Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Thailand – The heaviest floods in 15 years have forced the closure of several businesses in the commercial heart of Khiri Mat district in Sukhothai. The water level in the central area of the district surged as a result of floodwater flowing from upstream Phran Kratai district of nearby Kamphaeng Phet province combined with runoff from mountains in Ramkhamhaeng Sukhothai National Park. The downtown area was under 60cm of water. Owners of small cars were told to keep off the flooded roads as residents raced against time to create sandbag embankments around their homes and shops.

Disease

Pakistan: Chikungunya Update

In a follow-up on the chikungunya outbreak in Pakistan, the Sindh Health Department has reported 627 suspected cases of the mosquito borne disease in Karachi since May 1, according to a Pakistan Today report Saturday. This brings the total case count in the city to 2722 since the beginning of the year.

Anthrax: Switzerland

In a follow-up on the animal anthrax case in Jura, Switzerland, the surveillance system set up by the Consumer and Veterinary Affairs Department in Jura detected a second bovine case, according to a Swiss media report. The infected cow was detected on May 12 from the Jura farm after presenting symptoms of the lethal disease.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Guyana – The government today said that floods were receding six Region Eight villages and that some villages in Region Seven have now been affected. The flooding in both regions is mainly as a result of excessive recent rainfall in the highland regions. The government has sent a number of relief flights to assist in the flooded areas.

Wildfires

Wildfires – California, USA

A wildfire burning south of Jamul, near San Diego had scorched more than 1,000 acres by Saturday night and was threatening Dulzura. The blaze, called the Gate fire, broke out south of Otay Lakes Road and west of state Route 94, near a Border Patrol checkpoint. The fire is 75% contained and is not threatening any structures.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits Bohol in the Philippines.

5.8 Earthquake hits off the coast of Colima, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Norway – The Arctic Doomsday Seed Vault Floods. It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

The vault managers are now taking precautions, including major work to waterproof the 100m-long tunnel into the mountain and digging trenches into the mountainside to channel meltwater and rain away. They have also removed electrical equipment from the tunnel that produced some heat and installed pumps in the vault itself in case of a future flood.

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Disease

Yemen cholera crisis spreading at ‘unprecedented’ speed

More than 50 deaths due to cholera have been reported in Yemen since the beginning of the week. According to WHO, more than 240 people have died from cholera in just the last three weeks, out of a total of 23,400 infections.

DRC Ebola outbreak

In an update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) reported nine additional suspected EVD cases Thursday in Ngayi and Azande. This brings the total EVD cases to 29 (two confirmed, two probable and 25 suspected) and three deaths.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 10 May – 16 May 2017

Bagana | Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-14 May ash plumes from Bagana rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW, W, NW, and E.

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported gas-and-steam activity at Bezymianny during 5-12 May, and a thermal anomaly identified in satellite images during 5 and 8-9 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Bogoslof | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO reported that an increase in seismic and infrasound activity from Bogoslof was detected from stations on nearby islands starting at 2232 on 16 May, suggesting the beginning of an explosive eruption. The Aviation colour Code (ACC) was raised to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level (VAL) was raised to Watch. A pilot reported an ash plume rising as high as 10.4 km (34,000 ft) a.s.l., and the Worldwide Lightning Location Network detected lightning associated with the cloud. The ACC was raised to Red and the VAL was raised to Warning. The eruption lasted about 73 minutes.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that no significant volcanic activity at Cleveland was detected in seismic, infrasound, or satellite data during 10-16 May. The webcam recorded some gas plumes during 13-14 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Colima | Mexico : On 12 May the Centro Universitario de Estudios e Investigaciones de Vulcanologia – Universidad de Colima reported that during the previous week seismic data revealed 26 high-frequency events, 21 long-period events, 2.5 hours of tremor, 12 landslides, and three low-intensity explosions.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-16 May ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions as far as 150 km.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : KVERT reported that an ash plume from Ebeko was identified in satellite images drifting about 50 km NE on 7 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and information from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-11 May ash plumes from Ibu rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SW. An ash plume on 16 May rose to 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l.

Karangetang | Siau Island (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind data, and ground-based visual observations, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 10 May a gas-and-steam plume, possibly containing ash, rose from Karangetang to an altitude of 3.6 km (12,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted over 35 km SE.

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the lava delta at Kamokuna (the ocean entry area at Kilauea), which had been growing since late March, collapsed on 3 May. Two large cracks parallel to the coast were visible on 27 April, suggesting instability. Between 0935 and 0940 on 3 May a large steam plume appeared in the middle of the lava delta in the area of large cracks. Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra deposits were visible in the steaming area; that activity ended by 0940. Images acquired over the next 25 minutes showed a progressively weaker steam plume, and a subsiding delta. Photos of the ocean entry taken on 7 May showed multiple streams of lava flowing into the ocean. During 10-16 May HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise, fall, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook crater. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater, from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone, and from a small lava pond in a pit on the W side of the crater. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu’u ‘O’o Crater’s E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Surface lava flows were active above and near the pali.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that ash plumes from Klyuchevskoy were identified in satellite images drifting 270 km SE and NW during 5-6 and 10-11 May, respectively. A weak thermal anomaly was noted on 5 and 10 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Langila | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) :Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-14 May ash plumes from Langila drifted N, NW, and S at altitudes of 1.8-2.4 km (6,000-8,000 ft) a.s.l.

Nevado del Ruiz | Colombia : Servicio Geológico Colombiano’s (SGC) Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Manizales reported that during 9-15 May seismicity at Nevado del Ruiz continued to indicate unrest; the number and magnitude of events were higher compared to the previous week. Significant amounts of water vapor and gas continued to be emitted. Gas, steam, and ash plumes rose 1.7 km above the crater rim on 12 May and drifted NW and SW. According to the Washington VAAC the Bogota MWO reported an ash emission on 13 May. The Alert Level remained at III (Yellow; the second lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Reventador | Ecuador : During 10-16 May IG reported a high level of seismic activity at Reventador including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions. Steam, gas, and ash plumes rose as high as 700 m above the crater rim during 10-12 May. Crater glow was noted during 11-12 May.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that during 8-14 May explosive activity at Sabancaya slightly decreased from the previous week, with an average of 38 explosions detected per day. The number of long-period events continued to increase, while hybrid events were sporadic. Gas-and-ash plumes rose as high as 4.2 km above the crater rim and drifted more than 40 km NE, E, and SE.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on PVMBG observations, webcam and satellite images, and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 10-16 May ash plumes from Sinabung rose to altitudes of 3-4.9 km (10,000-16,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and NE.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : Based on JMA notices and satellite-image analyses, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 10 May plumes from Suwanosejima rose to an altitudes of 2.7 km (9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E.

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported an explosion at Turrialba on 10 May, followed by weak and passive ash emissions during 10-11 May. Several long-period earthquakes were recorded, and inflation continued. Gas measurements indicated a sulfur dioxide flux of 1,000 tons/day, and a high carbon dioxide/sulfur dioxide ratio. An event at 0900 on 12 May generated a plume, though poor visibility prevented a height estimate. An event at 0730 on 14 May generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim and drifted N. Low-amplitude tremor was detected during 15-16 May, and a discontinuous ash plume rose no more than 500 m and drifted N and NW.

Wildlife

California tortoises died trying to reproduce during drought

Scientists examining the deaths of female desert tortoises in Southern California said it appears the animals died while exhausting their water and energy to lay eggs during California’s historic drought.

Researchers want to know why female tortoises are dying in greater numbers than males in the Joshua Tree National Park.

U.S. Geological Survey biologist Jeffrey Lovich said he believes the tortoises died during a desperate attempt to fight extinction. He called it an “evolutionary gamble” — choosing to try and reproduce despite harsh conditions.

“Females will go out of their way to produce a clutch of four or so eggs,” Lovich told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “They’ll do it during a drought, when they can’t find the water they need, to have a chance to win at the game of life.”

Over the past three decades, Joshua Tree’s tortoise population has plummeted from about 30,000 to an all-time low of roughly 3,000.

Desert tortoises are a threatened species that typically have 50-year lifespans in the wild, with some living 80 years.

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Chimp Extinction

Tanzanian experts fear that chimpanzees could join elephants and rhinos as the most threatened wildlife species in the country due to their dwindling populations.

“A hundred years ago, there were probably 2 million, but now only 150,000 to 200,000,” said Anthony Collins, a baboon researcher at Gombe Stream National Park.

He told Tanzania’s The Citizen daily that destruction of habitat, illegal hunting and capture for medical research are the greatest threats to the chimps’ survival.

Global Warming

Antarctica is going green – not in a good way

Plant life is growing on Antarctica like never before in modern times, fueled by global warming which is melting ice and transforming the landscape from white to green.

Scientists studying moss in an area spanning 400 miles (640 kilometers) have found a sharp increase in growth over the past 50 years, said the report in the journal Current Biology.

Plant life exists on only about 0.3 percent of Antarctica.

Five moss cores — or column-like samples drilled from the Earth — showed evidence of what scientists called “changepoints,” or points in time after which biological activity clearly increased.

Areas sampled included three Antarctic islands — Elephant Island, Ardley Island, and Green Island — where the deepest and oldest moss banks grow, said the report.

The polar regions are warming more rapidly than the rest of the Earth, as greenhouse gasses from fossil fuel burning build up in the atmosphere and trap heat.

The Arctic is warming the fastest, but Antarctica is not far behind, with annual temperatures gaining almost one degree Fahrenheit (half degree Celsius) each decade since the 1950s.

“The sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises suggests that ecosystems will alter rapidly under future warming, leading to major changes in the biology and landscape of this iconic region,” said researcher Dan Charman, a professor at Exeter.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.0 degrees Fahrenheit (46.0 degrees Celsius) in Kaédi, Mauritania.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 75.0 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, 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.