Major Earthquakes since 1900 (Magnitude 8.0 and up)

At which plate boundary types do we consistently see massive quakes occurring?

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THE SILENT EPIDEMIC – child malnutrition

Poor harvest, superstitions and lack of education are the main causes of malnutrition in Chad.

“Some mums don’t have the means to be able to feed their children. Others do, but they fail to take proper care of them due to a lack of education about hygiene and nutrition. You need to be strong and brave to care for a child here. It’s not easy.”

Dangerous superstitions prevent malnourished children from receiving medical aid:

Mothers often prefer to take their sick child to a religious leader rather than a health clinic. Marabout [Islamic religious leaders] may say Koranic prayers for the baby, give them a plant-based concoction which can be poisonous, make three cuts on a baby’s stomach or cut out their uvula, at the back of the throat.

In the best cases, this can delay malnourished babies getting the treatment they need and, in the worst cases, vulnerable babies, whose immune systems have been weakened by a lack of food, can die from poison or infection.

Though there are provision for malnourished children – medical care is free, but…

It doesn’t help that making the journey to public health clinics in Chad can be expensive , the clinics often don’t have the necessary medicines or enough trained staff, and despite a national free care policy for malnourished children there are often other hidden costs that make it impossible for people in this area to afford this essential care.

Read more below to the NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), understand the challenges of helping the community overcome malnutrition.

Source: http://www.msf.org.uk/article/chad-the-silent-epidemic-recurring-malnutrition

Tsunami Notes

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A tsunami also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear devices), landslides, glacier calvings, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. Unlike normal ocean waves which are generated by wind or tides which are generated by the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun, a tsunami is generated by the displacement of water.

Read more : http://www.geologypage.com/2016/05/tsunami.html#ixzz4LB8CNnYf

Typhoon Meranti – Super Typhoon

Despite the strengh of the typhoon and it being dubbed a ‘super typhoon’, described as one of the strongest in 2016, death toll was fortunately keep low, probably due to effective mitigation measures in place by countries in its path.

BEIJING: The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit China in nearly 70 years has reached 28, state news said Sunday, days after the storm crashed into the country’s coastline.

Heavy rains and winds up to 170 kilometres per hour (105 miles per hour) whipped eastern Fujian province late last week, flooding streets and knocking over trees, billboards and power lines.

The official Xinhua news agency described the storm as the world’s strongest typhoon this year and the worst to hit the region since records began in 1949.

Fifteen remain missing, Xinhua said, adding that Xiamen city’s transportation and power supply continued to be “spotty”.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/typhoon-meranti-death-toll-rises-to-28-reports/3136660.html

Singapore has ratified Paris Climate Agreement

The Republic on Wednesday (Sep 21) formalised its pledge to fight climate change, with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan depositing Singapore’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Dr Balakrishnan signed the Paris Agreement on Apr 22 together with representatives of 174 other countries. According to a joint media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Wednesday, the ratification is a “further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action”.

By ratifying the agreement, Singapore formalises its pledge to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. MFA said this “pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet”.

In July, Singapore released its Climate Action Plan, outlining the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-ratifies-paris-climate-agreement-at-un/3145320.html

What are our main actions to meet the pledge?

The Climate Action Plan says this:

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Source: https://www.nccs.gov.sg/sites/nccs/files/NCCS_Mitigation_FA_webview%2027-06-16.pdf

What about Copenhagen Accord and the Kyoto Protocol?

Simply put, all these international agreements are similar. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Copenhagen Accord (2009) are older agreements for the same purpose of fighting climate change.

However, the most recent Paris Climate Agreement is one that is seen very positively especially in light of the progress in negotiations in Dec 2015.

This Paris agreement is also hailed as a success, with the world’s biggests carbon emitters, USA and China, (finally) ratifying the accord as well – something that was not done in previous agreements.

What does ratification mean? Wasn’t the agreement made in Paris in Dec 2015 already?

The meetings in Paris only had representatives from the various nations coming in to discuss and come to a consensus as to what needs to be done. At the end of the meetings, representatives, upon coming to an agreement, will sign the accord. However, at this point of time, countries do not yet pledge to take action to meet the demands of the accord.

The next few months will see the representatives work with their respective governments to consider steps the country can and will take to meet the needs. Once the government agrees, they then ratify the agreement.

For the Kyoto Protocol, though USA signed the agreement, they did not ratify it.

Corals in Singapore – Wild Singapore and Reef Ecology Lab

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Wild Singapore discusses the rich diversity of wildlife our sunny island has.

See the link above for one post explaining Singapore reefs and an account of the recent mass coral bleaching that has been observed:

Devastating world wide mass coral bleaching was declared in October 2015, eight months before it first happened in Singapore, by the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The third global mass coral bleaching event in recorded history, scientists warned it could result in the biggest global coral die-off. The only two previous such global events were in 1998 and 2010, when every major ocean basin experienced bleaching. Singapore’s reefs also suffered mass coral bleaching then.

As bleaching events occur more frequently and closer together, corals have no time to recover. Some scientists believe that continued global temperature rise would lead a point when every year is a bleaching year by around 2030. This may lead to complete global loss of coral reefs by the middle of this century.

Reefs in Singapore.singaporemap

The Reef Ecology Lab also conducts research on the Reefs of SG and the region. Click on the link to see a short description of the SG reefs and their threats – one threat, land recalamation, is quoted below:

The most significant cause of reef degradation in Singapore is sedimentation. Land reclamation, dredging of shipping channels and dumping of earth spoils, have increased the sediment load. Loss of coral reefs to land reclamation have occurred along the southwest coast of the mainland and on several of the offshore southern islands. Increased sedimentation have affected the remaining reefs in two ways:

(1) by causing a slow but steady reduction in live coral cover, and
(2) by reducing the lower depth limit of coral growth on reef slopes.

Surveys since 1986 indicate that live coral cover have decreased by up to 20% on some reefs, although other reefs register no impact. The reduction in sunlight penetration have furthermore reduced the lower depth limit of coral growth. In the 1970s, coral growth extended to 10 m down the reef slope. Today, growth is restricted to 6 m although some coral species still occur at the 8-m depth.

Sources:
1) http://coralreef.nus.edu.sg/singapore.html
2) http://wildshores.blogspot.sg/2016/08/mass-coral-bleaching-in-singapore-why.html#.V-ZrsJN970E