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August 07, 2007

Extreme Weather World-Wide Environment

The world weather system is heating up. As climate models have long predicted, the additional energy is resulting in greater extremes of weather around the world. The only surprise is how quickly it's all happening. CNN:

Extreme weather has plagued the globe this year, a U.N. agency says, causing some of the highest temperatures on record.

The World Meteorological Organization said "global land surface temperatures for January and April will likely be ranked as the warmest since records began in 1880," according to the United Nations.

WMO said temperatures were 1.89 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average for January and 1.37 degrees C (2.45 degrees F) higher than average for April.

The agency found that climate warming was unequivocal and most likely "due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels."

Here are some of the extreme instances the United Nations cites:

Four monsoon depressions, double the normal number, caused heavy flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On Monday, floodwaters receded in parts of South Asia, but the death toll rose to 347, officials said.

Millions remain displaced and homeless, and authorities fear waterborne disease could spread. Indian officials say more than 1,200 people have died in their country alone since monsoon season began in June.

England and Wales have experienced their wettest May-to-July period since record-keeping started in 1766. In late July, swollen rivers threatened to burst their banks. At least eight people died during weeks of torrential rain, and thousands were without tap water.

Late last month in Sudan, floods and heavy rain caused 23,000 mud brick homes to collapse, killing at least 62 people. The rainfall was abnormally heavy and early for this time of the year.

In May, swell waves up to 15 feet high swept into 68 islands in the Maldives, causing severe flooding and damage. Also in May, a heat wave swept across Russia.

Southeastern Europe did not escape the unusual weather. The area suffered record-breaking heat in June and July.

An unusual cold southern winter brought wind, blizzards and rare snowfall to various parts of South America, with temperatures reaching as low as 7 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-22 degrees Celsius) in Argentina and 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) in Chile in July.

In June, South Africa had its first significant snowfall since 1981, as almost 10 inches (25 centimeters) of the white stuff fell in some parts of the country.

And in the United States, temperatures climbed into the triple digits this week in Midwestern states. [Emphasis added]

It's happening very quickly in climate terms, but humans are hard-wired to sense danger that occurs on much shorter time-scales. When change happens over years or decades, people tend to become accustomed to it. Winters here in Madison are very different from what was normal 30 years ago, but who remembers? The scary thing is that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by Jonathan at August 7, 2007 09:25 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


I remember when I was growing up in Chicago during the early sixties I was able to skate down the side streets to the park skating rink to play hockey. The winters now are much milder and when it does snow it rarely lasts a week on the ground. If the trend continues they'll have palm trees lining lake shore drive (just joking, but not really)

Posted by: bruce from chicago at August 8, 2007 03:19 PM