Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits La Rioja, Argentina.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Atacama, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Bosnia – Flooding from a new lake created by a landslide of mine waste shut down one of Bosnia’s main highways Saturday and raised fears of further flooding. Earlier this week, a massive landslide of mine waste from an open pit coal mine had blocked a river near the central Bosnia town of Kakanj, creating the lake. The lake overflowed Saturday morning following heavy rain overnight, forcing the closure of a busy highway connecting the capital of Sarajevo with the central town of Zenica. The town of Kakanj is 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Sarajevo.

Disease

H7N9 avian influenza: China

The China National Health and Family Planning Commission reported an additional 28 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including four deaths, for the period of February 13 to 23. The 22 male and six female patients aged from four to 81 had their onset from January 27 to February 17.

Seoul virus: North America

In a follow-up on the multistate Seoul virus outbreak in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports laboratory-confirmed infection in 16 people in nine states as of Feb. 23.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.9 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tarapaca, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Manipur, India.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

Global Warming

Spring coming sooner to Arctic

Nature’s clock is running fast in the Arctic, thanks to climate change. Due to diminishing sea ice cover, spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters, says a study.

The timing of seasonal events, such as first spring growth, flower bud formation and blooming make up a plant’s phenology – the window of time it has to grow, produce offspring, and express its life history. It can be called “nature’s clock.”

While how early a plant emerges from its winter slumber depends on the species, the study, published in the journal Biology Letters, demonstrates that the Arctic landscape is changing rapidly.

Such changes carry implications for the ecological structure of the region for years to come.

Warming winters and springs associated with declining arctic sea ice cover created a mixture of speed demons, slowpokes and those in between. One racehorse of a sedge species now springs out of the proverbial gate a full 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago.

Space Events

‘Ring of Fire’ Eclipse Will Be Visible from Southern Hemisphere Sunday

This Sunday (Feb. 26) brings the first solar eclipse of 2017. Unlike the total solar eclipse that will cross the continental United States in August, Sunday’s spectacle is an annular eclipse, which means a sliver of the sun’s surface will still be visible around the moon.

The moon will appear to block varying amounts of the sun depending on where you are located within the eclipse visibility zone. For those who are properly positioned along a narrow path some 8,500 miles (13,700 kilometres) long and averaging roughly 45 miles (72 km) wide, the dark disk of the moon will briefly be surrounded by a dazzling “ring of fire” as the lunar disk passes squarely in front of the sun.

Skywatchers positioned outside this path can still enjoy a partial solar eclipse. This spectacle will be visible to more than half a billion people living across the lower two-thirds of South America as well as the western and southern portions of Africa, as well as the sparse population in about half of Antarctica.

Screen Shot 2017 02 25 at 3 40 48 PM

Disease

Yellow fever – Brazil

From 1 December 2016 to 22 February 2017, a total of 1336 cases of yellow fever infection (292 confirmed, 920 suspected, and 124 discarded), including 215 deaths (101 confirmed, 109 suspected, 5 discarded), have been detected in six states (Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Norte, São Paulo, and Tocantins). The estimated case fatality rate is 35% for confirmed cases and 12% for suspected cases. To date, the majority (86%) of the confirmed cases are men and of which, approximately 81% are aged between 21 and 60 years.

Wildfires

Wildfires – USA – Texas & Oklahoma

Crews are working to contain a wildfire that’s burning in a rural area of the Texas Panhandle while firefighters in Oklahoma fought back several blazes that popped up on an unseasonably warm and windy day. Crews attacked a fire that had burned nearly 11 square miles in Oldham County in the Panhandle. Texas A&M Forest Service said early Friday that the blaze was 50 percent contained and that the fire’s behaviour “has moderated.”

In Oklahoma, multiple fires broke out, and Oklahoma Army National Guard helicopters were dispatched to help battle the blazes.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 15 February-21 February 2017 – cont.

Nevado del Ruiz | Colombia : Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 14-20 February seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz continued to indicate unrest. Earthquakes were located at depths of 1.1-1.7 km, in areas N, NE, SE, and SW of the volcano, but mainly beneath Arenas Crater. The largest event was a local M 1.4. Signals indicating fracturing rock increased in both size and number as compared to the previous week. Significant amounts of water vapour and gas continued to be emitted. Gas, steam, and ash plumes rose 1.2 km above the crater rim on 18 February and drifted NE, SE, and SW. Thermal anomalies were identified by the MIROVA system during 14, 16-17, and 19-20 February. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Reventador | Ecuador : During 15-21 February IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador. Although cloud cover often prevented visual observations, activity was noted almost daily. Minor ashfall was reported on 15 February, and the next morning crater incandescence was visible. During 17-19 and 21 February steam, gas, and ash plumes rose 1-2 km above the crater rim and mainly drifted S and W. “Gunshot” sounds were heard on 18 February.

Sabancaya | Peru : Based on webcam views, satellite images, and seismic data the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 14-21 February sporadic gas-and-ash puffs rose from Sabancaya, and during 16-17 and 20 February rose to altitudes of 7.3-8.2 km (24,000-27,000 ft) a.s.l. Weather clouds often hindered observations of the volcano.

Santa Maria | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 16-17, 19, and 20-21 February a few explosions at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated ash plumes that rose 700 m above the complex and drifted SW. Minor ashfall was reported in La Florida (5 km S) on 19 February and in Monte Claro (S) during 20-21 February.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 10-17 February lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on PVMBG observations, satellite and webcam images, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 16-18 and 20-21 February ash plumes from Sinabung rose to altitudes of 3-4.3 km (10,000-14,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, SW, and S.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that during 15-16 February high-amplitude tremor at Turrialba remained constant, and sporadic gas emissions with minor amounts of ash drifted S and E. Occasional ballistics were ejected from the crater. During 16-17 February sporadic gas emissions with low ash content rose no higher than 300 m and drifted NW and SW. Tremor amplitude had decreased to moderate levels. Similar emissions were observed during 20-21 February, although they drifted NW and NE.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Lake Tanganyika, Africa.

5.4 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.3 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 Earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.0 Earthquake hits north of Severnaya Zemlya.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

South Africa – Three people have been killed during heavy rains in the North West province, the provincial government said on Thursday. A primary school boy drowned in Leporung, near Makgobistad, while attempting to cross a stream, and two others died in Phokeng, near Rustenburg, after their vehicle was swept away by water while trying to cross a flooded bridge.

Wildlife

Deep Sea Harbingers

The sudden appearances of giant oarfish, which typically live deep in the ocean near the seafloor, have sparked fears in parts of the Philippines that the fish are warning signs of an impending large earthquake.

Three have been found off the northern coast of Mindanao since Feb. 8, with the first appearing just two days before a 6.7 magnitude temblor rocked the island.

The fish can weigh up to 600 pounds and are known in Japan as “Messengers from the Sea God’s Palace.”

Ocean Suffocation

Earth’s oceans have lost more than 2 percent of their oxygen during the past 57 years in a trend scientists warn could threaten the future of marine life.

A study at Germany’s Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research confirmed earlier predictions that if climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for it continue unabated, ocean oxygen loss will accelerate and reach up to 7 percent on average by the year 2100.

“Since large fish in particular avoid or do not survive in areas with low oxygen content, these changes can have far-reaching biological consequences,” said lead researcher Sunke Schmidtko.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109.0 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Bourke, New South Wales, Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 69.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.1 degrees Celsius) at Oimyakon, Siberia

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

Meningococcal disease – Togo

Since 1 January 2017, 201 suspected cases of meningitis with 17 deaths were reported by 19 health districts. In week 2, the district of Akebou which is part of the Plateau Region issued an alert after four cases of meningitis were reported. In week 4, the epidemic threshold was reached with nine cases and an attack rate of 12.4 per 100 000 inhabitants. From 2 January to 12 February 2017, 48 suspected meningitis cases with three deaths were reported (case fatality rate of 6.3%).