Disease

Measles – Madagascar – Update

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak on the island country of Madagascar, UNICEF reports from 3 September to 21 February, 76,871 people were infected by measles and 928 died, a majority of which were children.

Dengue Fever – Peru

The Regional Health Office–Geresa has reported 33 confirmed cases of dengue in several localities of Lambayeque this year.

El Niño caused global disease outbreaks

Between 2015 and 2016, the weather phenomenon known as El Niño inadvertently set off a chain of events that led to global disease outbreaks.

But during the 2015-2016 event, NASA’s researchers found that El Niño changed precipitation, land surface temperatures and vegetation, facilitating conditions for the transmission of diseases. The aftermath resulted in a surge of reported cases for plague and hantavirus in the US states of Colorado and New Mexico; cholera in Tanzania; and dengue fever in Brazil and south-east Asia, among others. These findings are the first to comprehensively show the public health impacts of a major climate event on a global scale.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Oma), located approximately 286 nm west of Noumea, New Caledonia, is tracking south-southwestward at 04 knots.

In the Western Pacific Ocean: Tropical depression 02w (Wutip), located approximately 742 nm southeast of Andersen AFB, Guam, is tracking westward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Malaysia – A downpour that lasted for about two hours caused flash floods to hit several parts in the city centre in Johor Baru. The rain caused water levels to increase rapidly at major roads, resulting in traffic congestion.

El Nino Underway

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino Advisory last week, indicating the climate pattern has taken effect. While sea surface temperatures are above average, current observations and climate models indicate that this El Nino will be weak, meaning we do not expect significant global impacts through the remainder of winter and into the spring.

Global Warming

Climate Change will Strengthen El Niños

El Niños will be stronger and more frequent in the decades ahead because of global warming, causing “more extreme events” in the United States and around the world, a study said Wednesday.

A natural phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average seawater in the tropical Pacific Ocean, El Niño is Earth’s most influential climate pattern. A weak one is forecast to form at some point this winter, scientists have said.

Rather than once every 15 years, powerful El Niños will occur roughly once every 10 years. They found that the physical processes in the ocean and atmosphere that produce strong El Niños will be supercharged by human-caused climate change.

The entire natural climate cycle is officially known as El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which swings between warmer and cooler seawater in the tropical Pacific. Cooler-than-average ocean water is known as La Niña. The cycle is the primary factor government scientists consider when announcing their winter weather forecast.

Strong El Niños can lead to floods in the western United States, Ecuador and northeast Peru and to droughts in nations that border the western Pacific Ocean, the study finds.

During extreme El Niños, marine life in the eastern Pacific can die off, and mass bleaching of corals across the Pacific and beyond can occur.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Tunisia – Tunisian authorities say at least five people have been killed in flash floods in the country caused by heavy rains Wednesday and Thursday. Two other people are missing.

The regions of Bizerte in the north, and of Nabeul, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) east of the capital, received up to 200 millimeters (almost 8 inches) of rainfall. Some schools have been closed and homes, roads and hydro-electric power facilities along rivers have been severely damaged.

Texas, USA – Two people have died in flooding in Central Texas that caused a bridge to collapse. Heavy rains led to flooding where the Llano River and the Colorado River meet in Kingsland, Texas. Flood waters rushed over the 2900 bridge for hours before it collapsed.

El Niño Emerging?

The U.S. environment agency NOAA predicts there is now a 70 to 75 percent chance that the weather-altering ocean warming in the Pacific known as El Niño will develop during the next several weeks.

Observations seem to show an ocean-surface warming emerging in the eastern tropical Pacific during the past few weeks off the coast of Ecuador.

The last El Niño triggered crop damage, fires and flash floods in various parts of the world when it occurred from 2015 to 2016.

Environment

El Niño Return?

Weather agencies around the world predict there is a 60 to 70 percent chance the weather-altering phenomenon El Niño will emerge during the next two months.

The last time the ocean-warming stretched across the tropical Pacific was in late 2015 into 2016.

It was among the strongest on record and caused weather-related crop damage, wildfires and disastrous flooding in various parts of the planet. But researchers say they don’t expect the new one to be as intense.

A recent study predicts that climate change is altering the dynamics of both El Niño and its ocean-cooling counterpart, La Niña, making their weather impacts more severe as the planet warms.

Global Warming

Global warming is intensifying El Niño weather

As humans put more and more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth warms. And the warming is causing changes that might surprise us. Not only is the warming causing long-term trends in heat, sea level rise, ice loss, etc.; it’s also making our weather more variable. It’s making otherwise natural cycles of weather more powerful.

Perhaps the most important natural fluctuation in the Earth’s climate is the El Niño process. El Niño refers to a short-term period of warm ocean surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific, basically stretching from South America towards Australia. When an El Niño happens, that region is warmer than usual. If the counterpart La Niña occurs, the region is colder than usual. Often times, neither an El Niño or La Niña is present and the waters are a normal temperature. This would be called a “neutral” state.

The ocean waters switch back and forth between El Niño and La Niña every few years. Not regularly, like a pendulum, but there is a pattern of oscillation. And regardless of which part of the cycle we are in (El Niño or La Niña), there are consequences for weather around the world.

A new study just published in Geophysical Research Letters, has found that weather associated with El Niño events is becoming more severe. It means if you live in an area that is affected by an El Niño or La Niña, the effect is likely becoming magnified by climate change. For instance, consider California. There, El Niño brings cool temperatures with rains; La Niña brings heat and dry weather. Future El Niños will make flooding more likely while future La Niñas will bring more drought and intensified wildfire seasons.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the North Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 01a (Sagar), located approximately 89 nm southeast of Aden, Yemen, is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.

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El Niño Outlook

 

The recent La Niña ocean cooling across the tropical Pacific may be replaced toward the end of this year by an El Niño warming, which could bring its own set of weather disruptions. The U.S. agency NOAA predicts there is a 50 percent chance El Niño will return by the 2018-19 Northern Hemisphere winter. The last El Niño was linked to crop damage, deadly wildfires and flash floods during 2016.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the South Pacific: Tropical cyclone 18p (Donna), located approximately 302 nm north-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking west-southwestward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

El Niño – Forecasters at the World Meteorological Organization predict there is a 50 to 60 percent chance that the weather-altering El Niño ocean warming will develop across the Pacific this year. The previous El Niño ended just last year, and it is unusual for the phenomenon to return so quickly.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Switzerland – Torrential rain, thunderstorms and flash floods have inundated towns and villages, especially in parts of northwest, central and eastern Switzerland.

France – An international team of scientists has found that man-made climate change nearly doubled the likelihood of last month’s devastating French flooding.

El Niño – El Niño is dead, scientists declared Thursday. It was 17 months old. The infamous climate pattern defined by warmer-than-average Pacific Ocean water is likely to be succeeded by its cooler kid sister, La Niña. Developing from a small patch of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, this El Niño grew to among the largest ever recorded as it shaped weather around the world.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

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Ethiopia – At least 50 people have been killed in flooding and landslide caused by heavy rains in Ethiopia. Some 41 people died in Wolayita Zone in southern Ethiopia on Monday because of the landslide. Reports said that nine others were also killed in the Bale region in southeastern Ethiopia following the flooding. Over 1,000 cattle also reportedly drowned in the area. Tens of thousands of people have been affected by heavy the rains in several parts of the country. A number of roads have been washed away and bridges destroyed. The African country is struggling with its worst drought in decades, but unseasonable heavy rains have caused damage in several areas across the country.

El Niño – El Niño seen ending while chance of La Niña remains at 50%. The Pacific Ocean has cooled to near neutral levels over the past two weeks, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday (May 10, 2016), as the end of the strongest El Niño weather patterns in nearly 20 years is coming closer.

Environment

Sea Levels Seesaw

Duelling climate cycles such as El Niño and La Niña are causing sea levels to wobble back and forth across the Pacific with increasing magnitude in conjunction with climate change, according to a new NASA study.

Variations in sea levels in the Pacific basin are now three times greater than those observed on average during the previous 30 years.

Asia is currently on the high side of the sea level sway, while coastlines in the Americas as far north as California are experiencing a lower sea level.

For communities threatened by rising tides, predicting when the seesaw will swing the other way is becoming more crucial. The NASA findings may help improve those predictions.

Environment

How a Monster El Niño Transforms the World’s Weather

From crippling drought in southern Africa to a record number of February tornadoes in the U.S. Southeast, an exceptionally strong El Niño has been making headlines around the globe as it tampers with the world’s weather.

While the event has begun its slow decline, those wide-ranging impacts will continue to be felt for weeks and months to come — good news for those in California, who need El Niño-Fuelled rains, but bad news for the many areas, like Indonesia, which is suffering from deep drought, food and water shortages, and wildfires.

Already this year, El Niño-related weather has cost billions of dollars in damage and left some 100 million people facing food and water shortages.

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First, the big picture: El Niño is most known for shifting a large pool of warm ocean waters from the western to the central and eastern tropical Pacific. That shift changes where heat is pumped into the tropical atmosphere, disrupting its typical circulation patterns. Those local disruptions cause a domino effect through the global atmosphere that can alter weather thousands of miles away.

There are two main circulation patterns that are affected. All around the tropics is a pattern of rising and sinking air — like a vertical loop — called the Walker Circulation. The rising air corresponds to areas of unsettled, rainy weather, while the sinking air creates a stable, dry clime. Normally in the tropical Pacific, a major area of rising air is found over the western portions, where the warmest waters are found. With the eastward shift from El Niño, that rising air (and its sinking counterpart) move eastward as well. This displacement shifts the other branches of the Walker Circulation around the tropics, pushing wetter weather over areas that might normally be dry and vice versa. These areas typically see some of the strongest impacts from El Niño because they are in a region more directly linked to it.

The changes in the Walker Circulation in turn cause shifts in another looping pattern called the Hadley Circulation that runs north-to-south to the Walker’s east-to-west. And those changes in the Hadley Circulation can affect the subtropical jet stream — an area of fast-moving air that guides storms — in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. This is how El Niño can affect regions far from the tropics.

The changes in these main circulation patterns interact with other factors, like seasonal monsoons and other major climate patterns, which is why none of the typical impacts associated with El Niño are guaranteed. It merely shifts the odds in their favour.

Environment

100 Million Suffer Food-Water Shortages From El NIño

One of the strongest El Niños on record has left nearly 100 million people in southern Africa, Asia and Latin America with acute food and water shortages since late last year.

The ocean warming has also made many populations vulnerable to diseases such as Zika, according to various governmental, U.N. and relief agencies.

UNICEF warns that nearly 1 million children in eastern and southern Africa are suffering from “severe acute malnutrition” after two years of drought, preceding the current near-record El Niño.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network said in a statement that rainfall in southern Africa “has so far been the driest in the last 35 years.”

Millions of other people in various parts of the world have suffered from heat waves, water shortages and wildfires since El Niño’s weather disruptions emerged in mid-2015.

El Niño’s warmth is fading across the Pacific, but its influence on the world’s weather will linger for months.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone 06p (Ula), is located approximately 443 nm north of Auckland, New Zealand, and is tracking east-southeastward at 12 knots.

Hurricane Pali is located about 825 mi…1330 km S of Johnston Island and about 1455 mi…2340 km SW of Honolulu Hawaii with maximum sustained winds…90 mph…150 km/h. Present movement…S or 190 degrees at 7 mph…11 km/h.

Invest 90L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for tropical development.

NewsBytes:

Iraq – The Mosul Dam in Iraq faces the danger that it may collapse because of insufficient maintenance, which would overwhelm major communities downstream with floodwaters. In the worst-case scenario, an estimated 500,000 people could be killed while more than a million could be rendered homeless if the dam, Iraq’s largest, were to collapse in the spring, when the Tigris is swollen by rain and melting snow.

Syria – Snow and cold weather grip war-torn Syria – Millions of Syrians are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, aid workers say. Buildings have collapsed under the weight of snow.

El Niño – Australia’s weather bureau said the 2015-16 El Nino weather event has peaked in the recent weeks and is likely return to ENSO Neutral by Quarter 2 of 2016.

Global Warming

Earth is Experiencing a Global Warming Spurt

Cyclical changes in the Pacific Ocean have thrown earth’s surface into what may be an unprecedented warming spurt, following a global warming slowdown that lasted about 15 years.

While El Niño is being blamed for an outbreak of floods, storms and unseasonable temperatures across the planet, a much slower-moving cycle of the Pacific Ocean has also been playing a role in record-breaking warmth. The recent effects of both ocean cycles are being amplified by climate change.

A 2014 flip was detected in the sluggish and elusive ocean cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, which also goes by other names, including the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation. Despite uncertainty about the fundamental nature of the PDO, leading scientists link its 2014 phase change to a rapid rise in global surface temperatures.

The effects of the PDO on global warming can be likened to a staircase, with warming levelling off for periods, typically of more than a decade, and then bursting upward.

“It seems to me quite likely that we have taken the next step up to a new level,” said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

The 2014 flip from the cool PDO phase to the warm phase, which vaguely resembles a long and drawn out El Niño event, contributed to record-breaking surface temperatures across the planet in 2014.

The record warmth set in 2014 was surpassed again in 2015, when global temperatures surged to 1°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial averages, worsening flooding, heatwaves and storms.

The effects of the warm phase of the PDO and the current El Niño may be cumulative in terms of warming the planet. It also seems likely that changes in the ocean cycles are linked, with changes between El Niño and La Niña driving changes in the PDO cycle.

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Cold PDO phases have a blue background; warm phases are red.