.

Some of the Enewetak residents evacuated before the blast were finally allowed to return in 1980 after the dome was completed and the Marshall Islands government accepted the U.S. cleanup efforts as final.

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Global Warming

Global warming and more storms

The type of stalled jet stream pattern that brought almost daily rounds of severe storms to North America and parts of the Mediterranean during the latter half of May is linked to the record warming of the Arctic.

Researchers from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) combined two models that use machine learning to realistically reproduce the observed changes in the jet stream. They say it’s the first time artificial intelligence has been used in climate modeling.

“Our study shows that the changes in the jet stream are at least partly due to the loss of Arctic sea ice,” said Markus Rex of AWI. “If the ice cover continues to dwindle, we believe that both the frequency and intensity of the extreme weather events – in the middle latitudes will increase.”

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48.3 degrees Celsius) in Jacobabad, Pakistan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 110.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 78.9 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok base, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Ebola – DR Congo

A decline in the number of confirmed Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has been reported this week (22 to 28 May). Over the past seven days, a total of 73 new confirmed cases were reported compared to the previous where 127 new confirmed cases were reported. This should be interpreted with caution given the complex operating environment and fragility of the security situation.

African Swine Fever – North Korea

North Korean health authorities have reported an outbreak of African Swine Fever. The outbreak occurred at Buksang cooperative farm, Ri, Usi, Chagang-Do where 77 cases were reported on a farm of 99 pigs. The remaining 22 pigs were culled.

Bee Disease – Scotland

A case of European Foulbrood (EFB) was confirmed in West Lothian following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (Sasa). It is a disease that spreads between hives, mainly by beekeepers, their tools and contaminated equipment.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 22 May – 28 May 2019

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1923 on 24 May an explosion at Agung ejected incandescent material radially onto the flanks as far as 3 km from the crater rim, setting fire to some vegetation. A dense gray-white ash plume rose 2 km and, based on satellite data, drifted SW, causing thick ashfall in several villages to the S. Roaring was audible from the Agung Volcano Observatory in Rendang (about 8 km SW). According to a news article several flights to and from Australia were cancelled or diverted, though the International Gusti Ngurah Rai (IGNR) airport (60 km SW) in Denpasar was not closed. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone set at a 4-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 22-23 May two explosions at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) produced plumes that rose 1.6 km above the crater rim and ejected material as far as 900 m. Crater incandescence was periodically visible. Very small eruptive events were recorded during 24-27 May. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 22-28 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 2.1-3 km (7,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : A thermal anomaly over Ebeko was identified in satellite images during 16-17 May. Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 16-20 May that sent ash plumes up to 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that gas emissions of variable intensity were observed rising from Etna’s summit craters during 20-26 May; weather conditions often prevented views. Weak and diffuse ash emissions occasionally rose from the New Southeast Crater (NSEC). An ash plume rose from Bocca Nuova Crater on 23 May.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 23-24 May ash plumes from Ibu rose to altitudes of 2.4-2.7 km (8,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE based on satellite data. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was visible in satellite images during 17-21 May. An ash plume drifted 9 km SW on 21 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images on 17, 19, and 21 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that Anak Krakatau’s seismic network detected 26 eruptive events during 20-26 May. None of the events were followed by visible ash emissions, though observations were hindered by fog. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km radius hazard zone from the crater.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that on 11 May the lava dome at Merapi had an estimated volume of 458,000 cubic meters, based on analyses of drone footage, and remained unchanged at least through 26 May. The dome morphology remained relatively unchanged, as most of the extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the SE-flank Gendol River drainage. One block-and-ash flow traveled 1.1 km down the Gendol drainage. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch’s lava dome was identified daily in satellite images during 17-24 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Soputan | Sulawesi (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 22-28 May white plumes rose as high as 100 m above Soputan’s summit. On 27 May white-to-gray plumes rose 150 m high. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The public was advised not to approach the craters within a radius of 4 km, or 6.5 km on the WSW flank.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6,6 earthquake hits offshore El Salvador.

5.3 earthquake hits the Northern Territory, Australia.

5.2 earthquake hits the northern mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits the northern mid-Atlantic ridge.

Wildlife

Mass Die-Off of Puffins

Hundreds of “severely emaciated” puffin carcasses have washed ashore on an Alaskan island, and researchers believe thousands more have died at sea as warming waters continue to shrink their food supply.

Between October 2016 and January 2017, inhabitants of St Paul Island in the Bering sea found the starved bodies of more than 350 seabirds, primarily tufted puffins.

Analysing the location of bird carcasses and wind data, Timothy Jones at the University of Washington in Seattle and his colleagues estimated that between 3000 and 9000 birds died in total.

When they examined some of the bodies, they found no signs of infection or unsafe levels of toxins. “Collected specimens were severely emaciated, suggesting starvation as the ultimate cause of mortality,” Jones wrote.

Tufted puffins, which accounted for 79 per cent of the bird carcasses found, eat fish and marine invertebrates, which in turn eat phytoplankton. But changes to atmospheric conditions, including the ongoing heatwave, have massively disrupted the marine ecosystems, he wrote. There is less winter sea-ice, and warmer temperatures have been linked to fewer forage fish, crustaceans and other prey animals as they either die off or move north to cooler waters.

Almost all the puffins they found were adults in the process of moulting, which makes them flightless for up to 40 days and requires more nutritional energy than normal.

Tufted puffins st paul island 900 isaac sanchez cc by 20

Environment

Heatwave in India

Almost half of India has been put on heatwave alert, with at least 500 people being reported to have died in the heatwave sweeping India, with temperatures reaching 48C (118F) in some areas. Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where more than 140 people have died since Saturday.

Wildfires

Wildfires – South Carolina, USA

So far, at least two wildfires have broken out in South Carolina amid a record-breaking heat wave. Fire managers at the Francis Marion National Forest say they a wildfire that started on Monday named the “Memorial Fire” are continuing to suppress a fire that has covered 1,300 acres so far. In Aiken County, officials evacuated residents near I-20 and Old Granite Hwy. on Tuesday due to a rapidly spreading fire named the “Gateway Fire” which has burned about 300 acres.

Disease

Ebola – DR Congo

A mob in eastern Congo killed an Ebola health worker and looted a clinic, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, underscoring a breakdown in public trust that is hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus.

Attacks on treatment centers by armed groups and mistrust among residents who view the disease as a conspiracy have become major impediments to containing Democratic Republic of Congo’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak.

The hemorrhagic fever has so far killed 1,281 people, according to the latest ministry figures, and shows no signs of slowing its spread, with dozens of new cases a week.

Hepatitis A – Florida, USA

The Florida Department of Health reported an additional 92 hepatitis A cases the week ending May 25, bringing the outbreak total for 2019 to 1312 cases.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 22 May – 28 May 2019

Colima | Mexico : Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia – Universidad de Colima reported that 51 low-magnitude explosions mainly from the NE part of Colima’s crater were recorded by the seismic and infrasound network during 11-24 May. Emissions from the explosions consisted mainly of water vapor and gas, and were the first surficial manifestations of activity since seismicity increased in the past few weeks. Footage from five drone overflights conducted on 22 May showed fumarolic activity on the inner wall of the NE part of the crater and a new small explosion crater near the center of the main crater.

Hakoneyama | Honshu (Japan) : JMA reported that the number of earthquakes at Hakoneyama increased on 18 May and remained elevated through 27 May. The epicenters were centered around the W bank of Lake Ashinoko and around Komagatake. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data continued to indicate a trend of inflation. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Sarychev Peak | Matua Island (Russia) : SVERT lowered the Alert Level for Sarychev Peak to Green on 22 May, noting that the last activity recorded was an ash plume on 16 May and a thermal anomaly on 17 May.

Sinabung | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that an eruption at Sinabung was recorded at 0253 on 25 May. An ash plume from the event drifted W and NW according to the Darwin VAAC; fog prevented ground-based visual observations. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind according to a news article. At 0629 on 27 May a dense gray ash plume rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted S. The VAAC reported that at 0700 an ash plume was visible in satellite images at an altitude of 6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l., or 3.7 km above the crater rim. Eruptive events were recorded at 2323 on 27 May and 0118 on 28 May, though ash plumes were not visible. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km on the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Tornadoes, USA – A large tornado touched down Tuesday in Kansas, striking the southeast portion of Lawrence, according to the National Weather Service. Dozens of homes just outside the city limits are “all gone,” according to the Mayor of Lawrence. The weather service received more than 55 tornado reports in eight states Monday and Tuesday.