Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.3 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Moro Gulf, Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.0 earthquake hits north of Ascension Island.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression Alvin is located about 695 mi…1120 km w of the southern tip of Baja California maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h. Present movement…nw or 306 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 04w (Four), located approximately 436 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking west-northwestward at 14 knots.

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Environment

Heatwave in Europe Continues

Europe sweltered Saturday on the sixth day of a widespread, deadly heatwave that has fuelled record-breaking temperatures, huge blazes and pollution peaks. France, Italy, Spain and some central European nations posted all-time high temperatures.

The heat has officially claimed four lives in France, two in Italy and another two in Spain, including a 17-year-old harvest worker, a 33-year-old roofer and a 72-year-old homeless man.

The hot spell sparked several blazes, including in Spain where firefighters were again battling high flames in strong winds and blistering heat Saturday just after they managed to contain another inferno after nearly 72 hours. A fire that started Friday in the central Spanish town of Almorox burnt at least 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres), spilling over into the Madrid region and forcing the evacuation of a village, emergency services said.

In France, about 40 fires were reported, razing about 600 hectares and dozens of houses in the Gard department in the country’s south. This is the same region where a new French record of 45.9 degrees Celsius (114.6 degrees Fahrenheit) was set Friday, prompting the Meteo France weather service to issue its highest alert level of red for the first time.

Winegrowers in the south of France said their precious crops have been badly burnt.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Reunion – Update

Although the number of dengue cases reported in this year’s Reunion epidemic has decreased significantly in the past month and a half–about 300 cases reported per week compared to more than 1300 mid-April at the height of the epidemic–health authorities raised the epidemic level from a 3 (low intensity epidemic) to a 4 (medium intensity epidemic).

Since the beginning of the epidemic in 2018, more than 23,000 confirmed cases have been reported. More than 16,000 cases have been reported since January 1 this year.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression Alvin is located about 665 mi…1075 km wsw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…30 mph…45 km/h. Pesent movement…wnw or 290 degrees at 8 mph…13 km/h.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical storm 04w (Four), located approximately 417 nm north- northwest of Kayangel, is tracking west-northwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Moscow, Russia – Heavy rains flooded the roads around Moscow’s largest airport Sheremetyevo on Friday, with the floods reaching knee-high depths and blocking cars from bringing passengers to and from its terminals.

Siberia, Russia – Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the flood-hit Siberian city of Tulun as torrential rains in Russia’s Irkutsk region have killed at least two people. A day earlier, officials said that two people died in Siberia during floods caused by heavy rains and that a state of emergency had been declared. Nearly 2,800 residences, 16 roads, and 13 bridges in 27 settlements were affected by the floods.

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Gambia – On 19th June 2019, a windstorm surge hit through five (5) regions in the Upper River Region (URR) of the Gambia, namely; Jimara, Tumanna, Wuli East, Wuli West and Sandu districts as well as two districts of Central River Region (CRR) namely Upper Fulado East, Upper Fulado West and Niani, of Gambia, affecting 67 communities. The winds storm surge affected over 900 families (8,100 pax) and caused internal displacement, injuries and 4 deaths (3 in URR and 1 in CRR). The report indicates that some four (4) people have been confirmed dead as a result of the falling walls of buildings and flying iron sheets, 101 people have been injured, and over 900 houses have been damaged or destroyed – totally destroyed (500), partially destroyed (450).

Wildlife

Octopus fishing halted after whale deaths in Cape

The South African government took decisive steps on Friday to temporarily stop the practice of octopus fishing after a spate of whale entanglements around the country’s ecologically sensitive coastline led to mounting public concern.

The recent whale entanglements have led to a public outcry. The City of Cape Town on Thursday joined the chorus of calls for a moratorium on octopus fishing. The City said time that three whales had become entangled in octopus fishing nets and two had died as a result of octopus fishing.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Brazil

Brazil health officials are reporting a dramatic increase in dengue fever cases during the first 23 weeks of 2019, according to recent data from the country’s Secretaria de Vigilância em Saúde. From Jan. 1 through June 8, 1,127,244 probable dengue cases were registered in the country. Of this total, 596,381 case were confirmed, including 366 fatalities and another 453 are under investigation.

Strongyloides stercoralis – Cambodia

Strongyloides stercoralis is a soil-transmitted threadworm that is endemic in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have conducted a nation-wide parasitology survey of the Cambodian population and concluded that nearly a third of the studied population is infected with S. stercoralis.

The threadworm is transmitted through infected larvae in the soil and, like hookworms, infect humans through the skin. The worm can cause long-lasting and potentially fatal infections in people.

Dengue Fever – Vietnam

The number of dengue fever cases in Vietnam this year is a three-times increase compared to the same period last year, according to newly published data. So far this year, there have been a total of 70,491 cases with four deaths reported through early June.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: Tropical Storm Alvin is located about 535 mi…860 km sw of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…70 mph…110 km/h. Present movement…nw or 305 degrees at 15 mph…24 km/h.

NewsBytes:

USA – Major flooding hits Chicago south suburbs, northwest Indiana after storms. Rain and storms left several parts of the Chicago area underwater with flooding late Wednesday into Thursday morning. In northwest Indiana, several houses were flooded and roads closed with high standing water, leaving drivers stranded. The Indiana-2 railroad underpass west of Lowell was completely flooded out.

Environment

“Plasticrust”

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Researchers say they have found a strange new combination of rock and plastic forming on Portugal’s Atlantic island of Madeira.

Researcher Ignacio Gestoso says the new hybrid geology was first observed on the island’s volcanic shore in 2016, the apparent result of waterborne plastic pollution being slammed into rocks by wave action.

The new “plasticrust” looks like melted plastic encrusted on the rocks, according to Gestoso and colleagues at the island’s Marine and Environmental Research Center. They say the plastic is mainly polyethylene, a mixture of polymers and ethylene used in single-use packaging, bottles and food containers.

Heatwave in Europe

Europe’s record-breaking heatwave is forecast to intensify further on Thursday with authorities on high alert as temperatures threaten to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the continent.

The stifling heat prompted traffic restrictions in France, sparked forest fires in Spain, and fanned debate in Germany over public nudity as sweltering residents stripped down.

Meteorologists blame a blast of hot air from northern Africa for the heat this week, which has already set new records in Europe for June. According to reports, the high temperatures have already claimed the lives of three people.

Exceptional for arriving so early in summer, the heatwave will on Thursday and Friday likely send mercury above 40C in France, Spain and Greece.

Paris Bans 60% of Cars Due To Heatwave and Pollution Levels

Paris imposed a ban on older and less efficient cars on Wednesday and is due to stay in place within the A86 second ring-road – which encompasses Paris and 79 towns around it – as long as the hot weather lasts, the city council said.

Data firm AAA Data said that nearly five million vehicles registered in the Ile-de-France area around Paris were covered, about 60 percent of total, a record number to be restricted. The city was not immediately available to comment on those estimates.

Traffic was lighter in Paris, but not significantly so. Several drivers said they were ignoring the restrictions as the fines for breaking them – just 68 euros ($77) for cars and 135 euros for vans – were so low.

French authorities also stepped up restrictions on water use on Thursday as swathes of western Europe remained in the grip of an intense heatwave.

Paris’ driving ban was imposed under the new “Crit’Air” colored stickers system, which classifies cars by age and pollution levels.

Only electric or hydrogen vehicles, petrol cars registered after Jan. 2006 and diesel cars registered from Jan. 2011 – corresponding to Crit’Air levels 1 and 2 out of 5 – were allowed on the roads.

Wildlife

Domestic honeybee diseases threaten wild bumblebees

Bee populations around the world are in decline, among them many species of wild bumblebees.

New research by the University of Vermont in the US has found that diseases transmitted by domestic honeybees could be to blame for this.

Lead researcher Samantha Alger, an expert beekeeper and researcher in the university’s Department of Plant and Soil Science and Gund Institute for Environment, found that several of the viruses affecting bumblebees had spread from managed bees in apiaries to nearby populations of wild bumblebees.

Her research had shown that this was occurring due to different species of bees sharing flowers during pollination.

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) were at a high risk, due to numerous factors, including land degradation and the use of pesticides, she said.

Native bee populations such as the rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) were being listed as severely threatened in terms of the Endangered Species Act in the US, as populations had declined by an estimated 90%.

This species had long been a key pollinator of various fruit crops such as cranberries, plums, apples and other agricultural plants.

The research team discovered that two well-known RNA viruses found in honeybees, the deformed wing virus and the black queen cell virus were more prevalent in bumblebees collected less than 300m from commercial beehives.

The study also found that active infections of the deformed wing virus were higher near commercial apiaries, but no deformed wing virus infections were found in the bumblebees collected where foraging honeybees and apiaries were absent.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Salah, Algeria.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 72.2 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.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Spain

Firefighters battled wildfires at a scale not seen for 20 years in Spain. More than 500 firefighters and soldiers struggled to bring a huge forest fire under control in the Catalan province of Tarragona that has so far burned across 5,500 hectares (12,355 acres) of land. Fifty-three people have been evacuated from their homes, five roads remain cut off and the civil protection authorities have advised people not to enter the area unless absolutely necessary. Hundreds of sheep have died in the smoke and flames.