Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Colombia.

5.3 Earthquake hits central Alaska.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Atacama, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of western Turkey.

5.0 Earthquake hits South Island, New Zealand.

Global Warming

Climate change is wreaking havoc on indigenous people in Alaska

The extreme warmth of 2016 has changed so much for the people of the Arctic that even their language is becoming unmoored from the conditions in which they now live.

The Yupik, an indigenous people of western Alaska, have dozens of words for the vagaries of sea ice, which is not surprising given the crucial role it plays in subsistence hunting and transportation. But researchers have noted that some of these words, such as “tagneghneq” (thick, dark, weathered ice), are becoming obsolete.

After thousands of years of use, words are vanishing as quickly as the ice they describe due to climate change. The native inhabitants are also in peril – there are 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk from the melting ice and coastal erosion. Many will have to relocate or somehow adapt.

In remote Alaskan communities, the stores sell goods priced to reflect their journey – $20 for a pizza, $15 for a gallon of milk. If you can’t butcher a 1,000-pound walrus because there is no sea ice to support both of you, then you might well be left hungry.

The window of opportunity for hunting continues to shrink. The communities are worried about this because food insecurity is something we are now having to tackle every single day.

St Lawrence island, a far-flung piece of the US that sits just 36 miles from Russia in the Bering Sea. The island is thought to be one of the last exposed fragments of a land bridge that connected North America to Asia during the last ice age.

In 2013, the island’s two main communities managed to catch just a third of the walruses they normally do. Last year, Gambell, the largest settlement, snared just 36 – down from the 600 it could expect just a few years ago.

Sea ice is further out from land than it once was and is becoming treacherously thin for hunters to traverse. Walruses, which require sea ice for resting and giving birth, often have to resort to heaving themselves on to crowded strips of land. These grand tusked beasts can trample each other to death in such conditions.

Frost locked deep in the soils is melting, causing buildings to subside. Communities are seeing their coastlines erode and are increasingly exposed to lashing storms without the protective barrier of sea ice.

Several Alaskan towns and villages are wrestling over whether to fight these changes or retreat to relative safety. Two coastal villages, Shishmaref and Kivalina, have voted to relocate while a third, Newtok, has taken the first tentative steps to do so.


Arctic lakes melting earlier each year

Arctic lakes, covered with ice during the winter months, are melting one day earlier each year, according to researchers, including one of Indian origin, who monitored 13,300 lakes using satellite imagery.

Scientists from the University of Southampton in the UK showed that due to warming temperatures ice is breaking earlier each spring, based on a 14-year period between 2000 and 2013.

Researchers discovered that all five study areas in the Arctic — Alaska, Northeast Siberia, Central Siberia, Northeast Canada and Northern Europe – showed significant trends of early ice break-up in the spring, but to varying degrees.

Central Siberia demonstrated the strongest trend, with ice starting to break-up an average of 1.4 days earlier each year.

Northern Europe showed the lowest change of ice break-up at 0.84 days earlier per year. They found a strong relationship between decreasing ice cover and an increasingly early spring temperature rise.

Less ice means a longer season for lake biology, which together with warmer temperatures will affect processes such as Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) emissions.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits South Island, New Zealand.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5.2 Earthquake hits Alaska.

Three 5.1 Earthquakes hit South Island, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Unimak Island, Alaska.

New Zealand – In the 12 hours from 6am to 6pm on Tuesday, Geonet, the official monitor, recorded 313 quakes, taking the total since the initial magnitude 7.5 quake to 1,212. The seabed off Kaikoura lifted approximately 1 metre.



Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Unimak Island, Alaska.

5.7 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.6 Earthquake hits offshore Valparaiso, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Unimak Island, Alaska.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.


As Arctic Sea Ice Keeps Melting, Desperate Bears Threaten Alaska

Alaskan villages are seeing an increased presence of polar bears in their communities, according to a Monday report from PBS NewsHour, as the animals move inland to try and find food. The bears have been forced from their former hunting grounds as Arctic sea ice — which reached the second lowest recorded level over the weekend — has receded. Now, instead of finding their dinner in Arctic waters, the bears are poking around the ice boxes of Alaskans.

The altered behavior of the polar bears in Alaska, which are classified as a “vulnerable” species, illustrates the danger of melting Arctic ice for wildlife and communities in the region. Arctic sea ice, which researchers say could be gone sometime between two and 15 years from now, plays an important role in providing a habitat for polar bears and also in reflecting sunlight out of the atmosphere instead of allowing darker ocean water to absorb that heat.


Wildfires – Colorado, Alaska, USA

A fire sparked Monday morning in southern Colorado quickly grew out of control and continues to grow with little to no containment. The so-called Junkins fire has claimed at least 16,312 acres in Custer and Pueblo counties, according to an incident report. The fire grew rapidly due to windy conditions; just north of Custer County, in the town of Florence, winds gusted above 40 mph Monday morning.

Fire officials expect calmer winds to provide a bit of reprieve for firefighters working two Sutton-area wildfires Tuesday. Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Tim Mowry said the 328-acre Moose Creek Fire had no “significant activity” overnight. By 8 p.m. the fire, was 46 percent contained. The King Fire, burning just miles away from the Moose Creek Fire, had a small flare up Monday night, but Mowry said it was quickly contained.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.3 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Veracruz, Mexico.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Unimak Islands, Alaska.

Global Warming

Alaskan Village votes to relocate due to Global Warming

The village of Shishmaref in Alaska voted on Tuesday to relocate to the state’s mainland because global warming and rising sea levels.

Shishmaref Council secretary Donna Barr said the vote was largely symbolic because it will be costly financially to the community. “About 15 years ago, they estimated the cost at $180 million, but I would figure it’s much higher now,” Barr said, according to CNN. “We don’t see the move happening in our lifetime because of the funding.”

The village’s roughly 650 residents have seen warming temperatures melt sea ice and permafrost, which has resulted in houses falling into the water, CNN reports. At least 31 villages in Alaska face “imminent threats” due to climate change, the Government Accountability Office reported in 2009 but they do not qualify for federal funding and lack the means to relocate without it.

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Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits Alaska.

5.7 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits Potosi, Bolivia.


Wildfires – Colorado, USA

Several wildfires in Colorado, totaling more than 35,000 acres burned, remain active as firefighters work to control and extinguish the blazes.

The biggest blaze, the Beaver Creek fire, has burned 20,981 acres in northern Colorado along the Wyoming state line about 24 miles north of Walden, according to state and federal fire officials.

The Hayden Pass fire continues to burn in the Colorado mountains about 20 miles southeast of Salida. It has scorched 14,788 acres and remains active.

The Cold Springs fire is burning in Boulder County about 2 miles northeast of Nederland. It started Saturday on private property, has burned more than 528 acres and is 100 percent contained. At least eight homes have been torched, and about 1,000 residents were forced to evacuate.

Wildfires – France and Spain

In the south of France, 3,000 holidaymakers in Torreilles were evacuated on Wednesday after strong winds whipped up a wildfire and more than 20 bungalows were destroyed. The fire had been fully extinguished by Thursday morning.

In southern Spain, hundreds of residents and tourists were evacuated from the resort town of La Linea in the Costa del Sol on Tuesday.

Wildfires – Alaska, USA

Thousands of lightning strikes have sparked dozens of new wildfires across Interior Alaska over the last two days, the Alaska Division of Forestry reports.

Forestry officials say as many as 7,200 lightning strikes were reported in the region on Wednesday and another 11,000 as of 4 p.m. on Thursday. In the area around McGrath, as many as 30 new fires were reported over the course of today and yesterday, but many of those are burning in remote areas that do not require a firefighting response, DoF said.