Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits the Bouvet Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific: Tropical Depression 32w (Kai-Tak), located approximately 404 nm east-southeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking westward at 03 knots.

Newsbytes:

UK – Melting snow and heavy rain prompted flood warnings today over fears rivers could burst their banks after wintry conditions forced schools to shut for a third day. Most of the 14 flood alerts in England and Wales are because of melting snow and rain, while coastal areas will be hit by high tides.

Wildfires

Wildfires – California – Update

Four major wildfires are still burning in Southern California, and most are nearing full containment – except for the Thomas Fire.

The Thomas Fire (Ventura County), which is the largest, had burned 238,500 acres and was 30 percent contained as of Wednesday night, according to authorities. It is threatening 18,000 structures and has destroyed a total of 930 structures.

The Lilac Fire broke out at 11 a.m. Thursday in San Diego County. It was 4,100 acres, according to Cal Fire, and was 96 percent contained as of Wednesday night.

The Creek Fire (Los Angeles County) had burned 15,619 acres and was 98 percent contained Wednesday night.

The Skirball Fire (Los Angeles County) had burned 422 acres with 85 percent containment Monday night, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. It had destroyed six structures and damaged 12 others.

Disease

Dengue Fever – Samoa

Samoa health officials are reporting an outbreak of dengue fever, serotype 2 (DEN-2) that was first detected in October. A cumulative total of 1,522 clinical and confirmed cases with 339 hospital admissions were recorded as of December 3rd. There have been 4 dengue related deaths recorded.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 6 December – 12 December 2017

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : Based on BNPB and PVMBG reports, the eruption at Agung continued during 6-12 December, with high seismicity and nighttime crater incandescence often visible. On 8 December at 0759 an event generated a dense ash plume that rose 2.1 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Minor amounts of ash were deposited on the flanks, and lapilli was reported in Temakung. An ash plume rose 3 km at 1457. The number of evacuees on 10 December was 70,079 (spread out in 237 shelters). Ash plumes rose as high as 2 km. Lahars were observed in a drainage originating on the flanks of Agung. An explosion at 0549 on 11 December generated a dense ash plume that rose 2.5 km and drifted W and NW. Multiple ash-plume events were observed during 11-12 December, with plumes rising 1.5 km above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), and the exclusion zones continued at a general 8-km radius and 10 km in the NNE, SE, S, and SW directions.

Kanlaon | Philippines : PHIVOLCS reported that an approximately 10-minute-long, low-energy phreatic eruption at Kanlaon began at 0947 on 9 December. A plume of voluminous steam and dark ash rose 3-4 km above the summit vent. The event was heard as far away as La Castellana, Negros Occidental. Minor amounts of ash fell in Sitio Guintubdan, and barangays Ara-al, Sag-ang, and Ilihan. The eruption was preceded by the resumption of degassing at the summit crater at 0634, detectable as continuous low-energy tremor during periods when the summit was not visible; degassing was last observed September 2016. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 0-5).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 5-6 December. Ash plumes rose as high as 5.5 km (18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted about 180 km during 5-8 December. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 9-12 December Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone ejected material as high as 25 m above the main cone. Lava flows traveled 100 m NW towards Cerro Chino cone, and 75 m SE.

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : AVO increased the Aviation colour Code for Shishaldin to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch on 6 December following several weeks of increasing seismicity and pressure waves recorded by infrasound sensors. Continuous infrasound waves were detected for more than 10 hours on instruments located in Sand Point, ~230 km E. Steam emissions visible in satellite and webcam images during 5 and 8-12 December were rising hundreds of feet above the summit crater. The steam emissions were occasionally accompanied by infrasound signals indicating episodes of short-duration energetic gas emissions and/or small explosions.

Villarrica | Chile : On 10 December POVI reported that the surface of the lava lake in Villarrica’s crater was stable at 70 m below the crater rim. Ejected lava from the lake was not evident in images captured during the previous five days, and incandescence and seismicity slowly decreased.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Malaysia – Some 129 people from villages in flood prone Kota Belud district were evacuated overnight after Sungai Kadamaian overflowed its banks following heavy rains in west coast Sabah since late Monday. More monsoon rains are expected to hit the state over three to four days. Several roads were also flooded with some not passable to light vehicles.

Florida, USA – As South Florida raises groundwater levels to fight saltwater intrusion, the threat of inland flooding will only increase, according to newly published research results. Although high groundwater levels in South Florida are a major contributor to inland floods, especially during the wet season or extreme rain events, traditional flood models don’t account for the groundwater beneath our feet, scientists have found. South Florida protects its drinking water sources from saltwater intrusion by keeping groundwater levels high. As sea level rises, groundwater levels may need to be raised even higher, which could cause yet more flooding.

Wildlife

Overfishing and climate change push seabirds to extinction

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Overfishing and climate change are pushing some of the world’s most iconic seabirds to the brink of extinction, according to a new report.

The study reveals that kittiwakes and gannets are among a number of seabirds that have now joined the red list of under-threat birds drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The study found that overfishing and changes in the Pacific and north Atlantic caused by climate change have affected the availability of sand eels which black-legged kittiwakes feed on during the breeding season.

This has caused “disastrous chick survival rates”, it says, with nesting kittiwake numbers plummeting by 87% since 2000 on the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and by 96% on the Hebridean island of St Kilda.

Globally, the species is thought to have declined by about 40% since the 1970s, justifying its move from the “least concern” category to “vulnerable” on the Red List.

“The alarming decline of the black-legged kittiwake and other North Atlantic and Arctic seabirds, such as the Atlantic puffin, provides a painful lesson in what happens when nations take an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to conservation.

The study also found that the number of Cape gannets – which breed around Namibia and South Africa – has dropped 50% since the 1950s as food stocks dwindle from overfishing and climate change.

The study also found that the yellow-breasted bunting, once super-abundant, has declined by 80% since 2002, putting it in the highest category, “critically endangered”. It blames illegal trapping in China.

In the North American Arctic, the report found the snowy owl population is much smaller than previously thought and in rapid decline. It said climate change, which has caused snow to melt and reduce rodent cover, was one the key factors.

However, the study did find some positive trends. The Dalmatian pelican has seen its numbers increase in Europe thanks to the introduction of artificial nesting rafts and disturbance prevention. In New Zealand two species of kiwi are more numerous to the control of predators and a programme of egg rearing.

Disease

Plague in Dogs in Colorado, USA

A dog that was being treated at Colorado State University (CSU) was diagnosed with plague and euthanized Friday. The CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital notified faculty, staff, and students Monday. Local media reports this was the seventh case of plague in a domestic animal in Colorado this year.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Indonesia – Jakarta was struck by heavy rain and strong winds starting from noon on Monday, peaking at around 2 p.m. It continued to drizzle throughout the capital until about 5 p.m. Flood waters of up to 1 meter in height were reported on Jl. Adityawarman in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. Vehicles were unable to pass the roads. The heavy rainfall and strong winds toppled trees and flooding made it impossible for buses and cars to pass through several areas.

Wildlife

Scientists urge endangered listing for cheetahs

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A comprehensive assessment of cheetah populations in southern Africa supported by the National Geographic Society reveals the dire state of one of the planet’s most iconic big cats. In a study published today in the open-access journal PeerJ, researchers present evidence that low cheetah population estimates in southern Africa and population decline support a call to list the cheetah as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The findings show that free-ranging cheetahs were present across approximately 789,700 square kilometers in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2016.

he study estimates only 3,577 adult cheetahs exist in this extensive area, which is larger than France, and a majority (55 percent) of individuals are found within only two habitats. This estimate is 11 percent lower than the IUCN’s current assessment, supporting the call for the uplisting of cheetahs from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered.”

Bee Disease Outbreak in New Zealand

Hawke’s Bay beekeepers have been warned to be vigilant after 66 cases of American Foulbrood disease have been confirmed over the past three months. This outbreak affects many thousands of hives and potentially threatens the viability of pollination in the area.

AFB is caused by the bacteria Paenibacillus larvae, which infects food fed to bee larvae while they develop in hive cells. The larvae are transmitted into the gut of developing bees, killing them just before they are fully grown. The disease can spread quickly through the exchange of equipment and movement of infected combs, and any hive found with it must be burned.

Disease

H1N1 influenza – Ghana

In late November, an outbreak of influenza A H1N1 was reported Kumasi Academy Senior High School in Kumasi City, Ashanti Region in central Ghana. At that time, 13 cases of severe acute respiratory illness was reported.

Since that time, the Ghana Ministry of Health has reported 77 cases with four deaths (case fatality rate 5.2%). The majority of the cases, 66%, were males and over 95% of the cases are teenagers. Thus far, the disease is still localized in the school as no cases have been reported among community members.

Cholera – Kenya

From 1 January though 29 November 2017, a total of 3967 laboratory-confirmed and probable cases including 76 deaths (case fatality rate = 1.9%) were reported by the Ministry of Health to WHO.

Cholera – Zambia

On 6 October 2017, the Minister of Health declared an outbreak of cholera in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. From 28 September through 7 December 2017, 547 cases including 15 deaths (case fatality rate = 1.8%), have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak. The initial outbreak period was from 28 September through 20 October. From 21 October through 4 November 2017 there were less than five cases reported each week. However, from 5 November 2017 an increase in the number of cases was observed with a total of 136 cases reported in the week beginning 26 November.