Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"Extreme weather the norm across globe"

It is good to see The Financial Times catching up with ATS. Following the previous post on weather extremes around the world, FT reports,
The world this year has ­suffered record-breaking weather extremes in almost every continent, the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organisation has warned, with global land temperatures reaching their highest levels since records began in 1800.

The floods, droughts, heatwaves and storms could be part of the climate’s natural variations and cannot be directly attributed to climate change. However, such instances of extreme weather are consistent with predictions of what will happen as the world’s climate grows warmer.
FT offers up another litany:
The WMO said global land surface temperatures in 2007 were 1.89°C warmer than average for January, and 1.37°C warmer than average for April. It tracked an alarming incidence of unusually adverse weather from Europe and Asia to Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

“Monsoon extremes and incessant rains caused large-scale flooding all over South Asia,” it said, “a situation that continues even now, resulting in more than 500 deaths, displacement of more than 10m people and destruction of vast areas of croplands, livestock and property.”

Cyclone Gonu, the first documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea, landed in Oman on June 6 with maximum sustained winds of nearly 148km/h, affecting more than 20,000 people.

In east Asia, heavy rains in June ravaged southern China, where flooding affected more than 13.5m people; while in England and Wales the period from May to July was the wettest since records began in 1766.

Germany also saw its wettest May since countrywide observations started in 1901; in sharp contrast with the previous month, which was its driest April since 1901.

Further south, the worst flooding in six years hit Mozambique in February, while abnormally heavy and early rainfall in Sudan since the end of June has caused the Nile River and other seasonal rivers to overflow.

A series of large swell waves (3 metres-4.5 metres) swamped 68 islands in 16 atolls in the Maldives, while to the west, in Latin America, early May saw Uruguay’s worst flooding since 1959.

These deluges were matched by extremes of temperature in other parts of the world, with two record-breaking heatwaves affecting southeastern Europe in June and July. In May, Moscow recorded its highest temperature since 1891.

In July, temperatures in Argentina and Chile plunged to –22°C and –18°C, respectively.

South Africa, on June 27, experienced its first significant snowfall since 1981 (25cm of snow in parts of the country).


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