Weather News In Brief - 17 Jan 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Inquirer reports that the Philippines and Australia are on the same boat when it comes to the weather. The head of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the agency had been closely monitoring the situation in Australia because its weather was “related” to the rains on the eastern seaboard of the Philippines. Graciano Yumul Jr., PAGASA officer in charge, said the Western Pacific, which included Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia, were getting more rains than usual because of the La Niña phenomenon.

La Niña occurs when the surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean drops. In the Western Pacific, the phenomenon results in stronger storms and more heavy rain. Weather officials said La Niña would continue until May. It is also expected to bring stronger and frequent storms in the country this year. More from The Inquirer.

Bright moonlight and auroras light of the sky for Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway.

ARCTIC sea ice extent – 12/01/07 and 12/01/11. Image Source: Cryrosphere Today

QUAKE WATCH: 0.9 mag tremor recorded 8km NNE of Dumfries in Scotland map.Meanwhile, an unusual and moderate earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter Scale struck the Lake Albert region of Uganda this morning. Map.

TITANIC WRECK BEING EATEN BY SUPERBUG, WILL DISAPPEAR IN 20 YEARS: The wreck of the Titanic, which sank after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage nearly a hundred years ago, could be lost forever after scientists found it was being eaten by a bug, reports Fox News. Scientists examining the superstructure of what was the world's largest passenger steamship said a newly discovered bacteria was feasting on the iron that it was constructed from. They have revealed that the ocean-going liner, which went down with the loss of 1,517 lives in 1912, will be nothing more than a rust stain on the ocean floor within 20 years. The bacteria, which has been named Halmonas Titanicae, has been consuming the 50,000 tons of iron since the Titanic split in two and sank two and a half miles down. Experts who have examined the microscopic bacteria found on the wreck when samples were first brought up in 1991 estimate that the Titanic will vanish by 2030.

BUSINESS: December's severe weather conditions and weak confidence contributed to a further reduction in construction activity in Ireland, reports RTE. The Ulster Bank's Construction Purchasing Managers' Index shows that activity fell for the fourth month in a row in December to 40.6 from 41.7 in November. The fall was the biggest since May. Any figure under 50 signals contraction.

Meanwhile, the owner of Currys and PC World has warned that annual profits are expected to be at the bottom end of forecasts after snow-hit sales fell 4 per cent in the UK and Ireland over the festive period. More from the Scotsman.

CANADA: Toronto remains under an extreme cold weather alert for the second day after residents woke up Sunday morning to a wind chill of -17C, reports the Toronto Star. And expect no respite as Environment Canada is warning that Monday’s temperature may dip to -17C — the coldest day yet this winter.

VIDEO: Extreme Weather - boats and cruise ship in heavy seas.