The shocking face of January 2020 Credit World Health Organisation
January 1st 2020.
There is only one story on everyone's lips, the Australian bushfires, which started way back on September the 7th 2019, are burning more intensely than ever. As of today, it has been reported by the Times that almost 500 million animals have died in the fires, just to put that figure into some kind of perspective 500 million is the population of the European Union. In just 4 months, 500 million creatures have perished due to the fires. Some of the “mega-fires” are thought to be unstoppable. According to chief firefighters, they can only be stopped with heavy rainfall, any meaningful rain is not expected until the end of January 2020, four weeks away. Worse still, it will get much hotter in the coming days. Temperatures of 45 deg C, (113 deg F) in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are forecast this weekend.
According to a report in The Daily Mail this morning, Australia is teetering on the edge of a humanitarian crisis as remote communities remain cut off from medical help, water sources are compromised and food and fuel supplies are running low. Hundreds of fires are still burning out of control across the country, destroying millions of hectares, killing 18 and leaving at least 1,200 homes destroyed, with catastrophic weather conditions forecast for Saturday. Fears fires in Victoria's north-east and NSW south-west could merge into single 'giant fire’ as tens of thousands of people are evacuated.
Thousands of people are trapped on beaches after ignoring advice to evacuate. The fires are so fierce they are generating fire tornadoes, supercell thunderstorms and dry lightning, which of course create more fires. Water in many communities has become unsafe to drink from toxic ash falling into reservoirs. It is truly impossible to say when these fires will be brought under control, they are unprecedented.
Away from the fires, almost 100,000 people were evacuated after flash-flooding killed up to 21 people in Indonesia's capital city Jakarta with what officials are claiming was “not normal rain.” More heavy rain is forecast for the coming days according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Monsoon rains and rising rivers submerged at least 169 neighbourhoods and caused landslides in the Bogor and Depok districts on Jakarta’s outskirts, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Floodwaters reached up to an impressive 2.5 meters, (8 feet) in places. As much as 37 centimetres (14.5 inches) of rainfall was recorded in Jakarta and West Java’s hilly areas on New Year’s Eve.
January the 2nd, A big bang!
On New Year’s Eve an angry mob, thought to have been organised by Iranian militias attacked the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad exposing a deepening an already deep divide between the United States and Iraq over Iran’s role there. I switched on my computer this morning to headlines claiming The United States had killed Iran’s top general Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. According to Associated Press, the attack threatens to dramatically ratchet up tensions in the region. The targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, could draw forceful Iranian retaliation against American interests in the region and spiral into a far larger conflict between the U.S. and Iran, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond, WWIII was trending on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Up in Scandinavia, Norwegians are usually skiing this time of the year with temperatures under zero. However, parts of the west coast yesterday enjoyed an early feel of summer weather thanks to a remarkable, rare early January heatwave. Warm records tumbled as Norway recorded its warmest January day on record when the mercury hit an astonishing 19 deg C, (66 deg F), an incredible 25 deg C, above the monthly average. It won’t last though. A large, broad cyclone has developed over the Norwegian and Greenland Seas and is expected to bring hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall, and snow as it moves toward Norway tonight and into tomorrow today.
Earlier this week new maximum temperature for December in the UK was recorded when a temperature of 18.7 deg C, (66 deg F) was reached at Achfary, in the Highlands of Scotland the, hottest day of December ever recorded in the UK. The old record stands at 18.3 deg C, in Achnashellach in the Highlands on 2 December 1948.
Tens of thousands of people were left stranded today as they attempted to flee the bushfires along the southeast coast of Australia, some people had left it too late to leave as the fires encroached, others simply decided not to leave their properties. The mass evacuation from New South Wales and Victoria are thought to be the largest in Australia’s history. Meanwhile, the fires have been exceeded human and computer predictions, because of the intensity of the fires they are creating their own weather. Firefighters warn they may have to abandon homes, and even whole towns, as bushfire crisis threatens to overwhelm resources. Saturday is expected to be horrendous with strong dry winds and 45 deg C, (115 deg F) temperatures.
Elsewhere, the death toll from the flash floods in Jakarta has risen to 50. Jakarta, the Indonesian capital is home to about 30 million, around half a million people are said to be affected.
China today declared its giant paddlefish, dubbed 'the Panda of the Yangtze River' for its enormous size, extinct following decades of overfishing. The giant paddlefish was the fifth biggest freshwater fish in the world.
January the 3rd
"There will be dead Americans" as a result of Iran general being killed, ex-CIA deputy director says. The targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani, one of Iran's top military leaders, has escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with Iran vowing revenge. CBS News senior national security contributor, and former acting and deputy CIA director Michael Morell told "CBS This Morning" the drone strike on Soleimani will lead to "dead civilian Americans." "Soleimani was an evil genius, he had a lot of American blood on his hands," Morell said. "The world is a better place without him. The problem is that comes at a very high cost. Number one, there will be dead Americans, dead civilian Americans, as a result of this. There was one man who was happy with the killing though, while Washington was split Trump’s decision on Friday the targeted assassination of the Iranian general, John Bolton seemed especially cheerful. The former national security adviser in the Donald Trump administration took to Twitter to congratulate "all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani.”
Not everywhere is breaking warm temperature records, Greenland registered its coldest day ever when a temperature of -86.8F (-66C) was recorded at Summit Camp.
The first volcano eruption of the decade and the year belongs to Alaska. A volcano in Alaska’s the Aleutian Islands began erupting Friday morning. Ash clouds have been estimated as high as 27,000 feet, more than five miles high. Shishaldin Volcano, which has been erupting since June 2019, was sending up a cloud of volcanic ash that was moving southeast at 50 knots, the National Weather Service said.
January the 4th
A humanitarian disaster is developing in Indonesia's capital Jakarta as the death toll rises to 60 with almost 200,000 people taking refuge in shelters across the massive urban conglomeration of thirty million people after whole neighbourhoods were submerged from torrential rain. Thousands of people are unable to return to water-logged homes with more torrential rain to come.
Australia had warned earlier in the week that Saturday would be hell on Earth and so it proved. The hottest place on the planet belonged to Sydney as Penrith in Sydney's west approached 50 deg C when the mercury reached an incredible 48.9 deg C, (120 deg F), the hot conditions and blustering wind made perfect conditions for the fires to rage. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) recorded a reading of 48.9C at 3pm, smashing the previous record of 47.3C set in January 2018.
The bushfires represent a catastrophic beginning of a bleak future for the country’s native flora and fauna. Named the 'Silent Death’, Australia's bushfires have pushed countless species to extinction. Millions of animals have been killed in the fires but the impact on flora and fauna is grimmer even than individual deaths. Ecologists fear the bushfires represent the catastrophic beginning of a bleak future for the country’s native flora and fauna. “It feels like we have hit a turning point that we predicted was coming as a consequence of climate change,” said Prof John Woinarski. “We are now in uncharted territory.” Bushfires don’t just burn animals to death but create starvation events. Birds lose their breeding trees and the fruits and invertebrates they feed on. Ground-dwelling mammals that do survive emerge to find an open landscape with nowhere to hide, which one ecologist said became a “hunting arena” for feral cats and foxes.
Meanwhile, tension around the world tightens amid the aftermath of the death of Qassem Soleiman. The Iranian regime has raised a red flag of revenge over the dome of the Jamkarān Mosque in Qom, Iran’s holiest city, as an apparent warning to America of impending retaliation for the airstrike that killed the regime’s top military general Qassam Soleimani. President Trump has replied saying he would hit Iran hard with 52 targets already lined up if Iran retaliates.
Elsewhere, The Yellow Vests stage unite for pension reform protests in France breaking a record! Several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday in Paris demanding the withdrawal of government plans to overhaul the French pension system. Demonstrators, some wearing yellow vests, marched carrying banners and chanting for French President Emmanuel Macron to scrap his reform project. Demonstrations and strikes against French plans to reform the pension system entered their 31st day on Saturday, leaving the previous 1986-7 record of 28 consecutive days of strikes behind. Active opposition to the government plans started on December 5, 2019, with a public transport strike affecting suburban trains, metro, bus and tram lines in the Paris region, causing massive problems for people to get to work.
Rioting returns to Chile, Protesters set fire to church used by city's police force as violent demonstrations against Chilean government continue. Angry protesters have set fire to the police's favourite church in fresh demonstrations against the Chilean government. The Iglesia San Francisco de Borja in Santiago, the country’s capital erupted in flames after activists burned it to the ground yesterday in the latest clashes in the capital. The building, which was built in 1876, has become the preferred place of worship for the Chilean National Police Force. Protests have rocked Chile, the world's top copper producer, for two months, leaving 26 dead and causing billions in losses for private businesses and public infrastructure, according to the Daily Mail.
What comes out of the ocean will inevitably show the health of the ocean it came from. Jellyfish are taking over, fast becoming the “NEW KINGS OF THE OCEAN,” The rapid growth over the last few decades of these creatures is a sign of the planet's deteriorating marine health. Jellyfish are thriving because their predators are dead. Reports of Jellyfish invasions are commonplace worldwide these days. So when Portuguese Man O’ War started washing up along the beaches of Trinidad and Tobago no one there thought much about but they continued washing ashore and still they continued. Hundreds of thousands of them leaving unprecedented numbers along the beaches on Trinidad east and north coasts.
January the 5th
Tropical Cyclone Blake is the 1st cyclone of the Australian season and is expected to reach category 2 strength by Tuesday. Blake is located 121 nautical miles north of Broom on the northwestern coast of Australia and is moving slowly southeastwards. Flood watches are in place with 250 mm rain expected in some parts. Destructive gale-force winds are expected later today. According to the latest update from BOM, Australia’s meteorological service, Tropical Cyclone Blake continues to develop to the north of Broome and is likely to track close to the Dampier Peninsula. Gales and heavy rain likely over the northwest Kimberley coast.
There is also a chance of a cyclone forming Wednesday in the Arafura Sea, the system, 92S is likely to bring heavy rainfall to the Darwin area. Meanwhile, the severe drought hitting New South Wales are causing houses and other buildings to crack as the bone dry clay begins to contract.
January the 6th
Australia was enjoying a much cooler day today as the first meaningful rain in a while fell on the fires giving firefighters a well-earned respite, however, the rains will not be heavy enough o put out the fires. According to officials, more 2,000 houses have now been destroyed and six million hectares consumed and it is thought more than half a billion animals dead, those who manage to survive will probably go on to die of starvation. 25 people are said to be dead from the unprecedented fires. Two hundred people have been arrested accused of starting bushfires.
Today, nearly a hundred organised demonstrations ignited across cities in America opposed to Donald Trump’s killing of Iran’s, Major General Qasem Soleimani.
January the 7th
The first week of 2020 ended as it started, with a bang!
Two countries have had an appalling start to 2020, one, of course, is Australia with its unprecedented bushfires and crippling heatwave, the other is Indonesia.
Indonesia is suffering their deadliest flooding in years, causing chaos in parts of Southeast Asia’s biggest city and capital Jakarta. A humanitarian disaster is developing as the death toll from torrential rain rises to 60 with almost 200,000 people taking refuge in shelters. This morning they suffered their first major quake of 2020.
A powerful shallow (shallow quakes are the strongest) magnitude 6.2 struck this morning southwest of Indonesia’s province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra, at a depth of 20.3 km (12.6 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. No tsunami warning has been issued. According to Reuters, People panicked and ran out of buildings, on the island nearest to the epicentre.
At least one aftershock was recorded by the Indonesian geophysics agency. Indonesia, which sits on the seismically active Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, often suffers deadly earthquakes and tsunamis. In September 2018, Palu, on the island of Sulawesi, was devastated by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and a powerful tsunami it unleashed, killing more than 4,000 people.
A very powerful shallow magnitude 6.6 earthquake, reduced to a mag 6.5 by USGS rocked Puerto Rico after a swarm of smaller quakes (foreshocks) struck earlier today and yesterday, along with a powerful magnitude, 5.8 foreshock. The mag 6.5 quake came just hours after the powerful magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck Indonesia’s province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra.
The most impressive “mega-swarm” of earthquakes in 2019 was the swarm in and around the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Sea, just how many quakes occurred there last year is impossible to know because my computer is too small to load all the info, however, 3,068 mag, 2.5 quakes or higher were recorded there in 2019, with another thousand since the beginning of 2020.
Another major quake! The third major quake of in the last 24 hours! A magnitude 6.0 Papua New Guinea is the 3rd quake in the last 24 hours! Three major quakes in the first week of the new decade!
While WWIII is on the lips of the world more than sixty people have died along with two hundred injured during a stampede as millions of Iranians mourn the death of Iran’s, Major General Qasem Soleimani.
January the 8th.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei claims Iran’s early Wednesday missile attack on US bases in Iraq was just a slap in the face. Apparently, no U.S. troops were hurt in the attack. The revenge attack came after Donald Trump’s assassination of Iranian military chief Qasem Soleimani.
Still in Iran and much speculation is rising over the cause of the Ukrainian 737 crash in Tehran. The passenger jet crashed apparently on fire killing all 176 onboard. Ukraine's Tehran embassy initially blamed engine failure but later removed the statement and in another twist, Iran's civil aviation organisation has said that it will not hand the black box over to Boeing from the Ukrainian airlines flight that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport on Wednesday morning. Both black boxes were found Wednesday, Iranian state television has reported. An Iranian official was quoted as saying both boxes were damaged but that it was believed their data could still be retrieved. chunks of the plane's fuselage can be seen peppered with holes.
Australia has rain, yes, rain. As the wildfires in Australia continue to burn throughout the continent, sooty rain and cooler temperatures have finally brought some welcome relief to affected communities and fire crews from Sydney to Melbourne, with “torrential” rain reported in some parts of New South Wales (NSW). However, authorities warn that temperatures are expected to rise again later this week, and dangerous bushfire conditions will likely continue across eastern Victoria and NSW by Saturday. Forecasters also predict very hot and windy conditions in South Australia by Friday, with temperatures averaging around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. They also warn that huge fires in Victoria and NSW have the potential to come together to create a larger “mega blaze.” According to NOAA.
More miserable reports of the fate of wildlife in Australia, the revised animal death toll is now at an incredible one billion with 8 hundred million dead in New South Wales. To add to the heartache professional shooters will hunt and kill 10,000 feral camels from helicopters in drought-ravaged South Australia because the animals drink too much water. According to other reports from down under almost ten million hectares have been consumed.
January the 9th
The amazing start to 2020 continues with the 4th major quake of the year, a magnitude 6.3 strikes Chukotskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug, Russia. We are only 8 days into 2020, I can't ever remember a start like this. The 10km deep magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck on Thursday 406 kilometres (252 miles) southwest of Anadyr, Chukotka in Russia’s East. The area is a barren mountainous region and casualties and building damage is expected to be light if any.
Today, after a couple days of respite, the Aussie bushfires flared up again, the rain hadn’t affected the fires at all. Authorities have issued new warnings and evacuation notices across southeast Australia, as a return of hot weather fans huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities, the bushfires are horrendous but more heatwaves are expected.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released its 2019 Annual Climate Statement today and the results don’t come as a great surprise, 2019 was both the warmest and driest year since records began. Australia's average temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record in 2013 of 1.33 °C above average. Meanwhile, the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. Australia started the year with record heat and ended the year with record heat.
January the 10th
Today, the pig-crises reared its ugly head for the first time in 2020. Bulgaria announces plans to slaughter 24,500 pigs in an African swine fever outbreak. Bulgarian veterinary authorities said on Friday they would cull more than 24,000 pigs after detecting an outbreak at a pig farm in the northeast of the country. The outbreak is the first at an industrial farm since August 2019 when the virus hit six breeding farms in the Balkan country, forcing the vet authorities to cull almost 140,000 pigs from 42 outbreaks in 2019. The disease is now embedded in Europe after decimating the pig population in Asia in 2019.
Torrential rain in Angola has killed 41 people and caused widespread destruction, the government said on Thursday. Twelve out of 18 provinces were hit by a violent downpour which began in the early hours of Monday
The Mexican colossus, the Popocatépetl Volcano, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain and towers to 5426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano is currently spewing a volcanic ash plume that rose up to an estimated 3,000m (9,800ft) into the Mexico sky.
Today, a quarter of million people were told to evacuate as two massive bushfires in Victoria and New South Wales merged into what is being described as a “mega-blaze,” spanning half a million hectares as the returning heatwave and strong winds sparked emergencies across several fire-ravaged states.
January the 11th
The world knew days ago, after days of toe-curling denials, Iran finally admits to accidentally shooting down the Ukrainian 737 plane in Tehran, killing 176 innocent people on January the 8th. However, they still blamed the Americans for the crash claiming it happened because of American adventurism. The leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei claimed Iran’s early Wednesday missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq was just a slap in the face for the Americans. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has ended up with egg on his.
January 2020 continues to rock as yet another volcano erupts. Less than twenty-four hours after the Mexican colossus, the Popocatépetl Volcano blew, a volcano on a southwestern Japan island erupted, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency. No immediate reports of injuries. Rocks were thrown about 300 meters from the crater of Mt. Shintake on Kuchinoerabu Island in the Kagoshima Prefecture following the eruption the agency said.
The volcano activity continues and so does the seismic activity. Another powerful major quake has rocked Puerto Rico, the second major quake to hit the island in 2020 according to USGS. The magnitude 6.0 - 13km S of Indios, struck this afternoon and was another shallow quake at 10km depth, (shallow quakes are the most powerful). today's major quake comes after 525 smaller quakes rocked the island in the last 7 days. The aftershocks, including two M 5.6's and a 5.0 are part of a mega- swarm which started on the 28th of December and has registered more than 1,500 quakes since then, including the two major quakes. According to USGS, more than 4,000 small to mid-sized quakes, have rattled the tiny island of Puerto Rico since January the 1st 2019. The islanders are still without power after the magnitude 6.5 struck the island on the 7th of January. Many people had taken to sleep on the streets as the aftershocks rattle the island.
January the 12th
It started in late September 2019 when Storm Lorenzo brought strong winds to the west of Ireland before crossing the UK on the 3rd of October since the North Atlantic hasn’t stopped developing wave after wave powerful often hurricane-force windstorms. Storm Brendan is the latest and is expected to bring more hurricane-force winds with high waves expected to reach fifteen metres high.
Meanwhile, at least 11 people have died this weekend when what is being called a severe storm swept across the Gulf area of the U.S. Deaths were reported in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts as a result of the storms, while homes have been destroyed and roads flooded.
Further north Storm after storm is expected to smash the Pacific Northwest this week which will also filter in Arctic-air, record amounts of snowfall are expected in Seattle and Oregon this week, the ocean storms are thought to be as a result in an erratic jet stream pulling cold air into the U.S. and pulling up warm air into Europe.
On Sunday, hundreds, maybe thousands of protesters have protested against their leaders and chanting “death to the liars” The protester, who originally gathered to mourn the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane suddenly turned their peaceful gathering into a protest against their leaders.
Another one blows! the Taal volcano, south of the Philippines capital Manila, spewed ash and steam1km (0.6 miles) into the sky, causing the evacuation of almost ten thousand people living in the area
January the 13th
The volcano eruption has intensified during the night, lava streams are forming as an extremely hazardous eruption is now feared. Experts are also worried a full-blown eruption would cause a very dangerous volcanic tsunami for the islands in the vicinity of the volcano. The Philippine Seismic Network has recorded a total of one hundred forty-four (144) volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region during the last twenty-four hours. The eruption is so intense the ash and steam cloud is generating its own electric storm.
As expected, the powerful bomb cyclone Brendan has intensified and developed into a monster as it moves ever closer to Ireland and the UK. Hurricane-force winds are once again expected to smash exposed areas tonight.
Record Rainfall in Israel has caused many religious scholars to become excited claiming that a Bible prophecy, in the Book of Ezekiel, one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament has been fulfilled after footage emerged of floodwater appearing to flow eastwards from Jerusalem. In the last couple of weeks, more than 400 millimetres of rainfall has accumulated in the northern coastal plain and Ramot Menashe, according to the Jerusalem Post, more than 400 mm. fell in the Western and Upper Galilee – in some areas reaching as much as 450 mm. The service reported that this amount of rainfall over a two-week period is highly unusual. since it began taking official rain measurements 80 years ago, such large quantities of rain have been measured in northern Israel only twice: in December 1951 and January 1969. A record was also broken in southern Israel where, according to the meteorological service, some 122 mm. fell, breaking a 76-year-old record. Though the sight of wadis (dry washes, valleys) filling up with water is not unusual in Israel, however, this winter rainy season has been especially blessed with rain, making this prophetic vision appear even more apparent. It remains to be seen if this will result in a springtime vision of the Dead Sea region blooming as it did in the days before Sodom and Gomorrah.
January the 14th
We are two weeks into probably the most important decade in the history of the human race and two weeks it has been. Today, almost 60 people have been killed with more missing in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Senior officials said many people were still stranded and many villages cut off after torrential rain and snow had caused landslides. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, twenty-four people are said to have died in flash-floods there. The unusual cold-snap continues in India, almost a 1,000 villages are said to be without electricity and water as unprecedented snow hit the Uttarakhand area.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) today claimed the latest eruption at the could well be just a fore-show of bigger things to come. Experts are worried a much larger eruption is just around the corner. Yesterday almost 500,000 people were told to leave the area, another 30,000 were evacuated after Sunday's eruption which blasted ash almost 10 miles, (16 km) into the Philippines sky coating everything in ash for miles around. Another fifty volcanic earthquakes have been registered in the last twenty-four hours, seven of them strong. PHIVOLCS also claimed a hazardous eruption is imminent since Sunday almost 550,000 have been evacuated or asked to leave the area. New fissures or cracks around the crater have been observed leaving experts to fear a volcanic tsunami could occur.
Many people in Puerto Rico are beginning to fear the ground will never stop shaking. The Island is still reeling after Hurricane Maria, a deadly Category 4 storm that battered the island in September 2017. The island has been badly shaken by hundreds of earthquakes in the last weeks, last Tuesday’s mag 6.4 quake is the biggest to rock the island in more than a hundred years. Thousands of Puerto Ricans are sleeping outside.
Yesterday's monster storm Brendan which battered Ireland and the UK has moved north but, the next one has rolled in to replace it! High winds, heavy seas torrential rain, flooding along with gale-force winds are now battering Scotland, causing further travel disruption. The North Atlantic has been incredibly active this winter, producing numerous intense extra-tropical cyclones since September.
2020's incredible start continues as seismic and volcanic activity rock the planet. A volcano has erupted on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos, Ecuadorian authorities said, spewing lava on the ecologically sensitive environment. La Cumbre Volcano on Fernandina Island, one of the youngest in the archipelago, began erupting Sunday evening, Galapagos National Park (PNG) officials said in a statement.
The 1,467-meter high volcano has a crack along its south-eastern flank and "a lava flow descends to the coast," PNG added. Before the eruption, an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 was felt, according to the local Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute, followed by 29 aftershocks.
January the 15th
A humanity disaster is unfolding in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, avalanches, flooding and harsh winter weather have killed almost one hundred and fifty people across Pakistan and Afghanistan and left others stranded by heavy snowfall. Almost one hundred people have died in Pakistan with Pakistani Kashmir was the worst-hit area, with 62 people killed and 10 others missing, the state disaster management authority said in a statement.
2019 is now officially the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history with catastrophic flooding the whole year bringing NOAA to declare "2019 was the 2nd wettest year on record for the U.S."
The US is experienced unprecedented and catastrophic flooding, the rains started in the winter and went right through the summer into autumn. More than 90% of the upper midwest and great planes were still covered by nearly 11 inches of snow well into May. That meant the US transformed from one of the worst winters in modern history into a flood season that took an apocalyptic turn for farmers across the US. Millions of acres of farmland stayed drenched and unfit for planting meaning thousands of farmers did not plant crops this summer, with thousands of more financially ruined by the floods and will never return to farming again.
2019 was the 2nd wettest year on record for the U.S. The nation also experienced 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disasters last year.
It was another year of record-making weather and climate for the U.S. in 2019, which was the second wettest behind 1973.
Warmer-than-average temperatures were felt by much of the country including Alaska, which logged its hottest year on record.
Alaska also experienced destructive wildfires that, when combined with those in California, caused damages in excess of $1 billion. Thirteen other billion-dollar disasters that struck the U.S. last year included Hurricane Dorian, historic flooding and severe storms.
January the 16th
If you come from my part of the world, Holland, today’s news will not come as a shock. This summer the heat was sometimes intolerable and as we enter into the second week of January winter has yet to arrive here in Amsterdam. 2019 was incredibly warm, not just Europe, Alaska recorded astonishing warm temperatures throughout 2019 as did, of course, our friends down under who are this moment tackling unprecedented bushfires due to record heat and drought conditions. 2019 was 2nd hottest year on record for Earth says NOAA and NASA: NOAA finds ocean heat content was the highest in recorded history. The world’s five warmest years have all occurred since 2015 with nine of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2005, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centres for Environment Information, (NCEI). It was also the 43rd consecutive year with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above average.
2019 was a damming year for Alaskan wildlife. Extremely low cod numbers lead feds to close the Gulf of Alaska fishery for the first time ever. In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska closed for the 2020 season. It’s a decision that came as little surprise, but it’s the first time the fishery was closed due to concerns of low stock. The warmest February and March on record with temperatures +40 deg F above normal killed off the Crab fishing season. In November 2019. Prince William Sound Science Center field season was marked by a low flow and high pre-spawn mortality. Virtually no rain led to extremely low flows and field crews observed unprecedented pre-spawning die-offs and unusually late migration into the streams. According to the Prince William Sound Science Center, the fish finally started, what was for many, an ill-fated journey into the streams after some rain in early September. The rain stopped and the rivers dried up again. Soon thousands of fish were restricted to tide pools without enough water to return to the bays. They all suffocated. Other reports from Alaskan fishermen claimed herring, sardines, had all gone too
In November 2019, thousands of short-tailed shearwaters birds migrating from Alaska were washing up dead on Sydney's iconic beaches and the bird deaths had nothing to do with the massive wildfires in the area, worse still, thousands more, short-tailed shearwaters were dying out at sea. The corpses had been spotted at several shorelines including Bondi, Manly and Cronulla. The birds were migrating back to southern Australia to breed after spending the summer in Alaska. But, according to experts, an unknown number were dying on the way back to Australia due to a lack of food. The birds need to be at full strength to make the 14,000km trip over the Pacific but the krill and other fish they feed on have apparently dwindled.
BirdLife Australia has rendered the problem a 'crisis'. In a statement on its website, the group says: 'For the fifth consecutive year, the sea surface temperatures off Alaska have been unusually warm, which has led to a dire shortage of the shearwaters' marine prey, resulting in thousands of dead shearwaters being washed ashore along Alaska's beaches. 'According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, they died of starvation. 'It wasn't a single event, though; instead, it was a series of catastrophic die-offs. 'Starting in late June, these die-offs continued along different sections of the Alaskan coast, occurring progressively further south, through into August. 'Numerous shearwaters also washed up on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula as well. 'Although many thousands of birds were found dead and dying on the beach, this is likely the tip of the iceberg.'
Millions of birds have died since 2015
Historically, seabird die-offs have occurred occasionally in Alaska; however, large die-off events are now occurring each year since 2015. Millions of small sea birds have been reported dead since 2015, this year it's Short-tailed Shearwaters but recent years have seen puffins, murres, and auklets all appear to be dying due to starvation.
When nearly one million common murres died at sea and washed ashore from California to Alaska in 2015 and 2016, it was unprecedented -- both for murres and across all bird species worldwide. Scientists blame an unexpected squeeze on the ecosystem's food supply, brought on by a severe and long-lasting marine heatwave known as 'the blob.' The common murre is a self-sufficient, resilient bird. Though the seabird must eat about half of its body weight in prey each day, common murres are experts at catching the small "forage fish" they need to survive. Herring, sardines, anchovies and even juvenile salmon are no match for a hungry murre. So when nearly one million common murres died at sea and washed ashore from California to Alaska in 2015 and 2016, it was unprecedented -- both for murres and across all bird species worldwide.
The largest mass die-off of seabirds in recorded history: The die-off of Cassin's auklets, the tufted puffin, the common murre and the short-tailed shearwaters are unprecedented but throw into the mix the demise of Pacific cod, salmon, crab, herring, sardines and other fish and the overall picture is very worrying
Scientists from the University of Washington, the U.S. Geological Survey and others blame an unexpected squeeze on the ecosystem's food supply, brought on by a severe and long-lasting marine heatwave known as "the blob." As the largest mass die-off of seabirds in recorded history, the common murre event may help explain the other die-offs that occurred during the northeast Pacific marine heatwave, and also serve as a warning for what could happen during future marine heatwaves, the authors said. UW scientists recently identified another marine heatwave forming off the Washington coast and up into the Gulf of Alaska. "All of this -- as with the Cassin's auklet mass mortality and the tufted puffin mass mortality -- demonstrates that a warmer ocean world is a very different environment and a very different coastal ecosystem for many marine species," said Parrish, who is also the executive director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, known as COASST. "Seabirds, are highly visible members of that system, are bellwethers of that change.”
It's not over-fishing, it’s climate change what is killing the fish and then the birds.
North Pacific Fisheries Management Council member Nicole Kimball claims it’s not over-fishing to blame for the die-off, but rather, climate change. Warming ocean temperatures linked to climate change are wreaking havoc on a number of Alaska’s fisheries, worrying biologists, locals and fishermen with low returns that jeopardise fishing livelihoods. A stock assessment this fall put Gulf cod populations at a historic low, with “next to no” new eggs, according to NOAA research biologist Steve Barbeaux, who authored the report.
Up until the emergence of a marine heatwave known as “the blob” in 2014, Gulf cod was doing well. But the heatwave caused ocean temperatures to rise 4-5 degrees. Young cod started dying off, scientists said.
And now New Zealand?
A new "Pacific Blob," has mysteriously appeared off the East Coast of New Zealand. Will the new "blob," be just as devastating for wildlife off the East Coast of New Zealand as it is in Alaska? Time will tell.
Rain fell across parts of bushfire-ravaged eastern Australia on Thursday and more wet weather was forecast, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change. The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of duration and intensity, have claimed 28 lives and killed an estimated billion animals. Sustained hot weather and only very rare periods of light rain in the affected areas have deepened the crisis. So authorities had been looking forward to this week's rain hoping it would help contain or even extinguish some fires.
January the 17th
It is a problem which doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. Two people have been killed and the number of evacuees reached almost 100,000, after the eruption of the Taal volcano in the Philippines. People living within 14 km of the volcano have left their homes for security reasons, local authorities said. Despite the risk, many citizens refuse to evacuate and have returned to their homes. For this reason, police and military have been mobilised to move them out of the danger area. The Volcanology Science Institute of the Philippines has warned that Taal can erupt at any moment. After its eruption on January 12, a large number of flights to and from Manila airport were cancelled. Taal, the world's smallest volcano, is one of 10 active in the Philippines at this moment.
The insane Atlantic continues its angry broil! Hurricane strength winds are battering coastlines on both sides of the Atlantic with worse to come over the weekend. A second storm smashed the UK yesterday just a day after Storm Brendan battered parts of the country with 78mph (126 km/h) winds in many places, leaving almost 200 flood alerts in place across the UK. The UK has suffered flood after flood since September 2019 with hardly any respite.
More problems for the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) who own the site says coolant has seeped out from an underground frozen soil wall built around its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The frozen soil wall came into operation four years ago. It was built to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings which were damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdowns. The company had noticed a reduction in coolant in its tank earlier this month and was searching for the cause. TEPCO says it believes 20,000 of 1.1 million litres of the coolant has leaked, but that this will not affect the operation of the wall. The company says it will replace the components in the wall and repair another leak that was found in December.
January the 18th
The number of people already infected by the mystery virus emerging in China is far greater than official figures suggest, scientists have told the BBC. There have been 45 laboratory-confirmed cases of the new virus, but UK experts estimate the figure is closer to 1,700. Two people are known to have died from the virus, which appeared in Wuhan city in December. "I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago," disease outbreak scientist, Prof Neil Ferguson, said. The work was conducted by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, which advises bodies including the UK government and the World Health Organisation. China’s official number of people infected stands at 45.
The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world's most vulnerable countries, authorities say. Once again, unusual climate conditions are being blamed. An "extremely dangerous increase" in locust swarm activity has been reported in Kenya, the East African regional body reported this week. One swarm measured 60 kilometres (37 miles) long by 40 kilometres (25 miles) wide in the country's northeast, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development said in a statement. "A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre," it said. "Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people."The outbreak of desert locusts considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and IGAD warns that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.
A magnitude 6.0 Earthquake - near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia is the 5th major quake, (mag 6 or higher) in January 2020, according to USGS. The quake was relatively shallow but there is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. No tsunami warning was recorded.
January the 19th
Hundreds of thousands of native fish are estimated to have died in northern New South Wales after rains washed ash and sludge from bushfires into the Macleay River this week. Heavy rain has hit New South Wales and Victoria today with their wettest 2 day period for months bringing much-needed humidity to the 2 states. However, flash flooding and very strong winds are expected to topple many fire-damaged trees causing landslides and blocking roads. Ash, mud and fire debris are being swept into rivers which threaten the lives of millions of fish and freshwater wildlife.
Despite the rain, some bushfires remain out of control. Melbourne, Victoria's capital has been issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall, damaging winds and large hailstones, according to the ABC.
January 2020 is proving a disastrous month for farms in Eastern Europe, Avian Flu is responsible for the death or culling of almost a quarter of a million birds in just two weeks. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania farms being hit the hardest. Bulgaria has slaughtered 25, 000 pigs due to the devastating African Swine Flu outbreak.
It could be hours away or it could be weeks away, but the Philippines Taal Volcano next eruption is imminent and when it blows, depending on the size of the eruption, the Taal Volcano could cause global cooling, global crop failures and food shortages across the planet by spewing climate cooling Sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere and it has happened before. In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent "dry fog" was observed in parts of the eastern U.S. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the "fog". 1800 people froze to death. Crops failed to cause food shortages across the globe. Severe frosts in Europe and the U.S. were recorded in June. In the UK families travelled long distances as refugees begging for food. It was the worst famine in Europe during the 19th century. According to Wikipedia, the year 1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer, also the Poverty Year, the Summer that Never Was, There Was No Summer after Mount Tambora erupted in the Dutch East-Indies. An event like this would be a perfect convenient answer to the scientists who are claiming our planet is too warm, just imagine a decrease of, 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F) in global temperatures would bring our planet right back into balance regarding global warming.
The Pacific Rim Of Fire is shaking, the 6th major quake of 2020 rocks Indonesia and its the second major quake to strike there in 24 hours after a shallow, magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia yesterday.
January the 20th
You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube! Chinese authorities have today, reported 139 new cases of a mysterious virus in the last two days, marking the first time that the infection has been confirmed in the country outside of Wuhan city. The new cases were identified in the cities of Wuhan, Beijing and Shenzhen. The total number of confirmed cases now exceeds 200, and three have died from respiratory illness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said the number of cases rose because of "increased searching and testing". The new coronavirus strain first appeared in Wuhan in December and has already spread abroad, with two cases in Thailand and one in Japan. The actual number of cases now probably in the thousands according to a British Professor, Neil Ferguson.
Here’s another one, a magnitude 6.1 - 26km SSE of Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean is the 7th major quake of January and 2020 and it's the third major quake to strike in the last 36 hours after two a magnitude 6.0 and a magnitude 6.1 struck Indonesia yesterday, according to USGS.
An Alaska volcano that has been rumbling since midsummer shot ash 5 miles high (8 km) into the sky on Sunday, triggering a warning to aviators and dusting one small fishing village, officials reported. The volcano is on Unimak Island, the largest island on the Aleutian chain, 120 miles northeast of Unalaska Island. It’s about 700 miles west of Anchorage. Shishaldin Volcano, one of the most active in Alaska, kicked out a plume of ash that satellite imagery detected as high as 28,000 feet (8,535 m) above sea level, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, the joint federal-state-university office that tracks the state’s many volcanoes. The plume stretched about 90 miles (145 km) as of midday, blowing mostly east and over the Gulf of Alaska, said the observatory, reported Reuters Sunday.
After months of devastating fire, heatwaves and crippling droughts, the western coast of Australia have suffered a weekend of record rainfall, (three months worth in a couple of hours) in some places, massive hail storms which have wrecked cars and buildings along with Biblical sized dust storms.
January the 21st
Locust is a problem which appeared to gather momentum back in 2019. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are dealing with desert locust swarms of “unprecedented size and destructive potential” that could spill over into more countries in East Africa, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned on today. The locust swarms are destroying hundreds of thousands of acres of crops, the outbreak is impacting the region’s food insecurity. The UN agency urged for a collective campaign to deal with the crisis, concerned over the risk that the swarms spill over into more countries in East Africa. It is believed unusual climate conditions are helping the swarms reproduction. The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species of all, have not been seen on this scale in 25 years. In addition, numerous desert locust swarms have been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan since June 2019. And some have migrated to southern Iran where recent heavy rains have nurtured a breeding ground that could generate swarms in the spring. Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are also seeing substantial breeding activity that could see locust bands expand into swarms in the coming months, FAO added.
It is the biggest holiday in the world as hundreds of millions of Chinese are on the move this week to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Sunday. A tiny per cent of these will be unknowingly carrying the mysterious coronavirus, which has just been confirmed can be passed on to humans by humans. The scenario which is about to unfold could be horrific. The head of a Chinese government expert team said today that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely. Team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members, state media said. Some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported. The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak. Now that is the official version, below is the truth, watch this space folks.
January the 22nd
Chinese health authorities announced today that 440 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been reported in 13 provincial-level regions in the country by the end of Tuesday. According to Prof Neil Ferguson of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, 440 confirmed cases could be the equivalent of almost 20,000 unconfirmed cases because the disease incubates in a person for 5-to-10 days. Overseas, one case has been confirmed in Japan, three in Thailand, one in the US and one in the Republic of Korea. A total of 2,197 close contacts have been traced, figures from the commission show. Among them, 1,394 are under medical observation while 765 others have been discharged.
January the 23rd
An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) west of the city of Adak and 250 miles from the active Shishaldin volcano in Alaska, according to the USGS. The powerful quake was at a depth of 10 km. Today's quake is the 9th major quake (magnitude 6 or higher) of January 2020.
Nine people have died and four are missing after Storm Gloria continued to batter eastern Spain with high winds, heavy rain, snowfall and huge waves. The storm, which had left 220,000 people in the Tarragona region without electricity on yesterday, began to shift away on today and is now battering southern France, however, some north-eastern and Balearic areas remained on orange alert. Unbelievable winds have battered the Spanish east coast for two days with and wave up to 13.5 metres (44 feet) high rolling in from the usually placid Mediterranean Sea.
The Chinese mystery virus is turning into a nightmare, it is now spreading at an alarming rate. The problem here is the Chinese, through no fault of their own have closed the stable door after the horse has bolted. Before officials quarantined Wuhan, millions of people were coming and going, Wuhan was shut down yesterday but this is the problem, the coronavirus is known to incubate in a person for 5-to-10 days, sometimes even 24 days. The cat is already out of the bag, literally, thousands will be affected, and people will be walking around for days before they even realise they are sick. Huanggang is the second city to shut-down as authorities try to halt the spread of the newly-discovered virus. With a population of more than seven million people, it's a major population centre. The city is situated about 70km from Wuhan, which was the first city to be put on lockdown, that means nearly 20 million people are now quarantined. Another city, Ezhou - a city of a million people across the Yangtze river from Huanggang - said on Thursday it had shut its train stations.
Something I haven’t mentioned is the incredible mildness for the time of the year here in Holland. December has been unusually mild, we haven’t had a frost yet this winter, never mind snow, I remember when I first moved here in the mid-1990s winters could be quite severe, the canals of Amsterdam would freeze allowing the Dutch people to skate on the ice. Winter recently has been a thing of the past, the last real cold winter we had was back in 2012.
January the 24th
In the Turkey province of Elazığ twenty-five, people have died with a further five-hundred and fifty injured after a powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocked the area. Another thirty people are said to be buried under rubble. The quake was very shallow, at a depth of fewer than ten kilometres, shallow quakes are the one which causes the most damage. A series of aftershocks have hindered the rescue services
The coronavirus is making all the headlines around the world and no wonder. Chinese health authorities announced today that 830 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been reported across 29 provincial-level regions in the country by the end of Thursday. Among them, 34 had been cured and discharged from hospitals, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). A total of 1,072 suspected cases have been reported in 20 provincial-level regions, according to the commission. However, 830 confirmed cases could well mean anything up to 50,000 people are walking around unaware they are sick as the incubation period is anything between five to twenty-four days according to officials.
In disaster-hit Mozambique, 30 people have been killed and more than 60,000 affected by flooding and torrential rain. Mozambique is still reeling from last years double cyclone hit by Idai and Kenneth.
January the 25th
I did some digging around on the net and discovered China had built a lab to study dangerous pathogens like the Coronavirus, SARS and Ebola back in January 2018. It is the only such laboratory in China and guess what? It is located in Wuhan, the very city where the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak started and, the lab is situated just twenty miles from the meat market where the virus is said to have started, coincidence? You bet. Today there are 444 new confirmed cases and 1,118 new suspected cases were reported while 16 people died of the disease, the disease has also found its way into France, Europe, just down the road from me. It is now known almost fifty million people are in lockdown in Wuhan and its surrounding towns. CDC confirms the second US case of coronavirus and is monitoring dozens of other potential cases.
In Spain, residents woke up to apocalyptical scenes as hundreds of thousands of fish, as far as the eye can see along the coast of Safor near Valencia. The fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, and even a dolphin calf died after the breakage of the facilities of a fish farm in Sagunto due to the incredible storm Gloria which has pounded the east coast of Spain and France this week which killed nine people and cut the power to a quarter of a million Spaniards. Winds of up to 100 mph (160kmh) and waves up to 13.5 metres (44 feet) high were recorded during the height of the storm.
January the 26th
It is a well-known fact, humans and Pigs have remarkably similar immune systems. Swine flu is a particularly nasty disease and can jump from pigs to humans. Since August 2018, an astonishing one-quarter of the world's domestic pig population died of African Swine Fever, and more than 200-million pigs, died in China alone. In 2018, when China notified the World Organisation for Animal Health that ASF (swine fever) was in the country, the disease has spread with extraordinary speed. (sound familiar?) Some 40% of Chinese pigs, hundreds of millions of animals have now been lost, and the result has been a chronic shortage of pork and rocketing prices, None of the experts or the mainstream media have mentioned this coincidence during the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which I find a little troublesome.
A magnitude 6.1 - 57 km, West of the Amatignak Island, Alaska is the second major quake, (magnitude 6 or higher) to rock the area this week, almost 200 aftershocks rocked the area. Today's quake is the 11th major quake of January 2020.
It is thought forty people have died after record-breaking rain caused flash flooding and landslides in Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil. The disaster comes just days after the anniversary of the deaths of 259 people who died when a mining dam collapsed in Brumadinho last year.
We keep on hearing of massive ice melts along the Poles. This week temperatures in the Yakutia and Magadan region of Russia dropped to a bone-chilling -56C (-68.8F). ‘The wind chill sensation dropped even further to -61°C.
January the 27th
Today is the anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation 75 years ago, as we remember the horrors of WWII and the death of 6 million Jewish people, the world is in the grip of another horror, the Chinese Coronavirus explosion could quite easily kill many more millions! According to the Taiwan Daily, the pandemic will be impossible to contain. The official death toll from the 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak in China has reached 80, however, that's the good news The bad news is hundreds more are in critical condition and hundreds more infected, however, the scientist has claimed the actual number could be as high as 200,000. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed the virus can spread before any symptoms show because of a five-to-ten day incubation period.
We are seeing wonderful official pictures of Chinese health workers handling the sick, in pristine, state of the art hospital facilities but the actual horror version is slowly being leaked by terrified citizens leaking videos and pictures of corpses lying in the street and hospital corridors, hospitals overrun by sick and scared people who are in total panic. Towns and villages around Wuhan have begun barricading roads and motorways to stop people entering, Wuhan itself, a city the size of London is a ghost town. There is still no official mention of The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory being the only lab in China designated for studying dangerous pathogens like SARS and Ebola and no mention of the two-hundred million deaths of pigs due to the flu last year.
The threat of war reared its ugly face again today, at least three rockets struck the US embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Sunday. Three Americans were said to have been injured. No group have claimed responsibility but the US has blamed Iran-backed military factions. The attack came days after two-million Iraqis protested on the streets of Baghdad demanding immediate withdrawal of American troops from their country.
The big quakes keep coming. A magnitude 6.3 quake has rocked the Solomon Islands this morning. The powerful shallow quake struck at a depth of 18 km (shallow quakes are more powerful than deep quakes). USGS has issued a "Green" alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. Today's quake is the 12th major quake (magnitude 6 or higher) of January 2020.
Down under its one extreme to the other, after months of bushfires, heavy rain has dampened the fires in Victoria and New South Wales but the torrential rain is causing flash flooding.
In Brazil, massive Loods and landslides have caused the deaths of fifty people with four still missing in Greater Belo Horizonte.
January the 28th
Seismic and volcanic activity has really ramped up in the first month 2020, today, Europe’s largest volcano, Mount Etna, is spewing lava again after a number of explosions signalled an increase in volcanic activity. The explosions have taken place in different crates over a couple of days, sending rocks flying through the air and creating lava flows.
An American surveillance plane shot down over Afghanistan yesterday was shot down by the Taliban, according to the Iranian media Iran is also claiming a number of CIA agents were killed, a claim the US denies, however, all on board were said to be dead. The disaster comes just days after the so-called “Doomsday Clock” was set to one hundred seconds to midnight by scientists who believe we are on the very cusp of a nuclear war.
January the 29th
Our planet is literally shaking, a powerful magnitude 7.7 struck between the islands of Cuba and Jamaica, in the Caribbean Sea and a magnitude 6.1 rocked the Cayman Islands during the night. Both quakes happened on the American and Caribbean tectonic plates and are in the same region where more than 2,000 quakes ranging from mag 1 to a mag 6.5 have been reported on the southern coast of Puerto Rico since January the 1st 2020. Buildings shook and tremors were felt across the Caribbean, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. Some offices were temporarily evacuated in Miami and parts of Jamaica.
Incredibly a magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck the Solomon Islands and is their 2nd major quake, (mag 6 or higher) in the last 2 days and the 3rd major quake in less than 24 hours. A mag 6.3 had rocked the Solomon Islands on Monday. The powerful shallow quake struck at a depth of 18 km (shallow quakes are more powerful than deep quakes).
As if the quakes weren’t enough, one of Mexico's most active volcanoes erupted during the night putting on a spectacular firework display. The Mexican colossus the Popocatépetl Volcano spewed huge clouds of smoke and ash into the sky. Witnesses say the columns rose some 2,000 feet above the crater. It's not the first time the Mexican monster has erupted this month, on Thursday the 9th of January 2020 the Popocatépetl Volcano, whose name is the Aztec word for smoking mountain and towers to 5426 m 70 km SE of Mexico City to form North America's 2nd-highest volcano spewed a volcanic ash plume that rose up to an estimated 3,000m (9,800ft) into the Mexico sky., what a month this has been.
The poor old Aussies have copt it again. Torrential amounts of rain have broken all records in North Queensland as 529mm of rain falls in 24 hours, more than a months total, causing havoc for farms, homes businesses, schools and infrastructure. The rains will at least dampen the fires in the region.
January the 30th
Flooding and locusts plagues are bringing Kenya to its knees. The rains started back in October 2019 killing more than one hundred and fifty people and displacing more than 100,000 people. Thousands of homes are damaged and what crops that have survived the flooding are being eaten up by the locusts. The torrential rainfall is caused by a system called a positive Indian Ocean Dipole bringing warm waters to Eastern Africa, the same system is creating the terrible drought conditions in Australia. To make matters worse swarms of locusts are sweeping across Kenya and the swarms are likely to grow 500 times bigger by June. Can you imagine how the coronavirus would sweep through a ravaged country like Kenya, it doesn’t bear thinking about.
The scale of the locust swarms is actually unimaginable, they are sweeping Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia by the billions and will grow 500 times bigger by the summer. Oxfam is preparing for a potential response as the swarms are expected to reach neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan. The plagues are hitting the East African region where food insecurity has already reached record levels following unprecedented drought and flooding, millions of more people are at risk to go hungry unless these swarms are immediately controlled, according to Oxfam. Lydia Zigomo, the Regional Director of Oxfam in Horn, East and Central Africa (HECA) said: “Currently, 25 million people in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda are already suffering from hunger and severe malnutrition. These infestations of hundreds of millions of locusts need to be quickly contained before the next main cropping season of March to July.”
The scale of devastation is unsurmountable. To put it in perspective, a large desert locust plague can contain up to 150 million individuals per square kilometre. One million locusts weighing approximately two tonnes could eat the food of 5,000 people. Collectively, the insects can destroy at least 200 tonnes of vegetation per day.
An Italian cruise ship with 7,000 people onboard has been quarantined in the waters of Italy after a Chinese couple fell ill with the suspected coronavirus.
January the 31st
We began January 2020 with an Australian wildfire crisis and we are going to end the month with another one. Authorities of the Australian Capital Territory, (ATC) have declared a state of emergency as the worst bushfire in 20 years is devastating areas south of the nation's capital Canberra. Strong winds and temperatures at 40 deg C (104 deg F) are making conditions ideal to spread. The fire is thought to have been started by a helicopter.
I have to end what will become one of the most historical months in our history with the deadly coronavirus which is now sweeping our planet.
As of yesterday, there were 10,000 cases in China alone with 213 deaths which are easily outpacing recovering patients. China has been accused of covering up the number of infected. Terrible pictures of people lying dead on the pavement or in hospital corridors are getting out of China. The virus has spread to most parts of the globe, most countries in Europe have infected people also in Canada and the US. Today the UK revealed it had its first two cases. The virus has now spread to the UK, no shock there but, get this, the BBC announced this afternoon, the last passenger jet arrived in the UK from Wohan 10 days ago and the UK government do not know where the passengers are, in the UK, they have NOT been quarantined and have probably been wandering around the UK for ten days!
Coronavirus: Worldwide cases surpass Sars outbreak in 2003 in just 1 month, and was today declared a global health emergency by WHO. May God bless us all.
Brexodus And finally, at eleven pm, the UK finally left the EU after nearly fifty years of membership