Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits northwestern Kashmir.

5.2 earthquake hits northwestern Kashmir.

5.1 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.0 earthquake hits the Bonin Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Nicobar Islands off India.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04p (Sarai), located approximately 259 nm west-southwest of Niue, is tracking east-northeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone 05s (Calvinia), located approximately 72 nm south-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southwestward at 03 knots.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Thousands of holidaymakers and locals were forced to flee to beaches in fire-ravaged southeast Australia Tuesday, as blazes ripped through popular tourist areas leaving no escape by land.

Four thousand people were trapped on the foreshore of the town of Mallacoota and many others sought refuge on beaches in fire-encircled seaside towns up and down a 200-kilometre (135-mile) strip of coast.

Some residents with boats even took to the sea, hoping for refuge from one the worst days yet in Australia’s months-long bushfire crisis.

Dozens of properties were feared to have been destroyed since late Monday and at least seven people were unaccounted for in New South Wales and Victoria states as flames reached well-populated towns like Batemans Bay.

In some places the blazes were so intense, the smoke so thick and the fire-provoked dry lightning storms so severe that aerial reconnaissance and waterbombing had to be halted, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said.

In Mallacoota, smoke turned day to night and the authorities said nearby fires were causing extreme thunderstorms and “ember attacks”. The bushfires in Australia are now so big that they are generating their own weather, in the form of giant thunderstorms that start more fires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria. “Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East #Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows.”

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04p (Sarai), located approximately 439 nm west-southwest of Niue, is tracking east-southeastward at 12 knots.

Tropical cyclone 05s (Calvinia), located approximately 90 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southwestward at 05 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Indonesia – Five people went missing as flash floods destroyed houses in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province on Sunday. The natural disaster swept away nine houses, seriously damaging 17 others and several bridges and destroying horticultural plantations as well as triggering landslides in the district.

Rwanda – At least 12 people have died and others displaced following a downpour on Christmas night in Rwanda, the government has confirmed. The torrential rain destroyed 113 houses and 49 hectares of crops across the country. The downpour also caused traffic chaos in the capital Kigali as roads were submerged in floodwaters.

Iran – Eight months after the devastating flood that destroyed more than 25 of Iran’s provinces, Khuzestan Province has once again been flooded and completely paralyzed. As a result of the three-hour rainfall, the city’s streets were flooded with water and sewage, and many homes in Ahvaz were flooded, offices and schools were closed too, and this was the beginning of another catastrophe for the people of this province. The traffic in the city completely collapsed. The power of the city was cut off for many hours.

Khuzestan flood

Minnesota, USA – The city of Duluth closed some streets and parking lots near Lake Superior and the harbor for several hours Sunday due to flooding. East winds that gusted in excess of 60 mph on Sunday morning are kicking up big waves on the lake.

Disease

Rabies – Yemen

Stray dogs roaming the streets of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a have caused a terror and huge public health problem. Medical sources confirmed that the number of “rabies” infections in the capital, Sana’a, is estimated at thousands, including hundreds of deaths.

Measles – Argentina

In a follow-up report on the measles outbreak in Argentina, the Ministry of Health is now reporting 88 confirmed cases of measles, of which 86 are local 2 and were detected in Spain with two weeks left in 2019. This is the highest incidence of Measles in Argentina in 20 years.

Dengue Fever – Malaysia

Malaysian health authorities have reported a record season for dengue fever in 2019. According to officials data, 130,101 dengue cases were reported through December 28 this year, with 174 deaths.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits Kepulauan Sangihe, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits Puerto Rico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04p (Sarai), located approximately 164 nm south-southeast of Suva, Fiji, is tracking east-southeastward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

Fiji – Nearly 2,000 people took refuge in emergency shelters and one man was missing after being swept away in floodwaters as Tropical Cyclone Sarai pounded Fiji on Saturday causing widespread damage. With wind gusts strengthening to 150 kilometres per hour during the day, Sarai destroyed houses and crops, brought down trees, cut power and caused considerable flooding in low-lying areas. Thousands of holidaymakers were stranded with flights to and from Fiji either cancelled or rescheduled.

Kenya – Torrential rains caused massive floods in western Kenya on Saturday, affecting thousands of families in the region. Government officials said over 6,000 families in Kisumu were displaced and had lost their property, much of which was destroyed following a night of heavy rain. Many local residents have said they have no dry place to sleep and feared the flooding could worsen as they wait for aid.

Wildlife

Another record year for manatee deaths

Wildlife experts say more manatees were killed by boaters in Florida this year than in any other.

At a time when boaters are supposed to slow down, wildlife experts say some aren’t following the rules, with deadly results. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says last year, 125 manatees were killed by boat, and so far this year, 129 manatees were killed.

Although manatees are no longer listed as endangered, they still face many dangers.

Koala Receives Water from Passing Cyclists

This desperate koala can be seen hastily drinking water in a bid to cool down amid the soaring heat in Australia. The marsupial approached a group of cyclists who were riding towards Adelaide, where temperatures are nearing 40C. The group saw the stricken animal in the middle of the road when they went round a bend in the state of South Australia and came to its assistance.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Victorian authorities have told thousands of visitors and residents in East Gippsland – an area half the size of Belgium – to leave immediately as a bushfire threat looms.

There were three active fires in east Gippsland on Sunday with a combined area of more than 130,000ha. An evacuation warning has been issued for the east Gippsland town of Goonergah, which is surrounded by high-value old growth forests.

East Gippsland is popular with campers and holidaymakers over the New Year period. Up to 30,000 people are on holiday at Lakes Entrance, 300km east of Melbourne.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week 18 December-24 December 2019

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible at night during 16-23 December. There were 16 explosions and nine non-explosive eruptive events detected by the seismic network. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim and material was ejected 0.5-1.3 km away from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 18-24 December ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E, ESE, and SE. 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) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 15-17 December that sent ash plumes up to 3 km (10,000 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted E, causing ashfall in Severo-Kurilsk during 16-17 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that there were 8-18 explosions per hour recorded at Fuego during 18-24 December, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and drifted 10-205 km S, SW, and W. Ashfall was reported in several areas downwind including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Finca Palo Verde, San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and El Porvenir (8 km ENE). Explosions sometimes produced shock waves that rattled houses in nearby communities. Incandescent material was ejected 100-300 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances (reaching vegetated areas) down the Seca (W), Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. Incandescent material traveled about 300 m down the Seca drainage during 23-24 December.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 16-22 December lava continued to effuse from Karangetang’s Main Crater (S), traveling as far as 1.8 km down the Nanitu, Pangi, and Sense drainages on the SW and W flanks. Sometimes dense white plumes rose to 150 m above the summit. Incandescence from both summit craters was visible at night. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Kirishimayama | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that the increase in the number of volcanic earthquakes with hypocenters just below Shinmoedake (Shinmoe peak), a stratovolcano of the Kirishimayama volcano group, only lasted during 17-18 November. The number of volcanic earthquakes was low after that and no other data indicated increased activity. Scientists noted no changes to geothermal areas on the crater floor and below cracks on the W flank during a field survey on 12 December. The Alert Level was lowered to 1 (on a scale of 1-5) on 20 December.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 12-15 and 17 December, and Strombolian activity was visible during 13-15 and 17 December. Gas-and-steam plumes rose to 5-5.5 km (16,400-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 45 km NE on 14 and 19 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Sangeang Api | Indonesia : The Darwin VAAC reported that during 18-19 December discrete minor ash emissions from Sangeang Api rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 13-20 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that the eruption at Shishaldin continued during 18-24 December. Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images, though clouds sometimes prevented views. Seismicity remained elevated and was characterized by ongoing tremor and periodic weak explosions. Satellite imagery indicated that the active summit cone had grown after collapsing the week before. Minor ash emissions drifted S on 19 December and E at 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. on 21 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical Depression 30w (Phanfone), located approximately 336 nm east-southeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, is tracking westward at 13 knots.

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 04p (Sarai), located approximately 132 nm south-southwest of Suva, Fiji, is tracking southeastward at 06 knots.

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NewsBytes:

England – Floods have closed roads in south-west England and dozens of warnings remain in place. The rain is expected to ease into the weekend but groundwater levels continue to rise in parts of southern England after prolonged downpours. The Environment Agency (EA) has warned of flooding in 30 areas.

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Global Warming

Global Warming Defined

The terms “climate change” and “global warming” are often used interchangeably but have distinct definitions.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) defines global warming as the “long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900).” Global warming focuses on the changes in global average surface temperatures caused by human activity, mainly the burning of fossil fuels, which increases the overall amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Climate change is the long-term change in the average weather patterns that are typical for a local, region, or the globe; these changes can be natural or human-induced. Human activities that contribute to climate change include urbanization, fossil fuel burning, agriculture, deforestation, and many others. Natural processes that contribute to climate change include volcanic activity, mountain growth, El Nino and La Nina, changes in solar output, and shifts in the planet’s orbit.

Wildlife

African Locust Swarms

Somalia’s worst locust swarms in 25 years have devoured vast tracts of crops and grazing land across the country and parts of neighbouring Ethiopia.

Farmers faced with starvation have urged their governments to request aid from the international community to avert the looming famine.

The swarms were made worse by unseasonably heavy rainfall and the resulting floods that have killed hundreds of people across the Horn of Africa in recent months.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says the infestations have become far worse than its experts feared earlier this year.