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Wed, 24 Aug 2016
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Earth Changes


Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano erupts multiple times; 4 times in under 24 hours

© UPI via Webcams de Mexico
Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention on Monday said the Popocatépetl volcano has erupted multiple times, spewing ash and burning rocks into the air.

The disaster prevention center, or CENAPRED, Monday afternoon said Popocatépetl erupted four times in the previous 24 hours, had 73 volcanic plumes and had two volcano tectonic earthquakes -- measuring in magnitudes 1.2 and 1.6, respectively.

Popocatépetl is about 43 miles southeast of Mexico City.

CENAPRED in March raised the environmental alert level to the second degree out of three, meaning nearby residents should be prepared to evacuate.

"The CENAPRED urges you not to approach the volcano, specifically the crater, due to the danger of falling ballistic fragments," CENAPRED said in a statement.


Experts warn of smallpox returning as melting permafrost increases in Siberia

Yamal and the anthrax outbreak now underway - the first for 75 years - should act as a warning.
This summer's melting of permafrost is more than THREE TIMES greater than usual, unlocking long-frozen deadly diseases.

Currently 24 people are in hospital in Salekhard, on the Arctic Circle, after contracting potentially lethal anthrax from unfrozen reindeer or human burial sites, but scientists say this is far from the only threat as climate change grips Siberia.

Anthrax spores are already 'on the loose" on the Yamal peninsula, according to one scientist, and this should act as a warning of the real risk of a return of eradicated smallpox from melting permafrost which allows the erosion of river banks at sites where victims were buried, said another.

'Back in the 1890s, there occurred a major epidemic of smallpox,' said Boris Kershengolts, deputy director for research at the Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone, of the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences.

'There was a town where up to 40% of the population died. Naturally, the bodies were buried under the upper layer of permafrost soil, on the bank of the Kolyma River. Now, a little more than 100 years later, Kolyma's floodwaters have started eroding the banks.'

Experts from the Novosibirsk-based Virology and Biotechnology Centre had conducted research in the area, said Sergey Netesov, chief of the bionanotechnology, microbiology and virology laboratory at the natural sciences department of Novosibirsk State University.

The corpses they studied bore sores that looked like those smallpox might cause, he told an intriguing and troubling TASS video conference involving multi-disciplinary experts on the implications of the outbreak of anthrax on the Yamal peninsula in northern Siberia.


NASA: July 2016 was world's hottest month since records began

© Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
The year 2016 continues to set historic heat records with July officially becoming the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. NASA revealed that temperatures last month peaked above the previous record set five years ago.

Data published by NASA revealed that for the past nine months temperatures have been hitting new records with July 2016 being 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average.

Comment: Temperatures around the world, like the weather, are becoming more extreme. See also:

Snowflake Cold

Experts say Britain is headed for a mini ice age next year triggering blackouts

© Getty
Climate boffins believe the UK's topsy-turvy climate is in for a chilly twist within the next few years as three major forms of climate change trigger "substantial cooling".

Drastic changes in ocean conditions, greenhouse gases and a weakening of the sun threaten increasingly worsening winters of blistering blizzards and severe snowstorms for years to come.

This cocktail of climate threats, paired with "hasty climate policies", could mean "rolling blackouts" in the UK over the next few years, plunging the country into long period of darkness.

These "worse case scenario" climate threats will hit the elderly hardest, leaving "some pensioners alone in the dark" on a freezing nights resigned to a "lonely death".

Comment: See also:

Cloud Lightning

US deaths-by-lightning continue to increase in 2016

The number of deaths from lightning strikes continues to rise in August after an especially deadly July.

The total number of fatalities in 2016 is now up to 27.

That currently ties last year's number and surpasses both 2013 and 2014.

While most lightning strike deaths in the United States occur in June, July and August, last month and the first half of the current month have been especially deadly.

July reported 12 lightning deaths and August already has six, and the ten year average for both of those months are ten and five respectively.

Since we still have half of August to go, and September usually claims an average of three victims, there's a good chance this year's tally will surpass every year of the past decade except for 2006 and 2007.

Cloud Lightning

4 die in lightning strikes in Jharkhand, India

Four persons were killed by lightning in separate incidents in Chatra district today, a district official said.

A 25-year-old woman, M Tuti, died at Sheregada village under Chatra Sadar police station while Krishna Paswan (40) and Butali Bhuiyan were killed in Bulalri village under Huntergunj police station when a thundersquall hit the area today, Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Singh said, adding one Vinay Paswan was injured in the incident.

Singh said compensation would be given as per the government's provision.

In another incident, a 20-year-old woman was killed at Banpur village under Tandwa police station area, the official said.

The victim was identified as Rupa Devi of the village.

All the victims were sowing seeds in their fields, he added.

Source: Press Trust of India


Coyote bites on humans increasing in Southern California

Wildlife experts trying to calm fears about coyote attacks in urban areas of Southern California often cite this statistic: coyote bites on humans are rare.

But are they becoming less rare?

"I'd characterize it as less rare than it used to be, definitely," said Niamh Quinn, an ecologist with the UC Cooperative Extension/Agricultural who is studying coyote interactions in Southern California. "We're seeing an increased frequency in bites (in Southern California) this year and last year."

Los Angeles County Public Health statistics also show a rise in coyote bites on humans countywide during the first seven months of 2016. Most recently, coyote attacks on three people forced a popular Montebello park and petting zoo to close down Tuesday.

Comment: Coyote, bear, lynx and wolf populations are on the rise all over the world.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods in Moscow after month's worth of rain falls in 1 day

© @liudmilapavlenko / Instagram
Decades-old daily precipitation records have been broken as parts of Moscow were submerged following heavy rain, with hundreds of people having to be rescued.

About 80mm of rain - more than 3 inches of water - fell on Moscow starting on Sunday night, with constant showers continuing all through Monday afternoon and evening.

Usually, it takes a whole month for that amount of rain to fall in the Russian capital. The rainfall has broken the all time single-day precipitation high mark dating back to 1970, as parts of Moscow suffered the worst rainfall since records began.

Cloud Precipitation

5 dead, 20,000 rescued: Disaster declared for flood-ravaged Louisiana

© Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development / Reuters
Floodwaters are seen on Range Road and I-12 in Denham Springs, Livingston Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
US President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for flooded Louisiana, where at least five people have died and emergency workers have had to rescue over 20,000 people.

On Sunday, a major disaster was declared in the state's hardest-hit areas, including East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa. Obama's move freed up federal funding, which can now be used to provide additional emergency aid.

The death toll from the disaster climbed to five on Sunday when an emergency crew discovered the body of a man who had reportedly been swept away in the water on Friday, said Ronda Durbin, a spokeswoman for Tangipahoa Parish, as quoted by Reuters.

Cloud Precipitation

5 dead and 50,000 displaced following floods in Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon in the Philippines

Rescuers (pictured) are seen rowing through the flooded streets trying to evacuate residents who can be seen clinging to debris that has become lodged in the deep currents
Rain brought by the Southwest Monsoon has been affecting parts of the Philippines since 08 August.

The country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) say that the rain has caused flooding in several regions, including Metropolitan Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon.

At least 5 deaths have been reported, with 3 of the fatalities in Manila. A further 6 people have been injured and 1 person is still missing.

NDRRMC report that the flooding has affected 80,467 people so far, and forced 50,592 people to evacuate their homes to stay in the 104 relief centres set up. Over 20 houses have been severely damaged and 12 houses completely destroyed.

The evacuations took place in Metropolitan Manila (18,000), Central Luzon (17,000, with over 11,000 in Bataan and 4,400 in Bulacan) and Calabarzon (almost 15,000).