Monday 2 September 2019

August 2019: Shaken and stirred! Devastating global wildfires, Super Typhoon, Typhoon, Tropical Storm and category 5 Hurricane and 10 major quakes...

Photo, The Weather Network... Super typhoon Lekima followed by Tropical Storm Krosa

A look back at August 2019 saw a total of 10 major quakes (mag 6+) around the world, the biggest being the M 6.9 - 102km WSW of Tugu Hilir, Indonesia at the beginning of the month, the 10 major quakes brought the total to 101 major quakes so far this year. It is always interesting to compare how many major quakes had been recorded this time a year ago, in 2018, the number is a mere 78, considerably less than this year so far. 2017 recorded even less with 65 and finished the year on just 111 major quakes, the lowest amount this century. 2016, recorded 93 and 2015, 90, so it's fair to say our planet has been shaking much more this year than recently.

One of the biggest disasters our planet has endured in August was wildfires, at the beginning of the month, a Greenpeace Russia team was documenting wildfires in the taiga forest, in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia. Despite statements by Russian authorities, the intensity of forest fires in Siberia was dramatically increasing. A, 4.3 million hectare fire - an area larger than Denmark - was contributing significantly to climate change. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 13.1 million hectares had burned in Siberia. Fires have rage every year, but this summer's blazes reached unprecedented size and strength. The Siberian fires have emitted more than 166 Mt CO2 - nearly as much as 36 million cars emit per year, as we move into September the fires are still burning.

As increasing pressure on the planet rises with the threat from climate change, the collapse of our living species, dying oceans, dying agriculture and a constant threat of WWIII hanging over our heads, it should not come as any surprise to learn that 17 countries – home to one-quarter of the world’s population—face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress. In a new report by the World Resources Institute, one-quarter of the world’s population almost two billion people—face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year. Full story

Peru became the latest country to suffer horrendous wildfires after more than 22,000 hectares (54,363 acres) of forest, protected areas and farmland in drought-stricken parts have been destroyed. In August, biologists and environmentalists from around the world warned the presidents of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia about the dangers of devastating fires in what they said might be the region’s worst drought in at least half a century. Full story

More than a million people were evacuated as Super typhoon Lekima smashed into eastern China on August the 10th.  Lekima made landfall in the early hours of Saturday in Wenling, between Taiwan and China's financial capital Shanghai. The storm was initially designated a "super typhoon", but weakened slightly before landfall - but still had winds of 187km/h (116mph). The city evacuated some 250,000 residents, with another 800,000 in the Zhejiang province also taken from their homes. An estimated 2.7 million homes in the region lost power as power lines toppled in the high winds, Chinese state media said. It is the ninth typhoon of the year, Xinhua news said - but the strongest storm seen in years. Full story

Just one day later, huge storms across the planet caused chaos that weekend killing 200 people! Tornadoes hit Europe from Luxembourg to Amsterdam, China was battered by the third-largest typhoon in its history and a further 107 killed in India. Full story

On the 14th of August, a total of 56 wildfires were reported to be burning out of control in parts of Greece as smoke covered Athens with strong winds fanning the flames. Full story 

Hat-trick! Tropical storm Krosa was the third storm to hit Japan in only 10 days after super typhoon Lekima and typhoon Francisco made landfall earlier in the month causing the country to be hit with Biblical amounts of rain! The total rainfall surpassed 1200 mm (47 inches) in 24 hours which is more than 10 times their August average. Full story 

Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest hit a record number this year, according to research carried out by Brazil's space research centre (INPE). It cites 72,843 fires, marking an increase of 83% compared to 2018 - the highest since records began in 2013. Since Thursday, INPE said satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world's largest tropical forest, which is seen as vital to countering global warming. In the third week of August, almost 10,000 fires ripped through Brazil's dense rainforest and activists claimed most of them will have been set by men working in the jungle, clearing land for cattle and logging. Full story

Hurricane Dorian was said to hit Florida as a category 5 monster as the third straight year the U.S. has endured a landfalling major hurricane – a streak not accomplished in nearly 60 years. Full story