Sunday, January 5, 2014

Big weather events "getting worse"

Vivienne Nunis in Voice of Russia: With much of England battered by storms over Christmas, the New Year has brought little relief. This morning the Environment Agency forecast 21 areas would be hit by severe floods endangering life. As the day wore on that prediction was revised down to seven severe flood warnings in the Midlands, the South West and Wales. By Friday evening, flooding was still expected in around 130 locations across the UK.

...But the UK isn’t the only place dealing with extreme weather. Ireland has faced three major storms in just two weeks. On the other side of the Atlantic, CNN reported on Friday, 100 million people in 22 states were in the path of a snowstorm hitting Northeast America.

...Australia is a country well used to extreme weather, but the year just gone was one for the record books. Ned Wickoll, a journalist based in Sydney, said: “So 2013 has been the hottest year on record in Australia according to the Bureau of Meteorology and this has gone back all the way to 1910 when records began. Not only did we get the hottest January 7th the day on record, we got the hottest month and the hottest season. Of course now the Bureau has confirmed the hottest year on record. It’s been sweltering in all parts of Australia at various parts of 2013 and the Bureau’s now made it official.”

But the country that suffered the most from severe weather in 2013 was undoubtedly the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the island country, leaving more than 6000 people confirmed dead and thousands more homeless.

Dr Keiran Hickey said the powerful cyclone can be linked to global warming: “One of the major drivers behind hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones – which are the same phenomenon, just in different oceans – is of course, the big driver is sea surface temperatures and obviously as the sea surface warms up, it means more energy can be pushed into these storms so the tendency is for these hurricanes and cyclones and typhoons is that some of them will get much stronger over the coming decades and that typhoon is a classic example of what can actually happen as well. And of course in a country like the Philippines where there is little coastal protection, they are very vulnerable to the impact of major storm events.”...

NASA image of Typhoon Haiyan, November 10, 2013

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